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

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

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

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

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

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

We also offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Owning a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania definitely comes with its perks— from tax benefits to free reign on design and everything in between. But if you're making the transition from renter to homeowner this year, it's important to note that there may be a few home-related costs that you didn't plan for or even know about before you began house-hunting.

As your local real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to make sure you are prepared for every aspect of homeownership— including the following hidden costs:

Property Taxes
When you use a mortgage calculator prior to buying a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it is essential that you input estimated property taxes. You can typically find this amount on any listing, or ask one of our real estate experts to help, so you can see how your monthly payment will change adding them in.

Insurance
Homeowner's insurance will vary depending on your home, your pets, your neighborhood, and a host of other different factors. Research average costs in your area and add them into your potential monthly mortgage payment to avoid any surprises down the road. 

Yard Upkeep
If you're currently renting in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you likely do not have to deal with the yard upkeep or maintenance. Once you become a homeowner, you will be responsible for buying all of your own tools, including snowblowers, lawn mowers, shovels, and rakes. Not to mention, the time you will need to free up to keep your yard looking well-manicured in every season!

HVAC
Furnaces and air conditioning units can be a major cost that homeowners do not account for when buying a property. For instance, if you don't have a home warranty, and your furnace breaks down, only you are responsible for covering the repairs or replacement which can cost you thousands! It's best to begin saving for a rainy day fund at the start of your homeowner journey to prepare for things like this, or even small expenses like replacing furnace filters every month or so.

Utilities
As a renter, you were likely used to much smaller utility bills than you will have as a homeowner in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Once you've found a home you're interested in, you can ask the previous homeowner for the average utility costs in order to factor them into your overall budget and avoid surprises later.

Ready to make the move to become a homeowner in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Give our experts at the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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If you've been considering buying a larger home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, now is the time to start taking those next steps! Buyer demand is still high, which means you could be competing with others for a property, however, with home prices and mortgage rates expected to increase, you won't want to wait any longer.

As your local team of real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is here to help you through your next home purchase in Delaware or Pennsylvania— and that means making sure you are an informed buyer, especially when upsizing. Below are three things you should know about moving up to a new home this year:

Note what you want vs. what you need
When it comes to your home search, it's important to note what you want versus what you need. Know what is absolutely essential in your new home, especially if you're upsizing. Do you need a bigger kitchen for hosting gatherings or do you just like the idea of one? Do you need a bigger yard due to pets and kids? Make a list of priorities before moving forward or you could risk ending up in a home with buyer's remorse!

Do the math
It's no secret that a bigger home will likely come with a bigger payment. You will need to do the math and research all costs involved before you commit to upsizing to a larger Delaware or Pennsylvania home. For instance, how much extra in maintenance costs will you have or will you need to purchase additional equipment to tackle it yourself? Is the home is in an association? How much are your dues every month? It's wise to have these all accounted for before starting your home search in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Think about resale
No matter what size home you are buying, it is always smart to put on your future buyer hat and think about resale. If you choose the home and location wisely, you can make a profit when the time comes to sell. Think about what buyers will want, what area is up and coming or which neighborhood will be desirable given your timeline to sell. Think about the number of bedrooms and how that will affect resale. Even if you're upsizing now and plan to stay for decades, you will thank yourself later when it's time to potentially downsize.

No matter if you're upsizing, downsizing, or simply looking for a new home in the area, do not hesitate to give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call! We've helped numerous buyers do the same and we're here to make it happen for you!

New to the real estate market in Delaware or Pennsylvania? We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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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
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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
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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

How to Determine Resale Value in Delaware or Pennsylvania Homes

by Katina Geralis

No matter how long you intend to be in a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it is always important to consider the resale value. Remember, your home is an investment and the last thing you want is to have a hard time selling the property when you're finally ready to move on. Not only is that more of a homeowner headache for you, but it could also mean more money spent!

As your local experts, we've listed below four ways to determine the resale value of a property while you're house hunting in Delaware and Pennsylvania this year:

It's in a great neighborhood
You've heard the term, "location, location, location," in real estate and for good reason! If the property is near grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping, chances are it will have great appeal to future buyers. One thing to avoid is a home in a commercial area or an underdeveloped neighborhood far from such amenities as the above.

It's in a great school district
Homebuyers today are willing to compromise on their home wish lists for great school districts. Regardless if you have children, take a good look at the district your potential new home falls into and whether or not a buyer would be swayed to purchase the property or if there is a much better school system located elsewhere.

It's in a quiet area
No homeowner likes a noisy neighbor— or a noisy intersection in their backyard! A home located near a high-traffic area or busy street will not have the same resale value as one that's located in a more hushed neighborhood. Always consider the sound factor when house-hunting in DE or PA. If you don't, you could pay for it later!

​You don't have to spend too much on repairs
While it may not cross your mind if you're planning to stay put for years to come, be sure to consider how much you'll have to spend on repairs in a potential home. You'll always want the amount you'll be able to sell the property for to outweigh your upkeep costs. If the property requires you to break the bank to get it running smoothly, it may not be worth it if you'll only be there a short time.

Ready to start your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Let the Kat Geralis Home Team be your guide to the real estate market! We've helped numerous buyers find their dream homes and we're here to help you do the same.

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

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