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5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Owning a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania definitely comes with its perks— from tax benefits to free reign on design and everything in between. But if you're making the transition from renter to homeowner this year, it's important to note that there may be a few home-related costs that you didn't plan for or even know about before you began house-hunting.

As your local real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to make sure you are prepared for every aspect of homeownership— including the following hidden costs:

Property Taxes
When you use a mortgage calculator prior to buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it is essential that you input estimated property taxes. You can typically find this amount on any listing, or ask one of our real estate experts to help, so you can see how your monthly payment will change adding them in.

Insurance
Homeowner's insurance will vary depending on your home, your pets, your neighborhood, and a host of other different factors. Research average costs in your area and add them into your potential monthly mortgage payment to avoid any surprises down the road. 

Yard Upkeep
If you're currently renting in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you likely do not have to deal with the yard upkeep or maintenance. Once you become a homeowner, you will be responsible for buying all of your own tools, including snowblowers, lawn mowers, shovels, and rakes. Not to mention, the time you will need to free up to keep your yard looking well-manicured in every season!

HVAC
Furnaces and air conditioning units can be a major cost that homeowners do not account for when buying a property. For instance, if you don't have a home warranty, and your furnace breaks down, only you are responsible for covering the repairs or replacement which can cost you thousands! It's best to begin saving for a rainy day fund at the start of your homeowner journey to prepare for things like this, or even small expenses like replacing furnace filters every month or so.

Utilities
As a renter, you were likely used to much smaller utility bills than you will have as a homeowner in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Once you've found a home you're interested in, you can ask the previous homeowner for the average utility costs in order to factor them into your overall budget and avoid surprises later.

Ready to make the move to become a homeowner in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Give our experts at the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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If you've been considering buying a larger home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, now is the time to start taking those next steps! Buyer demand is still high, which means you could be competing with others for a property, however, with home prices and mortgage rates expected to increase, you won't want to wait any longer.

As your local team of real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help you through your next home purchase in Delaware or Pennsylvania— and that means making sure you are an informed buyer, especially when upsizing. Below are three things you should know about moving up to a new home this year:

Note what you want vs. what you need
When it comes to your home search, it's important to note what you want versus what you need. Know what is absolutely essential in your new home, especially if you're upsizing. Do you need a bigger kitchen for hosting gatherings or do you just like the idea of one? Do you need a bigger yard due to pets and kids? Make a list of priorities before moving forward or you could risk ending up in a home with buyer's remorse!

Do the math
It's no secret that a bigger home will likely come with a bigger payment. You will need to do the math and research all costs involved before you commit to upsizing to a larger Delaware or Pennsylvania home. For instance, how much extra in maintenance costs will you have or will you need to purchase additional equipment to tackle it yourself? Is the home is in an association? How much are your dues every month? It's wise to have these all accounted for before starting your home search in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Think about resale
No matter what size home you are buying, it is always smart to put on your future buyer hat and think about resale. If you choose the home and location wisely, you can make a profit when the time comes to sell. Think about what buyers will want, what area is up and coming or which neighborhood will be desirable given your timeline to sell. Think about the number of bedrooms and how that will affect resale. Even if you're upsizing now and plan to stay for decades, you will thank yourself later when it's time to potentially downsize.

No matter if you're upsizing, downsizing, or simply looking for a new home in the area, do not hesitate to give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call! We've helped numerous buyers do the same and we're here to make it happen for you!

New to the real estate market in Delaware or Pennsylvania? We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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When you've found your dream home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, the next step will be meeting with your local lender to submit your mortgage application. Pending you've already been pre-approved, the rest of your home buying journey should be smooth and simple— however, there are a few reasons your application could end up in the rejection pile. 

Below are four reasons why a Delaware or Pennsylvania lender may reject your mortgage application this year:

You Changed Jobs
Lenders like to see at least two solid years of consistent employment before they will agree to approve your mortgage loan. And while you may not always be in charge of your career moves—IE. you were laid off—it is best to wait until after your closing to change jobs if you can help it.

You Don't Have Enough Credit
You may think credit cards are a no-go when it's time to buy a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and you are entirely correct— for the most part. Your credit score and history are major factors that lenders will research in their decision process, but it's a lack of credit (not just poor credit!) that can be worrisome for them. If you haven't yet built up your credit history, remember that it is OK to carry some debt on your credit cards, so long as you pay them off on time. 

You Have Poor Credit
As mentioned above, lenders will be looking at your credit score to confirm you are capable of managing debt and paying your bills on time. However, if your credit score is too low, not only will you not qualify for favorable loan programs, but your application could end up rejected altogether. Take some time to research your own credit score and clean it up as much as possible before applying for a mortgage.

You Opened a New Credit Line
While we've established that it is important to have a credit history, you'll want to avoid opening anything new while you're in the process of buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania. New credit lines can signal a major red flag to lenders who want to see that you're responsible with debt management. Opening a new line of credit will drop your credit score and could imply that you're more of a spender than a saver.

Ready to start the home buying process in Delaware and Pennsylvania in 2019? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! 

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Have you sat down and made a list of your new year's resolutions yet? It's always a fun exercise to take stock of your goals for the year ahead and make a plan on how to achieve them. For many in Delaware and Pennsylvania, you might find that they are personal or health related, but one of them might be buying a home!

There are dozens of steps to take to successfully become a homeowner in 2019 and as your local Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is happy to help you make that a reality! Below are 5 new year's resolutions to make in order to buy a home in the new year:

Eliminate indulgences
It might not be your favorite path to homeownership, but cutting indulgences can be a quick and simple way to save for a down payment. For instance, could you stand to cut cable and instead use Netflix? Or on the same note, is there a streaming service you could cancel? You might want to cut dining out and your morning coffee runs, instead packing your lunch and brewing coffee at home. These little indulgences can mean big savings if they're avoided!

Start a home savings account
You can't save specifically for your home if you don't have anywhere for it to go! Open a savings account specifically for your new home. Get into the habit of making weekly or monthly deposits—whatever you can afford—and watch your down payment grow!

Do a mortgage test run
The only way to truly know if you can swing being a homeowner in Delaware and Pennsylvania, is to do a test run. Try saving like a homeowner—meaning you set aside your monthly housing expenses and an amount for your emergency fund—and see if you can live with your new budget. 10% of your mortgage payment is a good rule of thumb to account for maintenance fees, so start there.

Pay all bills on time
There is nothing that can raise a red flag quicker to a lender than unpaid bills. If you intend to get approved for a mortgage in 2019, it is best to make sure you pay all of your bills on time. Not only does this keep your credit score high, but it shows lenders you are capable of managing a monthly payment.

Visit open houses
This may seem counterintuitive if you're not yet ready to buy a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but attending open houses allows you to see what properties are available in your price range. This gives you a more realistic approach to the market and could even motivate you to save more!

Ready to make your dream of owning a home a reality this year? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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5 Delaware and Pennsylvania Real Estate Reality TV Myths

by Katina Geralis

Now that it's winter in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we're all staying indoors a little more and perhaps you're even watching a few real estate reality TV shows— we've all seen a few by now! As these shows grow in popularity, it's important to keep in mind that not everything you see on your screen is actually reality. Much of what takes place is staged and filmed in a much shorter timeline and as your local real estate experts in DE and PA, we've included a much needed reality check for you below!

Myth: Buyers only choose from 3 homes
In nearly every reality TV show based on homebuyers, there are typically three homes toured before the buyer makes a decision and chooses one. While there may be a small percentage of buyers that truly buy one of the first few homes they see in Delaware and Pennsylvania, remember that the average homebuyers tours at least 10 homes during their search, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Myth: The show takes place in real time
It may seem unrealistic that the homebuyers can go through the entire buying process, from search to closing, within a 30-minute time slot and that's because, it is. Real estate reality shows often follow buyers who are farther along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy, in an attempt to speed up the process for viewers.

Myth: These homes are still for sale
As mentioned above, real estate reality shows are often filmed months in advance of their air date. So  if you've spotted a home that you love on your favorite show, keep in mind that unfortunately many of the homes shown are already sold and off the market. The properties are staged for TV for the "home search" phase.

Myth: Your home will sell at the open house
Many times homeowners on TV will hold an open house and then choose from the dozens of offers that result from the traffic. Please remember that just as many homes sell from regular showings and if you hold one, your property may not hook a buyer from the first open house. This is just a small piece of the puzzle when marketing Delaware and Pennsylvania homes.

Myth: Removing a wall is easy
Every homeowner today wants an open concept floor plan and thus, real estate reality shows typically show demo teams knocking down walls to make it happen. In reality, removing walls may not always been in your budget or even possible for your specific home. If the wall is load-bearing, there is much more structural work that comes into play and that can be more costly than you think!

Don't get too caught up in real estate reality TV myths if you're a new homebuyer in Delaware or Pennsylvania! It's always wise to consult the pros first! Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about next steps in the buying process or for a list of available homes.

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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How to Buy a Delaware or Pennsylvania Home Before the Holidays

by Katina Geralis

Tis the season for holiday chaos in Delaware and Pennsylvania! Your schedule is likely full of festive gatherings, tree trimming, and traveling to visit with friends and family near and far. Right now, buying a new home and settling in before the new year may seem like a challenge, but don't be so quick to write it off! Buying a new home during this busy time of year can be done and you just need an expert real estate agent and a handful of helpful tips to get the job done!

Below are four tips to help you buy a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania before the holidays:

​Get pre-approved
Don't get off on the wrong foot by touring homes that are outside of your budget. Instead, take the time to get pre-approved with a mortgage lender! This way, you'll know exactly how much home you can afford, as well as whether to not you even qualify to buy a home.

Team up with an expert agent
Your real estate agent should both know the DE and PA market well, as well as have a large network of experts at their disposal. For instance, when you have a specific timeline in mind to buy a home—like during the holidays—your agent should know exactly which local professionals to bring in to complete the transaction, from lenders to inspectors.

Get documents in order
You can never be too organized as a Delaware or Pennsylvania homebuyer. Put together all of the documents you will need to buy a home— tax returns from the past two years, W2's or pay stubs, as well as two months worth of bank statements from all accounts. Keep them in a separate folder just for your purchase as this will speed up the process when the documents are needed!

Stay on track
If you're under contract to buy a home, you will want to stay on top of everyone to keep the transaction moving. When you work with the right real estate agent, they will also play an important role in this. Considering all of the parties involved in the transaction, it may be many days before someone gets the document they need or answers a certain question. If you haven't heard back in a timely manner, always check in with that person to stay on track!

2018 may almost be over, but don't let that stop you from buying a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania! Give us a call today for a list of available properties as well as next steps for home buying or selling your current home!

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

 

How to Know When to Sell Your Delaware or Pennsylvania Home

by Katina Geralis

While every Delaware and Pennsylvania homeowner's reason for selling their property will vary, there are a few red flags that will ultimately signal that it's time to move on. Whether you've grown out of the space or your job is taking you to a different community—or out of state completely—you can count on our team of experts to help you navigate the current real estate market as a home seller.

Below are five signs it's time to sell your Delaware or Pennsylvania home:

You've outgrown the home
As mentioned above, it is a great sign that you're ready for a bigger home if your family is growing (or if you're an empty nester, the opposite). If you're looking for a larger home to accommodate your needs or a property with fewer bedrooms as your children move out, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to help you find the best fit.

Your costs are too high
It is not uncommon for DE or PA homeowners to find themselves unprepared for the costs that come with a property's upkeep. If you are in this position or think you could be soon, it's time to move on and find a property that better suits your financial situation with a lesser mortgage payment or overall maintenance costs.

The market is ready
Why not take advantage of the current Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate market and list your home while you have an edge? Especially if buyer demand continues to increase and you have the equity in your home, chances are high that you will be able to land a buyer quickly and move on to your next dream home.

You have the value
There is no better time for a DE or PA homeowner to sell than when they have equity built in their property and the market conditions are in their favor. Reach out to our real estate team to find your home's value and determine if now is the time for you!

It's been five years
Five years is the amount of time that industry experts recommend spending in your home before moving on, in an attempt to build enough equity for the move to make sense. After all, when paying a mortgage, the first payments are almost always all interest. Of course your personal situation will influence your decision, but unless you have an urgent need to pack your bags, you might like to consider staying put for a while longer.

Ready to get the listing process started or simply curious about your home value? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call! We can provide a list of next steps toward selling your DE or PA home and offer a snapshot of your market value in real time.

We even offer a FREE Home Seller E-Guide!

Give us a call today!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
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Did you know selling your Delaware or Pennsylvania home in the fall and winter can be just as lucrative as selling during the spring and summer? It's true! However, that is if your property is well prepared for the market! There are many ways to improve your Delaware or Pennsylvania home before listing it for sale, including removing the following five items that have been known to turn buyers away!

Bugs
Even if you have a few ladybugs taking up residence in your home's windowsills, it's best to remove them before buyers arrive. This is one of the easiest turn-offs for DE or PA buyers as it can give the impression that your home is not clean or well cared for.

Decor Collections
No matter if it's stamps or holiday figurines, you'll want to keep your collectibles stored away during the home sale process. Displaying any type of collection can give off a cluttered vibe to buyers and turn them away from your property— even if they're just pet accessories! 

Odors
One of the quickest ways to send buyers back out the door is by having odors present in your home. Smells can make or break a sale for a buyer, so be mindful of what you're cooking before a showing and be aware of any pet odors that need addressed. Strong scented candles can be a no-go for buyers also as not everyone enjoys the same aromas in their home.

Pet Damage
Remember that not everyone loves pets the way you might. Are your floors scratched from your pet's claws? Are there stains from your pets on the carpet? Consider having your floors refinished or your carpets professionally cleaned prior to buyers arriving at your door. 

Personal Photos
Did you know that de-personalizing your Delaware or Pennsylvania property prior to selling can boost your chances of hooking a buyer? Consider removing all of your personal photos before a showing or open house as this will allow buyers to envision themselves in the home in the future instead of you and your family. 

As your local real estate experts, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to set you up for home seller success! Contact us for more information on your home value, as well as how to prepare your property for the market

We even offer a FREE Home Seller E-Guide!

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

Updated Real Estate Market Stats for Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

We're back with another Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate market update! The market is always changing, especially as the seasons change, but homebuyer activity is still high in Delaware and Pennsylvania as buyers continue to shop year-round for properties on their smartphones, tablets, even email alerts with new listings! As you may have also noticed, sales prices are still climbing while inventory is still much lower than it has been in past years. But remember, this is just a snapshot! If you have questions about the market where you live, it is always best to contact your agent for an up-to-date look at the market. As your local experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help!

For the third quarter of 2018, there were 1,765 homes for sale— a 24.4 percent decrease in inventory from the same time last year. Try not to worry too much about this as lower inventory trend is not something only occurring here in Delaware and Pennsylvania; this is something going on all across the country! The median sales price saw a 2.7 percent increase, rising to $231,000 and the number of home sales rose slightly by 0.2 percent for a total of 2,054 total closed sales in Q3. 

The average sales price in New Castle County for the second quarter was $254,149, a 0.1 percent increase from this time last year! This is something to note, home sellers— now can be the perfect time to sell your home as buyers are still out searching for their dream homes! The percentage of the original price received also saw a 1.1 percent increase in Q3, coming in at 96.8 percent!

Inventory for the third quarter of 2018 posted a 24.8 percent drop from the previous year, totaling a 2.9 months supply. Again, this is something to keep in mind, homeowners! The market could use your home!

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 before the end of the 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
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In past blog posts, we've talked about 4 Real Estate Red Flags Your DE or PA Home Inspection Might Miss and even How to Negotiate Repairs After Your Inspection, but now it's time to go over one more important topic— questions to ask!

When the home inspection is complete and you've gone over the often lengthy report, you will likely have many questions for your inspector that will have your head spinning! As your local real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we've rounded up a few important questions to help calm your nerves:

What does "this" mean?
If you attend your home inspection, which is always wise, you will be able to ask the inspector questions in the moment if you don't understand something in his report. For instance, if he lists a defect in the roof that you aren't clear on, you can ask him how serious it is and what exactly needs to be fixed. Never be afraid to ask the inspector if you aren't clear on an item in the report— you should be fully aware of what you're buying!

Is this a major problem?
Buyers, don't be too alarmed by the length of the report! Many of the items included will be minor and not too much to worry about. But be sure to ask your inspector if any major problems came up during inspection, so you are certain of what needs to be done.

Do I need to call for a follow-up?
Your inspector isn't an expert on everything— in some cases, he may suggest you call an electrician or plumber to take a closer look. If he flags something in the report along these lines, ask him if you need to call another expert for a follow-up. This way you can stay on top of repairs or problems!

What needs to be done when I move in?
If you don't plan to ask the seller to make specific repairs, that becomes your job as the homeowner upon move-in. Ask the inspector which minor items you will need to take care of when you move in, so you're not left wondering why something isn't functioning properly when you have the keys!

Have more questions to ask a real estate expert about the buying process? Give us a call today!

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

 

 

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