The Best Cities for Retirees to Call Home

Ask any retiree what mattered most in their search for a new home, and most will tell you location. A recent study by WalletHub ranked the top locations for soon-to-be retirees, weighing cost of living, health care, quality of life and recreation—and in a not-so-unexpected twist, the top three locations in the ranking were all within the Sunshine State:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Tampa, Fla.
  3. Miami, Fla.
  4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Atlanta, Ga.

Several other cities outside of the top five were named ideal for retirees, as well. Laredo, Texas was ranked No. 1 based on cost of in-home care and cost of living, while Plano, Texas, and Grand Prairie, Texas, were ranked No.1 and No. 3, respectively, in most employed retirees. (Many people of retirement age are simply forced to keep working due to a lack of savings, according to WalletHub.) Some sprawling metropolitan areas are suited for retirees seeking an active lifestyle; Washington, D.C., for instance, is tied for first for the most museums and senior centers per capita.

When it comes solely to weather, however, California cannot be beat: Glendale, Riverside and Bakersfield ranked in the top three for “mild weather,” followed by Scottsdale, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev.

Source: WalletHub

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Key Steps in the Mortgage Underwriting Process

(TNS)—An underwriter is an entity, typically a company, accountable for analyzing and assuming the risk of another entity. Underwriting typically happens behind the scenes but is an important aspect of mortgage approvals. The mortgage underwriting process has five key steps: verification, appraisal, title search and insurance, flood certification, and surveying.

After the housing crisis of the mid-2000s, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enacted rules to protect borrowers. Under these new rules, lenders must be sure a borrower is qualified. Verifying the information you put on your application is top priority.

The lender’s team of underwriters will check the information on your application and supporting documents. They will call your employer, for example, to confirm that you work at that job and that you are paid what you said you’re paid. If you’re self-employed, you may need to supply a lot more documentation. The amount of verification involved depends on how risky your lender perceives you to be.

The lender wants to be sure that the price of the property you’re buying is comparable to the values of similar properties. The lender will get an independent appraisal of the property prior to closing, and the results could affect the rate and terms of your mortgage. A licensed appraiser will provide an expert’s estimated value based on a physical inspection and comparables, or “comps”—prices paid for comparable properties that have recently sold in the neighborhood. An appraisal typically costs between $300 and $500.

Title Search and Title Insurance
After the appraiser has looked at the physical side of your house, a title company looks at its legal history. Your lender doesn’t want to lend money against a house that may have claims on it. That’s why a title company performs a title search.

The title company will research the history of the property, looking for encumbrances such as mortgages, claims, liens, easement rights, zoning ordinances, pending legal action, unpaid taxes and restrictive covenants.

The title insurer then issues a policy that guarantees the accuracy of the work. Your lender will require a title policy that protects the lender. In some cases, two policies are issued—one to protect the lender and one to protect the property owner.

Flood Certification
Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. If your property is in a flood zone, your lender wants to know about it. The lender will hire a specialist to analyze your property and neighboring sites to determine if the home is in a flood zone; the report is called a flood certification. If you’re in a flood zone, you’ll be required to buy flood insurance.

If you think you may be in a flood-prone area, you can check out any property on before you even start searching for your new home.

Finally, some lenders will require that a home’s property boundaries be verified by a professional survey.

While all of this information is being gathered, you can help by taking these steps:

  • Provide complete documentation with your application.
  • Respond promptly to your lender’s request for more information.
  • Call your lender and real estate agent to check on your loan application status.
  • Help contact employers and others who may need to provide documentation.
  • Keep records of your conversations with your lender.

Visit Bankrate online at

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Spotlight: Marvin Chase

Now pre-selling, Marvin Chase is the newest neighborhood in the heart of Marvin. There will be 17 custom built homes here by Century Communities. Located only minutes from I-485, Marvin Chase is just a quick drive from Ballantyne, Blakeney, and the Shoppes at Rae. Just head south down Johnston Road (Highway 52) and turn left on Marvin road, Marvin Chase is on the right.

Century Communities has three floorplans to choose from that can be customized to meet your family’s needs. Below is a quick summary of each:

  • Hawthorne – This plan includes a huge owner’s suite with retreat. Dual vanities and walk-in closets are standard. There is an open kitchen with an oversized island, granite counters, in-wall oven, and stainless steel appliances. A large covered patio lets you enjoy outdoor space.
  • Providence – This plan features an open floor plan with gourmet kitchen. 42” maple cabinets, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, walk-in pantry are standard. There is a guest suite downstairs with full bathroom. Additional flex space could be an office or formal living room. The large owner’s suite has dual vanities, separate tub and shower. There are two additional bedrooms, a loft, and optional game room upstairs.
  • Bridgeport – This plan includes a huge owner’s suite with luxurious bath with dual vanities and large walk-in closet. The kitchen has a large center island with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, in-wall oven and more. There is also a large private covered patio for indoor/outdoor living.

Marvin Chase feeds to top rated schools, Elon Park Elementary, Community House Middle, and Ardrey Kell High School. There are also many private, preschool, daycare, and mother’s day out programs nearby. Please verify school assignments as they are subject to change.

Homes in Marvin Chase range between $467,990 and $527,990 and could go higher depending on upgrades. They have between 4 and 6 bedrooms, and 3 to 5 bathrooms. You can choose between a 2 or 3 car garage and square footage ranges between 2,983 and over 4,000 square feet.

Don’t miss an opportunity to get in on this new community! Give us a call at (704) 525-4045. We would love to help you through the process of customizing your new home. You can also view current listings on our website here.

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Waxhaw’s MillBridge Has It All

There’s a gem of a neighborhood growing in Waxhaw right now. MillBridge is a master planned community with many sections appealing to a wide variety of buyers. The covered bridge draws you into a neighborhood that feels more like a small town. There is a lifestyle here, a slower pace to life so you can enjoy time with your family, friends, and your neighbors.

MillBridge is located in picturesque Waxhaw, NC and is zoned for award winning Union County schools. There are plenty of places to shop, dine, exercise, and have both outdoor and indoor entertainment nearby. Just 10 miles separate you from Ballantyne. MillBridge is located just off Kensington Drive (Jim Wilson Road) near the intersection with Waxhaw/Marvin Road right near the South Carolina border. It is also just a short drive away from Highway 16/Providence Road.

As is the trend with master planned communities, there are numerous amenities in MillBridge. Features include a 9,000 square foot community house, fitness classes, a Junior Olympic lap pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, parks, and community events throughout the year. There is a lazy river and waterslide, 60 acres of community parks, trails and greenways. Additionally, you’ll find a movie theater room, fitness facility, and cafe. Plenty of other features are available to explore as you move through the neighborhood. A full-time activities director can help you to find what might work for you, or can help create more value by adding activities that can further enhance your experience.

MillBridge currently has six phases with five builders spanning 900 acres. The sixth phase may have an existing or new builder as the last phase in the community. Master planner Landeavor, LLC has been creating communities like MillBridge since 2007, and they have been working to make them perfect.

Lennar has homes starting in the high $200’s in the range of 2,019-2,895 square feet. Bonterra Builders, Pulte Homes, and M/I Homes all have homes starting in the mid $300’s and ranging from 2,025 to 4,448+ square feet. DR Horton is responsible for one of the phases coming in November 2017. Each has plenty of floorplans and options to choose from to make MillBridge the perfect place for you and your family.

Once you cross the bridge, you’ll never want to leave. When you get to that point, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. We would love to help you join this great community. You can also find current listings on our website here.

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Elegant New Construction in Songwood Estates

If you think there are no new construction neighborhoods in SouthPark, thankfully you’re wrong. You won’t find the large master-planned communities here. The new construction neighborhoods are small, exclusive, luxurious, and custom built. Songwood Estates is a perfect example of one of these neighborhoods.

Located at the corner of Sharon View Road and Rock Creek Drive, Songwood Estates is just 3 miles from SouthPark Mall. A 20 minute drive will get you into Uptown Charlotte for a commute, basketball game, or a night on the town. Charlotte Douglas International Airport will take about 30 minutes by car.

Builder James Custom Homes has 14 home sites in Songwood Estates. There are quick move-in homes available, as well as 8 home plans to choose from to build a custom home on one of the remaining sites. They have fully decorated model homes located at the corner of Sharon View and Flintwood Lane where you can tour and get an idea for how you want to design a home of your own.

The homes that are available for quick move-in in Songwood Estates start in the $800’s and head up over $1 million. They range in size from 3,550 to 4,286 square feet and have 4 or 5 bedrooms and 4 to 5 ½ baths. 10 foot ceilings, hardwood flooring, media rooms, studies, owner’s suites, and more are to be expected in each home.

These homes are masterfully appointed, with trey and coffered ceilings and heavy mouldings and built-ins throughout. All have open gourmet kitchens with large islands. Each bedroom has direct access to a full bathroom, and the bathrooms are perfect.

Students in Songwood Estates are currently zoned for top rated Sharon Elementary School, Carmel Middle School, and Myers Park High School. Please confirm school assignments as they are subject to change. There are also many private, preschool, and daycare options close by.

If you are interested in owning one of these amazing homes in Songwood Estates, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view current listings on our website here.

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