First Time Home Buyers

Are you excited about the Real Estate Market? If not, you should be if you are contemplating a home purchase soon. The market is steady with a lot of homes that are “move in ready” and with record low interest rates, I’m sure you can buy a home cheaper than renting. If you’re a first time Home Buyer, there’s even more reason to seriously consider making a move.

Did you know, USDA loans are one of the most active loan products in the Clarksville AR, Russellville AR, Lamar AR and surrounding areas? There are a couple of other terms for this loan. Some may call it an “RD” loan or some may refer to it as a First Time Home Buyer Loan. The great thing is, you do not have to be a first time buyer to apply for this loan. You can go to almost any lender and do a Pre-Qualification to see if you meet the requirements as a buyer. In addition, there is no down payment and your closing costs are financed into your loan. The only out of pocket expense for you would be the cost of the appraisal. It is typically between $450-$550.That is awesome! Most people think they need thousands of dollars for a down payment in order to purchase a home. If you weren’t considering buying before, that may be a great reason to investigate the real estate market.

I’ve recently sold some homes in the Clarksville AR and Russellville AR area where the buyer’s interest rates were at an amazing 2.75% to 3.75%. That is an incredible bonus for any home buyer. With those types of interest rates, you can save $$$ over the years in interest alone. Or maybe you will choose to “buy more house for the money”. Ask your lender to compare interest rates with the same sales price and see the difference in your monthly payment and interest saved over the years. I’m not sure how these rates may change over the next few weeks or months, but I assure you, you will want to get your interest rate locked in while they are at record lows.

In addition to the RD loan, The Arkansas Dept of Finance and Administration, aka ADFA, have some great Homeownership Programs to assist you with covering your closing cost or down payment.This will help with building equity in your home faster as you do not have to finance those cost into your loan. They vary in eligibility for FHA loans, VA Guaranteed Loans, RD loans, and some Conventional Loans. Any mortgage lender should be able to go over the various possibilities. Here are some highlights to the different assistance programs and some of the qualifications given by the ADFA to help make buyers more knowledgeable about these programs:

  • “ADFA Advantage”- Tax Exempt Mortgage Revenue Bond: Key components are a very low mortgage interest rate and You can not have owned a principal residence in the last 3 years, (VA and VA spouses are exempt from the first time home buyer requirement).
  • “ADFA Move-Up”-Rate is set daily, No first time home buyer requirement,the income limit is up to $130,000/3 or more people in the home, and the purchase price of the home can be up to $250,000.
  • Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative (ADDI)- Qualified buyer can receive up to 6% of the sales price in assistance. (not to exceed $10,000). Buyer must be a First Time Home Buyer (Can not have owned any property in the last 3 years), does not have a credit score requirement, purchase price limit of  $250,000.
  • Down Payment Assistance (DPA)- Do not have to be a first time buyer, no credit score limit, and loan amount  is $1000-$6000 with a maximum payment of $60.75.
  • First Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit (MCC)- Provides a federal tax credit up to $2000 per year and the borrower can claim this tax credit each year as long as the home is the primary residence.

Those are some great programs to help with closing cost and down payment assistance. Of course, I just hit a couple of key highlights. There will be lots of criteria that your lender will go over with your to see if you qualify for any of these loan types or assistance programs. Once the Pre-Qualification is over, the fun part begins! Finding you the perfect dream home.

As your real estate agent, I will help you each step of the way when purchasing a home. It doesn’t have to be scary or stressful.Let’s start by contacting me to discuss your needs!

Teresa Smith

RE/MAX First Realty

Call or text: 479-774-5434 or email me at




Dive into the Real Estate Market

With Spring officially here, the real estate market is blooming with buyers.  The activity has been great. I’ve seen multiple offers on properties, which leads to a “highest and best” situation where the sellers can choose which buyer is making the best offer. This is great for the sellers! This Typically results in top dollar for their property.  I remember those types of situations a few years ago before the big real estate market crash. I hope this is a good sign for the real estate market.


There may be many reasons for the increased buyer activity. For one, the interest rates have been holding at record lows. There’s talk that rates may be increasing soon, but we’re hoping they stay steady. Buyers are finding that they can buy a home cheaper than paying rent. With all of the tax deductions for home ownership, there’s really no reason not to buy. There are loans available for buyers that require No Down Payment. Additionally, their are loans that offer a 3.5% down payment and some lenders will even offer, to qualified buyers, a grant to reduce it to 1% down for an FHA Loan. There are many options for buyers. The great thing is, as an agent, I can help connect you with your lender and finding the right loan product.


Another reason is that rentals are getting extremely harder to come by. There are waiting list for rentals in my area. Renters are losing lots of options on the types of homes they want to rent, in addition, not being able to have pets or getting in the school district of choice. If you’re not sure if you qualify to buy a home, why not attempt to get a preapproval? No Risk, No Reward.


If you’re looking to sell, it is the perfect time to put your house on the market. If you list your home within market value, I believe you’ll be surprised at the response.  When I place your home on the market, the first thing that happens is all of the realtors in the Multi List System see the new listing, then call their buyers that have been searching in that price range and/or criteria. Lots of calls being made to buyers to announce your house is listed! You’ll probably see the most activity within those first two weeks, as all of those patiently awaiting buyers are notified of your new listing. My theory has always been that if you have NO Showings in that first couple of weeks, the realtor’s believe it’s priced too high. If you get a lot of showings and no offers, or very low offers, the public thinks it’s priced too high.  Of course this will vary depending on certain things, for example, your home may be in a price range that is extremely inactive or it may require repairs that may keep it from qualifying for certain home loans. I believe you can price yourself out of the market and regret it months, or even years, later in the way of a settling for a  “give away” price.

The main thing is to call your agent! Whether you’re  a buyer or seller, now is a good time to dive into the market. Use this increase in market activity to your advantage.

Real Estate Clarksville AR Market

The warmer temperatures and sun-shiny days are making for a great real estate market in the Clarksville area. It was a nice day to take several sets of buyers to look around all of the great areas of Clarksville. It was also nice to see a few of my fellow agents walking around the same neighborhoods, showing houses before or behind me. It is great for our local market to see the influx of buyers wanting to relocate to the area, upgrade to a larger home, or make a change depending on the needs of their families. It was quite humorous on one showing. The neighbor came up to myself and my buyers and asked “what in the world is going on here?” He said he had seen so many people in and out of that home that his curiosity finally got the better of him. I know I had…

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Real Estate Clarksville AR Market

The warmer temperatures and sun-shiny days are making for a great real estate market in the Clarksville area. It was a nice day to take several sets of buyers to look around all of the great areas of Clarksville. It was also nice to see a few of my fellow agents walking around the same neighborhoods, showing houses before or behind me. It is great for our local market to see the influx of buyers wanting to relocate to the area, upgrade to a larger home, or make a change depending on the needs of their families. It was quite humorous on one showing. The neighbor came up to myself and my buyers and asked “what in the world is going on here?” He said he had seen so many people in and out of that home that his curiosity finally got the better of him. I know I had personally shown that home 3 times in the last 24 hours and had to schedule around other agents so I understood where he was coming from. I explained that it was a “hot foreclosure” that just came on the market and every agent is getting their client out there to see it and get their highest and best offer in. I thought for a second that he may just want to place an offer himself just because everyone else was…Love this type of excitement and anticipation for the Clarksville Real Estate Market.

Clarksville AR- Buying A Home

Clarksville, AR Market Area. RE/MAX First Realty Agent, Teresa Smith

Spring is drawing near, Income tax refunds are coming, and you wish you could buy a home rather than continuing to rent. Guess what? It could be possible.

Have you gone down to speak to a lender? Do you know what your credit score is? Have you established credit? If you’ve answered “No” to any of these questions, then we need to get you in front of a lender. There are several banks in the Clarksville AR area. I can help you contact them, just give me a call. Once you connect to a lender, then you will know if you are “credit worthy” in regards to buying a home. You may be surprised! If you’re uncomfortable and want to know your credit score before talking to a lender, there are sites like “Credit Karma” that can help you get a free credit score check. Either way, I can help you get started.

There are a few different loans available to you if you meet criteria. The main thing is, get that preapproval and then we can start looking for a home. There are loans available with Zero Money Down. You must pay “out of pocket” for your appraisal, otherwise, everything else is financed into your loan amount. You can choose to put money down if you would like. You may even qualify for a government bond assistance loan. Basically, if you meet the requirements, most of your closing cost will be paid via the bond and not added into your loan amount. What a deal!

Another loan type may be a minimum of 3.5% of the loan amount as a down payment. I’ve had a lender contact me and tell me they will be giving a 2% “forgiveness” assistance grant so you will only need 1.5% down. For someone that may be in a middle income bracket, this could be a great loan product.

Once we get that loan preapproval out of the way, we should start looking for a home. I’ve lived in the Clarksville AR area for years. There are so many parts of this area that are perfect to buy or build a new home. If you’re looking in the city, there are subdivisions like Stewart Place, Ridgewood, Westridge, Rosemary, Western Hills, Caddo Springs, Valhola and more. We would establish if you want close neighbors, a certain neighborhood, or on a busy street, or a quiet sidestreet. Poplar street is growing “popular” with home owners. It is close to the Johnson Regional Medical Center and Cline Park.  Also, going North of Main street, you will find lots of older homes with Southern Charm. These homes will be around the perimeter of The University of The Ozarks. A great addition to the town! Going south of Main Street, you will get into the downtown Clarksville area. There are some homes in the 100 year flood plain. Don’t worry, I’ll give you all of the details of these homes when we are searching. I want you to be an informed buyer!

If you’re wanting a little room to roam, then we can head north on Hwy 21 or Hwy 103 to get out in the country. There are subdivisions like Lakewood Estates, Skyline Estates, Redlick Estates, Sleepy Hollow, and Rockwall Heights subdivisions that give a little more acreage and privacy. I’ll take you on the tour of the area if you’d like. Going a little further north, you can get into the Ozone and Oark areas. Lots of National Forest, Hiking Trails, and Recreation in those areas. For the nature lover, these areas seem are sure to please.

Wanting to go a  bit East of Clarksville? There’s Lamar, Knoxville, and London as you head towards the Russellville AR area. Lots of homes that may be close to Piney Bay, Lake Dardanelle, or the Arkansas River. If you’re looking for waterfront, then let me show you that area.

Lots of homes, lots of potential, lots of looking to do! Let’s get started. Btw, you don’t have to be a first time home buyer for any of those great loans. If you need to sell your home and upgrade/downsize, there’s plenty of options for you, too!

Be sure and visit my website at to look at any home listed on the MLS. I can arrange to show you any home.

Hope you have a great day!

Teresa Smith
RE/MAX First Realty



Buying a Foreclosure or Fixer Upper vs. Move-In Ready Home

One of the most frequent questions I get from Home Buyers is whether they can buy a “fixer-upper” home or not. The answer I give them is, “It Depends.”


There are lots of considerations when deciding what type of home you’ll invest in. One that is “move in ready” or one that needs some work.  It will depend on whether you can put in the “Sweat Equity” or if you are getting a loan in which the home must be “safe, sound, and sanitary.”


If you’re looking to put in some work and have money to put down, you should consider purchasing a foreclosure or a “fixer-upper”.  You should go to your lender first to make sure you can invest in this type of home. You will more than likely need a higher down payment and need to get an appraisal both pre and post repairs. I always encourage buyers to make sure you do a thorough inspection when purchasing. You can run into some expensive repairs that could cause some major headaches and undue stress. Even if you’re purchasing ” As Is”, know what you’re buying.


When you’re making those repairs, are you planning to do them yourself or contract them out? I would suggest getting bids on the needed repairs when making the offer. If you’re going to do them yourself, don’t cut corners! You’ll be glad you did the appropriate repairs if you ever decide to sell your home. One of the worst things you can do is cut the corners and have to do the repairs again for a new buyer. It is possible that you can finance in those repairs with your home loan. Get all the Facts First!


Some key things to ask yourself:

  • What will the total investment cost you, before and after repairs
  • What will the home appraise for before and after repairs
  • Can you do the work yourself or can you afford to contract out the repairs
  • How ‘resaleable’ will your home be if you had to sell it quickly
  • Do you have the time to invest in the repairs
  • Can I finish the repairs in a timely manner
  • Have I inspected this home thoroughly and looked for hidden defects
  • Do I have the money I need to complete these repairs

If you’re anwered “yes” to these questions, then Bravo! Get to work! Sweat Equity, Here I come!


If you’ve answered “no” then maybe you should look at a home that is move in ready.


There are certain advantages to buying a home that is move in ready.  If you don’t have the money or time to invest in repairs, then buying this type of home may be what you need. You can typically purchase one with  a lower down payment.

Regardless of which way you go, be sure and work closely with your Real Estate Agent and your lender to see what is best for you. Your Real Estate agent can help along the way with each concern that may arise.  When making your decision, make sure your agent writes your offer with your best interest in mind. In the AR Real Estate Contracts, your agent should excerise your right to the 10 Business Day Inspection Time frame. Either way, you want to make sure you know what you’re buying and if it’s the right choice for you. Sometimes, you may think you’re buying the move in ready home, only to find yourself making lots of repairs after the purchase! Don’t fret, find yourself a good agent. If you need an Agent in the Clarksville Ar or Russellville AR and surrounding area, Call Teresa Smith, RE/MAX First.