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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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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
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Contact Me
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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
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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
Find me on Facebook

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

 

 

September is here and before we know it, the leaves will be falling from the trees, the temperatures will be dropping, and we'll be in a holiday state of mind. But that doesn't mean your Delaware or Pennsylvania home can easily transition from one season to the next without any maintenance! As your local real estate experts, we have included five tasks to check off of your list before the fall season officially arrives.

Check driveway and paths for cracks
Summer can take a toll on your home's exterior, including the driveway and pathways surrounding the property. Take a close look to inspect for cracks and be sure to repair them before fall and winter arrive. If you don't, water could seep in and freeze and the cracks can become even larger.

Seal gaps
Inspect around windows and doorways for any gaps that could possibly let air escape out of your Delaware or Pennsylvania home this fall. You'll also want to check for gaps or holes in your foundation or under decks and porches that could prompt critters to take up residence where you don't want them to!

Clean gutters
Summer storms bring all kinds of debris to your yard and especially your gutters, so be sure clean them out to allow room for the leaves that will arrive this fall. If you fail to complete this home task, the poor drainage could wreak havoc on your roof and siding— or worse, the inside of your home. 

Replace furnace filters
Ask yourself how long it's been since you changed your furnace filter. It is always wise to replace the filter every few months, but it's even more important to do so before you begin running the HVAC system often in the fall. If you haven't had your HVAC inspected yet this year, now is the time to do so before the busy season arrives and a professional is not able to get to you!

Store outdoor furniture and tools
We can always have warm weather well into October, so simply keep an eye on the dropping temperatures to determine the best time to clean and store your outdoor furniture and garden tools for the season. If you don't own one, consider buying a cover for your outdoor furniture to shield it from the elements.

Ready to get started on your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Curious about your home value in today's market? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team 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 Delaware and Pennsylvania Real Estate Market Stats

by Katina Geralis



It's time for another Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate market update! As you may have realized, homebuyer activity is still high in Delaware and Pennsylvania, home values are rising, and inventory is still hovering around the lower end of the real estate spectrum. If you have questions about the market where you live, it is always best to contact your agent for an up-to-date snapshot of the market. As your local experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help!

For the second quarter of 2018, there were 1,833 homes for sale— a 24.5 percent decrease in inventory from the same time last year. But keep in mind, the lower inventory trend is not just happening here in Delaware and Pennsylvania; this is something we're seeing nationwide! The median sales price saw a 2.2 percent increase—which is new to the market—rising to $230,000 and the number of home sales dipped slightly by 1.4 percent for a total of 2,081 total closed sales in Q2. 

The average sales price in New Castle County for the second quarter was $256,046, a 2.4 percent increase from this time last year! This is also a change from what we've been seeing in the market, so make note home sellers! The percentage of the original price received also saw a 1 percent increase in Q2, coming in at 97 percent!

Inventory for the second quarter of 2018 posted a 26.5 percent drop from the previous year, totaling a 3.1 months supply— so keep in mind, homeowners, that now is a great time to considering selling 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
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

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
Visit My Website
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It may not feel like it just yet, but spring will be here before we know it! And while home buyers are indeed scouring the market for the perfect home year-round these days, traffic tends to pick up significantly in the spring months. What does that mean for you as a Delaware or Pennsylvania home seller? It means your property must be in tip-top shape to outshine the others on the market and as your local real estate experts, we have included a few tasks below to help it do just that!

Be sure to complete the following tasks before listing your Delaware or Pennsylvania home:

Clean the gutters
Once the warm temperatures begin to set in, we're all eager to get outside again— but you're probably not in a hurry to venture up to the roof. Don't forget to take stock of your gutters, giving them a good cleaning before the spring is in full swing. If left unattended, gutters can begin to overflow and wreak havoc on your foundation or the interior of your home via water damage.

Wash the windows
Not only do clean windows allow for more light to enter your Southeastern PA home, but they give the impression that your home is tidy and well cared for. No matter what time of year you list your DE or PA home, be sure to give your windows a thorough washing!

Remove yard debris
Especially before having listing photos taken of your home, you'll want to make sure your home's curb appeal is on point. Yard debris in the form of tree limbs, twigs, and dead landscaping can really bring down the property's image for buyers. Take the time to clean up your yard—as well as clear walkways—and ensure it gives off a welcoming aura to buyers.

Store your winter tools
Before you invite buyers into your Wilmington, Newark, or Southeastern PA home, it is essential to store your winter tools, including shovels and rakes. Not only do these items give the feeling of clutter to your outdoor space, but it suggests to the buyers that the rest of the property is not organized and maintained.

Repair animal damage
During the colder months, it is not uncommon for outside critters to find a way in! Raccoons, birds, bats, mice, squirrels, you name it— they can easily take up residence in damaged siding, under the roofline, and in holes around your foundation. If you spot these damaged areas, it is key to repair them as soon as possible before buyers point them out themselves!

If you're thinking about selling your home in Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA this spring, give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We are here to guide you through the entire process, starting with preparing your property for sale!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

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