Use Your Tax Refund to Buy a Home

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals; for anyone looking to buy a home in Anderson SC, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state. (The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)


average tax refund by state map


Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%, with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.


percentage of down payment covered by average tax refund


The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in South Carolina looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 51% closer to that dream!


Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to home ownership!


If you have any questions about buying a home in Anderson County SC, please Contact Me!


Avoid Home Buying Mistakes With These Tips

Are you knowledgeable about everything regarding buying a home? You will find there’s lot of information and facts that you could find out about home buying online or even at your local library. In fact some home buyers having many years of know-how are continually learning new house buying tips. Here are some recommendations you can use when you are contemplating buying a home.

For those who have children or may have children in the future, you’ll want to make certain there’s enough bedrooms for the entire family. Do not forget about safety concerns also. Particularly when there’s a pool or stairs in the home you’re considering buying. Houses that have been home to children may have features that make it safe for your family as well.

A property that will require lots of work or upgrades can be a less expensive. This allows you to spend less at first and let you choose how to improve your new home.However, you do not want a home that requires MAJOR work.

Remodeling can provide equity gains with each project plus it lets you pick exactly what your house will look like. Don’t concentrate only on what’s wrong with the property; rather, look at what’s right.

Who knows, your ideal home might be hidden under a dated interior! Again you want to understand how to tell if a home for sale is a money pit!

If you ever make an offer but the seller rejected it, don’t be disappointed. You may able to figure out how to make a deal. The seller might pay your closing costs or make essential repairs.

You’ll want to make certain you understand all of the conditions of the mortgage. Understand how your monthly house payment is affected by the length of your mortgage and the interest rate. Also you need to understand how much down payment and closing costs you will need to avoid any confusion or costly delays.

Don’t make an offer until you understand the comparable home values. You will need to consider the condition of the property and how long the house has been for sale. Consulting with your Realtor will help you to decide on a price that is fair to both you and the seller.

When you’ve decided to purchase a house, you need to choose a local Realtor to work with. You will need a Realtor that has experience representing buyers of similar homes in the same area. A real estate agent that has the right experience is the best way to ensure your home buying success. Don’t forget, it is essential you spend the time to select a Realtor who will put your requirements and budget before their commission check.

It is very important that you get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to looking at homes. You don’t want to find the right house and then discover that the bank won’t loan you the money to buy it. Plus, getting a mortgage takes time and in today’s fast paced housing market, this could mean losing your dream home to another buyer!

This post will help you improve your home buying experience. Please remember to get Pre-Approved before you start looking at homes, work with a Realtor and get an inspection!

Home Selling: It Must Be Shown to Sell

So, you’ve decided to sell your property. You have hired a real estate Professional to assist you with the entire procedure, and they’ve asked you what level of access you want to provide to prospective buyers.


There are four components to a getting a home to sell:


  • Access
  • Condition
  • Financing
  • Price


I often talk about the importance of selecting the correct list price when selling a home. However, it is very important that anyone selling a home understand that a home MUST be easy to show in order to sell!


There are various levels of access which you can provide to your agent so that they can show your dwelling.

Here are five levels of access which you may give to buyers, together with a brief description:


Lockbox on the Door — this allows buyer agents the easiest access to the home and is widely considered the best method

Supplying a Key to the house — requiring the real estate agent to stop by an office to pick up the key is OK but it is NOT ideal. Agents are busy and having the key in the office can reduce the number of times a home is shown!

Requiring a Phone Call — For security and privacy reasons, requiring that agents schedule an appointment is best

By Appointment Only — This is often the case when selling a tenant occupied property. It greatly reduces the number of times a property will be shown which will hurt the chances of the home selling quickly and for top dollar

Restricted Access — Only allowing showing on certain days or at certain times is really really bad.


In a competitive market, accessibility can make or break your ability to get the price you want. Making it harder for buyers to see your home could even make selling your home impossible!

Why You Need to Work With a Realtor

why you need to work with a Realtor when buying or selling real estate

The ugly but honest truth about why you should work with a Realtor when buying or selling real estate!


Are you looking to buy or sell a home? You probably think all the information you’ll need is online…


You may be wondering why you should work with a Realtor. I am not going to argue that you can’t do it on your own…


Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!


Did you know that in 2012, 88% of sellers and 89% of buyers used a real estate agent? Why would you want to go against the stream when it could cost you so much?


Buying a home is probably the most significant financial decision of your life. You must work with a Realtor if you want the best results.


Check out these powerful advantages of choosing a realtor when you buy or sell real estate!



A Boxer Has a Team in Their Corner


Boxing can be brutal but it is also called the sweet science. Real estate can also be brutal and has a science to it.


Boxers rely on having a team in their corner to ensure their victory. You can do the same thing by having the appropriate real estate professionals in your corner.


When I say “working with a Realtor”, it means you have signed paperwork with an agent. The paperwork can be either a listing contract or a buyer’s agent agreement.


Once you start working with a Realtor, they have a fiduciary obligation to you. This means you have an expert who is looking out for your best interests. Your real estate agent is required to do everything (that is LEGAL, ETHICAL AND MORAL) they can to protect you and your interests.


I should not have to tell you how important that is!


Real estate laws and regulations are complicated and change all the time! Every transaction and every property is different.


Most people buy a new house every seven years and a lot can change in seven years. Real estate agents must stay up-to-date with real estate regulations, laws and contracts. By working with a Realtor, you benefit by using their knowledge and experience.


I must also mention that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. Not all real estate agents are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).


Real estate agents that become a member of the NAR take an oath and swear to adhere to the Code of Ethics. The Realtor Code of Ethics makes sure that consumers are dealt with in a professional and ethical manner!


Under the Code, the Realtor must put the clients’ interests before their own. They must make full disclosure about any issues with a property. They must be honest in their advertising and marketing.


While Realtors such as myself take the Code of Ethics very seriously, sadly it isn’t a guarantee. The very scary tale of Todd Kohlhepp shows that no one can rely upon an oath to protect us from evil.


I suggest checking online reviews, getting recommendations from friends, family, and co-workers. Check with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission for their license status and any board actions.


Buying or selling real estate is a serious financial transaction. You must make sure your real estate agent is honest, ethical and working to get you the best possible deal!


You must work with the right Realtor when buying or selling real estate!



Realtors Know The Correct Price


There are plenty of websites that will give you estimates for a property but they are not very accurate. It’s easy to spend a couple of minutes on the web and find info on comparable homes for sale.


However, an experienced local Realtor will know if a home is priced correctly. When buying, your buyer’s agent can look at the local market data to tell you what to offer.


When selling a home, your Realtor will use the same market info to make sure you list at the best price. When you are selling a home, it is understandable that you want to make as much as possible.


However, it’s money well spent to use a Realtor when selling a home! Overpricing a home leads to a home taking longer to sell and selling for less money!


Internet home values are entertaining to check but they are not very accurate. Tax records are often outdated and the county tax value can be too high or low.


However real estate agents understand the home values in their local housing market. Realtors have the most up to date home prices and can use it to make sure you get the best possible deal!



Realtors Know The Local Real Estate Market


Is today the perfect time to purchase or sell a property? You may not know but a good Realtor will know. A good local Realtor is your go-to expert about the local housing market.


An experienced Realtor knows the area like the back of their hand. They can help you find a home that is a hidden gem. If you want the best possible price and terms, use a Realtor!


Realtors have daily access to local real estate market trends that you do not. The first thing they do in the morning is check the MLS. The last thing they do before they go to sleep is check the MLS.


All day, every day, they’re scouring the MLS! They know exactly what is happening in your local market. They can spot market trends long before the average buyer or seller!


There is no doubt that the Internet is awesome. You can find all sorts of information. Remember that some of the info you find may not be correct or up to date!


There is a difference between having information and having the knowledge and experience to use information correctly!


With online real estate listing sites such as yours Zillow or Trulia, you can find homes for sale on your own. But sometimes those homes are already sold or under contract…


In the past, you could rely upon these types of real estate websites to find homes for sale. But not in today’s fast paced real estate market!



Realtors Are Skilled Negotiators


Are you a strong negotiator? Any time you buy or sell a home, there will be negotiating! In today’s hot housing market, those negotiations can get costly if you do not know what you are doing!


You must have a real estate agent to handle all the negotiations. The other person in the deal will have their own Realtor. Why would you make such a complicated financial transaction without professional representation?


It’s not only about the contract price! A skilled Realtor will help you with your unique requirements and budget. This includes things such as dates, inspections, contingencies, etc etc!


Today’s real estate contracts are long and complicated. Realtors can help you navigate the contracts using their experience and knowledge!



Time is Money in Real Estate


Let’s face it: time is money. Unless you can take off work to handle your real estate transaction, you will not have the time. Realtors devote their time focusing on their clients.


Your real estate agent will deal with showings, inspections, negotiations and everything else. While this is only a small part of your agent’s job, do not underestimate it’s value!



Realtors Help You CYA


If you’re selling or buying a home, you don’t need to know everything about real estate! IF you don’t, then you hire a Realtor!


An experienced Realtor can recognize issues with properties that you might not see! Their experience, education, and knowledge protect you from these problems!


You do not know what you do not know!


A real estate agent will be able to identify problems that could bite you in the butt. They are going to be an impartial and unemotional voice of experience that can prevent you from missing any issues when buying a home!


R.H. Grant, former president and chairman of the Reynolds & Reynolds Company, once said:


When you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are.


When you want something done right, you call a professional. Whether it is fixing your car, a home repair, or your taxes…


It is in your best interests to hire someone that knows what they are doing! Sometimes it will cost you more in the long run if you don’t use a professional.



Realtors Can Deal With The Paperwork


Do you enjoy working with legal contracts and complicated paperwork? Selling or buying real estate involves a large number of documents besides the contract.


This is another important reason to work with a real estate agent. Your Realtor will deal with all of the required documents for your transaction. If you’ve ever bought or sold real estate before, you already know there is lots to take care of.


Leave the contracts for your real estate agent to deal with. They have the experience to help you get the best price while protecting your interests. The odds of messing up the paperwork decrease significantly when you are using a Realtor.


Working with a real estate agent means you avoid delays or costly contract mistakes that will seriously hurt your bottom line.



Realtors Know a Guy or Gal


Realtors might not know everything but sometimes it seems like they know someone to handle any situation. A real estate agent will know everyone who can help you when buying or selling real estate.


The people that your Realtor can help you with include mortgage brokers, attorneys, inspectors, stagers and more! Their list of reputable local experts is almost endless and will be a great aid to when buying or selling!



The Take Away

The above are some of the reasons to work with a Realtor. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Anderson SC area, contact me!


Originally posted at

Adding Affordable Designer Touches to Your Home

Figuring out how to make your home improvements might appear overwhelming. But, when you find the outcome, you may see it was worthwhile. Taking that first step requires abilities that are basic and planning. This report will show you a few quick and easy ways to get the most.

For the best home improvements, consider what you would like to accomplish before beginning. Having a strategy will make it much easier to follow as soon as you’ve started the job. Get inspiration from the houses of home improvement tv shows or friends and family, magazines.

I strongly suggest visiting Pinterest to really get your creative juices fired up. There is an almost endless supply of ideas and projects for adding designer touches to your home without breaking the bank!

If you’re working around fireplaces be certain before beginning your home improvement project that you find the gas shutoff. Caution is the ideal guide for all these projects. Take care not to puncture, or penetrate the line at any point as it might result in a flow of gas that is explosive.

Dressing up some cushions for the room of a teen can be simple. Grab some clothing such as jeans that ring tops that are old or no longer fit; cut your bits to match the pillows and sew the pieces together. This will boost their room with personality and flavor.

Plain lampshades can be dull and spartan. You can update a lamp by decorating the shade with stuff a craft store. You can match the color of the room or you can match the design of the flooring to tie the space together.

Always get references if you’re planning to hire an expert to work on your house. Be certain to treat this they’re the employee of your company and as you are the employer. Be certain you take a look at their work so that you know what you’ll deal with.

Having lighting which works in an area can make a difference. The brighter the space the more welcoming. The space cans brighten, but will not always enhance the appearance. Consider your decorations and choose. You can make the home feel brighter and lighter by brightening up an area that is dark.

Be sure to take advantage of the outdoor area of your home. By making it a much more enjoyable place care for your backyard. This place would be barbecuing, great for entertaining or just relaxing.

Adding touches could be done instead. As an example, a tile that is three-dimensional works great if you contrast the colors. You can get a frame and some canvas and paint squares. Art can be worked as by anything vibrant.

There’s a lot as you have observed but in the long run, the understanding is priceless and the satisfaction in a job will last. Dedication and imagination can assist you to complete the tasks you would like.

Real Estate Buying Questions

Prior to jumping in, you ought to be educated about buying a home in Anderson SC (or anywhere else for that matter). Being aware of what it is you are getting yourself into safeguards your loved ones. Plus it will provide you the benefit of foreseeing problems before they arise and also you from hardship in the long run. Have a look at the information here to find out about buying real estate.

Make a sensible offer when negotiating with a vendor. Many people today feel as if they need to be competitive so as to find the best price. Be firm and clear about what you want but allow realtor or your attorney perform the dialogue for you.

If you’re considering moving, then you might choose to study properties you’re interested online. Without leaving your house, you can become an expert on the region. Think about the population and demographics of your preferred location before buying a home. You must make sure you will enjoy where you buy a home.

Think of what your life will be like in a decade when you get a house. You might be childless now but that could change in a few years. It does not hurt to think about the future.

Be flexible. You must pick between two features if the purchase price of getting both exceeds your budget. Alter your search criteria if you cannot afford the house you want.

Receive a checklist. A good deal of Realtors have listings which contain all the components of buying a house. These checklists ensure everything is thought of and keeps the process on track.

Before buying any property, you will need to get a firm understanding of the mortgage and its stipulations. Knowing about mortgages will avoid confusion concerning the cost in addition to the fine print. One term you need to understand is mortgage amortization.

Ensure that you prepare a list of questions to ask real estate agents before picking one to represent you. Some questions you can ask if they work as a buyer’s agent. Ask how many listings that the broker typically has. Any good agent is going to have the ability to answer questions professionally and thoroughly.

If you’ve found a house that you’re thinking about purchasing, then you need to research the area. Find out more about the sex offenders registry to research the neighborhood. Don’t think that home sellers will know or share sex offender information. You must research these items yourself.

Taking the time to become knowledgeable about buying property is a wise move. You have to know what you want, need and can afford to make your own decisions. This way you can be confident in the choices that you make.

Last Call! Closing Time!

When you’ve at long last located the house you have been searching for, it’s easy to believe that the tough part is over. However, there’s still a great deal to do so you can make sure your home purchase goes smoothly. If you are tying up the loose ends on your house purchase, here are a few things you must do to prevent any pointless slow downs.

Hire A Lawyer

No matter how much research you have done, you could need an attorney! There’s a lot of legal terminology in the closing paperwork that could be challenging for many people to comprehend. Rather than performing guesswork, you should hire an attorney who will make the difficult documents easy to understand. This will ensure there won’t be any hiccups with the documentation.

In South Carolina, real estate attorneys perform the same tasks that escrow companies do in other states. This includes preparing the all of paperwork and performing the closing. The closing is where the final paperwork is signed.

The closing attorney does not usually represent either the buyer or the seller. This means if you have complicated questions, you may be forced to hire an attorney. Or your real estate agent or mortgage broker may know the answer. Just remember that the only person that can give you legal advice is an attorney!

Get A House Inspection

A home inspection is an essential step when buying a house. This crucial step should be done ASAP since it can seriously affect your house purchase. Significant issues are often uncovered in the course of a home inspection. Getting this done early and determining if something needs to be repaired or the price adjusted will help to make sure there aren’t any last minute setbacks.

Always Get Title Insurance

To make sure your home truly belongs to you, it’s best if you have a title search completed. A title search will see if there are any claims on the property that could invalidate your investment. Since this is a legal shield for your claim to your property, it helps you steer clear of unnecessary complications if there is an unknown property claim.

You need to get owner’s title insurance. Your lender will probably require you get title insurance that covers them but you must also get a policy that covers YOU! I know this seems like overkill but it can save you a ton of money and heart ache later!
Buying a house is a major investment with challenges you may not know about. But by buying title insurance and getting a lawyer to look through your documents, you can easily make your house purchase go smoothly. If you’re planning on purchasing a new home soon, you may want to contact your local Realtor for more information!