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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
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How to Brighten Your Delaware or Pennsylvania Home in the Winter

by Katina Geralis

When it comes to winter weather, the shorter days and colder temperatures may make for cozy evenings, but inside your home, it can make your Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA spaces feel darker and smaller than necessary. However, there are dozens of ways to bring more light into your home and help it feel just as cheery as in the spring.

Below are five ways to brighten up your Delaware or Pennsylvania home in the winter:

Take off the screens
Did you know you can let in 30 percent more light when you remove the screens from your windows? If your windows are still sporting them, store them until spring and let the sunshine pour in your home! But don't let them go far— you'll want to put them back in a few months to avoid running your cooling system too much. 

Trim back landscaping
Outside your home, overgrown landscaping and trees can quickly take up prized window space. Set aside a few hours to trim back any hedges, shrubs, or trees that could be blocking light from streaming inside your DE or PA home.

Replace light bulbs
Dim light bulbs can tend to cast a yellow hue over your indoor spaces, creating the illusion of smaller, darker spaces. Replace your older bulbs with energy-efficient models and opt for the cool white tone or blue white tone to help your home feel brighter and more open.

Refresh the paint
If you have rich, deep colors on your walls, the winter weather and shorter daylight hours will do no favors for the spaces. Consider refreshing the paint and choosing a lighter, more neutral tone like beiges, grays, or white to create a more airy feel.

Clean your windows
You may not have thought of this one, simple tip, but dirty windows can easily darken a home. It is only necessary to clean the glass outside of your home once per year, but inside, you should clean windows at least once a month to avoid blocking any light. 

Ready to move on to a new Delaware or Pennsylvania home in 2018? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about available properties, selling your home, and your home value!

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

Tis the season to sell your Delaware or Pennsylvania home! In my last blog post, I shared Staging Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays and while it can indeed be a great move to list this time of year, you'll want to make sure you are following what NOT to do during the holidays as well.

Below are five things not to do during the holidays if you plan to sell your Wilmington, Newark, or Southeastern PA home:

Do Not: Put up damaging decorations
It's exciting to deck the halls and turn your home into a magical winter wonderland, but if you can, avoid doing so with damaging decorations. Anything that can leave marks or holes on your walls, scuff the floors, rip the carpet, even leave scratches on the ceiling should be avoided. These are easy to spot as a homebuyer and they will take note when the arrive to view your home.

Do Not: Go into holiday debt
As you're buying gifts this holiday season, pay close attention to your budget and your wallet. When the time comes to move into a new home and take on a new mortgage, lenders will not want to see a mountain of debt that you acquired during the holidays. Keep your future mortgage approval in mind as you shop and avoid racking up those credit card bills.

Do Not: Display large gifts
If you plan to give (or receive!) any large gifts this holiday season, it's best to keep them in storage until after your home sells— or at least when buyers may be present. These large gifts can take up valuable space in your home that make the property feel smaller and more cluttered. Keep clear paths and try to create the illusion of an open, airy space if possible.

Do Not: Buy a new pet
Everyone wants a new pet for the holidays, but when you take into account playful paws that can do damage to your home, as well as potty-training, it may be best to wait until you arrive in your new home. As a Delaware or Pennsylvania home seller, you could just be creating more work for yourself in having to cover up stains, odors, and clean up hair to impress buyers. 

Do Not: Buy for your current home
Home-related gifts are great options for the holidays, but be sure not to buy for your current home. Big ticket items like furniture or appliances should be purchased with your new home in mind, or you could wind up with something you may have to sell or replace when the time comes to move. 

Ready to sell your Delaware or Pennsylvania home and move on for the new year? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! You can also download our FREE e-Guide!

Happy holidays!

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

Selling your Delaware or Pennsylvania home during the holidays can be a lucrative move— if you pay close attention to important factors like pricing and of course, staging. Staging your property is one of the many elements that can help you to sell both quickly and for top dollar and as a seller in today's market, it is certainly something you won't want to skip over!  

As your local real estate experts in the Greater Wilmington and Southeastern PA area, we have included a few tips below for selling and staging your home during the holidays— so be sure to read before you begin to deck the halls!

Match your decorations to the style of your home
Keep your home's decor consistent during this time of year to create a cohesive vibe for homebuyers. For instance, if you have a more traditional home, keep the decor simple, classic, and elegant. If you have a more modern home, bring in modern decor and stick to a minimalist color palette. 

Try not to be too personal
The holidays do evoke nostalgia, as well as family memories you may have made in your home, but it's important to not be too personal when it comes to decor. You can still deck the halls with your favorite ornaments, lights, and the like, but try to save the "Baby's First Christmas" photos and "World's Best Mom" items for the next holiday in your new home. Remember that buyers want to be able to envision themselves in the home, so it's best to create a neutral space without overly personal decor. 

Skip the lawn ornaments
You may love your inflatable Frosty that sits on your front lawn, but today's buyers are easily turned off by loud, garish holiday decor. After all, they may not be able to focus on the exterior of the home itself if they are distracted by glittering reindeer, life-size snow globes, and flashing lights. Pass on the lawn ornaments this year and keep it simple with white lights.

Keep holiday cards organized
Stringing up your holiday cards in a garland-style across your kitchen is a fun holiday pastime, but not when you're selling your home. Keep holiday cards organized by storing them in a drawer or in a basket if you're trying to impress buyers.

Light a fire
Selling your home during the holidays can be a smart move as this tends to be a highly emotional time of year. Buyers are looking for a home where they can begin their own holiday traditions, host gatherings, or watch their family making memories— create a cozy feeling by lighting a fire if you have a fireplace or making sure the property is warm when they come in from the cold.

Ready to move on to begin the new year in a new Delaware or Pennsylvania home? Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for more information about next steps and finding your home value

Happy holidays!

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

5 Reasons Buying a Delaware or Pennsylvania Home Is Better Than Renting

by Katina Geralis

Before you renew your lease or consider signing a new one, you might like to consider buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania. There are dozens of reasons why homeownership is the better option over renting and as your local real estate experts, we've included a few of them for you below!

It's less expensive
While you may be intimidated by homeownership, you will be glad to know it is much less expensive than renting! According to a new report, it is now 37 percent less expensive to buy a home than it is to rent nationwide. If you're ready to take that next step toward buying your own home, your first step is to meet with a lender to get pre-approved and find out how much you can afford!

You can lock in your housing cost
The costs of renting are always rising, but with homeownership, you are able to lock in your housing costs for the next 5, 10, 15, even 30 years, depending on the mortgage you choose! Locking in one of the current interest rates, which are currently hovering around historic lows, allows you to watch your home value rise, but your housing costs stay the same! 

There are tax advantages
When you own your own Delaware or Pennsylvania home, there are certain tax benefits that come along with it. For instance, did you know you can deduct the cost of property taxes and mortgage interest from your annual taxes? It's always best to check with your account to see which advantages apply to you, but owning a home is certainly a way to earn tax savings!

Homeownership is forced savings
Think of owning a home in Southeastern PA or Greater Wilmington DE as a means of "forced savings." What that means is that by simply paying your mortgage each month, you are building equity that you can use at a later date toward renovations, paying down debt, or whatever you choose. When you rent a home, that savings is all funneled to your landlord.

It's the best investment
Homeownership has long been hailed as one of the best investments you can make— better than stocks or gold! What's more, no other investment allows you to live in it! When you purchase a home, not only are you helping to build your wealth with the investment, but this one also allows you a place to live! You can't say the same for gold.

Ready to find a place of your own in the Greater Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA area? Do not hesitate to contact the Kat Geralis Home Team with any questions about buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania this year or for a list of available properties! We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars

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

How to Know How Much Your Delaware or Pennsylvania House Is Worth

by Katina Geralis

When you decide to sell your home in Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania, you begin to dream about how much profit you can make and moving to your next location. However, there is one figure you'll need to determine before you can make those dreams a reality— your home value.

It is not uncommon for homeowners to over-estimate how much their property might be worth, so as your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team has put together a few tips that can help you determine just that.

Comparable properties
One of the first places to look to help find your home value is a list of comparable properties in the area. Look at homes that have a similar square footage to yours or those with the same types of features. Even if you think your home is better than the one down the street, you'll need to consider if it has a larger footprint, updates that yours doesn't have, or more bathrooms as these can add significant value. 

Home improvements
Have you made any recent improvements to your Chester County or Delaware County home? They could make a big impact on your home value— or not add as much as you thought. Know that there are some updates that don't add as much value as others at resale so it is always wise to consider ROI (return on investment) prior to completing projects. If you are unsure if a certain update will boost your value, you are welcome to consult your real estate agent!

Location
There is a reason "location, location, location" is a real estate mantra. Factors in your area like the schools, proximity to entertainment, parks, commute times, neighbors, and of course, a sense of community can all either help or hinder your home value. 

Age of the home
Your home's condition and the age of the property can also influence how much it may be worth. Oftentimes, homes deemed "historic" and newer properties tend to be worth more than others. The aforementioned factors do play a big role in finding your home's worth, but typically as homes age, their value lessens.

There are many ways for you to determine the value of your Greater Wilmington or Southeastern Pennsylvania home and it is helpful to have an idea of what you might be working with prior to listing the property. Remember, it's best to put on your home seller hat and set aside your emotional ties to the property to find a realistic price.

Curious about your Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania home value? Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today to find out!

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

Top Tips for Selling Your Delaware or Pennsylvania Home in the Fall

by Katina Geralis

As you may have heard by now, the real estate market has much less inventory than it has in past years. We even shared in our last market stats post that inventory for Q2 of 2017 was standing around a 3.9 months supply— a 21 percent decrease from the previous year. But does that mean you should shy away from listing your Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA home this fall? No! 

The real estate market could use your home and if you've been thinking about selling, below are the top tips for a successful sale during this time of year:

Clean up the yard
This time of year, the leaves have started to change and fall and may be cluttering up your yard. Take the time to rake all of the debris currently in your yard to make a nice impression on potential buyers who may drive by or arrive for a showing.

Ramp up curb appeal
Curb appeal helps to create cozy, welcoming feelings in Wilmington DE or Newark DE buyers, so start with your front door! Add seasonal mums on either side and consider adding a subtle fall wreath to welcome buyers inside.

Warm up the house
When the weather begins to turn cold, you'll want to make sure that your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is warm for buyers. Turn up the heat to allow for a comfortable temperature inside and consider painting your living room walls a neutral, warm color to appeal to buyers.

Clean the fireplace
If your Southeastern PA home has a fireplace, this time of year is the perfect window to show it off! Gas fireplaces can be lit when buyers arrive, but if your wood-burning fireplace hasn't been cleaned, now is your opportunity to call the professionals and have it ready for the colder months ahead.

Turn on the lights
Buyers today are looking for natural light in properties, but if your home lacks a wealth of windows, you can still create that illusion by turning on all of the lights. Especially as it begins to get darker earlier, make sure all of the lights are on for buyers so the home feels warmer, more open, and of course, friendlier. 

Do not hesitate to contact the Kat Geralis Home Team with any questions about selling your home this fall or which steps you should take to list your home. We're here to help!

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

Closing Costs to Expect When Buying a Delaware Home

by Katina Geralis

Did you know the majority of today's homebuyers aren't aware of closing costs? You may find that you have prepared for homeownership with your down payment and even have your first month's mortgage ready in your bank account, but this very important set of costs is commonly overlooked. 

As your local real estate experts in Greater Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA, the Kat Geralis Home Team has included a few key notes on closing costs below so you are better equipped to make the biggest, most important purchase of your life!

What Are They?

Closing costs are recurring and non-recurring fees connected to both your lender and other parties in the sale—for instance, an attorney, inspector and title company—and are to be paid upfront at the closing table. Unless you have financed them ahead of time or worked your offer to arrange for the seller to pick up the tab, unfortunately there is no way around these costs.

Closing costs typically include:

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Title insurance
  • Loan origination
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Document prep
  • Property line survey
  • Title search and recording
  • Loan underwriting
  • Wire transfer

How Much Will They Cost?

Closing costs tend to range between two and five percent of the total purchase price of the home

How Can You Prepare?

It is true that you may not know how much you will owe in closing costs until you find a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and meet with a lender, but you can still gather a general idea based on your price range alone. Is your budget for a new home around $150,000? You can expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing costs.

Once you've met with your lender in Wilmington, Newark, Chester County or Delaware County, you can estimate how much you will owe in closing costs given your loan product, loan amount and the interest rate you are offered. You can use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payment and how that will fluctuate depending on if you've decided to finance the closing costs into it. 

Buying a home for the first time in Greater Wilmington and Southeastern PA is both an exciting and uncertain time. Let the Kat Geralis Home Team walk you through the process, every step of the way, so you can feel more at ease and enjoy the prospect of finding your dream home!

Give us a call today for more information about buying a home or available properties in the area! We even offer FREE First-Time Home 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

Celebrate Fall in Wilmington DE and Pennsylvania with These Events!

by Katina Geralis

In just a few days, it will officially be the start of a new season in Wilmington DE and Southeastern Pennsylvania and aside from cooler temperatures and falling leaves, the calendar is changing too! This September and October are filled with fall-themed events around the area, including a fall arts and crafts festival, Oktoberfest, and more!

Below are a few ways you can celebrate fall in Chester County, Delaware County, Greater Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA:

Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest
September 15-17, 2017
Friday 5 PM to 11 PM; Saturday 12 PM to 11 PM; Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM
Delaware Saengerbund
Newark DE

Friday night's parade marks the beginning of the three-day festival celebrating all things German food and culture! The parade will feature the Muenchner Kindl, or Munich Child, a symbol of the city of Munich, which will lead the march. Food for the festival will span everything from grilled Bratwurst and Weisswuurst or veal sausage, to pretzels and Rollmops or marinated herring with rye bread. You can also enjoy potato salad and sauerkraut made by the the Ladies organization in the Delaware Saengerbund kitchen. 

Art & Craft Fall Festival
September 30, 2017; 11 AM to 5 PM
Woodside Farm Creamery
Hockessin DE

This FREE fall festival will feature arts and crafts from local artists, including original paintings, prints and more. Meet the artists and stroll around, enjoy a free sample of Woodside's newest ice cream flavor, and take home some of their homemade fudge, farm fresh cheeses or one of the farm-grown mums or pumpkins for your entryway! There will be free parking and activities for the kids like pumpkin painting and scarecrow making!

Autumn Leaf Train Ride to Hockessin
October 7 through November 5, 2017
Held Saturday and Sunday; 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM
Greenbank Station
Wilmington DE

It's a beautiful time of year in Delaware and Pennsylvania, so why not take it all in with a special train ride? Bring a camera and enjoy a trip that follows the entire length of the railroad (17 miles round trip!) to Hockessin where you will spend thirty minutes picking up treats for the train ride back or visiting the local shops.

Apple Picking at Hopewell Furnace
September and October
Hopewell Furnace
Elverson PA

What better way to celebrate fall than with apple picking? Over the next two months, visitors are able to pick apples not commonly found in today's orchards from the park's historic orchard. 

​Longwood Gardens Chrysanthemum Festival
October 7 through November 19, 2017
Longwood Gardens
Kennett Square PA

Mums are a symbol of the fall season and Longwood Gardens has a special festival dedicated to the autumn beauty! Explore the Conservatory filled with thousands of mums, fashioned into orbs, spirals, pagodas and more. This October, the Thousand Bloom Mum will show off more than 1,500 flowers arranged on one single stem and with longer hours, the foliage glows with lanterns on seven specific nights in October. Outdoors, the gardens will also be open for visitors to marvel at the fall colors including the Pumpkin Playground!

You can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to introduce you to the surrounding areas, as well as walk you through the processes of buying a home and selling a home. Contact us today for more information about the local real estate market!

Happy fall! 

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

5 Tasks to Complete Around Your Chester County PA Home in September

by Katina Geralis

September is here and it's time to start getting your home ready for the fall season ahead. Say goodbye to summer by putting away garden tools, patio furniture and cleaning the gutters to make way for the falling leaves. 

As your local real estate experts in Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA, the Kat Geralis Home Team has listed five home improvement tasks to complete around your home this month:

Clean up siding
During the summer months, the siding on your home can easily become mildewed and damaged. Check for cracks in the siding that may need repaired and take the time to pressure wash away any dirt and grime that may have accumulated over the last few months. You will want to have any issues fixed before the cold arrives!

Check windows and doors
The seals around windows and doors become increasingly important during the fall and winter as they can let warm air escape and cold air enter. Check these seals in your Wilmington DE area home and if you spot a place where air can escape, you can apply a new bead of caulk or weatherstripping depending on its location.

Clean the chimney
If you have a fireplace in your Southeastern PA home, now is the time to have it swept for use in the fall and winter. The build up of soot can make you more prone to a chimney fire, so it's best to let the pros tackle this job.

Have HVAC inspected
When you go to reach for the thermostat this fall, you will want to know everything is in working order. Call your local technician to have your HVAC system inspected now and take care to change out your furnace filter. There is often a long waiting list to have systems inspected when the weather turns cold, so avoid this obstacle and cross it off your list now!

Clean and store yard equipment
It's time to put away the gardening tools, patio furniture, garden hose, and the like. While you may use them a few more times in the coming weeks, you can at least clean them now to ensure they will not rust or become damaged once in storage. Clear a space in the garage or shed to store all of your yard equipment and outdoor furniture and once you've decided to call it for the season, you'll know exactly where they go!

Ready to make a move this fall? Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for more information about selling your home and finding your next dream property in Greater Wilmington, Chester County and Delaware County PA!

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

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