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How To Lower Closing Costs

by Mayes Harris Team

Closing costs help facilitate the sale of a home and both buyers and sellers pitch in. Some closing costs can be paid before the home is officially sold and others are paid at the end.

However, closing costs aren’t set into stone and they can be negotiable. You can ask your real estate agent or lender with help in estimating your actual closing costs. Look over everything to make sure all the numbers are right and then you plan accordingly in how you’re going to lower them.

Loyalty Programs

Some banks offer assistance to buyers when they use them to help pay for the purchase. It’s a way for a bank to reward loyal customers.

Closing at the End of the Month

Schedule your closing at the end of the month so you don’t have to pay the per diem interest for so many days.

Get Multiple Quotes

Get estimates from different lenders because you’re looking for the best package of closing costs and interest rates. There might be something better out there.

Junk Fees

There may be some fees a lender charges that may be negotiable, such as origination fee, processing fee, or application fee. Make sure to ask if what you are being quoted is the best they can offer.

Title Costs

Sometimes title insurance and settlement are bundled together. You may be able to find a title and settlement company that is less expensive.

Negotiate With the Seller

You can try to negotiate with the seller in paying for some of your closing costs. Buyers can ask for credit or to cover lender expenses during the offer and negotiation process.

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

by Mayes Harris Team

If you’ve been looking for a new home, finding the right one is exciting. Now that it’s time to write the offer, however, you might be wondering what you can do to make sure the seller is impressed with your offer. Of course the easiest way is to offer cash significantly over asking price, but fortunately in the real world there are still great ways to ensure the seller takes your offer seriously and improve your chance of acceptance.

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

1. Pre-Approval Letter – A pre-approval means your lender has done their due diligence and has all the documentation needed to close the loan.
2. Contingency Removals – Certainly you should not remove any contingencies which could put you at risk, but the contract is full of some which you can safely remove. Consider removing or shortening contingency periods to provide peace of mind to the sellers.
3. Sell Your Home First – One red flag is the buyer who needs to sell their own home before closing. Sell before you write the offer whenever possible.
4. Escrow Period – Working with your agent, offer a longer or shorter escrow period based on the seller’s moving needs.
5. Win-Win – Show the seller that you want to create a win-win. Negotiations are part of a home sale, but avoid seeming unreasonable or demanding.

While price is always important to the home seller, there are other valuable concessions or offers which can mean as much. Work with an agent who views the transaction as a win for all sides and learn what’s important to the seller before you write the offer. By accommodating their needs as much as possible, you are more likely to have your offer accepted.

Appraisals Explained

by Mayes Harris Team

Appraisals are one of the most confusing aspects of buying or selling real estate for the consumer. When a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, it can be frustrating to hear that the appraisal came in with a value too low. It’s not enough for the principals to agree to the price, the appraisal is the lender’s way to ensure they are not loaning money over the actual market value of the property.

The appraised value is reached by a licensed professional who looks at the real estate market in which the target property is located. They start with the target property and then look for recent sales in the area of comparable properties. These comparable properties will be located within a short distance of the target home, normally within a 5 mile radius. They should also be of comparable size and often fall within the same housing development.

Once these homes are identified, the appraiser will adjust for the specific differences. For instance, does the target home have an upgraded kitchen or swimming pool? They add or subtract value based on such things as location, view, lot size, upgrades, additions, condition and many other factors. They can then arrive at a valuation for the target home.

Once the appraisal has been completed, the lender is notified of the value. At this point, the loan amount is either confirmed or declined. If the appraisal comes in too low, the principals can choose to make up the difference in sales price, lower the sales price or cancel the transaction.

Appraisals are not as complicated as they appear. By learning about recent sales in your area ahead of time, you can price your home appropriately up front; then the appraisal should come back as expected.

Tips to Save for a Down payment

by Mayes Harris Team

Are you thinking about buying a new home? Gone are the days of 100% financing with zero down payment. So if you are not sitting on a pile of cash, the idea of finding the money to pay the down payment might feel daunting. But there are simple ways to raise the cash needed to get into a new home.

Assess Your Current Assets - The first step is to determine what cash you might have available right now. Do you have a savings account or perhaps a 401k*? Are you nursing a pet project, like a vintage car or motorcycle, which could be sold for additional cash?

Explore Loan Options - Not all home loans require the typical 20% down payment. FHA and VA loans are available for qualified buyers which allow a very low/no down payment.

Ask For Help - Some loans allow you to use gift funds from relatives for the down payment. There are also local and state programs which offer down payment assistance and second loans.

Employment Incentives – Some cities and counties offer help with buying a home for teachers and first responders. If you fall into one of these categories, speak with your lender about options for down payment assistance.

Buying a new home is a great way to add to your financial security. Building equity with a property is one way to build wealth while providing for you and your family. Finding the down payment might be easier than you think. If you are ready to explore home ownership, meet with a lender and discuss your unique situation.

Qualifying for a Loan – What do I need to qualify?

by Mayes Harris Team

Before you start searching for your new home, the first step is to speak with a lender and determine your budget. This is being pre-qualified for a loan. Once you find the right home, then your lender will order an appraisal of the property and complete your financing. If this is your first home purchase, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve purchased, understanding how to prepare for the qualifying process is the first step to success.

What do I need to qualify for a home loan?

When preparing for your meeting with the lender gather all the pertinent documentation and bring them with you. Generally speaking, your lender will want to see 2 months of employment pay stubs and bank records as well the past 2 years of tax returns. After reviewing your income and savings, the lender will also order a credit report which shows all your recurring debt and payment history. This will be used to determine your ability to pay the proposed mortgage.

How does credit, down payment and income affect my ability to get a loan?

There are a variety of loan programs available and your lender will review all your options with you so you can determine the best program. Some government guaranteed loan programs, such as the VA or FHA, are more lenient with your credit score requirements as well as other qualifications, such as savings and income ratios.

Qualifying for a home loan might feel overwhelming, but your lender can walk you through the process and requirements. After learning your options, you can make the best financial decision for your new home loan.

Market Report Update: Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats

by Mayes Harris Team

It is time once again to take a look back at yet another page on the calendar. This month we begin by reviewing Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats.

Let's get started with the Median Sales Price in April. If we look back at 2017, we see a median sales price of $330,296. The following year, 2018, that price increased by +10.1 percent to $363.784. In 2019, we increased again by +2.4 percent to a median sales price of $372,512 in Mecklenburg County.

Next, we are going to review the number of New Listings that came on the market in Mecklenburg County in April. We start with 2 years ago, 2017, and see that there were 1,953 new homes that came on the market. The following year, 2018, there was a decrease of -3.5 percent with1,884 new homes coming on the market. In 2019, there was a slight increase of+2.7 percent with 1,934 new homes coming on the market.

The next statistic we will review is the April Median Days on Market. Starting in 2017, we saw 6 median days on the market and then the following year, 2018, we saw an increase of -16.7 percent with 7 median days on the market. In 2019, we increased to 11 median days on the market.

So there you have it. A quick overview of what is happening in our local market of Mecklenburg County. If you have questions or need real estate assistance than please reach out to us. We would love to help you!!

Priority Tasks When Moving In

by Mayes Harris Team

You did it. You moved into a new home you love and now you’re dreaming of how you’re going to decorate it. But before getting into all of that, there are still some other tasks that need to be at the top of your priority list.

Changing the Locks
Double check them even if you’ve been told that there are new locks installed. It’s better to take safety measures and know that no one else has keys to your home. Call in a locksmith if you want to spend a little money or it can be done yourself.

Call an Exterminator
A great exterminator can take care of any pests that have been lurking in your home.

Get the House Cleaned up
If it isn’t already, clean out the refrigerator, wipe down counters, cabinets, oven if needed, and plumbing fixtures. Prior occupants might have had pets or young children so it’s best to steam clean. This will free your floors of any junk or allergens.

Mechanical Equipment Cleaned
Getting your heating and cooling systems cleaned is crucial and make sure to get a service contract just in case it stops working suddenly.

Get some Closet Organizers
Keep in mind where everything is going to get placed so it can be accommodated in your closet space. A shelf or a coat hook can go a long way for making room for organization.

Meet the Neighbors
You want to reach out to your neighbors as soon as possible. It’s good to establish yourself within the community and you can get advice on some home repairs like which plumber to use.

Having these as priorities will help you move into a clean, working home. And then, you’re ready to move in with all your belongings and start making it yours!

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

by Mayes Harris Team

Hunting for a new home online a is a great place to start your search but
keep in mind that you don’t see everything. Real estate agents are great at
highlighting the features of a house listing online but to make the most of
your time, keep these three things in mind:

Identify your Housing Needs
Preferences are important when house searching. A house may not have
everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about
pricing and keep in mind the must-have items that will definitely be needed
because this will help narrow your search.

Stay up to Date
When you start your search, make sure you go to sites with up-to-date
Listings directly from the multiple listing service. Realtors post their most
current homes for sale through this. Many sites fail to remove Listings that
are already off the market, and this can lead to you trying to sort through
them and find the recent ones.

Pictures can be Deceiving
Photographers capture Listings at their best. They use different strategies
and tools to boost the appeal of the home like creative editing and
expensive camera equipment known for its effects. What they don’t show is
unappealing parts, like an undone bathroom or small closet.

Go See The Listing After
After you have chosen a house that’s appealing to you, schedule a showing
with your real estate agent. This is the opportunity to see every part of the
house in person and see if it’s a good fit.

Searching online is a great way to learn more about the house you’re
looking for. Even if you’re still unsure about moving, house hunting online
gives potential sellers the basic information.

Buying and Selling at Same Time

by Mayes Harris Team

Either buying or selling a home can be extremely stressful, it can be even more overwhelming if one is trying to do both at the same time. The good news is that this happens all the time and by following a few simple tips, both buying and selling can be a seamless process.

Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time

The good news is that you’re planning to move anyway. Before you list your home for sale, why not start packing now? Take personal items and excess furnishings and pack them up and move them to storage. Not only will your home look larger and neater, but you are also getting a start on the move.

Next make sure your agent, or agents, understand the timeline and requirements. There are many standard contingencies which can protect you from owning two homes at once or none at all. Not only can the purchase of your new home be contingent on successfully closing on your current one but you can also reverse the process and ensure you find a replacement before the close as well.

Finally, get the entire family involved. Be excited about the change and create a moving plan in which everyone has a task and there is a plan for the move itself. By taking a few initial steps, moving can be fun and easy.

The Internet Can’t Replace Your Agent

by Mayes Harris Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in the information age; the Internet offers advice on every topic and real estate is no exception. With more and more home buyers starting their home search online, they are bombarded with advice and information – it can be easy to think that you can learn everything you need to know just by reading articles online.


The truth is your real estate agent does much more than answer your questions and open doors with a special key. A professional real estate agent will be there every step of the way. They have the experience necessary to navigate the complicated home buying process and solve common hiccups that present themselves in every real estate transaction.


Your real estate agent is a local professional. They will start by presenting themselves to the buyer’s agent as someone who will work with them to see the transaction through to a successful conclusion. They have a network of professionals who will work as a team to help you through the process. These include such professionals as lenders, title reps, escrow officers, transaction coordinators, home inspectors, contractors, and handymen, among others.


Most importantly, your agent is your ally in the home buying process. They negotiate on your behalf – armed with experience and understanding of customary charges, costs, and terms. They will ensure that the price you pay for the home is fair for the condition and neighborhood. They will negotiate repairs, if needed and make sure you are protected with the proper contingencies.


The Internet offers lots of great information, but the most important step you can take when buying a new home is hiring a local professional real estate agent. Their knowledge and expertise can’t be found by reading an article or two online.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 43

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