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Home Staging vs. Hiding in Delaware and Pennsylvania Homes

by Katina Geralis

When you arrive to tour a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it can be easy to get distracted by home features like light fixtures, paint color, number of bedrooms, and the outdoor space— especially if you're a first-time homebuyer! These are indeed important aspects of a property to take notice of, but you will also need to keep your eyes out for minor—or major—flaws that could be hidden with simple home staging.

In some cases, Delaware or Pennsylvania home sellers will try to cover up issues with home staging and as your local real estate experts, we are here to help you uncover them!

Listing Phrases
Before you even arrive at home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you can get an idea of what might be waiting for you simply by the phrases used in the listing description. Words like "cozy" and "quaint" are often euphemisms for small homes. Listings can also state that they are ready for your touch or a "fixer upper," which typically means the property needs work.

Painted Floors
Paint can cover up many problems in a home— so don't always assume it is for decorative purposes when house hunting! If you happen to pull up a corner of carpeting in a DE or PA home and notice paint covering sections or all of the floor, it may be to cover up pet damage or water spots. 

Rugs
Typically used to warm up a home or add a touch of color to a room, rugs and runners can also be used to cover warped floor boards and water damage. Walk over the rugs several times and take note of how the floor feels— does it creak, crack, or feel unstable? If so, it could be worth taking a close look into before buying the home.

Furniture Placement
If the placement of furniture in a home feels off, it could be because the homeowner is hiding something underneath the furniture or around it. For instance, are there frames hung in an odd formation or spot? They could be covering water spots or cracks. Is there a large couch in the center of the room? It could be covering imperfections in the floor or pet damage.

Ready to get started on your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Give the ‚ÄčKat Geralis Home Team a call 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
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4 Reasons Why Your Delaware or Pennsylvania Home Isn't Selling

by Katina Geralis

You've listed your Delaware or Pennsylvania home for sale and are ready to sit back and watch the offers roll in— after all, isn't it a seller's market? But the opposite happens. Maybe you've received a few offers, but they're too low. Maybe you've had showings, but no serious interest. Your home isn't selling as quickly as you'd like and you want to know why.

As your local real estate experts, we have compiled a list below of four common reasons why your Delaware or Pennsylvania home might not be selling in today's real estate market. 

You priced too high
When pricing your home, it's important to price with today's buyer in mind, as well as comparable properties in the area. If you price according to your emotions, you may be tempted to price too high— especially with all of the memories you have tied to the property. It is not uncommon for home sellers to believe their property is worth more than the market dictates, which can ultimately keep them from moving on.

It needs work
As a homeowner in Delaware or Pennsylvania, making repairs is always wise prior to listing as it will help you avoid problems during the inspection. But that's not all! Even small updates like fresh paint can boost your home's sale price! If you choose to leave everything as is, flaws and all, you could discourage buyers from taking any real interest or being scared away by the thought of what else the home may need repaired.

You're inflexible
Today's homebuyers are constantly searching for properties on their smartphones, their computers, you name it. If your property has made a buyer's short list and they attempt to schedule a showing, you will need to be flexible with your schedule to allow them inside. Making this process difficult for them can cause your home to "sit" on the market longer than necessary.

Clutter is king
Home staging can help a property sell both quicker and for more money, so be sure to follow at least a few of its guidelines! One of those is removing clutter. If your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is filled with large furniture that makes the space feel small, knick knacks, and other personal items, you could risk turning off a buyer immediately.

Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for more information about successfully selling your home in Delaware or Pennsylvania or for a list of available homes in the area that might suit you next!

We even have a FREE Home Seller e-Guide

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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4 Real Estate Red Flags Your DE or PA Home Inspection Might Miss

by Katina Geralis

Regardless of how many times you have been through the process of buying a Delaware or Pennsylvania home, it is easy to get distracted by such features as updated bathrooms, spacious backyards, and even items like light fixtures and appliance colors. There is so much more that should go into your decision to purchase a specific property in DE or PA— including real estate red flags that even your home inspection could miss!

As your real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we have rounded up four red flags to keep an eye on while shopping for homes so you can anticipate costs and ultimately weigh your options:

Leaks
Depending on the age of your potential new home, any leaks could have dried up with the water being turned off and not arise until it is fully functioning again. The best place to spot leaks is under cabinets where you could notice water damage or moisture around drain traps. Remember, if the leak is not present on the day of your inspection, the inspector will likely not be able to point it out!

Structural Damage
This is a major red flag for any homebuyer in Delaware and Pennsylvania and while your inspector will know what a roof and foundation should look like, they will not be able to tell you how bad a problem is or how much it will cost. They will likely refer you to a structural engineer who will be able to break down cost to repair and when indeed you need to remedy the problem.

Electrical Issues
This is another red flag that could be more prevalent depending on the age of your home. Your inspector may point out disconnects in the electrical or wires that need updating to comply with current codes, however they will not always be able to list the exact source of the disconnect. You will need to bring in an electrician to identify specific costs and dig a little deeper to find the root of the problem listed in the inspection report.

HVAC Problems
Any problems with your HVAC system can be quite costly, but keep in mind that your system may be functioning properly while temperatures are moderate but could fail once they begin to take drastic turns— for instance, in the deep winter or heat of summer. The only way to identify potential problems is to hire an HVAC specialist who can assess how much longer your HVAC system has left or if parts look in need of repair or replacing.

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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

Updated Real Estate Market Stats for New Castle County DE

by Katina Geralis

 

Curious what's been happening in the local Delaware or Pennsylvania real estate market? You can always count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to share updated market stats! 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.

For the first quarter of 2018, there were 1,690 homes for sale— a 24.3 percent decrease in inventory from the same time last year. But before you begin to worry that the market is taking a dip, keep in mind that this isn't just the case in Delaware and Pennsylvania, lower inventory is a trend all over the country right now! The median sales price saw a 2.4 percent increase to $214,900 (a great sign for home sellers!) and the number of home sales dipped slightly to 1,362 total closed in Q1. 

The average sales price in New Castle County for the fourth quarter was $232,206, a 1.8 percent increase from this time last year— again great news for home sellers looking to get top dollar! The percentage of the original price received also saw a 2.3 percent increase in Q1, coming in at 95.9 percent!

Inventory for the first quarter of 2018 posted a 27.4 percent drop from the previous year, totaling a 2.9 months supply— another 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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

 

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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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
Find me on Facebook

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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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
Find me on Facebook

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