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5 Things That Can Slow Your DE or PA Mortgage Closing

by Katina Geralis

Once you've found the perfect Delaware or Pennsylvania home, made an offer, and had it accepted, you'll need to make it through the mortgage closing before you are handed your keys. You may be anxious to officially become a homeowner, but the time it takes to close is dependent on a variety of factors— some of which are in your control!

If you're planning to buy a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the following things that can slow down your mortgage closing:

Making big purchases
You may be excited about your new home, but resist the urge to buy new furniture and decor until after the closing. Making big purchases on credit cards can signal a red flag to lenders who will pull your credit just before closing to ensure it is still the same. A large purchase shows you've acquired more debt and could threaten your mortgage qualifications.

Outstanding HOA fees and fines
While this one may not be entirely in your hands, note that the previous homeowner's outstanding fees or fines owed to the homeowner's association can cause closing delays. You may be able to negotiate these costs with the seller prior to the sale or worst case scenario, you'll need to pay them. 

Document delays
Your lender will require many different documents for verification of income, including your pay stubs, tax documents, bank statements, and they'll likely even get in contact with your employer. Be sure to provide these documents as soon as they ask for them or you could see a delay in closing.

Titles and liens
If there is a lien against the property or the title has the wrong signature, it will need to be resolved before the closing can move forward. 

Down payment
If your down payment is coming via gift from a friend or family member, the closing could be slowed slightly. In addition, if the lender requires the buyer to put down more on the home and the buyer does not have immediately have the extra funds, the date could be pushed out several weeks or months.

Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for a list of available homes in your area or for more information on the home buying process!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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3 Questions to Ask Mortgage Lenders in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania is likely one of the biggest decisions (and purchases!) you will make in your lifetime and as a result, you will want a team of experts on your side to see you through the process. One of the most important is, of course, your real estate agent and the other is your lender. 

Your lender will help you secure financing to purchase a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and be available to answer all of your questions surrounding debt, closing costs, and even your buying timeline. But remember, not all lenders are the same, so it is key to ask a few questions in order to find the best fit for you:

Is now the right time for me to buy?
Depending on your specific financial situation, it may be in your best interests to put in an offer on your dream home now or wait until next year when your buying power is stronger— and a great lender will tell you that! The right lender will clearly explain how your debts and down payment can affect your buying power—or your ability to qualify for a mortgage and favorable rate—and how that will play into your timeline.

What credit score do I need to qualify?
A great lender will share what they are looking for in terms of credit score and credit history in order to provide financing to a homebuyer. To take it one step further, they may even comb through your credit report to show what debts are worth paying off before applying for a mortgage in order to secure the best rate. 

What are the closing costs?
Depending on the loan program you choose, you will need to pay a few closing costs before anyone hands over your new keys. A great lender will outline the different loan programs you may qualify for and what the closing costs might be for that specific program. The lender should also be able to share how you will pay such costs, whether by check or via electronic transfer.

There are many facets to homebuying in our area and you can count on us to make sure you're aware of them all! Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for a lender recommendation or a list of available homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
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It is common for the real estate market to experience ebbs and flows in Delaware and Pennsylvania— in fact, it's always changing! Some years, it could lean in favor of buyers, and others, sellers may have the upper hand. But how do you know which direction the market is headed right now? Are there signs to watch for?

There are indeed specific factors that can help you identify which type of market you're in and as your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to point them out! Below are three ways you can tell if you're in a seller's market:

Home Prices

One way to find out if you're in a buyer's or seller's market is to look closely at home prices. If you notice that home prices are rising steadily over time, you are likely in a seller's market. Curious about your Delaware or Pennsylvania home value? Give us a call! We're happy to provide more information for homeowners in the area.

Final Price vs. Asking Price

If sellers in your area are typically earning the asking price or even more (due to a bidding war or simply buyer demand) for their properties, you are probably in a seller's market. When homes sell for below their asking price, you would are in a buyer's market as these deals would ultimately work in a buyer's favor.

Days on Market

The average number of days that a property is on the real estate market, often referred to as DOM, will show you how "old" the listing is; you can find this figure easily on any listing sheet, either online or in-person. Take a look at this number— if homes are selling quickly (between 7 to 10 days), you are in a seller's market. This is especially important for local homeowners as this indicates their property is likely to sell efficiently and at a favorable price due to buyer demand.

No matter if you're a buyer or seller in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to walk you through the process! Contact us today!

We even offer FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
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Updated Real Estate Market Stats for New Castle County DE

by Katina Geralis

It's a new year, so it's time for a real estate market update! Buyers are still out in high numbers, ready to find their dream homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania, while inventory is still trending around the lower end of the spectrum. Just remember, real estate is hyper-local, so it is always wise to contact your agent for a current snapshot of the market where you live— the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help!

For the fourth quarter of 2017, there were 1,735 homes for sale— a 21.2 percent decrease in inventory from the same time last year. But this isn't just happening here in Delaware and Pennsylvania, lower inventory is a trend buyers are finding all across the country! The median sales price saw a 4.4 percent decrease to $215,000 and the number of home sales rose 2 percent for a total of 1,696 total closed sales in Q4. 

The average sales price in New Castle County for the fourth quarter was $243,299, a 2.7 percent decrease from this time last year. But don't let these decreases in average sales price or median sales price worry you— the percentage of the original price received saw a .7 percent increase in Q4, coming in at 95.2 percent!

Inventory for the fourth quarter of 2017 posted a 28.7 percent drop from the previous year, totaling a 2.9 months supply— just one more sign that the market is ready for your home! With the right real estate expert on your side, you can sell your home quickly and for top dollar— you might just even spark a bidding war!

Updated real estate market stats can provide brief insight into the local real estate market, but they are just that— brief! Contact us today for more information about the market where you live in Delaware or Pennsylvania or with any questions you have about buying or selling a home this year!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Give us a call today!
 

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Budget Curb Appeal Tips for Your Delaware or Pennsylvania Home

by Katina Geralis

When selling your Delaware or Pennsylvania home, you'll want to make sure your property stands out from the crowd. And while it is important to complete all necessary repairs and price the home properly, curb appeal can go a long way in the eyes of a homebuyer. 

If you plan to list your Newark or Wilmington DE home this spring, below are five budget-friendly curb appeal tips to make your home the envy of the block:

Do an exterior deep clean
Take a weekend to clean the exterior of your Southeastern PA or Wilmington DE area home thoroughly. That means washing windows, power washing siding, and even the driveway, trimming bushes, and picking up sticks in the yard. You'd be amazed how fresh and new your property can look with a little elbow grease and a few hours of time.

Bring in subtle decor
When trying to impress buyers, you never want to overwhelm them with large decor items, lawn ornaments, or bold statements like a pink paint color on your home's exterior. Instead, bring in subtle additions like a seasonal wreath, pots flanking the door, or shutters to add character to the property.

Paint the trim
Instead of painting your entire home which can be quite time-consuming and costly, focus on the trim, front door, and shutters. Choosing a new color to accent the exterior—or simply giving it a fresh coat of the same—can make your home stand out to buyers in today's market.

Replace the numbers
This is one of the most inexpensive curb appeal boosting tasks you can complete and one that takes the least amount of time. You can pick up new house numbers for as little as $5 per number and you'll be surprised to find there are hundreds of styles to choose from which can give your home a much-needed update.

Hide the A/C unit
If the rest of your Delaware or Chester County PA home is up to par on style and decor, one task left is hiding eyesores like your air conditioning unit and trash cans. Consider adding a lattice box around the A/C to better mask it from the curb or placing your trash cans in the garage or behind a fence to keep them out of sight.

Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about preparing your home for sale and available properties in today's real estate market! We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
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Spring is just around the corner here in the Greater Wilmington DE area and many buyers will soon make a break for the real estate market, ready to find their dream home. And while of course you have a variety of options when it comes to what your new home will include—open concept, updated kitchen, large backyard, extra storage space—there are ultimately two types of properties to choose from: Existing and New Construction.

Existing homes may have the character you're looking due to their age, but if you ultimately decide that a new construction home in Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA would be the best fit, there are a few things you should note.

There are not always in the MLS
As a buyer, you may not know that new construction homes cannot always be found in the MLS, or the real estate websites you use to search for available properties. Builders often have a team working on-site and advertise through local media to get the word out about their homes. If you have decided on a new construction home, let your real estate agent know so they can round up the best options for you!

Early discounts might be available
Depending on where you come in on the sales process, you may find that a builder is happy to offer you a discount or lower price on a property in order to meet their quota and drive future sales. However, don't be distracted too much by the lower price as you are then locked in to the project and may risk losing your down payment should you decide to cancel the transaction before the build actually begins.

Upgrade discounts may also be available
As I mentioned above, certain points in the sales process may allow buyers to negotiate easier. For instance, toward the end of the building project, builders are often more willing to compromise in order to wrap up their sales. A lower sales price may not be in the cards, but they may offer you an upgrade discount where you are able to choose a pricer finish like hardwood flooring or stainless appliances instead of standard finishes. Depending on what you choose, the upgrades could make for a better deal than an initial drop in price! 

Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today to get started on your home search in Wilmington or Newark, DE or Southeastern PA! We are here to help you find the perfect property that suits your needs and budget, no matter what type of property you desire.

Happy house hunting!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
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Once you've found your dream home in Chester County or Delaware County PA, Wilmington or Newark DE, it can be hard to erase the picture from your mind. You start to envision yourself living in the space, how your furniture will fit, and what paint colors you will choose. But in today's real estate market, you may find yourself competing with cash buyers who can snag the home quicker and easier than those with financing. 

You will need an edge to land the property over those cash buyers and below are a few ways for you to do just that:

Be straightforward about your finances
Sellers often accept cash deals as every aspect of the transaction is laid out on the table for them to see. As a buyer with financing, it is essential that you do the same if you are to compete with cash buyers. Be straightforward with your finances— provide a pre-approval letter, allow your lender to provide financial details with your offer so the seller can feel confident in accepting it. Documents like bank statements and credit reports can allow the seller to see exactly what you have to back up your offer and feel it is just as sound as a cash offer.

Speed up the loan process
Ask your lender how quickly they can turn around the loan as many cash deals close quickly without having to go through this step. In some scenarios, loans can be turned around in as little as 14 days. Even better, if you can speed up the appraisal contingency and get the appraiser to the property fast, sellers may be more willing to accept your offer.

Speed up the inspection
Sellers in Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA want to close the deal as efficiently as possible and for top dollar. To this effect, if you can also get your inspector to the property within days after your accepted offer, they can feel more confident that there will be no hiccups in the process.

Offer more
In some cases, if you don't want to risk losing the home to a cash buyer, you can offer more than what you think the home is worth. Cash buyers will oftentimes offer a lesser amount because of the lack of hurdles sellers will have to jump, so if you can top the cash offer, you may put yourself in a better position to win the property! Depending on how much more you offer, the increase likely won't change your mortgage payment much over the life of the loan. 

Be personal
You have probably heard stories of buyers writing sellers letters in an attempt to make their offer stand out. If the home you're bidding on is indeed your dream home, what could it hurt? Be personal with the sellers and make yourself known, you never know if your letter detailing what you love about the property or details about your family could put the ball in your court.

As your local real estate experts in Greater Wilmington and Southeastern PA, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to help you secure your dream home, whether you're using financing to buy or cash. Give us a call today!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

It may not feel like it just yet, but spring will be here before we know it! And while home buyers are indeed scouring the market for the perfect home year-round these days, traffic tends to pick up significantly in the spring months. What does that mean for you as a Delaware or Pennsylvania home seller? It means your property must be in tip-top shape to outshine the others on the market and as your local real estate experts, we have included a few tasks below to help it do just that!

Be sure to complete the following tasks before listing your Delaware or Pennsylvania home:

Clean the gutters
Once the warm temperatures begin to set in, we're all eager to get outside again— but you're probably not in a hurry to venture up to the roof. Don't forget to take stock of your gutters, giving them a good cleaning before the spring is in full swing. If left unattended, gutters can begin to overflow and wreak havoc on your foundation or the interior of your home via water damage.

Wash the windows
Not only do clean windows allow for more light to enter your Southeastern PA home, but they give the impression that your home is tidy and well cared for. No matter what time of year you list your DE or PA home, be sure to give your windows a thorough washing!

Remove yard debris
Especially before having listing photos taken of your home, you'll want to make sure your home's curb appeal is on point. Yard debris in the form of tree limbs, twigs, and dead landscaping can really bring down the property's image for buyers. Take the time to clean up your yard—as well as clear walkways—and ensure it gives off a welcoming aura to buyers.

Store your winter tools
Before you invite buyers into your Wilmington, Newark, or Southeastern PA home, it is essential to store your winter tools, including shovels and rakes. Not only do these items give the feeling of clutter to your outdoor space, but it suggests to the buyers that the rest of the property is not organized and maintained.

Repair animal damage
During the colder months, it is not uncommon for outside critters to find a way in! Raccoons, birds, bats, mice, squirrels, you name it— they can easily take up residence in damaged siding, under the roofline, and in holes around your foundation. If you spot these damaged areas, it is key to repair them as soon as possible before buyers point them out themselves!

If you're thinking about selling your home in Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA this spring, give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We are here to guide you through the entire process, starting with preparing your property for sale!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

The In's and Out's of Buying Delaware and Pennsylvania FSBO Homes

by Katina Geralis

You've heard the term before, but what do you really know about FSBO homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania? FSBO, or For Sale by Owner, homes, mean the owners have not enlisted the help of a real estate agent to help them sell the property. And while that sounds as though it will not affect you as the buyer, there are a few things you will need to note before you decide to purchase a FSBO.

You can use an agent to buy a FSBO
Just because the home seller declined the use of a real estate agent doesn't mean you have to! There are many perks to working with an agent when buying a home, perhaps the biggest one being they handle the negotiations for you!

You can still negotiate
As I mentioned above, you can still negotiate your offer— even when it's a For Sale by Owner home! While the seller may have chosen to work without an agent for the commission aspect of the deal, that doesn't always mean they are rigid on the price. Remember that your agent has been here before and will know how to find the best deal!

They might be willing to cover costs
Homeowners in Delaware or Pennsylvania that choose to go the FSBO route may still cover the costs of your agent, regardless of their reasoning behind ditching their own. Many are willing to cooperate with buyers and their agents to ensure a smooth transaction.

You may need a lawyer
Every state is different, but some require that both parties be represented by an attorney, even if you have a buyer's agent on your side. Some do not require that attorney to be present at the closing, so if you are serious about your FSBO purchase, simply consult your real estate agent! 

You should still get pre-approved
It never hurts for a homebuyer to get pre-approved in a real estate transaction— even if it's a FSBO deal! Oftentimes these sellers are inexperienced and will make quick decisions when offers comes in, so it is always wise to already have your pre-approval edge to help yours stand out! 

The most important takeaway is that FSBO homes are not sold the same way standard, agent-listed properties are and the process of purchasing one will differ for Chester County and Delaware County buyers. If you find yourself interested in a FSBO property, do not hesitate to contact your real estate agent! 

Unsure how to navigate the local real estate market in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

3 Reasons to Buy a Home in Delaware or Pennsylvania in 2018

by Katina Geralis

If you've been dreaming about a fresh start in Delaware or Pennsylvania and have started browsing homes for sale in Greater Wilmington, Newark, Chester County or Delaware County PA, you'll be glad to know you are on the right track! 2018 is shaping up to be a great year to purchase a home in our area for a variety of reasons, from rate hikes to inventory levels, and I've listed a few of them for you below!

Rates are rising
In order to avoid paying more down the road for a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you will want to make your purchase in the beginning of the new year ahead. Interest rates are expected to continue rising (no more 3% rates!) over the next 11 months, at least two to four more times. In fact, buyers can expect 5 percent interest rates by the end of the year. 

Prices are rising
Just as I mentioned above, you could end up spending more for the same property if you wait to buy later in the year as home prices are also expected to increase. And while these have been rising rapidly over the past few months, 2018 will begin to moderate that pace. Home prices will indeed continue to rise, but not quite as quickly as they have been. However, that doesn't mean you should delay! Purchasing a home in 2018 is a wise move and will allow you to save as you watch numbers tick upward.

Inventory is rising
This is a good sign for the local real estate market as inventory levels have been on the low side for the last year. More homes will return to the market, with the majority of the recovery being in the middle to upper price ranges, which means you will have much more to choose from as you begin your home search in Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Start the new year in a new home in Wilmington, Newark, Chester County or Delaware County PA— the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help! Give us a call today for a list of available properties in the area or for more information about buying a home. We even offer FREE first-time homebuyer seminars!

Looking forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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