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 Knightsville, 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 Knightsville, 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 Knightsville, 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.
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Dorchester District 2 School Board announced who will take the helm at the three new elementary schools next school year.
Vernisa Bodison will be the principal for the new Alston-Bailey Elementary School. She is currently the principal at Windsor Hill.
Dr. Eugene Sires Elementary School will be led by Laura Blanchard who is currently the principal at William Reeves Elementary.
Dr. Wally Baird will take on the new Sand Hill Elementary School. He is at Knightsville Elementary right now.
The old schools will see some familiar faces as their new principals as some assistant principals will be stepping up in those leadership roles.
A full list of administrative teams can be found below.
Dorchester School District Two has announced the administrative teams of the three new elementary schools opening in the fall of 2016, along with other elementary school administrative changes. The following administrators were named to take the helm at the three new elementary schools beginning with 2016-2017:
Alston-Bailey Elementary School
Vernisa Bodison—Principal, is currently principal at Windsor Hill Arts Infused Elementary
Assistant Principal—to be announced
Dr. Eugene Sires Elementary School
Laura Blanchard—Principal, is currently principal at William M. Reeves, Jr. Elementary
Dan Farmer—Assistant Principal, is currently assistant principal at Fort Dorchester Elementary
Sand Hill Elementary School
Dr. Wally Baird—Principal, is currently principal at Knightsville Elementary
Annette Roper—Assistant Principal, is currently assistant principal at Knightsville Elementary
The following are additional administrative changes for elementary schools beginning with 2016-2017:
Knightsville Elementary School
Claire Sieber—Principal, is currently assistant principal at Knightsville Elementary
Carey Hodge—Assistant Principal (no change)
William M. Reeves, Jr. Elementary School
Natalie Hayes—Principal, is currently assistant principal at William M. Reeves, Jr. Elementary
Michelle Nicholson—Assistant Principal (no change)
Windsor Hill Arts Infused Elementary School
Robert Neuner—Principal, is currently assistant principal at Gregg Middle
Katie Barker—Assistant Principal (no change)
Fort Dorchester Elementary School
Harolyn Hess—Principal (no change)
Gwyn Brock—Assistant Principal (no change)
Rachel Mahaffey—Assistant Principal, is currently assistant principal at Flowertown Elementary
Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – It was 1973 when Shirley McGreal, then living in Southeast Asia, saw beady bright eyes staring back at her from between the slats of a wooden crate.The eyes belonged to a gibbon — a primate native to the region — who had fallen victim to the dangerous world of the pet trade, where gibbons were being sold into homes, zoos, or labs, only to later be discarded.In 1977, McGreal created the Inter...
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – It was 1973 when Shirley McGreal, then living in Southeast Asia, saw beady bright eyes staring back at her from between the slats of a wooden crate.
The eyes belonged to a gibbon — a primate native to the region — who had fallen victim to the dangerous world of the pet trade, where gibbons were being sold into homes, zoos, or labs, only to later be discarded.
In 1977, McGreal created the International Primate Protection League (IPPL) in Summerville as a gibbon sanctuary. The now 47-acre property remains nestled in a quiet area of the Lowcountry that is illuminated by the sounds of the primates singing to one another.
Meg McCue-Jones, the Compliance and Outreach Manager, explained that the land was a sod farm in the late 70s and started taking in the gibbons that needed help soon after.
One of the sanctuary’s residents, Gibby, is one of the oldest known living gibbons at over 60 years old.
Like most of the gibbons at the sanctuary, his life started off rough.
McCue-Jones said that Gibby was wild caught, and “with every gibbon wild caught, they shoot mom out of the tree, hoping baby falls, and then they take the baby.”
He was first sold into the pet trade in by a Bangkok dealer, but that was just the beginning. Gibby went to labs at Hofstra University and the State University at Stony Brook.
Researchers embedded electrodes in his skin as part of a locomotion project.
The electrodes and thin wires were inserted into his muscles and connected him to a suit that would measure his muscle movements. McCue-Jones explained that this was obviously not an ideal situation on any aspect, whether it be a human or animal.
At 44, Gibby made it to his first sanctuary, but the conditions were hard on his body. In March of 2007, just four years after his arrival, the IPPL reached out to the sanctuary to relocate not only Gibby, but several other gibbons.
For Gibby, like the other 29 at the sanctuary, Summerville is his last stop. McCue-Jones says that the sanctuary is their forever home.
But with the pandemic, their home has become more difficult to manage.
With fear of COVID-19 spreading to the primates, volunteers were no longer allowed to assist with the many daily tasks necessary to keep the place running.
From hosing the outsides of the enclosures, to raking, food prep, and even assistance inside the office—the staff was left with mounting responsibilities.
The economic impacts of the pandemic left donors and community partners reeling financially, but the bills at the sanctuary remained steady.
As a non-federally funded organization, the IPPL relies heavily on donations to meet the needs of the animals.
Stacy Lambert, a Senior Animal Care Giver, said that since a lot of their population has started to reach geriatric ages, their vet bills are getting bigger as they are having more interventions and medications, different procedures, and checkup appointments with Dr. John Ohlandt.
While expensive, their system of care has proven to work.
Lambert says that in the wild, gibbons usually live about 30-35 years. However, in captivity, gibbons living into their 40s is normal. However, the IPPL has quite a few gibbons that are up in their 40s and 50s while, of course, Gibby is 62.
Although the interventions from the IPPL show the ability of the sanctuary, McCue-Jones said all those at the IPPL ultimately wish there was not a need for them at all, and that the gibbons could live freely in the wild.
McCue-Jones said, “as Shirley has spoken of before, if you really think about it, do humans need sanctuaries, should we have them? Should we be treating the animals this way?”
To send the Gibbons a care package full of nuts, click here.
To donate to the IPPL’s missions and day-to-day operations, click here.
To send specified items needed by the IPPL via Amazon, click here.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
By Casey L. Taylor, JDTucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the da...
By Casey L. Taylor, JD
Tucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.
The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the day and night.
The sanctuary is home to 36 gibbons, the smallest of the apes, who have been rescued or retired from laboratories, deplorable “roadside” attractions, or the pet trade. IPPL provides lifetime care to these incredible endangered species and works to educate the community on the plight of gibbons in the wild.
The gibbon residents at the sanctuary have indoor night houses that are hurricane-grade, expansive outdoor habitats, and aerial walkways that give them the choice to safely move about their designated areas as they wish. It is important to the organization that each sanctuary resident is given as much freedom of choice as possible in a captive environment, while keeping them safe. Despite most residents having a rough start to their lives, they thrive at IPPL. They even have some residents nearing the age of 60!
IPPL is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s remaining primates, great and small. For the last 45 years, IPPL has made a global impact by securing an export ban on primates from Thailand (saving thousands and thousands of lives) and working with over 20 reputable primate rescue and rehabilitation centers in Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.
IPPL not only supports their efforts to care for native primates who have been rescued and are in need of rehabilitation or lifetime care, but also to thwart poachers and illegal wildlife traffickers, as well as educate local villages and communities on how they can help be part of the solution in preserving native populations of primates.
Small Team, Big Impact
With a small but mighty team of animal caregivers, maintenance technicians, office staff, and dog nannies, IPPL provides compassionate lifetime care for every resident, which includes nutritious and delicious fresh produce three times a day for the gibbons, as well as veterinary care and enrichment — to stimulate those intelligent minds of theirs!
Forms of enrichment vary from food puzzles that the gibbon must figure out in order to get their healthy treats, to special time with their favorite caregiver. Bubble-blowing is a big hit with some of the gibbons. Tong, who was one of the first four original residents at the sanctuary, loves a good foot rub — what girl doesn’t?
Absolutely nothing beats a life in the wild, but for these residents that is sadly not a reality. The team at IPPL feels that the least they can do is make the rest of these individuals’ lives the happiest and healthiest they can be. From residents used in invasive human vaccination studies and locomotion tests, to those kept in less-than-favorable conditions, IPPL’s sanctuary is a safe and loving place for them to thrive and to live as gibbons should.
Casey L. Taylor, JD is the Executive Director of IPPL.
MORE ABOUT IPPL
The sanctuary is not open to the public as an attraction, but it holds educational events in the community and offers options to visit during special times. Sign up to receive their e-newsletters on their website (www.ippl.org) and be the first to know about opportunities and events.
SUMMERVILLE — Tables begin to fill up just past noon at a restaurant 31 miles from downtown Charleston.Surrounded by chain eateries in a Publix-anchored strip mall, La Cuisine Du Chevalier — or La Chev, as most call it — has the buzz of an energetic lunch crowd ready for some midday human interaction.A trio of women attempt to corral four children while dunking grilled bread into large white bowls of bouillabaisse, brimming with mussels, shrimp and white fish, all steeping in saffron broth.Empty black s...
SUMMERVILLE — Tables begin to fill up just past noon at a restaurant 31 miles from downtown Charleston.
Surrounded by chain eateries in a Publix-anchored strip mall, La Cuisine Du Chevalier — or La Chev, as most call it — has the buzz of an energetic lunch crowd ready for some midday human interaction.
A trio of women attempt to corral four children while dunking grilled bread into large white bowls of bouillabaisse, brimming with mussels, shrimp and white fish, all steeping in saffron broth.
Empty black shells are pushed aside at another round mahogany table, where two friends catch up over mussels and glasses of iced tea.
A man sitting solo at a two-top finishes his meal and tells the server he will be back next week.
These are the sights and sounds of a restaurant that’s become a neighborhood lunchtime favorite less than a year after quietly opening in November 2022.
I would have never found La Chev without a tip from a colleague, but I’m glad I came. That satisfaction extends to residents of the Knightsville and Summerville area, who have thanked owner Jason Tucker for bringing his Southern take on French cuisine to them rather than downtown Charleston.
“A lot of people were confused about why I did it here,” said Tucker, a Summerville resident. “I saw the direction of where the homes are going.”
Tucker struck out on his own after cutting his professional teeth at restaurants in Charleston’s French Quarter. Inside the strip center space that previously housed a Ladles sandwich and soup shop, the Johnson & Wales University graduate is teaming up with La Chev’s chef de cuisine, Jonathan DuPriest, who grew up in Knightsville.
Whether it’s crab dip with grilled bread or seared scallops over French onion cheese risotto, DuPriest is consistently coming up with new daily specials that the restaurant posts on its Facebook page, which takes the place of an actual website.
La Chev boasts separate lunch and dinner menus, but there are several crossovers, including the shrimp and grits, crab croquettes and yellowfin tuna — a dish that stood out after two visits to the restaurant.
The lightly-seared tuna, served cold, rests on a steaming hot medley of chopped asparagus, corn, confit tomato and cubed bacon. A speckled cream sauce pulls the vegetables together, adding sweet smokiness to the fresh but mild fish.
“It doesn’t just play with your taste buds, it plays with the temperature sensitivities of your palate, as well,” Tucker said.
With a nice crust and firm pink center, the tuna hits all corners of my mouth, leaving soft, peppery spice behind. Though served as an appetizer, I enjoyed it as my full meal with an order of duck coq au vin dumplings — a fun riff on a French classic — on the side.
During dinner, the white tablecloths are brought out and topped with larger appetizers and mains that allow for some “Lowcountry liberties,” Tucker said.
For instance, crab croquettes are more petite crab cake than filled-and-fried roll, but the flawed descriptor doesn’t take away from each delicate bite. Paired with a light and bright diced cucumber salad, the patties’ crab-to-filler ratio favors the former.
A trio of cheese-adorned meatballs, floating in tomato ragù and served with small wedges of garlic bread, is another appetizer that satisfies without reinventing the wheel.
The same can often be said for the restaurant’s dinner entrees.
Roasted salmon, stuffed with crab and served atop crisp green beans, is one example of an expertly cooked daily special. On the side, Carolina Gold rice is bound with cheese to form a thick patty, bringing substance and salt to the Southern grains.
Steak, which appears to have been marinated and spent some time in the oven, makes up for a lack of crust with a juicy, tender texture — almost reminiscent of the roasted filet of beef my mother serves at Christmas.
Of the six dishes I sampled at La Chev, each one left me without complaints.
There isn’t much in the way of décor, more noticeable during a Monday night dinner service that saw just two occupied tables between 5:45 and 6:45 p.m. This was a far cry from the crowded lunch service I witnessed weeks before, making me ponder if ownership might consider closing their doors on Monday, typically the slowest dining day of the week.
It also made me wonder if this type of restaurant — a place that skirts the line between neighborhood establishment and one worthy of a special night out — can work in this location.
I remain optimistic.
While it’s just four miles from the town’s top restaurants — Laura, Bexley and La Rustica, among others — it’s less crowded and closer to home for many Summerville restaurants.
And as those who have dined at La Chev have likely realized, there isn’t anything like it in Knightsville.
Jason Tucker reports that business is booming at the boîte known as La Cuisine du Chevalier, or La Chev, by the locals. The 40-seat restaurant, which translates to “the knight’s kitchen,” garnered rave reviews by online contributors when it opened in November at the former soup restaurant called Ladles in the Shoppes of Summerville.It only recently held a grand opening celebration.Tucker, who has lived in Summerville for the past 16 years, is no stranger to the restaurant business.“My backgr...
Jason Tucker reports that business is booming at the boîte known as La Cuisine du Chevalier, or La Chev, by the locals. The 40-seat restaurant, which translates to “the knight’s kitchen,” garnered rave reviews by online contributors when it opened in November at the former soup restaurant called Ladles in the Shoppes of Summerville.
It only recently held a grand opening celebration.
Tucker, who has lived in Summerville for the past 16 years, is no stranger to the restaurant business.
“My background is extremely diverse and it started back when I was 15-years’ old scooping ice cream in Central Pennsylvania,” he said.
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Over the years, Tucker has worked in numerous restaurants, from chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, Cracker Barrel and the Hilton, to groups like Charleston Hospitality and more. After bartending his way through college in Virginia, the hard-working transplant accepted a management position from his employer, which took him to Summerville, where he has been ever since.
The father of two boys is also the operating partner at Wine & Tapas in Summerville and was buoyed by the popularity of the business. This inspired him to open a new restaurant, this time with a French flair.
“They call the area the French Quarter, but it lacked a French-themed restaurant, which never made sense to me, especially with the growth we are seeing in this area,” he said.
Tucker said that La Chev was designed to evoke the feeling of walking down the Champs-Élysées.
“It’s a cute café that’s quaint and all about the food and wine,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt that Tucker worked in the wine distribution business and is well-versed on what’s exceptional. He said that his goal is to bring people in by rivaling the quality that a customer would get in downtown Charleston.
“It’s all about the ingredients and there’s a lot of precision and thought that goes into each of our dishes,” he said, adding that chef de cuisine Jonathan DuPriest, who grew up in Knightsville, is Johnson and Wales-trained.
When it comes to dishes, Tucker said that the most popular lunch items that they serve are the French Dip and the shrimp and grits.
“A lot of people judge the quality of the restaurant by their shrimp and grits,” he said.
As for dinner, Tucker offers quite a few specials, ranging from steak dishes, to surf and turf, scallops, crabcakes, and salmon.
“Everyone says that it’s the best salmon served in the Atlantic Coastal area,” Tucker said.
For now, La Chev is taking reservations, except for the bar and outside area, so last-minute plans to dine can be accommodated if guests don’t mind sitting in either area.
Tucker also recently announced that they will be open on Sundays for brunch.
“We’re currently working on the menu which we will implement sometime around the end of July,” he said.
Kurry Seymour was a Ladles customer who was wowed by his first visit.
“This place brings a refreshing vibe to the Knightsville area and I am impressed by the décor, which was converted into a very fine, but very cozy dining experience,” he said.
Reviews like this are music to Tucker’s ears.
“I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d be running two separate restaurants, but I love the feeling one gets when someone is happy with an experience. Making moments special is the best feeling in the world and having the opportunity to have someone really love what you’re doing, well, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said, with a smile.
Stefanie Kalina-Metzger is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.