Sam Yockey is a Dorchester County native and a 1981 graduate of North Dorchester High School. He currently resides in East New Market with his wife Jane and their loving Basset hound Gunther.
Sam was employed by the Cambridge Police Department as a Police Communications Officer II from 1985 until his retirement in July of 2016. During that time, Sam received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Mortuary Science, and for over 12 years, has been a licensed Funeral Director with Newcomb and Collins Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge
Sam is a Life member of both the Secretary and East New Market Volunteer Fire companies as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician and has held the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Ambulance Lieutenant, and Trustee. He also serves as town councilman for the town of East New Market and is a member of the Sons of the American Legion #243, Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Delmarva Funeral Service Association, Lower Eastern Shore Mayor’s Association, The National Funeral Directors Association, Mid Shore Board of Realtors, and The River at Jubilee Christian Fellowship.
Sam’s passions include gardening, cooking, and music.
“I believe that Dorchester County and the surrounding areas afford the greatest tranquility and natural beauty. It affords me the greatest honor to help those in search of their dream home find it here. I have always believed this is the greatest place in the world to live,” says Sam.
If you’d like Sam’s help finding the perfect home, you can reach him by email or call him at 443.521.9310.
Rhonda Richardson is a native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, having been born and raised in Dorchester County. The natural beauty that the Shore offers, from picturesque farms to the miles of breathtaking waterways, are attributes of the area that she will never grow tired of. Rhonda says, “This is my home, and I love the opportunity to help you make it yours too!”
Rhonda has enjoyed great success in her 20-year career in real estate, and she’s very proud to be a part of the Powell Realtor team. She says it’s a good fit as a truly local, family-run business that has been serving the Eastern Shore for 46 years.
Rhonda’s number one priority as a Realtor is to listen intently to what her clients’ needs are. She makes it a point to surround herself with the best in the business – from mortgage lenders, to appraisers, to inspectors – so that she can confidently provide clients with the utmost personal and caring service to ensure a smooth transaction.
When Rhonda isn’t working, she enjoys spending time on he Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries fishing, crabbing, or just taking in a relaxing boat ride to one of the many area restaurants. Other interests include traveling abroad, gardening, and leisurely walks. Her most cherished times are the ones spent with her family and friends.
Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling, we encourage you to put Rhonda’s years of experience to work for you!
Interested in working with Rhonda?
You can reach her at 410.330.2140 (cell), 410.228.9333 (office), or RhondaLRichardson@icloud.com.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that the real estate market is “hot” right now. But just how hot is it? And what does a “hot market” really mean? We’re sharing real estate market stats from four Eastern Shore counties that illustrate just how sizzling this market is.
These stats were compiled June 4, 2021 and show huge increases in the number of homes sold and in median sales prices. The stats also show that homes are selling FAST. All of this is being driven by a lack of inventory… So if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to sell your home, this is one of the best markets to do so. We’d be happy to help.
If you’re a buyer, don’t let these rip-roaring stats spook you. Conditions are very different than in 2008-2009 and most experts say we are NOT in a housing bubble. This article from Fortune does a good job of illustrating how this time really is different. Prices will likely stabilize in the future, but they’re unlikely to fall in any significant way. So this is as good a time as any to become a homeowner! We’re here to help if you’re ready to move forward.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these real estate market stats for Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties!
You’ve done the repairs and slapped a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Now you’re twiddling your thumbs, waiting for spring. After all, you’ve heard time and time again that spring is the best time of year to sell your home… All those picturesque real estate photos of manicured lawns, brilliant blue skies, and colorful spring flowers seem to suggest there’s some truth to this idea! But do you really need to wait to list your home? The answer may surprise you!
In this blog post we explore the top 5 reasons Delmarva homeowners shouldn’t wait until spring to sell their homes. The most obvious, of course, is that we frequently enjoy mild winters here on the Eastern Shore (take this one, for instance!). While temperatures may dip a bit, you can still take care of most repairs and cosmetic improvements, even on the exterior of your home. And who isn’t itching for a few DIY projects during the long midwinter months anyway? (Okay, okay — we know not everyone likes to DIY; that’s what handymen are for!). Here are some other key reasons why you might consider listing sooner rather than later:
1. There is less competition to sell your home in the winter.
The simple law of supply and demand is key here. Since many sellers still adhere to the myth that spring is the optimal time to list, the winter months yield much less competition in the housing market. Simply put, buyers have fewer homes from which to choose. This means that your home is more likely to get noticed, AND you just might be able to sell it for more than you could in the spring.
2. Winter home buyers are serious home buyers!
It’s true that the days are shorter, darker, and colder in the winter, and the thought of moving can be a daunting task for many during this time of year. The upside to this is that people who venture out to look at homes during the winter are generally more serious and are probably on a timeline. You’re less likely to get looky-loos and more likely to get real buyers who are motivated and — better yet — pre-approved for mortgages! Corporate relocations also tend to happen during the early months of January and February. Relocating families are often credited some moving expenses (woohoo!) and are usually anxious to get settled and get their kids enrolled in school as quickly as possible. This can be a huge advantage for sellers.
3. A quiet market means motivated Realtors & faster loan processing.
Because there are generally fewer homes on the market during the winter months, real estate agents are able to devote more attention to individual homes on their roster. Also, lenders and other real estate professionals are usually less busy. Buyers are able to get their financing and other documentation in order much more quickly, which means you’ll hit fewer snags during the closing process.
4. Winter is the perfect time to show off your home’s “Coziness Factor”!
While it’s true that landscaping is less of a selling point during the winter months, you can easily up the ante inside your home. The key word you’re going for is cozy. If your home has a big beautiful fireplace, light it up and show it off! Stage your home with luxurious, snuggly throws, homey scents, and warm lighting. Keep your heat at a comfortable 70° during showings and emphasize the most energy efficient aspects of your home – a new furnace, new windows, insulation, sunlights, natural lighting — anything that can up the coziness factor (and cut down on your buyer’s potential heating costs!). If it’s dark outside, be sure to keep your house well lit, both inside and out. A warm, cozy home in winter is a sold home!
5. Homes listed in winter sell faster and for more money!
Contrary to popular belief, US home sale data in both cold and warm climates in recent years suggests that homes listed in the winter actually sold faster (by an average of one week) and for more money (by roughly 1% of the purchase price). When you couple this with the benefit of having less foot traffic in your home, the avoidance of whatever costs are associated with property maintenance over a longer period of time, and the convenience of a faster, less complicated closing process, the verdict on winter selling seems like a no-brainer!
Now is the time to sell your home!
What does all of this mean for you? If you’re considering listing your home in the coming months, it may be advantageous to do so sooner rather than later. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of buyers looking for homes are doing most of their searching online, and the internet knows no seasons. The right buyer may be searching for your home right now!Contact us today so we can help you get started.
The holiday season is upon us, and for those of us lucky enough to live on the Eastern Shore, that means we have a fantastic selection of activities to help us get into the spirit. In this month’s blog post, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite family-friendly events taking place across the peninsula so you can fill your weekends with holiday cheer.
Ring in the season at this month-and-a-half-long festival that includes an ice skating rink, a 1.5-mile drive-through Lights Spectacular, hayrides, and a Christmas village complete with carnival rides, games, a Christmas tree farm, food trucks, craft vendors, and Santa’s Workshop. Opening day kicks off on November 16 with a 5k Run/Walk and one-mile Fun Walk through the lights display (you can pre-register online). Feel extra warm and cozy knowing that proceeds from Wonderfest go to local charities; since 2016, the festival has raised over $140,000 for local non-profits! For dates, hours and discounted tickets, visit the festival’s website.
Looking to entertain visiting family members Thanksgiving weekend? What could be more perfect than a tree lighting festival in one of America’s favorite small towns?! Stroll the decorated streets and shops, enjoy local artists and musicians, and go for a carriage ride with Jolly Old St. Nicholas himself. Be sure to stop by Stevenson UMC for some holiday caroling before winding your way to the Calvin B. Taylor Museum for a candlelit tour. Activities last from 5:30PM to 9PM, with a 6PM tree lighting in front of the Atlantic Hotel. See Berlin Main Street’s website for more details.
Winter Wonderland festivities begin Wednesday afternoon with a senior dinner (55+) and continue into the weekend with a Friday night holiday dance (adults only) and a family-friendly open house at Governor’s Hall that features a Festival of Trees, visits with Santa, live music, a craft show, and food and beverages. Proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of the Eastern Shore and a local family. For more information, visit the event’s facebook page.
Easton offers an abundance of holiday events throughout November and December, but this particular weekend offers the most bang for your buck! The weekend starts with Moonlight Madness on Friday, December 6 from 4-10PM. Enjoy music in the streets, pictures with Santa, special in-store events, and giveaways totalling over $10,000! The fun continues on Saturday with the annual tree lighting in Thompson Park at 6PM, followed by a holiday parade complete with holiday floats, classic cars, bands, and more. Don’t forget to wind your way over to the Waterfowl Building, where the third annual Arts & Crafts Marketplace will feature fine art and crafts from regional artisans all weekend long. For a complete list of activities, visit the Discover Easton website.
We couldn’t leave this oldie-but-goodie off the list! Christmas in St. Michaels is back for its 33rd year, celebrating with historic home tours, a gingerbread house competition, the holiday Marketplace & Sweet Shoppe, Santa’s Wonderland, and the Saturday-morning Talbot Street Parade, which kicks off this year with a one-mile Santa Dash fun run. Grab your Santa hats and join the festivities! View a complete list of activities here at the Christmas in St. Michaels website.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be setting up shop at the Salisbury Zoo for one day, and they’re looking for some creative little helpers to work on over a dozen holiday craft projects! Bring the kids for a fun-filled day of crafting and peruse an assortment of local artisan booths for last-minute holiday gifts. Don’t forget to visit all the animals to wish them Happy Holidays! Visit the Zoo’s website for more info.
We hope you have an opportunity to enjoy at least one of these great events! Let us know what you think, and feel free to add to our list with your favorite local festivities. However you celebrate, we wish you and your family a happy holiday season!
It’s that time of year when it’s important to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms! Our area can experience flooding and power outages during and after major storms. We’re sharing a hurricane preparedness checklist to help you and your family stay safe! The first items on the list are things to have on hand – especially if the Eastern Shore is in the path of a major hurricane. The second part of list tells you what to do before, during, and after the storm. Stay safe, everyone!
Items to Stock
Battery powered TV
Battery powered Radio
First aid kit
Extra prescription medicine
Nonprescription medicines like pain relievers, cough cold and flu, decongestant, etc.
7 gallons per person
2 gallons additional water for cooking and sanitation per person
Portable water filter
Ice chest and bags of ice for storage of food and medicine
2 weeks’ worth of non-perishable foods requiring little or no preparation, cooking or water, baby food and formula
Snacks that do not increase thirst
Hard candies for diabetics needing glucose balance
2 weeks of pet food
Extra cash and credit cards
Candy and gum
Juices and sports drink
Cards, books, games
7 days of clean clothes
(Store these items in waterproof container and have them ready for evacuation if necessary.)
Copies of Driver’s license
Social security cards
Emergency phone #
Family records (birth, death, baptism, marriage certificates)
Copies of will, deeds, insurance policies, contracts, stocks, and bonds, next of kin notification phone #’s
Inventory and pictures of valuable household items
Any desired family photos
Map and directions to emergency shelters
Supplies and tools
Sleeping bags and pillows
Grill, charcoal or gas for grille
Disposable utensils and plates/bowls for eating
BEFORE THE STORM
Make a family plan
Complete a plan of action with the entire family. Make sure everyone knows evacuation procedures and preparations for inside and outside the home.
Get a current map and plan various evacuation routes, make sure all drivers know how to read the map.
Have a safe place to take your pets, evacuation center can’t take pets.
Make sure your pet is wearing updated ID.
Keep your evacuation vehicle gas tank full
Prepare your yard
Store loose outdoor items and furniture
Remove debris from yard
Trim dead branches from trees and shrubs
Protect pool filter motor
Secure small sheds
Park cars in safe place
When a hurricane watch is issued
Make sure your hurricane kit is complete
Stay tuned to WBOC for up to the minute reports
Board up windows
Remove furniture from window areas and cover with plastic sheets
Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings and keep closed
Disconnect propane gas line
Brace garage doors from inside
Make hotel reservations for evacuation. Pet friendly if needed
When evacuation order is issued (leave early and in daylight if possible)
Sterilize bath tubs and sinks and then fill with water
Put chlorine in pool and leave full
Notify trusted neighbors of your evacuation plan
Notify family members outside of evacuation area of your evacuation plan
Bring your driver’s license and utility bill
Bring your pets collar and ID
Pet carrier or cage for travel
Call local emergency management for shelters that can accommodate you if you have special needs.
DURING THE STORM
Stay in your home if you have not been ordered to leave
Secure and brace from the inside exterior doors
Close all interior doors
Take shelter in a small interior room
Stay away from glass windows and items that could become projectiles in strong winds
If you don’t have an interior room take shelter under a table
Cover your head with pillows or anything to prevent injury from flying debris
If you lose electricity, use battery operated lanterns or flashlights for lighting. Do NOT use candles or gas lanterns.
Use a battery-operated TV tuned to WBOC for storm emergency information.
If you don’t have a battery-operated TV tune your battery-operated radio to Cat Country 99.5 or 107.9 for storm emergency information.
AFTER THE STORM
Stay tuned to WBOC for weather reports, road conditions and alerts from authorities.
Remember, Chopper 16 may be your only reliable source for road information.
Do not attempt to drive across flowing water.
Do not enter water or allow children to play in water as there may be downed power lines that may be or may become energized without warning.
If you have evacuated, return home only after the all clear.
Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for lighting until your electricity is restored and declared safe to use.
Use bottled water for cooking, drinking and sanitation until authorities declare the water supply safe.
Take pictures to document the damage to your home and property.
Don’t wait for the government to clear your street. Obtain the assistance of able-bodied neighbors and clear the street for traffic and emergency vehicles.
Watch out for snakes, spiders, insects and other animals that may be seeking dry shelter.
Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage as likely your insurance policy requires.
Use EXTREME caution using chainsaws and other power tools to clean up debris and make repairs.
Buying a house is one of the most significant and expensive purchases made in a relationship. This decision can be stressful, especially for couples with little to no experience in the field of real estate. There are many decisions to be made while house hunting, from the location of the neighborhood to the size of the master bath. Following these five helpful tips will allow couples to navigate the process of house hunting without straining your relationship!
Tip #1: Communicate with Each Other
Get on the same page. Owning a house together is a big commitment and responsibility. If you’re a couple looking to own a home and possibly expand your family, it’s important to agree on the list of “must haves” before you start your search. Understand what each of you are looking for, whether it’s the spacious backyard and pool, or a basement home theater.
Like most things in a healthy relationship, a successful house hunt depends on communication and compromise.Support one another and try not to pressure each other into a decision that may lead to regret or resentment in the future.
Tip #2: Have a Budget – and Stick to It!
Buying a house is a major financial commitment, and we all know money can be one of the biggest sources of strain in a relationship. Overspending is a surefire way to damage your relationship, both financially and emotionally. Stay within your budget. Consider each other’s income and savings, then consider how you’ll maintain the lifestyle you want once you buy your new home. Don’t get in over your head.
It’s also important to be sure you’re prepared for emergencies. Home ownership can entail unforeseen costs, like fixing a broken heat pump or replacing a rotten floor joist. And don’t forget to consider smaller costs like your monthly bills, the cost of your daily commute to work, and the overall cost of living in your neighborhood. Making sure you have a full understanding of the cost of home ownership will help you and your honey make a smooth transition into your new home.
Tip #3: Get Pre-Approved for a Joint Loan
Finalizing your budget is one step, but seeking pre-approval for a loan is key in speeding up the buying process. Once you’re pre-approved, your realtors and mortgage company will be confident that you are financially stable and able to purchase the house you’re requesting to view. When it’s time to sign a contract, being pre-approved and having a bank commitment letter will help everything go much more smoothly.
Married couples will typically apply for a loan together. If you’re not married, you can still apply for a joint loan, but do some research first to understand the legal and tax implications. And never put your name on a home loan unless your name is also on the deed of the house!
Tip #4: Get a Home Inspection – Always!
Never skip the home inspection! Sometimes one person in a couple is so excited about buying a home that they want to rush through this critical step. Don’t do it! Help your partner understand the importance of an inspection. You need to know what you’re getting into. You don’t want to be surprised that your septic system has failed after closing on your house, or find that the back deck is infested with termites while hosting your very first house warming party.
Again, money and finances are the most common source of problems in relationships. Skipping a home inspection opens up a financial can of worms. Even if a home is being sold “as is,” you should get an inspection. The inspection report will give you an idea future costs you’ll incur, and you can use this information to plan your offer.
You’ll save yourselves a lot of stress – and money! – if you insist on a home inspection.
Tip #5: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
As a couple, you may not agree on all aspects of the house, from the carpet in the living room to the tile on the patio. But these are details that can be smoothed out later. You want to make sure you’ve picked a house that fits the needs of your future together. Do you need that extra spare room for the future expansion of your family? Is the kitchen spacious enough to host family dinners? If you both can agree on a house that covers everything on your “must have” list, the smaller details can be settled in the future.
The truth is, couples usually don’t agree on design choices and how to customize their home. However, once you’ve owned your home for a while, you’ll have a better sense of how you use your space and what your design or renovation preferences are. Over time, you can work together to plan and save for any upgrades on each other’s wish lists.
The most important thing about house hunting as a couple is to always remember that you are in this together! You aren’t just buying a home together; you’re investing in your future together as a couple and family. Be patient. The right house will come along. Enjoy exploring the possibilities together. Happy house hunting!
So you’ve decided you want to buy a house… Congratulations! Buying a home can be incredibly rewarding – both financially and personally. In the 40+ years we’ve helped people find their homes, we’ve learned that there’s definitely a right way to approach your home search. Read on for our eight top tips for a successful home search.
Tip #1: Figure out your finances first
Before you do anything else, figure out how much you can comfortably spend on your new home. Go through your monthly budget and your savings. Figure out how much more you need to save and how long it will take.
Once you have a handle on your finances, get pre-qualified for mortgage. You’ll submit an application to a lender, along with all necessary documentation. The lender will evaluate your application and let you know what type of loan you’ve qualified for. You’ll know the maximum amount of the loan, the down payment requirements, and the interest rate. Keep in mind that you may qualify for more than you actually want to spend. Stick to your budget once you begin shopping!
Tip #2: Start your search online
You can use online home search tools to get a general sense of the types of homes available in your area and their pricing. This will help you understand the types of homes available within your price range. Take notes on what you like and don’t like about the homes that fall within your budget.
It’s also helpful to invite your spouse, friends, and family to join your online search. When you create a free search account on our site, you can create a saved search that meets your criteria. Then, you can invite others to join your search. You can share reactions and comments privately within your search party. This saves a lot of time and helps get everyone on the same page (and it’s fun!).
Tip #3: Explore the neighborhoods you’re considering
Visit the neighborhoods you’re considering – both in the car and on foot. Get a sense of whether or not they feel like a good fit with your personality and lifestyle. See how far they are from your work, shopping, restaurants, and other conveniences. It’s also a good idea to visit neighborhoods at different times of day. You want to make sure the neighborhood vibe doesn’t change dramatically at night.
Once you’ve honed in on a few neighborhoods, go back online to check home prices. Location can have a huge impact on pricing, so you may not be able to get as much house in a sought-after neighborhood.
Tip #4: Make a list of must-haves and would-like-to-haves
Now that you’ve done your research about what you can realistically expect within your budget, start making lists. Try to keep your must-have list limited to just three of four things. These are the things that you cannot or will not compromise on. Try to be flexible on everything else. Your “would-like-to-haves” list are things that you can give up or trade off to get your must-haves.
Tip #5: Meet with your Realtor to discuss your goals and develop a clear strategy
Share your budget and your must-haves and would-like-to-haves lists with your Realtor. Discuss the neighborhoods you’d like to target. Discuss your timeline for buying a home. Ask lots and lots of questions about the process of touring homes, putting in an offer, and closing on a home. Then, agree on a strategy and let the searching begin!
(Need help finding a great Realtor? We have more than a dozen fantastic Realtors on our team. You can also read this post about how to choose the right Realtor.)
Tip #6: Start touring homes and provide LOTS of feedback to your Realtor
All the research and legwork you’ve done up to this point will help your Realtor identify the right kinds of homes for your needs. Start touring the homes and take lots of notes about what you see. Share feedback with your Realtor about what you liked and didn’t like about each home. The more specific your feedback, the better. Your Realtor will use this information to further hone in on just the right home for you.
Tip #7: Put in a fair offer
When you find a home you love and you’re ready to put in an offer, sit down with a Realtor and discuss your strategy. Your Realtor will provide comps (recent sales of comparable homes), which will give you a better sense of the market value of the home you’ve chosen. Put in an offer that is fair and reasonable based on market value. It’s okay to leave a little wiggle room to negotiate, but don’t low-ball your offer. This can insult sellers and make them unwilling to work with you. It can also send a signal that you aren’t serious or aren’t properly informed, and again, sellers may be unwilling to work with you.
If your offer is fair and based on market research, you should be able to reach an agreement that works for everyone.
Tip #8: Get a home inspection
This is so important! Make your offer contingent upon a successful home inspection. If a problem is discovered, you have a few options. You can walk away from the property if it seems like too much to deal with. Another option is to negotiate that the seller will fix the problem prior to closing and provide proof that the work was done. Or, you can negotiate a lower selling price and take care of the work yourself after you’ve purchased the home.
Bonus tip: Use your Realtor’s expertise every step of the way!
You can engage a Realtor as early in this process as you’d like. If you’d like to get their input on how to figure out your finances, feel free to ask for their help. If you’d like them to narrow down your initial online search, they can do that for you. Your Realtor’s job is to make sure you understand the process and ultimately choose the perfect home. You can’t ask too many questions… A good Realtor is always happy to help!
Meet Stephanie Bryan, a fresh
face in the local real estate industry! She recently decided to pursue her
longtime dream of becoming a real estate agent, and she joined the Powell
Realtors team in August. Stephanie likes many aspects of the industry, but she
most loves helping people find their dream home! She also enjoys seeing and working
with different styles of housing and appreciates the uniqueness of each home.
One of the main reasons Stephanie
decided to get into real estate was her drive to help people. She understands
being a home buyer is hard and offers advice about getting a wish list together
about what you want in a house. She also suggests that with almost every house
you have to compromise on something, so it’s important to have your priorities
straight. She also values criticism and offers home sellers advice to take
criticism as an opportunity to learn.
When Stephanie isn’t working
hard, she enjoys spending time with her husband and stepson. She has lived in
the area her entire life, and the warm and friendly community is what motivates
her to stay. Boating, water skiing, and fishing are a few of the water
activities she enjoys with her family. To Stephanie, cooking was never a chore
but more of a hobby; she loves the art of it. Although Stephanie adores doing
all of these things, traveling with her husband has to be on the top of her
Introducing Jessica Lewis! Jessica joined the Powell team in 2017. She’s been helping people her whole life, formerly as a registered nurse and certified case manager. She always enjoyed putting a smile on people’s faces and now she gets to work with families to help them find the perfect home where they can grow or downsize.
When she started doing this job, Jessica determined that buying a home is something people should never feel rushed into. She says it’s important to take your time because buying a home is such a huge decision. She believes it’s really important to make sure you truly love a home before making any decisions about buying it.
Jessica also really loves working with sellers. Her secret tip for home sellers: Stage your home! Many people look at homes on the internet and seeing a home furnished makes them picture their own family in that house.
When Jessica is away from work, she spends time with her husband, four kids who are still at home (plus one adult daughter when she’s able to visit!), and dog Axl. She enjoys many coastal activities that are part of life on the Shore. She loves traveling with her family and kayaking on the water. She regularly volunteers with various organizations to help in the community, as does her husband who is a volunteer firefighter. Aside from their five children, Jessica and her husband have also chosen to be a foster parent for nine years. She loves having the opportunity to help and care for others.
If you would like to chat with Jessica to see if she’s the right Realtor for you, just shoot us a message!