Buying a Home

FIND A GOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT!

Finding the right real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. And before you ask, yes, having a realtor® is vital when buying a home! This is especially the case when negotiating fees, making the right offer, and ensuring that all goes smoothly. Think of a realtor® as, essentially, your "real estate guide". Your "guide" is there to help you every step of the way! 

What to consider when choosing the right agent:

-client reviews/testimonials: reading about other client experiences with an agent can provide all of the insight you need into whether or not you should utilize that agent.

-experience: ensure your agent has the right experience that will best help you within this homebuying journey!

-recommendations from family & friends: friends and family can offer fantastic recommendations to agents that they know, or could have used themselves.

We know that choosing the right real estate agent for you can be a very overwhelming and exhausting process. This is why we HIGHLY suggest reaching out to some of Costello REI's realtors® as they are some of the most skilled and knowledgable individuals you may ever come across!

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Researching The Area

Knowing about the area you're considering laying your roots in is extremely important not only to you as a buyer, but to you as a potential future seller. Some things you might want to consider when purchasing a home include, but are by no means limited to: 

Crime Rates

Crime rates in the United States vary depending on the state and city.  Some states may be considered highly safe in terms of crime, however other areas, such as Anchorage, Alaska, are considered to be the most dangerous in the nation.

When thinking about crimes, many may jump to violent crimes committed against others, however, more than 1 million burglaries are committed each year, about 3,300 per day. High-crime areas pose not only a physical threat but also poses a threat to your property.

Ease of Access

For those not wanting to be in rural areas, ensuring the accessibility of a property to places such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or other locations plays a key factor in every homebuyer's ultimate decision.  Three things to consider, include bikeability, walkability, and drivability. 

Bikeability is very important when considering purchasing a home as this can increase the resale value of the home if you resell the home to an avid biker or someone wanting to decrease their carbon emissions!

Walkability is determined by a home's location to its surrounding developments. For example, homes that are within a couple of miles of major development, shopping center, etc. are considered to have a good walkability score. 

Drivability is essentially how drivable a home is from the surrounding developments. For people that may reside in a rural area, drivability may be much lower than say those who reside in an urban area. 

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Calculate Costs & Plan Ahead

Prior to purchasing your home, it is vital to calculate all of your potential fees going through this process. Nothing is worse than having unwanted or hidden fees sneak up on you at the wrong time! That's why we suggest that buyers should always be prepared, if not overprepared, for such circumstances. 

Some fees you will be required to cover:

  • You should expect to cover closing costs, which can range anywhere from 2 to 5% of your loan amount. 
  • In order to get an estimated value of the home you're looking to purchase, you will need to get an appraisal. An appraisal is needed for lenders to determine your loan-to-value ratio. Of course, there are fees associated with getting an appraisal, which can range anywhere from the low hundreds to $1,000.

  • Many lenders can require that you get a home inspection on the property. A home inspection can range anywhere from $300-$500, depending on the area you live in. Getting the property inspected prior to purchasing is not only a good idea on the lender's behalf, but it also reinforces you, as the buyer, that your big-time investment is structurally sound. 

Many homebuyers make the mistake of not acquiring a home inspection prior to purchasing, which is a choice that they typically end up regretting later.  For example, some of the most common problems witnessed by home inspectors are with the property's drainage, roofing, and foundation. Such issues could end...

Applying for a Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval

As a buyer, it is paramount that you get preapproved for a loan as this shows sellers that you are a reliable candidate. Being preapproved means that you have the buying power to make an offer on your potential new home. Preapprovals allow for you to make an offer, go under contract, and begin the underwriting process.

Prior to applying for preapproval, there are some things you should do to ensure you will get preapproved with no hiccups. 

1. Check your credit score. You will have a high chance of receiving preapproval, as well as a substantial loan if you have a credit score above 620. However, if you have a score of 740 or above, you will qualify for some of the best mortgage rates available!

Need to rebuild your credit prior to preapproving? Some things you can do to help build back some of your credit scores involve paying all of your bills on time, getting a secured credit card that you pay your balance in full monthly, using a credit repair specialist, and limiting your credit usage.

2. Calculate your DTI, debt-to-income ratio. It's important to determine your monthly debt to monthly income so you can better establish the type of loan you can afford. To do this, divide your monthly debt costs, by your monthly gross income amounts. Having a good DTI below 35% will help you secure a better rate and allow for you to get through underwriting.

3. Ensure you are financially stable and have a steady employment history. Having a reliable income shows lenders that you are a reliable candidate, thus allowing them more flexibility when it comes to the loans they can offer you!

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Applying for a Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval

As a buyer, it is paramount that you get preapproved for a loan as this shows sellers that you are a reliable candidate. Being preapproved means that you have the buying power to make an offer on your potential new home. Preapprovals allow for you to make an offer, go under contract, and begin the underwriting process.

Prior to applying for preapproval, there are some things you should do to ensure you will get preapproved with no hiccups. 

1. Check your credit score. You will have a high chance of receiving preapproval, as well as a substantial loan if you have a credit score above 620. However, if you have a score of 740 or above, you will qualify for some of the best mortgage rates available!

Need to rebuild your credit prior to preapproving? Some things you can do to help build back some of your credit scores involve paying all of your bills on time, getting a secured credit card that you pay your balance in full monthly, using a credit repair specialist, and limiting your credit usage.

2. Calculate your DTI, debt-to-income ratio. It's important to determine your monthly debt to monthly income so you can better establish the type of loan you can afford. To do this, divide your monthly debt costs, by your monthly gross income amounts. Having a good DTI below 35% will help you secure a better rate and allow for you to get through underwriting.

3. Ensure you are financially stable and have a steady employment history. Having a reliable income shows lenders that you are a reliable candidate, thus allowing them more flexibility when it comes to the loans they can offer you!

GET YOUR PREAPPROVAL TODAY with MOVEMENT BANK!!

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Top 15 Charlotte Neighborhoods For 2021

Did you know that it's estimated that 120 people move to Charlotte every day!

Now, with the new year approaching fast, we wanted to give you our picks for which of Charlotte's neighborhoods are some of the best picks during 2021. Whether you're relocating from out of state, or you're just looking to relocate down the street, this comprehensive list will help arm you with the insight and knowledge you need to make the best decision. Here's a quick look at the top 15 Charlotte neighborhoods to consider when searching for your next home.

1. Plaza-Midwood

Found on the top of just about every neighborhood list for Charlotte, Plaza-Midwood is a vibrant spot with plenty to offer. It's not far from Uptown, making it a very popular location. In fact, Plaza-Midwood provides a small-town feel, with the hustle and bustle of the Queen City life. Average homes in this neighborhood range from $300k to upwards of $1.2 million.

In addition, the community and its residents are so friendly and inviting, you'll instantly feel right at home. Not to mention that the area's vibrant atmosphere is filled with art galleries, restaurants, as well as the Charlotte Country Club. 

2. Dilworth

Since 1891, the first streetcar suburb of Charlotte, Dilworth, has been very popular for those looking to relocate due to its deep historical roots and the abundance of activities.

The location also makes it easy to enjoy most of what Charlotte has to offer, such as local shops, unbelievably yummy restaurants, museums, art galleries, and so much more! In Dilworth, you can instantly feel the woven fabric of culture, community, and location all intertwined within this...

9 Reasons You Need a Real Estate Agent

Whether you're buying or selling a home in Charlotte, or the Charlotte Metro area a Realtor® is a must. There are so many good reasons to go into this massive financial transaction with an expert by your side, and while you may be able to do it yourself, this type of transaction should never be treated as a DIY project.

Ask yourself: Are you well-versed in real estate law? Do you understand any recent changes to the laws impacting real estate? Are you familiar with homeowner's associations in the area? Do you know the Charlotte Communities like the back of your hand?

Unless you answered YES to all of these questions, you NEED a Realtor®. Here are several great reasons why you should always hire a Realtor® when buying or selling a home.

IT'S A HUGE FINANCIAL TRANSACTION

For most people, buying or selling a home is one of the largest financial transactions of their life. Hiring an expert to ensure the "t's" are crossed and the "i's" are dotted is just smart. Without an expert by your side, a small mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

REALTOR'S ® ARE EXPERT NEGOTIATORS

We all like to think we are great negotiators, but you probably don't negotiate for a living. Realtor's ® negotiate real estate deals every single week and they know exactly what to expect. They also know a bad deal when they see it.

Selling and buying real estate comes with plenty of challenges. One of the main challenges is making sure you can get the right deal. Negotiating is vital to a good real estate deal and you need an expert: Someone...

3 Tips for New Home Buyer's in the Current Market

Buying a home doesn’t need to be scary or stressful!

The most important thing for New Home Buyers or First-Time Home Buyers to know, in any market, it that it’s important to find a Realtor® and a lender they trust, who are willing to take the time to educate them and walk them through the process step by step.

It’s also important in this market for buyers to get a full pre-approval from their lender and work with their Realtor® to determine what their price point means in terms of today’s market. A great agent will help them understand the current market and what it means to them in terms of competitiveness, availability of homes, and whether or not they may need to compromise on some of their wants.

Finally, it’s important for new buyers to remember that while this is a big investment decision for them, they should also enjoy the process. You only get to buy your first home once!

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What You May Not Know About Plaza Midwood

Plaza Midwood is very popular and it's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Charlotte. You may know quite a bit about this amazing neighborhood, but you may not know it all.

The neighborhood is known for the incredible restaurants, unique bars, thriving culture, and arts scene and so much more. It's a true Charlotte institution and one of the best neighborhoods in the city. If you are a foodie, are an avid music enthusist, or an Art lover this neighborhood is perfect for you due to its rich and eclectic culture

Plaza Midwood is also a great place to call home with plenty of wonderful homes. Many of the houses here are historic and have been well preserved. There's also some new construction on the larger streets, as well as, condos and apartments. Many residents love the fact that the neighborhood is very walkable.

If you're considering moving to Plaza Midwood, you'll want a real estate agent familiar with the area. You will also want to learn all about the neighborhood and it's thriving culture!

While you may know some of the main facts about Plaza Midwood, you may not know everything. Here are some of the top things you may not know about Plaza Midwood.

WBT Radio Station

F.M. Laxton is a famous early resident from Plaza Midwood. He set up a radio transmitter in his backyard chicken coup back in the 1910s. Eventually, he became the founder of the WBT radio station, which was only the third licensed station in the entire county. This caused Charlotte to become a hotspot for music recording early when...

What to Ask Your Lender When Buying a House

The home buying process can be both exciting and stressful. Becoming informed and hiring the right real estate agent are two of the best ways to take the stress out of buying a house. While you certainly want to be informed on the buying process, you should also know what to ask your lender.

A big part of buying a home is taking out a mortgage. If you don't ask the right questions, you may end up with the wrong lender or loan. Here are a few of the most important questions to ask your lender when buying a house.

Which Loan Program Works Best for Me?

Every situation is different and if you don't ask this question, you may get a program your lender wants to sell you, not the right one for you. Whether you work a regular job or you work for yourself, there are likely multiple loan programs you qualify for with most lenders.

Our Partners at Movement Bank are here to help! Contact Team Romero today to get a head start on your loan process or with any questions that you might have in reference to getting pre-approved.

A good lender will take the time to get to know you and will figure out which mortgage is best for your situation. Make sure your lender does this or you may get stuck with a program that isn't right for you but paid the account executive a better commission.

How Much Will My Down Payment Be?

You don't need any surprises in the home buying process. However, with the current market, you may be surprised that you don't neccisarly need the traditional 20% down to buy a home. Before you go any further, find out how much the lender will require...

A First-Time Homebuyer's Guide to Buying a House in 2019

Buying your first home should be exciting. However, it often comes with plenty of stress and can become rather overwhelming.

Last year, the real estate market experienced rather low inventory and many buyers were demanding affordable housing. This made the market sway towards the seller and buyers had to be on their toes to get the home they really want for a price they liked.

Regardless of whether it's a buyer's market, seller's market, or a balanced market, as a first-time homebuyer, you need to know what you're getting into. If you're planning to buy for the first time this year, here's a quick guide to help you along the way.

Your Credit Matters, so Start with Your Score

Pull your credit score and find out what it is. If you have poor credit, it's time to start here and work on getting your credit score up before you even attempt to buy a home. Even if your credit is good, but not great, you may want to do some work in this area first.

Your credit score will be used by any lender you try to get a mortgage from. They will pull your credit report and look at the score to help determine if you qualify and how good of an interest rate you may qualify for.

Speak to a Lender

After you've seen your credit score, it's time to speak to a lender. While not all will take your call and answer your questions, the ones that will are the ones you will work with when it's actually time to buy your first home. We recommend contacting Team Romero with Movement Bank.

Talk to them about your credit score and what it means for your down payment, potential interest rate, and loan amount/program....

Three Tips for Buying or Selling a Home

Video Transcription

Hi Everyone, Steve Lonnen with Costello REI!

I wanted to share with you three quick tips on how you can get the job and how you can get the home.

What do I mean?

Prior to real estate, I spent 15 years with a very large corporate recruiting and staffing company. My goal was helping to place thousands of people into great jobs. I also helped to train and develop recruiters to help people get great jobs.

Now, my goal in real estate is to help people buy and sell their homes. I have seen a lot of similarities between the two.

I want to share them with you and break them down quickly into three easily digestible parts.

Number 1: Be Prepared

If you are going into the job having the resume updated, doing some interview prep, make sure that you have done your research into the company.

On the home buying side it is very similar: Going into the home buying process, make sure that you are pre-approved, making sure that you have a general idea of where you would like to end and qualify some other things on the front-end, making sure that you are ready to buy.

Number 2: Requirements Change

I can't tell you how many times that I have worked with job candidates that have a list of 5-10 things that are required of the job or career that they want. What you start to realize is that some of these things are negotiable.

Maybe, the job cannot pay as much as they are asking for. However, there are other plus benefits that still make the position enticing. (Maybe there is a closer commute, the cost of living is less in that...

A Quick Home Buyer's Guide for 2019

Buying a home doesn't change dramatically from one year to the next. However, it does change a little bit. Interest rates change, the way homes are marketed evolves, and the market can certainly shift in favor of buyers or sellers from year to year.

With prime buying season for 2019 right around the corner, it's time to prepare yourself for the journey. Here's a quick home buyer's guide for 2019 to help get you up to speed.

You Don't Have to Put 20% Down

While homes are still expensive, you can get into a new home without as large of a down payment. If you're currently renting, you probably understand the challenge of coming up with a down payment. In fact, the down payment is the biggest challenge for more than half of renters according to the 2019 Housing Market Outlook Research Report

With supply pushing prices up, that 20% down payment keeps getting higher and higher. However, you don't have to put 20% down. In fact, you can get into a new house with just 5% to 10% down and some buyers are even getting into a home with 0% to 3% down.

Speak with your real estate agent and they will be able to recommend a lender with alternative options outside of the traditional mortgage choices. You may qualify for an FHA or VA program, which may come with a much lower down payment. There are also down payment assistance programs you may qualify for, which can make it much easier to get into a new house.

Be Financially Prepared

While the down payment is one of the top obstacles for renters looking to become buyers, if you plan to buy a house in Charlotte, you should also consider boosting your credit score...

The Differences Between An Online Home Search & an In-Person Search

Shopping online is far past the fad stage. No longer are people just shopping for gifts at the holidays online. Today, many home buyers perform an online home search before they ever see a single property in person.

In fact, some buyers never see the property in person before agreeing to buy it. With so many options to choose from, narrowing down the possible properties online makes sense. However, when you get ready to search for your next home, it's a good idea to understand some of the differences between an online home search and an in-person home search.

The Feel of the Neighborhood

It's impossible to get a feel for the neighborhood if you're searching for a property online. Sure, you can search the neighborhood for information about it, but you won't actually be able to feel the vibe or walk the area to see how you like it.

With an online home search, you just don't have the option to see how the neighborhood feels to you. It's best to take your online search and turn it into an in-person search when you think you have a good choice. Then, you'll get to experience the neighborhood and see how you like it.

Photos May Not Be 100% Accurate

Online pictures are great and help you get a feel for the property. However, they are not always the most accurate representation of the property. Often, the online images you see represent the very best of the property and don't show off the home the same way it shows during an in-person search.

Some of the rooms may look bigger through online pictures. You may also only get to see the home from a specific angle. It's also likely the home was staged for the picture and it can be hard to separate the staging from the actual home without seeing it in person.

Seeing the home in person will give...

Interest Rates Hit a New 12 Month Low!

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below.

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:

“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.

Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!

 

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Great Neighborhoods Found in Davidson, NC

The Town of Davidson, NC offers plenty of great neighborhoods to enjoy. It's a wonderful town to call home with its close proximity to Charlotte. Here's a quick look at some of the top neighborhoods found in Davidson.

Davidson Woods

A beautiful community found in Davidson, Davidson Woods offers custom homes built by the best area home builders. There are still plenty of opportunities for building here, while some of the homes have already been built. The prices range from the $400s up to more than $1 million with some of the homes providing complete custom options.

Park Creek

Another great neighborhood in Davidson, Park Creek is found on the east side of the town. It's a gated community with semi-custom homes and large home sites. The prices range from about $400K up to more than $600K here.

McConnell Farms

When you want something a bit more rural, McConnell Farms if the spot for you. Many of the lots here are large and wooded with plenty of home sites still available for building. It's a short drive from Davidson and offers homes starting in the $400s.

Runneymede

A horse-friendly neighborhood in Davidson, Runneymede provides wooded lots and plenty of estates with horse facilities. It's just a few minutes from downtown Davidson and offers plenty of luxury throughout. Runneymede is also known for providing plenty of privacy. The homes start in the $400s, but go up to $1 million.

Woodlands at Davidson

Found right on the Davidson, Huntersville line, the Woodlands at Davidson provides larger luxury homes with plenty to offer. It's a community found just minutes from downtown Davidson and not far from Huntersville. The River Run Country Club is just five minutes away, as...

Great Neighborhoods found in Denver, NC

Denver is a town found near Charlotte and offers a great place to call home. Many homebuyers relocating to the Charlotte area are looking for a smaller town, such as Denver to settle in. Here's a look at some of the great neighborhood found in Denver, NC to choose from.

Sailview

A waterfront neighborhood with plenty to offer in the Denver area, Sailview is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the town. The neighborhood offers a variety of homes with plenty of great amenities and lake access. Residents enjoy a clubhouse, picnic area, community pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and plenty more in Sailview.

The neighborhood is located right in the middle of Denver and very close to the newest recreational developments in the town. Homes in Sailview start around $400K and will go up to as much as $3 million.

Killian Crossing

A master-planned community with some new home sites available, Killian Crossing offers larger home sites. It's a Denver community with plenty of amenities more affordable homes ranging from $300K to more than $500K.

Norman Estates

A waterfront, gated community with plenty to offer, Norman Estates is the premier luxury community in Denver, NC. With less than 30 estates here, this is one of the most sought-after communities in the Lake Norman areas. Homes in the Norman Estates are found on the water and many top executives and professional athletes call this neighborhood home.

Norman Estates offers lake access, a community RV and trailer parking area, and a gated entry. Homes here start around $1.25 million and go...

Top Charlotte Neighborhoods with Bungalow Homes

Do you love a good bungalow home? Charlotte has plenty of them and they are found in some of the most charming neighborhoods throughout the Queen City. If you're moving to Charlotte or just looking to move into a different Charlotte home, a bungalow home may be perfect for you.

The bungalow home offers a true southern home with the perfect front porch, great attention to detail and a popular style. The homes from the early 20th century are very popular, but Charlotte is also home to many newer bungalow homes, as well.

If you're searching for a bungalow home in Charlotte, here are the top neighborhoods to consider.

Dilworth

One of the best areas for bungalow-style homes is Dilworth. This neighborhood is also one of the most popular in the entire city. Home buyers will find plenty of great bungalows here with excellent front porches and plenty of charm. The neighborhood dates back to 1900 and was one of the first street-car suburbs of Charlotte. Many of the homes in Dilworth are even found on the National Registry of Historic Places.

NoDa

Names for the fact that it's off North Davidson Street, the NoDa neighborhood offers plenty of wonderful bungalow options. It's filled with historic bungalows with one or one and a half stories and a front porch. Many of the most common bungalow styles are found throughout the NoDa neighborhood.

This neighborhood is known as a very hip area with plenty of local art, excellent restaurants, and boutique shopping options. It's very popular and home to many beautiful bungalow homes to choose from.

Chantilly

With plenty of bungalows with front porches, hardwood floors, transom windows and tall ceilings in Chantilly, you're sure to find the right one for you....

How to Successfully Move to Charlotte with Pets

With the city of Charlotte growing quickly, many are moving to Charlotte from out of the state or at least out of the city. You may be making the move to Charlotte soon and you may be bringing your pets along. The more the merrier and Charlotte is a very pet-friendly place to live.

After making the decision on relocating to Charlotte, you may be wondering how smooth the move will go with your pets. Moving is already stressful and adding in pets can make it even worse. You have so many things to get done and keep track of already.

When you decide to move to Charlotte with pets, you need the right advice to help you get the move done smoothly. Here are some of the best tips to ensure your move with pets is handled properly.

Make the Pets the Job of the Kids

Often, kids feel lift out during a move and need something to do. Putting them in charge of caring for your pets is a great way to handle two things in one. Kids get something to do and you have someone else helping out with the pets.

Of course, you will still have to oversee this whole operation as they are still just kids.

Handling Packing

It's well-known that cats don't like change at all. Dogs, on the other hand, will go nuts anytime you get out luggage or bring moving boxes into your home. They just have a sense for what's happening and they don't know where you might take them next.

Bringing moving boxes into your home early in the process can help to ensure your dogs and cats have time to get used to them. This will also allow you to pack a little at a time, which can also keep the stress level of your pets down.

Have a Pet...

Using the Winter Wine & Beer Passport to Visit Wine Country

Winter is nearly here and the Yadkin Valley Winter Wine & Beer Passport offers a great way to visit wine country in North Carolina. If you've been looking for a way to enjoy incredible wineries and craft breweries, you can use this passport to really check them out.

Found north of Charlotte off I-77, Surry County offers some of the very best wineries in the state. You can enjoy ten award-winning choices, along with two breweries with the Winter Wine & Beer Passport this year. A visit to wine country can be quite a bit of fun when you get the passport for your trip.

If you're looking for a great way to get out of the city during the holidays, this is one of the best choices. It also makes a good gift and provides plenty of fun for anybody that loves wine.

What You Get with the Passport

The Passport will be valid for use from November 23rd to March 20th and offers plenty of perks. You get to enjoy 12 wine and beer tastings with a commemorative keepsake and discounts at many of the local merchants, hotels, and restaurants.

It's a bit like you will be on a treasure hunt as you will have a treasure map to lead you to the wineries and brewers in Surry County. This makes it fun for a group, a couple or anybody looking to enjoy wine tastings in a fun, unique way.

Participating Wineries

For this year, the following wineries are all a part of the Winter Wine & Beer Passport in Surry County:

  • Roaring River
  • Slightly Askew
  • Shelton Vineyards
  • Adagio Vineyards
  • Elkin Creek
  • Grassy Creek
  • ...