Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room.  A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman

http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

6 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time?  If not, how late were they?  Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.

2. How much you owe.  If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer's oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

6.  New purchases.  It is not a good idea to make any large purchases such a furniture, or a car from the time you decide to apply for financing until you have closed on the purchase of your new home.

For specific questions please feel free to contact Renee Hodges or Zack Larichiuta at 843-763-1180.  On weekends contact Renee at 843-270-6256.  You can email Renee at renee.hodges@gbmail.com or go to website www.charlestonlending.com.  Tell them “Carolina Joe” said to call.
 

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Moving Checklist for Sellers

1.  Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks ahead of the move.

2.  Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of your change of address.

3.  Create a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified about your move.

4.  Arrange to disconnect utilities and have them connected at your new home.

5.  Cancel the newspaper, or change the address so it will arrive at your new home.

6.  Check insurance coverage for the items you’re moving. Usually movers only cover what they pack.

7.  Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.

8.  Check with your condo or co-op about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits for moving.  

9.  Have a “first open” box with the things you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.

Plus, if you’re moving out of town, be sure to:

1.  Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets.

2.  Get copies of children’s school records for transfer.

3.  Ask friends for introductions to anyone they know in your new neighborhood.

4.  Consider special car needs for pets when traveling.

5.  Let a friend or relative know your route.

6.  Empty your safety deposit box.

7.  Put plants in boxes with holes for air circulation if you’re moving in cold weather.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

6 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyer Frequently Make

1.  They do not objectively assess their financial situation prior to looking for a home.

2. They do not ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

3. They do not act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

4. They do not find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the home buying process.

5. They do not do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

6. They do not think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.

For additional information see my buyer’s / seller’s page on my website www.CarolinaJoe.com.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

10 New Truth In Lending Regulation Highlights

1.  Regulations apply to all new loans filed after July 30, 2009.

2.  The new requirements apply to all mortgages secured by a borrower’s home, including primary, secondary and refinancing.  Investor loans are exempt.

3.  The home buyer must be provided a copy of the appraisal a minimum of 3 business days prior to closing.

4.  Lenders must give a good faith estimate of mortgage loan costs within 3 business days after the consumer applies for a loan. 

5.  The lender may not collect any fees before mortgage disclosure, except for a reasonable fee for a credit report.

6.  The earliest any home purchase can close is 7 days after the homebuyer is issued their initial mortgage disclosure from the lender.

7.  The home buyer must be provided a completed HUD-! Form at lest 3 business days prior to closing.

8.  If the APR (annual percentage rate) increases by more than 0.125%, the lender must provide a corrected disclosure to the buyer and wait an additional 3 business days before closing the loan.

9.  The APR includes not only the interest rate on the loan, but certain other costs related to settlement, so it is important that all fees bee as accurate as possible, as early as possible to minimize the need for a corrected disclosure.

10.  The consumer may modify or waive both waiting periods for a documented personal financial emergency, but must receive the mortgage disclosures no later than the date of the waiver.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Let’s Learn About West of The Ashley, Charleston South Carolina

 

West Ashley refers to the area west of the Charleston peninsula, bordered by the Ashley River and Intracoastal Waterway. A large selection of moderately priced homes in desirable neighborhoods is available as well as executive homes on lots that front on the Ashley River, tidal marshes, and creeks. New construction of marsh homes is ongoing. West Ashley is the oldest suburb in Charleston and the closest to town. There are many neighborhoods with golf, tennis, and swimming. Boating on the Ashley River is popular, and homes on deep water lots are in high demand. History comes alive at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, located on Route 171 on the very spot where the English colonists in 1670 established the first permanent European settlement in the Carolinas. Among the park's unique features is the Animal Forest, a zoo that's home to species the settlers would have encountered. There's also the Adventure, a life-size reproduction of a 17th-century trading vessel. In addition to learning about maritime trade, visitors can tour the actual landing site and explore how Charles Towne established itself as a permanent community and eventually became one of the wealthiest colonies in America.
Interpretive panels along the self-guided walking trails help visitors gain insight into the relevance of this historic site. Located along Ashley Road are three historic plantation houses–Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation and Middleton Place. Drayton Hall, the construction of which was completed in four years by European and African-American craftsmen, is the South's oldest surviving example of Georgian-Palladian architecture. Still without running water, electric lighting or central heating, the house remains much the same today as it was when completed in 1742.
 
Local subdivisions include, but are not limited to, Maryville, Ardmore, Sherwood Forest, Old town Acres, East Oake Forest, West Oak Forest, Air Harbor, Byrnes Down, Parkwood Estates, Northbridge Terrace, Sandhurst, Wespanee Plantation, Capri Isle, South Windermere, Windermere, Avondale, The Crescent, Grand Oaks Plantation, Shadow Moss Plantation, Village Green, The Hunt Club, Carolina Bay, Longbranch, Drayton on The Ashley, Hickory Grove Plantation, Poplar Grove, Peirpoint, Sylvan Shores, Schieveling Plantation, MacLaura Bluff, and Chrogan’s Landing.  Points of interest are the Citadel Mall, numerous shopping centers, Charles Towne Landing, Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall, and golfing.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

10 Items You Will Need When Applying For Financing

1. W-2 forms or business tax return forms if you're self-employed. Include the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.

2. Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.

 3. Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
 
4. Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
 
5. Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.

6. Addresses where you’ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
 
7. Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
 
8. Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
 
9. Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
 
10. Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.
 
For specific questions please feel free to contact Renee Hodges or Zack Larichiuta at 843-763-1180.  On weekends contact Renee at 843-270-6256.  You can email Renee at renee.hodges@gbmail.com or go to website www.charlestonlending.com. Tell them “Carolina Joe” said to call.
 
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Does Moving Up Make Sense?

 These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

 
1. Have you built substantial equity in your current 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 your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.
 
2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. 
 
3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district. 
 
4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.
 
5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.
 
6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

How Do You Find the Perfect Neighborhood?

Follow these steps to find the perfect community to call home:

     Is it close to your favorite spots? Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.

     Check out the school district. This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Also, check out www.schoolmatters.com.  For school information for the Charleston SC area go to www.carolinajoe.com/communityresources/

     Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type — such as burglaries or armed robberies — and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

     Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

     See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR® or call the local REALTOR® association to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. A REALTOR® or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.

     Make personal observations. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Equal Opportunity in Housing

 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES
The home seller, the home buyer, and the real estate professional all have rights and responsibilities under the law.
 
For the Home Seller
You should know that as a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You may not instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental, because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate. Under the law, a seller or landlord cannot: (1) establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental of housing; (2) advertise a preference for certain buyers or tenants because of their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin; or (3) misrepresent that housing is unavailable to persons who are members of these protected classes.
 
For the Home Buyer
You have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
 
This includes the right to expect:
            •housing in your price range made available to you without discrimination
            •equal professional service
            •the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
            •no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
            •no discrimination in the financing, appraising or insuring of housing
            •reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
            •non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
            •to be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights
 
For the Real Estate Professional
As a home seller or home seeker, you should know that the term REALTOR® identifies a licensed professional in real estate who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Not all licensed real estatebrokers and salespersons are members of the National Association, and only those who are can identify themselves as REALTORS®. They conduct their business and activities in accordance with a strict Code of Ethics. As agents in a real estate transaction, licensed brokers or salespersons are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Why You Should Work With a REALTOR® When Buying a Home

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®. 

 
1. You’ll have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
 
2. Get objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
 
3. Find the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.
 
4. Benefit from their negotiating experience. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
 
5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
 
6. Real estate has its own language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.
 
7. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.
 
8. Buying and selling is emotional. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
 
9. Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a customer of a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for REALTORS® to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

How To Improve Your Credit

Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are big factors in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what your loan terms will be. So, keep your credit score high by doing the following:

1. Check for and correct any 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. 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 on credit — such as appliances and furniture — 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. 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 www.homebuyingguide.org.

 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

12 Things to Know When Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

 1. Get at least three written estimates.

2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.
 
3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
 
4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
 
5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
 
6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
 
7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
 
8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.
 
9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.
 
10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
 
11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.
 
12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.
 
Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

"Carolina Joe" Just Listed Another One!!!!

"CAROLINA JOE", YOUR REALTOR TO KNOW!

4182 BETSY KERRISON PKWY JOHNS ISLAND, SC 29455-7112 LP: $149,000

MLS#: 2924802md – VAC Status: Active
Area: (23) CHS-Johns Island
Municipality: (10) CHARLESTON COUNTY
Low Price:  
Zoning: Residential Tax Map#: 203-00-00-021
Address: 4182 BETSY KERRISON PKWY
City: JOHNS ISLAND Zip: 29455-7112
Lot Size: 105' X 365' X 197' X 293' Acres: 1.19
Subdiv: HOPKINSON PLANTATION Subsec:  
Grade Sch: ANGEL OAK Middle Sch: HAUT GAP
High Sch: ST JOHNS    
Legal Desc: LEGAL: PT LT 17 18
Dev Status: Raw Land Docs Avail: Plat
Existing Util:   Road Front: St/Cnty Road, Paved
Income:   Misc:  
Structures: Residence Uses: Residential, Commercial
  Click photo for additional media and enlargement
Click on Photo to Enlarge

Lot Desc: 1-2 Acres
Amenities:  
Auction: N Auction Type:   Reserve Amt:  

Directions: FROM CHARLESTON TAKE MAYBANK HIGHWAY OR MAIN ROAD. PROCEED ON BOHICKET ROAD 9 MILES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF MAYBANK HIGHWAY AND BOHICKET. THE PROPERTY IS ON THE RIGHT JUST BEFORE TARBIT ROAD.
Remarks: HOUSE HAS NO VALUE. THIS 1.19 ACRE PROPERTY LOCATED JUST 1.3 MILES FROM THE KIAWAH / SEABROOK ROUND-ABOUT MAY WORK FOR A BUSINESS OWNER / ENTREPRENEUR. THE PROPERTY IS LOCATED ON THE STRATEGIC SOUTHBOUND SIDE OF BETSY KERRISON HIGHWAY HEADING TOWARDS KIAWAH. THE LOT COULD BE PERFECT FOR AN ARCHITECT, DEVELOPER, LANDSCAPER, AND ANY OTHER SERVICE PROVIDER TO KIAWAH AND SEABROOK. PRESENTLY ZONED RESIDENTIAL, THE PROPERTY COULD HAVE MANY COMMERCIAL USES AS THE POSSIBILITY IF A ZONING CHANGE IS EXCELLENT. OR, BUILD A NEW HOME AND USE THE EXISTING STRUCTURE AS S STORAGE SHED OR WORKSHOP. THE EXISTING HOUSE HAS NOT BEEN OCCUPIED FOR APPROXIMATELY 25 YEARS AND WOULD REQUIRE A TOTAL RENOVATION TO MAKE IT HABITABLE. THIS PROPERTY IS BEING SOLD AS-IS, SELLER TO DO NO REPAIRS.
Agnt Notes: HOME IS NOT ON LOCKBOX. I WILL NOT HAVE A KEY UNTIL THE SECOND WEEK OF OCTOBER. IF THAT IS A CONCERN MAKE A OFFER CONTINGENT UPON SEEING THE HOUSE. Click here to report incomplete or inaccurate information

Prospect Ex:   Financing: Any Assumable: No C/R: N
Taxes: $732 HOA Fee:   Assmt Ratio:   SpAssmt:    
Owner:   List Date: 9/15/2009 Exp Date: 3/15/2010  
CntngncyRsn:  

List Agent: (12460) JOE R. IDLEMAN Type/Comp/SubAccept: EXRIGHT/2.5 %/Y
List Office: (1836) AGENTOWNED CHAS. GROUP Variable: N
Co-Off: () Co-Agt: ()
Contacts:

Agent Office Direct
(843) 557-9203
  Agent Mobile
(843) 557-9203
  Agent Email
Joe@CarolinaJoe.com
  Agent Fax
(843) 746-4690
 
 

 

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Ask Your Lender These 10 Questions

 1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?

2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for me? Why?

3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?

4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost, and how long will it be required? (NOTE: Private mortgage insurance is usually required if your down payment is less than 20 percent. However, most lenders will let you discontinue PMI when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.)

5. Who will service the loan — your bank or another company?

6. What escrow requirements do you have?

7. How long will this loan be in a lock-in period (in other words, the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if it drops during this period?

8. How long will the loan approval process take?

9. How long will it take to close the loan?

10. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?Used with permission from Real Estate Checklists & Systems, www.realestatechecklists.com.
For specific questions please feel free to contact Renee Hodges or Zack Larichiuta at 843-763-1180.  On weekends contact Renee at 843-270-6256.  You can email Renee at renee.hodges@gbmail.com or go to website www.charlestonlending.com.  Tell them “Carolina Joe” said to call. 

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

2009 NAR Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey

The Investment and Vacation Home Market in 2008 in 2008, an estimated 70 percent of homes (including both new and previously owned homes) were purchased for use as the buyer’s primary residence. This share represents 3.766 million home sales, down from 4.336 million sales in 2007. While new and existing home sales fell 16 percent in 2008, sales of primary residences declined by a smaller 13.2 percent. Overall, the market for primary residences was somewhat more resilient; even in a declining real estate market, households continue to purchase a first home or relocate to another home for a variety of reasons.

Vacation home sales fell 30.8 percent to an estimated 512,000 units. The median price of a vacation home also fell sharply to $150,000, a decline of 23.1 percent from 2007. A significant majority of vacation home buyers, 89 percent, purchased a property for their personal use, while one-quarter also considered the rental potential. Twenty-six percent purchased a vacation home with the expectation of converting it to their primary residence in the future. Vacation home buyers expect to own their property for a median of 12 years. Slightly less than one-third of vacation home buyers paid cash for their property. 

Residential investment property sales fell 17.2 to 1.117 million, less than half of the sales level in 2005. The median price fell 28 percent to $108,000 in 2008. Eighty-four percent of investment property buyers purchased an existing home, up from 71 percent in 2007. Investors may have been attracted to distressed properties rather than new homes as suggested by the 16 percent of properties that were purchased through the foreclosure process. More than half of investment property buyers indicated that they purchased the home to rent to others and 38 percent considered the property a good investment opportunity over and above any income generation potential. Forty-two percent of investment property buyers paid cash, up from 35 percent in 2007.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”
 
 
Source: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

How to Save Money on Your South Carolina Property Taxes

 1. Homestead tax exemption program is for home owners who are age 65, or older, totally disabled, or blind. The program exempts op to $50,000 of the value of the home including up to five acres around the home. The homeowner must have been a legal resident of SC for at least one year as of December 31st of the year prior to the exemption and the property must have the primary residence assessment rate of 4%. To claim the exemption the homeowner must file an application with the County auditor.
 
2. The multiple lot discount is for undeveloped acreage that has been subdivided in to ten or more lots and the conditional or final plat was recorded at the County on or before December 31st. The owner must file a written application with the Assessor by May 1st of the year requesting the discount.
 
 3. Requesting agricultural zoning on a tract of real property as of January 1st of the current year and it was used to “raise crops, harvest crops, feed, breed, or manage livestock, or to produce plants, trees, fowl, or animals useful to man” may qualify for a discount in the appraisal/assessment. There are no residency requirements. An application must be filed before the first penalty date for taxes due.
 
4. Owner-occupied residences that are your legal residence are eligible to file for a special assessment ratio that will reduce your taxes. An application must be applied for before the first penalty due for taxes.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”

How To Stage your Home

What is staging, anyway? Staging is the process of enhancing the impression a prospective buyer has about your home. Staging is all about removing things from your home that make it look smaller, drab or dated. It differs from decorating because decorating involves bringing things into the home to enhance the look of it.

The key to staging is simplicity and getting prospective buyers to a place where they can picture themselves in the home. You can begin by focusing on these staging basics: 

DECLUTTER – Remove “you” from the home (meaning pictures and personal items). Replace personal photos with scenery or postcards. A good rule to follow is to have no more than 3 items on any surface. Remove all items from kitchen counters and store them away. 

NEUTRALIZE – Neutralize the rooms with light- colored paint, like creams, tans and white. Keep bright colors to a minimum and use neutral and/or natural colors that can work with many different styles.
 
KEEP IT CLEAN – Nothing sells better than a clean and well maintained home. Always keep the home feeling and smelling clean for showings. Some inexpensive upgrades that can make a huge difference to the buyer include:
New bed treatment (especially for the master bedroom), new towels, fresh paint, replacing old lamps or lighting fixtures.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”
 

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is a transaction where the sales price for a property is less than the mortgage amount owed by the current homeowner and the lender agrees to accept less than the mortgage amount. In some cases, the difference is forgiven by the lender, and in others the homeowner must make arrangements with the lender to settle the remainder of the debt.

 
Due to recent economic crisis, including rising unemployment, and drops in home prices in communities across the nation, the number of short sales is increasing. Since a short sale generally costs the lender less than a foreclosure, it can be a viable way for a lender to minimize it’s loses.
 
A short sale can also be the best option for homeowners who are “upside down”, who owe more on their property than the property can sell for, on mortgages because a short sale may not hurt their credit history as much as a foreclosure. As a result, homeowners may qualify for another mortgage sooner once they get back on their feet financially.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit FAQ’s

 

This is a repost of a blog that I did earlier in the year. I believe that it is important and pertinent information. In order to qualify for the first time home buyer’s tax credit of up to $8,000 you must close on or before November 30, 2009. This means if you are interested in taking advantage of the tax credit you need to get approved for financing soon and have a home under contract by mid to late October in order to assure your closing will occur by November 30, 2009. 
 
1. How much can I claim for the tax credit?
Borrowers can claim up to $8,000 or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less.
 
2. Who is eligible for this tax credit?
First time home buyers, or those who have not owned a primary residence in three years previous to the new purchase.
 
3. Does this tax credit need to be repaid?
No repayment in is necessary as long as the newly purchased home is not sold within three years. If the home is sold within three years, the entire amount of the tax credit is recaptured on the sale.
 
4. How long is the tax credit valid?
The tax credit is valid on all homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 an before December 1, 2009.
 
5. What properties are eligible for the tax credit?
Any single family residence (including condos, co-ops and townhouses) that will be used as the primary residence.
 
6. Are there income limit restrictions?
Yes. To qualify, individuals must make less than $75,000 and $150,000 for couples. Higher income buyers may receive a partial credit. Individuals making over $95,000 and $170,000 for couple are ineligible.
 
7. How does this work with my tax refund?
This could work a number of ways. The following four scenarios will help explain.
Scenario 1: Your final tax liability is normally $6,000. You’ve had taxes withheld from every pay check and at the end of the year you’ve paid Uncle Sam $6,000. Since you’ve already paid him all you owe, you get the entire $8,000 tax credit as a refund check.
Scenario 2: Your final tax liability is $6,000, but you’ve overpaid by $1,000 through your payroll withholding. Normally you would get a $1,000 refund check. In this scenario, you get $9,000, the $8,000 credit plus the $1,000 you overpaid.
Scenario 3: Your final tax liability is $6,000, but you’ve underpaid through your payroll withholding by $1,000. Normally, you would have to write the IRS a $1,000 check. This time, the first $1,000 of the tax credit pays your bill, and you get the remaining $7,000 as a refund. CNNMoney.com
Scenario 4: Your tax credit may be used for your down payment and prepaids.
 
8. How do I apply for the Tax Credit?
You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return. No other applications or forms are required. Home buyers that have filed their 2008 taxes may file an amended 2008 tax return with a 1040X form. You should consult
with a tax advisor to ensure you file this return properly.*
 
9. Is this a good time for a first time homebuyer to purchase a home?
Absolutely! Interest rates are at historic lows, and home prices are in general lower. Also, there is a surplus of homes for sale, meaning you will have many options to choose from. One thing to note is you will need a down payment, but not to worry, there are low down payment programs for first time homebuyers.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”
 

Understanding Traditional Home Equity Mortgages

 

Many people borrow against their equity. Two options for doing this are a traditional second mortgage and a home equity line of credit. With both methods, you use your house as collateral, which means that you risk losing your home if you can’t repay the loan according to its terms. The lender decides how much money to make available by considering, in part, how much of the mortgage debt you still owe.
 
Traditional Second Mortgage Loans: A second mortgage provides a predetermined amount of money that the homeowner is obligated to repay over a fixed period. Second mortgages generally come with fixed interest rates.
 
Home Equity Lines of Credit: A home equity line of credit is a form of revolving credit. Generally, you can borrow up to a certain amount (the “credit limit”) over a predetermined period of time (the “draw period”). The repayment terms of home equity line of credit may vary. For example, many home equity lines of credit are structured so that monthly payments cover only interest for the first ten years. A home equity line of credit generally carries a variable rate.
 
 If you consider a home equity line of credit, you should ask the same questions about how this rate is set (and may change over time) that you would ask when considering any other adjustable-rate mortgage. If you sell your home, you will have to pay off or refinance your home equity line of credit.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”
 

Possible Warning Signs Of A Predatory Loan

1. Sounds too easy. “Guaranteed approval” or “no income verification” regardless of borrower’s current employment, credit history, and assets. These claims indicate the lender doesn’t care about whether you can afford to make thepayments over the long haul.

2. Excessive fees. Higher lender and/or mortgage broker fees than are typical in your market. Because these costs can be financed as part of the loan, they are easy to disguise or downplay. On competitive loans, fees are negotiable. It is common for home buyers to pay only one percent of the loan amount for prime loans. By contrast, a typical predatory loan may cost five percent or more. 

3. Large future costs. High-risk adjustable rate mortgages where the payment raises a lot after a short introductory period are seldom appropriate for families who already have had problems repaying other loans. Home buyers also should avoid a large single “balloon” payment (a lump sum due at the end of the loan’s term).
 
4. Closing delays. The lender deliberately delays closing so the commitment on a reasonably-priced loan expires.
 
5. Over-valued property. Inflated appraisals that allow excessive fees to be included in the loan and result in the borrower owing more to the bank than the home is worth.
 
6. Barriers to refinancing. Prepayment penalties that make it hard for a borrower to refinance in order to pay off a high-cost loan by taking advantage of a low-cost loan.
 
7. No down payment loans. These loans may be split into two mortgages, with one having a much higher cost. Home buyers should be sure they can afford the payments.
 
8. Unethical document management. An ethical lender or broker will always require you to sign key loan papers, and they will never ask you to sign a document dated before the date you sign it.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”

Understanding Traditional Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate Mortgages

 

For most home buyers, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) continue to be excellent options. However, even these traditional financing options require a number of important decisions. Should you get a 15- or 30-year loan? Should you get a fixed-rate mortgage to lock in today’s interest rates for the term of the loan—or take an adjustable-rate loan with a lower current rate and payment, but with the risk of rate and payment increases in the years ahead? 
 
 Fixed-Rate Mortgages: With a fixed-rate mortgage, you are guaranteed the same interest rate over the life of the loan. Your monthly payments never change, and the loan is paid off completely over the term you select. The key choice involves how long you have to pay back the loan. The most common options are 15- and 30-year loans, with the 30-year being the most popular. As this chart illustrates, a shorter-term loan comes with both a lower interest rate and higher monthly payments (so that you pay the loan back faster). Rates, and the differences between rates for 15- and 30-year loans, change daily.
 
Adjustable-Rate Mortgages: The initial interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is generally lower than that for a fixed-rate loan. However, with an ARM, the interest rate may increase or decrease in the future, and the sizeof your payments will go up or down along with the rate. Most ARMs are“hybrids,” meaning that the interest rate is “fixed” for a certain number of years after which the rate begins to “float.” The most common ARMs fix the initialrate for three, five, or seven years. ARMs are probably most appropriate for people who have sufficient financial resources to handle potential payment increases or know that they plan to sell their home around the time the loan’s interest rate is set to change.
 
Potential Pitfalls of ARMs: Even small changes in your interest rate can increase your monthly payment significantly, resulting in “payment shock.” Even a change of 1% or 2% in interest rates can result in a very big jump in your monthly mortgage payment. For example, if the interest rate on your mortgage changes from 4% to 6%, your monthly payment could rise by as much as 50%(from $1,000 to $1,500). ARMs can be complicated, and many specialty ARMs (with risky terms appropriate only for a small group of borrowers) are now being marketed widely. Be sure to avoid loans with terms that you don’t understand.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”

Why Rent When You Can Own a Home?

As an example, let’s look at a $200,000 home. Unlike your rental unit, your home should appreciate over time. Instead of assuming average growth, we assume that prices are flat in the first year of ownership and pick up, but only slightly, in the second year. In the third year of ownership, your home has appreciated to a modest $210,858. After ten years, assuming a return to an average 4.5 percent appreciation rate, your $200,000 home will be worth $286,948. Not only do you earn a rate of return on your original purchase price, you also get a return on any subsequent appreciation. More than two thirds of American households own their own home. They know the benefits of homeownership, from the accumulation of home equity, tax incentives, and the pride of owning a place of their own.

 
The “numbers tell the story” example should ease your mind about the financial aspects of becoming a homeowner. But there are other, less monetary, benefits to homeownership. Several research studies indicate that homeownership adds to the value of communities, has positive effects on children, and even contributes to increased voter participation rates.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”
 

Selling Green

Energy efficiency is a highly desirable feature. With energy costs rising, the strain on the pocketbook has resulted in awareness of environmental concerns and intensified the importance of energy efficiency. Increasingly, consumer’s preferences for products and services that reflect this awareness, even extending to the purchasing a home. A recent NAR survey of home buyers shows just how important energy efficiency is for many home buyers.

 
Ninety-two percent of all home buyers consider energy efficiency at least somewhat important with 46 percent ranking it as very important when considering a home purchase.
 
Repeat vs. First time Buyers. Repeat buyers are more attuned to energy efficiency. Fifty percent of the repeat home buyers report energy efficiency as a very important attribute, while only 41 percent of the first time home buyers consider this important.
 
New vs. Existing Homes. Buyers of new homes place more importance on energy efficiency. Sixty-five percent of new home buyers consider energy efficiency important compared to just 39% of existing home buyers.
 
Age of Buyers. Older buyers are significantly more likely than younger buyers to cite energy efficiency as a preference in their home. Thirty-two percent of home buyers aged 18-24 reported that energy efficiency was important in their home purchase. The percentage steadily increased to sixty-three percent of buyers over 75.
 
Native born vs Foreign Born. U.S. born home buyers place less importance on energy efficiency. Sixty percent of the foreign born home owners said energy efficiency was important compared to 44 percent of the U.S. born home buyers.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”