Determine your Housing Needs and Preferences
The first step in the process is to determine your housing needs and preferences. Ask yourself, “Where would I like to live? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need? Do I want a larger home or smaller home? A yard or maintenance-free living? Do I need to be near the higher-rated schools? Spending time thinking through what you need and want will help you better plan your home search and ultimately lead you to the right home.
Hire a REALTOR®
We’re here to help! There’s lots to do and a great REALTOR® will walk you through every step in the process, educating you on the market, finding off-market listings, negotiating the best deal, handling the closing process as well as introducing you to quality service providers such as lenders, attorneys, home inspectors, contractors, painters and more.
Set a Budget
This is a very important step, where you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Look at your current and expected future monthly expenses. What’s a realistic monthly mortgage payment, taking into account taxes and insurance? How much do you have available for a down payment? Take the time to crunch the numbers and determine the amount that you're comfortable spending.
Apply for Financing
It’s never too early in the process to become prequalified for a home loan. Sit down with your preferred lender and learn about the different financing options that are available to you. Then get a pre-approval letter to show you're financially ready to buy that new home. It will not only give you confidence that you are able to afford the home you want, but will make you eventual offer stronger as well.
Search Homes Online
There are approximately 5,000 active listings in the Charleston metro area. While this may seem daunting, our website offers many user-friendly search capabilities. You can also save searches, mark listings as favorites and receive alerts when new homes are listed that meet your criteria. We can help refine and prioritize your list of homes based on our understanding of the various neighborhoods, towns and areas in Charleston.
Schedule a Home Tour
While you’ve created a short list of homes based on online searches, there’s no better way to find your new home than to see it in person. We will schedule tours of these homes so that you can get a feel for each one and have a better basis for comparison that will ultimately help you make your final decision. If a home is still under construction, we will schedule a meeting with the builder. During the tours, try to imagine living at each home, taking into account the neighborhood and surroundings, like major shopping centers and highways. This is your chance to find your new home!
Make an Offer
You found your home, now it’s time to make an offer to the seller! As your agent, we are always looking out for your best interests. We will help you present a strong offer that takes into account the current market and your financial resources. With your input, we will handle negotiations with the seller and make sure any additional paperwork is completed correctly. Once the seller accepts your offer (or counteroffer), you are now under contract and the countdown to owning your new home has begun!
Inspect the Property
Now that you are under contract, the next step is to get the property inspected. The property condition disclosure statement made you aware of major material defects. However, a home inspection is necessary to ensure there aren’t any other significant hidden or previously undisclosed issues. An inspector will check the overall structure, appliances, HVAC, and all the way down to faucets and fixtures. The inspection results then need to be reviewed to determine if any repairs or negotiations are necessary before closing.
Time to Close
The final step in the process is closing, where clear title to the property is transferred to you and makes you the legal owner. At your scheduled closing time, you will sign all necessary legal documents, funds will be transferred and then you will get the keys to your new home. Time to celebrate!
Post Closing Activities
Once you’ve moved in, there are a few small tasks to complete, like changing your locks and filling out a change of address at the post office. We can provide recommendations for service vendors and get any additional questions answered.