Down Payment – How Much Do You Need?

Down Payment

Gone are the days when anyone could buy a home with just a promise and signature. No documentation loans allowed virtually anyone to buy a house with no money down with just a simple credit check. After the mortgage melt down this all changed. Lenders tightened guidelines and down payments were back.  But how much do you actually need? Must you always find 20% down? The answer might surprise you; there are many ways to buy a home with less than 20% down payment.

 

0% Down – There are still two loan programs which allow one to buy a home for no down payment, the VA loan and the USDA loan. The VA loan requires the borrower to be a qualified service person or veteran and the USDA loan is for certain areas under the Department of Agriculture.

 

5% Down – Conventional loans with loan limits can allow one to buy a home with as little as 5% down. These loans do have PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) which can be eliminated when the loan amount falls below the 20% threshold.

 

3½% Down – FHA offers first time home buyers a good home loan for only 3.5% down payment. Again these loans have loan limits and PMI but offer a faster entry into the housing market.

 

Buying a home doesn’t always mean 20% loan. If you’re considering buying a new home, talk to your lender about your options.

 

Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Sellers

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With the start of the New Year, thoughts naturally turn to change. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your home, then making the right resolutions can help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible return.

Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Home Sellers

1. Move Up Spring Cleaning –Time to do your spring cleaning now. De-clutter, depersonalize and make the home look roomier.

2. Stage Your Home –Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, this is the time to rearrange your furniture to make your rooms look bigger and brighter.

3. Think it Through – Before you spend money on renovations and upgrades, think carefully and don’t overspend by guessing.

4. Take Care of Neglected Repairs – This is a great time to hire a handyman or break out the tool belt to take care of deferred maintenance and take care of minor repairs.

5. Interview Real Estate Agents – Hiring a real estate agent is critical to your success. Take the time to interview a number of agents and choose the right one for your needs.

6. Check out the Competition – Go see homes listed for sale in your area and adjust your timing, staging and pricing based on the market.

7. Prepare Mentally – Selling a home can be stressful. Be prepared for low offers, picky buyers, drop-by agents and odd terms. Prepare yourself now so you will take them in stride when you’re on the market.

Pre-Qualified VS Pre-Approved

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The Difference Between a Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval
There are plenty of real estate terms used in transactions. Needless-to-say it can be confusing for both buyers and sellers trying to navigate the process. The home loan process might feel overwhelming and difficult to understand. Both buyers and sellers find terms like “Pre-Qualification” and “Pre-Approval” used interchangeably, it’s no wonder they find themselves wondering how to proceed.
The first step in obtaining a home loan is to meet with a lender to discuss your financial situation. The lender will gather information regarding income, job stability, debt and credit.  They will then issue a pre-qualification or pre-approval. 
Pre-Qualification
Once the lender has performed a basic review of the qualifications and run credit, they will issue a pre-qualification letter. This letter will identify the maximum sales price, down payment requirement and basic terms of the loan, such as interest rate. The pre-qualification letter is used to provide evidence that the buyer has been reviewed by a lender who is vouching for their ability to obtain a loan.
Pre-Approval
A pre-approval takes the process a bit further. After the lender collects all the necessary information and proof of eligibility he has it reviewed by the lender underwriter for approval. Once obtaining a pre-approval letter the only remaining piece of the puzzle is finding a property.
It is best to start this process before you begin your home search.  Your real estate agent should be able to point you in the right direction and recommend lenders if needed.  

10 Staging Tips To Get Your Home Sold

Ready to sell your house? Here are a few staging tips to get your home prepared for the market. When listing a home that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, you want to make sure it’s presented in the best light. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dollar car if it was filled from top to bottom in someone’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be well worth it!

1. SAY BYE TO CLUTTER

The best thing you can do for your home for sale is to get rid of all of your clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the home owner’s furniture is removed to make the house look much bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a couple of months to store away a lot of your furnishings and goods.

2. FURNITURE GROUPINGS

It’s largely misconceived that furniture pushed directly up against walls make a room look bigger, but this is far from true. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in reach room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.

3. TRANSFORM ROOMS

If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it’s important to purpose the room to something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, etc. If it’s in the basement, hid the boxes and turn it into a gaming room or family area.

4. HOME LIGHTING

Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcome. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents).

5. GO NEUTRAL

The simple trick to toning down dated finishing in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey and beige colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a general neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to only keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.

6. MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER

If you want to make a room bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will make the space feel like one, open it up, and make it seem much larger. Using drapes that match the wall colors can also add an emphasis to the room’s size.

7. USE YOUR GARDEN

Staged homes have an emphasis in fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same effect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.

8. GET A FACELIFT

So you can’t afford new cabinets? Then you can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel, go for stainless steel if you can pull it off. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model.

9.MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS

Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.

10. CLEAN YOUR HOME

Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets, and smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to appeal to all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.

2019 Real Estate Outlook

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Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

2018 was a great year for real estate in The Golden Isles.  Over 1,700 residential properties were sold in Glynn County alone.  Interest rates did increase during 2018 but fell to 4.62%, for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, by the end of the year.   Your interest rate not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.  Interest rates are expected to rise in 2019 so if you are planning to purchase in 2019 you may want to start your home search sooner rather than later.

Due to housing inventory home prices have increased year-after-year for the last 5 years.  Sellers have benefited from this lack of inventory, but we are starting to see a shift in housing inventory.  Since June inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.  If selling is something you have been considering for 2019 you may want to get the process started in order to take advantage of the lower inventory levels.

It is important to speak with a local real estate agent to stay up to date on mortgage rates and your local market’s inventory levels.  If you are planning to buy or sell on Saint Simons or the surrounding area I would love to be your local real estate agent!

 

About Me

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My name is Kelda Mallette and I am a Realtor with Signature Properties Group, Inc. on Saint Simons Island, GA.  I began my real estate career in November of 2016 after years of working in sales and marketing.  Real Estate has been a great fit with my background.  I have enjoyed meeting and building relationships with others through the buying and selling process.  I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful clients over the last couple of years.

I would love to help you, whether you are buying or selling.  Feel free to give me a call today! Office: 912-634-9995 Cell: 770-833-6417