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Tag: real estate market

Qualifying for A Mortgage

Can you qualify for this home?

Are you looking for a new home? Today’s real estate market can be intimidating and deciding to buy a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. For most of us it will mean that we will need to apply for a mortgage. That can be a daunting task but it does not have to be if you understand what is important.

Your mortgage broker will help you through the process and will likely help you to understand that there are some guidelines that will be used to determine how much you can borrow. Generally, there are two basics guidelines that your mortgage broker will consider:

  1. Will you mortgage payment fall within 25-28% of your gross monthly income? That payment typically includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI).
  2. Additionally, your monthly expenses should not exceed 33 to 38%.

I am not a mortgage broker, so these are general guidelines based on my personal experiences. You situation is different and your mortgage broker will help you to understand the specifics in your own case.

Other factors that will decide your ability to qualify for a home loan. Your credit history, income, assets, and the home that you intend to purchase all have a bearing on the amount of loan you can get.

Market Statistics inside the Crosstown

• There were 17 residential closings in Charleston inside the Crosstown in January, 2010, versus 14 in January 2009.

• In January, 2010 sales were $11.8 million versus $16.8 million last year.

• The price of the average residential sale in January was $693,788 versus $1,199,318 last year.

• In January, 2010 4 of the 17 sales were for over $1 million; a year ago 7 of the 14 sales were for over $1 million.

Clearly this market is stronger than the US real estate market in general.  This is a still a good time to buy real estate.  There is a good level of inventory, sellers are motivated, and interest rates are still low.  And there is more:

Forbes magazine named Charleston as the eighth smartest city in the WORLD.

Charleston is one of five cities on Moody’s list of real estate markets most likely to rebound in 2010.

South Carolina is ranked number 7 among the top entrepreneur-friendly states by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

Boeing is coming.

– David B. Landry
Certified Real Estate Consultant

Understanding the New Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)

Here is a link to a great article from RISMEDIA which is a great source of real estate news.  Click for article by Jeff Lischer.

On November 30, 2009, the Treasury Department released guidelines and forms for its new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), which will help homeowners who are unable to retain their home under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Under HAFA, a borrower (the current owner) may be able to avoid foreclosure by completing a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL).

Betty Poore

Is Your Home Priced to Sell in Today’s Market?

When I look at our real estate inventory and the numbers of days most are on the market, the answer may be that it is not! Generally speaking, there are a number of factors to consider when selling your home. One of the most critical is the listing price.

Many people set the list price of their home based on their ‘needs’ rather than what the market is saying about the value. Well meaning, but misinformed parties may offer advice that is based on incorrect assumptions. The home owner may allow their own positive emotions about the home to influence what they think the house is worth. Some home owners think they need to allow a negotiating cushion in their listing price. What is the result of any of these pricing strategies? A listing price that is above the current market value!

Houses that are priced at or below the current market value draw buyers and sell quickly, even in a buyers market. Well priced homes will sell in a shorter time and at a higher sales price.


Four Guidelines for Every Homeowner Trying to Sell Their Property

  1. Cost doesn’t equal value. If you’ve converted a bedroom into a home theater for $20,000, it does not mean you have added $20,000 to the value of your home.
  2. Put your money where buyers will see it. A fresh coat of paint, cleaning your carpets, sprucing up your front door and entry way are examples of  good returns on your money.  Don’t expect to get the same return on insulation or wiring or even a swimming pool.
  3. Do not over-improve!  The addition of a fifth bedroom when most of the homes in  the  neighborhood are 3 or 4 bedrooms may not not give you the return you would like.  As a guide, use the typical improvements in your area.
  4. Most quality home improvements cause a home to sell quicker but not necessarily for more money.  A timely sale will lessen the carrying costs and stress.  Do not underestimate the value of smart improvements.


Is It Time to Buy Real Estate?

Maybe you have read about the real estate market in the Charleston, SC area and are wondering what to do. You wouldn’t be the only one! Information is valuable when you understand the context and what it means.

The number of new real estate listings is slowing. The number of current listings is decreasing. There are more price reductions each week than there are price increases. Mortgage rates are low and there are tax incentives that are about to expire.  Is it the time to buy real estate?

Making sense of the information can be difficult. Especially if you think that we haven’t hit the bottom yet! After all prices are being lowered more than they are being raised.  But maybe we have essentially hit bottom because there are fewer listings and fewer new listings coming on the market. Rates are low now, but they WILL go up…soon, maybe. What should you do?

One of the Dunes Properties professional real estate agents can help you to make sense of the market. I am one of those agents and I can help you make sense of the confusing information you read each day about real estate. Our market is good. Whether you are buying your first home or moving to you dream home, we can help you make the best decision for you.


The Skinny – Inside Charleston’s Real Estate Market of 2009

The Charleston Trident Realtors Association just posted a video about the Charleston Real Estate Market in 2009. There are some great facts in there so click play and enjoy!


Why Are You Waiting to Buy Real Estate?

It seems that every day we read conflicting information about what the real estate market is doing. One day sales are down and the next day they are up. One report tells you that prices are falling and the next report tells you that they have stabilized. It makes you wonder if there is ever a good time to jump into real estate. You are waiting for the perfect conditions when prices are at there lowest and interest rates are low.
If you have already calculated what you can afford in monthly payments, it doesn’t really matter if prices fall are if interest rates rise. What matters is what the combination of price and interest produces as a monthly payment. If price fall and interest rates rise, has waiting for the lowest price reduced your monthly payment?
The median price of homes in Mt. Pleasant, SC has been moving in the range of $214,000 to $229,000 in the last few years. Let’s pick $218,900 as a median price for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 baths home. Mortgage interest rates have been around 5% recently for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. If you put down 20% your monthly principle and interest payment would be $940. What happens if the price decreases by 5% but interest rates go to 5.5%? Or if the price decreases by 10% but interest goes to 6%?
 Price                  Down 5%                             Down 10%
$207,900                              $197,010

Interest Rate          5.5%                                          6%
Monthly P/I         $945                                         $945

While the price of the home decreased, your monthly payment changed by less than $5.00!
There are great homes available for you and your family. Interest rates will rise. Why are you waiting? Call me for more information.

Market Statistics…Downtown Charleston Inside the Crosstown

4 Trumbo Street, a Downtown Charleston Single, for only $550,000

So much has been written in the last week about the recent rise in home sales for the Charleston area.  The local news publications and stations all covered the 7% increase (compared to September 2008) with a cautiously optimistic outlook. The first sentence of the Post and Courier article declares “Charleston has finally hit a streak of strong home sales,” but the article goes on to clarify that the first-time home buyers tax credit, which will expire at the end of November, could have bolstered the sales. The Charleston Regional Business Journal agrees. But by all accounts, including the most recent posts on this blog, the news is promising and the current climate is still ripe for savvy buyers.

Downtown, at The Real Estate Studio, many of our walk-in guests are curious specifically about the Charleston peninsula inside the Crosstown.  We have a great customized software program in the Studio that allows our guests to immediately view all Charleston listings in seconds on our 50″ plasma monitors.  It makes searching the available properties inside the Crosstown (or in any specific area) a breeze.  If you’re not in the downtown area, simply visit our website to search.

Here are the most recent market statistics for downtown Charleston inside the Crosstown:

• There were 16 residential closings in Charleston inside the Crosstown in September, 2009 versus 9 in September a year ago.

• Through September, 2009 there have been 160 closings inside the Crosstown versus 233 last year.

• The price of the average residential sale through September was $834,722 versus $858,197 last year. That is a 2.8% decrease, the second time we have not seen an increase this year. These are macro numbers dependent on the products sold.

(stats courtesy of Dave Landry,

Clearly this market is stronger than the US real estate market in general. This is a good time to buy real estate.  There is a good level of inventory, sellers are motivated, and the interest rates are still low.  If you’re in the Charleston area, stop by The Real Estate Studio, downtown at 214 King Street, to check out the best deals inside the Crosstown… or anywhere on the Charleston Coast.

More Good News in Real Estate

There is more good news for real estate in the Charleston Trident area! Both the Post and Courier and The Charleston Regional Business Journal are reporting real estate sales for the month of September, 2009, saw an increase of 7% year over year.

The breakdown is:
• Berkley County saw 135 transactions closed for a 9% increase. The median sale price was $150,000.
• Charleston County had 259 transactions close which translates to an 11% increase. Charleston County saw improvement in sales in Mount Pleasant below Hwy 41 and in Carolina Bay in West Ashley. The median sales price was $214,000.
• Dorchester County had 164 sales, remaining stable. The median price was $154,000.

The $8,000 Federal Tax Credit for first time home buyers may have been the reason for increased sales. Time is running out for first time home buyers to take advantage of this incentive since it is set to expire on November 30, 2009. October could see another increase in sales as a result.

This is a great market for buyers to take the advantage. Inventories are still over 10,000 units in the Tri-County and the median sales prices for the area are continuing to trend down. Combine that with reasonable mortgage interest rates and the fist time buyers tax credit. It might be your best time to get into real estate, or move up to the home you always wanted.

If you have questions about the market, or just need more information, call us.