Sweet Home Carolina Realty Blog

Aug. 7, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Maeshows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | Keeping Current MattersThere are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line

If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available.

Aug. 1, 2019

WHY CREDIT CHECKS DURING CLOSING ARE IMPORTANT

You've found your dream home. After months of searching, you're finally closing on the house that you've wanted for so long. The last thing you want to do is take any action that would interfere with the closing of your home. Since the start of your home search, your agent has probably told you time and time again not to do anything that would impact your credit score, like opening a new line of credit or making a large purchase. While this makes sense during the approval process, you may wonder why it is key to keep your credit in check until after closing. Here is an explanation of the 2 credit checks performed during the home-buying process and why it is important to maintain your credit from start to finish.

 

Pre-Approval Credit Check

To get a loan to purchase a home, you'll go through a pre-qualification process. You'll let your potential lender know a variety of financial information, from your credit score and employment to your marital status, as well as any number of factors that can impact your qualification. With this self-reported information, you can then be pre-approved. After that, lenders will verify the information you've provided and this is when they will pull your credit history. It is important that what you've reported matches the credit information pulled by the lender - which is why you shouldn't miss any payments or open new cards during this time. Lenders offer approval based on a risk assessment, and you do not want them to think that you are a risk.

 

Credit Check at Closing

The main concern of the lender is the risk you pose to them. Because it can take time for an offer to be accepted, your lender may pull a second credit check while waiting for your loan to pass underwriting. This is to ensure your credit hasn't changed since the initial credit check. If you took out a loan or created massive credit debt, you could change your debt to income ratio and your lender could decide you are too risky to loan to. This is why it is so very important to keep your credit in check before, during, and after the home-buying process!

Posted in Buying, Mortgages
June 1, 2019

Stop! And check out this gem!

This home is a Gem and a must see if you are on the market for a 4 bedroom home that includes a loft and huge bonus room that can also be used as a 5th bedroom with a big, flat and fenced backyard.  Sellers have meticulously maintained the home both inside and outside.  

Contact us for your private showing now!  1012 Coulwood Lane, Indian Trail, NC

 

April 23, 2019

First-Time Buyer Advice

If you’ve never purchased a house before, you may have no idea where to begin when preparing to become a homeowner. You may be on the fence about buying, or you may feel like you are ready to buy a home today. Either way, these tips can help anyone feel a little more prepared for their first home purchase!

 

MONEY IS KEY

It is easy to begin scrolling through beautiful homes on the market without considering your budget. Sale postings can be all over your social media feeds, tempting you to just take a peek. While looking can be fun and exciting, you should prepare financially before you start eyeing any homes. It is much better to know what your price range is so you don’t fall in love with a house you just can’t afford (for now!)

 

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE

While you need to be realistic and recognize that you likely are not going to find a home with every single thing you wish to have in a house, making a list of the things that are a priority for you (room count, big backyard, master walk-in closet, etc.) will help you to make sure you’re only looking at houses that will fit your wants and needs.

 

PHOTOS DON’T TELL THE WHOLE PICTURE

It is easy to fall in love with a home after seeing the listing photos. These perfectly lit, well-staged photos show off houses in their best light, but that doesn’t mean you are getting the whole story. Listing photos are a great place to start, as they will help you to narrow down your options. Unfortunately, there are home traits that may not be portrayed well in photos, whether it be low ceilings, a drafty build, or anything in between.  Once you’ve made a short list of the homes that appear to be a fit for you, always do a home tour. 

 

THAT GUT-FEELING

If you walk into a house and it feels like home, trust your gut. There is no better way to know if you should buy a home than seeing how you feel when you walk through the front door. Your home purchase will probably be one of, if not the largest, purchase you’ve made in your life so far. Pictures can only do so much, and nothing can help you decide whether or not a house is made for you better than getting inside it!

 

NOTHING ELSE WILL DO

Do you get upset at the thought of losing the house you just toured to someone else? Does it already feel like home when you are inside? These are two signs that you have found the home for you! If you see a home and are ready to stop looking at others, you are one step closer to buying a home you will love.

 

THE BEST AGENT

Using a Sweet Home Carolina Realty agent is going to be the part that ties everything together. As quality agents we will help you find homes within your budget that possess your must-have items and will offer you guidance through every step of the process. 

 

Jan. 29, 2019

Thinking About Purchasing A Home? Make A Move Soon

 

The market hasn't been overly friendly towards buyers in recent months; low inventory and high competition has been driving up prices making it challenging to find and purchase property.

But it looks like the tides are starting to turn towards buyers. If you've been thinking about purchasing a home, you're going to want to make a move. Soon.

According to a recent article from Realtor.com, the signs are all pointing to an end to the hyper-competitive seller's market we've seen in recent years—and a major shift towards favoring buyers. Inventory is steadily rising (even in California, arguably the nation's hottest housing market, inventory was up 14% year over year), and price appreciation is slowing, which is all good news for buyers.

But even though the market is just starting to shift, you don't want to wait to purchase a home. Mortgage interest rates have been steadily on the rise, and most experts agree that rates will surpass 5% by 2019. That increase can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of your mortgage.

 

The Takeaway

If you've been thinking about purchasing a home, don't wait. Take advantage of the changing market and still-low interest rates, and make a move now.

Posted in Buying
Jan. 3, 2019

5 Reasons To Get Pre-approved

Posted in Buying, Mortgages
Dec. 31, 2018

Questions about buying or selling?

A new year is just around the corner, do you have questions about buying or selling a home in 2019? Wondering what your home is worth, or if that home you’ve had your eye on is worth the asking price? Contact us and we will be happy to help navigate this often confusing process.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Dec. 18, 2018

Why Houses DO NOT Sell in a Strong Market

As we approach the end of the year, many homeowners find themselves asking the question, “If we’re currently in a strong real estate market, why won’t my house sell?

Below are the 5 most common reasons why a listing contract will expire:

1. The Price

Sometimes when the market is hot, homeowners attempt to set their listing price higher. Their hope is that a motivated buyer will be willing to pay any price for a house in their desired neighborhood! Sellers must remember, though, that in today’s market a house must be sold twice; first to the buyer and then to their bank.

A buyer can agree to pay the homeowner’s asking price, but after the bank conducts their appraisal, the price might need to be adjusted. The bank will only give the buyer a mortgage for the value of determined in the appraisal.

Sellers must also keep in mind that today’s homebuyers are well-educated. Before they look to buy a house, they have already seen many houses online. They’ve done their research on the neighborhoods they are interested in, including information on the school districts in the area.

They will know if your house seems overpriced and will not waste their time considering it. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your home is priced right from day one on the market!

2. The Condition of the House

In many areas, builders are taking advantage of the lack of inventory of homes for sale by building new houses. These newly constructed homes create competition for existing homes in the market. For this reason, many homeowners are making renovations and updates to their homes to compete with the new construction in their marketplace.

Most agents recommend that homeowners declutter their houses before putting them on the market. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home instead of focusing on the current homeowner’s decor.

It’s important to take care of the small problems like dripping faucets and torn screens, while also remembering to remove any posters hanging in your teenager’s bedroom. Making sure your home is in perfect condition will make buyers fall in love with it and will ultimately help you get the right price for your house!

3. Seller’s Motivation

Why did the seller put their house on the market in the first place? Is the seller’s motivation still the same as it was when they first listed?

If homeowners are really motivated to sell, they will make sure their houses are both priced right and in good condition. The seller’s motivation will push them to consider all offers and help them make the right decision for their family’s future.

4. Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan is important! According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. The days of looking for a newspaper ad or yard sign in your preferred neighborhood are over.

If you want to sell your home, you need a real estate professional who understands your local market and knows how to promote your home online. Something as simple as using pictures taken by a professional photographer can make a huge impact in advertising your home!

5. Lack of Communication with Your Agent

Keeping an open line of communication with your agent is crucial in getting your home sold with the least amount of hassles, in the right amount of time, and for the right price! From the beginning, establish a continuous line of communication with your agent, and make sure you review your agreement often to see if any changes need to be made. For example, adjusting the selling price!

Bottom Line

There are houses selling every single day because they are listed at the right price, have the right marketing plan, and are staged for the sale. If for some reason your home didn’t sell and you’re still motivated to get it sold, contact a local real estate professional who can help you figure out the reason your house isn’t selling!

 

courtesy of Keeping Current Matters
Dec. 12, 2018

5 Star Award Winner

Karen Lambrinides has won the 5 Star Award for excellence in Real Estate and has been featured in the December issue of Charlotte Magazine. 

Five Star Professional conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence.  The five star designations assists consumers in selecting a service professional that other consumers say provides exceptional client satisfaction and service.  

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 11, 2018

First-Time Buyer Interest Strong Despite Rising Interest Rates

Interest rates are rising. According to Freddie Mac the current rate for a 30-yr fixed mortgage is 4.81%, which is up a nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. While some were concerned the rising interest rates would have a negative impact on the market, particularly with first-time homebuyers, it looks as if the changes in interest rates are doing little to dampen buyer demand.

According to First American’s most recent Real Estate Sentiment Index (which explores how sensitive first-time homebuyers are to rising interest rates), mortgage rates would have to hit 5.6% before first-time buyers delay entering the market. And because mortgage rates aren’t predicted to rise that drastically anytime soon, we shouldn’t see any negative impact on buyer interest in the coming months.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been hesitant to list your home thanks to fears that rising interest rates will limit the number of buyers, there’s nothing to worry about. Buyer demand is showing no signs of slowing.

Posted in Buying, Mortgages