The Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home. The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country. It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Real Estate is truly unique. I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:
14 STEPS TO BUYING A HOME
1. Select a lender to work with. First and most importantly, work with direct lenders only. A mortgage broker is just a middle man. A direct lender does its own underwriting for mortgages. Most banks are direct lenders. Contact at least three lenders to discuss their general guidelines regarding the financing process, their financing guidelines, customer service, types of loan packages available, interest rates and fees. Select your vendor based on this information combined with your assessment of which lender you feel you can work with the best.
2. Get preapproved for financing. This is important because financing requirements change daily in today’s market and you do not want to waste your time and the real estate agent’s time if you can’t qualify for financing, along with helping you to determine if you need to sell your home first, shows you what your monthly payment will be, tells you what price range to look for your new home in, and you will need a preapproval letter to accompany your contract when you make an offer on your new home.
3. Select the type of loan that works best for you. Discuss with your lender the various mortgage programs that are available such as a fixed rate, adjustable rate mortgage, conventional versus FHA financing, USDA Rural Housing Program, or VA financing. Discuss the terms of the loan. Do you want a 15, 20, or 30 year mortgage? How much will the down payment be required for each program? Ask if there is any special state, or local funding programs you may qualify for.
4. Additional expenses. In addition to you mortgage payment keep the following expenses in mind to help you determine your bottom line monthly budget: cash you may need for earnest money, closing costs, home inspection, property taxes, home insurance, landscaping, HOA / Regime fees, utilities, etc.
5. Do your homework. Determine the neighborhood you want to live in. With all the resources available on the internet you can learn about neighborhoods, schools, amenities, shopping, dining, medical facilities, and specific homes prior to actually starting to look at homes. You can find the answers to a good many of your questions and search for a home at my website http://www.carolinajoe.com and my blog http://www.carolinajoe.com/blog/ . Once you have selected a neighborhood drive through it at different times and over a weekend to see how quiet it is and to speak with some local neighbors.
6. Select a realtor to work with. I recommend selecting a realtor who is an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) because these agents have taken additional training and documented work experience in order to obtain the ABR designation from the National Association of Realtors. To find the realtor who is right for you I recommend asking a friend, a co-worker, searching the internet, or calling some local real estate companies. Set up interview with at least three agents and get a feel for who you believe is the best and who you can work with the best.
7. Finding you new home in your preapproved price range. The first thing to do is meet with you realtor and tell him as much as you can about where you want to live, the price range, and all of the home features that are important to you. Are you interested in short sales or bank owned properties? Start looking at homes. You will know the right home when you see it.
8. Making an offer on a home. Once you find your new home have your realtor prepare the offer. Make a fair offer, sometimes if you make an unrealistic “lowball offer” the seller will not consider you a serious buyer and will not be willing to negotiate. Be sure you offer contains any contingencies you need such as financing, buyer’s satisfaction of home inspection, buyer’s satisfaction of termite inspection, buyer’s ability to get satisfactory homeowner’s insurance, etc. Make sure you offer is accompanied by your preapproval letter and a copy of your earnest money check.
9. Be willing to negotiate. I t has been my experience that in most instances the buyer and seller can find a common ground both can live with.
10. Obtain a ratified contract. This occurs when both the buyer and seller have signed the contract and all changes during negotiations have been initialed and dated by both parties.
11. Submit a copy of the ratified contract to your lender. Now the financing approval officially begins. Be sure to complete you application and pay the necessary fees as quickly as possible. Any time the lender or underwriter request additional information be sure to provide it as quickly as possible. During this process you will probably be asked for the fee to conduct an appraisal, do this as soon as it is requested. If you follow theses guidelines you financing process will be as painless as possible.
12. Schedule and complete your home inspection. Your realtor should be able to recommend a good home inspector. Schedule your home inspection as soon as possible after getting a ratified contract. This will enable any issues that come up to be resolved in a timely manner prior to closing.
13. Select a closing attorney. If you do not have a preferred closing attorney, your realtor can provide you some recommended closing attorney’s. Schedule the date and time for the closing. Provide the closing attorney with a copy of the ratified contract.
14. Closing. Once the lender receives the “good to close” from underwriting and the closing attorney has completed the title search you are ready to close. Make sure that any funds you are required to bring to the closing are either wired to the closing attorney, or are brought to the closing in the form a money order or a cashier’s check as a personal check will not be acceptable. Sing the documents, get your keys and enjoy your new home.
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.
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"Carolina Joe" Idleman