Teresa Smith

Executive Broker

My Blog

Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance

11/9/2016

Are you excited about the Real Estate Market? If not, you should be if you are contemplating a home purchase soon. The market is steady with a lot of homes that are "move in ready" and with record low interest rates, I'm sure you can buy a home cheaper than renting. If you're a first time Home Buyer, there's even more reason to seriously consider making a move.

Did you know, USDA loans are one of the most active loan products in the Clarksville AR, Russellville AR, Lamar AR and surrounding areas? There are a couple of other terms for this loan. Some may call it an "RD" loan or some may refer to it as a First Time Home Buyer Loan. The great thing is, you do not have to be a first time buyer to apply for this loan. You can go to almost any lender and do a Pre-Qualification to see if you meet the requirements as a buyer. In addition, there is no down payment and your closing costs are financed into your loan. The only out of pocket expense for you would be the cost of the appraisal. It is typically between $450-$550.That is awesome! Most people think they need thousands of dollars for a down payment in order to purchase a home. If you weren't considering buying before, that may be a great reason to investigate the real estate market.

I've recently sold some homes in the Clarksville AR and Russellville AR area where the buyer's interest rates were at an amazing 2.75% to 3.75%. That is an incredible bonus for any home buyer. With those types of interest rates, you can save $$$ over the years in interest alone. Or maybe you will choose to "buy more house for the money". Ask your lender to compare interest rates with the same sales price and see the difference in your monthly payment and interest saved over the years. I'm not sure how these rates may change over the next few weeks or months, but I assure you, you will want to get your interest rate locked in while they are at record lows.

In addition to the RD loan, The Arkansas Dept of Finance and Administration, aka ADFA, have some great Homeownership Programs to assist you with covering your closing cost or down payment.This will help with building equity in your home faster as you do not have to finance those cost into your loan. They vary in eligibility for FHA loans, VA Guaranteed Loans, RD loans, and some Conventional Loans. Any mortgage lender should be able to go over the various possibilities. Here are some highlights to the different assistance programs and some of the qualifications given by the ADFA to help make buyers more knowledgeable about these programs: 

  • "ADFA Advantage"- Tax Exempt Mortgage Revenue Bond: Key components are a very low mortgage interest rate and You can not have owned a principal residence in the last 3 years, (VA and VA spouses are exempt from the first time home buyer requirement). 
  • "ADFA Move-Up"-Rate is set daily, No first time home buyer requirement,the income limit is up to $130,000/3 or more people in the home, and the purchase price of the home can be up to $250,000.
  • Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative (ADDI)- Qualified buyer can receive up to 6% of the sales price in assistance. (not to exceed $10,000). Buyer must be a First Time Home Buyer (Can not have owned any property in the last 3 years), does not have a credit score requirement, purchase price limit of  $250,000.
  • Down Payment Assistance (DPA)- Do not have to be a first time buyer, no credit score limit, and loan amount  is $1000-$6000 with a maximum payment of $60.75.
  • First Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit (MCC)- Provides a federal tax credit up to $2000 per year and the borrower can claim this tax credit each year as long as the home is the primary residence.

Those are some great programs to help with closing cost and down payment assistance. Of course, I just hit a couple of key highlights. There will be lots of criteria that your lender will go over with you to see if you qualify for any of these loan types or assistance programs. Once the Pre-Qualification is over, the fun part begins! Finding you the perfect dream home.

As your real estate agent, I will help you each step of the way when purchasing a home. It doesn't have to be scary or stressful.Let's start by contacting me to discuss your needs!

Teresa Smith

RE/MAX First Realty

Call or text: 479-774-5434 or email me at teresasmithrealty@yahoo.com

Hiking in the Ozarks

5/25/2016

If you love nature, you'll appreciate what the River Valley has to offer. When clients are relocating to this area, the mountains and hiking trails are typically a topic of conversation. Here are just a few to mark off your list of Sites to visit:

 

1. White Rock Mountain features canoeing, fishing, campgrounds, hiking, and the most spectacular views. Not to mention areas of National Forest for the Hunters.

2. Turner Bend features kayaking, rafting, and canoeing on the Mulberry River. There are also annual music fest that attract people from all over the U.S. You may find 4 wheel trails, fishing, hunting, and more. Great area to visit.

3. Glory Hole Falls is just a hike up the trail to see glorious rock formations with waterfalls and rays of sunshine beaming through the holes in the rocks.  Be sure to put this on your list of sites to see.

4.The Ozark National Forest will leave you in "awe" as you experience the hiking trails, rock formations, waterfalls, creeks, and more. Acres and Acres of campsites, rafting, hunting, fishing, cabins, trails, and more...

5. Hurricane Creek Wilderness boast one of the best hiking trails around. The 16.7 mi trail will navigate around some of the most scenic views around.

6. Haws Creek Falls is one of the most scenic water falls around. I'm sure while you're there you'll run into a photographer or two...great place to sit back and enjoy nature.

7. Long Pool Recreation has nearby campsites, ATV trails, hiking, and great swimming holes. Some "Cliff Divers" like to go there to jump into the deep swimming holes.

8.Horsehead Lake Recreation offers a swimming area, boating, fishing, and wooded campsites.

9.Upper Buffalo Wilderness boast the beautiful Whitaker Point Trail. This will be at the head waters of the beautiful Buffalo River. A short hike to see some of the most beautiful mountains and waterfalls.

These are just a few trails and recreation areas within nearby Clarksville and Russellville area or within an hour or so drive of the area. Hope you can enjoy a few of these.

Dive into the Real Estate Market

3/25/2016

With Spring officially here, the real estate market is blooming with buyers.  The activity has been great. I've seen multiple offers on properties, which leads to a "highest and best" situation where the sellers can choose which buyer is making the best offer. This is great for the sellers! This Typically results in top dollar for their property.  I remember those types of situations a few years ago before the big real estate market crash. I hope this is a good sign for the real estate market.

 

There may be many reasons for the increased buyer activity. For one, the interest rates have been holding at record lows. There's talk that rates may be increasing soon, but we're hoping they stay steady. Buyers are finding that they can buy a home cheaper than paying rent. With all of the tax deductions for home ownership, there's really no reason not to buy. There are loans available for buyers that require No Down Payment. Additionally, their are loans that offer a 3.5% down payment and some lenders will even offer, to qualified buyers, a grant to reduce it to 1% down for an FHA Loan. There are many options for buyers. The great thing is, as an agent, I can help connect you with your lender and finding the right loan product.

 

Another reason is that rentals are getting extremely harder to come by. There are waiting list for rentals in my area. Renters are losing lots of options on the types of homes they want to rent, in addition, not being able to have pets or getting in the school district of choice. If you're not sure if you qualify to buy a home, why not attempt to get a preapproval? No Risk, No Reward.

 

If you're looking to sell, it is the perfect time to put your house on the market. If you list your home within market value, I believe you'll be surprised at the response.  When I place your home on the market, the first thing that happens is all of the realtors in the Multi List System see the new listing, then call their buyers that have been searching in that price range and/or criteria. Lots of calls being made to buyers to announce your house is listed! You'll probably see the most activity within those first two weeks, as all of those patiently awaiting buyers are notified of your new listing. My theory has always been that if you have NO Showings in that first couple of weeks, the realtor's believe it's priced too high. If you get a lot of showings and no offers, or very low offers, the public thinks it's priced too high.  Of course this will vary depending on certain things, for example, your home may be in a price range that is extremely inactive or it may require repairs that may keep it from qualifying for certain home loans. I believe you can price yourself out of the market and regret it months, or even years, later in the way of a settling for a  "give away" price.

The main thing is to call your agent! Whether you're  a buyer or seller, now is a good time to dive into the market. Use this increase in market activity to your advantage.

Busy Real Estate Market

3/10/2016

The warmer temperatures and sun-shiny days are making for a great real estate market in the Clarksville area. It was a nice day to take several sets of buyers to look around all of the great areas of Clarksville. It was also nice to see a few of my fellow agents walking around the same neighborhoods, showing houses before or behind me. It is great for our local market to see the influx of buyers wanting to relocate to the area, upgrade to a larger home, or make a change depending on the needs of their families. It was quite humorous on one showing. The neighbor came up to myself and my buyers and asked "what in the world is going on here?" He said he had seen so many people in and out of that home that his curiosity finally got the better of him. I know I had personally shown that home 3 times in the last 24 hours and had to schedule around other agents so I understood where he was coming from. I explained that it was a "hot foreclosure" that just came on the market and every agent is getting their client out there to see it and get their highest and best offer in. I thought for a second that he may just want to place an offer himself just because everyone else was...Love this type of excitement and anticipation for the Clarksville Real Estate Market.

Home Buyer Loan Assistance

2/5/2016

 

Occasionally I receive request from prospective buyers that want to purchase a home, but either do not have credit or may have bad credit. There is a Neighborhood Assistance Program that I've worked with in the past that help buyers in this situation. They will guarantee a loan as long as you attend a workshop and complete the required steps. It will take dedication on the part of the buyers in order to complete the steps. If you would like for me to work with you as you go through the program, contact me and I will be happy to help you. I've placed a link below that describes the steps. Please contact me with any questions.

https://www.naca.com/purchase/steps-to-homeownership/

Arkansas Realtors Association Home Sale Report

2/4/2016

From the Arkansas Realtors Association:


 LITTLE ROCK (February 4, 2016) - Arkansas REALTORS® experienced an increase in the number of homes sold statewide in November as reflected in a report distributed by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association this morning. The number of homes sold in November increased by over four percent while the average price of those homes sold increased by less than 1 percent in November. The average price of the homes sold in the 43 county area surveyed by the Association increased from $154,906 in November 2014 to $155,768 in November 2015. Statewide valuations in November increased by over 4 percent from last year.
 

Excel and pdf versions of the November report can be found on the Arkansas REALTORS® Association website.

For information on national numbers from the National Association of REALTORS®, please visit http://www.realtor.org.

For interview requests, please email Emily@ArkansasRealtors.com.

Buying a Home in the Clarksville AR Area

1/28/2016

Clarksville AR- Buying A Home

Clarksville, AR Market Area. RE/MAX First Realty Agent, Teresa Smith

Spring is drawing near, Income tax refunds are coming, and you wish you could buy a home rather than continuing to rent. Guess what? It could be possible.

Have you gone down to speak to a lender? Do you know what your credit score is? Have you established credit? If you’ve answered “No” to any of these questions, then we need to get you in front of a lender. There are several banks in the Clarksville AR area. I can help you contact them, just give me a call. Once you connect to a lender, then you will know if you are “credit worthy” in regards to buying a home. You may be surprised! If you’re uncomfortable and want to know your credit score before talking to a lender, there are sites like “Credit Karma” that can help you get a free credit score check. Either way, I can help you get started.

There are a few different loans available to you if you meet criteria. The main thing is, get that preapproval and then we can start looking for a home. There are loans available with Zero Money Down. You must pay “out of pocket” for your appraisal, otherwise, everything else is financed into your loan amount. You can choose to put money down if you would like. You may even qualify for a government bond assistance loan. Basically, if you meet the requirements, most of your closing cost will be paid via the bond and not added into your loan amount. What a deal!

Another loan type may be a minimum of 3.5% of the loan amount as a down payment. I’ve had a lender contact me and tell me they will be giving a 2% “forgiveness” assistance grant so you will only need 1.5% down. For someone that may be in a middle income bracket, this could be a great loan product.

Once we get that loan preapproval out of the way, we should start looking for a home. I’ve lived in the Clarksville AR area for years. There are so many parts of this area that are perfect to buy or build a new home. If you’re looking in the city, there are subdivisions like Stewart Place, Ridgewood, Westridge, Rosemary, Western Hills, Caddo Springs, Valhola and more. We would establish if you want close neighbors, a certain neighborhood, or on a busy street, or a quiet sidestreet. Poplar street is growing “popular” with home owners. It is close to the Johnson Regional Medical Center and Cline Park.  Also, going North of Main street, you will find lots of older homes with Southern Charm. These homes will be around the perimeter of The University of The Ozarks. A great addition to the town! Going south of Main Street, you will get into the downtown Clarksville area. There are some homes in the 100 year flood plain. Don’t worry, I’ll give you all of the details of these homes when we are searching. I want you to be an informed buyer!

If you’re wanting a little room to roam, then we can head north on Hwy 21 or Hwy 103 to get out in the country. There are subdivisions like Lakewood Estates, Skyline Estates, Redlick Estates, Sleepy Hollow, and Rockwall Heights subdivisions that give a little more acreage and privacy. I’ll take you on the tour of the area if you’d like. Going a little further north, you can get into the Ozone and Oark areas. Lots of National Forest, Hiking Trails, and Recreation in those areas. For the nature lover, these areas seem are sure to please.

Wanting to go a  bit East of Clarksville? There’s Lamar, Knoxville, and London as you head towards the Russellville AR area. Lots of homes that may be close to Piney Bay, Lake Dardanelle, or the Arkansas River. If you’re looking for waterfront, then let me show you that area.

Lots of homes, lots of potential, lots of looking to do! Let’s get started. Btw, you don’t have to be a first time home buyer for any of those great loans. If you need to sell your home and upgrade/downsize, there’s plenty of options for you, too!

Be sure and visit my website at http://www.tsmithsells.com to look at any home listed on the MLS. I can arrange to show you any home.

Hope you have a great day!

Teresa Smith
RE/MAX First Realty

National Association of Realtors Partners with Boys and Girls Clubs of America

1/21/2016

There was a new announcement from the National Association of Realtors® .  NAR will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America! This is great news for all local communities. Now, your local Realtor® can choose to take on the task of working with the local boys and girls clubs. They may choose to do fundraisers, mentoring, assisting with homework, or lots of other tasks so desperately needed by the Boys and Girls Clubs. For more information, visit www.realtor.org/BGCA to see how we are making a difference in the community.

Home Buyer Tips

1/11/2016

 I get a lot of questions from potential buyers asking ” Where do I start when I want to buy a home?” Well, my First suggestion is to find a Realtor®One that was either recommended by someone you know or an agent that you feel comfortable talking to. It is your right to choose your agent. You may have to interview a few of them to find the one you feel comfortable with. There is something called a “Buyer’s Agency” that a real estate agent should ask you to sign. This is permission to represent you as your agent. It is AR Real Estate Law that one is signed by the buyer. It will also give permission to be a “Dual Agent.” A Dual Agency just means that the agent can represent you, as well as, the seller. So, if you look at homes listed by the company the agent works for, they represent that seller. If you’re not comfortable with that, you should discuss this with your agent.

The Second suggestion would be to meet with a lender to get Pre Qualifed for a loan. You can use a lender from the bank where you do business, or perhaps your real estate agent can give you a list of lenders in your area. There are lots of loan products, even No Money Down loans!

 

It is very important to get the Pre-Qualification because:

 

*You will know if you meet lender requirements to buy the home
*You will get an estimate of what your closing cost and/or out of pocket expenses will be
*You will know what Home Price Range to search in
*You will know how what your estimated monthly payment will be,including taxes and insurance
*You will know what loan type you qualify for; Your agent can help you find a home that meets loan requirements
*It saves you time. So when you find the home you like, you can write an offer quickly. A Pre-qualification letter may mean the difference between a seller accepting your offer vs another buyer.

 

The Third suggestion is Have Fun! Look at homes that are within your budget. You may need to look at several before deciding on the one you like. Once you find the one, let your Real Estate Agent help you write the perfect offer to protect your interest. If you're looking for Homes, Land, Investments, or Waterfront Property in the Clarksville AR or surrounding Russellville area, Call Teresa Smith, RE/MAX First Agent Covering the greater Clarksville AR and Russellville AR area.

 

Teresa Smith, 479-774-5434 or teresasmithrealty@yahoo.com  Remember, I can show you any listing no matter who it's listed with . Choose me as your Realtor®.

No-Money-Down-Loans

12/30/2015

Did you know that you could possibly get into a new home for "No Down Payment?"

 

 

That's Right!

To Be Eligible for this type of loan, You must:

  • Meet income-eligibility
  • Agree to personally occupy the dwelling as their primary residence
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. non-citizen national or Qualified Alien
  • Have the legal capacity to incur the loan obligation
  • Have not been suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs
  • Demonstrate the willingness to meet credit obligations in a timely manner
  • Purchase a property that meets all program criteria

 

The Only Out of Pocket Expense will be for the Appraisal.

 

Have you spoken to a loan officer yet? That will be the First Step to finding out if YOU can qualify for this loan type.

 

Get in touch with me and let's get you started on the path to Owning your Own Home!

 

Teresa Smith 479-774-5434 or email me at teresasmithrealty@yahoo.com

 

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