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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's Island natives, we're proud to serve the Lowcountry and all of South Carolina with trusted mortgage brokerage services.
Unlike some mortgage companies in Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's 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:
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 Sullivan's Island, 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 Sullivan's 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 Sullivan's 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.
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Circuit Court has ruled to preserve the Sullivan’s Island Maritime Forest. This comes after the town’s previous council approved a settlement agreement that would allow development to take place where the forest currently sits.The circuit court ruled in favor of the Town of Sullivan’s Island’s request to invalidate the settlement agreement that was agreed upon by the previous town council.“I was thrilled,” Sullivan’s Island...
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Circuit Court has ruled to preserve the Sullivan’s Island Maritime Forest. This comes after the town’s previous council approved a settlement agreement that would allow development to take place where the forest currently sits.
The circuit court ruled in favor of the Town of Sullivan’s Island’s request to invalidate the settlement agreement that was agreed upon by the previous town council.
“I was thrilled,” Sullivan’s Island resident Cyndy Ewing said. “It’s a monumental ruling.”
Many Sullivan’s Island neighbors and elected officials are pleased with the ruling that will protect the island’s 200-acre maritime forest from development.
“The judge agreed that that agreement was not legal under state law,” Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil said. “And one main issue there was that one sitting council for a municipality may not tie the hands of subsequent councils for a municipality.”
The ruling, which was handed down earlier this week, gives Sullivan’s Island Town Council complete authority over the forest.
“They can talk about how we can manage this land for the safety and enjoyment of all the residents,” Ewing said. “It’s thrilling.”
Ewing is thrilled because she says without the forest, the island would be nearly uninhabitable.
“It actually holds the land,” she said, “the plants out here, hold our land together. It also protects us from storm surge and hurricanes and flooding.”
In addition to keeping the island whole, and protecting residents from storms, O’Neil says the maritime forest is special for another reason.
“This is land which has been growing,” he said, “it’s been accreting. Whereas nearly every other barrier island along the East Coast is eroding. So, our island is getting bigger.”
Town residents say after years of dispute, they’re elated the court finally saw the forest for the trees.
“What we are looking forward to is being able to celebrate this incredible resource that we’ve been given instead of having to fight to protect it,” Ewing said.
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Folly Beach residents voted to decide if a cap should be placed on the number of short-term rentals on the island.“This is our referendum vote today on whether to put a cap on short-term rentals,” Folly Beach resident Elton Culpepper said.There are currently more than 1100 active short-term rentals on the island, however the cap would limit that number to 800.“It was put in as an arbitrary number earlier on because basically that was at the time th...
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Folly Beach residents voted to decide if a cap should be placed on the number of short-term rentals on the island.
“This is our referendum vote today on whether to put a cap on short-term rentals,” Folly Beach resident Elton Culpepper said.
There are currently more than 1100 active short-term rentals on the island, however the cap would limit that number to 800.
“It was put in as an arbitrary number earlier on because basically that was at the time the petition was proposed,” Folly Beach resident Ann Peets said.
The petition was proposed by a group of residents who go by Save Folly’s Future. They say the presence of too many short-term rentals has diminished their quality of life.
“Some of them work really well,” Peets said, “the landlords are great, and they really manage them well. But the downside of others is that the partying has gotten out of hand. We have people racing golf carts in the middle of the night. We have people lighting up fireworks in the street.”
They also believe the rentals put a lot of strain on the city’s resources and infrastructure.
“It adds stress to the traffic on the island,” Folly Beach resident Bubba Catoe said. “It adds stress to the municipal works; the trash pickup, the response from our public safety.”
But some residents are against the proposed cap because they believe it would adversely affect their home’s property value.
“This cap starts us on the progressive path to becoming Sullivan’s Island,” Culpepper said. “They want 800 now, then they want 600 later, 400, 200. Sullivan’s Island doesn’t have the uniqueness we have here at Folly Beach. I don’t want that type of lifestyle.”
Residents are hoping Tuesday’s election turns out in their favor.
“I’d like to see the vote be yes in favor of an investment short-term rental cap,” Catoe said.
“I’m very optimistic,” Culpepper said.
“We’re hoping for a yes vote to cap those investment short-term rentals going forward,” Peets said.
The unofficial election results provided by the Charleston County Board of Elections: 655 YES // 578 NO.
The Town of Sullivan’s Island and Fort Moultrie are hosting Carolina Day events to commemorate the Battle of Sullivan’s Island that took place on June 28, 1776.The Town of Sullivan’s Island, along with Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, is hosting a morning event on June 25 to honor the historic Revolutionary War battle.Even though the entire conflict took place on the island and was one of the first great American victories of the Revolutionary War, little had been done on Sullivan’s Island to mark the ev...
The Town of Sullivan’s Island and Fort Moultrie are hosting Carolina Day events to commemorate the Battle of Sullivan’s Island that took place on June 28, 1776.
The Town of Sullivan’s Island, along with Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, is hosting a morning event on June 25 to honor the historic Revolutionary War battle.
Even though the entire conflict took place on the island and was one of the first great American victories of the Revolutionary War, little had been done on Sullivan’s Island to mark the event until 2019 when the town, along with Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, began to reestablish a commemoration to complement activities in downtown Charleston organized by the Palmetto Society. Since then the Sullivan’s Island event has grown steadily.
Carolina Day festivities on Sullivan’s Island will take place on the plaza in front of Town Hall on at 9 a.m. Activities will include raising of the Moultrie flag, a proclamation by Mayor Patrick O’Neil, participation by the Daughters of the American Revolution and a special speaker on the history of the battle.
An extra special treat will be the firing of a musket salute by members of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment, Col. Moultrie’s own unit. Invocation and benediction will be by Rev. Daniel Massie. Refreshments including doughnuts, coffee and orange juice will be served.
Everyone, including students of all ages, islanders both old and new, visitors and anyone interested in learning more about the first significant event in Sullivan’s Island history are encouraged to attend the ceremony on June 25.
Additionally, Fort Moultrie will celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island with events on June 25 and 26.
At Fort Moultrie from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be living history soldiers in period uniforms, musket and cannon drills and firing demonstrations.
Visitors of all ages have the chance to experience the American Revolution through the life of a soldier at Fort Moultrie. The park entrance fee has been waived June 25.
Cannon demonstrations will be on Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. Musket demonstrations will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m.
Patriots and Loyalists will be represented with the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and 33rd Regiment of Foot.
Fort Moultrie is located at 1214 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island. The park represents the history of static seacoast defense in the United States, from the American Revolution to the end of World War II.
For more information call 843-883-3123 or visit www.nps.gov/fosu.
Residents and island visitors gathered on a clear Saturday at the steps of Town Hall Plaza on Sullivan’s Island to commemorate the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, an annual event hosted by Battery Gadsden Cultural Center.On June 28, 1776, Sgt. William Jasper and others from the Second South Carolina Regiment, which was commanded by Col. William Moultrie, hoisted a regimental flag upon a partially completed palmetto ...
Residents and island visitors gathered on a clear Saturday at the steps of Town Hall Plaza on Sullivan’s Island to commemorate the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, an annual event hosted by Battery Gadsden Cultural Center.
On June 28, 1776, Sgt. William Jasper and others from the Second South Carolina Regiment, which was commanded by Col. William Moultrie, hoisted a regimental flag upon a partially completed palmetto log fort to defend colonial Charleston against a major land and sea assault led by British Admiral Sir Peter Parker and Gen. Henry Clinton.
On Saturday, emcee Chuck Galis welcomed the gathering crowd to a Carolina Day celebration. Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil read a proclamation to kick off the ceremony. Members of Boy Scout Troop 59, which meets regularly at Stella Maris Church on the island, led a presentation and raising of the bright blue Moultrie Flag, followed by a dramatic musket salute by members of the modern-day Second South Carolina Regiment.
Maggie Adams, regent for St. Sullivan Chapter-NSDAR, recalled the life, death and courageous example of Col. Michael Kovats, a Hungarian cavalryman who trained and led the Continental Army during the British siege of Charleston. In January 1777, Kovats penned a letter to then-American Ambassador in France, Benjamin Franklin, in which he pledged his sword to defend the Continental Army’s cause. He famously closed the letter with the salutation, “Most faithful unto death.” Kovats ultimately gave his life in the American War for Independence on May 11, 1779. (Wikipedia reports, “To this date, Michael de Kovats is celebrated by cadets at The Citadel Military College in Charleston, South Carolina, where part of the campus is named in his honor. The Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has a statue sculpted by Paul Takacs and executed by Attila Dienes.”)
Mike Walsh, president of the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, closed the ceremony by conveying the 2022 Cultural Stewardship Award to former Sullivan’s Island resident Wayne Stelljes. The Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Massie offered a benediction.
Rob Byko is a local Realtor and avid photographer. All photos in this story are by Rob Byko Photography and are copyrighted. All rights reserved.
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Sullivan’s Seafood Restaurant was an island staple from 1988 until Sept. 6, 2020, when owners Sammy Rhodes and Donna Rhodes Hiott permanently closed the local favorite. Ben and Kate Towill hope their restaurant — which opened in the 2019 Middle St. space May 17 — will honor the building’s past while ushering it into the future.Sullivan’s Fish Camp is now open, serving customers local seafood an...
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Sullivan’s Seafood Restaurant was an island staple from 1988 until Sept. 6, 2020, when owners Sammy Rhodes and Donna Rhodes Hiott permanently closed the local favorite. Ben and Kate Towill hope their restaurant — which opened in the 2019 Middle St. space May 17 — will honor the building’s past while ushering it into the future.
Sullivan’s Fish Camp is now open, serving customers local seafood and beach-themed cocktails Tuesday through Sunday.
The Towills are the owners of design and hospitality firm Basic Projects. Kate, head of design for the Charleston-based company, has led the design of residential and commercial properties, including an athletic club and Basic Projects’ two other restaurants: Basic Kitchen and Post House.
Alongside her husband, Basic Projects head of operations Eva Suarez and other members of the team, Kate led the two-year renovation of Sullivan’s Fish Camp, where she set out to create a 1970s-inspired beachside aesthetic. Her goal was to give the space a fresh look with elements honoring Sullivan’s Seafood, like a framed flag and original menu.
A place that feels new and nostalgic all at once.
“That’s been the biggest compliment that we have received is (people saying) ‘Oh it feels like it’s been here forever,’ ” Kate Towill said.
Leading the kitchen as executive chef is Davis Hood, who grew up on Isle of Palms with his brother Nathan, culinary director of Basic Projects. Hood, who recalls walking by the Middle Street building on his way to Sullivan’s Island Elementary School, is focusing on sustainability at the new Sullivan’s Island restaurant.
Local purveyors like Abundant Seafood, Tarvin Seafood, Lowcountry Oyster Co., Vertical Roots and Peculiar Pig Farm dot the Sullivan’s Fish Camp menu.
“It’s not your average fish camp in my eyes,” Hood said. “The whole concept of snout to tail cooking, we’re trying to bring that vibe but with fish. Understanding that the ocean is such an important part of our lives and not trying to have any waste.”
If there is one dish that epitomizes this approach, it’s the Sullivan’s Island Gumbo that features Tarvin Seafood shrimp, clams, okra, lobster broth, dayboat fish and Anson Mills Charleston Gold Rice. The West African style gumbo’s gluten-free base is made using chicken bones, lobster shells, shrimp shells, fennel, celery, palm oil and Bradford Family Farm okra, which replaces a roux as the stew’s thickening agent.
Ben Towill said the gumbo, along with the pan-roasted fish of the day and tempura nori tuna with furikake aioli have been some of the restaurant’s top sellers in its first weeks of service.
“We feel like the menu’s been received really well,” Ben Towill said. “Guests and everyone have felt really comfortable which has been a big bonus.”
Fresh seafood isn’t the only element that gives Sullivan’s Fish Camp that desired beachside feel. Self-described “fruity” cocktails like the tequila-based Sumter’s Watch, rum-based Sullivan Swizzle and the frozen paloma will immediately put patrons on island time.
Sullivan’s Fish Camp is open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and lunch is currently served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The restaurant plans to eventually serve lunch and dinner daily.
For more information, visit sullivansfishcamp.com or call 843-883-2100.