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How to Shop Around for a Delaware or Pennsylvania Mortgage

by Katina Geralis

When it comes to homebuyer mistakes in Delaware and Pennsylvania, perhaps the biggest one is failing to shop for a mortgage. Many homebuyers simply take the first mortgage they are offered without knowing they could have secured a better loan, with lower fees and a lower rate. 

As you shop for a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania this summer, make sure you then also take the time to shop around for a mortgage. Use the following tips to ensure you're getting the best possible deal and loan for your dream home:

First, research your budget
Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford in a DE or PA home. Include all of your monthly expenses, including property taxes, monthly maintenance and utilities, insurance and any private mortgage insurance (PMI) that you may acquire. Once you've determined your budget, you can then proceed with shopping for the best rate.

Research the different types of mortgages
It's important that Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers know the different types of mortgages— from fixed rate mortgages to adjustable rate to those that allow payment adjustments. Each loan type will come with its own set of fees, terms, requirements and limitations. For instance, you may receive a penalty for paying off your mortgage early with some loans. Take the time to find which loan type is best for you.

Compare loans among lenders
On one specific day, gather quotes from several lenders and even brokers. Lenders can give out different rates and fees to consumers on the same day for the same loan, so it's important to shop around. Once you have a list of rates from many lenders, then you can go about finding which is the best deal.

Ask for help
If finding lenders and brokers in your area is stressful for you, always ask for help! As your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team can provide suggestions for experts in the mortgage space that can help you find the best rate for your new home loan. A recommendation can oftentimes put you at ease, knowing that you are working with a trusted pro.

Shopping around for a mortgage in Delaware and Pennsylvania can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, so don't leave it out of the mix! Our team is happy to help walk you through the process of buying a home and answer any questions to calm your concerns. Just give us a call!

We also offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide and FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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This time of year, Delaware and Pennsylvania residents have filed their taxes and thinking one step ahead, are now planning ways to spend their refund. While you likely have dozens of ideas about how you're going to spend your money this time around, why not invest it back into your home? 

The following home upgrades actually pay off at resale and will be well worth their initial cost:

Remodeled Kitchen
Upgrading your kitchen is one of the smartest investments you can make in your Delaware or Pennsylvania home. Stick to high-quality fixtures, including stainless steel appliances and granite or quartz countertops. However, also keep in mind the size of your home when remodeling. If your home is a smaller, two-bedroom, you may not recoup all of your investment. Do not be afraid to ask your real estate agent about the best upgrades for your home's size if you're planning to sell this year!

New windows
During the winter months, you may notice drafts around your windows and doors, not to mention higher energy bills each month. Replacing windows will keep your home warmer and intrigue Delaware and Pennsylvania buyers that are looking for a newly-updated home.

Landscaping
Curb appeal is the first thing a buyer will notice when they visit your home or view it online. Every addition from hedges to flower beds is well worth your while as a homeowner as these tell homebuyers that you care about your property and its upkeep.

If you're thinking about selling your home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it is wise to invest in the upgrades that will pay off! Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today with any questions about the real estate market or for more information about selling your home for top dollar in DE and PA!

We have helped many Delaware and Pennsylvania home sellers find the right buyer and we'd love to help you do the same! 

We also offer a FREE Home Seller e-Guide and FREE Home Valuation Tool

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Homebuyers are out in droves as the busy spring real estate season gets underway in Delaware and Pennsylvania. If you've already taken the steps to list your property in DE or PA or are planning to soon, the next step involves highlighting your home's key features that buyers will love.

The following elements of your home may seem like nothing to you, but to buyers, they could be just what they are looking for— Don't be afraid to point them out!

Location
You've heard the phrase "location, location, location" before and it never holds more true than when assessing your home's value. Is your home located near restaurants, shopping and entertainment? Do you have an excellent commute time from your neighborhood? Buyers will want to know! And as your real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Kat Geralis Home Team can help identify such selling points this year!

Storage
Many Delaware and Pennsylvania buyers are diving into the real estate market simply because their current home lacks storage; this is also one of the reasons current renters will make the transition to homeownership over the next few months. A large garage, walk-in closet or pantry just might spark the interest of a buyer whose sole purpose for moving is to gain more space.

Layout
While Millennials are expected to make a big impact on the real estate market this spring, another group ready to make a move is seniors. Those whose children are all grown and out of the house will be looking to downsize and features like a ranch-style layout, zero exterior steps and minimal upkeep will be high on their list.

We have helped many Delaware and Pennsylvania home sellers find the right buyer and we'd love to help you do the same! Give us a call today for more information on next steps toward listing your Delaware or Pennsylvania home!

We also offer a FREE Home Seller e-Guide

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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You've made a wish list of all of the features you want in a potential Delaware or Pennsylvania home and now it's time for the house hunt to begin. However, after viewing a few properties, you may notice that not every one of your must-haves can be fulfilled in a single home in your price range.

What now? Compromise. While it is not always a word DE and PA homebuyers like to hear, there are worthwhile trade-offs you will want to consider as you view available properties this spring.

Square footage
A potential home in Delaware or Pennsylvania could have everything you're looking for— an updated kitchen, the right school district, proximity to family and friends—but that could also mean giving up a finished basement or guest bedroom. A compromise on square footage should only be entertained if you don't anticipate your space needs growing in the near future, otherwise you could find yourself needing to move all too soon.

Location
If a compromise on square footage is not in the cards for you, many buyers find they are willing to budge on location. Oftentimes, a home within walking distance to entertainment, shops and restaurants is smaller than you would like— but moving a bit farther away could open you up to more homes that meet the criteria on your wish list.

Backyard
Suppose a home fits the bill with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as your budget, but you step outside to find a smaller yard. A compromise on yard size may be worthwhile if the home's interior succeeds in providing the space you are looking for this spring. 

The Kat Geralis Home Team has decades of experience in helping Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers find their dream homes, identifying what is important to them in terms of features, location, and home size. Give us a call today for more information about available homes in your desired area!

We also offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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With the wealth of real estate reality TV shows out now, many Delaware and Pennsylvania residents have their wheels turning and are ready (or so they think!) to buy a home that needs a little TLC. So, you think you want to buy a fixer upper home? While your dreams of renovating a property may be driven by what you've seen on television, it's important to remember that the reality of updating a home from start to finish can be much more time-consuming, tedious, expensive, and drawn-out than you realize.

But as your local real estate team in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Kat Geralis Home Team is happy to share below three things to do before you commit to buying a fixer upper home this year:

Research the location
Not only should you research the location of a home before purchasing, but also look into the zoning. What you may not know is that every community in Delaware and Pennsylvania has zoning districts and restrictions surrounding what can and cannot be done to homes within their limits. You will want to take a close look at the zoning of your future property before you become too set on what renovations you will do once you get the keys.

Talk to a contractor
Unless you are confident in your ability to do all of the work on your fixer upper home yourself, it is wise to speak with a contractor or architect who can assist you in carrying out your vision. One rule of thumb— gather quotes and opinions from several contractors in the area prior to choosing one for your projects.

Recruit a home inspector 
It is a home inspector's job to look into any structural problems, in addition to pointing out what needs to be replaced— the roof, for instance. The last thing you want when you begin your renovation projects is to find that your foundation is unstable or a major operating system like the plumbing has failed. If you need recommendations for a home inspector in your Delaware or Pennsylvania area, do not hesitate to reach out! Remember, your real estate agent is a wealth of resources!

Ready to get started on finding the perfect home for you— fixer upper or otherwise? Give our experts at the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide to provide you with must-know information in an easy-to-read format!

We also 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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Why Delaware and Pennsylvania Homeowners Overprice Their Homes

by Katina Geralis

With home sales on the rise and home prices following suit, many Delaware and Pennsylvania residents will soon begin the process of listing their properties to take advantage of this exciting time in the market, as well as the warmer weather coming this spring! But one common disconnect between homeowners and their agents is the price at which they believe they should list the property. 

The price DE and PA homeowners have in mind is oftentimes not realistic for the local market and takes into account a variety of factors including their emotional ties to the home. Finding a comfortable price for you can be a major obstacle when selling your home and you may need to compromise— just take a look at these common reasons homeowners overprice their homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania:

You think your decor is the best
Naturally, your home will represent your unique tastes and style, but keep in mind that it may not do the same for other buyers. Your knick-knacks, bright colors on the walls and large furniture items can get in the way of buyers envisioning themselves living in the home, so take care to scale back on these during the selling process.

You have emotional ties
Homeowners who have lived in a property for several years will develop emotional ties to the home, especially if you've raised your family there. In your mind, the home's worth may be far more than what buyers are willing to pay, so remind yourself to be realistic and remove your homeowner hat. It's important to look at the property as a buyer, without emotional ties, in order to find an accurate price.

You want to make a major profit
Who doesn't want to make a profit when selling their Delaware or Pennsylvania home? This may tempt you to drive up the price, but don't be too hasty. Your home value is dependent on the current market, comparable properties and its condition. Just because you need a specific amount of money from the sale to purchase your next dream home does not mean you can or will sell your home for that amount.

If you're ready to start the process of selling your DE or PA home, give our experts at the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer a FREE Home Seller E-Guide to get you the best information in an easy-to-read format!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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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

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


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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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