CSRA Real Estate News & Market Trends

One of the main goals of our company is to provide you with pertinent market data to assist you in all of your real estate needs. We strive to keep our website up to date with the latest news and trends for you, our valuable customer. We hope you’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about our community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all.

We’d love to talk with you!

Contact Us

Sincerely,

Mike Woodward and Staff

Woodward & Associates Real Estate Group

June 4, 2018

Landscaping

List with Ashley, Get Free Landscaping!

When you list with Ashley Sandvik, you get FREE landscaping (up to 1 acre) to ensure that the curb appeal and the overall look of your house is top-quality for interested buyers. In addition, Ashley can provide staging advice and discounted remodeling for the interior of your home. Give Ashley a call at 706.955.5419 

 

May 2, 2018

Exclusive Edgefield County Property For Sale

Exclusive Edgefield County property for sale!

This 214+- acre paradise is located in Johnston, SC, on Airport Road and contains a 40+- Acre lake called Long Pond. The property has a rustic log cabin, bath house, covered dock, sportsman's lodge, equipment building, and shooting range, along with a mature stand of mixed hardwoods/pines. The cabin has been well kept and sits down by the water boasting enormous views of the lake. The bath house has a shower facility, and a fish cleaning station with stainless fixtures power access. Up at he top of the hill is the sportsman's lodge, equipped with a high-end living quarters, commercial kitchen, conference area, stone fireplace, and plenty of space for large groups. the equipment building two large bays for tractor/heavy equipment storage. Across from the lodge is a skeet shooting field/shooting range. On the other side of the lake is 91 acres of hunting land or it could be developed and would provide prime lake lots. The property has an estimated value of $500k worth of timber. The property owner would love to see a church purchase the property to be used as a retreat, but the property could be used in many different ways. the property would serve well as a corporate retreat, a sportsman's retreat, vacation rental, waterfront development, or ones own private paradise. 

$2,300,000

Serious Inquiries Only!

Jeremy Mathis, Realtor® 803-215-7067

 

 

Lake 

 

Dec. 6, 2017

USDA Loans Are A Great Option For Buyers In Rural Areas

USDA loans provide great option for home buyers on the edge of suburbia!

USDA loans (also referred to as Rural Development loans) are backed, directly guaranteed or insured by the Department of Agriculture to support affordable housing in less developed areas.

Zero percent down

The first major feature of a USDA loan is the ability for homebuyers to get into a home without a down payment. Although not limited to first-time homebuyers, this could be particularly attractive for younger buyers who have a steady job, but not much in savings.

 

If buyers have an existing USDA loan, they can take advantage of a rate-term refinance to get lower rates without the need for existing equity. Cash-out refinances aren’t available.

Low guarantee fees

Guarantee fees are much lower than the similar fees on loans backed by the FHA. Let’s do a quick comparison:

 

  • With a USDA loan, there’s a 1 percent upfront guarantee fee compared to a 1.75 percent upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for FHA loans. In both cases, buyers can finance the upfront fee in their loan.
  • USDA loans carry a 0.35 percent guarantee fee on the unpaid principal balance each fiscal year. For FHA loans, buyers pay an annual 0.85 percent MIP fee if they made a minimum 3.5 percent down payment on their home purchase.

USDA loan qualification requirements

As with any loan, USDA loan borrowers must meet certain requirements to qualify.

In order to take advantage of this loan option, homebuyers need to be looking to buy a single-unit primary residence in a qualifying area. These can be rural areas or even the outskirts of suburbia. The USDA has an eligibility map on its website (areas not in orange are USDA loan eligible). Working farms do not qualify.

USDA loans also come with some financial requirements

Homebuyer household income can’t exceed more than 115 percent of the area median income. If the household includes more than four members (adults and children), it may qualify with a slightly higher income. Homebuyers can deduct childcare expenses from this income tabulation, as well as income from a portion from any adult full-time student.

Contact us with any further questions you may have about USDA eligible homes!

Sincerely,

Woodward & Associates

Posted in Home Buying
Dec. 2, 2017

Utilizing Technology For New Agents

Considering A Career In Real Estate?

Launching a career in real estate is not for the faint of heart, but for the tech savvy, 2018 could be your year! The ever-improving suite of tools at a real estate professionals' disposal has leveled the playing field between tech-savvy rookies and seasoned veterans. These days, technology has virtually killed the idea that a client needs an agent with years of experience. But let's face it, few rookies, with the exception of the extraordinary, are going to overtake top producers in their first couple of years. However, new agents can certainly benefit by leveraging a nicely branded website, social media, CRM (contact relationship manager), transaction management system, and a few key apps on their smartphone. 

These tools serve several purposes, like, keeping agents organized and in touch with their contacts more consistently, reach a broader audience, developing name recognition from initial contact, create a professional image, respond quicker to leads, and  gain exposure through a variety of digital platforms. In short, Technology enables new agents to come out of the gate looking like they're smooth, smart, and polished. The end result is that the consumers perception is that of a seasoned real estate professional. In addition, new agents who differentiate themselves as online marketing innovators might very well gain a reputation for understanding the modern buyer. This opens the door to real estate's golden opportunity: listings!

The New Agent Tech Budget

A good rule of thumb for most new agents is to spend no more than up to a quarter of your budget on technology, and allocate 25 to 50 percent at most. So where should this allocated money go first? In the beginning, new agents should use technology to expedite responsibilities in the areas of organization and scheduling and then lead generation. For example, if you fill a database with contacts from your sphere of influence and then utilize a good CRM, the system will shoot off email reminders of which lead to contact and when. The next budget allocation should be social media, followed by a personal website, and lastly, e-signature software. 

The social media platforms new agents should be active on are Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and to a lesser extent YouTube and twitter. Facebook live is overwhelmingly the live streaming platform of choice for agents, far outranking both Youtube and Instagram.

As far as lead generation goes, agents should be focusing their efforts on the low-hanging fruit, or those contacts who they already have some connection to. The top three lead generation sources are sphere of influence, networking, and finally, referrals. However, don't discount organic relationships such as, door knocking, open houses, expired listings, FSBOs, and cold calls. When considering marketing platforms for lead generation, Facebook was the most highly recommended, coming in at 81%, followed by Realtor.com, Zillow, Google, and then Craigslist. 

There are a few additional tools that you may or may not want to consider when allocating your tech budget. To help streamline your transactions, DocuSign, Dotloop, and/or ZipForms, are almost necessary for new agents. Also, some smartphone apps to consider downloading are: a mortgage calculator, a document scanner, NAR's RPR, Realtor.com app, Zillow app, Docusign, Dropbox, Dotloop, and the Navica MLS app. 

Where The Brokerage Comes In 

Obviously there are many factors to consider when choosing a brokerage. Here we are just focusing on the technology side of what a brokerage has to offer. Historically, franchise real estate brokerages were known for offering more technologies than an independent brokerage, however, that's not the case anymore. So what tech checkboxes should a new agent have on their list before signing with a brokerage? In my opinion, transaction management tech support should be top priority, followed by a CRM and finally, lead generation. Some other useful tools would be photography, marketing materials, continuous training program, and a company website

Lets focus on the CRM. A CRM (contact relationship manager) is one of the most important tech tools for a new agent's launch. As far as budgeting goes, a good target is to stay under $50/month. Some things to consider when comparing CRMs is good contact organization, an activity manager, marketing automation, and website lead capture functionality. In the end, an agent is only as good as his contacts and the best CRM is the one that you'll actually use. 

Final Thoughts Before You Take The Plunge 

Rather than going overboard on the latest and greatest, new agents are better off focusing on their specific market, setting a budget and sticking with it, and heeding the advice of their broker and more experienced agents. Agents should never lose site of the value of good mentors, on the job training, and utilizing their sphere of influence. When your ready to introduce technology into your growing real estate business, begin with a budget in mind and carefully consider your options. Limit the time spent with technology to five to seven hours per week. Technology is meant to compliment, not replace!

Good Luck in your real estate endeavours. If our local brokerage can help you in any way, please feel free to contact us with all of you questions. 

 

Woodward & Associates

 

 

 

Dec. 1, 2017

First Time Home Buyer Class

 

First Time Home Buyers Class

 

Hosted by : Woodward & Associates

Location : 217 Edgefield Road, North Augusta, SC 29841

The date for the buyers class has been set. Tuesday December 5th 2017. Time is 6:30 pm at our office. Please send me a PM to sign up so we can get a head count. This will cover finance and what to expect during the buying process. If you’re looking to buy a home in the near future this will be a tremendous help to you as a buyer. The finance part will be covered by Ashley McGee Gillian from Regions mortgage. Please feel free to share with your friends and family.

Admission is free and seating is limited, so please rsvp via text to 803-215-9732

Sincerely,

Mike Woodward

 

Nov. 22, 2017

Home Buyer Tips

First Time Home Buyers Guide

Considering buying your first home? Most likely the purchase of a home will be the largest purchase of your life. Not only will it be the largest, it can be one of the most daunting tasks if you are not prepared. Credit scores, down payments, mortgages, inspections, closing costs, etc. will all be on your mind. These are all realities that if prepared for, do not have to weigh you down. Here is a quick guide to help you better prepare yourself for this huge purchase.

Step 1: How Much Can You Afford?

The first step in the process should be to create a budget and determine if it is the right time to pursue your dream of home ownership. This can be an eye opening experience, but be honest and let the numbers guide you. Do not make the mistake of creating a budget based on income that you think you will be making in the future, but only on what you are bringing in right now. A general rule of thumb is to keep your total house payment under 30% of your monthly gross income. Some agents will disagree with me on this next concept, but I always encourage my clients to treat buying a home as an investment. Chances are you will not live in your home forever. Generally speaking, if you live in your home for at least five years, home ownership will pay off financially. 

Step 2: Prepare Your Finances

Once you determine you can afford home ownership don't rush out and start looking at houses yet. The last thing you want to happen is to find your dream home and then find out your credit score is in shambles. Check your credit! This can be done in several ways. You can get a free credit report, use a local Real Estate Professionals contacts, or contact your local bank. Referrals are, in my opinion, the best option for finding a great lender. Speaking on behalf of most Real Estate Professionals, we all have our "go-to" lenders who have proved themselves over and over with our previous clients. Once you have your credit pulled you are either ready to start looking or ready to start the credit re-build process. If you are ready to move on, go to the next step. If you are in the re-build category I encourage you to contact me. I have a colleague who has helped many of my clients pursue their dream of home ownership. He is a credit guru and can give you insight as to what has/is affecting your score and provide a plan to get it where it needs to be. 

Step 3: Begin Looking

Now that you've got your finances in order and you've determined how much you can afford, it's time to start looking. As of last year, 44% of home buyers found their home on the internet. With the help of sites that have IDX search tools, that pull directly from the MLS, most buyers never need to leave their homes to find the house they want. However, once you do find a house you are interested in, a Real Estate Professional should be your next contact. 88% of all home buyers use a Real Estate Agent for their home purchase. The reason for this is simple. Once a client relationship is established, a Real Estate Professional will provide certain fiduciary responsibilities to you, assist you in your home search, keep you abreast of current regulations, know local market conditions, negotiate on your behalf, adhere to a strict code of ethics, and help you navigate the complex documents associated with this tedious process. We encourage you to utilize our advanced search tool, which pulls directly from the MLS every 15 minutes. Click the link below and enjoy your search!

CSRA Advanced Search Tool

 

Nov. 15, 2017

Relocating To North Augusta

North Augusta Relocation Guide

Thinking of moving to North Augusta, SC. Here are some important things to consider about this beautiful, riverfront city. North Augusta encompasses parts of both Aiken and Edgefeield counties. It has a population of around 22,037. The median household income is $50,028 and the median home value is $150,600. North Augusta was ranked #38 of 192, best places to live in South Carolina. There are many great school choices which can be found here for Aiken County residents and here for Edgefield County residents. If public education is not an option, there are several charter/magnet schools to choose from as well. North Augusta prides itself on big city living with small town charm. It provides its residents an enhanced quality of life, due to its many amenities. It is considered an extremely active community, boasting miles of paved, greenway trails, a riverfront golf course, and a 94,000 square foot recreation  facility. In addition, Project Jackson will provide even more things to do after it's completion in the later part of 2018. With its superb location, quaint neighborhoods, and easy living, North Augusta would be an excellent place to call home!! 

Please let us know how we can help streamline your relocation to this wonderful area!

Contact Us

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.