Insider Tips to Homebuying in Delaware




Tom Schoenbeck
Keller Williams Realty at the Beach
1521 Savannah Rd, Lewes DE 19958
302-632-7407 (24-hour cell) <>



Delaware has as many varied living styles as it does inhabitants. From the hustle and bustle city life in Wilmington, to township living in the Capitol city of Dover, to farmlands in rural Sussex County, to the highly sought after beach communities along our superb coastline; Delaware has it all. Our non-existent sales taxes, our incredibly low county taxes, great education system, high employment rate, and progressive public and social services all make living in Delaware an attractive place to call home.

When making your move to the First State, your first decision will be based on what geographical area you want to call home and will mainly depend upon what lifestyle you want to live. There are communities that offer golf course and upscale lifestyle living such as Baywoods Country Club and The Peninsula in Millsboro, Shawnee Acres in Milford, and the dozens of courses around the area. If your forte is water access for fishing or boating, the Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and the dozens of fresh water lakes are all within easy commuting distance wherever you live. If sun bathing and family friendly beach life is what you are seeking, Rehoboth Beach is calling you. Bird watchers and hunters love the sporting opportunities due to the considerate number of state parks, forestry lands and preserves and wildlife areas. From the quiet reserves of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the pristine beaches of Rehoboth and Bethany, to the idyllic life around the Woodland Ferry in Seaford, there is an opportunity for everyone and for every age to enjoy. There is quaintness, fanciful boutiques, and very unique shopping and dining in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, country cuisine in Millsboro and Georgetown, and upscale eateries in Bethany Beach.

While Delaware has only one interstate that runs east and west in northern New Castle County, State Route One runs north and south for the majority of the distance from New Castle County to Sussex County. The varied inroads and connective routes makes commuting quite easy and most points are easily accessible with little effort.

So, what’s the secret to finding that gem in Delaware? There are many great deals to be had in every town, every community, in every county. Here are a few simple suggestions for you while planning to make that next purchase:

1. The first and most important step in your plan is to contact your lender and get your financing pre-qualification. Once you are pre-qualified with your lender, you will then know how much home you can actually afford. After all, why shop on a Mercedes lot only to later discover you should have been looking at Chevys?

2. There are a lot of bank owned homes in Delaware and this may be your smartest purchase. Bank owned homes are generally easier purchases as banks are not in the home ownership business, they are in the money business. The last thing a bank asset manager wants is a huge inventory of unsold homes. They are usually more willing to sell a home at a loss if the buyer shows they are a well qualified buyer. This is why your pre-qualification is so vital in the process. Visit to see what bank owned homes are available in the county you want to reside.

3. There are also many Delaware homeowners who are trying to ‘short sell’ their home. This does not, to the dismay of many buyers, mean the buying process is short. It means the amount of money the homeowner owes on their home is more than what they are trying to sell it for due to hardship reasons. While there are also great deals in the short sale world, they are often times not for the faint of heart or impatient buyer. Here’s a tried and true suggestion if you are hoping to snap up a great short sale property: Patience is king! If you are the type of person that enjoys sitting and watching paint dry, then a short sale may be the avenue for you. There will be nothing you can do and little your agent can do, to speed up the process. Each lien holder of the seller’s mortgage has to agree to the amount they will accept. But in the end you can get some fantastic deals. Generally, short sales in Delaware can take 90 to 120 days to settle compared to 40 to 60 days for a normal resale.

4. There are great resale homes that have sat on the market for a while. Ask your agent to find you homes where the seller is ‘willing to negotiate’ and is anxious to move on. Many times a seller has personal issues which may force them to move such as divorce, loss of job or relocation. Seller’s in today’s market are seeing the light. They also know if they can sell low, they can also buy low. It’s a level playing field. Take a look through and (the public link) to see what homes peak your interest.

5. Don’t be afraid of making a lower offer, but be sure it’s your best offer right up front. You hear buyers say they don’t want to offend the seller. If the seller approaches the sale of their home from a business perspective, they will not be offended. They can make you a counter offer if they feel your offer is not up to par.

6. Connect with a REALTOR that knows the local market. They can get you the very best deals, they can provide you the local expertise, and only they can help you avoid the pitfalls of hasty decisions. Once you connect with your professional REALTOR, let them do their job. They will know exactly how to make it happen for you.

7. Have a good grasp on the local area you are considering living in. Simply giving your REALTOR the size home you want and how much you want to spend, is too broad. Narrow it down to the places you truly want to live. Take some time to drive through some communities, spend a few weeks observing and researching a little. Then after you are loan qualified, call your REALTOR.

8. Use the internet and do some homework! This is an extremely smart approach when determining where you would like to live. Google the town names, the communities, school districts, and news from the surrounding areas. You can learn a lot by surfing and you’ll stay dry while doing so. Some good local papers are:, and and

9. If you are military, police, a firefighter, EMT, direct patient care doctor or nurse, or a school teacher, there are representatives in Delaware such as myself who are exclusive Homes for Heroes affiliates. This national program is chocked full of hefty home buyers rebates and discounts for those we call our local Heroes. You can discover more about this exciting program at

10. Be realistic. Although $120,000 may buy you a nice home in many parts of the state, it will not get you ocean front property in Sussex County or condo river front property in Wilmington. A modest budget can buy you a modest home. There are even many well planned mobile home communities that will fit a very modest budget, but they do often come as land leases. In many cases however, the land leases are very affordable and can be a great way to go and there are terrific 55+ communities for those seeking an active adult lifestyle.

Delaware’s housing styles range from highly affordable and gorgeous mobile homes parks, condos, townhomes, single family homes, oceanside cottages, apartment living, and everything in between. Delaware has a price point for every pocket from the lower 10,000’s to the upper multi-million estates. Depending upon your financial housing needs, Delaware is second to none. For every home buyer, there is a perfect home that will suit your needs. There are hundreds of newer housing developments, thousands of available farm land acres, and thousands of resale homes waiting for you. There is no shortage of housing availability and only your imagination will hold you back. Delaware welcomes everyone and our inviting communities are waiting for you.

Tom Schoenbeck
Keller Williams Realty at the Beach
1521 Savannah Rd, Lewes DE 19958
302-632-7407 (24-hour cell)

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