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Lewes, Delaware
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August 5, 1994     Cape Gazette
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August 5, 1994

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52 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 5- August 11, 1994 Business & Real Estate 'Number 9' onthe line at Craft estate auction By Trish Vernon Prestige comes in all forms. In the State of Delaware, everyone will know you've "arrived" if you pull up in a vehicle sporting a black porcelain-enameled license plate with a low digit number. Just such a status symbol will be up for auction Saturday, Aug. 6 at Rehoboth Beach Convention Hall when Emmert Auction and Stuart Kingston Gallery unveil "No. 9," one of the original copper plates Delaware issued beginning in the early part of the century. Delaware is one of the few states which allows license plates to be sold (along with the vehicle to which it i s registered) and trans- ferred to another vehicle by the 0fvner. Low digit tags (one, two and three digit)c0nvey=a certain each6 - they relate the message that perhaps you are a Delawarean who can trace the family's roots back to Caesar Rodney's famous ride, or that you have enough money to afford such a luxury - or both. But owning "Number 9" is fore- most a wise investment, said Jay Stein, owner of Stuart Kingston. "I'd liken it to a rare wine or paint- ing at auction. The difference is that no one can steal it and resell it. It can't be used by anyone else because it's registered with the state." He went on to note that he knew of someone whose Chagall paint- ing was stolen, and not only did it . take 20 years to have the painting returned, the owner had to pay $200,000 in ransom. A license tag, however, has no worth to a prospective owner if it can't be publicly distlayed. "If it was stolen, you could have the tag remade emblazoned with number nine," he added. Butch Emmert, owner of Emmert Auction, said that, to his knowledge, this is the first time -r they.can document a single-digit tag ever being sold atpublic aue=.. tion. Considering that digits one, two and three stay with the gover- nor, lieutenant governor and see- retary of state respectively, that leaves only five other single digit Delaware tags beside No. 9 in existence. This isn't very likely, since they are usually handed down through the generations. Trish Vemon photo Delaware Hcense plate "Number 9" will go on the auction block Saturday, Aug. 6 in Rehoboth Beach. Termed the "Hope diamond" of Delaware in terms of acquisition, Butch Emmert (left) of Emmert Auction, is handling the sale, along with Jay Stein (center) and his son J.J. (Stein's car bears the tag 114, which was given to his father 42 years ago.) Emmert and Stein said if sold 20 years ago, "Number 9" would have fetched anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000. Now, they believe that it is worth as much as $200,000. "Purchasing the tag for $100,000 would be like buying a new Mercedes Benz for $5,000," Emmert explained, noting that bankers have already told clients they would lend the money for such a purchase. Stein, whose business allows him to travel extensively, said that while Delaware is a rarity among states when it comes to the trans- ferring and purchasing of tags, such is not the case overseas. "In London, I've seen license plates advertised for a quarter of a mil- lion pounds, while in Hong Kong, where they are very superstitious about numbers, I've seen them sell Continued on page 53 Picking your home: What's fight for you? It's every home buyer's night- mare. You pick out the house, close the deal and move in. With- in three weeks, you know you've made a big mistake. This house isn't what you wanted at all. You can easily avoid this bad scenario by planning ahead. Know what you want in a home, what's important to you and what you can live without - whether it's the first time you're buying a house or the tenth time. Houses aren't just buildings; they're machines for living. Where and what you buy will affect your life for as long as you own the house. So it's important to get your priorities in order before you talk to a real estate agent or even look at that first newspaper ad. First, ask yourself why you want to move. If your employer is transferring you to another city, or your house has burned down, the answer is simple. You need a place to live. But most of us have other, less pressing reasons for wanting to move. Buying a first house marks an entry into adulthood and a finan- cial rite of passage, You've finally REALTOR FOCUS Ski ) Valliant what you want before you buy. If you currently own a home,, however, you know exactly what'ss lacking in your present home. Yore need another bathroom, mor space for a growing family, or aa good school nearby. Meeting these needs should by your numbetr one priority in house-hunting. First, decide where you want too live. Are you a city dweller, oJr would you be happier in the subo- urbs, that are not quite country vil- lages. A big part of your answer hinges accumulated the down payment  on where and how you earn your and reached the income level nee, living. If you work in a big city essary to buy:h0use: .Since own- d hale to commuteconsider liv-, ing.a hoge Will ibCangw:e-4 i -in City or:ael0ge,in suburb ence for you, carefully analyze wRh good commuter fail Service. If your job requires a lot of reading or is quite stressful, a commuter train ride may be the only time you can sit quietly and think. If you work in a suburb, you can live far- ther out in another suburb, or even in the countryside - assuming that if you're in a northern climate, the county or state will plow the roads on snowy mornings before you must drive to work. People with children also have another major consideration - schools. Some of the largest, most sophisticated cities in the country have the worst public school sys- tems. And those channing coun- try towns may have the most under-funded systems. If you plan to send your children to and from school each day, you can live where you want, assuming you can drive them to and from school each day. On the other hand, a lavish public school system can indicate that the local real estate taxes are very high and will be a serious burden. Check them out. You might save thousands of dol- lars a year by moving to the next suburb or town. Another important considera- tion in picking a location is lifestyle. People who dine out fre- quendy, go dancing and attend the theater probably belong in the city playing badminton in the backyard would be happier in the suburbs. As important as where you live is what you live in. How much space do you need? Single people and newlyweds who aren't plan- ning to start a family for several years need smaller homes than do large or growing families. It used to be that houses came in one variety - a single-family detached dwelling with a back- yard. Today, you have a choice. You can buy the traditional single- family home; you can buy a house that's attached to another or is part of a cluster of four or five homes; and you can even buy an apart- ment. Taste and personal preference again step in when you make the decision to buy a new house or an old one. Old houses often have fine woodwork or interesting nooks and crannies not normally found in new homes. They sit on land- scaped lots with mature trees and grown bushes, and they're often cheaper than new houses of com- parable size. On the other hand, older homes can require expensive rehabilitation. New homes may cost more, but they let you make many of the decisions. You can select the col- or close,in suburb. Homebody ors, the carpeting, the fixtures, types who enjoy barbecuing and : Unfortunately, you're the One who must call the builder and demand that he or she fix the many things that inevitably go wrong in a new home. In addition, you'll have to land- scape the yard yourself or pay to have it done. This can be expen- sive and time consuming. The actual style of the house you buy will depend on your per- sonal preference. Some people like colonial styles and saltboxes; others prefer a more contemporary look. How many bedrooms do you need. How many baths? Do you need a garage, a basement - or nei- ther? Do you host big dinner par- ties and need a formal dining room, or would you prefer an eat- in kitchen and no dining room at all? Only you can answer these questions. The answers also depend on how much time you have to look for a house, If you must find a house in three weeks, you won't be able to shop around to get everything perfect. If you analyze what you want and set your responses in priority order,accord- ing to importance to you, howev- er, you'll be far more likely to locate the house of your dreams. Skip Valiant is president of the Sussex County Association of REALTORS. i For more inform a- tion; Ca11855:2300. "