Buyer, seller

What is an Appraisal?

What is the home appraisal? When when you need to get a home appraisal? What exactly is the home appraisal based on? How long an appraisal stick with a property? When a licensed home appraiser comes out to your property to do a thorough inspection of the property, they’re going to be looking at all the details of a property and see how they compare to the market and from there determine a true fair market value for the property.

Once you get your report, make sure to look over it, it’s very, very detailed, they’re going to give you a fair market price for the home and this may not be the list price or the contract price, this is a third party objective opinion from the licensed appraiser. An appraisal report is also going to show the conditions of the property. For example, if you’re getting an FHA or a VA loan, there are other conditional things about the property that that appraiser is trained to look for, they’ll do that on the report as well.

It’s important to know if you’re a seller that has an FHA or VA buyer, where the appraisal came in low and you weren’t able to come to terms and had to part ways that the VA and FHA appraisal actually does stay with the property for a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you go under contract right away with another FHA or VA buyer there’s a chance that that appraiser is going to pull the old report and it could under appraise again, just for your reference an FHA appraiser will stick with the property for 120 days, a VA appraisal will stick with the property for six months.

Buyer, Mortgage, seller

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?

There’s never been a truer statement regarding forecasting mortgage rates than the one offered last year by Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is: Don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

Coming into this year, most experts projected mortgage rates would gradually increase and end 2022 in the high three-percent range. It’s only April, and rates have already blown past those numbers. Freddie Mac announced last week that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is already at 4.72%.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comtweeted on March 31:

“Continuing on the recent trajectory, would have mortgage rates hitting 5% within a matter of weeks. . . .”

Just five days later, on April 5, the Mortgage News Daily quoted a rate of 5.02%.

No one knows how swiftly mortgage rates will rise moving forward. However, at least to this point, they haven’t significantly impacted purchaser demand. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaexplains:

Mortgage rates jumped much quicker and much higher than even the most aggressive forecasts called for at the end of last year, and yet housing demand appears to be holding steady.”

Through February, home prices, the number of showings, and the number of homes receiving multiple offers all saw a substantial increase. However, much of the spike in mortgage rates occurred in March. We will not know the true impact of the increase in mortgage rates until the March housing numbers become available in early May.

Rick Sharga, EVP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Datarecently put rising rates into context:

“Historically low mortgage rates and higher wages helped offset rising home prices over the past few years, but as home prices continue to soar and interest rates approach five percent on a 30-year fixed rate loan, more consumers are going to struggle to find a property they can comfortably afford.”

While no one knows exactly where rates are headed, experts do think they’ll continue to rise in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy a home, know that rising rates do have an impact. As rates rise, it’ll cost you more when you purchase a house. If you’re ready to buy, it may make sense to do so sooner rather than later.

Bottom Line

Mark Fleming got it right. Forecasting mortgage rates is an impossible task. However, it’s probably safe to assume the days of attaining a 3% mortgage rate are over. The question is whether that will soon be true for 4% rates as well.

Buyer, seller

Irmo, SC Home with Unfinished Basement

Wonderful cul de sac home in super convenient Coldstream neighborhood in Irmo, South Carolina. Close to everything – shopping, dining, Lake Murray, award-winning schools, and the interstates. Wood floors throughout the entire first floor! The large great room welcomes you in and invites you in to enjoy the wood-burning fireplace. Appreciate the natural sunlight and view looking out to the yard provided from the big bay window in the kitchen. The dining area offers great views through glass doors leading to your brand-new deck overlooking your backyard. The spacious primary suite is located on the main floor and features a large walk-in closet and private bath! Additional half bath and laundry on the main floor for guests. Upstairs you’ll find two additional large bedrooms with brand new carpeting, a shared full bath, and plenty of storage. Both bedrooms have two closets for extra storage space. On the lower level, you’ll find 1,080 square feet of unfinished basement space along with a full bath. The possibilities are endless for this space! Finish the lower level and rent it out or use it for a teen or in-law suite. The space currently would be ideal for an office, man cave, kids’ playroom, or workshop. At one time, it was used for an at-home daycare business. Call me for your personal tour.


Governors Grant Neighborhood Tour Lexington, South Carolina

Are you thinking about moving to the Columbia Midlands area in South Carolina? Trying to decide where to live? Have you heard about Governors Grant Neighborhood? This Lexington, SC community features beautiful homes and even more fabulous amenities. Join me on a virtual tour of some unique Lexington real estate.

This charming community of single-family homes is located near Lake Murray in Lexington. This South Carolina neighborhood is unique because it has large lots with mature trees and is zoned for highly rated schools. Did I mention the wonderful amenities it offers as well as being convenient to Lake Murray, downtown Lexington, shopping AND SO MUCH MORE!?!

Yup, this place has it all! We know, there are so many options when it comes to places to live in South Carolina! The possibilities may seem endless! I am here to assist you to see what area of Columbia and the surrounding Midlands would be best for you and your family.

Click here for your FREE relocation guide: ➡️​


Pros and Cons of an HOA

Did you know there are over 350,000 HOAs in the USA?!!

Are YOU a part of one? I’ve got my own feelings on HOAs…it’s not all bad!

Check out my pros and cons list in this video!

Let’s go ahead and talk about a few of the pros and cons you should consider about HOAs. Let’s start with the pros. Pro #1 is that your neighborhood will probably look better because of an HOA. An HOA’s primary function is to keep a community to a particular standard to help protect property values. And because of this, they’ll create and enforce rules about things like lawn standards, paint colors, and other property maintenance and upgrade decisions you may make. The result is usually a clean and uniform look to your neighborhood.

Another pro is the amenities that may come along with your HOA. Amenities like pools, trails, and other shared spaces can be included in your agreement. These are exclusive to your HOA and are not available to any member of the general public. Along with those shared amenities may also be shared maintenance costs. Not only will those shared spaces be maintained by the HOA, but some or all of the lawn care may be as well. In a lot of people’s eyes, this is one of the main benefits of being a part of an HOA. As you can imagine, not having to worry about maintaining beautiful landscaping can be a huge relief for a homeowner.

Okay, but now let’s talk about some of the cons – the biggest con being the dues. The money to take care of all of those beautiful spaces and amenities has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is your pocket. By entering into an HOA agreement, you’ll be legally responsible for yearly dues that keep the HOA running. The amount of those dues will depend on the amenities and general scope of your HOA. Another con is the lack of freedom that comes along with an HOA. You are certainly not free to do whatever you’d like ON or TO your property, and that can rub some people the wrong way.

And finally, the last con is the potential politics that can come into play. If you happen to cross a particular neighbor or HOA board member the wrong way, that person might have the ability to make your life really difficult. By calling out or enforcing obscure rules, pettiness can be a tool for revenge, and the HOA becomes the vehicle. Any vengeful neighbor or board member could potentially cite you for these “infractions” if they’ve got beef.

However, having said all that, the majority of people who belong to an HOA consider it a positive experience, and over 90% of people have a good relationship with the HOA board members. As with most things, the devil is in the details, so make sure you read the fine print several times so you know exactly what is expected of you.

Got any HOA stories of your own? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments!

Do you want more information on what an HOA is? Watch my video “What Is An HOA?

If you’d like to see homes that do NOT have an HOA, click here:

This video is loaded with home buyer tips, don’t miss out!


This home buying resource is loaded with home buyer tips and tricks to help make you a savvy buyer, and to help YOU make the most of your due diligence period / Inspection period.


What Is An HOA?

As your Columbia and Midlands, South Carolina REALTOR® I can’t tell you how many questions I get about HOAs! ………SOOO MANY!   Homeowners associations are extremely common here in South Carolina and it is important that you understand what they do, why they do it, and how it impacts YOU!  If you have specific questions about HOAs that we don’t cover in this blog post you can email me at and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

At the end of this post I’ll also give you exclusive access to my guide:

Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust).

So, make sure you stick around until the end.

What is an HOA?

HOA is short for Homeowners Association.  HOAs are typically incorporated non-profit associations of homeowners that create and enforce Bylaws and what are often referred to as CCRs.  CCR stands for Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.  All of these items are put together in one, big, long document, that basically acts as the HOA’s bible.  It dictates what the homeowners can and cannot do with their property, what the HOA is responsible for, and a ton of other information that impacts the homeowners.  I won’t go into too much detail on this because the CCR’s are different for every community.

If you’re ever having trouble sleeping at night, crack open your CCRs.  Just kidding, they actually contain extremely important information that we encourage all homeowners to read and understand before buying in to a community.

Because an HOA is a non-profit, it has members rather than shareholders.  The members of the HOA are the homeowners in the area governed by the HOA.  This means that if you live in an HOA governed community you are a member of the HOA.

The members of the HOA typically elect a Board of Directors.  This is made up of members of the HOA who volunteer their time to assisting with the enforcement of the CCRs and deal with any other issues that may arise.  For example, many of our local associations oversee several hundred homes and has a volunteer board of directors made up of around 5 volunteers.  Notice that I said volunteers, that means that these people have the thankless job of dealing with member complaints, so keep that in mind if you ever need to communicate with your HOA Board.  What’s that saying?  …You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Yeah, keep that in mind when dealing with your HOA board!

Why do we have HOAs?

Now that you know that the CCRs aren’t exactly going to make it into Oprah’s Book Club, you might be wondering, ‘why do we have all these covenants, conditions, and restrictions in place, why don’t we just live and let live?’.  If you don’t like the idea of an HOA there are definitely options for you in South Carolina!  But, if you’re like me, and a lot of other folks, you like the idea of having an HOA.  The HOA helps to ensure the orderly and harmonious enjoyment of the community.  It also helps to protect against depreciation of home values resulting from deterioration of the community.   For example, the HOA where I live will send you a notice when they see something that needs some attention on your home.  It may be that the grass it too high or that your house needs to be pressure washed.  it’s time to repaint, you’ll usually need to contact your HOA to have them approve your color choice, it’s not a big restriction, but it’s a huge benefit because you don’t have to worry that the neighbor is going to paint their house lime green, or that everyone lets their home’s appearance deteriorate to the point of hurting property values in the neighborhood, that’s just one example. All of these things help to ensure that the community maintains a uniform appearance, and protects property values in a community.  If given a choice, I think we’d all choose to live in a place where it looks like everyone cares about the appearance of the community, and HOAs help us do just that!

How do HOAs impact you?

Well, it’s easy!  If you buy into a community that has an HOA, you become a member of that HOA and you will need to understand and abide by the CCRs.  For example, if the CCRs specify that you can only have 1 pet, and you have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 6 hamsters, it might not be the perfect community for you! Or if you absolutely have a twenty by thirty workshop, but the CCRs dictate that sheds are only permitted up to 10 by 10 in size, you might need to keep looking! It is ALWAYS a good idea to read the CCRs BEFORE buying in to an area or during your due diligence period once you’ve put in an offer on a house.  I get that it’s not fun reading but it is totally worth it so that you don’t have any issues down the road.

So, there you have it!  I hope this post about HOAs was helpful and that you can look at new neighborhoods and communities with confidence!

Also, if you haven’t got your fill of HOA information yet, Click here to download my guide: “Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust)”.

Are you looking for a home without an HOA? Start you search here.