Kat Geralis Home Team Wilmington DE Real Estate News Archives

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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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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

 

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
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Home Staging vs. Hiding in Delaware and Pennsylvania Homes

by Katina Geralis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to get started on your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Give the ​Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

5 Things That Can Slow Your DE or PA Mortgage Closing

by Katina Geralis

Once you've found the perfect Delaware or Pennsylvania home, made an offer, and had it accepted, you'll need to make it through the mortgage closing before you are handed your keys. You may be anxious to officially become a homeowner, but the time it takes to close is dependent on a variety of factors— some of which are in your control!

If you're planning to buy a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the following things that can slow down your mortgage closing:

Making big purchases
You may be excited about your new home, but resist the urge to buy new furniture and decor until after the closing. Making big purchases on credit cards can signal a red flag to lenders who will pull your credit just before closing to ensure it is still the same. A large purchase shows you've acquired more debt and could threaten your mortgage qualifications.

Outstanding HOA fees and fines
While this one may not be entirely in your hands, note that the previous homeowner's outstanding fees or fines owed to the homeowner's association can cause closing delays. You may be able to negotiate these costs with the seller prior to the sale or worst case scenario, you'll need to pay them. 

Document delays
Your lender will require many different documents for verification of income, including your pay stubs, tax documents, bank statements, and they'll likely even get in contact with your employer. Be sure to provide these documents as soon as they ask for them or you could see a delay in closing.

Titles and liens
If there is a lien against the property or the title has the wrong signature, it will need to be resolved before the closing can move forward. 

Down payment
If your down payment is coming via gift from a friend or family member, the closing could be slowed slightly. In addition, if the lender requires the buyer to put down more on the home and the buyer does not have immediately have the extra funds, the date could be pushed out several weeks or months.

Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for a list of available homes in your area or for more information on the home buying process!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

3 Questions to Ask Mortgage Lenders in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania is likely one of the biggest decisions (and purchases!) you will make in your lifetime and as a result, you will want a team of experts on your side to see you through the process. One of the most important is, of course, your real estate agent and the other is your lender. 

Your lender will help you secure financing to purchase a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and be available to answer all of your questions surrounding debt, closing costs, and even your buying timeline. But remember, not all lenders are the same, so it is key to ask a few questions in order to find the best fit for you:

Is now the right time for me to buy?
Depending on your specific financial situation, it may be in your best interests to put in an offer on your dream home now or wait until next year when your buying power is stronger— and a great lender will tell you that! The right lender will clearly explain how your debts and down payment can affect your buying power—or your ability to qualify for a mortgage and favorable rate—and how that will play into your timeline.

What credit score do I need to qualify?
A great lender will share what they are looking for in terms of credit score and credit history in order to provide financing to a homebuyer. To take it one step further, they may even comb through your credit report to show what debts are worth paying off before applying for a mortgage in order to secure the best rate. 

What are the closing costs?
Depending on the loan program you choose, you will need to pay a few closing costs before anyone hands over your new keys. A great lender will outline the different loan programs you may qualify for and what the closing costs might be for that specific program. The lender should also be able to share how you will pay such costs, whether by check or via electronic transfer.

There are many facets to homebuying in our area and you can count on us to make sure you're aware of them all! Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today for a lender recommendation or a list of available homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

Spring is just around the corner here in the Greater Wilmington DE area and many buyers will soon make a break for the real estate market, ready to find their dream home. And while of course you have a variety of options when it comes to what your new home will include—open concept, updated kitchen, large backyard, extra storage space—there are ultimately two types of properties to choose from: Existing and New Construction.

Existing homes may have the character you're looking due to their age, but if you ultimately decide that a new construction home in Wilmington DE or Southeastern PA would be the best fit, there are a few things you should note.

There are not always in the MLS
As a buyer, you may not know that new construction homes cannot always be found in the MLS, or the real estate websites you use to search for available properties. Builders often have a team working on-site and advertise through local media to get the word out about their homes. If you have decided on a new construction home, let your real estate agent know so they can round up the best options for you!

Early discounts might be available
Depending on where you come in on the sales process, you may find that a builder is happy to offer you a discount or lower price on a property in order to meet their quota and drive future sales. However, don't be distracted too much by the lower price as you are then locked in to the project and may risk losing your down payment should you decide to cancel the transaction before the build actually begins.

Upgrade discounts may also be available
As I mentioned above, certain points in the sales process may allow buyers to negotiate easier. For instance, toward the end of the building project, builders are often more willing to compromise in order to wrap up their sales. A lower sales price may not be in the cards, but they may offer you an upgrade discount where you are able to choose a pricer finish like hardwood flooring or stainless appliances instead of standard finishes. Depending on what you choose, the upgrades could make for a better deal than an initial drop in price! 

Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today to get started on your home search in Wilmington or Newark, DE or Southeastern PA! We are here to help you find the perfect property that suits your needs and budget, no matter what type of property you desire.

Happy house hunting!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

Once you've found your dream home in Chester County or Delaware County PA, Wilmington or Newark DE, it can be hard to erase the picture from your mind. You start to envision yourself living in the space, how your furniture will fit, and what paint colors you will choose. But in today's real estate market, you may find yourself competing with cash buyers who can snag the home quicker and easier than those with financing. 

You will need an edge to land the property over those cash buyers and below are a few ways for you to do just that:

Be straightforward about your finances
Sellers often accept cash deals as every aspect of the transaction is laid out on the table for them to see. As a buyer with financing, it is essential that you do the same if you are to compete with cash buyers. Be straightforward with your finances— provide a pre-approval letter, allow your lender to provide financial details with your offer so the seller can feel confident in accepting it. Documents like bank statements and credit reports can allow the seller to see exactly what you have to back up your offer and feel it is just as sound as a cash offer.

Speed up the loan process
Ask your lender how quickly they can turn around the loan as many cash deals close quickly without having to go through this step. In some scenarios, loans can be turned around in as little as 14 days. Even better, if you can speed up the appraisal contingency and get the appraiser to the property fast, sellers may be more willing to accept your offer.

Speed up the inspection
Sellers in Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA want to close the deal as efficiently as possible and for top dollar. To this effect, if you can also get your inspector to the property within days after your accepted offer, they can feel more confident that there will be no hiccups in the process.

Offer more
In some cases, if you don't want to risk losing the home to a cash buyer, you can offer more than what you think the home is worth. Cash buyers will oftentimes offer a lesser amount because of the lack of hurdles sellers will have to jump, so if you can top the cash offer, you may put yourself in a better position to win the property! Depending on how much more you offer, the increase likely won't change your mortgage payment much over the life of the loan. 

Be personal
You have probably heard stories of buyers writing sellers letters in an attempt to make their offer stand out. If the home you're bidding on is indeed your dream home, what could it hurt? Be personal with the sellers and make yourself known, you never know if your letter detailing what you love about the property or details about your family could put the ball in your court.

As your local real estate experts in Greater Wilmington and Southeastern PA, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to help you secure your dream home, whether you're using financing to buy or cash. Give us a call today!

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

The In's and Out's of Buying Delaware and Pennsylvania FSBO Homes

by Katina Geralis

You've heard the term before, but what do you really know about FSBO homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania? FSBO, or For Sale by Owner, homes, mean the owners have not enlisted the help of a real estate agent to help them sell the property. And while that sounds as though it will not affect you as the buyer, there are a few things you will need to note before you decide to purchase a FSBO.

You can use an agent to buy a FSBO
Just because the home seller declined the use of a real estate agent doesn't mean you have to! There are many perks to working with an agent when buying a home, perhaps the biggest one being they handle the negotiations for you!

You can still negotiate
As I mentioned above, you can still negotiate your offer— even when it's a For Sale by Owner home! While the seller may have chosen to work without an agent for the commission aspect of the deal, that doesn't always mean they are rigid on the price. Remember that your agent has been here before and will know how to find the best deal!

They might be willing to cover costs
Homeowners in Delaware or Pennsylvania that choose to go the FSBO route may still cover the costs of your agent, regardless of their reasoning behind ditching their own. Many are willing to cooperate with buyers and their agents to ensure a smooth transaction.

You may need a lawyer
Every state is different, but some require that both parties be represented by an attorney, even if you have a buyer's agent on your side. Some do not require that attorney to be present at the closing, so if you are serious about your FSBO purchase, simply consult your real estate agent! 

You should still get pre-approved
It never hurts for a homebuyer to get pre-approved in a real estate transaction— even if it's a FSBO deal! Oftentimes these sellers are inexperienced and will make quick decisions when offers comes in, so it is always wise to already have your pre-approval edge to help yours stand out! 

The most important takeaway is that FSBO homes are not sold the same way standard, agent-listed properties are and the process of purchasing one will differ for Chester County and Delaware County buyers. If you find yourself interested in a FSBO property, do not hesitate to contact your real estate agent! 

Unsure how to navigate the local real estate market in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Buyer Seminars!

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

Closing Costs to Expect When Buying a Delaware Home

by Katina Geralis

Did you know the majority of today's homebuyers aren't aware of closing costs? You may find that you have prepared for homeownership with your down payment and even have your first month's mortgage ready in your bank account, but this very important set of costs is commonly overlooked. 

As your local real estate experts in Greater Wilmington DE and Southeastern PA, the Kat Geralis Home Team has included a few key notes on closing costs below so you are better equipped to make the biggest, most important purchase of your life!

What Are They?

Closing costs are recurring and non-recurring fees connected to both your lender and other parties in the sale—for instance, an attorney, inspector and title company—and are to be paid upfront at the closing table. Unless you have financed them ahead of time or worked your offer to arrange for the seller to pick up the tab, unfortunately there is no way around these costs.

Closing costs typically include:

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Title insurance
  • Loan origination
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Document prep
  • Property line survey
  • Title search and recording
  • Loan underwriting
  • Wire transfer

How Much Will They Cost?

Closing costs tend to range between two and five percent of the total purchase price of the home

How Can You Prepare?

It is true that you may not know how much you will owe in closing costs until you find a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania and meet with a lender, but you can still gather a general idea based on your price range alone. Is your budget for a new home around $150,000? You can expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing costs.

Once you've met with your lender in Wilmington, Newark, Chester County or Delaware County, you can estimate how much you will owe in closing costs given your loan product, loan amount and the interest rate you are offered. You can use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payment and how that will fluctuate depending on if you've decided to finance the closing costs into it. 

Buying a home for the first time in Greater Wilmington and Southeastern PA is both an exciting and uncertain time. Let the Kat Geralis Home Team walk you through the process, every step of the way, so you can feel more at ease and enjoy the prospect of finding your dream home!

Give us a call today for more information about buying a home or available properties in the area! We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

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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