Buying a home in Charleston can be a bit intimidating at first. Signing on the dotted line, making the commitment… all of these things run through a buyers mind. To the seasoned veteran, it is a walk in the park. If you think about it in steps, it is really quite simple, and really one of the smartest things you can do to begin a path of financial security in life.
1. Get Pre-Approved: The first step if you want to buy a home in Charleston is to call a local lender. You will want to discuss your financial situation, tell them how much you make, your current debt-load and how much you are comfortable spending on a monthly basis. Taking it a step further and meeting with the lender to get approved will increase your negotiating power and will essentially allow you to handle .
2. Find a Home You Like and Make an Offer - I know this is very obvious, and there are several parts of this process that can be expanded upon, but for now, let's assume you have done this already and understand all aspects.
3. Wait for a Response: This usually happens very quickly. The seller may accept or reject your proposal. Please remember that a counter offer is a form of rejection and it is all part of the process when buyers buy a home in Charleston. If this happens, your options are to accept or reject their proposal.
4. Now You Have a Deal – Contract Ratification: All details have been accepted by all parties and now there are several things to begin working on, sometimes simultaneously. This is where we are experts in helping our clients buy a home in Charleston.
5. Hire a Home Inspector: This is always a good idea, even if the house is brand new. Make sure the inspector is qualified and even consider having specialists come in to check the plumbing (a licensed plumber) or the HVAC. (This will further insure the investment is sound and that all of the pieces and parts are working as they should.) Whether you want to buy a home in Charleston, a condominium or a duplex, an inspection is a crucial step. If you find deficiencies, you will propose a list to the seller for completion of the repairs prior to closing. Again, the seller may accept or reject your repair list, in which case you may accept or reject the property.
6. Communicate with the Lender: A big part of of the process to buy a home in Charleston is to work closely with your lender. They may need additional information, a check to pay for the appraisal, a check to run a credit report. The main thing to remember is that whatever the lender says they need, do it quickly, as they are the ones lending the money and will ultimately determine if you will be able to buy a home in Charleston. If you do not do what they say, it will cause delays and some cases possible fall throughs.
7. Hire an Attorney: Their job is to not only communicate with the lender, but to make sure all of the paperwork details are handled and that the property is free from liens. We will go to their office to close. They do not require any money down, and will be paid out of closing. They charge approximately $350-$400. The process to buy a home in Charleston is fairly simple when working with a good real estate attorney. (Keep in mind... only use a real estate attorney when buying a home in Charleston).
8. Obtain Insurance: If you want to buy a home in Charleston you must consider this very important step…Obtaining insurance. Calling your auto carrier is a good first step. Make sure to tell them you are buying a home in Charleston and who the closing attorney is so they can provide proof of insurance to the attorney by closing. Remember, no insurance usually results in no closing. When asked how much coverage you want, tell them the price of the house and they will guide you through how much coverage is usually necessary. Remember, you do not need to insure the cost of the land, because the land cannot burn down, or get wiped out in a hurricane. While on the subject of hurricanes, make sure when purchasing in the summertime especially to do it quickly and early on in the transaction. This is really important because if there is a named storm off of our coast (and do not get scared, because this does not happen too frequently) it will be difficult to obtain a policy and ultimately buy a home in Charleston because many companies will not write policies when storms are brewing.
9. The Walk Through: Once all of the details have been handled, it is important to do a property walk through at closing. Usually within 24 hours of the closing, this will allow us to make sure the seller left the property nice and clean. In SC, broom swept clean is standard, but most people will make sure they leave it for you in good condition. If not, this is cause for a delay, but it does not happen frequently. Buy a home in Charleston and make sure to do a walk through. Again, this is a stress free process, and the walk through is one of the most exciting aspects of purchasing a home.
10. Finally, We Close: This is where all of the details come together. We will meet at the attorney’s office and he will guide you through the process. The seller will be there, and this usually takes about an hour. If you are required to bring money to closing, you will need to bring a certified check made payable to the attorney’s firm. We will go over the HUD statement, which explains all of the financial details, how much money you will be spending and how much the seller will make. When beginning the process of buying a home in Charleston your lender will provide a truth in lending disclosure form. Make sure to hold on to this and bring it with you, so you can compare the costs they originally estimated.
11. Don’t Forget, the 4% Owner Occupied Tax Reduction: In two or three weeks, you will want to go down to the tax records office and apply for the 4% tax reduction. This is important, as it will affect your monthly payment. This will be explained further at the closing.
As you can see, buying a home in Charleston is a fairly straight-forward process if you thing about it in steps. We would of course love to help you and your friends purchase property. If you know of anyone that might need our assistance in navigating the process personally, or if we can help you in your quest to buy a home in Charleston, please feel free to call us or fill out the form below.