Increase your real estate VOCABULARY

30 Jul

7.30.14 Real Estate VocabularyLike every profession, the real estate world has its own secret language filled with acronyms, jargon and catch phrases.

Go to the head of the class by learning these commonly used real estate terms – that might mean something different than you think:

Conditional or Contingent — Term for a listing under contract with a buyer but subject to an additional contingency or condition. The property with a conditional or contingent status remains available for showings and additional offers at the seller’s discretion. 

Foreclosure (Also REO or Bank-owned)  A foreclosure results when a borrower is in default on a mortgage and the home is legally acquired by the lender. The property is sold by the lender, with proceeds being applied to the mortgage debt.

Pending sales vs. Closings  A home is considered ”pending” or under contract when a qualified buyer has offered a contract on a listed property and it has been accepted by the seller. A “pending” sale may also be subject to certain contingencies or conditions. The home is considered “closed” when the seller conveys the title to the buyer by deed, money changes hands and all documents are signed and recorded with the Register of Deeds in the county where the home is located.

Mortgage banker vs. Mortgage broker  A mortgage banker offers loan products of multiple lenders, controls underwriting and originates and funds their own loans. A mortgage broker originates loans, and then places those loans with a variety of other lending institutions. Allen Tate Mortgage is a mortgage banker.

Pre-qualified vs. Pre-approved  Pre-qualified refers to the loan officer’s written opinion of the ability of a borrower to qualify for a home loan, based on limited documentation and no credit check. Pre-approved means the borrower has completed a full loan application and provided detailed debt, income, and savings documentation which an underwriter has reviewed and approved, and he has undergone a credit check.

Short sale  A short sale occurs when a property is sold and the lender agrees to accept less money than is actually owed. It is an alternative to foreclosure.

Your Allen Tate Realtor® is the expert when it comes to helping you understand the real estate process. Don’t hesitate to ask when you come across an unfamiliar term. We’re happy to explain!

Phyllis Brookshire
President, Allen Tate Realtors®

Millennials, Mortgages and the Marketplace

28 Jul

7.28.14 Milliennials MortgageA lot of recent media attention has been focused on housing and the Millennial buyer.

Millennials (born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) are responsible for 31 percent of recent home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

During the recession of recent years, many Millennials moved in with their parents until they felt comfortable and stable in their job situation. Now this generation is financially prepared – and ready to purchase their first homes.

So what do you need to know about mortgage financing if you’re a Millennial in today’s real estate market?

  • Review your credit. Credit is an integral part of the financing process. You will need to understand your credit profile and be aware of what lenders are looking for. Ideally you need two or three types of credit reporting, with at least two years of history. If you have less than this you may still be able to purchase a home, but you’ll need some proven history of rent, cell phone payments, etc.
  • Student loan payments count. Certain mortgage programs may be okay with student loans that have been deferred for a period of time. However, if you have student loan payments beginning or resuming in the next 9-12 months, your lender will need to consider the upcoming payment in your qualifications.
  • Document, document, document. Mortgage lenders will require you to provide copies of pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns, bank statements and more. Be proactive and gather this paperwork before you meet with a Mortgage Consultant, so they can more accurately determine if you can qualify for a mortgage.
  • Down payments are within reach. A common misconception among Millennial buyers is that you need 15 percent down to purchase a home. There are loan programs readily available with 3.5 to 5 percent down, and in some cases, this can be a documented gift from a family member. Specialty programs like NC/SC Bond programs can assist a buyer with the down payment as well. Homes that qualify for USDA financing have the benefit of no money down.

The good news is that there are mortgage options out there for Millennial buyers. Getting into your first home requires some preparation and time, but pays off in the end. And you don’t have to go it alone; your Allen Tate Mortgage Consultant is here to help.


By: Lisa Green (Vice President of Loan Origination)

Allen Tate Mortgage NMLS# 79543

Loans available in NC/SC

All loans subject to credit and collateral approval.

*USDA and NC/SC Bond program requirements include maximum income limits and other requirements.

Take a Day Trip in the Carolinas

25 Jul

7.25.14 Family in carThe Carolinas are one of the best places to live in the country! Affordable housing and job opportunities abound, as do interesting and fun places to visit. Take these day trips with the family while the long summer days are still here.

Downtowns worth the drive

Downtown Greenville, SC is lively and walkable. From end to end, you can visit Mast General Store and Falls Park featuring Liberty Bridge, then take in a Greenville Drive AA baseball game.

Saluda, NC is about a 2-hour drive from Charlotte and less than an hour from Greenville, SC. Shaped by the infamous Saluda Grade railway, this small mountain town boasts unique shops, galleries, restaurants, music venues, water fall trails, white water thrills, bike routes and a downtown playground for the kids.

Just 30 minutes from Winston-Salem, Spencer, NC is home to the largest contiguous historic district in North Carolina and where you’ll find the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Explore the 57-acre site filled with trains, locomotives, steam engines and a working roundabout to further fascinate the kids.

Wild animals

No matter where you live in the Carolinas, you’ll find a zoo or wild animal park worthy of a day trip. Asheboro, NC is home to the North Carolina Zoo, and Riverbanks Zoo can be found in Columbia, SC. In Mooresville, NC, you can visit the Lazy 5 Ranch, a drive-thru animal park featuring more than 750 animals with horse-drawn wagon tours available.

The Carolina Raptor Center is home to owls, hawks, eagles and other birds of prey. The Zootastic Park of Lake Norman in Troutman, NC has a petting zoo and summer camp opportunities.

The Sea Life Aquarium is new in Concord, NC and the North Carolina Aquarium can be found outside of Wilmington in Fort Fisher, NC, just a 2.5-hour drive from Raleigh.

Let’s get wet

Feel the need to cool off? Pack the bathing suits and head out! Ray’s Splash Planet, an indoor municipal water park is in uptown Charlotte. Just south of Greensboro is Emerald Pointe Wet ‘n’ Wild. For the more natural adventurers, head to picturesque New Bern, NC and kayak or canoe along the Neuse River, or venture to Sliding Rock Park, north of Brevard, NC in Pisgah National Forest.

What’s your favorite Carolina destination for a summer day trip?

By Hilary Broadway (Branch Leader, Mooresville Office) – Guest Blogger

In the Carolinas, Business is Building

23 Jul

Market Update for CarolinasIf your daily commute involves more than a few miles, there’s a good chance you’ve been stuck behind a construction truck in recent months. And while that can be frustrating, it’s also a good thing.

In 2013, the Carolinas were one of the top regions in the country for the most single-family home starts, according to U.S. Census Bureau building permit data. In 2014, we’re continuing to see strong activity with new construction.

Are we in the midst of another building boom? Perhaps, but I see this trend more as creating more opportunities for buyers who are ready to sell now. In the July-August edition of Allen Tate’s Carolinas Market Update, I explain that when new construction is available, this puts more existing homes on the market – and in turn, helps boost housing inventory.

New home starts have been slow in recent years, as builders left the market or significantly slowed their projects. Homebuyers who prefer new construction have been waiting patiently – and now they are ready to make their move as strong job creation in the Carolinas has strengthened the economy.

When newly built homes are available, 41 percent of the market prefers new construction. About half of that – 21 percent – prefer an existing home, and 38 percent have no preference, according to an April 2014 Harris Poll.

While new homes run about 20 percent higher than existing homes in the same Zip Code, buyers are willing to spend a bit more to get modern features; choices of models and décor; and a home initially free of maintenance and repair issues.

Most people who buy new simply want a brand-new home – free of dirt and wear-and-tear from previous owners.

When people ask my advice about buying new construction, many of them are surprised to learn that they still need a Realtor®, and it doesn’t cost them more than going “direct” to a builder. A Realtor offers sound advice and experience to help you find the right property, navigate the process and represent you on your way to becoming a happy new home owner.

Ready to check out new homes in your area? Call your Allen Tate Realtor today – and let’s go!

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company

Which way is the wind blowing?

21 Jul

7.21.14 Weather damageEarlier this month, when Hurricane Arthur threatened the Atlantic Coast, many insurance carriers restricted binding new coverage until they determined which way the wind would choose to blow.

We often get asked the question “Why do insurance carriers restrict binding in the event of a storm that most likely will not affect inland property?”

Hurricanes, as we’ve learned from history, are fickle creatures that are capable of changing their mind – and their direction and strength at any minute. As a result, carriers start early to restrict binding.

If you lived in the Carolinas in 1989, you most certainly remember the unexpected wrath of Hurricane Hugo. After weakening to a Category 2 hurricane, Hugo picked up strength again, hitting Charleston, South Carolina as a Category 4 hurricane, with 140 mph winds. The storm reached Charlotte, North Carolina six hours later as a fairly strong tropical storm with sustained winds of 54 mph and gusts of 87 mph. (A side note: The name Hugo was retired by the World Meteorological Organization, the naming body of hurricanes, because of the catastrophic damage it caused.)

So what does restricted binding mean to you as a consumer?

  • If you are a current homeowner, and your home is hit by a hurricane, you are most likely insured for the typical coverage perils: wind, hail, lightning and fire. But you only have flood coverage if you have a separate policy that specifically covers flooding, and you can’t get that once a hurricane or flood has been forecasted.
  • If you are trying to close on a home and you need insurance coverage, your closing could be delayed. If there is a storm in your area and you have not already confirmed insurance coverage is in place, you will not be able to obtain coverage until the storm has passed and your carrier is able to bind coverage again.
  • If you’re trying to purchase a new vehicle, you cannot purchase physical damage coverage, also known as comprehensive and collision coverage, when your insurance carrier is unable to bind coverage.

Hurricane season runs through November 30. Don’t wait until the wind starts blowing to contact your Allen Tate Insurance Agent and make sure you’re covered.

Robin Price
Vice President of Sales, Allen Tate Insurance

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