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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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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

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

Fall is a great time to become a homeowner in Wilmington DE and the Brandywine Valley! Not only is a new season just beginning, but you have the opportunity to secure a low interest rate and settle into a home before the cold weather arrives.

But what if you're currently a renter in the Greater Wilmington, Chester County or Delaware County PA area? Don't worry! The Kat Geralis Home Team has provided a few ways below that you can prepare to take advantage of this exciting time in the local real estate market.

Research all of the costs
There are more costs involved with owning a home than just your monthly mortgage payment. For first time buyers, this may come as a surprise, but with the proper amount of research, you will be able to determine exactly how much you can afford in a home. Costs like property taxes, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI), homeowners association fees and yearly upkeep should all be considered while you begin to search for homes in the Wilmington area.

The costs of renting vs. buying
You've likely asked yourself this question many times before deciding to buy a home— Is buying really better than renting? You will need to look at the cost of homeownership after the tax benefit to compare it with the cost of renting. For instance, a $300,000 home may cost you around $1,200 per month after taxes. Compare this with a home that rents for $1,200 and look at factors like location and size. Also, remember that this scenario includes a 20 percent down payment.

Research the tax benefit
Did you know mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on your annual tax return? This will reduce your taxable income and bring down the overall cost of homeownership.

Prepare your credit score
Lenders will use your credit score to determine your eligibility for a mortgage and certain mortgage loan types. Start well in advance to groom your credit score— correcting any errors you find and boosting your score by paying down debts and reducing spending on credit cards.

Start to shop for a mortgage
If you haven't already started looking into mortgage programs, now is the time. There are many different types of mortgages available, depending on your eligibility. For instance, certain loans allow for lower down payments, although come with a higher interest rate, while others require a higher down payment while granting a lower interest rate. Before you are ready to buy, know which type of loan you think may suit you best.

The Kat Geralis Home Team can provide you with a list of available properties in Wilmington DE and the Brandywine Valley, as well as answer all of your home buying questions! We have helped many first-time buyers find their dream homes, so give us a call today!

Katina Geralis
Wilmington, DE Real Estate Expert
Keller Williams Realty

Wilmington Real Estate
Wilmington Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
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For first-time homebuyers in the Greater Wilmington area today, it can be difficult to identify a "good time" to buy a home. However, the answer is fairly simple. If you are currently renting, it's any time! Not only does homeownership come with numerous benefits, but gives your net worth a boost and builds your long-term personal wealth— something renting cannot help you achieve.

According to a new New York Times editorial called "Homeownership and Wealth Creation," it is explained that the "net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth."

The study also found that the average net worth of a homeowner is $194,500 versus that of a renter at $5,400. In other words, the average net worth of a homeowner is 36 times greater than that of a renter! Expanding on these figures, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) projected that a typical homeowner will have nearly 41 times the net worth of a renter at the end of this year.

Wilmington, DE area homebuyers still on the fence about buying a home would be wise to consider the many ways homeownership is an investment in your future. For instance, consider the following financial reasons to purchase a home: 

  • You are paying your own mortgage
    When you rent a home in Wilmington or Newark, you are paying down your landlord's principal, not your own.
     
  • You are saving money
    With the rising costs of rent, purchasing a home in New Castle County can actually save you money in the long run. In addition, homeownership is a form of forced savings!
     
  • There are tax benefits
    Did you know that homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from their income? They are also able to exclude gains of up to $500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for single tax filers if they sell their home for a gain.

Regardless if you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing payment. Why not make the most of it? Mortgage rates are currently hovering under the 4 percent mark, but are not expected to stay that way for long! Purchasing a Wilmington area home now will not only guarantee that you lock in a low rate, but set you on the path toward building your net worth.

As a top-ranked real estate team in Delaware, the Kat Geralis Home Team can help you find the home that best fits your needs and budget this year. We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Give us a call today!

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Dozens of headlines lately have warned renters of the rising costs headed their way! Outlets like Business Insider have reported "soaring rents are a problem that will only get worse" along with Bloomberg Business and CBNC advising renters to "get ready to take it on the chin." 

A new study also claims the number of households spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent is expected to rise over 10 percent within the next 10 years. If you're thinking about buying a home and are financially prepared to do so, it would be best to do so now rather than later!

Katina Geralis
Wilmington, DE Real Estate Expert
Keller Williams Realty

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

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