Few purchases give you a sense of pride and accomplishment like buying a new home. From white picket fences and lush green grass to cookouts with neighbors and holidays with the family, owning a home is magical. Like most great things, though, enduring the home-buying process takes a lot of work. There are many steps to take and difficult decisions to make along the way. One of the most crucial decisions is what type of home loan and mortgage broker to choose. Whether it's your first time buying a home or you're a seasoned owner with multiple properties, you will need a trusted mortgage broker in Mount Pleasant, SC, with your best interests at heart.
If you're like most people, you need a mortgage professional whose top priority is their customers - an expert who can provide accurate advice and guidance so you can make educated decisions. That's where Mija Mortgage comes into the picture.
Whether you want the best interest rates or don't know where to start in the home-buying process, Mija Mortgage can set you up in the right direction. From getting you pre-qualified to buy a home to securing a veteran's loan, Mija Mortgage is the trusted solution you need. As Mount Pleasant natives, we're proud to serve the Lowcountry and all of South Carolina with trusted mortgage brokerage services.
Unlike some mortgage companies in Mount Pleasant, SC, we bring years of high-level experience and insight to the table. Having worked with hundreds of clients during our time in business, we know you're probably going through a range of emotions right now. Buying a new home can be a scary process, especially for first-time buyers. That's why we make every effort to make ourselves accessible and available for clients. Our primary goal is to help you make the right mortgage for your family and your budget.
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:
Most people simply don't have access to the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to purchase a home with cash. Instead, they take out a mortgage loan to buy a home. Unfortunately, many homebuyers are anxious to get the ball rolling and, due to their excitement, fail to shop around for the best mortgage rates. To some degree, avoiding this step makes sense, as it requires a lot of legwork and research to get the job done. For those not wanting to spend hours researching a reasonable mortgage, there's an alternative to consider - working with a mortgage broker.
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 Mount Pleasant, 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:
Most people choose to use a mortgage broker because they have access to different lenders and interest rates. But a great mortgage broker brings more to the table than a choice of lenders.
Save You from Unneeded Stress:One of the biggest advantages of hiring a mortgage broker is that they can find and vet loans while managing the mortgage process on your behalf. The best mortgage companies, like Mija Mortgage, hire brokers who are experts at keeping underwriting on track, coordinating with relevant parties, and handling all paperwork involved. At the end of the day, mortgage brokers save you stress and time and often expedite the closing process.
More Access: We touched on this earlier, but it bears repeating: A mortgage broker provides access to a range of loans, rates, and lenders. In fact, many mortgage brokers can get rates lower than what the average person could get from a lender.
Save You Money: There's a chance that your mortgage broker can get your mortgage fees reduced or waived by the lender, which could save you a good deal of money.
Help with Unfavorable Financial Situations: Expert mortgage brokers can often assist in challenging financial situations, like when a buyer has inconsistent income or less-than-perfect credit. Experienced brokers, like those at Mija Mortgage, are often aware of lenders willing to will work with nontraditional borrowers.
Provide Key Insights: Mortgage brokers share important insights, such as your chances for a home loan approval and exactly how much house you can afford. They can also save you from making costly mistakes based on their years of expertise in the mortgage industry.
While settling on the best type of home loan isn't as exciting as searching for the home of your dreams, it's equally important. Yes, your Mija Mortgage loan officer in Mount Pleasant, SC, will be happy to help explain the differences between home loans. But understanding the basics ahead of time will save you stress and time in the long run.
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.
Do you have questions about the complexities of mortgages and home loans? As your advocate, Mija Mortgage is here to answer any questions you have about mortgages and the home-buying process. We encourage you to call our office to speak directly with one of our mortgage experts or continue reading below for answers to some frequently asked questions.
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 Mount Pleasant, 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 Mount Pleasant, 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.
MOUNT PLEASANT — Town Council has approved borrowing $50 million for a park and recreation initiative that voters narrowly approved in a November referendum, setting those plans in motion ahead of a coming property tax increase.Most of the money, about $40 million, will be used to create a new park complex on more than 120 acres the town bought in 2010 for that purpose on Rifle Range Road just north of Six Mile Road.The rest will improve existing facilities and expand a town bike/pedestrian trail network.The first ...
MOUNT PLEASANT — Town Council has approved borrowing $50 million for a park and recreation initiative that voters narrowly approved in a November referendum, setting those plans in motion ahead of a coming property tax increase.
Most of the money, about $40 million, will be used to create a new park complex on more than 120 acres the town bought in 2010 for that purpose on Rifle Range Road just north of Six Mile Road.
The rest will improve existing facilities and expand a town bike/pedestrian trail network.
The first project the money will fund is renovations of the Park West swimming pool setup.
“That’s fully designed and we are going through permitting,” Director of Recreation Steve Gergick said.
The pool space doesn’t have air conditioning, heat, lockers or family changing rooms. All that will change, Gergick said, and the town will begin the process of choosing a construction company for the work in February.
The Rifle Range Road park plan is expected to relieve pressure on the town’s overwhelmed playing fields and courts while providing new amenities in a central location.
The only hint of the park’s existence now is a small parking lot and a trailhead leading into the woods and wetlands. Plans call for soccer fields, pickleball and tennis courts, a gymnasium, a network of trails, performance pavilion, fishing piers and more.
Becky Williamson, who coached tennis at Wando High School for 12 years before retirement, said it’s been hard to find available courts in recent years.
“People are moving here in droves and many of them play tennis,” she said.
Al Bradshaw-Whittemore, local ambassador for the United States Pickleball Association, is looking forward to the eight pickleball courts planned at the new park.
“It’s exploded, pickleball,” he told Town Council at a Jan. 10 meeting. “Every time I teach I have more and more people.”
Following council’s approval for borrowing $50 million, the town expects to issue bonds Jan. 27. Proposals to the town from architectural and design firms hoping to work on the new park are due the same day.
“We’ll have to go through a full design process and permitting,” Gergick said. “I would expect construction to begin in 2024.”
“It’s going to be a jewel for the town, it really is,” he said.
The town’s park site is adjacent to a Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission property that has not been improved. The combined 245 acres were purchased together in 2010 for $20 million, mostly using county greenbelt money.
Mount Pleasant is an affluent suburb with low property taxes, and the November referendum to raise the tax rate to pay for the park and recreation projects barely passed by a vote of 20,925 to 20,254.
Charleston County dropped plans for a tax-raising referendum to fund affordable housing in 2022, partly because the town’s referendum would be on the ballot in the same election. A majority of Mount Pleasant voters had previously rejected referendums on countywide housing and town parks.
Property owners can expect the town’s portion of their annual tax bill to rise by 10 percent starting with the bills that go out in October. The tax increase is expected to remain in place for 15 years to pay off the debt, which will be more than $50 million with interest.
The impact on tax bills will vary depending on the value of a property and whether it’s residential or commercial. A person with a home valued at $500,000 for tax purposes would pay another $80 yearly, for example.
Two members of the nine-person Town Council had opposed holding the referendum: Mayor Will Haynie and Councilwoman Brenda Corley. On Jan. 10 they joined a unanimous vote to do as voters asked and borrow the $50 million.
Brandon D’Agostino was a member of SOCiETY, formerly MethodRide, for two years before taking his biggest stride yet: buying the business. Having been named the best cycle studio in Charleston several years in a row, including 2022, D’Agostino was thrilled to take the MethodRide legacy to the next level under a new name.“Our team and community are second to none,” said D’Agostino. “I wanted to preserve that for Mount Pleasant and hopefully bring it to other cities in the future.”D’...
Brandon D’Agostino was a member of SOCiETY, formerly MethodRide, for two years before taking his biggest stride yet: buying the business. Having been named the best cycle studio in Charleston several years in a row, including 2022, D’Agostino was thrilled to take the MethodRide legacy to the next level under a new name.
“Our team and community are second to none,” said D’Agostino. “I wanted to preserve that for Mount Pleasant and hopefully bring it to other cities in the future.”
D’Agostino initially discovered rhythm-based cycling by accident. A friend turned him onto it after buying a Peloton, a popular subscription-based stationary bike that is designed to bring the cycling studio home. D’Agostino wanted to try a live class before investing in a bike, and now, he’s glad he did. That small decision turned into fate.
By trying an in-studio class, D’Agostino discovered the unique magic that happens inside a cycling studio, in the dark, when working alongside a team that tends to grow into a bona fide community.
“I have a musical background,” explained D’Agostino, “so riding to the beat of amazing playlists is what attracted me to becoming an instructor. Our coaches put a lot of thought into their playlists, curating an experience for every ride— it might make you laugh or even cry. It gets deep in there sometimes,” he said, only half kidding.
While many online and app-based workout subscriptions aim to create interactive and community-based experiences, nothing can replace the face-to-face, side-by-side energy of a group of riders working toward similar goals. D’Agostino chose the name SOCiETY because he believes that the studio exists for the community.
“Even the logo and how we spell it is significant,” he stated. “The I in SOCiETY is lowercase on purpose—it represents our members, who are at the center of everything we do.”
D’Agostino wants members to remain individuals and to be true to themselves while growing alongside the community they have so fervently built as parts of a unit.
He and his team are in the process of expanding their current location. They have leased additional space to provide functional strength training classes this fall. The innovative classes will be high-energy, athlete-style training which will sculpt the body while providing functional benefits that promote longevity and energy. They have also started offering childcare during many of their classes, which the kids love. D’Agostino loves seeing the kids get excited to visit the studio alongside mom and dad.
Looking ahead to next year and beyond, D’Agostino would like to expand to several locations in South Carolina and around the Southeast. There are many places where he believes SOCiETY would thrive in offering indoor cycling, strength training, childcare and the luxury boutique experience. Most of all, there are many places he can see building community through the love of the sport.
For more information, please visit SocietyCHS.com, or call 843-867-3339.
By Isabel Alvarez Arata
The Southern Welcome: Community Connection Heavens Marketplace: A Place to Shop and Be Inspired
MOUNT PLEASANT — A prohibition on new apartment and condominium developments has been extended for a seventh year, until mid-March 2024.Previous plans to extend the town’s apartment and condo ban into 2025 were scaled back just before the most recent moratorium extension was approved.Municipalities need a justification to impose a moratorium, and the latest reason for Mount Pleasant is that more time is needed to rewrite zoning regulations to match up with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.Previously, the m...
MOUNT PLEASANT — A prohibition on new apartment and condominium developments has been extended for a seventh year, until mid-March 2024.
Previous plans to extend the town’s apartment and condo ban into 2025 were scaled back just before the most recent moratorium extension was approved.
Municipalities need a justification to impose a moratorium, and the latest reason for Mount Pleasant is that more time is needed to rewrite zoning regulations to match up with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
Previously, the moratorium was said to be needed so that the town’s infrastructure could catch up to its rapid population growth.
A 180-day moratorium was imposed in 2016, and after it expired the town imposed a new one in March 2017 that’s been in place ever since.
Mayor Will Haynie said the zoning code update should be accomplished within a year, so a two-year extension of the moratorium was not needed.
“We all agree that governing by moratorium is not the best way to do that,” he said, just before Town Council’s unanimous vote on March 14, with Jake Rambo absent.
The town’s rapid development and population growth, and the resulting traffic, has prompted residents to elect Town Council members who pledged to slow things down. And so they have.
In addition to the moratorium, Mount Pleasant limits annual building permits, particularly for multi-family buildings. Even without a moratorium, there are no permits left this year for apartments or condos.
An earlier permit limit was in place from 2001 into 2008, and focused on single-family homes.
More recently, the town greatly increased its impact fees for development, reduced the allowed height of new buildings in many areas, and has been changing zoning rules to allow fewer dense residential developments.
Charleston Trident Association of Realtors representative Josh Dix was the only person to address council members prior to the moratorium vote. He urged that they not approve it.
“In order for us to plan for the next generation we need housing options, and single-family homes are not the only answer,” he said.
With all the restrictions, some residents may wonder why some new apartment complexes have been built nonetheless. Just two months ago, the 224-apartment Atlantic Beach House opened on Ben Sawyer Boulevard.
That apartment complex was initially blocked by the town in 2015 but was later allowed as part of a 2017 settlement that ended a lawsuit against the town.
Growth and development was a top election issue in the town in 2015, and Mount Pleasant became the most-sued municipality in the state for development-related disputes.
Other apartments created in recent years were either approved prior to the moratorium or allowed under existing development agreement contracts with the town. The last time a new apartment development was submitted to the town for review was in 2015.
The town moratorium has since 2019 included an exception for “attainable” below-market-rate housing, but no such apartment or condo developments have been proposed.
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A new taco shop is set to open in Mount Pleasant this spring boasting unique flavors set in a tropical theme.The owners of White Duck Taco Shop, which originated in Asheville, North Carolina, have been renovating the former Sticky Fingers restaurant on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard for the past year.A complete overhaul of the building included opening the ceiling and removing some walls to create a larger feel inside the e...
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A new taco shop is set to open in Mount Pleasant this spring boasting unique flavors set in a tropical theme.
The owners of White Duck Taco Shop, which originated in Asheville, North Carolina, have been renovating the former Sticky Fingers restaurant on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard for the past year.
A complete overhaul of the building included opening the ceiling and removing some walls to create a larger feel inside the establishment. Bamboo is being used to section off seating areas and fresh paint will brighten up the once-dark barbecue joint.
Muralist Lacey Hennessey was brought in from Greenville, South Carolina to help merge the planned color scheme to give the restaurant its tropical feel and showcase floral themes, a large VW bus, and even a surfing duck.
“We’re very proud of what she accomplished here,” said Laura Reuss, who owns the restaurant.
The bar area will feature big-screen televisions and windows will open up to an outdoor lanai with bar service in addition to its deck area. “It gives an open-air feeling even though we’re in the middle of Mount Pleasant,” said Reuss.
Reuss has been working in the restaurant industry since she was a teenager. She left Park City, Utah in 2010 – working in restaurants at ski resorts – to later open the first White Duck Taco Shop in North Carolina.
The idea was to create a fun atmosphere where patrons would feel comfortable enjoying great, from-scratch food at affordable prices.
“We had been working at four- and five-star restaurants. We really wanted to be more approachable to everyone. So, we came up with the idea of White Duck Taco Shop,” she said.
The new restaurant ushered in new life for a part of Asheville that was still in its growth phase – the River Arts District.
“We were in Asheville, we actually moved there to start the brand. It was really a mom-and-pop organization, we just couldn’t keep up—it was crazy,” she said of opening the new shop.
The new location in Mount Pleasant will be White Duck Taco’s 14th venture.
Reuss and her late husband had roots in the Charleston area. And after reopening its other locations post-COVID-19 pandemic, she decided that it was the right time to bring the restaurant to the Lowcountry.
“I spent about seven, eight months looking for the perfect location with a lot of help from other people, and we came across Sticky Fingers,” she recalled.
A crew came in to determine how best to transform the former barbecue restaurant into a brightly-colored taco shop. After a few bumps in the road, thanks to logistics and delivery woes – White Duck Taco will soon serve customers just in time for the summer season.
Reuss described the menu as unique fusion tacos. “We do everything from fried oyster tacos, pork belly tacos with pickled watermelon rind, we have Thai peanut chicken tacos … the whole idea was to take really cool flavors and just put it in the form of a taco so that you could eat almost internationally.”
If you order a sandwich or burger off a menu, you only get to try one style or flavor at a time. Here, you’ll be able to select three variations in one sitting.
“The taco is the new American way,” she said. “Everyone loves a taco and a beer.”
Reuss is eyeing an opening in mid-to-late April depending upon final approvals from the Town of Mount Pleasant.
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders in the Town of Mount Pleasant will soon assess traffic patterns and volume through a comprehensive study.Mayor Will Haynie said the town will take an in-depth look at the flow of traffic and see what can be done to reduce the number of vehicles traveling on roads throughout the town.“I mean, there always seems to be traffic,” said one motorist. It’s a concern often echoed to town leadership by those who live or work in Mount Pleasant.“The number one comp...
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders in the Town of Mount Pleasant will soon assess traffic patterns and volume through a comprehensive study.
Mayor Will Haynie said the town will take an in-depth look at the flow of traffic and see what can be done to reduce the number of vehicles traveling on roads throughout the town.
“I mean, there always seems to be traffic,” said one motorist. It’s a concern often echoed to town leadership by those who live or work in Mount Pleasant.
“The number one complaint I get from residents is traffic,” said Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie in an interview with News 2.
Mount Pleasant’s leaders have taken note of those concerns – they are now preparing to act.
“What we want to look at; what we’ll be discussing at our committee on Monday is a comprehensive look at traffic management in the town,” Mayor Haynie said.
Mayor Haynie said the study is not about building new roads, it’s about managing the traffic on roads already in use.
“We’re going to look at how the signals work,” he said. “We’re going to look at how the turn lanes are striped; we’re going to look at where the traffic patterns are.”
Drivers say the study is long overdue.
“The population here over the past decade has increased greatly. The roads are exactly the same,” said motorist Braden Burleson.
Drivers say they see several issues on the town’s roadways
“The volume of traffic, the stop-and-go of the lights. You can get momentum, you can look ahead, and the light looks green, but you’ll be slamming on breaks because cars aren’t able to get through the light,” Burleson continued.
And because of those issues, drivers do not always feel comfortable on the roads.
“I don’t feel too safe. I feel like I’m ready to get off the road,” she said.
Telisha Haworth, who said she often finds herself in stop-and-go traffic while commuting to work, is pleased to hear about the forthcoming study.
“I think that’s good. Definitely looking into it. I mean, I don’t know if they’ll be to fix it or not.”
Town leaders said the goal of the study is to reduce traffic and improve residents’ quality of life.
“The more you are at home with your family enjoying that quality of life, instead of sitting in traffic, the better,” said Mayor Haynie.
Mayor Haynie said this will be the first comprehensive traffic study conducted for the town since 2017.