Greenville, SC, South Carolina

Greenville ranks in top 3 of best small cities

Greenville ranked as the third best small city in the US, according to the Conde Nast Traveler – A luxury and lifestyle travel magazine. The magazine said readers cast hundreds of thousands of votes for their favorite cities in the 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards survey.

Greenville’s entry praises the city as an “up-and-coming food lover’s town”. The writer also notes it’s strong “farm-to-table scene” as well as the beautiful 32-acre Falls Park that runs through the middle of the town. What’s not to love here ranking it in at number three.

Charleston was another South Carolina city that made the list but ranked as #1. Charleston remains one of the country’s most charming cities with it’s beautiful gardens, dynamic food scene, vibrant painted Georgian houses, cobblestone streets and more.

See the full list here, https://goo.gl/d6DqLN

 

 

 

Buying

10 tips for first-time home buyers

Buying a home can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Not only is it probably the biggest purchase of your life, but the process is complicated and often raises many questions. To make your buying journey a little less stressful, here is 10 tips to help you navigate the process more smoothly.

1. Start saving for a down payment early

It’s common to put 20% down, but many lenders now permit certain FHA/Conventional loans to put as low as 3-5% down. Either way the down payment isn’t going to come easy so saving early will help you prepare. Play around with a down payment calculator to help you land on a goal amount. Some tips for saving for a down payment include setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses or setting up an automatic savings plan and using an app to track your progress.

2. Check your credit

When you’re taking out a mortgage loan, your credit will be one of the key factors in whether you’re approved, and it will help determine your interest rate and possibly the loan terms. Check your credit before you begin the home buying process. Dispute any errors that could be dragging down your credit score and look for opportunities to improve your credit, such as making a dent in any outstanding debts.

3. Pause any new credit activity

Any time you open a new credit account, whether to take out an auto loan or get a new credit card, the lender runs a hard inquiry, which can temporarily ding your credit score. If you’re applying for a mortgage soon, avoid opening new credit accounts to keep your score from dipping.

4. Determine how much home you can afford

Before you start looking for your dream home, you need to know what’s actually within your price range. Use a home affordability calculator to determine how much you can safely afford to spend.

5. Explore your down payment options

Struggling to come up with enough money for a down payment can be stressful. There are first-time home buyer programs out there that can help if you qualify – including federal mortgage programs with Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac that allows loans with only 3% down, plus Federal Housing Administration loans and Veteran Affairs loans. You could also try asking if family members are willing to pitch in with a gift.

6. Research state and local assistance programs

In addition to federal programs, many states offer assistance programs for first-time home buyers with perks such as tax credits, low down payment loans and interest free loans up to a certain amount. Ask your lender to find out what programs are in your area that you could qualify for.

7. Budget for closing costs

In addition to having to put a down payment down, you’ll need to budget for the money required to close your mortgage. Closing costs typically run between 2-5% of your loan amount. You can try and defray costs by asking the seller to pay for a portion of your closing costs.

8. Set aside more money for after move-in

At this point you may have wished money grew on trees but we are here to make sure you have put enough money aside for a down payment, closing costs, and now money for home shopping. This includes furnishings, rugs, updated fixtures, new paint, new furniture, fixes that may be needed, appliances and any other touches you’ll want to have when you move in.

9. Consider what type of property to buy

Take a look at your options and see what is a better fit for you. If you’re looking for a large lot or a lot of room you’ll want to go with a single-family home. But if you’re willing to sacrifice space for less maintenance and extra amenities and don’t mind paying a homeowners association fee you may want to go with a condo or townhouse.

10. Research mortgage options

Typically most go with a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage but there are many other loan types that may be right for you. If you can afford larger monthly payments, you can get a lower interest rate with a 15 or 20-year fixed loan. Or you may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage, which is riskier but guarantees a low interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage.

Buying, Florida

First Time Homebuyers and Down Payment Assistance Programs: Florida

When you get ready to buy your first home people tend to have lots of questions. While going thru the process toward homeownership is exciting, it can be confusing for a first time home buyer. Often times many people put off buying due to the lack of funds they have saved. Down payment and closing costs can get excessive and that’s why we are here to help. The more information you know, the more you can possibly get when you go to purchase your first home. See below for a few of the many programs available throughout Florida as well as their requirements.

2017 Conventional Preferred Plus Down Payment Assistance

  • 30-year, fixed-rate first mortgage loans originated by trained and approved lenders throughout the State of Florida. The program is offered to all borrowers who meet income, purchase price and other program guidelines, and can otherwise qualify for a loan.
  • First Time Home Buyer or Spouse haven’t owned a property for at least 3 years
  • 3% of the purchase price is in the form of a grant that does not require repayment by the borrower. (https://goo.gl/wwRFTV) This can be used for down payment, Buyers mortgage closing costs, or can also be used to “split pay” mortgage insurance premium to lower mortgage insurance cost or pay mortgage insurance completely off.
  • This program allows for higher borrower income limits.
  • This program can be used anywhere in the State of Florida.
  • Credit score 680 minimum for 95% LTV or less – 700 credit score required for 95%-97% LTV
  • Maximum LTV 97%- 105% CLTV
  • No cash back at closing, any excess funds will be used to pay down first mortgage.
  • 1 unit only – Single Family Residence, Townhomes & Condos with 95% LTV or below.
  • No household income limitation- Only Applicant income for qualification purposes.
  • 44.9% debt to income ratio or less.
  • Lower mortgage insurance rates for Borrower with this Conventional program.
  • Mortgage Insurance rates could be reduced or even paid off at Closing.
  • Seller contribution 3% maximum towards Buyers closing costs.
  • Purchase only, no construction to permanent loans – no investment properties.
  • Purchase price limits determined by county median income limits. See Income Limits above.
  • Owner Occupants only-No Investors.
  • Lender Credit not available.
  • 2 hour Buyer education required or any HUD approved agency (online or in-person) or approved 1 hour mortgage insurance education class from MGIC or Genworth
  • Florida e-housing fee’s $225 compliance fee + $300 US Bank funding fee + $85 tax service fee at closing to be deducted from the 3% Grant.
  • Fannie Mae guidelines apply.
  • Co-Signors not permitted.

Sapphire FHA Down Payment Assistance

  • Provides up to 4.5% in down payment assistance in ALL Florida Counties for FHA Loans
  • Down Payment Assistance is forgiven at the Closing table.
  • Buyer does not need to be first time Home Buyer.
  • Must be primary residence, no Investors.
  • 30 year fixed term.
  • Competitive mortgage Interest rates.
  • Can be used with VA Mortgages (4.5%), FHA Mortgages (4.5%) and USDA Mortgages (3%)
  • Borrower must have at least 1 active trade lines.
  • Supplemental Alternative credit allowed .
  • Maximum Income Limits set at 115% of Florida County the house is located.
  • Maximum purchase price of FHA limits in area purchased. Generally the lesser of $417,000 (not including MI) or maximum loan amounts permitted by HUD
  • Lender credit available not available.
  • Minimum middle FICO credit score is 620.
  • Maximum debt-to-income 47%
  • No Prepayment Penalty Fee if loan is paid out early.
  • No cash back to Borrower/Buyer
  • Seller can tribute up to 6% towards Buyers Closing Costs.
  • No 203k Renovation loans allowed.

Freedom First Closing Cost Assistance program for NO FICO CREDIT or LOW FICO Score Buyers

  • 30-year, fixed-rate FHA first mortgage loans originated by trained and approved lenders throughout the State of Florida. The program is offered to all borrowers who purchase price and other program guidelines, and can otherwise qualify for a loan.
  • No income limits.
  • No FICO credit scores but alternative credit such as rental history, cell phone statements, utility statements etc…
  • No first time home buyer requirement.
  • up to 2% of the loan amount is in the form of a Lender credit that does not require repayment by the borrower. (http://floridadownpaymentassistance.com/) This can ONLY be used for Closing Costs, NOT the down payment.
  • This program allows for higher borrower income limits without credit scores.
  • This program can be used anywhere in the State of Florida.
  • Ratio’s = 33% frontend and 43% backend with 3.5 % down payment due from Buyer in the form of the Earnest Money Deposit, the appraisal fee and the rest of the 3.5% at Closing.
  • No cash back at closing,
  • 1 unit only – Single Family Residence, Townhomes & Condos with 96.5% LTV or below.
  • No household income limitation- Only Applicant(s) income for qualification purposes.
  • Seller contribution 6% maximum towards Buyers closing costs.
  • Purchase only, no construction to permanent loans – no investment properties.
  • Purchase price limits determined by FHA guidelines only
  • Owner Occupants only-No Investors.
  • 2 hour Buyer education required or any HUD approved agency (online or in-person) or approved 1 hour mortgage insurance education class from MGIC or Genworth
  • FHA Guidelines.
  • Co-Signors permitted

Federal Home Loan Bank Down Payment Assistance Grant

  • Provides 4:1 matching funds up to $5,000 for Borrowers not involved in the occupations below
  • Provides 4:1 matching funds up to $7,500 for those involved in Public Safety, Medical, or Education
  • Buyer must be First Time Homebuyer or hasn’t owned a home in 3 years
  • Primary Residences only.
  • Lender credit available..
  • Maximum purchase price not to exceed the FHA limits in the counties being considered
  • Income must be at or under 80% of the HUD Median Income
  • 1 hour Mortgage Counseling conversation required
  • No Bankruptcies in last 2 years and no foreclosure last 3 years
  • Minimum middle credit score 620
  • Maybe combined with VA Loans written by same Lender
  • No Prepayment Penalty Fee if loan is paid out early

VA Loans

  • No down payment as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value.
  • No First Time Homeowner required.
  • Can be combined with Florida Bond program.
  • No private mortgage insurance premium requirement.
  • VA rules limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs.
  • Closing costs may be paid by the seller.
  • No Prepayment Penalty Fee if loan is paid out early
  • Lender credit not available.
  • VA may be able to provide you some assistance if you run into difficulty making payments
  • You can reuse the benefit.
  • VA-backed loans are assumable, as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.
  • Must have Certificate of Eligibility
  • Primary Residences only

 

Buying, South Carolina

First Time Home Buyers Incentives, Programs & Grants: South Carolina

When you get ready to buy your first home people tend to have lots of questions. While going thru the process toward homeownership is exciting, it can be confusing for a first time home buyer. Often times many people put off buying due to the lack of funds they have saved. Down payment and closing costs can get excessive and that’s why we are here to help. The more information you know, the more you can possibly get when you go to purchase your first home.

Down Payment Assistance SC Features

The Down Payment Assistance Program combines either an FHA or USDA loan along with $6,000 in down payment assistance. Therefore, it bridges the gap between the purchase price and the loan amount. Some of the wonderful benefits of this home buying product include:

  • $6,000 2nd mortgage loan amount
  • Use for down payment, closing costs, and/or pre-paids
  • Existing or new construction homes
  • Repayable over a 10 year term
  • Eligible for qualifying SC buyers and properties

In order to receive these benefits, there are some requirements.

SC DPA Homebuyer Eligibility Requirements

Like any mortgage home loan, there are requirements that buyers must first meet. These include credit score, maximum debt to income ratios, and income limits. Then there are also property requirements which will be discussed further down.

Down Payment Assistance SC First Time Home Buyer Requirement         

Borrowers purchasing in these non-targeted counties must NOT have had ownership in a home within the last 3 years (Aiken, Anderson, Charleston, Greenville, Greenwood, Lancaster, Lexington, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, and York). Buyers purchasing in other counties such as Horry, Georgetown, and other targeted counties may have owned another home prior to this closing.

First Time Home Buyer Exceptions in Non-Targeted SC Counties

The down payment assistance SC programs makes exceptions for the first time home buyer rule.

  • Single parents
  • Veterans
  • Individuals or families with disabilities

Down Payment Assistance SC Income Limits

There are household income limits in order to qualify for the down payment assistance program. Household income limits are based on the number of people living in the home. Additionally, all income received by each household member 18 and older must be included under the limit. Keep in mind, if using USDA for the first mortgage, that income limit must be met as well. Each county has its own income limit. These limits are divided among 1-2 family members and 3 or more members. Furthermore, they are broken down into groups of targeted versus non-targeted. So first find your county in a targeted or non-targeted county. Then, look under the list for the number of household members which will occupy the home. For more information visit: https://goo.gl/n8UUM4

Down Payment Assistance SC Guidelines

This SC down payment assistance loan is available for purchasing money loans. But if using an FHA loan, it may also be used to pay off a construction loan. Here are some guidelines for these mortgage products.

  • Minimum credit score: FHA = 620, USDA= 640
  • Maximum debt to income ratio is 45%. If required to be a manual underwrite, then ratios are lower
  • 6% maximum seller paid costs for the buyer
  • Homebuyer education required
  • Collections may sometimes be left open for program guidelines

Down Payment Assistance SC Property Requirements

  • $225,000 home price limit
  • USDA loan – property must be in USDA eligible area
  • Must be located within South Carolina
  • Allowed home type includes: Single family 1 unit, primary residence only, townhomes, FHA approved condos, Off frame modular, land value cannot exceed 40% of the total appraised value.
  • CL-100 Termite Inspection must be clear

In addition to these, there are other general requirements such as acceptable condition, applicable insurance, and others. Feel free to ask one of our professional real estate agents about any further details if there is a concern on a property.

SC Mortgage Tax Credit

South Carolina homebuyers have a powerful tool to make their mortgages more affordable and save thousands of dollars each year that would have otherwise been paid in taxes. The SC Mortgage Tax Credit Program is a Mortgage Credit Certificate Program administered by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority. This program offers home buyers a federal income tax credit up to $2,000 per calendar year. The amount of the credit is equal to 30% of the mortgage interest paid each year that you keep your loan. The credit costs $500, which at times may be paid by the seller. The lender may charge a $200 processing fee.

Who Qualifies?

  • The homebuyer is purchasing a primary residence in SC; AND
  • The Homebuyer is a first-time homebuyer, has not owned a home in the last three years, or buyers a home in a “targeted” county; AND
  • The homebuyer occupies the home as a primary residence; AND
  • Household income falls within the limits established for the county in which the primary residence is being purchased; AND
  • The purchase price is within the limits established for the county in which the primary residence is being purchased. *Household income limits and home purchase price limits vary by household size and by county.