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Breaking Down the Mortgage Process in Delaware and Pennsylvania

by Katina Geralis

Buying a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania has many steps— from getting pre-approved to house hunting to beginning the mortgage process. And while finding your dream home may not be a quick and easy feat, the mortgage process can appear much scarier to some buyers

As your Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team looks forward to simplifying the real estate process for our clients, including the process of obtaining a mortgage! Remember, your real estate agent can always recommend local finance professionals to put you at ease. 

What else do you need to know about the mortgage process? The following should help break it down and further calm your nerves about buying a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania this year.

You need: Down payment
To qualify for a mortgage in Delaware and Pennsylvania, a down payment of anywhere from 5 to 20 percent is helpful. Don't let previous assumptions about money down stop you from purchasing your dream home— depending on the type of mortgage you choose, your down payment could be as low as 3 percent!

You need: Income verification, credit history
Your lender will want to see verification of your income and your credit history to ensure you have the funds to make a monthly mortgage payment. Now is the time to put together all of your documents, keep them organized, and research your credit history to ensure there are no errors. If there are, correct them before you begin!

A stable income and good credit history will put you on the path to homebuyer success.

You need: Appraisal
The lender will need to verify the value of the home you wish to purchase in Delaware and Pennsylvania

You need: A real estate agent
Remember that your real estate agent has done this before— leave it to the pros! Team up with an experienced agent in Delaware and Pennsylvania who can answer any concerns or questions you have about the process. We are happy to help!

Ready to start the home buying process in Delaware or Pennsylvania? Contact the Kat Geralis Home Team today! 

We also offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide and FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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It is by no means a secret that the moving process can be overwhelming. After all, you're on your way to settle into your dream home! It's both exciting and new and as a result, it can be easy to overlook a few key items like fees along the way.

If you're moving to a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania this summer, it is important to keep an eye out for these extra fees that could pop up when changing homes. Even little things like disposing of packing materials can add up in charges.

Packing and Unpacking
If you don't take the time to carefully package each item or piece of furniture, you could risk damaging them in your move. However, some new homeowners just do not have the time to dedicate to this task. It's understandable, but know that it can cost you! 

Some moving companies will pack for you and even unpack when you arrive. Fees are typically calculated on an hourly basis and if you want them to dispose of the packing materials when it's all said and done, you could acquire a disposal fee as well.

Disassembling and Assembling Furniture
We all know how much time it can take to disassemble furniture and try to remember what goes where before packing it onto the moving truck. Your moving company can do this for you (they oftentimes have extra tools to make it efficient!), but for a fee. They will also reassemble the furniture in your new home for an added charge so you can jump right into unpacking.

Handling Heavy Items
If you have extremely heavy personal items like a piano, pool table, hot tub or safe, movers can charge an additional handling fee as these often require special treatment and packing. Items like appliances can be transported to your new DE or PA home and set up, but movers will also charge an appliance servicing fee.

Carrying a Distance
It may not even cross your mind, but if movers have to park more than 50 to 75 feet from the entrance of your home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you could be required to pay an extra fee for them to take the items inside. This is called a "long carry fee" and is assessed based on the distance movers need to carry items from the truck to the entrance of the home.

Moving to a new home in Delaware and Pennsylvania is an exciting time, so don't let unexpected moving fees catch you off guard! With our experience in the local real estate market, the Kat Geralis Home Team is happy to help your home buying process run as smoothly as possible. 

We also offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide and FREE First Time Home Buyer 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 Shop Around for a Delaware or Pennsylvania Mortgage

by Katina Geralis

When it comes to homebuyer mistakes in Delaware and Pennsylvania, perhaps the biggest one is failing to shop for a mortgage. Many homebuyers simply take the first mortgage they are offered without knowing they could have secured a better loan, with lower fees and a lower rate. 

As you shop for a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania this summer, make sure you then also take the time to shop around for a mortgage. Use the following tips to ensure you're getting the best possible deal and loan for your dream home:

First, research your budget
Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford in a DE or PA home. Include all of your monthly expenses, including property taxes, monthly maintenance and utilities, insurance and any private mortgage insurance (PMI) that you may acquire. Once you've determined your budget, you can then proceed with shopping for the best rate.

Research the different types of mortgages
It's important that Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers know the different types of mortgages— from fixed rate mortgages to adjustable rate to those that allow payment adjustments. Each loan type will come with its own set of fees, terms, requirements and limitations. For instance, you may receive a penalty for paying off your mortgage early with some loans. Take the time to find which loan type is best for you.

Compare loans among lenders
On one specific day, gather quotes from several lenders and even brokers. Lenders can give out different rates and fees to consumers on the same day for the same loan, so it's important to shop around. Once you have a list of rates from many lenders, then you can go about finding which is the best deal.

Ask for help
If finding lenders and brokers in your area is stressful for you, always ask for help! As your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team can provide suggestions for experts in the mortgage space that can help you find the best rate for your new home loan. A recommendation can oftentimes put you at ease, knowing that you are working with a trusted pro.

Shopping around for a mortgage in Delaware and Pennsylvania can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, so don't leave it out of the mix! Our team is happy to help walk you through the process of buying a home and answer any questions to calm your concerns. Just give us a call!

We also offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide and FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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You've made a wish list of all of the features you want in a potential Delaware or Pennsylvania home and now it's time for the house hunt to begin. However, after viewing a few properties, you may notice that not every one of your must-haves can be fulfilled in a single home in your price range.

What now? Compromise. While it is not always a word DE and PA homebuyers like to hear, there are worthwhile trade-offs you will want to consider as you view available properties this spring.

Square footage
A potential home in Delaware or Pennsylvania could have everything you're looking for— an updated kitchen, the right school district, proximity to family and friends—but that could also mean giving up a finished basement or guest bedroom. A compromise on square footage should only be entertained if you don't anticipate your space needs growing in the near future, otherwise you could find yourself needing to move all too soon.

Location
If a compromise on square footage is not in the cards for you, many buyers find they are willing to budge on location. Oftentimes, a home within walking distance to entertainment, shops and restaurants is smaller than you would like— but moving a bit farther away could open you up to more homes that meet the criteria on your wish list.

Backyard
Suppose a home fits the bill with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as your budget, but you step outside to find a smaller yard. A compromise on yard size may be worthwhile if the home's interior succeeds in providing the space you are looking for this spring. 

The Kat Geralis Home Team has decades of experience in helping Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers find their dream homes, identifying what is important to them in terms of features, location, and home size. Give us a call today for more information about available homes in your desired area!

We also offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

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

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
Visit My Website
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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
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook


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
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
Find me on Facebook

 

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