Often times when conducting a home inspection with a buyer, we comes across grey colored supply pipes, verses the white shiny pipes (polyvinylchloride.) Most buyers are completely oblivious to any difference and would not know the potential problems associated with the polybutylene (grey colored) water lines. So, here’s a short primer for your consideration.

Back in the early 80’s when copper pipes were used, a newer more cost efficient water line was developedpoly pipes. At the time it was thought to be the greatest thing since sliced bread by building trade contractors. It was more cost effective and installation was made easier than the traditional copper tubing. The new product was made of polybutylene resin. Identifying this type of water supply line is fairly easy; generally a dull finish grey inside a residence and often time black or blue if used outside.

So, what has happened to make this water piping so damaging? It appears by all research the chlorine in water, extensive sunlight, and other chemical residues in water, can etch and create lengthwise hairline cracks in the pipes over time and erode the pipe from the inside out. Now you can well imagine a crack in a water pipe when applied under water pressure, can (and most assuredly will) create a household disaster. These water pipes can break down over time and cause very damaging water leaks. Although at the time polybutylene pipes were introduced it was building code approved- no longer.water-pipe

When buying a home, my suggestion would be to ask the seller to replace or give you an allowance to replace these water pipes. Don’t let the seller convince you they are fine and will never leak. It’s really not a matter of if they will leak, it’s a matter of when they will leak.

Here is a couple fairly authoritative articles for your review:

1)  http://www.ashireporter.org/HomeInspection/Articles/Take-Another-Look-at-Polybutylene-Plumbing/955

2) http://www.kengriffinplumbing.com/polybutylene-pipe-replacements/interior/do-I-have-polybutylene-in-my-house.php

3) http://www.polybutylene.com/poly.html




Flying High

Flying for me has never been one of the modes of transportation I look forward to, mostly due to my ‘doom’ mindset. But, here’s some interesting notes about our friendly flying tin can experiences.

seat2Since 1985 the average width of the passenger seat was 20″ and the average weight for men flying was 174 pounds and for women, 145 pounds. Today, the seat width has been shaved down to 17-1/2″ while the average passenger weight has climbed to 195 pounds and 166 pounds respectively. So, the flying public is getting larger while being crammed into a smaller seat. (Maybe that’s why they don’t serve food anymore!)

Back in 1985 your ability to relax your legs was a bit better than today with a 33″ pitch (the distance from the seat back in front of you to your seat back) whereas today it’s only 31″ This of course makes for a less than restful flight especially on those longer commutes and those with longer legs.

In 1985 the average airline filled about 61% of the seats and today, an average 84% capacity.

Now, the good news? Flight safety has increased. The last fatal US airline accident wasseat1 in 2009. You may recall it was on Feb. 12, 2009 when a Colgan Air, Flight 3407, was flying from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y. and crashed into a house in Clarence NY. Of course we’ll all remember Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger’s safe water landing in the Hudson a month before. Statistically, there have been approximately 233,000 motor vehicle fatalites on US roadways since 2009 and zero in-flight fatalies with any US air carrier. That’s not a bad statistic.

So, although the comfort of the flights are less than admirable, at least we are getting to our destinations in a safe fashion. I think it’s time to book a flight!

One of the items a homeowner often gutter3overlooks is the rain gutter.  Gutters serve a very important function to the maintenance of your home’s roof and most importantly, your foundation. As the water rushes off the surface of your roof, it naturally spills over the roof’s edge. For a 1000 square foot roof in a one inch rainstorm, there will be approximately 625 gallons of water spilling off your roof. gutter1

Without a gutter at the edge of the roof, that water simply falls to the surface of the ground near the foundation of your home.  If the earth surrounding your home’s foundation is not properly sloped or slopes towards your home’s foundation, all of the water that gushes off the roof ends up pooling at your foundation. As the rain water soaks into the ground, it softens the dirt surrounding the foundation and begins to erode the surface dirt. Once the erosion begins, the water then begins to seep into the crawlspace of your home. Now your headache begins. Pooling water, moisture, mold, damaged under structures, and a weakened foundation are just a few of the problems you will inevitably encounter.

gutter4Gutters that are in place, but not properly cleaned can be just gutter2as problematic as having no gutters at all. The water cannot run down the gutter to the downspout in the controlled manner that a gutter system is designed for. So, keep them cleaned out; once a season if need be. It’s also a great idea to attach a downspout diverter at the end of downspout and let it run out into the lawn away from your foundation.

Remember, for all your Delaware real estate needs, call Thomas Schoenbeck with Keller Williams Realty, 302-632-7407.



woods1Come visit 23839 Woods Dr, Lewes DE. Turn the key and you’ll swear this is a showroom new home! New kitchen with granite, stainless appliance package, stone backsplash, upgraded cabinetry, and uber chic lighting. 3 of 4 bedrooms are full en-suite with baths and walk-in closets. Opened wall between kitchen and dining room and wall from kitchen into living room for a clean expansive concept floorplan. Flawless hardwood throughout downstairs, new carpet and padding up. Refinished stairs with modern banisters, clean as a whistle neutral paint throughout, new baths with marble counters, new fixtures, and new lighting. New bonus room with closewoods2t for full 4th bedroom, new electrical switching, new energy efficient HVAC systems, new front door with designer glass, new trims around garage, refinished shudders, newly landscaped to bring out the curb appeal to YOUR new home. Recessed lighting, wide front veranda, refinished rear deck and screened porch, epoxy garage floor, new ceiling fans. Low HOA, taxes, high value! Jackpot!

Call Thomas Schoenbeck, Associate Broker, Keller Williams Realty, Lewes DE (302)360-0300(o)  (302)632-7407(c) or drop me a note HERE.


Located in the dreamy community of Sugar Maple Farms in Milford DE. Build your dream home on this well maintained .6 acre building lot. No builder tie-in required. Requires on-site stick built homes- (sorry, no manufactured or modular homes,) minimum 1600s/f (1-story,) 2200s/f (2-story,) 3 different roof pitches, minimum 2-car garages. Will require waste water system installation and well. This is a lovely community and6 the lot is set back in a cul-de-sac so there is privacy and quiet. The homes in the community are extremely lovely and exceptionally well maintained. Terrific 3 minute location to Milford for shopping, dining, theater, arts, Riverwalk, and a 2 minute drive to the new medical arts complex being developed. No doubt, this IS the time to buy and build! Don’t wait for the hospital to be completed as prices may soon escalate. $76 county tax, no city tax, low HOA fee of $444. Low cost, high value! If you’ve been sitting on the fence waiting for the right time to buy a piece of land and build your forever home, now is that right time!3

Contact Thomas Schoenbeck, Associate Broker, Keller Williams Realty, Lewes DE (302)360-0300(o) or (302)632-7407(c).

Drop me a note HERE to inquire about this property or any other home or land for sale in Delaware.

The Thomas Schoenbeck Team stands ready to serve our needs!


Keller Williams Realty in Lewes Delaware now has The Thomas Schoenbeck Team. Formed by two highly successful Realtors in the industry; CEO of Delhomefinder Inc; Thomas Schoenbeck, and Sally Laux, they have created a client satisfaction second to none in the local market. Their expertise in the industry and pure commitment and focus on their client’s needs is what makes them the ‘go-to’ real estate team with repeat buyers and sellers.

Thomas Schoenbeck, CEO DelHomeFinder Inc; Team Lead

meAs a native Chicagoan, Tom  moved to Phoenix Arizona as a young teen and entered the Air Force in 1976. He earned his Bachelors of  Science degree in Social Psychology graduating Magna Cum Laude and an Associates degree in Aerospace Systems Technology. He retired in Dover Delaware in 1996 as a Senior Master Sergeant. After teaching for a number of years, Tom shifted his professional life’s focus and in 2006 joined the Keller Williams Realty firm. In 2014 Tom formed Delhomefinder Inc, a service focused Real Estate corporation, and earned his Broker’s License the same year. Tom is a Golden Rule Realtor and treats all his clients with dignity and respect.

Sally Laux, Project Development Lead

An extraordinary Realtor, Sally believes in the spirit of a home and the importance of loving where you live, creating healthy spaces, and finding that deeper connectSallyion to your home environment. For 36 years Sally developed her business model and expertise in the healthcare industry where she served people in finding their health
and their “home” within. She brings the same level of commitment and service to her real estate practice and clients. As the Thomas Team’s Project Development and Buyer’s Agent Lead, Sally’s wealth of knowledge keeps our clients satisfied.

Visit Tom and Sally on the web: http://www.delawarehomes.today or stop by and see us at 18344 Coastal Highway in Lewes DE. They can be reached at their office (302)360-0300 or call them direct; Tom at (302)632-7407, Sally at (302)245-3281.


Very often, when a buyer and seller come to terms with a home sales agreement, there stands one big hurdle to get over (other than the lending process.) It’s the dreaded home inspection. Sellers most often do not want to go through tinspectorhe expense of having their home professionally inspected before placing it on the market. Buyers on the other hand when purchasing a resale home often want the home in ‘showroom’ condition as if they are purchasing new construction.

When a seller places their home on the market, they are required (in Delaware) to complete a Sellers Disclosure report. Sellers are required to disclose everything they are aware of; good or bad, to the buying public. Surprisingly, many sellers don’t seem to know a good deal of information about their own home or property and just assume everything is good to go. They haven’t been in the attic or under the house for years and since the home has not collapsed, they feel all is right with the world. From experience, these are two of the biggest areas of neglect I see with many homes.

Case in point. Seller has never been in the crawl space. After an inspection when the inspector tells them they have apparent mold on the floor joists, they are moldshocked. The inspector tells them they have a slight leak in the plumbing under the house and most likely this is where the unwelcome growth is  coming from. The inspector writes it up as a major health defect. By contract (in most cases) the mold must be professionally remedied (sorry, a bottle of bleach is not sufficient remedy.)

The inspector goes in the attic and finds a squirrel nest, although no immediate activity. The vent screens aren’t in place and the rodents invaded! Again, a major defect. The inspector notes some of the windows in the house have frosting in them. Not the good kind, but the etching inside the glass because the thermal seals are blown and moisture is trapped between the panes of glawindow sealsss. Oh man, the seller didn’t think anything of this and say they “bought it that way.”

Some other very common defects: Electric pagfcinels with double tapped breakers, mixtures of copper and aluminum wiring, knob and tube wiring in older homes, reverse polarized outlets, GFCIs that don’t safety trip, missing emergency discharge lines from hot water heaters, missing roof edging shingles, missing gutters, damaged roof vent boots, inoperative emergency backup heat, cracked heat exchangers, broken window sash cords, fireplace flues that don’t operate, rotting wood at the bottoms of doors and windows, termite damage, and on and on. Most of these things a seller may not know about by simply looking at them. But, and inspector will spot them in a minute.

My advise, get your home inspected so there’s no surprises when a buyer’s inspector looks at the house. Better to know up front, disclose everything up front, and let the buyer make their offer based on what they read in your disclosure.

Thomas Schoenbeck, Associate Broker, Keller Williams Realty, 18344 Coastal Highway, Lewes DE (302)360-0300(o) (302)632-7407(c) http://www.tom.kwrealty.com