Starting Down The Path To Homeownership

Starting Down The Path To Homeownership

Are you thinking about becoming a homeowner? Great here are the first steps to take to make sure you experience is a joyful and as stress free as possible.

  1. Get A Handle on Your Credit – this is the starting point of the home buying process and often the toughest to navigate for first time buyers. We will walk you through this along with our lenders who are highly skilled at not just lending but making the lending process make sense to the buyer. Once we have this part set and you know how much you can afford and have your gameplan we move on to a little recon.
  2. Scout some Potential Neighborhoods – take a look around neighborhoods you might be interested in and check them out during various times of day and at various times of the week. You want to find the neighborhood that best jells with you and only you can determine that so get out there and do a little recon and see where best matches you.
  3. Needs and Wants List – this will be a list that changes as you go through the process and see more homes but start with what you think the home must absolutely have and then a second list of what you want the home to have. After that add a list of things you absolutely do not want the home to have. These are your lists, there are no right or wrong answers just put what you think and as you see more homes revisit the list to make sure it accurately reflects what you want.
  4. Getting The MLS Listings – once you have a price range, a few neighborhoods or areas in mind and an idea of what you are looking for in your new home you then we can send you emailed MLS listings that match your criteria. This is really the only way to get real time listings that match what you want without the number of homes already under contract that come up on most internet searches. You want to see homes you can buy not homes you missed out on so once your ready we will customize a MLS search that will send you everything you should be seeing to your email.
  5. The Search Begins – once you pick a few of those MLS listing that you are interested in we will begin showing you homes, walking through and discussing them with you, helping you navigate areas and specifics about the homes, and will continue to do so until we find the right place for you to call home.

Once we have found the right home for you we will negotiate your purchase, work with your lender to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, attend the inspections, negotiate the repairs and be by your side the entire time until we are sitting with you at the closing table and can hand you the keys to your new home. If your thinking about becoming a homeowner feel free to reach out we will be happy to have our almost two decades of experience guide you to getting the right home for you with the least amount of hassle.

Sherry Swift

854 444 0772

Where is Our Local Real Estate Market Headed?

The greater Summerville area has been on a measurable upward swing for a while now but where is the market heading? While trying to time a market is like trying to catch a falling knife here are the pressures that may impact our market and an educated guess of what might actually happen.

Positive Pricing Pressures

Positive pressures that will push our prices higher up include:

Continual Job Growth – the unemployment rate in Dorchester County is sitting at around 4% and we see continued job growth with Volvo and Mercedes expanding as well as a number of smaller employers. Once of the common points employers mention in the area is the difficulty of finding enough qualified employees which leads into the next pressure:

The Influx of People to the Area – we can all see the number of people with various state license plates we are now sharing the road with and we keep getting more and more every day. This influx of people might make traffic more difficult but they do help improve our property prices since they feeding the demand. As long as we are growing faster than we are building we should continue to benefit on the resale side.

The General Upward Trend – trends are hard to break and unless there is a reason usually trends will continue, even if they slow down somewhat to catch their breath. We have a long standing upward trend for resale home in the greater Summerville area so we should continue to see positive price moves unless we get hit too hard from the negative pressures below.

Negative Pricing Pressures

Negative pressures will at the very least slow down the upward trend and could flat line prices or even send them downwards. We have a couple to worry about in our area.

Interest Rates Moving Up – rates are trending up and when they do you don’t so much lose buyers as those buyers can now buy less house so they can offer you less for your house so the average home price appreciation starts to slow down. A major upward swing in rates (which isn’t projected) actually can drive prices down for the same reason, buyers qualify for less money thus have to offer you less money for you home. While something to keep an eye on interest rate moves can be hard to predict since they often can be the result of reactionary (and as I am sure you would guess over reactionary) policy decisions so keep an eye on them but don’t try to predict too far out what they might do.

New Construction – drive around the greater Summerville area and you will see no shortage of new construction neighborhoods popping up. While these new homes will help meet our large demand they also are a negative price pressure on home around them because builders will offer incentives traditional sellers can’t and they will upsell the brand new home smell. In addition the sight of the construction can be a turn off to people driving through it to get to your home. So while we do need more homes to be build if your in an area near where new homes are being built remember your sales cycle will be affected slightly by the sight and sounds of the construction and usually much more by competing with new homes that are highly incentivized.

Affordability Factor – one thing that drives an upward pricing trend is new buyers being able to continually afford to pay the higher prices. When buyers no longer can do that we have an affordability problem where you have willing buyers who simply cannot qualify for the home they want to buy (usually this is a debt to income ratio problem). So once affordability shrinks your potential buyer pool you start to see longer sales cycles and reduced appreciation as the qualified buyers have more homes to choose from and more leverage in negotiations.

The WildCard

The General Economy – a strong housing market needs a strong economy to continue to grow beyond plateaus. In fact to maintain the status quo in the absence of sweeping government activity that ranges from artificially lowering interest rates to significantly reducing the standards to qualify for a home, we need at least a stable economy just to see steady sales and slight upward movement. The sheer size of the US economy and its countless tentacles make it hard to predict. We have seen a lot of positives lately if those continue we should expect the economy to help keep housing prices on the rise, but we are never more from one or two missteps to see a significant negative impact so it is kind of like a tightrope it’s all going well until it isn’t.

The Educated Guess

Ok so with around 20 years of real estate experience each where do we see the market going? Well we think 2018 will continue to trend up and end strong. However we think there are way too many variables to predict much beyond that. We have policy decisions, elections, a host of potential economic impacts, and to many other factors that will come due between now and the end of the year to really be able to guess with any certainty what 2019 might look like for our local real estate market. With that said if your sitting on appreciation and want to cash out and sell or access it through an equity line it would not be a bad time to do that now. If your a prospective buyer now might be a good time to take the leap if your not paying cash and would benefit from the current reduced lending qualifications. If your a cash buyer I would wait and see what happens and if your happy in your home with no desire to move and no need to tap into your equity then I would sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show.

If you have any questions about our local real estate market here in the greater Summerville area feel free to reach out we are always here to help.


Sherry Swift

854 444 0772


Is It Time To Make A Move?

Here are a handful of unique reasons for selling your home to think about if you are considering putting your home on the market as our prime selling season is about to kick off.

Neighborhood – the reality is neighborhoods are always in a state of change, what is true of a neighborhood one year may not be true five or ten years later. Just look at some neighborhoods around Summerville, some homeowners now have to deal with the density issues apartment buildings bring to an area where ten years ago nobody would of thought anyone would of built an apartment building there. Management companies and neighborhood boards can change and bring with them changes that may not be to your liking. Maybe you no longer feel comfortable or safe in your neighborhood. For whatever reason when the neighborhood no longer makes you happy often the best thing you can do is find a more fitting neighborhood to call home. We have been telling buyers for almost 20 years that if your between two houses pick the one whose neighborhood you like best because you can always remodel a home but you can’t really pick one up and move it to a neighborhood you like better.
Them Folks Right Next Door – might sound funny but I actually had a client sell a house they loved, in a neighborhood they loved simply because they couldn’t stand the people living right next door to them. When that’s the case and it is too much to deal with you might want to think about selling and making a move. We have been pretty blessed to have had some great neighbors but if that wasn’t the case and we knew they weren’t leaving anytime soon, well then selling would have to be something for us to consider.
Babies Bring Moving Boxes – it is funny that a home that is roomy for two adults all of a sudden feels cramped when 9 or 10 pounds is brought home. Babies make your home small quick, so if your expecting or hoping to be expecting this might be a good time to consider selling.
Downsizing – downsizing can mean a lot of things. Maybe you are done dealing with stairs and want to move to a single level, maybe your house is just to big now and you want to lower your costs, maybe you are tired of lawn work and want to move to a beachfront condo, or maybe you are ready to unload that rental property and reduce your responsibilities. Whatever the reason downsizing is meant to lower your burdens and sometimes a move is the best way to do that.
Cheaper than Remodeling – remodeling a home can be a great experience, ok maybe going through the experience isn’t the greatest but the end results are worth it. However sometimes you would save money, and of course the months of living in a dust bowl, by simply moving. Like if you have a galley kitchen and want a big open kitchen, might be easier and cheaper to move into a home with the kitchen design you want. Usually anytime you are making major structural changes you should consider the costs associated with remodeling versus the costs of moving to see where your money goes furthest.
Whatever your reason for selling we specialize in helping our clients get the most money, in the shortest period of time with the least amount of stress. If you considering selling please feel free to contact me and let’s get you a free market analysis so you can see where your home would be priced at and decide if now is the time you make that move.
854 444 0772

Rent VS Owning Why Owning Wins Almost Every Time

If you are thinking about becoming a homeowner here are some reasons to take the leap and one time not to.
Wealth Building – the reality is 80% of all wealth in the United States is real estate. Either way you look at it your building someone’s wealth if you own your building your own, if you rent your building your landlord’s. Homeownership is the one vehicle where equity, leverage and appreciation combine to build the wealth of the owner so take advantage of that if you can, so if you like building your wealth rather than your landlord’s owning is the way to go.
Painting Walls – once you are a homeowner for awhile it will seems odd that some people can’t just pick up a can of paint and paint their walls but rental properties are usually like that. Even when they will allow you to paint a rental you usually also have to agree to return it to the original condition and color otherwise be charged for it to be done. Painting is just the simplest of changes you can not usually make in a rental most remodeling from simply replacing lights and fans to changing the floors to major kitchen or bathroom remodels are off limits. You really wouldn’t want to put your money into those changes anyway when the landlord is who will reap the benefits. So if you like the idea of making a house your own personal home owning is the way to go.
Tax Savings – whether you rent or buy every month you have to make a payment, the difference is part of the payment of ownership is tax deductible and none of the cost of renting is (though oddly enough landlords can deduct part of their ownership costs as well). There is no tax benefit to renting while for owners the tax benefit is usually one of their biggest tax savings, so if you like the idea of paying less taxes owning is the way to go.
Stability – once you own a home you become part of a neighborhood and an area and you know where you are going to be calling home for a good while so it creates a sense of stability. You also know how much your payments will be and don’t have to sweat over annual rent increases or worry that the home you are renting is going to be sold and you get a notice to move so there is that additional stability, so if you like the idea of stability owning is the way to go.
Cheaper in the long run – between the costs of moving, security deposits, and rental increases owning a home is always going to be cheaper in the long run. Folks renting a home right now are paying more for rent than someone who bought the home right next door five years ago is paying for their mortgage. In fact the only reason people can become landlords and rent homes to others is because they know they will be paying less to own than the rental rate and that difference will go up greatly over time as rental rates rise and their mortgages stay the same. So if you like saving money in the the long run then owning is the way to go.

Ok so there are 5 reasons to buy but what about the reason not to? Well I would say the one time you wouldn’t want to buy and be better off renting is if you know you won’t be living in the same area for 2 years AND you have no desire to keep the home as a rental property, in that case rent for the less than 2 years then when you get to the area your heading to then look at buying so you have build wealth, make it your home, reap the tax savings, enjoy the stability and save a ton of money in the long run. We have been helping buyers find their next place to call home for almost 20 years so if your thinking about taking the leap to homeownership we would be happy to sit down with you go over your options and help you get on the right path to a place you can call home.
Sherry Swift
854 444 0771