Katy Van Meter

Producing Branch Manager | NMLS 166272
Phone | Fax:
3500 Boston St, #210, Baltimore City, MD 21224

With 17+ years as a Loan Officer, I strive for building lasting business and personal relationships. My performance shows that I am dedicated to what I do and pride myself on knowledge of our products in addition to knowing the importance of communication and integrity. I am always available for my clients and referral partners 24/7 and will always accurately and precisely qualify, explain and execute any loan transaction to the utmost of high standards and quality.Together with Cardinal Financial, we are dedicated to bringing a seamless experience to each and every client, and realtor partners, with up to the minute updates as each milestone is passed, and some of the quickest turn around times in the industry. We, as a team, are changing the Mortgage Industry and have created the home buying experience from start to finish, that everyone deserves to have!

Causes I Care About

Animal Welfare, Education and Literacy

My Favorite Restaurant

Texas de Brazil

My Ideal Vacation Spot


My Favorite Pastime

Spending time with my family

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking which created them."

— Albert Einstein

Hot Off The Press


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Making simple DIY home renovations is a great way to update your home on a budget.

A wise person once said, if you want something done right, do it yourself. Well, what if we told you that doing it yourself would not only result in a properly done job, but could save you a ton of money as well? DIY home renovations have become all the rage recently with all the popular programming on channels like HGTV, and of course, the DIY Network—and with good reason. A lot of services you pay money for could be done pretty easily yourself with the right instruction and guidance. Not only does it save you a lot of money, the sense of pride you feel in making home improvements yourself is unmatched. So without further ado, we’re going to show you a few ideas that could help you make some major changes to your home without leaving a major hole in your wallet.

A lot of services you pay money for could be done pretty easily yourself with the right instruction and guidance.

1. Efficiency > size

Kitchen remodels are “in” right now. Many people want more space in their kitchens; others just want a different look. If you’re one of the people who is looking for more space, why not try using the space you do have more efficiently? There’s no reason to spend all that money taking out walls when a few minor changes can give you all the space you need. Sub out those space-eating shelves and replace them with pullout drawers with racks for cans and other items. This way, you’re getting three or more planes to store things where otherwise you would only get one. It may take a few hundred bucks to deck out your cabinets with these more efficient upgrades, but you’ll save 20 times that amount by skipping the remodel you thought was necessary.

2. paint!

Perhaps one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to upgrade your home on your own is painting! A fresh coat of paint in your home can make a room look clean and new, which can translate into increased value. When picking colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable to a larger number of people. The average gallon of paint costs around $25, so buy a few gallons, rollers, brushes and whatever else you’ll need and bring out your inner artist!

3. Floor upgrade

Giving your wooden floors a refresh is a good way to give your home a new look. Sand your natural wood floor and apply a new coat of varnish. If they’re stained, apply wood stain in the same color. There are plenty of videos online that can guide you through the process of sanding and varnishing your floors, but if you deem the task to be beyond your capabilities, painting your floors or using peel-and-stick tiles in some areas can go a long way in giving your home a needed upgrade.

4. Demo It Yourself

Finally, the fun stuff. Knocking stuff down isn’t as expensive as building, but you can still save a lot of money if you do it yourself. Be cautioned, though: the process can be risky depending on what you plan to demo. Experts caution to stay away from doing demo on interior spaces unless you’ve done it before so you don’t knock down a load-bearing wall or mess with any wiring or plumbing. Outdoor spaces like a deck or porch should be simple enough for a novice to handle, so grab a mallet and some protective eyewear and get ready to rumble!

5. Rejuvenate your bathroom

Redoing a bathroom is one of the more popular DIY home renovations, but the level of difficulty of a full remodel is much higher than DIY level. There’s no need to shell out the cash for a full renovation when you can upgrade a few minor details yourself and give your bathroom a new, refreshing look. Try upgrading the hardware and fixtures in the bathrooms, but keep it simple. Minor home upgrades like new cabinet pulls are as easy to install as 1-2-3. Replacing shower doors and showerheads and adding storage shelves can give your bathroom new life without spending the thousands of dollars you would if you went with a renovation.

Totally not a DIYer?

If, after all of this, you still don’t think you have the chops to do it yourself—or you’ve just got a home renovation job that’s too big—we offer renovation loans for eligible home renovations.

Do you have any good tips for DIY home renovations? We’re all ears! Share them with us on social media!

Tips and tricks for selling your home in a hurry. (And for the right price.)

In today’s hyper-competitive housing market, homes are flying off the proverbial shelves faster than ever before. Demand for homes may be reaching record highs, but there are still some cases where people just can’t seem to find buyers for their homes. A lot of factors play into how quickly you can sell your home, and many of them are out of the seller’s control. This is why it’s important to make sure the things you can control are where they need to be in order to sell your home and move on to the next phase in your life. That being said, here are seven tips that should help you find plenty of buyers for your home.

It’s important to make sure the things you can control are where they need to be in order to sell your home and move on to the next phase in your life.

1. Keep it clean

This should go without saying, but a clean home will always be more enticing to buyers than a messy one. Declutter and remove any excess furniture, family photos, odds and ends, religious items, and political posters so the prospective buyers can envision their own family in your house. You want your home to look as big and as new as possible. It may also be a good idea to hire a cleaning service for a deep cleaning. Prospective buyers are told to pay special attention to detail, so hiring a professional to clean up some spots you might have missed could work wonders in the long run.

2. The best ability is availability

Always, I repeat, ALWAYS be ready to show your home. You never know when your buyer is going to want to view your home. You or a family member has to be available whenever they want to come see your place, and it has to be in great shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep your bathrooms clean, and make sure everything is dusted and well swept. It’s a pain in the butt, but it’s been a tried and tested advantage to many sellers.

Always be ready to show your home.

3. If it’s broke, fix it

Leaky faucets, old screens, clogged drains. Anything that could deter a potential buyer from making an offer needs to be fixed before you start showing your home. Some repairs may seem minor, but these seemingly insignificant repairs can really add up in the mind of a buyer, and in some cases they may not see your home as worth the trouble of fixing all those little things. Don’t give them a reason not to make an offer. You can also leverage these repairs in the purchase price of your home! Making repairs builds equity, so you can ask for more money because of the updates you made to your home. Fix the little things and watch it make a big difference.

4. Is it hot in here?

It shouldn’t be! Make sure potential buyers are comfortable when they’re touring your home. If it’s cold outside, leave the heat on. If it’s hot, some refreshing AC will put them in a good mood as soon they walk in. You know what people do when they’re in a good mood? Make an offer.

5. Lighten up

Nobody wants to live in a dark home. Make sure you’ve got all your lights on and your blinds open to show off the natural lighting of your home. Be careful though: all that light is a good reason to make sure your home is spotless before you show it.

6. Leave the pets out of it

This may come as news to many of you, but not everybody loves pets. Crazy, right? But alas, we have to make concessions sometimes. Buyers don’t want to walk in and see or smell dog food or a litter box, or have pet hair on their clothes when they leave. It’ll give buyers the impression that your house isn’t clean, and nobody wants a dirty house. If you’re planning on having an open house, find a pet-sitter or try a pet hotel for the day.

7. The price is right

This next one may be a little difficult to grasp, but here goes nothing. Find out what your home is worth, and shave 15% to 20% off the price. I know, I know. It sounds crazy. But hear us out first! If you underprice your home, you’ll be inundated with offers from multiple buyers with multiple bids, even in the worst markets. When you start fielding all these offers, they’ll keep bidding up the price to well over what it’s worth. It takes some guts, and a lot of people are afraid to try it, but using the competitiveness of the market to your advantage is one of the best strategies for selling a home today.

Have you bought or sold a home recently? What were some tricks you used? Let us and our followers know on social media!

School district impact on property values can influence home prices and home buying trends.

It’s back-to-school season and we can’t think of a better way to get into the school spirit than by discussing the importance of a good school district in the home buying process. We’d venture to guess some of you who are reading this didn’t even know that this was a factor in a home buyer’s decision. Well, it certainly is, and quality of the nearby school district is such an integral part of many home buyers’ research that it’s becoming increasingly available as a search option on websites that rank the best places to live. Because it’s a key factor in the home buying process for many buyers, it impacts other factors, like home prices and property values. It’s this trifecta of school districts, home prices, and property values that we’re here to talk about. Let’s start with the importance of a good school district.

the importance of a good school district

It’s not all about bed-and-bath ratios and square footage. Many families intentionally choose to buy homes in high-quality school districts because they want a good education at a walkable school for their children. But did you know that even home buyers who don’t have kids or don’t plan on having kids also consider the quality of the school district in their home buying decision?

For one thing, a good school district can be a sign of a healthy local economy and can contribute to the overall value of the real estate within the district. Even if you’re not a real estate investor, buying a home is still an investment, and one you’ll want to make in the right location. In fact, a survey by the National Association of Realtors said that 20% of home buyers listed proximity to schools as a deciding factor in their home purchase. Another 25% gave school quality as a leading reason for their decision to buy.

So a good school district is important to home buyers, but to what degree? This brings us to home prices.

school district impact on home prices

There are many factors that play into home prices. The quality of the school district can be just one of them. This usually happens in one of two ways. On one hand, sellers know that a good school district is more desirable, so they may use it as leverage and set a higher asking price. On the other hand, if you’re a buyer and school district is one of your top must-haves, you may be willing to pay more to snag a house in the right school district. A Redfin survey says that on average, people pay $50 more per square foot for homes in top-ranked school zones compared to homes in school districts with average rankings.

We’ve also found that people shopping for homes are willing to sacrifice some items on their “wants” list: a 2013 survey by Realtor.com said that 50% would give up access to shopping nearby and about 44% would forego a bonus room. In that same survey, of the home buyers who said they planned on buying a home within the next two years, more than 44% said they would be willing to go over their budget by up to 10% just to stay within the school district they want. Just how far will home buyers go to get in the school district of their choosing?

It’s a trade-off. And for the individual home buyer, it will come down to what they personally value most. We’ve looked at the importance of school district and how home prices can be affected, but what about property values?

school district impact on property values

This closes the loop on the trifecta. Where home prices are higher and school districts are better, property values also tend to be higher. And as property values appreciate, an increase in property taxes usually follows—a portion of which goes toward funding the local school district. This is why higher-quality schools with students that score better on tests tend to be present in more affluent neighborhoods, because they sometimes receive more funding from the community.

It’s unclear as to which came first, but there’s a definite correlation between school district quality and property values. And it’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you’re home shopping: wherever you buy, you’re buying into the local school district.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you’re home shopping: wherever you buy, you’re buying into the local school district.

Additionally, some sources suggest that properties in the best school districts in the country held up well during the housing crisis. One such source is a study by Ken Corsini of BiggerPockets, which states that, between 2006 and 2009, “properties near schools with a rating of four or five stars were almost completely insulated from declining values, while those near schools with one to three stars experienced massive losses in value.” This tells us that a neighborhood of built-up equity can act as a buffer for the community during rough or changing market times. It’s not an impenetrable barrier, but it can help insulate homes through market changes—an added benefit to buying a home in the right school district.

not the most important factor

Although every buyer should take the school district into consideration, this factor should never be more important than your true priority of finding the right home for you at the right time. You can trust Cardinal to help you prioritize. We’ll set you up with a licensed loan originator who can help you get pre-approved and set realistic expectations for the home buying process. And if you don’t have a real estate agent yet, we can get you connected with some of the top agents in your area who can go over your wants and needs and help you find the home that rounds out everything that’s important to you.

Did the school district play a part in your decision to buy your home? We want to hear about it on social media.

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