Real Estate: West with the Sun

You don't have to be on the beach to live the beach life. Plus, it's never too late to rent your summer place.


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Dan and Gaye Wallen found their dream home about 10 miles from Rehoboth Beach in the Community at Baywood. Photograph by Kevin Fleming www.kevinfleming.com

 

Just a few miles west of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach is Beaver Dam Road, a single-lane byway surrounded on either side by acres of farmland that stretch to the horizon. There are no strip malls, no shopping centers and no sand.

Driving through this landscape from Five Points to Millsboro, it’s hard to imagine a beach home. The closest beach, after all, is a scenic 15- to 25-minute drive away. And yet it’s areas like Millsboro, Milton, Long Neck, Ocean View and Roxana, to name a few, that are cultivating a beach life of their own. The reasons, not surprisingly, have a lot to do with the combination of affordability and distance from the ocean.

The big question in real estate is how to get the most bang for your buck. When it comes to beach properties, the answer is simple: move farther from the beach.

Kelly West, a Realtor and beach lover, lives by this creed. A Delaware native who grew up vacationing at the beach, West bought a home in March in Harbeson, a small town about seven miles west of Lewes on U.S. 9.

For $480,000, she and her husband, Mike Brown, bought a 2,300 square-foot Cape Cod nestled on 10 wooded acres. “It’s not that much of a drive [to the beach]—maybe 20, 25 minutes. And you get 10 times the property for the same price,” she says. An undeveloped 8-acre lot in Rehoboth Beach is listed for $8 million more than the couple spent on their home.

Harbeson is a rural area with typically few homes for sale. Still, West maintains finding a beach home away from the beach is a relatively easy feat. “You just have to be creative with your search criteria in order to find what you’re looking for,” she says. “If agents and buyers are willing to keep an open mind, they can often find homes that are special—and a really good value.”

Andy Staton, a Realtor and co-owner of the Beach to Bay Real Estate Center in Lewes, agrees. With the surge of developments, he says, there is a home here for everyone. And by here, he means as close to the beach as possible, but without the multi-million dollar price tag.

“When people think of Sussex County, they don’t Google Sussex County real estate. They Google Rehoboth Beach real estate,” Staton says. But with homes starting from the low-$300,000s only a short drive from the beaches, savvy buyers are getting more than a place to live. They’re buying a lifestyle.

Dan and Gaye Wallen think so. In 2004 they decided to relocate from northern Virginia to the area they had vacationed in for decades. Their dream home was something in Rehoboth Beach. Dismayed by the high cost of property there, the two were mulling their housing options when Dan decided to explore along Del. 24.

In December of that year, the Wallens settled on their slightly revised dream home, which is 20 minutes from Rehoboth Beach. For $275,000, they bought a single-family, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom property in the Community at Baywood. Located on Del. 24 in Millsboro, the golf-course development was “the perfect place for us,” Dan says.

The two are not avid golfers, but they enjoy the potluck suppers on Thursday nights,   impromptu Tuesday morning breakfasts with neighbors and, of course, the golf carts (each home comes with one) that residents are encouraged to use in the neighborhood.

Staton mentions developments in towns west of Del. 1, such as Paynter’s Mill in Milton, The Peninsula in Millsboro and Bayside in Selbyville. “It’s all about picking and choosing the right one for you,” he says, mentioning active adult communities, horse riding communities, and developments that come with amenities such as coffee shops and spas.

“You can buy a great house in these places and have the same benefits as someone who lives in Lewes or Rehoboth or Bethany,” he says, “except that instead of walking to the beach, you’re driving there.”

Rob Harman, president of the Sussex County Association of Realtors and broker and co-owner of Home Team Realty in Seaford, echoes the sentiment. Most new developments are using the “you can still reach the beach” phrase, he says.

“Are you going to smell the salt air? Probably not,” Harman says. “It used to be that if you didn’t live east of Route 1, you weren’t at the beach. Now you don’t have to be on the beach to get the beach lifestyle.”

Though Harman does not single out any particular non-traditional beach town as being a hot spot, he says “just about every city” is seeing some form of development and growth. Areas like Milton and Millsboro, which once saw only local developers, have experienced an influx of big name builders.

Debby Coughlan, director of sales and marketing for Pulte Homes, attributes the growth to buyers who want “low-maintenance, beach-lifestyle living.”

Buyers want homes close to each other in order to promote visits with neighbors. They want open floor plans with lots of windows and large porches. In essence, she says, buyers want to feel the beach resort life without having to pay the oceanfront price.

Vicki York, of Vicki York Realty in Millville, says some buyers want to move away from the hustle and bustle of the beach. Areas on the Delaware Bay, such as Slaughter Beach and Prime Hook, are becoming more popular among buyers who enjoy less expensive, more tranquil locations surrounded by nature. For example, Bethany Bay Resort Community, less than 10 miles from the beach, offers two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos that start at $259,000.

“There’s a community here for everyone,” York says. And contrary to the conventional view, York says, there is a lot of real estate activity in towns even farther west, such as Seaford and Bridgeville. According to the Sussex County Association of Realtors, homes in areas west of U.S. 113 represented 14 percent of all sales in Sussex County in 2002. In 2005 that figure jumped to 41 percent. Last year it stood at 49 percent.

“People are willing to go farther away from the beach if the communities offer more amenities,” York says.

As Harman puts it, “If you’re already driving 20 minutes to the beach, what’s 15 minutes more?”

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May 2018

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
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More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
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820 N. French St.
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
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Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

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View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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Cost: Free

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Mezzanine Gallery
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820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
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View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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More information

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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
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Cost: Free

Where:
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820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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100 Continental Dr.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
2nd Floor, Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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Cost: FREE

Where:
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200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

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100 Continental Dr.
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More information

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2301 Kentmere Parkway
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
2nd Floor, Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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The 11th annual Artisans Fair, featuring unique handcrafted art objects, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Lord Baltimore Elementary School on Route 26 in Ocean View, DE. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lord Baltimore Elementary School
Route 26
Ocean View, DE  19970
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Sponsor: South Coastal DE AARP Chapter
Telephone: 302-732-6336
Contact Name: Ida Crist
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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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Science Saturday – River Rangers River Rangers learn how to gauge the health of our local waterways by observing the variety of critters living in it. Visitors of all ages are invited to...

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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