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




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



What to expect when Inspecting…

So, you’ve gotten an accepted offer on the house of your dreams…Now what?

There are many things that must be done, but for today, we will focus on your inspection.

In AR Real Estate contracts, there is verbiage that state you will have 10 business days to inspect your new home. Unless you and your agent make changes to the contract, you should focus on that 10 day time frame. Remember, it is up to you to inspect your home and know what you are buying.

There are a list of  licensed home inspectors that your agent can provide you with. These home inspectors are typically not licensed in any specialty, ie…heating/air, electrical, plumbing, or structural engineers. They will do an inspection of the home using a checklist of items that they will inspect. Once they’ve done the inspection, they should walk through the home with you and discuss any issues or areas of concerns. If there is something that doesn’t meet the requirements, they may encourage you to have a licensed person reinspect that particular item. The licensed inspectors may charge $200 or more depending on the size of the home. I encourage All Buyers to get a Professional Inspection.

If there are some repair concerns, the Home Inspector will go over them with you and give you a checklist of things that you may want to consider having repaired by either yourself or the seller.

Once you’ve done your inspection, you can:

  • Sign an Inspection, Repair, and Survey Addendum stating that you have fully inspected the home and you are Not Asking the Seller for Repairs.
  • Sign an Inspection, Repair, and Survey Addendum stating that you ARE Asking the Seller to Do Repairs. These repairs will be negotiated between the buyer and seller.
  • Sign a Termination stating that you are not happy with the Inspection and you want to Terminate your offer.

You will have the right to re-inspect the home prior to closing to assure all repairs, if being done by the seller, are performed to your satisfaction. Your agent should be Extremely Specific on the repairs you ask for. Remember, it is still up to you to fully inspect the home and make sure everything is done to YOUR Satisfaction. Once you’ve done your final walk-through (This should be done just prior to Closing) you will be asked to sign off on the home stating you’ve had the right to inspect it and you are accepting the home.

Does this sound like too much information? Don’t Fret, Because if you are using a Real Estate Agent, they should walk you through these steps… one by one! We will make sure you have all of the crucial information at hand to protect your interest.

Be an informed Buyer! I’ll be happy to represent you if you are looking for Real Estate in The Arkansas Real Estate Market, preferably, in the Clarksville AR, Russellville AR, Ozark AR,  and Arkansas River Valley areas. If you are wanting an agent outside of this area, feel free to contact me and I can help you find an agent in your area.

Have a Great Day!

Teresa Smith

RE/MAX First




First Steps to Buying A Home

I get a lot of questions from potential buyers asking ” Where do I start when I want to buy a home?” Well, my First suggestion is to find a Realtor®. One that was either recommended by someone you know or an agent that you feel comfortable talking to. It is your right to choose your agent. You may have to interview a few of them to find the one you feel comfortable with. There is something called a “Buyer’s Agency” that a real estate agent should ask you to sign. This is permission to represent you as your agent. It is AR Real Estate Law that one is signed by the buyer. It will also give permission to be a “Dual Agent.” A Dual Agency just means that the agent can represent you, as well as, the seller. So, if you look at homes listed by the company the agent works for, they represent that seller. If you’re not comfortable with that, you should discuss this with your agent.

The Second suggestion would be to meet with a lender to get Pre Qualifed for a loan. You can use a lender from the bank where you do business, or perhaps your real estate agent can give you a list of lenders in your area.

It is very important to get the Pre Qualification because:

*You will know if you meet lender requirements to buy the home
*You will get an estimate of what your closing cost and/or out of pocket expenses will be
*You will know what Home Price Range to search in
*You will know what your estimated monthly payment will be ,including taxes and insurance
*You will know what loan type you qualify for;  Your agent can help you find a home that meets loan requirements
*It saves you time. So when you find the home you like, you can write an offer quickly. Some sellers may require that you provide a “pre-approval” letter when submitting the offer.

The Third suggestion is Have Fun! Look at homes that are within your budget. You may need to look at several before deciding on the one you like. Once you find the one, let your Real Estate Agent help you write the perfect offer to protect your interest.

Mortgage Interest Rates are still at Record Lows! More than likely, you can buy a home cheaper than paying rent. There are loans out there that require as little as $500 Down. Some programs will even assist in your down payment. Take the first Step, Choose me as your Realtor®.

Put me to work for You!

Teresa Smith

RE/MAX First Realty