Is a Down Payment Assistance loan right for you?

October 15, 2019

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Not having enough cash to make a down payment on a home is a common concern. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the road! I recently spoke with Mark Sherman of Atlantic Trust Mortgage, who provided valuable insights on another option: a DPA (Down Payment Assistance) loan.

 

Mark said in addition to understanding the ins and outs of traditional loan products (e.g. Conventional, Jumbo, USDA, VA, FHA), mortgage brokers are also responsible for being well-versed in a variety of niche and first-time homebuyer products. This includes knowing how and when these alternative products are valuable to buyers.

 

Key among these products is the DPA loan. Though there are 3% down, 3.5% down and even 100% conventional, government and USDA financing options, some buyers still can’t cover the down payment and closing costs. However, they might have good credit and the necessary income to qualify for the monthly payment.

 

For these buyers, Mark says the DPA portion of their financing is provided as a “second” mortgage “grant” that requires no payment (or a reduced interest-only monthly payment). Then they can apply the funds from their “grant” to their down payment and closing costs. In many cases, the buyer needs no cash at closing.

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Easy ways to boost your curb appeal…this weekend!

October 1, 2019

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When home sellers think about improving curb appeal, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. New exterior paint? New landscaping and sod? New driveway? Sounds exhausting and expensive.

 

But it doesn’t have to be!

 

If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future but worry about the time and expense of enhancing your curb appeal, there are plenty of easy ways to spruce it up—without breaking the bank.

 

Here are six easy curb appeal enhancements you can knock out this weekend with a trip to the home improvement store:

 

1.) Pressure wash your exterior. For some jobs, a water hose just won’t do. Be sure to spray all surfaces including the eaves and driveway; just avoid easily damaged areas like caulking around doors and windows as well as roof shingles. Don’t forget to wash the fence as well! You will be shocked at how much a good washing can make your home sparkle. Home Depot rents out electric pressure washers for just $38 per day.

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Pros and Cons of Living in a Master-Planned Community

September 17, 2019

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Master planned communities continue to pop up all over Northeast Florida, offering a new option for buyers seeking a beautiful home and sense of community.  Just some of these communities include eTown, Nocatee, Wildlight, Beachwalk, RiverTown, Shearwater, Tamaya, TrailMark, Palencia, OakLeaf Plantation, World Golf Village and many more.

 

While there are plenty of upsides to master-planned community living, there are also a few downsides you may want to consider when making the move to one of these communities.

 

Pro: Nearby amenities and services

Perhaps the most highly regarded of pros people cite for living in a master-planned community is convenient proximity to stores, service providers and amenities. Gone are the days of driving 20+ minutes to one store! In a master-planned community, almost everything you need from Publix and dry cleaners to a UPS store and elementary school are just a short drive, bike ride or walk away.

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Five steps to prepare for your home inspection

August 22, 2019

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Posted by in News

If you have ever sold a house, you know the inspection is an important step to assess the condition of your home. As the homeowner, there are several measures you can take to ensure your home is ready for the home inspector and help you receive high marks on the inspection report.


1.) Make access easy. First and foremost, ensure the home inspector can conveniently access all areas throughout the property. This might include access to an attic, crawl spaces, garage, furnace room, under sinks and storage spaces. If they can’t get to an area of the home, then they can’t inspect it, which could turn into a red flag for buyers.

 

2.) Start where they typically do—outside. Check your home’s perimeter for structural issues, water damage, cracks, leaks, bug infestations, missing weather stripping, broken locks and so on. Be sure to check the roof, siding, gutters, eaves, windows and doors, as well as the A/C compressor area and outbuildings.

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Why New Construction Negotiations Require a Realtor’s Savvy

August 6, 2019

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One of the many reasons to use a real estate agent to buy a home is their negotiating expertise. But when buying new construction, buyers can be tempted to purchase straight through the builder’s agent (an on-site agent operating on behalf of the builder).

 

It’s not uncommon for a buyer to say, “I work in sales! I know how to negotiate.” Negotiating skills are valuable in virtually every industry, so many buyers assume their own skills can seal a great deal. But good Realtors have honed negotiating techniques that are specific not just to the industry but also to all builders and will benefit you big time at the closing table.

 

Here are five ways a Realtor’s negotiating savvy will benefit you when buying new construction:

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