I just helped a really nice young couple purchase a property. It was a really great property in the Old Mount Pleasant area, and the process was fairly streamlined and trouble-free.
They were first-time buyers, and really didn't understand a lot about the process when we first met. I've done this so much in the past, I really don't give it too much thought. After the closing I pondered how much the order of things is really important when it comes to buying a home.
Most people know that putting the cart before the horse in any endeavor is never really a good idea, so having a good understanding of the entire process is something that I focus on early on. I start by laying out a blueprint for the transaction. This starts sometimes even before we meet. On the phone, my first suggestion is to get preapproved. I say this because I don't want to risk taking someone's dreams and having them crushed when they realize that they have found a house that may not be comfortable financially for them. I've tried to streamline this process by offering some good lenders on my website, and after our initial phone conversation I send them the link. You can find that link here.
Once the buyers have a good idea of their price range, we then start talking about what they wanted at home and what parts of town they like etc. (The normal stuff as you might guess.)Most buyers come to the table thinking that this process is going to take a very long time, but it really doesn't. When someone decides on an area of town, a price range, the desired school system, choices are relatively limited.
Moving forward, we see some homes. After not too terribly long we typically find something that the buyer likes. The next step, of course, is to write an offer after researching comparables. All of that makes perfect sense to most people. But the real key about the timing comes after we have a ratified contract. (A ratified contract is when all parties come to a conclusion and have an agreed-upon contract in writing signed by all parties.)
The first note I make about timing is that I would suggest for buyers not to pay for an appraisal until after they have an inspection completed. Appraisals cost roughly $450, and inspection cost about the same. So the thinking here is, " let's make sure you want the property via the home inspection prior to making a decision to pay for an appraisal." (As a buyer's agent, I always try to make sure that I'm trying to be as safe as possible, especially when dealing with someone else's checkbook.)
The next very crucial warning that I make to buyers is very important. After they make loan application, I suggest that they don't make any major purchases. Of course buyers are getting excited at this point in wanting to fill their home with new furniture, but, going and opening a credit card after loan application is not the greatest idea. Buying a new car is not a good idea either I might add. (Timing again it's very important.)
For sellers, time is much more than a numbered face on the wall. Timing can be everything. Pricing a home can mean the difference between sitting on the market for 30 days and for six months. It's a factor with every decision made. Note to self: I'll add another blog post on how sellers can watch the clock carefully as well. (But onward with the buyers from this point.)
When buying a home, timing is important when it comes to mortgage lenders. When a mortgage lender says they need something, in this climate, it's important to do it immediately. The mortgage industry is a very clogged system. Getting things to them in a timely manner will make the difference between closing on time, or having a moving truck in the driveway waiting to close and delays causing heartburn.
While on the subject of heartburn, let me make mention of how to handle moving trucks when it comes to closings. I always suggest a buyer not make their plan to move the day of the closing if possible. There's nothing worse than a buyer having their house packed, and a closing set, only to be delayed because the lender needed more information at the last minute. It happens all the time. So take note, timing here is important. Giving yourself a backup plan is always a good idea. Also, it might be a good idea to take time to paint the house before you move in, or have the carpets changed, or the floors refinished. It's much easier to do all of those things in an empty house than it is in a full one.
Back to the young couple that I was helping buying a house in Old Mount Pleasant. Timing was important to them. They both had very busy work schedules, and yes, we had some delays with the closing. Not anyone's fault, just the mortgage industry is challenged and delays are expected. We decided to hold off on the walk-through until 30 minutes prior to the closing. This way we were not wasting time (them taking off of work twice) and we were able to see the house up until the very last minutes prior to the closing. This way we saw the property was in good shape as close as we could prior to them signing on the dotted line.
As you can see, there are many obvious things to keep an eye on while buying a home in Charleston South Carolina, and also some unforeseen and not before thought of things that might need careful planning and thinking through.
If I can help you watch the clock or schedule your move, let me know.
This is what I do and I love to do it.Thanks for reading!
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Nat Wallen is a Realtor in Charleston SC specializing in residential property sales. He has been licensed since 1995 and is the top listing agent with Carolina One Real Estate. Carolina One Real Estate is the largest company in the Charleston SC area of 700 plus agents. NOTE: Nat Wallen never solicits consumers interacting with his blog unless requested. YOUR comments are encouraged and welcomed. Thanks!