Category: First-Time Homebuyer

26 Jul 2011

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Most people would think about the inspection of their home the day before the home inspector is scheduled to arrive. But if you are planning to sell your home it is always good practice to take care of some of the potential issues before you put your house on the market.

Is the banister to the deck and/or the stairs loose?  Is there chipping paint on the window frame? If the house was built before 1978, lead-based paint is a concern. And depending on the loan type, it may be a requirement that this be fixed.

18 Jul 2011

Are All Insurance Agents Created Equal?

Ten years ago, you didn’t expect to turn on the television and see insurance companies battling it out for commercial time in between your favorite shows. You also didn’t see them as some of the biggest sponsors of the sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl.

Times have changed though—and some of the big insurance companies out there are spending millions of dollars each year to tell you that you can save 15% in 15 minutes.

Their focus is price-driven and I understand why.  Customers want to save money.  You want to save money. I want to save money too. But I don’t agree with the fact that they simplify insurance as if it’s a commodity like gasoline.

8 Jul 2011

Prequalification vs. Pre-pproval: Which Is Best For You?

Starting your home search can be extremely exciting  – and nerve-wracking. You are about to embark on a great adventure. It can be easy to get caught up in all the excitement and lose track of the many different moving parts you need to keep in place. One of the most important moving parts is your mortgage financing.

As you start your search you may hear phrases like “Make sure you are pre-qualified!” or “Get pre-approved!” What do these mean, which one is best for you and how will they impact your search?

Let’s start with prequalification, which is traditionally a review of your credit report and credit score. This process may also include the completion of a loan application that your loan officer or mortgage consultant will review with you and run through an automated underwriting system.  That automated system will let your loan officer/mortgage consultant know whether what you have told them in terms of income, assets and credit will fall within the general mortgage guidelines.   However, that is subject to you providing acceptable documentation to the lender.   If you have clean credit, a strong job history, good assets and reserves, the prequalification letter is probably going to meet your needs as you look for a home.

1 Jul 2011

Questions to Ask Your Realtor

As a consumer, I’ve often wondered what I should be asking my real estate agent when buying or selling a home. At one point, when I was purchasing my first home, I wondered if I even needed an agent – how hard could it be after all? I did try to purchase a home without agent representation, but the transaction went sideways and fell apart.  Did you know that buyers of previously owned homes and buyers aged 18 to 24 were most likely to report using a real estate agent?

The agent that I attempted to use in my first transaction did not meet my expectations. Sure, she was nice enough, but she was not consistent in her communication. In one week, I would hear from her everyday and the next several weeks I heard nothing from her at all. Her schedule was difficult to work around and it always seemed that when I was available to look at homes, she wasn’t. It wasn’t because she was working with other clients, but rather she had very active kids and their sports schedule did not jive with my schedule.

3 Jun 2011

Outdoor Living Spaces for All Seasons

With the wonderful climates here in the Carolinas (minus the heat wave we’ve been subject to recently!), we get to spend a lot of time entertaining and enjoying our outdoor living spaces. That being said, there is no reason for your planters to sit bare during the fall and winter months. Many of us simply leave our planters bare because the thought of maintaining that “inviting” look at all times can be a little overwhelming. Believe me, I get it. But fear not! There are easy, low-maintenance steps you can take to keep your planters looking great all year-round.

17 May 2011

Make House Hunting Easier

While having access to so many online tools and resources can make the home-buying process less time consuming, it doesn’t necessarily make it any less overwhelming.

There are a few basic steps I recommend that can make the process a whole lot easier for you.

  • Get pre-qualified. When I say that you may be sitting there wondering, “What does that exactly mean?” Well, simply put it’s how much house you can afford to buy. There are lots of great online calculators that can give you an idea on payments, but be sure to talk to a lender before you start looking at homes. You want to make sure you can qualify for a loan and determine how much house you can afford. It is a waste of your time to look at houses that may be out of your price range.  The good news is that getting pre-qualified is a fairly simple process. Through Allen Tate Mortgage, for example, it can be done online!
5 Apr 2011

What Happens When A Tree Falls on Your Property?

Having been in the insurance industry for years, this question is probably one of the most popular inquiries we get!

Limited coverage (usually $1000) is provided on the homeowner’s policy to remove a tree that has damaged a covered property due to wind, hail, and the weight of ice, sleet, or snow. This coverage responds provided the tree 1) damages a covered structure or 2) does not damage a covered structure but a) blocks a drive way and prevents a vehicle from leaving or b) blocks a handicap ramp or fixture.

22 Mar 2011

Top 5 Things To Look For In A Realtor

I was 24 when I bought my first house. I stumbled upon my real estate agent when I called the number on a “For Sale” sign for a house that I thought was cute. I didn’t end up buying that house, but she became my agent almost out of default ….or more accurately put, her persistence.

I knew that I wanted to live in either one of two different areas, both located close to downtown Greenville. Her niche was an area 20 minutes away from there. The first Saturday we looked at properties, instead of showing me houses where I wanted to live, we looked at 5 homes in her niche, the place that she was most passionate for.

7 Mar 2011

The Difference Between Cost and Price

Are you waiting for home prices to fall before you act?

It makes sense to try to buy a home when you believe it has hit the rock bottom price. I totally get that. In some areas where there is additional depreciation to be played out, waiting can be the right move to make. But overall, I believe that waiting is not a good financial decision. As a buyer, unless you are paying cash, you need to be looking at Cost not Price.

What is the difference between cost and price? The cost of a home is made up of the interest rate that is paid as well as price.

The 4th quarter housing research report of last year stated that sales in America rose 15.4 percent over the 3rd quarter. With each passing day, the stability of housing prices is taking shape.  As soon as Realtors, appraisers, bankers, buyers and sellers all understand the new value system then normalcy can begin take hold.  Someone who delayed buying a house because of the price might find that prices have actually not decreased. They’ve simply re-adjusted to the new normal. But as Paul Harvey always said, “Now … the rest of the story.”

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