Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happenings in Greenville South Carolina April 2013



Greenville South Carolina has a lot going on in April.  Here are a few items you may want to check out.

Carrie Underwood

 

On April 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM Carrie Underwood will be at the BI-LO Center at 650 North Academy Street, Greenville, SC 29601

WWE Raw

 

On April 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM WWE Raw will be at the BI-LO Center at 650 North Academy Street, Greenville, SC 29601

NeedToBreathe

 

On April 6, 2013 at 9:00PM NeedToBreathe will be at Timmons Arena, 900 Duncan Chapel Rd.
Greenville, South Carolina 29617

Bill Cosby

 

Comedian Bill Cosby will be at the Peace Center - DowBrands Amphitheatre, 300 South Main Street, Greenville, South Carolina on April 20, 2013 at 9:30PM.

The Avett Brothers

 

On April 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM The Avett Brothers will be at Littlejohn Coliseum, 644 Old Greenville Hwy, Clemson, South Carolina 29634

Sarah Jarosz

 

On April 6, 2013 at 8:00 PM Sarah Jarosz will be in the Peace Center - DowBrands Amphitheatre, 300 South Main Street, Greenville, South Carolina.



I certainly hope you can get out and enjoy some of these great events in our great events and beautiful area we live in. 
Victoria Cottle  understands the Greenville, South Carolina real estate market and can help you sell or buy a home. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Should I Pick a Buyer’s Agent?



The short answer is YES, but you will probably want to read the rest to find out why.
 
Before the internet got so good, searching for a home on your own was a real headache.   Newspapers were the main source for real estate listings and few had photographs.  Today the savvy home buyer can search many, many places to look at homes.   You can find out school district information, look at Google maps to see how close neighbors are by using aerial view and find the nearest super market with a walk score.  Years ago, buyers depended on Realtors® for this information. 
 
Buy most people use a buyer’s agent, because of the paperwork and negotiations required to find and buy the perfect home.   The good news is that the sellers are already going to pay the commission for your agent in most cases.  That’s right, in over 90% of the cases; the seller has already signed a contract that they agree to pay your buyer’s agent a commission for helping you buy your home.   If the buyer’s agent is free for a home buyer, then why not get one.

A good buyer agent can make the process much easier and can help save you money.   They will look at the good and bad of each home.  A good Realtor® also knows the area and can recommend appraisers, home warranties, home inspectors, and lenders.   The Realtor® that you hire is also bound to act as your agent and act in your best interest.   Realtors® also stay up on what is happening with business and neighborhood development.  

Best way to find a good buyer’s agent to represent you is to interview them.   Ask them how motivated they are to serving you.   If you feel comfortable with the person, that is good.  If the agent does not have time for you, or does not promptly answer the phone, you may want to talk to other agents.  One of the biggest reasons people switch buyers agents is responsiveness.

General Tips for Using a Buyer’s Agent

  1. Meet with the agent at their office.  Good agents listen to what you say.  They will ask if you are pre-approved for a loan and what your budget is.  This is very important to be open an honest about what you are looking for and your price range.   Watch to see if the agent takes notes.  This is a good sign of how interested the agent is in helping you.
  2. Ask the agent to explain agency relationships.  The law generally requires agents to explain this.  If the agent cannot explain agency relationships, look for a new agent.
  3. Ask the agent if they can narrow down the search, so you don’t have to look at homes that do not meet your “must have” list.
  4. Expected the agent to give you an education on home buying.  Be very cautious if they use scripted sales techniques.  That is an indication they are good salesman, which is not what you want.  You want someone that is a partner in helping you find the right home at a good price.

Victoria Cottle  has understands the Greenville market and can help you sell or buy a home. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Home Sales in 2012 was the Best in 5 Years


Home Sales in 2012 was the Best in 5 Years


December was icing on the cake for the real estate market in 2012.   According to National Association of Realtors®, sales of previously owned homes in December were down a little from previous month, but up 12.8% from December 2011.   Home sales were up 9% from 2011 and 2012 was the best year in home sales since 2007. 





Home sales have been helped by the following conditions:

  • Foreclosure, bankrupt, slow pay credit restrictions were eased by FHA and VA.
  • Slightly lower unemployment.
  • Low interest rates.
  • Home prices are increasing, so buyers are hurrying to get back in the market.
Low home prices and interest rates have combined to make the housing market very affordable.

Also the National Association of Realtors® 2013 is shaping up to have strong sales of existing homes as well.   The National Association of Realtors® has forecast that 5.1 million existing homes will be sold in 2013 and 5.4 million homes will be sold in 2014.
 
Inventory of homes for sale fell to 1.82 million homes on the market.  This is the lowest supply since January 2001.   The largest factor of lower inventory is that we had a drop in foreclosures and short sales.  Distressed homes made up 32% of the market a year ago, but now only made up 24% of the market. 

Lower numbers of distressed homes have helped to raise home prices in many areas of the country.   This is especially true in the Greenville South Carolina market.   Median home prices were up 6.3% from 2011.  This is the biggest gain since 2005.

Also construction of new homes has increased.  Builders started 954,000 homes in December 2012.   The Census Bureau reported that this was up more than 12% from November.  That was almost a 37% increase from December 2011.

New building permits have not changed much from November 2012.   Overall though, 903,000 new building permits were issued in 2012 which was up over 28% over 2011.

Victoria Cottle understands the Greenville South Carolina real estate market and can help you sell your existing home or buy that dream home you have always wanted.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Buyers with Foreclosures and Bankruptcies


The country is 5 ~ 7 years into the economic downturn and many people that had foreclosures or bankruptcy in this time can actually look into buying a home.  Greenville is going into an upswing in home prices and these buyers that faced adversity in the market are coming back.

Below is summary of guidelines from FHA website.

 

FHA Loans

Of course you need to talk to a lender about your particular situation, but here are highlights of current FHA policies.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

  • FHA will consider approving a loan if chapter 13 payments have been made on time and verified for a 1 year period.
  • Courts trustee must give written approval for a new loan.
  • You will have to give full detailed explanation of the bankruptcy and have re-established a good credit history.

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

  • Two years must have elapsed since the discharge date.
  • You must qualify financially with income to debt ratio.
    • Mortgage payment less than 31%.
    • Total fixed payment Ratio maximum of 41%.
  • You must have re-established good credit and have a stable job history.

LATE PAYMENTS

  •  Must show an overall behavior of being on time with payments, isolated late pays will be reviewed.
  • You must qualify financially with income to debt ratio,
    • Mortgage payment less than 31%.
    • Total fixed payment Ratio maximum of 41%.

FORECLOSURE

  •  Foreclosure must have discharge three years ago.
  • If the foreclosure of the borrower's main residence was the result of extenuating circumstances, an exception may be granted if they have since established good credit.  For instance, lose of job or medical issues.

COLLECTIONS, JUDGEMENTS AND FEDERAL DEBTS

  • A collection is minor in nature usually does not need to be paid off as a condition for loan approval.
  • Any judgments will have to be paid in full prior to closing.
  •  Borrowers who are delinquent on any federal debt, such as tax liens, student loans, etc., are not eligible.

It looks like FHA is trying to help people that face problems in the past, get back into home ownership.   Overall if you meet the guidelines above and have achieved the following you should look at purchasing a home:
  1. Paid your bills on time since foreclosure or bankruptcy.
  2. Have a credit score of 640 or higher. 
  3. Have a down payment of 3.5% or higher for new home.
  4. Agree to principal mortgage insurance (PMI) with protects lender from debts in case of default.
  5. Significantlly lower debt to income ratio.
  6. Stable job history for last two year.
  7. Each situation is different and an underwriter will scrutinize your loan applications far more than an average home buyer.  You should discuss your situation with a lender prior to searching for a home.
Victoria Cottle  has comprehensive understanding of the current real estate market in the Greenville South Carolina Market.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Guide for First Time Home Buyers




If you have decided living in an apartment, having roommates or renting a house is no longer working for you, and then you are ready to become a first time home buyer. The feeling you get when you own your first home is very rewarding. Just think, you can do the landscaping, paint or other style the way you want.

The first step in buying a house is working with a realtor and a mortgage agent to determine what you can afford. Here are the things that determine what you can afford:

Your credit score is important. The pie chart shows the approximate breakdown of what effects your credit scores the most. You can go to:
Next you need to determine how much you can afford, based on your credit score. The minimum credit score allowed by FHA in 2013 is 530.

Borrowers with credit score above 580 require a 3.5% down payment. The down payment funds can be the borrowers own funds or a gift from a family member and up to a 6% seller's concession is allowed.

If your credit score is below 580 new FHA changes require a 10% down payment. The down payment funds can be the borrowers own funds or a gift from a family member and up to a 6% seller's concession is allowed.

Income to debt ratio. This varies by lender but is usually between 28~37%. What this means is that if you take your income and multiply it by the ratio, you will get your maximum debt housing ratio. A good site to figure this out is at CNNMoney.

The second step takes the most planning. It is time to decide what kind of house you want, location you want to be in and the style of the home you like.

Deciding what type of home you want depends on your situation. Who will be living there? Just you, spouse, partner, pets, children, etc. all have to be considered.

Do you like to do yard maintenance? If no maybe a condo would be best.

Would you like to have an income property? Maybe a home with a studio apartment attached or a duplex would be best.

Do you like your privacy? Then you may want a home out in the country on a few acres of land.

Do you want something newer or older can make a difference in the purchasing price of the home? Realtor.com recently suggested that first time home buyers should consider short sales, bank owned or quick sales. These types of home can be purchased at a value to a first time home buyer that has a larger down payment.

If you are a busy person a home that is in newer condition and doesn’t need that much maintenance is a better choice for you.

If you would like to fix up the home to your fix your tastes then a fixer upper might be the way to go for you. Always consider all options as you might be surprised what you and your Realtor will find!

Consider the resale value of your home. There is always a chance in the future that you will sale your home. You might need something bigger, smaller or maybe moving but whatever the case may be having an idea of the resale value of your first home is necessary. This is something that your Realtor will be able to assist you with by using local reports and data.

Purchasing your first home is an exciting moment in your life! Having an experienced Realtor is going to provide you support and aid while going through the process of looking and buying your first home.

Victoria Cottle has comprehensive understanding of the current real estate market in the Greenville South Carolina Market.