Category Archives: General Information

Top Reasons People Refinance a Mortgage

If you are saddled with a mortgage with an extremely high interest rate or terms which you are not comfortable with, refinancing your mortgage may be a way to escape the offending loan. People refinance home loans for a multitude of reasons, but several reasons are more common than others.

Common Reasons to Refinance a Mortgage

  • Lower interest rates: the most common reasons that homeowners refinance their mortgage is to lower the amount that they are paying in interest. If you purchased your home several decades ago, you might be facing interest rates of eight to ten percent. Current interest rates are much lower than they were twenty years ago, with the average interest rate in 2018 being 4.5%. With this difference in interest, homeowners can save thousands of dollars per year by refinancing their mortgage.
  • Convert to fixed-rate mortgage: Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) certainly have their advantages; namely, ARMs generally boast a very low interest rate in the first few years of the mortgage. If rates are on the rise, however, interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages may eventually far exceed fixed rate mortgages. If your interest rates have continued to increase during the periods of time in which your rate can change, you may want to consider refinancing to a fixed rate mortgage.
  • Get cash from your equity: if you have built up a significant amount of equity in your home, you may be able to get cash out of your home by refinancing your mortgage. Oftentimes, individuals do this to pay off debt or make renovations or repairs to their home.
  • Lower monthly payment: oftentimes, individuals experience circumstances in life which render them unable to make their monthly mortgage payment. In such circumstances, refinancing your loan to have a longer loan term may result in a decrease in your monthly payments. While this isn’t necessarily a “fix” to your problem, it can make your payment more manageable if you are in a financial bind.
  • Higher credit score: if your credit was subpar when you obtained your mortgage, you may be suffering the consequences in your interest rate. If your score has significantly increased since you first took out a mortgage, you may be able to save a significant amount of money by refinancing your mortgage at a lower interest rate.

Looking to Refinance? We Can Assist You with Your Closing

If you are refinancing your home and need assistance with your closing, the team of closing attorneys at the Boger Law Firm are standing by to assist you. Our attorneys have over forty years of combined experience conducting real estate closings, and are happy to help you with your closing as well. To learn more about the closing process, or to schedule the closing for your refinance today, fill out an online contact form or call (803) 252-2880 today.


Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

 

If you are in the market to purchase a home, a real estate agent can be one of your most valuable assets. From the beginnings of the search for your home through the end of your closing, you and your agent will be communicating with each other very frequently. It’s important, then, to find the agent who is the best match for you and your needs.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Real Estate Agent

  • Ask friends and family about their experiences: if you have no idea how to get the ball rolling in your search for a real estate agent, start with recommendations from friends or relatives who have purchased homes recently. You’ll be able to get a feel for what they liked about their agent, along with what they didn’t like. If your friends or family members had a poor experience with a realtor, you might have the same experience too.
  • Choose an agent who has experience working with buyers: as you narrow down your search for an agent, you’ll likely find that some agents narrow their focus to either buyers or sellers of property. Make sure that you choose a realtor who has experience representing buyers—while a selling agent may be competent at their job, their experience might be more limited than an agent who works with buyers as well.
  • Find a local agent who has a firm grasp on your preferred area: an agent from a different town or other part of the state may not have as much of a grasp on the area in which you are looking to purchase as a local agent would. Look for a local agent who can give you the inside scoop on things like school ratings and morning commutes.
  • Ask how many clients the agent is currently working with: as you search for your home, there will be many instances in which you need to call your real estate agent. Make sure that your agent has time to work with you—if they have too many clients to handle, your search for a home may fall to the wayside.
  • Trust your gut: while the tips outlined above can help weed out agents that might not work best for you, it’s also important to trust your instinct. If you get the feeling that the agent is the right one for you—or just the opposite—then you’re probably right.

Purchasing a Home? We’re Here to Help

If you’ve found the perfect home in South Carolina and are ready to take the next step toward homeownership, the Boger Law Firm is standing by to assist you. With over four decades of combined experience and tens of thousands of loans closed, the Boger law firm is ready to provide you with competent representation for one of the most important investments you will make. To learn more about the closing process, or to schedule your upcoming closing, call (803) 252-2880 today.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying for a Mortgage

If you have decided to purchase a home and are applying for a mortgage, then there are several things that you should know about the mortgage process. In particular, there are several things that you should do—and absolutely shouldn’t do—in order to ensure that you don’t jeopardize your mortgage approval.

Mortgage Applications: Do’s and Don’ts

DO get pre-approved for a loan: A pre-approval will give you an estimate of how much your lender will loan you, and will inevitably have an impact on the price range of homes you tour.

DO try to pay off debt: if you have a high debt-to-income ratio, your credit score may suffer. Paying off or paying down the balance on credit cards, car loans, and other forms of debt can make your credit score improve significantly, which can help you get a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

DO use a reputable lender: a home is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make. When choosing a lender for a mortgage, do your research; if the deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

DO keep good records: your lender will probably require a lot of documentation such as paystubs, tax returns and a list of your current assets and accounts. Be sure that you are prepared to give this documentation to your lender.

DO keep in communication with your lender: even if you provide your lender with all requested documentation, he or she will probably have some questions for you. Keeping an open line of communication with your loan officer will make the process move more quickly.

DON’T miss a payment on any account: a thirty-day late payment can severely affect your credit score, which can compromise your chances of being approved for a mortgage.

DON’T shop for more than you can afford: the bottom line isn’t simply the sales price of your home. You will need to take into account the costs of homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and, in some cases, private mortgage insurance. Be sure to speak with your lender about what you can and can’t afford.

DON’T open or close any credit cards: inquiries for credit card applications can negatively impact your score by several points. While this may not seem like a big deal, those several points lost from your credit score can bump you up to a higher interest rate.

DON’T make any unusual large cash deposits: a large sum of money suddenly appearing in your bank account can throw up red flags for your lender. If you absolutely have to make a large cash deposit, make sure to have a paper trail—keep a record of where the deposit came from and what it will be used for.

DON’T make any large purchases: regardless of how good the deal is at the time, a new car or furniture purchase can wait until after you have closed on your home. Large purchases can throw off your debt-to-income ratio to the point that your lender might not approve you for a loan.

DON’T quit or change jobs: a steady employment is critical to being approved for a mortgage. If you can help it, don’t switch or quit your job while you are waiting to close on your home. Your lender will require proof of income to approve you for a mortgage.

Purchasing a Home? We Can Help

If you are in the market to purchase a home, the Boger Law Firm is here to help you from contract to closing. To schedule your closing today, fill out an online contact form or call (803) 252-2880 today.


The Durable Power of Attorney–What Does it Do?

Estate planning isn’t just for the elderly anymore—it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you are involved in an accident or become ill, you may not be able to handle your finances or manage your assets on your own. If this is the case, then you will need someone to handle your finances on your behalf. This can be accomplished by creating a durable power of attorney.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document which gives a person rights to perform certain actions on someone else’s behalf. The maker of the document is called the “principal,” and the person appointed on the principal’s behalf is called the “attorney in fact.”

In contrast to many legal documents, a durable power of attorney is still legally binding even if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. In other words, a durable power of attorney is a legal document which appoints an individual of your choosing to act on your behalf in the event that you become unable to manage your own affairs.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney’s Role?

An attorney in fact can be any person that you feel comfortable handling your affairs. This individual can act on your behalf in certain transactions if you are not able to do so. For example, an attorney in fact can act on behalf of the principal to do things such as:

  • Sell a piece of property on behalf of the principal if the principal is incapacitated or unable to come to the closing;
  • Sell vehicles, stocks, or other assets which belong to the principal;
  • Pay bills on behalf of the principal;
  • Manage the principal’s financial assets and property;
  • Apply for benefits such as Medicaid; and
  • File taxes on behalf of the principal;

Don’t Have a Durable Power of Attorney? We Can Help

If you do not have a durable power of attorney in place, the time to create one is now. Don’t wait until it is too late; the Boger Law Firm can help you create a durable power of attorney to protect your assets in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your own affairs. To schedule a consultation to speak with an attorney about your durable power of attorney, fill out an online contact form or call (803) 252-2880 today.


Owner’s Title Insurance: Is it Worth the Expense?

From lender processing fees and title work to escrowed items and closing costs, buying a home can be more costly than you might expect. As such, you might choose to save money by cutting any optional expenses in the home-buying process. An owner’s title insurance policy, however, is an option which should be carefully considered with any home purchase.

What is Title Insurance?

When a home or piece of property is bought, sold, or mortgaged, the transaction is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county in which the property is located. If you are purchasing a home or piece of property, a title search will be performed in order to ensure that clean title can be given to you for the property.

Although title searches are performed by experienced professionals, they are still human, and certain problems in the chain of title may be overlooked. These errors could cause a “cloud” on your title, meaning that you do not have a clean title to the property.

Should I Purchase an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy?

If you are obtaining a loan through a lender or mortgage broker, a lender’s title insurance policy will be a mandatory expense. The lender’s title insurance policy protects the lender in the event that a defect exists in the title to the property. Such a defect might put the lender’s security interest in the property at risk. This policy will remain in effect until your mortgage is fully paid or refinanced.

If you are purchasing a home or piece of property, an owner’s title insurance policy is an optional policy which you can purchase to protect your own interest in the property. While a lender’s policy protects the lender’s interest in the property, it does not protect your own interest in the property. An owner’s title insurance policy is a one-time purchase—generally just one hundred dollars depending on the price of property—and protects your interest in the property for the entirety of the time that you own your home. If a defect in title is uncovered, your title insurance company will defend your interest in your home, and the insurance company will pay for an attorney if you need one. In short, when it comes to the protection of your home, an owner’s title insurance policy is the wisest expense you could have which you hope you never have to use.

Purchasing a Home? We’re Here to Help

If you are in the process of purchasing a home in South Carolina, the Boger Law Firm is here to help you from contract to closing. Our office has forty years of experience conducting real estate closings, and has performed over 20,000 closings in that period of time. Put your real estate closing into the hands of an experienced attorney—to schedule your closing, fill out an online contact form or call (803) 252-2880 today.


Recovering Compensation Following a Slip-and-Fall Accident

Accidents can happen anywhere for any reason, from a spilled drink in the grocery store to a concealed step in a shopping center. In most cases, we can quickly brush ourselves off after a fall and forget about the incident. Sometimes, however, slip-and-fall injuries can produce severe injuries such as concussions, strains and sprains, and broken bones. If you have been seriously injured due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries.

What Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit? 

If you have been injured following a slip-and-fall accident, you may find yourself overwhelmed with medical bills following your fall. If you have been unable to work as a result of your injuries, the financial stress can become even more overwhelming. A personal injury lawsuit can help you recover financial compensation, otherwise known as “damages,” for the following:

  • Hospital bills, including overnight stays, treatments, and surgical expenses;
  • Costs of medical necessities such as prescription medication, a walker, or wheelchair;
  • Time which you missed from work as a result of your injury, including income which you have lost from being out of work;
  • Physical pain which you experienced after your fall and during recovery; and
  • Emotional pain which you suffered as a result of your injuries, such as depression, anxiety, and/or inability to sleep.

In rare cases, the property owner’s actions—or lack thereof—which caused your injuries may be so egregious that a court wishes to punish the owner for their recklessness. In these cases, additional “punitive” damages can sometimes be rewarded. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for the injuries which you suffered; rather, the purpose of punitive damages is to make an example out of the property owner and deter similar conduct in the future.

Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident? We Can Help

If you are suffering severe injuries due to a slip-and-fall accident, you don’t need to be told how stressful the aftermath of your injuries can be. Injuries from accidents such as these don’t always end at physical pain; slip-and-fall accidents can take a serious financial toll on your life. If you are considering taking legal action against the owner of the property on which you were injured, you deserve competent representation from a team of attorneys with your best interests in mind. The Boger Law Firm won’t simply treat you as a number; our goal is to provide you with quality representation to earn the maximum amount of damages to compensate you for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys, call (803) 252-2880 or fill out an online contact form today.