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food truck friday

Cressy & Everett Real Estate, in conjunction with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, Evelyn Mae's BBQ, and Sammy Arepas, will hold a Food Truck Friday and Blood Drive event on Friday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cressy & Everett – Saint Joseph, 3687 S. Lakeshore Drive.

Residents in good health and aged 16 and older are encouraged to sign up for a time to donate at

For frequently asked questions about blood donation, visit


How Home Equity Fuels Your Next Move

Selling your home is as much of a lifestyle decision as it is a financial decision. Like any other investment, you want to make sure that you're making financially responsible decisions every step of the way. One option that you have when selling your home is to use your current equity to finance your next move. Research shows that more and more homeowners are gaining equity in their homes regardless of state. By paying the equity in your current home towards purchasing a new home, you can achieve your real estate goals sooner than later.

What is Home Equity?

The equity in your home is its current value minus the remaining mortgage debt. As you pay your monthly mortgage, you grow the equity in your home. For instance, If you purchased your home for $200,000 using a mortgage loan and only have $50,000 remaining on the loan, your home equity is $150,000.

How Can I Use My Existing Equity?

As you consider selling your home, you likely already have another real estate goal in mind. Whether you're downsizing or purchasing a home for your growing lifestyle needs, you'll need to create a plan for how you're going to buy a new house. Instead of using your savings for another down payment, you can leverage the existing equity in your home to fund the purchase of your next home. There are a few ways that you can use your existing equity when selling your home:

  • You could use the existing equity as collateral for your next home.

As you search for a lender to secure a mortgage for a new home, they may allow you to use the existing equity in your current home as collateral. One advantage of this option is that many lenders will match the rate of your original mortgage.

  • You could use a cash-out refinance.

The option allows you to pocket the equity as cash to put towards the new home. Prior to selling your home, you may have refinanced your mortgage. This option works similarly, allowing you to use as much as 85 percent of the home's appraised value in equity.

  • You could take out a HELOC.

A HELOC, or a Home Equity Line of Credit, gives you a set balance that you can use as much as necessary. For instance, if your HELOC is for $20,000, you can choose to only use $10,000 of it. This is beneficial because you'll only pay interest on what you use, not the full amount.

  • You could finance all of your new home's purchase price with your equity.

A mortgage lender may allow you to accept a loan for 80 percent of the purchase price and then take out a home equity line of credit for the remaining 20 percent. After selling your home, you'll then use the profits to pay off that home equity line of credit.

Is using your equity to fund a new house purchase the right decision when selling your home? That depends on how much equity you have and how much you need to finance for a new home. Speak with your real estate agent to determine if leveraging your equity when selling your home is right for you.


If you were born somewhere between 1980 and 1998, you are a part of the Millennial generation.  Since you were born with the Internet practically at your fingertips, it only makes sense to say you live in a research-driven world.

Today, Millennials make up the largest group of home buyers and are powering the modern housing market.  If homeownership is a part of your American dream, here are seven tips to help you have a better idea of what it takes to buy your first home.

  1. Educate yourself.
    When you're ready to make the plunge into buying your first home, I can walk with you through the home-buying process.  We will research available financial programs for first-time home buyers, discuss the mortgage application and approval processes, talk about what happens after you have a contract in place, learn about closing costs…the list goes on and on.

  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
    Before you start your home search, you need to know your budget. The pre-approval process will help you do this.  While the pre-approval process gives you an idea of how much home you can afford, it is not the same as loan approval. It's a quick review of your income and expenses and an estimate of what the lender would be willing to loan you. Loan approval requires documentation (paycheck stubs, tax returns, bank statements, home appraisals), and that all happens once you have a contract in place, so get your documents together.

  3. Decide where you want to live.
    Do you want a condo or single-family home? We can talk about different neighborhoods and decide which one fits best with your lifestyle.

  4. Don't expect to get everything you want.
    The National Association of REALTORS® says most people stay in a home between six and nine years.  It stands to reason you may buy several homes in your lifetime. Buy what you can afford and what works for you now (and possibly for the next few years to come). 

  5. Don't overspend.
    Lenders are in the business of lending money. You may technically be able to afford a $300,000 home, but that might mean you never go on vacation (or even out to dinner).

  6. Be realistic.
    If you're handy, buy something that needs work. If not, forego the fixer-upper. It's not as easy as it looks on TV unless you have a big budget for contractors.

  7. Get a home inspection.
    An inspection should uncover foundation problems, water damage, and big-ticket electrical or plumbing issues that you just won't find on a walk through.

Contact me when you're ready to start the search for your first home.


 Jeannine Wilson


With less than a week til Christmas, today's feature is Light Up The Bluff along Lake Boulevard in downtown St. Joe featuring over 1 million holiday lights.

This marks the 14th year, of the light display from Park St. to Port and even down below in the Whirlpool field where frosty the snowman sits. 

So grab a hot chocolate from South Bend Chocolate Company and walk the bluff that overlooks Lake Michigan. accompanied by songs of the season.

 The lights will remain on through Valentine's Day in Michigan's Most Romantic City. This display is sponsored by the St. Joseph Improvement Association in partnership with the City of St. Joseph.


Buying a Home - Read This Before You Apply for a Mortgage

Our real estate agents often hear from our new clients that the process of getting a mortgage is intimidating. That's understandable!

Having an experienced real estate agent on your side does a lot to make applying for a home mortgage manageable.

Even so, it's important to know a few things about the process. Once you learn more, you'll see exactly what you need to do to make things easier.

That can be just what it takes to make your worries evaporate. The truth is, most people learn getting a mortgage is quite a bit easier than they imagined. It just takes some preparation.

These four steps will make it easier:

Click Here to

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 10/05/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 10/05/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of MichRic (Michigan Regional Information Center) (last updated Wed 10/05/2022 7:32:04 AM EST) or GNIAR MLS (last updated Wed 10/05/2022 7:24:52 AM EST) or IRMLS (last updated Wed 10/05/2022 7:24:49 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Cressy & Everett Real Estate may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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Agency License Information: Cressy & Everett Real Estate is licensed in the states of Indiana and Michigan.

Agent License Information: Jeannine Wilson is licensed to sell real estate in the state of Michigan.

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