Mortgage and Lending news in the Charleston, SC Real Estate market, with financing topics.

What is a 2/1 Buydown?  How does it work?

Buyers doing a 2/1 Mortgage BuydownAs this real estate market becomes a little more balanced between buyers and sellers, we all need to shift our focus on the elephant in the room:  High interest rates.  So what is a 2/1 buydown, and how does this not only help buyers, but also sellers in selling their house?

This is actually an amazing tool for sellers (as a home selling marketing plan) to offer buyers when selling their house.  You can take a look at the numbers below, to see how much it would cost a seller, and how much savings the buyers would realize.  It's actually quite astonishing just how much someone saves in the first and second year!

A 2/1 buydown is a type of mortgage financing arrangement where the interest rate on a home…

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Hello clients and friends,

Over the last week Dave Samson (CFO within Carolina One) has looked at what is happening with Charleston home sales levels (surprisingly strong relative to our expectations) and what is happening with house inventory (inventory is low and declining as is normal seasonally before it starts to climb some in the spring).

Today I plan to address pricing and the direction that prices are moving.

What is worth knowing in this estimation:

(1) Prices are holding up very well in Charleston. Median sales prices market wide have held steady inside of a very narrow band since last February (12 months) and appear to be poised to hold this trend.
Charleston home median sales price (2) The rate of price increase, measured year over year, has slowed…

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We just got a real estate contract!Congratulation on your purchase contract! A job well done on being masters of HGTV staging, landscaping pros, and social media sellers. It is now time to relax and coast to closing. Right?

A lot of buyers and sellers feel it's now okay to ease up, and all that's needed is paperwork for the lender, and frequent communication from your realtor that everything is rolling smoothly. But as any realtor will tell you- now is when the difficulty or success begins (it's all how you look at it).

Whether you're a seller or a buyer, there are a number of items that need to fall into place in order to have a smooth, successful closing.  But what are those items?  I've come up with a list that I've used over the years here in Charleston that I hope you'll find…

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Due diligence in South CarolinaWhen you make an offer on a home in Charleston- or even South Carolina, there are different contingencies that should be apart of any real estate contract.  Typical contingencies such as a home-sale, financing, appraisal, and inspection contingencies.  So what about due diligence, where does that fit in?

Regarding the home inspection contingency in paragraph 8 of the South Carolina contract, you typically can go one of two ways.  Either a Repair Procedure, or a Due Diligence Addendum.

The repair procedure spells out how long you have to complete any home inspections, but it specifically states in the contract which items are to be addressed.  Typically, these are major home items/systems such as Heating & Air systems, plumbing, electrical systems,…

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What are deed recording fees? When you sell your property at closing in South Carolina, the sellers are responsible for their own set of closing costs.  Typically, the sellers’ largest portion of closing costs at closing are Realtor commissions, any buyer closing costs that the sellers are willing to pay for, and deed stamps.  When I explain this to most sellers, the response I get is, “Great.  What are deed stamps?”

A deed recording fee is just that.  It is a “fee that is charged to enter into the public record the deed and documents relative to the transfer of title to a piece of property”.  Deed stamps are paid by the seller at closing, in the amount of $3.70 per $1,000 of real estate sold.  So if you sell at $300K house, you owe $1,110 in deed stamps.

The deed stamps are…

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I get a lot of real estate questions during work, at dinner parties, at kid’s birthday parties, from friends, from family- about the current real estate market here in Charleston.  The number 1 question that I’ve been getting lately is:

When are we going to see the bottom?

Well, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that question.  The short answer is: I don’t know, but it could be now, depending on other factors, or your current situation.  I want to put something out there that I hope you buyers will take into account when considering purchasing at “the bottom”.  Know that every person’s situation is different when timing the market- but let’s look at one factor.  Do not only think in terms of home values when determining “the bottom”, but…

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Real Estate Sales Tax?Many of you may have seen recent emails talking about a Sales Tax on real estate sales.  Below is the article from the National Association of Realtors website which is a great resource for current information that provides an accurate summary of the new provisions.

No 4.0% “Sales Tax” on Home Sales in Recently Enacted Health Reform Bill

Contrary to reports and newspaper articles circulating widely on the Internet, there is not a 4.0% "sales tax" or "transfer tax" on the sale of a home included in the recently signed health care reform bill. The analysis underlying these reports is incorrect and fails to take into account the interplay of the bill's provisions with already existing real estate tax laws that remain unchanged.

What was included in the health…

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Well, it looks like there are going to be some changes in FHA financing coming down the pipe.  Take a look at this short video, and see how it will affect you and your final loan payment.  These changes will go into effect on September 7th, 2010.

**Not mentioned in this video is the fact that allowable seller concessions used to top out at 6%, where they are now going to top out at 3%.

Video courtesy RealPro Innovations.

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In the land of all credit scores, FICO is king.  The majority of banks in the USA use FICO scores for whether or not they are going to lend you money, and at what interest rate.

So how does FICO come up with this score?  I'll break it down for you, below:

FICO Score Breakdown


1.) Payment History.  Based on you payment history, making the repayment of past debt is the most important factor when calculating credit scores.

2.) Debt Amounts.  This is based upon your total outstanding debt.  Removing lines of credit is the best thing you can do when getting rid of debt amounts.  Another thing to consider is not maxing out your credit limit with credit cards.  Try to maintain a good balance, and pay it off frequently.

3.) Length of Credit History.  This is the length of…

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