Ro Caddick-Kilduff - Realty Executives, Tri-County


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A neighborhood is a neighborhood. And a business district is a business district, right? Unfortunately, it's not so cut and dry. There are actually nine major zoning types in most areas. And these can impact things like home use, home value, and property taxes. Zoning can change over time.

Let's explore the five you're most likely to encounter. 

1. Commercial

Generally, this property is intended exclusively for money-making purposes.

Commercial zoning has several sub-categories that may define how the land can be used. This varies by city but may include:

  • Office space
  • Shopping 
  • Night club
  • Hotel
  • Apartments
  • Certain commercial buildings may have added restrictions such as distance from a school or residential area. As a home-buyer, it's important to consider how commercial property near you is zoned. For example, if an apartment complex may go up in that vacant lot down the street someday, this may impact whether you want to move here now.

    2. Residential

    Residential zoning can include a wide variety of housing types:

  • Single-family
  • Duplexes
  • In-law units
  • Garage apartment rentals
  • Trailer parks
  • Condos
  • Tiny homes
  • Home-based businesses
  • Whether these are allowed depends on local and community codes. For example, many city ordinances may state that mobile homes are not permitted in city limits. This may impact tiny houses as well.

    Residential zoning typically prohibits "farm animals". So building a barn or keeping a cow in the back yard may be against the law. What is permitted may impact the community and home values change over time. So it's vital to consider.

    3. Rural

    Rural zones cover land outside a metropolitan area or in between towns. People of this property often have more control over what they do with their land. They'll typically pay less for land in these areas as well as fewer taxes. That also means that homes may appreciate less in these areas.

    But keep in mind, if rural land is close to city limits, it may become residential at some point. This may increase your home value because you now have access to city services. But you'll also see property taxes rise.

    4. Historic

    When cities want to maintain the charm of an older part of town, they may classify it as historic. If you move here, you will have to comply with rules intended to keep an original style. But as a trade-off, you may be entitled to grants and federal tax credits. If well-maintained, a historic home can be an exciting place to live.

    5. Aesthetic 

    Aesthetic districts are designed to maintain a unified aesthetic throughout the neighborhood. This makes the community more desirable. In theory, this keeps house values on the rise. They are often run by HOAs who may dictate for example:

  • Outside paint colors
  • Types of shrubs
  • Fencing
  • Mailbox style
  • Real Estate Zoning & Buying a Home

    Zoning is a crucial part of the home buying decision. It influences both what you can do with the property and how well the property holds its value. For more home buying tips, follow our blog.


    A home showing is a valuable opportunity for a buyer, as it enables him or her to walk through a residence and find out what a house is all about. At the same time, a single home showing may be insufficient.

    Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to schedule a follow-up house showing, and these include:

    1. You can get responses to any unanswered home questions.

    A second home showing gives you the chance to gain additional insights into a residence. Thus, if you failed to get answers to certain home questions during an initial showing, you may want to schedule a follow-up showing.

    Of course, it often helps to craft a list of questions prior to a showing. This list will help you learn about all aspects of a residence.

    2. You can analyze any potential problem areas in-detail.

    If you want to get a close look at various home issues, you may want to schedule a second showing. That way, you can assess these problems in-detail and determine your next step in the homebuying journey.

    Sometimes, it helps to bring a home improvement professional with you during a house showing. If you have a friend or family member who is a home improvement expert, for example, you may want to bring him or her along for a follow-up property showing. This home improvement expert then can provide comprehensive insights into the condition of the house.

    3. You can determine if a house matches your expectations.

    If you are still on the fence about a home following an initial showing, it never hurts to take a second look at this house in-person. Because if you attend a second home showing and find a house matches your expectations, you then can submit an offer to purchase this residence. On the other hand, if you discover a home is not a great fit for you during a second property showing, you can continue your search for your dream residence.

    As you navigate the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a terrific residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

    Typically, a real estate agent will teach you about the homebuying journey and offer tips to help you prepare for property showings. He or she also will attend a home showing with you and respond to your concerns and questions. Plus, if you want to schedule a follow-up home showing or submit an offer to purchase a residence, a real estate agent is happy to help.

    When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, it usually is beneficial to err on the side of caution. Therefore, if you strive to learn as much as possible about a home after an initial showing, you should schedule a follow-up showing. By doing so, you can perform a full home analysis and determine if a house is right for you.


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    If you're looking for loans with excellent interest rates, you may have heard the term USDA bandied about. This special type of loan is attractive on paper, but the reality is a little more complicated than what meets the eye. Learn more about what a USDA loan is meant to do, how to get one, and why the terms are so buyer-friendly. 

    The Goal of the USDA 

    The primary goal of a USDA loan is to infuse new life into rural communities. When people flock to cities, it causes rents to rise and small towns to crumble. A USDA loan is a way to entice Americans to renovate old homes and keep abandoned neighborhoods alive. These loans are backed by the government and issued by the lender. Because of the purpose behind the USDA, the applicant is judged more so on their general merits rather than their financial status. As long as the buyer is willing to commit to the property and the surrounding community, they're likely to be approved. 

    Requirements of the USDA Loan 

    Here are the key eligibility requirements for a USDA loan: 

    • Location: The majority of USDA properties will be in rural areas. You'll need to research the homes available under the USDA umbrella before applying for a loan. 
    • Credit score: The credit score minimum is ambiguous since the USDA loan is based on more than just straight financials. However, those with a credit score of at least 640 typically receive a fast-tracked application. This means fewer questions and underwriting from the lender and a nearly guaranteed approval. 
    • Down payment: USDA loans don't require a traditional down payment. However, you will need to pay 1% of the loan to the lender if putting down less than 20% of the total loan. 
    • Fees: There's a .35% fee every year for the entire course of the loan. The .35% is applied to the mortgage balance, meaning it decreases every year. 
    • Interest rates: The lender sets the interest rates for USDA loans, but they can go as low as 1% in some cases. 
    • Closing costs: Closing costs are typically between 1 and 3% of the total price of the home. 

    It's worth noting that some USDA homes are in more populated areas, so you shouldn't assume a property is ineligible until you confirm. If you're unable to secure a USDA loan, you may want to consider an FHA loan. While the terms are not quite as attractive, FHA loans are also backed by the government. This gives people with lower credit scores a way to secure a property at a reasonable interest rate. 


    Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.

    Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.

    1. Know Your Credit Score

    Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary – something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.

    You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.

    2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders

    There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.

    Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.

    In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.

    3. Review a Mortgage Closely

    A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.

    For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.

    Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.

    If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.

    Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.


    Enjoying a seamless home buying journey may seem virtually impossible, particularly for a first-time property buyer. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost the likelihood of quickly and easily finding your dream house, such as:

    1. Hone Your Home Search

    Consider where you want to reside and the features you want to find in your ideal residence. That way, you can hone your house search accordingly.

    As you review potential home destinations, consider your short- and long-term goals. For instance, if you want to work in a big city, you may want to search for houses in or near a city that matches your expectations. Or, if you intend to start a family soon, you may want to pursue homes near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

    Furthermore, make a list of home features you want to discover in your dream house. With this list in hand, you can focus on finding a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    A mortgage usually is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you could speed up your house search.

    Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about myriad mortgage options.

    In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions. A mortgage sometimes is confusing, and as such, it helps to get plenty of information about a mortgage before you start a house search. If you consult with mortgage specialists at banks and credit unions, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.

    3. Establish Realistic Expectations

    Although you likely want to find your dream residence as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the home buying journey often has ebbs and flows. If you establish realistic home buying expectations, you can avoid potential disappointments as you search for your ideal residence.

    Sometimes, it helps to consider the worst-case home buying scenarios. If you plan ahead for these situations, you can determine the steps you will need to take to avoid them altogether.

    You may want to collaborate with family members and friends during your home search as well. With loved ones at your side, you can receive plenty of support and guidance as you conduct a home search. Plus, your loved ones can help you keep things in perspective, even if the home buying journey becomes stressful.

    When it comes to finding and buying a home, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home buying journey. They will learn about you and your home buying goals, and help you plan properly. Thus, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need to enjoy a seamless home buying journey.

    Ready to conduct a successful home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can navigate the home buying journey like a pro and quickly discover your dream home.




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