Speak for Animals

Three small brown dogs lined up side by side on asphalt road facing forward

Speak for Animals Lends a Voice to Animals

Each year, Prime Realty partners with a local organization. For 2023, we are proud to announce we will be partnering with Speak for Animals!

Speak for Animals was founded in 2003 by Susan Bufano. Her right-hand woman is Lindsey Deon, who has been involved with SFA for 8 years. We can’t wait to dish more details about all the amazing things SFA has done, and all what we plan to do together in 2023.

Our newest Prime Purpose partner will benefit because Prime agents willingly donate proceeds from each of their transactions, and Prime Realty matches it. The decision to partner with SFA was easy since our office is full of animal lovers and because we had a Prime agent (Erin Halperin) encourage the partnership after having been a volunteer with SFA for years.

Who is Speak for Animals?

Speak for Animal’s mission is to reduce financial barriers for pet owners that want to spay/neuter by offering low-cost services. When you complete an application, you will receive a voucher to make an appointment with one of SFA’s partner vets. Please be aware that veterinarians are backed up right now and make sure you make an appointment ASAP.

SFA accomplishes their mission through:

  • Low-Cost Spay and Neuter programs
  • Partnerships with dedicated veterinarians
  • Community Outreach, Advocacy, and Education
  • Planning and collaborating with animal welfare organizations
  • Aid with veterinary care through our Pickle Fund
  • Advocating a compassionate lifestyle

What is SFA?

Their goal is to help animals primarily through spay/neuter and vet care. SFA is different from local animal rescue groups in town since they mainly act as a resource coordinator for individuals and organizations alike. We had the opportunity to speak with the founders and after gaining their valuable insight, it is evident that SFA’s focus is to provide care to those animals that need it the most.

Our Programs

Fix-A-Feline (Friendly Cats)

Fix-A-Pit (Pit Bull/Pit Bull Mixes)

Government Assistance Client (Proof of Assistance required)

Feral (Wild) Community (Cat Program)

Our Services


Speak for Animals believes the best way to combat overpopulation is by providing spay/neuter procedures. When you donate, your gift could mean the difference of life for the cat on the street that’s having litter after litter. Or the dog that can finally calm down and lose interest in roaming about once it’s neutered. “Thank you for taking a stake in improving the health and happiness of dogs and cats, while reducing suffering with your investment in Speak for Animals.”

The Pickle Fund

“The Pickle Fund was started in memory of a dog with cerebellar brain damage, who was rescued by Speak for Animals’ founder, Susan. When Pickle passed away, we started a fund to help dogs and cats “in a pickle” who need veterinary care due to the lack of resources in our area.”

Animals can’t speak for themselves! Please contact animal control to report animal cruelty.

Catch Up with Our Partner

Speak for Animals is an innovative 501(c)3 charitable organization operating in the Upstate responsible for tens of thousands of vulnerable animals receiving care through their programs for the last 20 years.

Donate Now 

Speak for Animals on Facebook

Day Trips Not Far from Greenville

Small minivan in front of a cliff overlooking the sky's sunset in preparation of day trips

Plan Your Next Day Trip in 2023

Greenville was in the limelight for most of 2022. Major publishers from Southern Living to Condé Nast Traveler wanted in on the action. We even had our own 60 minutes segment that aired Jan. 09 called “The Big Quit.” As a result, what was already a town that was beginning to gain traction, Greenville experienced a serious influx of new residents (17 a day), new developments, food & arts venues, and more! So, if all the hype drew you into our charming city, then let us show you all the places you can travel to for perfect day trips.  

Asheville, North Carolina 

Less than an hour away, this North Carolina town is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whether you wish to walk or drive, you can find easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail. Renting cabins are popular in this area, especially during the winter months.  



Athens, Georgia 

Filled with a healthy dose of southern charm, Athens has on display a Victorian-era historic district filled with antebellum buildings that are accompanied by the lively arts and music scene perfect for day trips.




Atlanta, Georgia 

Less than 2 hours away, Atlanta is one of the busiest towns South Carolina residents have access to. If you visit Atlanta, three places you should visit are the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola Museum, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  




Greer, South Carolina 

This city is known for its friendly small-town feel, especially in downtown across 12 blocks filled with shops and restaurants. During the summer months, you can catch live music performances every Friday. Greer is also home to the country’s only BMW manufacturing plant. 

BMW Factory Tour 

BMW Zentrum Museum offers this unique experience of stepping inside a working BMW factory. The museum is open to visitors throughout the week, but you’ll have to reserve that factory tour ahead of time if you’re interested. Among the museum’s treasure filled trove is state-of-the-art, rare, concept vehicles like the Isetta “Bubble Car.” 


Charlotte, North Carolina 

The modern downtown, described as Uptown by locals, is where you will find the bulk of the city’s best restaurants and retail stores. Surrounded by soaring skyscrapers and high-profile attractions, like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, you’re sure to be entertained.  



Columbia, South Carolina 

Did you know that South Carolina’s capital is often referred to as “The Real Southern Hot Spot”? Columbia offers trendy stores and fancy cocktail bars, and at the same time, offers a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage. If you’re travelling with your family, a family favorite is the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.  



Easley, South Carolina 

Dubbed as the biggest city in Pickens County, Easley is at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains allowing visitors to enjoy many lakes, waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails. Every city in South Carolina has a bustling food and retail scene, but Easley specializes in a weekly farmers market and has plenty of antique stores to browse making it a perfect destination for day trips.



Fountain Inn, South Carolina 

Fountain Inn received its name from a historic inn that served as an overnight stop for exhausted stagecoach travelers. Today, the town still offers tranquility to visitors who want a break from city life with plenty of parks, walking trails, and outdoor concerts held at Commerce Park during the summer.  


Simpsonville, South Carolina 

The city of Simpsonville has roots dating back to the 1820s. For visitors seeking a thrill, this city has a zipline canopy tour that takes you across the lush Green River Gorge. You can also get behind the wheel of a race car at the BMW performance Center, or whitewater raft down the Chattooga River. Take your pick. 


Musgrove Mill Historic Site 

Built in 1780, the site commemorates an important battle fought at that time and the history of the Revolutionary War. The park also boasts some of the best nature has to offer, including the Enoree River and Horseshoe Falls. 



Paris Mountain State Park 

A nature lovers paradise. Seriously. This historic park was constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps and offers more than 1,500 acres of land for visitors to enjoy. You can do whatever your heart desires: mountain biking, hiking, picnicking, nature watching or swimming in the designated lake during the summer. Start planning your day trips now!


Pickens County 

This area is still up and coming with a humble selection of restaurants and shops, but the highlight of the area is the Sassafras Mountain. It’s the highest natural point in the state, so when will this make your perfect day trips list? 


We have two blogs sharing state parks and waterfalls in the state and surrounding areas that are worth checking out! Continue reading for some local favorite state parks.


Lake Hartwell State Park 

There’s a high chance you have heard of the popular Lake Hartwell State Park. Georgia’s 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell surrounds the state park. This state park is suitable for people that enjoy recreational activities like playing basketball and fishing. This park has many paved campsites suitable for tents and RV camping at 115. Aside from those campsites are 13 walk-in tent sites, two camper cabins, one picnic shelter, and a 75-mile nature trail. 

Croft State Park 

A historic state park worth mentioning is Croft State Park. What used to be a WWII Army training camp now holds several recreational activities like biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and equestrian riding. For the avid equestrian, this park has over 20 miles of equestrian trails and houses equestrian events. Of the 7,054 acres of land, there are three picnic shelters, 50 campsites for tent and RV camping, over 20 miles of biking trails, and almost three miles of hiking trails. Lastly, Lake Craig spans 165 acres and is perfect for fishing. Paddling is also an advantage of the lake. 

Table Rock State Park  

Another park built by the Conservations Corps is Table Rock State Park. There are 94 campsites for tent or RV camping, four picnic shelters, and a swimming hole with a high dive that’s open in the Summer. There are two park lakes, the Pinnacle Lake and Lake Oolenoy amounting to 103 acres of the total 3,083 acres (about twice the area of Philadelphia Airport) of the park.  

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 

Home of the infamous Dolly Parton’s amusement park, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge is a lively mountain town for country music fans and mountain lovers alike. What many people don’t realize is that this mountain town hosts several annual car shows, like the Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Club Invasion. “With over 43,000 people (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) in attendance and 20,000 Jeeps over the 3-day event, GSMJI 2022 shattered previous years’ records in attendance.” It is a car enthusiasts’ paradise and an ideal destination for day trips.

South Carolina Botanical Garden  

This 295-acre sanctuary for a diverse collection of plant life is on Clemson University’s campus and has no admission fee. Visitors have the choice to use the garden’s 3 mile of nature trails, check out the geology museum, or visit the Hanover House; a house built during the early 18th century.  


The Anderson County Museum 

The museum is home to more than 25,000 artifacts that show off the county’s history. You can also learn more about the history of South Carolina and engage in family-friendly activities the museum offers like scavenger hunts and interactive games.  

Travelers Rest 

The name of this city has an interesting backstory. Because TR is located near the start of the Appalachian Trail, travelers would rest in TR before starting or continuing their journey, hence Travelers Rest. This small town has plenty to highlight. Although the downtown area is not vast, several retail stores, restaurants and souvenir shops are sprinkled along the street. What is new in Travelers Rest are the two brand new wineries: Eagle Mountain Vineyards and Kennington Family Winery. 


Check Out More Prime Realty Blogs About Upstate South Carolina

Day trips are good for the soul! If you are looking for recommendations of more places to go or things to do, check out Prime Realty’s blog all about the Upstate of South Carolina. If you want to learn more about some local favorites in the Upstate, our real estate agents would love to share their personal favorites with you! What is more exciting? The New York Times kicked off the start of 2023 by featuring an article, “52 Places for travelers to Visit in 2023.” Not one, but two South Carolina cities made the list! Greenville and Charleston.

Dog Friendly Places in Greenville 

State Parks Not Far from Greenville 

Happy Hours Around Town 

Waterfalls in Upstate, South Carolina

Photos are sourced from various websites like SC Picture Project, GVL journal, and respective official city webpages along with stock image sourcing. 

Prepare for Your Mortgage Loan Application

Mortgage Loan Application

Applying for a mortgage is something that most people never learn to do until the time comes. And when that time comes, many can feel like they’re already 10 steps behind. If you’re in the process of buying a house, that most likely means you have your finances in order and a budget set in place. So, what’s next? When you’re shopping for a lender, consider different options like your bank, local credit union, or online lenders. Mortgage brokers offer a considerably wider array of options and can streamline the mortgage process for you. 

Let’s Begin

Once the seller accepts your offer, you’ll need to apply for a loan. According to Bank of America, “All lenders require you to provide information about yourself and anyone else who will be listed as a co-borrower on the mortgage.Keep in mind that each lender has their own criteria, so the results of your application can vary. On average, it can take anywhere from 30 days to several months for your application to be approved. The exact forms for different applicants vary but a lender can gauge whether you’ll be approved by checking out your recent pay stubs, bank statements, W-2 Forms, and tax returns.

Your financial situation affects the documents you are required to submit, but here are seven commonly requested documents: 

1. Tax Returns

Your tax returns allow lenders to gauge your financial health. For the lender to be able to request a copy of your tax return to the IRS, you must provide the lender with a signed Form 4506-T. They want to see one to two years’ worth of tax returns. 

2. Pay stubs, W-2s or other proof of income

Pay stubs allow lenders to gauge your current earnings. For those of you that are self-employed, you might be asked to show proof through 1099 forms, direct deposit or other methods. 

3. Bank statements and other assets

Lenders request these documents to verify your financial standing. Since lenders are assessing your risk profile, they’ll look at your bank statements and other assets. Any traces of savings or emergency savings plans will be taken into consideration when reviewing your application. Lenders want to know how prepared you are for an emergency. Having 3-6 months of savings equivalent to your living expenses will indicate that you are responsible and prepared for an emergency. They’ll also reference your investments assets like your life insurance. They will also analyze the amount of time the direct deposit’s total has been in your account and verify it didn’t appear overnight in your account. 

4. Credit History

With your verbal or written consent, lenders will pull your credit report. Industry members advise you to be prepared to write a statement that explains negative items in your credit report. For example, if you underwent a short sale or foreclosure, you would include stating so. Not disclosing blemishes will delay the application process and could even prevent mortgage approval.  

5. Gift Letters

If you are in the position that your friends and family can give money towards your new home, then you’ll have to provide written information that the money is in fact a gift and not a loan.  

6. Photo I.D.

Solely to verify you are who you claim to be.  

7. Renting History

A person’s rental history is vital for applicants who don’t have an extensive credit history. Lenders will request proof that you were an ideal tenant who paid on time. Lenders could ask your landlord to provide documentation backing up your claim or ask for a year’s worth of canceled rent checks (checks that were cashed by the landlord). 

Locking in your interest rate

According to Bank of America, “A rate lock, also known as a rate commitment, is your lender’s assurance that the interest rate and discount points are guaranteed until the rate lock expiration date.” Talk to your lender about ways you can protect yourself against rising interest rates. If you’re worried about the rising rates, you can lock your rate with your lender when you fill out the application. You are not obligated to do this if you believe the rates will decrease prior to signing off on your new house, but the rate must be finalized and locked in prior to the lender preparing your closing documents.

At the time of signing, you need to already have your budget set for the down payment. According to Patch.com, “the long-accepted ‘standard’ down payment for buying a home is 20% of the total sales price.” Make sure to also budget for the anticipated appraisals, inspections, and the home’s closing costs.

Prospective Buyers

What is a prospective buyer? A prospective buyer is:

  1. a person who has submitted an offer to the seller, but the seller has yet to accept the offer. 
  2. a person who is in preparation to buy their first home. 
  3. a person who expresses interest towards a specific property but has yet to make an offer. 
  4. a person who has begun their home search but has yet to select a specific property. 
  5. a person whose offer has been accepted by the sellers, the negotiation process may or may not already be underway, and the closing documents are what’s left to sign.

From a legal standpoint, the term prospective buyer is most commonly reserved for once the potential buyer’s offer has been accepted by the seller. It can be essential to know whether you qualify as a prospective buyer for legislative reasons. South Carolina is included in the sum of states that acknowledges and accepts the term: prospective buyers. 

Why is it important?  

Because the prospective buyer is entitled to certain rights during the sales process. In some areas across the nation, the potential buyer isn’t classified as a prospective buyer until an offer is submitted, as a legal standpoint. In other areas, the status isn’t disclosed to the buyer until the seller has accepted their offer.

Why have I been refused a mortgage?  

According to Experian, if you are refused a mortgage, here are a few common reasons why: 

  • The lender has calculated you won’t be able to make the repayments. 
  • You’ve made too many credit applications in a short space of time in the past six months, resulting in multiple hard searches being recorded in your report. 
  • You’re not registered to vote on the electoral roll (this is used for proof of your address and identity). 
  • There are mistakes such as incorrect addresses or other errors on your application form. 
  • You may not fall into the target bracket for the type of mortgage you’ve applied for. (Experian, 2022)

Community Assistance Programs

1.) SC Housing 

2.) Community Works Downpayment Assistance 

3.) GCRA 

“Established in 1974, the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority (GCRA) works to improve the living conditions of the county’s residents by building new homes, rehabilitating existing homes and improving the infrastructures within communities.”

Did you know you could be eligible for down payment assistance? 

Qualifications: Eligible Buyer

  • Must be a first-time home buyer 
  • Stable income 
  • Secure a 30-year, fixed rate 1st mortgage 
  • Complete the application process
  • Invest a minimum of $500 into the home purchase
  • Attend a community works orientation
  • Attend a homebuyer education workshop through GVL County Human Relations Key Program 

Qualifications: Eligible Properties 

  • New and existing properties in GVL County 
  • Max purchase price for new construction is $240,000 
  • Max purchase price for an existing home is $195,000 
  • The home must be the buyer’s principal residence 
  • Monthly mortgage payment must be affordable (33% of monthly income) 

Eligible Uses 

  • Funds may be used for down payment and for closing costs.
  • The total of bank mortgage on the property may not exceed 100% of the appraised value. (This does not include funds from Community Works.)
  • Buyers may not receive any funds back at the time of closing. 

Thank you for reading our blog! If you have any questions or are looking for a recommendation, please email us at info@primerealtysc.com. 



Credit Karma


Bank of America


SC Housing

Community Works