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Common Stumbling Blocks that Delay Closings

Most of us are familiar with the old expression about too many cooks in the kitchen. That old adage could definitely apply in the real estate business. There are a lot of parties involved in a real estate transaction. On one hand, that means all the tasks that have to be completed before closing day are divvied up and conquered more easily. On the other hand, the more people that are involved, the more likely it is that an issue might arise in some shape or form. The good thing is that most of the snags that delay closings can be easily resolved or avoided altogether. Let’s take a look at just a few of the most common stumbling blocks that might stall your journey to the closing table.

Your Financial Status Changed

The very last thing you want to do while waiting to close on a home is have any change in finances. Try to keep your debt-to-income ratio as steady as possible. This means no changes in income or job status, no large purchases, and no new credit cards. Any change in financial status will have to be taken into consideration before your final mortgage approval comes through and you’re clear to close.

Bad News on the Inspection

If a home inspection ends in undesirable results, the buyer will have to decide whether or not they want to move forward. The one good thing about a bad inspection report is that it can be used as a bargaining chip. If the buyers do want to move forward, then they can ask the sellers to either make repairs or take the cost of the repairs off the sale price.

You Don’t Act Quickly Enough

All requests for information, paperwork, and other needs must be fulfilled as quickly as possible. Time is always of the essence in a real estate transaction. If one party doesn’t move quickly enough, it could put the entire deal in jeopardy.

Paperwork Is Disorganized

Make sure to get any and all needed paperwork submitted in a timely manner. Whether your real estate agent needs a contract addendum signed, or your lender needs last year’s tax return, it’s important to act quickly. Everything should be organized and accounted for. If you submit an offer without a key piece paperwork, for instance, it could throw a major wrench in the works.

Interest Rates Go Up

It’s normal for interest rates to go up and down, but the last thing you want is for them to rise when you’re right in the middle of a deal. Get your mortgage paperwork in order and get that approval as soon as possible. That way you’ll be locked in to the correct interest rate, and you’ll be protected if interest rates do rise unexpectedly.

Misunderstandings

Everyone needs to be on the same page for a real estate deal to close without any snags. Double and triple-check to make sure that every stipulation set forth in the contract is clear; all dates are realistic and agreed upon; and the seller and buyer know exactly what does and does not convey with the sale of the house. Don’t let a deal fall through because one person misunderstood a certain detail.

Appraisal Issues

Sometimes a house doesn’t appraise for the agreed-upon sale price. If this happens, there are several things that can be done. The lender and buyer can order another appraisal as a second opinion. If it still comes in under the contract price, it’s time for renegotiations. The seller can concede and lower the price to the appraised value. Or the buyer and seller can split the difference, with the seller lowering the cost some and the buyer bringing some cash to the table to make up the rest of the difference.

Unrealistic Contract Dates

Sometimes there’s just not enough time to get everything done. When you and your agent sit down to write an offer on a house,the dates you put forth in the contract should leave enough time for all parties to accomplish their tasks. Make sure there’s plenty of time to have all inspections and repairs completed and get all paperwork in order.

By no means is this a comprehensive list of every little thing that could delay your closing. There are lots of other possible stumbling blocks that can cause things to grind to a halt. These are just some of the most common issues that arise from time to time. But don’t worry; as long as all parties are willing to work together to resolve them, you’ll get to the closing table sooner than you think.

Friday Five // January 25th, 2019

We’re wrapping up another productive work week with the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening throughout the Charleston area over the weekend. Sample food trucks and oysters galore, check out a home and design show, commit to fitness, and more. No matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

Join Charleston Home + Design Magazine all weekend long for its 14th annual Charleston Home + Design Show at the Gaillard Center. Meet A-list local contractors, see the largest collection of luxury and premium kitchen, bath, and building products. Find everything to build, remodel, or update your home including state-of-the-art appliances, cabinets, tile and stone, kitchen and bath fixtures, windows, doors, hardware, solar and other energy-saving systems, smart home technology, and more. Check out the VIP Home Show Party. Get a free design consultation. Enter the grand prize giveaway. And take advantage of features like the architect symposium and other free seminars. Go to the Gaillard and get inspired!

Taste the best of the best in food truck fare at the 8th annual Charleston Food Truck Festival near Park Circle this Saturday and Sunday. This festival started in 2011 with 5 food trucks and 500 customers. Since then it has grown to over 10,000 attendees. Sample street fare from 25 food trucks from all over the Southeast; dance to live music from local musicians; and wash down the yummy food with handcrafted beer, wine, and cocktails. There will also be a retail row, free adult games, a kids’ zone, axe throwing, and much more.

Get your favorite little mermaids and swashbucklers all dressed up and ready for Pirates & Mermaids Day at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens this Saturday. From 11am until 2pm, you can enjoy a pirate-led scavenger hunt, face painting, character interaction (including the Little Mermaid herself!), and a costume contest. Residents of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Colleton counties will receive free admission to Magnolia Plantations & Gardens with a donation of a canned good and a valid ID. The Pirates and Mermaids event is free with admission.

If you’re looking for a way to get fit this year, head to Nexton in Summerville on Saturday for Commit to Be Fit! Join Nexton and kick off 2019 with some great food, fitness classes, and a healthy dose of sunshine. Fuel your body at some of the area’s yummiest food trucks, then get set up for fitness classes like yoga and tai chi. Afterward, join Alta Brighton Park for some quick tips on healthy snacking. Learn how to create snacks from what you already have in your pantry, taste samples, and take home some easy healthy recipes. Other activities include fitness challenges, a biometric screening, fitness and nutrition games for the kids, and enter drawings to win fitness prizes.

This Sunday marks the return of the 36th Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the world’s largest oyster festival and one of the “top 20 events in the southeast” according to the Southeastern Tourism Society. This event is hosted by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association and takes place at Boone Hall Plantation from 10am until 5pm Sunday. The festival features over 80,000 pounds of oysters and a variety of other foods from local restaurants and food trucks. There will be oyster shucking and oyster eating contests, live music on the main stage, a selection of wine and beers, a children’s area, and more. This event benefits MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, Charleston County School District, Ronald McDonald House, the Coastal Conservation Association, and the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

5 Reasons to Live in a Historic City

With more than a hundred properties officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the most historic cities in the United States. You don’t have to be a big history buff to appreciate living in a historic city like Charleston. There are many great advantages to making your home in an area that’s chock full of rich history and culture. From the many and varied available activities to the gorgeous architecture and scenery, there are lots of advantages to living in a historic city.

1. They come with built-in character.

They just don’t build ’em like they used to, right? With all the gorgeous antebellum architecture and craftsmanship found throughout the Charleston area, there’s character around every corner. Take a stroll through the historic district, all the way down to the Battery. There’s not a cookie cutter home to be seen.  

2. Historic homes hold value of more than one kind.

“Historic districts tend to hold their value better during economic downturns, and they appreciate more during upswings,” says Tom Mayes, vice president for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. Historic homes aren’t just valuable in terms of money and personal equity; they also hold a certain value for the public. Historic homes are artifacts that remind us of the past, but they’re also symbols of strength and perseverance for some. They’ve been a part of something bigger and made it through to the other side.

3. Things don’t change too quickly.

Most historic cities come with restrictions on what can and what must be done to certain buildings. Living in a historic district often means there’s a lot of red tape and hurdles to conquer before you can make even the slightest change. For those residents who would rather not live in an area that’s going to be redeveloped over and over again, a historic district could be the perfect choice.

4. There’s always lots to do.

Living in a historic city usually means you spend your days in a spot tourists flock to. And since Charleston reigns supreme on “best of” lists all over the world, there’s always something to do here. From museums to plantations to beaches, from walking tours to nightlife, historic cities tend to have a lot to do in order to keep both locals and tourists entertained.

5. Preservation efforts make for a better place to live.

Historic homes and buildings tend to need a good bit of upkeep and TLC. Thanks to preservation efforts to keep things maintained and operating smoothly, historic districts are usually just nice places to live in. Natural and man-made beauty abound.

How-To Tuesday: Upgrade Your Laundry Room on the Cheap

Let’s face it. No one enjoys doing laundry. (Or if you do, can you come over to our place and take care of ours too?!) If the laundry room isn’t exactly the most inspiring room in your house, maybe it’s time to give it a bit of an upgrade. Here are seven cheap and easy upgrades you can put to use to make your boring old laundry room a more enjoyable space for everyone.

Add some interest to the walls… The laundry room is one of the few places in the home where pretty much anything goes when it comes to design and decor. Paint the walls a cheery color or put up some wallpaper in a fun pattern. Now is the time to use those loud colors and prints you’ve been too nervous to use in the main areas of your home.

…and don’t forget the floors! There are so many fun things that can be done to floors to create interest and make a space more inviting. Add some gorgeous patterned tiles to the floor (peel-and-stick works just as well as ceramic!), go neutral with a hardwood or laminate, or just stain or paint the concrete floors.

Create a workspace. If you have a front-loading washer and dryer, there’s some prime real estate right on the top just asking to be used. Prop a butcher block on top to create counter space for separating and folding laundry right out of the dryer. No need for a laundry basket, which—for us, anyway—for us makes it easier to just push laundry aside instead of putting it away.

Organize and label everything. If you have shelf space, keep bins for all the different odds and ends that call the laundry room home. For example, label a bin for socks missing their mates, one for clothespins, one for stain removers, one for cleaning rags, and so forth and so on.

Upcycle old, unused furniture. Is there a piece of furniture you’ve been meaning to get rid of? Maybe an old desk or bookshelf? Give it some new life with a coat of paint, some contact paper, wallpaper, or fabric, and make a spot for it in the laundry room. This can help you keep your laundry and all its accoutrements nice and organized.

Use glass jars and containers for detergents and other needs. Add to the aesthetic of the room by decanting your laundry soap, softeners, et cetera, into pretty glass jars. So much prettier than those plastic jugs taking up space on the shelf!

Accessorize. Just because we don’t see the laundry room all that often doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give it a style boost. Hang some artwork on the walls and add a plant or two to liven up the space. Organize things with pretty baskets, and add other inspiring pieces that will actually help you want to visit the laundry room every once in a while.

What’s the Difference Between Being Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved?

While the words qualified and approved may have similar meanings, there’s actually a big difference between the two when it comes to getting a home loan. Being pre-qualified is a good start to show that you’re serious about buying a home, but getting pre-approved will get you much closer to the closing table. Let’s take a look at the main differences between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a home loan.

Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification for a home loan pretty much comes after a cursory review of your finances and other information. You’ll provide the lender with details such as your gross income, all of your debts, and your total assets (savings, stocks, IRAs, etc.). The lender will calculate your debt-to-income ratio and let you know how much you qualify to borrow. In pre-qualifying you for a loan, the lender isn’t actually promising to lend you this amount or approving you for a loan at all. They don’t check to verify any of the information you provide. This step is really meant to let you know how much house you can afford based on the income and existing debts you report to them. In fact, if you really want to show sellers how serious you are and get the process moving along quickly, you can skip this step all together and go straight to getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Pre-Approval

Being pre-approved for a home loan takes a much more in-depth look at your financial information. The lender will pull your credit report and check your score to get a look at your credit history. The debts reported there will also help them determine your official debt-to-income ratio and decide whether you’re a good candidate for a loan. You’ll need to submit official documents to them, including (but not limited to) paycheck stubs, W-2s, bank account statements, asset statements, and a list of any other real estate holdings. You’ll fill out a loan application, and the lender will go to work getting you pre-approved for your home loan. Be aware that once you get that pre-approval, you’ll need to get the ball rolling, as most loan pre-approvals are typically good for 60 to 90 days. Also make sure not to do anything that could jeopardize that approval, like opening up a new credit card, making a large purchase, or changing jobs.

If you’re ready to get down to business and buy right now, it’s best to go ahead and get pre-approved. Skipping the pre-qual process completely can help you get to the closing table much faster. But if you’d rather take your time and wait for that perfect home to come on the market before pulling the trigger, pre-qualification might be the way for you to go. Always talk to your trusted lender and your real estate agent for the best advice tailored to your specific situation.  

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