Thursday, December 29, 2011

197 Cottage Lake Way (Just Reduced) $114, 900

Simply stunning 5 year old home, well maintained located on cul de sac. The kitchen features all SS appliances and refrigerator included. The master features huge walk-in closet & private bath & shower.All rooms feature 3" blinds & ceiling fans. Huge deck and privacy fence is backed to secluded woods.(No homes in view!) A 12 month home warranty included plus all appliances washer & dryer! Convenient location Garners Ferry & I-77 & Ft Jackson, Shaw AFB & McEntyre. Call 803.553.3740






Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eat Everything on Your Plate


My mother used to get really angry if we didn't eat everything on our plates.  No matter how bad we hated the meal.  In fact sometimes I would find myself at the diner table until it was bed time.  Now looking at this picture of my grandson Lucca I was reminded of those times. 

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I just fell asleep at the table like Lucca.  Maybe my Mother would have thought I was so cute she would just have carried me to bed; what a scam that would have been.  Only problem is I wasn't that cute so that would never happened.  Probably a smack in the head and orders to finish what was on the plate.

Now I know that Lucca doesn't have to eat everything, in fact that old wives tale is long past being enforced.  But really and truly Lucca is as cute as he can be.  Love you, PePe.


Does Moving Up Make Sense?

The answers to these questions will help you decide:
  1. How much equity do you have in your home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of paying a mortgage, but if you’ve owned your home for a number of years, you may have significant unrealized gains.
  2. Has your income increased enough to cover the extra mortgage costs and the costs of moving?
  3. Is the neighborhood still a good one for your needs? For example, if you’ve had children, the quality of the schools may be more of a concern now than when you first purchased.
  4. Can you add on or remodel? If you have a large yard, there might be room to expand your home. If not, your options may be limited? Also, do you want to undertake the headaches of remodeling yourself?
  5. How is the home market? If it’s good, you may get top dollar for your home.
  6. How are interest rates? A low rate not only helps you buy more home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2 New Stock Court Hopkins, SC (Just Reduced) 129,995


Better than new, well maintained home! Fantastic landscaping and huge privacy fenced yard, corner lot. Open floor plan, kitchen opens into family room w/fireplace. Master suite w/trey ceiling, walk in closet, private bath w/separate shower, garden tub. This home is mere minutes from downtown, I-77 , I-26, Ft Jackson, Shaw and McEntyre. This is an incredible home, at a great price!  4Bed 2.1Bath  2089 sq ft. Call 803.553.3740  MLS 302420


Monday, December 26, 2011

20 Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

Make your home more appealing for yourself and for potential buyers with these quick and easy tips: 
  • Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
  • Buy a new doormat.
  • Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
  • Put new doorknobs on your front door.
  • Put a fresh coating on your driveway.
  • Edge the grass around walks and trees.
  • Keep your garden tools out of site.
  • Be sure kids put away their toys.
  • Buy a new mailbox.
  • Upgrade your outside lighting.
  • Use warm, incandescent light bulbs for a homey feel.
  • Polish or replace your house numbers.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Put out potpourri or burn scented candles.
  • Buy new pillows for the sofa.
  • Buy a flowering plant and put in a window you pass by frequently.
  • Make a centerpiece for your table with fruit or artificial flowers.
  • Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
  • Buy new towels.
  • Put a seasonal wreath on your door.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My GrandChildren..Merry Christmas!

Madison, Amelia, Patrick, Rocco and Lucca


Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!

So there I said it again.  I can't remember how many times this year I wished people a Merry Christmas and not one complaint.  I don't know who the people are that are offended but I have not meet a one.  If I had it would be OK because we live in a country where religious freedom is part of fabric of our society.  Bottom line you can believe the GOD of Abraham and his son and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or in whatever you want.  You see this is not a discussion about who is right or wrong but about believing in what you wish and being tolerant to those believe otherwise.

You see when Christmas was established as a Holiday because it was about the birth of Jesus Christ.  A celebration of his birth and to praise and honor him because he is the son of GOD.  Now how Santa and all the gift giving got involved in this holiday I just can't say with certainty but I know GOD'S  hand is in this because I believe he is the maker of Heaven and Earth and all things seen and unseen but I am not offended that you may beleive otherwise.

It makes no sense for our government or others to insist we don't wish others a Merry Christmas because it might offend someone.  Our ancestors came here as they were being persecuted because of there regilious beliefs.  The results was the United States of America, one nation under GOD indiviable with liberity and justice for all.  Let it just be that way; so if someone says Merry Christmas reply whatever you wish and like wise if someone says Happy Holidays do the same.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting a Handle on Closing Costs (Part 4)

This will be the last post in this series and will tie up some loose ends concerning other types of Inspections you may want to consider as well as an estimate of cost.
  • Home Inspection:  $300.00 (paid at time of inspection)
  • Septic Inspection (if applicable):  $125.00
  • Well Inspection (if applicable)  $125.00
  • Well Water Inspection (if applicable)  Free is through DEHEC (SC)
  • Heating & Air-Conditioning Inspection/Letter:  $100.00
  • Termite Inspection/Letter:  $100.00 (VA Loan Seller has to pay.)
Other inspections could be pool, roof, radon, chimney to name a few.  As your Realtor I would  be glad to help you find someone to do these inspections and any others you wish.  A good rule of the thumb the older the home the more inspections you would want.

One final word "Warranty".  I would highly recommend for used homes and Coldwell Banker has one for both buyer and sellers and it is competitively priced.  Whether a Buyer or Seller a Warranty just makes sense.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting a Handle on Closing Costs (Part 3)

SETTLEMENT COSTS GUIDE (BUYER)
(To be used for estimates only.)

  • Attorney, Settlement or Closing Fee:  $350.00  This fee is paid by the settlement agent, attorney or escrow holder to process the closing.
  • Title Search:  $125.00  Fee covers the costs of the title search and examination.
  • Document Preparation: $150.00 - $175.00  This is the fee that some lenders charge to cover their costs of preparation of final legal papers, such as a mortgage, deed of trust, note or deed.
  • Loan Origination Fee:  1% of Loan Amount.  This fee is usually know as the loan origination fee but sometimes is call a "point".  it covers the lender's administrative costs in processing the loan.  FHA regulates this fee to a maximum of 1% of the loan amount.  Often this is expressed a a percentage of the loan.  Generally the Buyer pas the fee, unless otherwise negotiated
  • Loan Discount Points (If Applicable):  Also called "points".  A loan discount is a one-time charge imposed by the lender or broker to either lower the rate at which the lender or broker would otherwise offer the loan to the buyer or may be used to lock-in the interest rate for an extended period.  This fee may very and be negotiated.
  • Survey:  $350.00  The fee for obtaining survey of property (not required by lender) but highly recommended by many Realtors.
  • Appraisal:  $350.00 Conventional, $300.00 FHA, and $500.00 VA.  This charge pays for an appraisal report made by an independent appraiser.  If  repairs are required by appraiser, a re-inspection fee of $75.00 - $100.00 per visit will be charged.
  • Credit Report:  $35.00 - $75.00  This is the cost to obtain credit report and credit score.
  • HOA Extoppel Statement:  $35.00 - $250.00  Fee the Buyer pays to transfer HOA from one owner to the next.  It show up as Capital Contribution on the HUD-1.
  • Title Insurance:  A fee for title insurance up to the loan amount required by lender's policy to protect them from defects in the title and up to the sales price for the owner's policy protection. Calculator: 
 http://www.invtitle.com/sites/all/modules/officelocator/themes/all/ratecalculator.htmOwner's

  • Title Insurance Policy:  This is a one time fee good forever.  Protects the homeowner from defects on the title and is based on the sales price.  (Attorney will figure this and have on the HUD.)  Strong recommendation for the Buyer to have owner's coverage in addition to lender's coverage.
  • Title Insurance Binder:  $75.00  Temporary title insurance expected soon to be replaced by a title insurance policy.
  • Underwriting Fee:  $325.00  This is a fee charged by the investor for underwriting the submitted loan file and all of its paperwork.
  • Recording the Deed of Trust:  $20.00 - $45.00  A deed is an instrument that conveys any interst in real property to another person or entity.  This is a fee for recording the new Deed at the Court House.
  • Recording the Mortgage:  $10.00 1st page; $3.00 each additional page.  fee for recording the formal mortgage document at the court house.
  • Tax Service Fee:  $85.00  This is a fee for service which monitors tax payments on the loan.
  • Flood Certification:  $15.00 - $35.00  Cost of determining if the property is in a flood zone.
  • Adiministration Fee:  $100.00  Photo copies/Express mail/Money wire/FAX/Copies
  • Miscellaneous Chages:  $150.00 - 200.00  This is a catch all for unexpected fees, which ther will always be.  Such as amortization schedules, assignments, mortgage and/or note preparation when Seller takes a 2nd mortgage, Power of Attorney, additional recording fees, etc.
"Always Check With Lender as I am not a Financial Expert.  Rely on Lender for more Complete Accuracy"


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting a Handle on Closing Costs (Part 2)

SETTLEMENT COSTS GUIDE (SELLER)
(To be used for estimates only.)
  • Real Estate Brokerage Fee: Commission percentage charged x Sales Price.
  • Deed Preparation (aka Document Prep):  $150.00 - $175.00.
  • Revenue Stamps (aka Deed Stamps):  Revenue Stamps are placed on deeds wen transferring real property.  $3.70 per $1,000 of Sales Price.  Example:  Sales Price 250,500 (round up to the nearest $1,000increment) = 251,000.  251,000 X 3.70 = 928.70 or round up to 929.00.
  • First Mortgage Balance:  Ask Seller for this information.
  •  Interest n Arrears:  Interest in Arrears is the interest due for the following month.  The formula is the mortgage balance times the annual interest rate and divide by 365, then multiply by the number of days from the first of the the closing month until and including the day of closing.  This equals interest in the arrears.  Example:  Loan balance is $71,549.00 and interest rate is 6%.  $71,549.00 X 6% = 4292.94 which is the amount of interest paid in one year divided by 365 days = 11.76per day times 15 days = 176.42 for interest in arrears.  NOTE:  The above example is for a Conventional Loan.  FHA and VA do not prorate to the day of closing; instead charge for the entire two months.  (Check with lender.)
  • Second Mortgage/Other Liens (equity line):  Obtain from Lender or Seller's records.
  • Recording of Satisfaction of Mortgage:  Charged to record that the Seller's mortgage has been paid off $10.00 - $15.00.
  • Termite Letter, if applicable:  $100.00  (Seller has to pay for Purchaser getting a VA Loan.)
  • Pro ration of Taxes:  The tax pro ration is based on the previous year's taxes since the tax bill does not come out until the end of the year due.  Seller owes from January 1 through the day of closing.  The closing attorney must deduct taxes due from the Seller's proceeds, however this amount may be in the escrow account and reimbursed to the Seller by the lender after the payoff has been received.  Formula:  Last year's annual taxes divided by 365 days times days from January 1 - day of closing.  (Consult a Julian calendar for number of days.)  Example:  Closing is scheduled for May 15th .  Annual taxes are $1500.00 divided by 365 days = $4.11 per day times number of days (unless a Leap Year the number would be 135 days).  $4.11 times 135 days = $555.00.
  • Home Warranty (American Home Shield):  Depends on Coverage and additional options.  $400.00 and $550.00.
  • Purchaser's Transaction Costs & Pre-Paids:  If Seller agrees to pay in the Contract, see Transaction Costs under Estimated Purchaser's Cash Requirements.
  • Water and Sewer:  $30.00 - Some closing agents/attorneys prorate this at closing.
  • Miscellaneous:  50.00  (Photo, Fax Copies, Express Mail, etc.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting a Handle on Closing Costs (Part 1)

This is the first of a series of articles about closing costs for Buyers and Sellers.  The next will be some actual dollar estimates designed to provide you with some better idea of what you can expect.

THE BUYER NORMALLY PAYS FOR:• One-half of the escrow fee (according to contract)
• Lender’s title policy premiums (ALTA)
• Document preparation (if applicable)
• Tax pro-ration (from date of acquisition)
• Recording charges for all documents in buyer’s names
• Fire insurance premium for first year
• Home Warranty (according to contract)
• Inspection fees (according to contract): roofing, property, geologial, termite, etc.
• All new loan charges (except those required by lender for seller to pay)
• Interim interest on new loan from date of funding to first payment date
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE SELLER NORMALLY PAYS FOR:

• One-half of the escrow fee (according to contract)
• Work orders such as termite inspection and work (according to contract)
• Owner’s title insurance premiums
• Real estate commission
• Any judgments, tax liens, etc. against the seller
• Any unpaid Homeowner Association dues
• Home Warranty (according to contract)
• Any bonds or assessments (according to contract)
• Any loan fees required by buyer’s lender (according to contract)
• Recording charges to clear all documents of record against seller
• Payoff of all loans in seller’s name (or existing loan balance if being assumed by buyer)
• Interest accrued to lender being paid off, reconveyance fees and any prepayment penalties

Saturday, December 17, 2011

8 Ways to Improve Your Credit

1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Don’t charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Don’t order items for your new home you’ll buy on credit—such as appliances—until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Don’t open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.

This information is copyrighted by the Fannie Mae Foundation and is used with permission of the Fannie Mae Foundation. To obtain a complete copy of the publication, Knowing and Understanding Your Credit, visit http://www.homebuyingguide.org

Thursday, December 15, 2011

For Sale Heritage Farm $171,000 100%Financing Option


THIS BEAUTIFUL BRICK FRONT, MOVE-IN READY HOME features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths with a large finished bonus room above the garage. Bonus room has 2 walk-in closets and can be used as a 4th bedroom. Home has gas fireplace, and hardwood floors in all main living areas including the kitchen. The dining room and foyer include an extensive trim package with crown, chair rail and picture frame molding. The kitchen features 42 inch cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances. All kitchen appliances included! Vaulted ceilings in the living room, master bedroom and front bedroom. Upgraded rubbed bronze hardware throughout. Four season sunroom and a custom stone patio off the back of the house. Call 803.553.3740










Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Agent Bonus Compliments of Ensight Homes

As most of you know who read my blog I never keep Agent Bonuses offered by new home builders; for those of you reading the blog for the first time or have missed the posts David The Agent gives all bonuses to my buyer client at closing.

So here is the latest deal from Ensight Homes (http://www.ensighthomes.com/).  A $2,500 Agent Bonus on any contract written by 12/31/2011 to be paid at closing.  I must be your buyer agent for you to get the bonus.  Not such a bad thing as I am a nice man and good Real Estate Agent.

The next is on a specific home located in Silver Creek the address is 212 & 220Bronze Drive, Lexington, SC 29072 and the agent bonus is $7,500 on 212 (left) and  $4,000 on 220 (right) AMEX gift card to be paid at closing.  This homes are move in ready.  In order for you to get the bonus I must me your buyer agent. As I said previously not such a bad thing.

If you aren't working with another agent give me a call.  By the way if you decide to call you will find myself and team members just want you get the home you want at the best price.

220
            
212



Monday, December 12, 2011

Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)


The Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is designed to assist homeowners in refinancing their mortgages – even if they owe more than the home’s current value. 9 out of 10 of eligible Homeowners fail to take advantage of this government program.  If you are current on your mortgage, with or without equity, then you are eligible for this program.  How can HARP help me?  As the government continues to purchase mortgage backed securities, rates continue to fall and are near record lows.  HARP allows you take advantage of current market rates even if you are “underwater”.  These programs are Financial “Life-Changers”. They are also available for a limited time as determined by congress.  Act now to take advantage of this stimulus program, and lower your monthly payment and/or term using the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Streamline process.

Visit www.harpprogram.org for more details.  If you need assistance completing the paperwork contact me directly at 803-553-3740.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Big Tax Breaks For Home Buyers

Recoup Purchase Fees During Tax Season

If you bought a home this year you may have had to pay closing costs. The good news is you can get some of that back in your taxes, even if the seller helped pay them. Use the HUD-1 Settlement Statement to figure out how much you can deduct on your taxes. Another good resource to use is IRS Publication 530 which discusses deducting loan points.

Daily Interest Charges

Line 901 of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement - Daily interest charges from / to. When a closing occurs after the first of the month a daily interest charge is applied to everyday between the closing date and the end of the month or the date of your first payment. For example, if your daily interest charge is $20 and you closed on your home Oct. 15th the total would be $340.

Origination Charges

Line 801 of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement - Your origination charge. Regardless of whether or not you paid the origination fee to establish the loan you'll still be able to deduct the fee from your taxes. This is because the origination charges are considered to be pre-paid interest on a loan. There are requirements that must be met, in particular that the origination fee cannot include other fees that are usually separate such as appraisal fees, title fees and property taxes.

Loan Discount Points

Line 802 of the HUD-1Settlement Statement - Your credit or charge (points) for the specific interest rate chosen. The full amount of the loan discount points can be deducted in the tax year that you bought your home, whether they were paid by you or the seller. There are some requirements, such as the home purchased must be your main residence, but many buyers will be able to deduct their loan discount points.

See a Big Tax Break Every Year of Mortgage Interest

This is arguably the most well-known and widely used of the homeownership tax benefits. Homeowners can deduct the interest they are charged on their home loans and home equity loans each year. This is especially beneficial in the earlier years of the loan when the monthly payment is mostly interest.

Some people use this to their advantage using a home equity loan to pay of other debts that have interest charges that can't be deducted such as a credit card or car loan. However, owners have to keep in mind their home is the collateral on a home equity loan and if it isn't paid the home can be foreclosed on.

Tax Breaks on Home Sales Make them a Sound Investment

Unlike profits made on other investments, the sale of your home could be completely free of federal taxes. If you've lived in your home at least two of the last five years and it has served as your principle residence then money you earn on the sale of your home will not be subject to federal income taxes.

Married couples can earn up to $500,000 on the sale of their home without federal tax fees and singles can earn up to $250,000 before being charged any federal taxes. You can do this every two years, there are no limits to the number of times you can sell.

If you're considering whether or not you can afford to buy a home you'll need to factor in the tax benefits above. They can make a significant difference to the upfront cost, annual cost and overall return of your investment.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Psalm 24 (A Psalm Of David) "TO BIG TO FAIL"


Yesterday the news was more of the same nonsense from the government; they just don't get it.  They have halted foreclosures for the holiday season (Christmas).  They say there are at least two million foreclosures in the system right now.  Why not use some "TAXPAYER" dollars to bail out these folks and keep them in  their homes.  Of course that won't happen but we have used  "TAXPAYER" dollars to help banks and green energy companies because they are just "TO BIG TO FAIL". 

It seems to me the government just doesn't get it; the people of this country are suffering as a result of government policies that just haven't worked.  How can the President take a 17 day vacation to Hawaii and spend all those "TAXPAYER" dollars in the middle of one of the biggest financial crisis in the history of this country?  (How many of these home owners could be helped with money the President is spending on this vacation?)

Psalm 24 was part of my Bible reading plan yesterday and inspired this post.  It is a reminder of what and who really matters and who is really in charge.  I pray this Christmas Season will bring love and joy in your life and that you will give thanks and praise to God and his son and our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ.  I also pray that the Lord will intercede on behalf of all his people and come to their aid and restore their spirit and enter in to the hearts of the leaders of our country and inspire them to do what is right in your sight.

1 The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false gods.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Department of Defense Home Owners Assistance Program

The Department of Defense (DOD) is proud to offer the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) to eligible service members and federal civilian, including non-appropriated fund, employees. The program is authorized by law, and administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) temporarily expands HAP to assist service members and DOD employees who are wounded, injured or become ill when deployed, surviving spouses of service members or DOD employees killed or died of wounds while deployed, service member and civilian employees assigned to BRAC 05 organizations, and service members required to permanently relocate during the home mortgage crisis. Call David The Agent @ (803) 553-3740.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Selling Your Home No Matter What

Conventional wisdom is to take your home off the market for the holidays or wait to relist after the first of the year.  In other words I don't want to be bothered with selling you home during the difficult months.  People purchase homes all year and sometimes are better than others but home owners area always buying and selling.

I believe that the more exposure your home has the more likely you are to sell.  In these difficult times you must be vigilant and have an agent willing to go the extra mile.  Now I won't be working Christmas or New Years Eve, but I will be the rest of the season.  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.