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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

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
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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
Find me on Facebook

 

 

4 Mistakes to Avoid When House Hunting in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

While you may have seen dozens of real estate reality TV shows that make it look as simple as touring three homes and then choosing the best one, there is so much more to house hunting in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In fact, there are a few rules of thumb to follow in order to avoid any buyer's remorse or financial obstacles down the road.

As your local real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Kat Geralis Home Team has put together four mistakes to avoid when house hunting this year to make your experience as smooth as possible:

Don't Skip the Pre-Approval
Working with a lender on your mortgage pre-approval should be your first step in your DE or PA home purchase process. In the event that you find a home you want to pursue, a seller will likely not entertain any offers without a pre-approval. This step shows the seller you are serious about buying and can give you an edge over other buyers who may not have a pre-approval completed.

Don't House Hunt on Your Own
There are many perks to working with a real estate agent, so don't make the costly mistake of going it alone this year! Remember that your agent has done this before and knows the in's and out's of crafting the perfect offer and corresponding with all necessary parties in a transaction. Navigating a home purchase alone can be a full-time job in itself— why not leave it to the pros?

Don't Wait Too Long to Act
If you see a home in DE or PA that you love, don't wait! Buyer demand has been strong over the past few months and it hasn't slowed down yet! You won't want to let your dream home slip through your fingers because you waited a week to get in for a showing. Work with your agent to make sure you are timely in viewing the property and writing your offer if you've found "the one!"

Don't Get Distracted by Home Features
When you tour a home, it can be easy to get distracted by updates like new appliances, light fixtures, and even trendy items like sliding barn doors. But don't get too carried away! It is important to envision how you and your family will live in the space— does it have enough bedrooms? Are there enough bathrooms? Does the layout suit your needs? Is there enough outdoor space? Home features like lighting and hardware are simply decorative, while major structural components like layout and square footage will affect your daily life and are what you will need to focus in on.

Ready to buy a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania but don't know how to get started? Contact our team of local experts today! We will walk you through every step in the process!

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

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

4 Real Estate Red Flags Your DE or PA Home Inspection Might Miss

by Katina Geralis

Regardless of how many times you have been through the process of buying a Delaware or Pennsylvania home, it is easy to get distracted by such features as updated bathrooms, spacious backyards, and even items like light fixtures and appliance colors. There is so much more that should go into your decision to purchase a specific property in DE or PA— including real estate red flags that even your home inspection could miss!

As your real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we have rounded up four red flags to keep an eye on while shopping for homes so you can anticipate costs and ultimately weigh your options:

Leaks
Depending on the age of your potential new home, any leaks could have dried up with the water being turned off and not arise until it is fully functioning again. The best place to spot leaks is under cabinets where you could notice water damage or moisture around drain traps. Remember, if the leak is not present on the day of your inspection, the inspector will likely not be able to point it out!

Structural Damage
This is a major red flag for any homebuyer in Delaware and Pennsylvania and while your inspector will know what a roof and foundation should look like, they will not be able to tell you how bad a problem is or how much it will cost. They will likely refer you to a structural engineer who will be able to break down cost to repair and when indeed you need to remedy the problem.

Electrical Issues
This is another red flag that could be more prevalent depending on the age of your home. Your inspector may point out disconnects in the electrical or wires that need updating to comply with current codes, however they will not always be able to list the exact source of the disconnect. You will need to bring in an electrician to identify specific costs and dig a little deeper to find the root of the problem listed in the inspection report.

HVAC Problems
Any problems with your HVAC system can be quite costly, but keep in mind that your system may be functioning properly while temperatures are moderate but could fail once they begin to take drastic turns— for instance, in the deep winter or heat of summer. The only way to identify potential problems is to hire an HVAC specialist who can assess how much longer your HVAC system has left or if parts look in need of repair or replacing.

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

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
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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

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