We know that many home loan officers have horrible reputations. Some brokers only see their clients as transactions, and a means to make quick money. They come off as impatient and pushy, failing to understand that this is a very big decision for you. At Mija Mortgage, we take the opposite approach. We encourage our clients to take as much time as needed to ask us questions and review mortgage documents. We could say that our mission is to exceed your expectations, but we'd rather just show you. From assistance finding FHA, VA, or other loans to refinancing your current mortgage, Mija is the team you can trust.
Here are just a few reasons why home buyers choose Mija Mortgage:
To understand the benefits of working with a mortgage broker, you must first understand their role in the home-buying process.
Your mortgage broker is a third party that works to connect you with mortgage lenders. Essentially, a mortgage broker works as an intermediary between a person who wants to buy a home and the entities offering loans to buy a home. The mortgage broker works with both the borrower and lender to get the borrower approved. They also verify and collect paperwork from the borrower that the lender needs to finish a home purchase. Typically, mortgage brokers have relationships with several home loan lenders. Mija Mortgage, for example, has access to 50 different lenders, which gives us a wide range of home loans in James Island, SC, from which to choose.
In addition to finding a home loan lender, your mortgage broker will help you settle on the best loan options and interest rates for your budget. Ideally, your mortgage broker will take a great deal of stress and legwork off your plate while also potentially saving you money.
If you're ready to buy a home, getting pre-qualified is a great choice that will streamline the entire process. Your mortgage broker makes getting pre-approved easy by obtaining all the documents needed to get you pre-qualified. In taking a look at your application, they will determine if you're ready for the pre-approval process. If your application needs additional items, the mortgage company will help point you in the right direction to ensure your application is as strong as it can be. Your mortgage broker will also walk you through the different types of loans, from Conventional and FHA to VA and USDA.
In order to be pre-approved for a home in South Carolina, you must have the following:
Conventional loans can be used to purchase a new home or refinance your current one. Conventional loans include fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages. Generally, borrowers must put down a 3% down payment for owner-occupants, 10% for a vacation property, and 20% for an investment home. If you are able to pay 20% of the total cost of the home, you can avoid private mortgage insurance, which is otherwise required. Conventional mortgages are often preferred by buyers with good credit or people needing a non-owner-occupied mortgage.
FHA mortgages are issued by the U.S. government and backed by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). This loan is often preferred by first-time homebuyers because it only requires a 3.5% down payment and offers more flexibility with credit requirements and underwriting standards. FHA loans have several requirements you must meet to qualify. Contact Mija Mortgage today to learn more about FHA loans and whether or not they're best for your financial situation.
Also backed by the government, these loans are insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and don't require money down. These loans have lower insurance requirements when compared to FHA loans, offer 100% financing if you qualify, and allow for closing costs to be covered by the seller. In order to qualify for a USDA loan, you must live in a rural area, and your household income must meet certain standards. These loans are often preferred by low-income citizens who live in rural parts of South Carolina.
Also known as VA or Veteran's Affairs loans, these mortgages are reserved for the brave men and women who served in the military. VA loans help provide our military members, veterans, and their families with favorable loan terms and an easy home ownership experience. Often, those who qualify are not required to make a down payment on their home. Additionally, these loans often include less expensive closing costs.
If you are a veteran or the family member of a veteran, contact Mija Mortgage today to speak with our Vetted VA Professional, Debbie Haberny. Debbie helps our military members, veterans, and their family members obtain home loans utilizing veteran benefits and would be happy to help as you search for a home.
Q. I was talking to my spouse about mortgage brokers, and they mentioned the phrase home loan originator. What's the difference between a broker and a loan originator?
A. The mortgage industry is full of confusing jobs and titles, making it easy to confuse roles and responsibilities. Such is the case with mortgage brokers and home loan originators. Though their roles share similarities, a home loan originator in James Island, SC, works for a bank or credit union, while a mortgage broker works for a brokerage company. Home loan originators and mortgage brokers are both licensed by the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS).
Q. I've heard from everyone that you must have mortgage insurance to buy a home. What is mortgage insurance?
A. Essentially, mortgage insurance helps protect lenders if a borrower forecloses on the home they bought. One advantage of mortgage insurance is that when borrowers pay it, lenders can often grant loans to buyers when they might not have otherwise. Though not always required to buy a home, mortgage insurance is often needed for down payments of less than 20%.
Q. I have just been pre-approved to buy a beautiful home in South Carolina. Is there anything I shouldn't do now that I'm pre-qualified?
A. Mortgage companies like Mija Mortgage, make getting pre-qualified for a home easy. However, as your loan process continues, your lender is required to run a new credit report before closing on a home. For that reason, it's to avoid any activity that might affect your credit score, such as:
Q. My brother-in-law recently refinanced his home in South Carolina. What is refinancing, and should I consider refinancing my home too?
A. Refinancing your home basically means you're swapping your current mortgage for a new one, most often with a lower interest rate. If you would like to reduce the term of your loan, lower your monthly mortgage payments, or consolidate debt, refinancing may be a smart option. Many homeowners also choose to refinance if they want to switch from adjustable-rate mortgages to fixed-rate mortgages or to get cash back for home renovations. To learn whether refinancing is a viable option for your situation, contact Mija Mortgage ASAP, as loan rates change frequently.
Here at Mija Mortgage, we believe that the best communities begin with the dream of home ownership. Our mission is to make those dreams come true, with personalized service, expert guidance, and good old-fashioned hard work. As one of the most trusted mortgage companies in James Island, SC, we have years of experience working with a diverse range of clients, from first-time buyers and investors to self-employed borrowers and non-native English speakers.
Though every mortgage situation is different, one thing never changes: our commitment to clients. Contact our office today to get started on an exceptional home-buying experience.
Charleston’s Neighborhood Dining Group is living up to its name with its newest restaurant concept.Set to open this summer in the 1939-A Maybank Highway space previously occupied by Zia Taqueria, The James will be an “all-American grill” serving a range of options at various price points. The James will feel comfortable yet clubby and stylish, Neighborhood Dining Gr...
Charleston’s Neighborhood Dining Group is living up to its name with its newest restaurant concept.
Set to open this summer in the 1939-A Maybank Highway space previously occupied by Zia Taqueria, The James will be an “all-American grill” serving a range of options at various price points. The James will feel comfortable yet clubby and stylish, Neighborhood Dining Group President David Howard said.
The type of place one might visit for a quality hamburger on a Tuesday night and a prime rib on the weekend.
“It just intrigued me as an opportunity,” said Howard of the 4,600-square-foot James Island property. “It’s a concept that I’m comfortable with.”
Howard likened the The James’ approachable neighborhood offering to that of his first restaurant, Chicago’s Steak and Seafood, which he opened in Roswell, Ga. in 1991. He believes The James will provide another dining option for James Island residents who do not want to venture downtown.
The Maybank Highway-bookmarked Riverland Terrace neighborhood is undergoing a dining renaissance, one that Howard says his group is excited to join. In the last three years, the area has lured downtown Charleston restaurateurs to James Island, including the owners of Bar George, Millers All Day and Huriyali.
Millers All Day’s Terrace Plaza space opened up after Zia Taqueria moved across the street to the 1939-A Maybank Highway building The James will soon call home. Formerly occupied by Athens Restaurant, the space was twice the size of Zia’s original.
Zia Taqueria lasted 12 years in the Terrace Plaza and just two across the street, though the owners pointed to the reasons for closing the restaurant and divesting the business as wanting to retire and take some time for themselves.
The Neighborhood Dining Group — a six-restaurant group that is best known for Husk — will open The James just over a year after its Mexican inspired restaurant Minero relocated from downtown Charleston to Johns Island. Minero’s new compound is a far cry from the tight quarters it occupied from 2014 to 2020, a venue that required patrons to walk up steep stairs to a small, albeit cozy, dining room. Now, it takes just a couple of steps for the up to 175 people that Minero can seat indoors and out to order the dishes and drinks that gained a following during its downtown days.
The James’ large footprint shares many of the same qualities as Minero’s, including ample parking in the front and back of the space. Howard was not ready to commit to a seat count, but there will be plenty of space for patrons to spread out at The James. Zia Taqueria operated with 130 seats inside and another 40 on its patio.
The Neighborhood Dining Group’s main focus right now is renovating the dining room and bar, which will serve beer, wine and traditional cocktails. Mark Keiser, who previously worked at The Dewberry and Oak Steakhouse, will lead the kitchen at The James, offering fresh fish, steaks, salads, burgers, healthy options and a children’s menu.
Once open and fully staffed, The James will accept reservations and serve customers for dinner seven days a week, with lunch available Wednesday through Sunday.
For more information, visit thejameschs.com or follow on Instagram @thejameschs.
Yummy! James Island was once an area full of nationwide chains and fast food joints with a few hidden gems known only to longtime locals.Not any more. Now there are more options than ever for residents and visitors featuring new food and beverage spots outside of the peninsula from new concepts like rotisserie chicken joint El Pollo Guapo, Point Break Coffee & Drive-Thru, and Wisconsin Meat & Cheese on Folly Road to the expansion of existing local businesses such as Millers All Day and Huriyali. Mount Pleasant’s...
James Island was once an area full of nationwide chains and fast food joints with a few hidden gems known only to longtime locals.
Not any more. Now there are more options than ever for residents and visitors featuring new food and beverage spots outside of the peninsula from new concepts like rotisserie chicken joint El Pollo Guapo, Point Break Coffee & Drive-Thru, and Wisconsin Meat & Cheese on Folly Road to the expansion of existing local businesses such as Millers All Day and Huriyali. Mount Pleasant’s highly touted Pakistani restaurant Malika Canteen is also joining the James Island crowd March 8 at Charleston Pour House.
“It snowballs,” said Brian Piesner, owner of Coastal Crust and Coastal Snack Bar. “If somebody’s doing well, bringing in nice clientele and is supported, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, we can open down the road and probably do well there.’ ”
While gourmet pizza restaurant Coastal Crust expanded to James Island from Mount Pleasant three years ago, Piesner and company opened a brand new concept, Coastal Snack Bar, in mid-January less than two miles down the street on Harbor View Road.
“Now that we opened the Snack Bar,” he said, “I feel like the shift of excitement is going to be like, ‘Man, what’s going on over there?’ Now all of a sudden, this little pocket of town has some options.”
Coastal Snack Bar brings the same quality of food as Coastal Crust, but with a Caribbean island twist. It offers dishes like a blackened fish sandwich with citrus slaw and mahi mahi or a pecan gorgonzola salad for a healthy balance of sweet, spice, bitter and acid.
Like Coastal Crust, other existing establishments have joined the island. Millers All Day opened a second location in the Terrace Plaza on Maybank Highway in September, following the opening of My Father’s Moustache on the same street in August. West Ashley coffee spot Highfalutin set up shop just a few doors down from Coastal Crust while downtown coffee spot Huriyali opened its second location on Wappoo Drive.
Nate Thurston, co-owner of the popular downtown brunch spot Millers All Day said he realized that while the original location is a hot destination, especially for tourists, there was a need for a place on James Island that is focused on residents. If you’ve driven down King Street toward Broad Street, chances are you’ve seen the line outside of Millers All Day.
“It’s a little bit of a blessing and a curse,” Thurston said. “It’s a great scenario for the business, but it does make it inaccessible to some degree. So for that reason, we wanted to start getting some neighborhood exposure and specifically cater to the locals, which was our goal from the beginning.”
But translating the busy brunch spot to a quieter location can present different scenarios.
“The demographic could not be more different,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed learning to cater to a local community versus downtown which is, you know, alive. It’s very different. But we’re enjoying the diversity of each.”
The James Island Millers deviates from its downtown location by serving its menu from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and incorporating daily dinner specials such as the farmhouse frittata, which is made with rainbow cauliflower, asparagus and sweet peppers and topped with roasted carrots. So, if you missed out on grabbing a Millers Plate — two eggs, Jimmy Red Corn Grits or home fries, biscuit, bacon and pickled vegetables — at the downtown location, head across the bridge to Maybank Highway and enjoy breakfast for dinner.
James Island residents may see these familiar places nearer to home, but there’s plenty of new places to eat, too. El Pollo Guapo serves up gourmet rotisserie chickens on Folly Road. Wisconsin Meat & Cheese brings a new selection of options for a charcuterie board. And Odyssey Bottle Shop offers wine, international craft beers and a place to hang out in a little shopping center on Harbor View Road.
El Pollo Guapo had big shoes to fill when it moved in December into the building formerly occupied by Black Magic Cafe on Folly Road, a James Island staple for 13 years.
“When we first announced that we were coming in, it was a little bit of a mixed bag,” said Roy Reidl, co-owner of El Pollo Guapo. Some were devastated at the news of Black Magic’s closing, while others were excited for something new to the area, he added.
Reidl and his wife Heather are Connecticut natives with three El Pollo Guapo locations in their home state. During the pandemic, however, Reidl realized Connecticut wasn’t the right market, as El Pollo Guapo always had a beach/surfer vibe, he said. He and his family welcomed the beach town and wanted to promote the laid-back lifestyle with a Charleston location. The locations in Connecticut are still open.
“We feel very excited to be a part of the community here and want to give back,” Reidl said. “That’s something that’s really important to us.”
Despite its name, El Pollo Guapo isn’t a Mexican restaurant. It specializes in rotisserie chicken with Latin-inspired seasoning and sides, but you can find a couple tacos options on the menu, too.
Reidl and his family aren’t the only transplants to open up shop on the Island, either. Owners Taylor Ambrosius and her boyfriend Casey Diedrich opened Wisconsin Meat & Cheese in November, bringing a slice of their cheesy home state to the Lowcountry. Ambrosius, a Wisconsin native and Charleston attorney, and Diedrich import childhood favorite brands from Wisconsin to offer to James Island residents.
There’s many people from Wisconsin who live here, or have family in Wisconsin who have been very receptive about the shop, she said. “We’ve also had a lot of people that are from here, or from other places, that have given us a lot of really good feedback.”
The meat and cheese shop brings Wisconsin-original meats, locally made cheese and snack items like Potter’s Crackers, a whole grain, organic line of crackers, crisps and oyster crackers that are produced with locally sourced whole-wheat flour and local milk and butter. Customers as far away as Sumter have visited the area to pick up a piece of their Wisconsin home, according to Ambrosius.
Not too far away on Harbor View Road, Russell and Katherine Dodson said they opened Odyssey Bottle Shop in June to fill a need in the community. The shop specializes in craft beers, both local and international, and wines. It brings in local talent with frequent food truck pop-ups.
“For people on James Island, there just weren’t a lot of options [especially for craft beer],” said Russell Dodson. “Every time we’d ask anybody where they go, it was either a gas station or a grocery store, which you know, the selection isn’t that vast considering what’s out there and available.”
Odyssey Bottle Shop does more than just sell bottles and beer, though. Each week is a new line of international craft beers on tap, along with wine available by the glass and bottle, food trucks parked outside, pop-up smokers in the large back patio and even some arcade games.
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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- Members of a Johns Island community say they’re frustrated that they’re losing their privacy because of the actions of a Homeowners Association.
Waterloo Estates is a small neighborhood that doubles as a nature oasis.
“It’s a gated community,” Resident, Donna Frehafer said. “There’s about 72 acres of ponds and wetlands.”
The privacy away from the busyness of Charleston is why Frehafer and another resident, Brendan Swords say they moved there.
“Great community, great neighbors, great people,” Swords said.
However, the quiet they signed up for could be going away.
Frehafer says Crescent Homes, who runs the Homeowners Association, didn’t pay the taxes on the land.
“They lost the 72 acres to someone else,” Frehafer said.
The land was purchased and now more homes are going up.
While construction trucks have started going in and out, there’s been damage to the infrastructure.
“The roads are deteriorating, and we don’t have representation on the HOA,” Swords said.
Through the whole process, Frehafer says there’s been little to no communication from the HOA.
“Its disturbing some because it wasn’t told. The builder did not tell us about it,” Frehafer said.
At this point, she says residents don’t know what to do.
“It’s going to be traffic in the community. I bought here, too, because it was going to be 100 hundred homes and was quaint. Stonoview is right across the street but it’s huge and that’s not what I wanted. It doesn’t, I just feel like it wasn’t honest,” Frehafer said.
Residents tell us half the people living in this community care about this issue. The other half don’t want to get involved, but they’re trying to get everyone on board so they can hire a lawyer.
News 2 reached out to Crescent Homes for a comment, we will update you as soon as we receive a response.
Short-term rentals are a controversial topic in the Lowcountry, especially in beach communities.CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Short-term rentals are a controversial topic in the Lowcountry, especially in beach communities.Local governments have put ordinances and regulations into place to control vacation rentals, but a new bill up for discussion at the statehouse Wednesday could take away that power.Adam Moore lives in the Town of James Island and says a noisy Airbnb has disrupted his quiet neighborhood.&ldquo...
Short-term rentals are a controversial topic in the Lowcountry, especially in beach communities.
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Short-term rentals are a controversial topic in the Lowcountry, especially in beach communities.
Local governments have put ordinances and regulations into place to control vacation rentals, but a new bill up for discussion at the statehouse Wednesday could take away that power.
Adam Moore lives in the Town of James Island and says a noisy Airbnb has disrupted his quiet neighborhood.
“I mean you’re getting 14 people, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties,” Moore said. “My son, he’s 10, we go to school, we’ve got to be there 7 in the morning and there’s been multiple times we’ve been woken up 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. because of the raging parties going on.”
In the Town of James Island, property owners are not allowed to rent their home out as a short-term rental less than 30 days if the home is not occupied by the owner.
“I think towns and cities should be able to make their own ordinances and laws based on the citizens and how they feel about it,” Moore said.
But a bill coming before the South Carolina House of Representatives Municipal and Public Affairs Subcommittee Wednesday could change that.
If signed into law, South Carolina House Bill 3253 would prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances, resolutions, or regulations that prohibit short-term rentals. It would also put penalties on municipalities that do. They would have to be taxed at 4% instead of 6% investment property rate and would not be able to receive any distributions from the Local Government Fund.
Folly Beach rental property owner Tom Powers is all for it.
“There’s thousands and thousands in these communities that love those communities that are heavily invested in it, they have family legacy there, and they have no say against the minority of people that quite often aren’t even from the area telling them what they can do with their property,” Powers said. “It’s just not fair.”
In Folly Beach, the number of short-term rental licenses is currently capped at 800, and the city is not accepting applications at this time because the cap has been exceeded.
“They’ve basically cut their leg off to fix a problem with their little toe,” Powers said.
State Rep. Marvin Pendarvis of Charleston County, who is on the subcommittee, says he’s been hearing from people on all sides of the issue constantly. He says he has some “serious concerns” when it comes to taking away power from local governments.
“Each of these municipalities handles these issues differently, and I just am very concerned about the precedent that we’d be setting by prohibiting these municipalities from doing that and stripping their local government funds or taxing them at a different rate if they decide that they are gonna enact these ordinances anyway, so I’ve got some serious concerns and those are some concerns I’m going to bring up at the committee tomorrow morning,” Pendarvis said.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
The work continues to move nearly 200 James Island residences from septic tanks to sewer lines.JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The work continues to move nearly 200 James Island residences from septic tanks to sewer lines.Officials are now sharing a rough timeline of the over $10 million project and what residents can expect will be installed in their yards.James Island Public Service District officials said the projected investment for this project is around $52,000 per property or $10.3 million total.They said the m...
The work continues to move nearly 200 James Island residences from septic tanks to sewer lines.
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The work continues to move nearly 200 James Island residences from septic tanks to sewer lines.
Officials are now sharing a rough timeline of the over $10 million project and what residents can expect will be installed in their yards.
James Island Public Service District officials said the projected investment for this project is around $52,000 per property or $10.3 million total.
They said the majority of the cost per property will be covered by a combination of federal, state and local funding, but the big question within the affected neighborhoods is: what will each homeowner have to pay out of pocket?
“You know the cost is going to be everybody’s concern and mine as well,” resident John Gerlow said. “There’s going to be a tipping point for a lot of people, where is that tipping point, is it $1,000, $2,000? Is it $5,000?”
Gerlow said despite the anxiety about the unknown cost, he thinks the benefit to the James Island Creek will be worth it.
“That’s why everybody loves the Lowcountry right? Because of the beautiful waterways. And if we can’t go out there and swim and fish and have a good time then we’re really not experiencing the low country,” Gerlow said.
DHEC named James Island Creek an impaired waterway over three years ago, and James Island officials said septic tanks leaking into the creek is a primary cause of the bacteria.
The District Manager of the James Island Public Service District David Schaeffer said as the sea level rises, septic tanks will continue to become less effective, and cause more pollution in waterways. He says now is an ideal time for homeowners near the creek to switch off septic.
“This is the time to do it because the federal dollars, the state dollars, the local match dollars are all there,” Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said the Service District hopes to have the engineering and construction contracts by the end of 2024, and to begin hooking residents into the sewer system by the third quarter of 2025.
The Service District will work with each homeowner to install these grinder pumps into their yards to connect them to sewer.
He said the “tap and impact fee,” or what residents will have to pay out of pocket, is still unknown, however--
“We want to be able to minimize those financial burdens on each one of the customers,” Schaeffer said. “And we’re going to be working with other localities and continue to pursue all the funding sources available.”
The Mayor of James Island, Bill Woolsey, said although there’s been a mixed response from residents, they have no choice but to move forward with the switch.
“If the town and the city and the county do not take action to clean up the creek, this could be like million dollar per day fines,” Woolsey said. “So, we are obligated to do something.”
Schaeffer said affected homeowners can expect a letter the week of June 12 with more details and says to be on the lookout for community meetings in the coming months.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.