Monday, October 29, 2012

Greenville in the Spotlight - Southwest SpiritMagazine

Amanda Gleason, journalist for Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, has certainly put Greenville in the spotlight with her upcoming publication, Adventure in Greater Greenville, in the November 2012 issue. 

Here are some exciting highlights and descriptions of Adventure in Greater Greenville – our beautiful city just nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina: 

FUN and PLAY in Greenville
  • Local shops provide free clues in your search for bronze mice in a half-mile scavenger hunt along Main Street - inspired by the book Mice on Main
  • Countless galleries, art museums and children’s museums
  • One-of-a-kind boutiques
  • Bike the Rabbit - BMW Performance! Get behind the wheel for a series of thrilling driving exercises, led by instructors via walkie-talkies.
  • Runners, cyclists, and walkers are constantly moving through our parks and downtown
  • Nearly 40 parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers can be found around Greenville.

LIVE and WORK in Greenville
  • A fresh development is taking place on over 1,000 acres of untouched real estate -perfect for a mix of retail, intelligent work space/offices, dining, entertainment, diverse housing types, retirement or extended stays
  • Rated as one of 13 best cities for young professionals - Forbes Magazine
  • Greenville’s business community is supported by corporate tax incentives, workforce development programs, and entrepreneurial networks.
  • Rated #6 as the top 100 places to live – Relocate
  • Ideal place to raise a family – hear it straight from some of Greenville’s savviest residents

Click on this link to enjoy a great video of Amanda’s adventure!

Experience all Greenville, North Carolina, has to offer in this enthralling and upcoming publication that includes vibrant photographs and descriptions.  Enjoy your Greenvilleadventure! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Choosing the Right Community

Choosing the right community is just as important as selecting the right home. No matter how much you love your new home, you will have to venture away from it on a regular basis. For this reason, it makes sense to put careful consideration into choosing a community you will love as much as you love your new home. Of course, this requires you to spend some time on getting to the heart of what’s really important to you and prioritizing your list so that you can focus on getting most of what you really want.

The perfect community depends on the eyes the beholder, so you have to dig deep to figure out what you want, what you definitely don’t want, and what you’d like but feel that you could live without. For example, do you want a community that is close knit and has neighbors that make an effort to get to know and include newcomers? Or would you prefer neighbors who are friendly enough but keep more to themselves?

If you have children, schools will prove an issue. Research the schools in the area. Will your child go to a particular school based solely on address or is there some choice in the matter? Find out how well the school is doing with educating its currently enrolled students (look for a school report online for this type of information). If possible, talk to some of the parents with children enrolled in the school. What do they like about it, and what would they change? Be sure to look ahead as well. In no time, children progress form elementary school to middle school to high school. Research the schools your children will have to attend as they grow as well.

Consider crime rates. It would be wonderful to find a totally crime-free area, but unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist.  Research statistics to find an estimate of the number of crimes reported in the area each year, and look for a source that provides estimates of the types of crimes that are most prevalent. For example, some areas may have few violent crimes but deal with a lot of property crimes or vice versa. Choose an area with a crime rate you can live with, so you won’t find yourself overly miserable each time you watch the local news. And be sure to take an especially close look at the types of crimes in the area if some of your household members are particularly vulnerable. This includes children and the elderly.

Too many people consider this as an afterthought, when it’s really a priority to evaluate which options will be available for entertainment. You don’t want to spend decades cooped up in your house. You’ll probably want to get out and have fun too. As such, it makes sense to look for a community that offers a good deal of what you like to do. Maybe you are into art galleries and theater or maybe you want good golfing and recreational facilities. Perhaps you want a community with plenty of planned events for families or  organizations through which you and family members can take classes. Whatever your preferences, the best choice is a community that has plenty to keep you happy and busy, all within a reasonable distance.

Planning to buy or sell a home in Greenville, Spartanburg, Simpsonville, Mauldin, Traveler's Rest, or another city in Upstate South Carolina? Contact Victoria Cottle for personalized attention and top-notch assistance. Learn more about the Greenville, South Carolina area, search listings, and be sure to ask about Victoria’s Seal of Excellence!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fannie Mae Tightens Underwriting Guidelines

As of October 20, 2012, many borrowers will face stricter underwriting rules from Fannie Mae. The upcoming changes are meant to provide more risk protection for Fannie Mae and will affect borrowers planning to buy condos or refinance as well as those termed borderline borrowers because of credit, resource issues or problematic debt-to-income ratios.

The new rules will bring many changes for borrowers, including the following:

Documentation for Condo Purchases 

Currently, buying a condo with less than 20 percent down means completing a questionnaire that provides details about the homeowner’s association and handing over several related documents, including the homeowner’s association’s by-laws. With the new guidelines, condo buyers putting down less than 20 percent will have to complete the questionnaire and provide the required documentation.

No More Discretionary Approvals

Discretionary approvals, which are also referred to as Expanded Approvals (EAs) will no longer be available for Fannie Mae refinances. These approvals often made it easier for borrowers with blemished credit, high debt-to-income ratios and similar issues to obtain loans thanks to the approval/denial discretion afforded underwriters. Once the changes take place, EAs will only remain available for Fannie Mae’s Refi Plus Program loans.

The Self-Employed

Right now, self-employed borrowers have to provide tax return documents for one tax year. After the changes take place, the self-employed will have to share tax returns for the past two years in a row. Underwriters will use an average of the last two years of income for underwriting purposes.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) LTV Reduction

Before the change,  a 97-percent LTV for ARMs is allowed. After the changes,  the allowed LTV will be lowered to 90 percent.

The first three changes expected on October 20 are likely to have the most affect on borrowers. Condo purchasers can expect more scrutiny of documentation, which may result in more denials. The eliminating of discretionary approvals will likely mean many more denials for borderline borrowers.  Self-employed borrowers who have one poor year out of two could face denials because their average income for the two tax years is lower. On a better note, however, the ARM LTV reduction probably won’t affect many borrowers, as most ARMs have LTVs that fall below the 90-percent mark.

Planning to buy or sell a home in Greenville, Spartanburg, Simpsonville, Mauldin, Traveler's Rest, or another city in Upstate South Carolina? Contact Victoria Cottle for personalized attention and top-notch assistance. Learn more about the Greenville, South Carolina area, search listings, and be sure to ask about Victoria’s Seal of Excellence!