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Buying a House in Delaware: An In-Depth Guide

Home buyers have a lot to think about — how to find the right agent, what the home buying process entails, when the best time is to look, and out-of-pocket costs, among other things. If you're looking to buy real estate in Delaware, this is the place for you.

Home buyers have a lot to think about — how to find the right agent, what the home buying process entails, when the best time is to look, and out-of-pocket costs, among other things. If you're looking to buy real estate in Delaware, this is the place for you.

Are you looking to buy a home in Delaware?

Home buyers have a lot to think about, from finding the right house to what they can afford. From realtors to markets to closing costs and more, it's important to determine what you can afford and make sure you have a handle on all of your responsibilities before you get too far along in the buying process.

How to Find a Delaware Buyer's Agent

The first step for any would-be real estate buyer should be partnering with a great, local buyer's agent. A good real estate agent will provide support and guidance throughout every step of the home-buying process.

When looking for the right real estate agent, there are some traits you can look for to help your evaluation. Every buyer needs a realtor who puts them at ease, is proactive, has local experience, and is a good communicator and expert negotiator.

If you're looking to buy property in Delaware, Clever can instantly connect you with a top-rated agent in your local market. Get in touch with a Clever Partner Agent today for a no-obligation consultation.

Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?

Delaware Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond

Thanks to a steady economy, low unemployment, and low property taxes, the Delaware real estate market is very hot. But even though the market is hot, the median home value in Delaware is $238,500, just above the national median home value of $226,700.

The statewide median home value in Delaware can be misleading, however, because Delaware includes everything from billionaire playgrounds in Rehoboth Beach to extreme poverty in parts of Wilmington. Some hot markets in Delaware include North Star, Middletown, Greenville, and Newark.

Delaware home values have increased 0.7% over the last year and are predicted to rise 2.1% over the next year. The median list price of homes in Delaware is currently $289,500, and the median price of homes that have sold is $240,000. Delaware's median rent is $1,350.

Whether you're moving yourself and your family or looking to invest, the Delaware market is a great place to look. Delaware has everything from urban cities to idyllic beach towns and is an attractive place for many families.

Learn More: Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Delaware

Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Delaware

The best time to buy in Delaware will vary based on your family's needs and priorities. As a general rule, you'll find the most availability in spring, the lowest prices in fall and winter, and a middle ground beginning in late summer.

Looking in Spring

Delaware follows the trends of most of the U.S. with by far the most availability in spring. April, May, and June see more listings than any other months.

Even though supply is high in the spring, demand is even higher. Houses sell faster and for more money in the spring. If your focus is on finding the perfect home, spring may be right for you — but it's not for everyone, especially if you're on a strict budget.

Late Fall and Winter

If you find yourself on a tight budget, you should look earlier than spring. Fall and winter have less availability but also far less demand.

As a general rule, people don't want to move in late fall and winter, so houses on the market are more likely to be priced to sell.

End of Summer

For a middle ground between the extremes of winter and spring, look at homes towards the end of summer. Many houses listed in spring don't sell — and by the end of summer, they may be heavily discounted.

Learn More: The Best Time to Buy a House in Delaware

Calculate Your Property Taxes in Delaware

Property tax is a major source of revenue for state and local governments. Real estate is often taxed at the state, county, and city level.

The amount of property tax you pay is based on the value of your property and any structures on it. The assessed value of your property is multiplied by the property tax rates of your state and local governments.

Delaware residents are lucky indeed — Delaware has the fourth lowest property tax in the country. The average effective property tax rate in Delaware is only 0.55%, compared to a national median tax rate of 1.211%.

Cities and counties in Delaware can also charge property tax, though again at lower rates than most of the rest of the country. Delaware counties tax property at an average of 0.43%, with the highest rate in New Castle County at 0.55% and the lowest rate in Sussex County, at 0.32%.

A home with an assessed value of $200,000 would be taxed $1,058 by the State of Delaware. That same home would have an annual county tax bill of $640 from Sussex County versus $1,332 from New Castle County.

Make sure to talk to a real estate agent in your target market about Delaware property taxes, in order to correctly assess the overall cost of homeownership for you.

Learn More: How to Calculate Property Taxes

How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Delaware?

The money you put down when buying a house is more than just the down payment. Closing costs can add up quickly, because they cover a wide variety of things, including:

  • Recording fees;
  • Title policies;
  • Notary fees;
  • Wire fees;
  • Attorney fees;
  • Transfer taxes;
  • Inspections;
  • Endorsements;
  • Lender fees;
  • Couriers or delivery costs;
  • Home protection plans;
  • Homeowners insurance;
  • Prepaid interest;
  • Property taxes;
  • Natural hazard disclosures; and
  • Escrow or closing

A large portion of your closing costs will be Delaware transfer tax, which is 4% of the home's value, with the State's portion at 2.5% and the county's portion at 1.5%. First-time buyers, however, may qualify for an exemption, reduction, or refund.

Generally, buyers can expect to pay between 3% and 5% of a property's sale price for closing costs. So if you're buying a property for the median Delaware home value of $238,500, that would mean closing costs in the range of $7,155 to $11,925.

Some first-time Delaware buyers may qualify for assistance with closing costs and/or down payment through federal, state, and/or local homeownership programs. For example, HUD, state and local governments, and nonprofits all offer assistance for first-time and low income buyers.

Closing costs and taxes vary based on state, city, and county. Consult with an expert to get the low-down on what to expect in your part of Delaware.

Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?

Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!

If you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you can be sure you're working with a top-rated local expert and at the same time get a rebate to help cover your closing costs. Clever buyers in Delaware who spend $150,000 or more can get a $1,000 rebate to help cover their closing costs. Clever Partner Agents also offer on-demand showings to fit your schedule.

Fill out our online form today to talk to an experienced Delaware realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

Learn More: How to Get a Home Buyer Rebate

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Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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