Don't Blow Your Home Loan Approval During the Holidays

Buyers can get great deals on homes during the holiday season, but house shopping around Christmas time isn’t the easiest of tasks. December tends to be a pretty spendy time of year, and if you’re trying to buy a home, a spending spree should be the furthest thing from your mind. Even a small change in your financial situation can cause a delay in closing—or it might cause the entire deal to fall through. If you find yourself with a December closing date, here are some important things to remember to help keep things on track.


Don’t open any new lines of credit. It can be tempting when a cashier offers you an extra 20% off your purchase for just applying for a store card, but please don’t do it. Even if you don’t charge anything to a new credit card, simply opening one can raise a red flag for your lender. To be on the safe side, wait until after closing to apply for any new credit.


Don’t make any large purchases. Moving into a new house sometimes requires new furniture, and buyers are sometimes impatient. With Christmas around the corner, this one can be even more difficult. Maybe you had plans to surprise your loved one with a new car. Maybe your son was really looking forward to a new, top-of-the-line computer. If you’re waiting to close on your new home, though, it’s best to wait until after to buy the big gifts.


Do be careful about large deposits. Yes, even that nice Christmas bonus can throw a wrench in the works! Anything that changes your debt-to-income ratio (even if it’s in your favor) can be a potential problem. If you do receive a large check, check with your mortgage broker to see if depositing it into your bank account will cause any issues.


Do keep paying bills. This isn’t the time to skip a payment just to have a little extra cash for Christmas. Paying all bills on time is important to keep your credit in good standing. The last thing you want to do is have a dip in your credit score just before closing!


What other advice do you have for homebuyers who have a closing date during the holiday season? Drop us a line in the comments section!

4 Things New Homeowners Might Waste Money On

Buying a home can be costly, but it doesn’t always have to break the bank. New homeowners sometimes tend to spend money in areas that don’t need to be addressed right away. Here are six things that new homeowners tend to waste money on.


  1. Too much space. Homebuyers who are used to renting smaller spaces sometimes overestimate the amount of room they’ll need when they buy a home. If you’re a family of three, for example, you probably don’t need a 4-bedroom, 3-bath home. Assess your needs and set a realistic goal for square footage and number of rooms.

  2. Landscaping. Yes, curb appeal is very important, but don’t jump into renovating your outdoor space just yet. Take your time with it. Compare estimates from landscaping companies and

  3. Insurance. Maybe you’ve had the same insurance company for ages. Maybe you even get a little bit of a break for being loyal and for holding auto and renter’s insurance policies with them. Even if you’ve been with that same company since you bought your first car, it’s important to shop around for insurance quotes. Homeowner’s insurance can cost a pretty penny, so you’re going to want to find the best deal possible.

  4. Furniture. Even if you’ve upgraded in size, there’s no rule that says you have to fill your new home with “stuff” as soon as you move in. Take some time to get acquainted with your new space. You’ll realize pretty soon that you can get along just fine without that 10-piece dining set.


What other unnecessary expenditures do you think new homeowners tend to spring for?

7 Quick Ways to Prep Your Kitchen for Thanksgiving Day

Are you getting ready for a busy day of cooking tomorrow? Instead of running around like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day, take a little bit of time to prep your kitchen and dining area the day before. Here are our best tips on preparing your kitchen for Thanksgiving the day before. Some of this might seem a little bit tedious, but we promise you’ll be glad you took the time to prepare the little things in advance.


1. Finalize your menu and take stock of ingredients. Hopefully all your shopping is done by now, but do a quick sweep through the kitchen to make sure nothing got left off your list. It’ll save you that infamous last-minute trip to the store in the morning.

2. Plan for leftovers. If you haven’t thought about storage for all the yummy leftovers, you might want to think about running out and grabbing some disposable containers. This will make it easy to box up extra turkey and other delicious sides for guests to take home.

3. Clean out the fridge and freezer. You’re going to need room for the aforementioned leftovers, and there will undoubtedly be a few dishes or drinks that need to chill before serving. It won’t do to have last week’s casserole and that spoiled carton of milk taking up valuable real estate in the fridge!

4. Clear all countertops. Make sure there’s enough room for prep work and completed dishes.

5. Organize your tools. This might not seem like a huge timesaver, but setting out your mixing bowls and spoons in designated areas the night before can save you a little bit of time digging through cupboards in the morning.

6. Prep serving dishes and silverware. Make sure everything’s clean, polished, and ready to go.

7. Set the table. You’ll thank yourself for getting this out of the way. Set out decorations, dishes, and place cards if you’re using them, or if you prefer to go buffet style, make sure there’s a planned place for everything.

Friday Five // November 20th, 2015

We’re back with the Friday Five, where we bring you five fun things to do throughout the Lowcountry over the weekend. Enjoy an outdoor movie in Santa’s Village, shuck some oysters, see Mickey and Minnie Mouse on ice skates, and more! Click the links for more information on each event.


11th Annual Palmetto Society Oyster Roast

What: Enjoy yummy oysters and live music at the Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed Friday evening. Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door and include all food, beer, and wine.

When: Friday, November 20th  7pm-11pm

Where: Charleston Visitor’s Center Bus Shed (375 Meeting Street)


Outdoor Movie Night at Santa’s Village

What: Driving through the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is one of our most favorite traditions for the holiday season. We’re especially looking forward to outdoor movie night when we stop at Santa’s Village. This week’s movie is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and it will be shown continuously from 6pm onward.

When: Friday, November 20th, 6pm

Where: James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights


Buy Local Block Party

What: Lowcountry Local First presents the Buy Local Block Party on Saturday from 11am until 5pm. The event will highlight locally owned independent businesses with live music, local artists, indie retailers, film, and of course local food, beverages, and a beer garden. Get your Christmas shopping done early and support local businesses!

When: Saturday, November 21st, 11am-5pm

Where: Lowcountry Local First (1630 Meeting Street Rd.)


Tinsel Trot Holiday Fun Run

What: This two-mile fun run provides a “sneaker preview” of the Celebrate the Seasons Holiday Driving Tour at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner. This event is family friendly and features a guest appearance from Santa Claus, glow necklaces for all participants, and more. Children’s activities and food will be offered, and costumes are encouraged.

When: Saturday, November 21st, 5:30pm-8pm

Where: Old Santee Canal Park


Disney on Ice Presents “Let’s Celebrate”

What: Make an ordinary day extraordinary! Celebrate with more than 50 characters from 16 Disney stories live on ice. Choose from multiple showings all weekend long.

When: Multiple showings daily through November 22nd

Where: North Charleston Coliseum

4 Ways to Save for a Down Payment

If you’ve been putting off buying a home because you don’t think you can afford a down payment, it’s time to think again. There are loan options out there that don’t require any down payment at all, but it’s a good idea to start saving as soon as possible just in case. Advice like brown-bagging it for lunch is common, but here’s how to save big bucks and get that twenty percent saved up sooner.


  1. Slash big expenses. While it’s all well and good to cut back in areas like food and entertainment, going after the big expenses will really help you save. If you live alone, consider getting a roommate and putting away the money you save on rent. If getting a roommate’s not in the cards, look into downsizing on rent. A smaller place with cheaper rent should be fine for the meantime and will really pay off in the long run.

  2. Set up an auto-draft for savings. It’s much easier to save money when you don’t see it leaving your bank account. Check with your boss or payroll department and see if a portion of your paycheck can be deposited directly into a separate savings account.

  3. Cut back on retirement savings...temporarily! Reduce the amount you contribute to your retirement savings each month and stash some of that money in a separate savings account for homebuying expenses. Once you’ve got your down payment saved up, you can always readjust your monthly contribution.

  4. Ask for help. If all else fails, look to gift funds. Through websites like GoFundMe, would-be homeowners can set up an account for friends and family to send money to. This is a great idea for an engaged or newlywed couple in lieu of wedding gifts.




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