FHA Mortgages for Home Buyers to Change…Even in Charleston!

September 13, 2010

As if home buyers haven’t faced enough changes and challenges over the last two years, Federal Housing Association lending rules will soon change for borrowers.  Effective October 4, 2010, FHA Mortgage Insurance programs will change in a number of ways. Monthly insurance premiums will go up but upfront costs will be reduced to from 2.25% of the loan to 1% of the loan.  If  you aren’t scratching  your head over these changes, you are missing a good opportunity to do so!  What does that mean for you if you have a ratified contract on a home or considering a purchase?  It may mean that if you plan to be in your home for less than three years, you should hold off until after the changes since the increase in the monthly fees will be less out of your pocket than the current upfront costs.  If you plan to be in your home for a longer term, you should perhaps pull the trigger and lock your loan prior to the October 4th date which means that your lender must register your loan with the FHA prior to that date.  One more wrinkle to consider…After October, FHA will be limiting financing for borrowers with credit scores below 580.Some really fantastic news…Inventories are healthy, rates are near historic lows, and prices are similar to those experience in 2003 so it is a wonderful time to buy.  It is also a good time to sell since you will make up whatever you may lose on the sale of your home when you purchase your new one.  A great time to buy your first home, to move up, or to downsize. One great example…I listed a home on August 27th in Park West in Mount Pleasant, SC, I had a ratified contract in less than 24 hours, and we will close on September 23rd.  This was not a short sale or foreclosure…it was a well-maintained home that was priced to sell.  The Charleston, SC area, including Mount Pleasant, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Daniel Island, and Summerville, has some incredible opportunities for investors who are looking for positive cash flow as well as for buyers looking for a special place for them and their family.  I represent buyers and sellers who are looking for an agent who will diligently represent their best interests, who understands the Charleston market, and who has handled difficult transactions, including short sales and foreclosures.  I would love to have the opportunity to represent you and hope that you will call on me at 843-442-2219…even if you just have a question!  You can visit me on my website and search all Charleston area homes at http://www.woodsflowers.com

Mount Pleasant and Charleston SC are Busy Communities!

August 10, 2010

Mount Pleasant and Charleston, SC are very busy communities even as the days of  Summer tick away!

From 3pm to dark today, the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market is the perfect place to buy fresh, locally grown produce while enjoying the afternoon with your loved ones. The market is on the grounds of Moultrie Middle School at 645 Coleman Boulevard and is not only a great place for produce, fresh seafood, delicious pastries, and prepared foods including seafood dishes, it is also a very popular gathering spot for locals and for tourists to the Charleston SC area.  A little bonus for visitors who love to garden, there are also Clemson Extension Master Gardeners available to answer any questions that you may have about your gardens.  There is also a kids’ corner with activities.  The Mount Pleasant Farmers Market is open into October and there is also a special market during the Christmas season.    

On Wednesday in Mount Pleasant at the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park, the Town of Mount Pleasant will be holding a free Splash Day from 10-2 p.m. There will be two giant inflatable water slides, a slip and slide and a jump castle. Everything is free except concessions. Children must have a parent/guardian/Camp counselor with them to participate according to organizers.

Also on Wednesday this week, Hootie and the Blowfish will be making their annual appearance at the Family Circle Cup stadium on Daniel Island in Charleston.  Darius Rucker and his former band members will again be asking those attending to bring school supplies to fill school busses for students in Charleston SC area schools.  I have heard that most of the music will be from the Hootie and the Blowfish list of hits but that Darius will be slipping in some of his new country hits too!  I plan to be there in section 201 seat 1.  Come see me!

Mount Pleasant and Charleston, SC…Great places to live, to work, and to raise children…Two places where you can vacation where you live!

If you are thinking of purchasing a home in the Charleston SC area, would like information, or a free relocation package, visit me at
http://www.woodsflowers.com/ .  To search for free all Charleston SC area homes visit http://www.freecharlestonhomesearch.com/ .

May 9, 2010

Congratulations to these students! Three Cougars Compete at Clemson’s Orange and Purple Meet – CofCSports.com–Official Web site of College of Charleston Athletics http://ping.fm/1bg2I

May 6, 2010

Congrats to the College of Charleston on their MBA Program. I have a Masters Degree in Accounting…Should I go back? http://ping.fm/VGmew

New Rules for Renovations to Pre-1978 Homes

April 26, 2010

This information was kindly provided to me by Rob Crawford with Renaissance South Construction Company.  I hope this is helpful to you!

New Rules for Renovations, Repairs and Painting to Pre-1978 Homes

By Rob Crawford, CAPS, CGP of Renaissance South Construction Co.

Beginning April 22, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin enforcing a requirement that contractors have a special certification to perform work to pre-1978 homes – the year when lead-based paint was outlawed in the U.S.  The fine for non-compliance is $32,500 per violation.

Although the contractor is subject to the fines, homeowners will almost certainly be impacted. In addition to toxic dust exposure, indefinite project interruption and higher finishing costs, additional stress is inevitable, especially should the fine put the contractor out of business.

Not all homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint, so testing is required to determine its presence (or its presence can be assumed).  Positive results of this test trigger a prescriptive set of guidelines that must be followed, as long as over six square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior surface are being disturbed. Simple washing and over-painting is excluded.

The basic tenets of these guidelines involve the containment, control and cleaning of dust released in work areas, since inhalation and ingestion are the two ways that lead can enter the body.   

The new rules were primarily put into place for the protection of young children, pregnant women and workers. Central nervous system damage, permanent mental and behavioral problems in children and several types of birth complications are a few of the most common side effects of lead poisoning.

Certification requirements also trickle down to most trades and specialty contractors, whether working for a homeowner independently or as part of a general contracting team. Therefore, if there is a general contractor working in a lead area with their electrician and painter, all three firms would have to be certified with at least one certified renovator on site per firm.

Residential property managers are also required to be certified and child occupied facilities, such as a day care, are to receive the same treatment as a home.

As part of this process, homeowners will also be required to sign a form stating that they have received a copy of the EPA’s “Renovate Right” pamphlet from their contractor.  An online version of this is available at the EPA’s website, www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochurebw.pdf.  There is currently no online resource to find certified contractors, so it is recommended homeowners ask about the certification before meeting and be sure to get a copy of the certificate before signing any contracts.

Crawford, a licensed, bonded and insured general contractor and residential builder in South Carolina was voted “Remodeler of the Year” in 2006 by the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association. He is the founder and principal of Renaissance South Construction Company, a general contracting firm. Located in Charleston, S.C., the firm works primarily with clients in downtown Charleston, the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, and other upscale neighborhoods East of the Cooper. More information is available by calling 843-388-5550 or by visiting www.renaissancesouth.com.

For Sale: 4BR/2+1BA Single Family House in Johns Island, SC, $327,900

April 20, 2010

Nearly new home just 5 minutes from golf, 10 minutes from beach and 15 minutes to downtown charleston!

For Sale: 4BR/2+1BA Single Family House in Johns Island, SC, $327,900.

First Time Home Buyers, have you chosen your home?

September 22, 2009

Today, September 22, means that you must close on your new home in 68 days to take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Credit of $8,000…Did you get that? $8,000! Do you know what $8,000 will buy for your home? To get closed in time, you must be under contract withing the next several weeks so that the transaction will have time to be processed including inspections, etc. There are no guarantees that the credit will be extended, there are some loan products that don’t require any money down, sellers are willing to pay closing costs on most homes, and rate are incredibly good…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Did you know that you qualify as a First Time Home Buyer if you have owned a home in the past but have not owned one in the last three years?

Pricing to Sell!

April 22, 2009

Want to get top dollar for your home?

Despite the fact that declining home prices have been grabbing headlines for several months now, it can be a challenge for any of us to let go of what we had hoped our home would sell for.

It’s often the case that, prior to listing their homes, sellers interview a few agents, with a plan to sign on with the one who agrees to list it at the highest price. With the understanding that the listing price is ultimately the decision of the seller, not the real estate agent, I’d like to explain one of the most critical dynamics that impacts the actual sales price of a home.

Whether we are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, the same principle applies. The most effective pricing strategy for getting top dollar for a home is to price it competitively. This might not seem to make sense at first, but study after study, as well as my own personal experience, has proven that when a competitively priced home hits the market, it generates an instant buzz. Agents begin calling their prospective buyers and lining up showings to ensure that they don’t miss out on a great buy. Bidding wars can even break out.

Let’s contrast this situation to what happens when a home is priced higher than comparable properties. Neighbors and prospective buyers take one look at the listing sheet, and dismiss it as overpriced. The home sits on the market and sits some more. Eventually “REDUCED PRICE!” signs go up. The market starts to wonder what’s wrong with the house since it hasn’t sold.

Eventually, sellers take it off the market or agree to sell it for a much lower price than they had originally hoped.

In any market, competitively priced homes sell quicker and command a higher selling price than homes that factor high hopes into the pricing equation.

As a real estate professional and a Keller Williams Team Leader specializing in the Charleston Area market, I diligently track trends as they pertain to the pricing and demand of homes. Want to learn more about how to sell your home quickly and at the best possible price? I’d love to talk with you! Contact me any time at 843-442-2219 or e-mail me at cflowers@kwcharleston.com.

Giving Thanks…

November 26, 2008

In this trying time, it is important to give thanks for our friends, family, and those small things that make our lives complete.  I hope that you and your families have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

A little good news on the home mortgage front that I am thankful for…

To increase credit availability, the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Banks have announced that they will purchase up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed securities.  This has sent interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage below 6% according to a local lender.  Buyers who have been on the fence about moving forward with a purchase should think about buying now, especially since most home prices are at 2003/2004 levels. 

Cheryll Woods-Flowers, ABR

Keller Williams Realty


Hello world!

November 26, 2008

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!