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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
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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

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Fixer Upper in Wilmington DE

by Katina Geralis

By now, you've likely watched a reality TV show about buying a fixer upper home and thought to yourself, "that looks pretty easy." It is indeed exciting to mull over the prospect of making a home feel fresh and new again, but what the real reality will reveal is that fixer upper homes require much more time and money than their television slots allow.

Below are four questions to ask before you decide to purchase a fixer upper home in Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA:

What are the costs?
It can be a thrill to think about what a home in need of repair could be, but it is essential to consider all costs when buying a fixer upper in Wilmington, Newark or the surrounding areas. The last thing you want is to be surprised by mounting bills when the deal is done. In addition to the purchase price, look into costs like monthly maintenance, taxes, insurance, and how much equity you may have in the home once all of the work is completed. It never hurts to consider resale right off the bat!

Is everything sound?
You will want to have an inspector come in and check if the structural elements, as well as running systems are in working order or if they need replaced. The inspector will be able to tell you what needs replaced immediately and what can stand to wait. Remember, it never hurts to ask the age of systems like electrical and how much longer they have left. If you need a recommendation for an inspector in the area, your real estate agent is a wealth of resources! 

What is the scope of work?
One of your next steps when buying a fixer upper in Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA will be getting bids from contractors. Reality TV shows can make it seem simple to tear down walls, but there is so much more involved than what is actually shown. Gather bids from several contractors before choosing one and be sure to check references. While cost-effectiveness is important, trustworthiness will always play a major part.

Are there tax incentives?
Certain renovation projects come with tax incentives, depending on the work and the area in which the home is located. After all, you will be boosting the value of the property! Check which incentives may be available to you once you've completed all work.

Do not hesitate to give the  Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about buying a home in Chester County or Delaware County or for a list of available homes in the area!

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

Updated Real Estate Market Stats for New Castle County DE

by Katina Geralis

Now that we’re in the midst of summer, the real estate market has seen a rapid increase in buyer demand! Buyers are out in droves in Greater Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania, ready to find their dream homes, however they are also being met with limited inventory. How do you know what the market is like in your area? You can always count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to keep you updated with how the current real estate market in Wilmington, Newark, Chester County, Delaware County, New Castle County and beyond is behaving. Just take a look at the following statistics!

For the second quarter of 2017, there were 2,253 homes for sale— a 14.1 percent decrease in inventory from the same time last year and as we mentioned above, a trend that buyers are finding not just in Delaware and Southeastern PA, but all across the country! The median sales price did post an increase of 2.3 percent to $225,000 and the number of home sales rose 12.4 percent for a total of 2,091 closed sales in Q2. This number alone shows buyers are determined and ready to buy, thus pushing up the number of properties sold! 
 
As you can see from the charts above, the average sales price in New Castle County for the second quarter was $250,162, a number that rose 2.3 percent from this time last year, and what’s more, home sellers in the area will be glad to note that the percentage of the original price received comes in at 96 percent, posting an increase of 0.8 percent!
 
Inventory for the second quarter of 2017 posted a 21 percent drop from the year prior, totaling a 3.9 months supply— which is why the market is ready and waiting for your home! With few homes for sale, home sellers are likely to spark a bidding war or sell their home in a limited number of days, pending the right real estate team to help you achieve your goal. Plus, with mortgage rates still at historic lows, you could sell your property successfully and move on to your next dream home for the perfect price!
 
While these updated statistics can help provide insight into the real estate market, they are but a brief snapshot of the overall picture! Do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions you may have! Our experts at the Kat Geralis Home Team are on hand to provide more information about buying a new home, selling your current property or provide a list of available homes for sale!
 
Give us a call today!

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 Refinancing Myths in Greater Wilmington DE Real Estate

by Katina Geralis

It is no secret that mortgage rates won't be this low forever and as a result, many Greater Wilmington DE homeowners are thinking about refinancing. Refinancing can indeed save you thousands if you strike while rates are low, however, this is one real estate topic that comes packaged with dozens of myths.

Below are three common refinancing myths that end up holding Southeastern Pennsylvania homeowners back from saving money on their loan:

1. You're Too Late to Refinance
If hearing about rising rates has caused you to hit pause on your decision to refinance, think again! You most definitely have not missed your chance to save on your mortgage. As long as your lender confirms that refinancing will indeed lower your monthly payment and you are on the same page with the costs associated with the refinance, now is still a great time to make it happen!

2. You Won't Qualify
Even if you are trying to improve your credit or have recently switched jobs, you may still be able to qualify for a refinance. Don't let this hold you back from inquiring! The best course of action is to meet with a local lender to discuss your options and your eligibility as many requirements are beginning to loosen again and you could be surprised!

3. You'll Have to Reset the Term to 30 Years
If a refinance could be favorable for you, but you've already paid off decades of your home loan, don't jump right into thinking the term will be reset to the 30 year mark. Perhaps the best move during your refinancing is not the standard 30-year loan, but a shorter term ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). Consider your future plans and the time you plan to live in your current home as a shorter loan could still allow you to save and when the higher rate sets in, you may be ready to sell and move on!

Questions about the local real estate market, selling your home, or recommendations for lenders in the Wilmington DE, Newark DE, or Southeastern PA area? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team 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

When shopping for a home in Greater Wilmington and Southeastern Pennsylvania, you likely have a long list of must-haves to check off of your list. Examining everything from the number of bedrooms to the yard size becomes a priority and it is easy to overlook other important features like the resale value or even your commute time. 

As your local real estate experts in Wilmington DE and Newark DE, the Kat Geralis Home Team has included five things you will not want to overlook as you prepare to buy a home this year:

Resale value
Even though you're looking at homes for right now, it's important to look ahead for the purposes of resale value. If there is a feature of the house that doesn't bother you, but may bother another homeowner, you will want to decide if you're willing to fix it (and the costs) or if it will potentially affect your resale. 

Neighborhood at night
You may love the neighborhood a certain property in Greater Wilmington DE is in, but what about what the area looks like in the morning or at night? What is the noise like once everyone is home from work and school? Is there more traffic noise at a specific time you will need to consider? If you're interested in a home, visit at all hours of the day to get a good idea of what you'd be buying into.

Commute time
Buying a home in a new location of Chester County or Delaware County PA means the distance to your workplace may be longer. Before you jump into the mortgage application process and commit to a new property, factor in how long it will take you to get to work each day.

Bedrooms to bathrooms
The number of bedrooms in a new home in Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania is likely one of the first things you check for, but you'll also want to look into the number of bathrooms. Many bedrooms and one single bathroom could be problematic for families— or if you host guests often, you may want a powder bath available to keep your own bathroom private.

Room to grow
As I mentioned above with resale value, homebuyers should always be thinking one step ahead. Consider how much space a potential home has for your growing family or if you may need more storage in the future. The last thing you want to overlook is a lack of space and find you have to move sooner than you had hoped.

Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about homes for sale in Greater Wilmington Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania!

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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