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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

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

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

 

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

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