Welcome to the best resource for buying a home in Charleston, South Carolina. Mave & Market’s innovative, step-by-step process to buying a home in Charleston was developed to provide our clients with a consistent and proven method to find extensive information on top communities and neighborhoods. We research all available Charleston homes for sale and get connected with the top real estate agents. A real estate purchase is one of the largest investments in your life, and it is important that you select a knowledgeable agent that knows the neighborhoods, understands current values, and thoroughly understands the real estate transaction. Follow the step-by-step Charleston Home Buyers Guide below and get the value you deserve by choosing Mave & Market. Please call or email us today. We are here to assist you with all your real estate needs.
1. REQUEST A COPY OF OUR COMPREHENSIVE CHARLESTON REAL ESTATE BUYERS GUIDE
Fill out the request form and instantly receive a complimentary copy of our comprehensive, step-by-step Home Buyer's Guide by email. This guide includes topics such as:
- What is the difference between being a customer or a client
- The Home Buying Process
- Choosing a Lender
- The Life of a Transaction
- Preparing to Buy a Home
- List of Reputable Lenders
- Negotiating Tactics
- What Happens when Under Contract
- Choosing a Home Inspector
- And much, much more...
2. Choose Your Agent
There is so much more to hiring a buyer's agent than getting access to Charleston houses and a chauffer to show you around. While it is possible to buy a home without an agent, the experience often proves to be more challenging than many expect. We've listed our top 3 reasons below:
1.Representation: Unless you are buying a property that is for sale by owner, the seller has professional representation on their side. By negotiating directly with the sellers agent you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage since their agent is legally bound to share everything you tell them in order to get the best deal for their client. You wouldn't go into a courtroom without a lawyer, so why risk the biggest purchase in your life in buying a home without representation.
2. Data Analysis: The only way to determine the correct price of a home is to analyze the prices at which similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood. While there are a variety of online resources for finding homes for sale, there are very few consumer websites that provide home sales data in the Charleston area. Our agents are willing and ready to discuss the most recent sales and what that means in regards to homes currently for sale. While many consumers look to Zillow for this information in other areas, Zillow does not have the actual prices of homes that sold in the Charleston-area, so in Charleston their Zestimates are rarely accurate.
3. Experience: When you have an experienced Buyer's Agent working for you their primary job is to keep you from making a mistake. The knowledge they gain from working with so many clients throughout their career is invaluable when it comes to helping you pick the right Charleston area house, on the right street, in the right neighborhood. This experience also comes into play when they are negotiating on your behalf as they often have intimate knowledge of the pros and cons of similar homes that recently sold. Once you are under contract to purchase a home, your buyer's agent will help you locate a great inspector, negotiate repairs with the seller, get estimates from trustworthy contractors and obtain financing from the most reputable lenders.
When you're ready to get professional representation, fill out the form below to be hand matched with the perfect agent, or you can browse our Agent real estate agent directory and choose for yourself.
Our experienced agents can help identify the right neighborhood, coordinate financing, explain the tax consequences of home ownership, filter out inappropriate properties, identify off-market opportunities, and answer questions that come up along the way. Additionally, our agents will help screen properties during “broker tour” and notify you when suitable properties come on the market.
The knowledge our experienced buyers agents gain from working with so many clients throughout their career is invaluable when it comes to helping you pick the right Charleston area house, on the right street, in the right neighborhood. This experience also comes into play when they are negotiating on your behalf, as they often have intimate knowledge of the pros and cons of similar homes that recently sold. Once you are under contract to purchase a home, your buyer's agent will help you locate a great inspector, negotiate repairs with the seller, get estimates from trustworthy contractors and obtain financing from the most reputable lenders.
Request the assistance of a Charleston Real Estate Agent and Buyer Specialist anytime you need to know more about the area or any property that interests you. When you're ready to take the next step toward purchasing a home, our world class team of Charleston Realtors is here to help!
3. DETERMINE YOUR GOALS
The first thing the team at Mave & Market does for buyers is gain a deep understanding of their goals. The more we know about your goals upfront, the easier the Charleston home buying process will be for you. We ask questions like:
1. What is your favorite room in the house?
2. Are you upsizing or downsizing?
3. How important is a garage/outdoor space?
4. Will a fixer up do, do you want a move-in ready home, or are you looking for new construction?
5. How long do you think you'll stay in the house you buy?
6. What if we found the perfect home tomorrow?
7. Do you want to be in a certain school district or school zone?
8. What are your three favorite neighborhoods?
9. What is a deal breaker for you?
10. Why is now the right time to move?
4. UNDERSTAND YOUR FINANCES
Use our mortgage calculator to figure out how much home you can afford. Have you found or spoken to a lender yet? Whether you are shopping for your first home, or your third, when it comes time to submit an offer, you're going to need a pre-approval letter before a seller will take your offer seriously. You should talk to a Lender before you start looking at homes so you know exactly how much home you can afford. We can help you identify a lender, or you can use your own, but it is a good idea to start these relationships as soon as possible. Additionally, Mave & Market has narrowed the list of mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers in Charleston to a trusted few who consistently deliver outstanding service to our clients. If you would like to get pre-approved by a mortgage broker, please complete the form below and we will put you in touch with our top three trusted partners.
Generally, you should begin the pre-approval process immediately after meeting with your agent. If any issues come up, such as inaccuracies that make your credit score lower than expected, you will have time to resolve them. Our agents can help you through this process and recommend excellent lenders and mortgage brokers. Our recommendations are completely free of any conflict of interest; our agents do not benefit monetarily from providing recommendations.
Mave & Market offers extensive information on Financing a Home in Charleston. Read our step-by-step guide on Securing A Home Loan in Charleston or Contact Us anytime for assistance. We are here to help!
5. GET EDUCATED
If you are considering a move to the Charleston-area, fill out our Relocation Guide Request Form and we will send you a complimentary copy of the Charleston Relocation Guide. Next, use our Charleston Neighborhood Guide to see a breakout of the most popular neighborhoods around Charleston, the schools they are aligned with, statistics on Charleston home sales and all available homes for sale. If you need to research schools, use our Schools Guide to see a list of all area School Districts and individual schools, along with links to school ratings and available homes aligned with each school. If you still need more information, request a copy of our step-by-step Charleston Real Estate Buyer's Guide and you'll instantly receive our comprehensive guide to buying a home in Charleston, South Carolina.
Clients generally have an initial idea of what cities and neighborhoods appeal most to them. However, you should examine your criteria to determine the areas within the neighborhoods you feel are a good match. Our agents will personally take you to some of the neighborhoods, give you an overview of the area, and show a few representative homes. More importantly, our agents will provide you with information about local schools, parks, and appreciation potential of each area. Generally, clients should not purchase a home until they are familiar with the neighborhoods and have seen enough properties to truly recognize an excellent fit.
6. RESEARCH HOMES FOR SALE IN CHARLESTON
Our powerful Charleston Home Search tool allows you to search through all available Charleston, South Carolina homes the way you want to search: by Neighborhood, School, or Zip Code. You can even search Luxury Properties, Waterfront Properties, Historic Properties or Beachfront Properties. If you want to stick to a specific neighborhood or area, we make it easy to find foreclosures or short sales, waterfront homes, golf course homes, homes on acreage, homes with pools, homes in gated communities, homes with a view and much more...solely in your desired neighborhood. In addition to normal price, bedrooms, baths, etc., we show you all the details that others hide: days on market, amount reduced, price per square foot, property tax rate, estimated property tax amount, property tax exemptions, HOA dues and Elementary, Middle and High School alignment. We link listings to Google Maps where you can see a Satellite Map and Street level view. Plus, we provide up to 25 high resolution photos, a virtual tour when available, and detailed neighborhood demographics. You can easily save your search, keep track of your favorites and have the newest homes for sale in Charleston listings that meet your criteria emailed to you daily.
Register for our Charleston Home Finder and let your dream home come to you. Members can also create saved searches, collect their favorites and sign up for instant email alerts when new homes that fit their criteria come on the market.
7. VISIT PROPERTIES
Once you have been pre-qualified by a lender, narrowed down your home search and retained a buyer's agent, it's time to get in the car and go look at some homes. For most people, this is the fun part, and it should be. Buying a home is most important purchase most people make in their lifetime. Having an experienced professional in your corner will save you time, give you peace of mind and very likely save you a great deal of money. One of our Charleston Realtors will help prepare a list of homes to visit. The list will include homes you specifically request to see, and others your Charleston Realtor has researched that you may not know about. Together, you will visit properties to get to know communities better, and to narrow down your list to top contenders.
8. MAKE AN OFFER AND NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT
A real estate transaction is much more complex than anything you’ve bought or sold in the past. There are piles of paperwork, volumes of laws and rules, and the general emotion involved with either buying or selling a home.
Once you’ve decided on the home you want to buy, your Charleston real estate agent will draft a purchase offer in your name. The offer is submitted to the seller’s agent, or directly to the seller when it’s a “for sale by owner” (FSBO) listing. The seller can respond in one of three ways: accept the offer, counter the offer, or reject it.
Drafting a solid offer, or purchase contract, is like successfully cooking a new recipe. As a buyer, you want to pay the lowest possible amount for your new home, and have flexible terms for items such as earnest money deposits, mortgage commitments, and closing dates. As a seller, you want to get as much as you can for the property, with few contingencies and a quick timeline.
It’s not an easy process on either party, but it can be a smooth one if you plan and prepare in advance. Our Contract To Close Checklist outlines the details of what to expect from the time a contract is accepted to the moment you close on your new home.
Price Bidding, Best Offers, & Bidding Wars
Making an offer on the home you want can be intimidating. Although there’s little risk of making a fool of yourself during the bidding process, you should play your cards right before you tip your hand.
Bidding below listing price
Bidding for a property below its asking price is very common during a buyer’s market. A buyer’s market occurs when there’s a surplus of homes on the market relative to demand from sellers.
Many experts advise against bidding more than 10 percent below the asking price. However, you can sweeten a relatively low offer price by guaranteeing the seller a quick closing and a large earnest money deposit. Or, if you accept the present state of the home without demanding free upgrades and repairs, you could sway the owner in your favor over other bidders.
IMPORTANT: Ultimately, you’re in charge. Your agent is obligated to deliver your offer and the seller’s agent is obligated to share the offer with the seller in most cases.
Highest and best offer
Sometimes sellers or their agents get restless during negotiations and ask you to quote them your highest and best offer for the home, meaning it’s a take it or leave it contract and there won’t be a counteroffer. Don’t go out on a limb if you are not 100 percent sure you want this particular property. You can always reconsider if you feel you made a mistake after researching comparable properties.
Full price offers
There’s no shame in agreeing to pay the seller’s full asking price without bartering. If the home you want is worth its price tag, offer to pay the full asking price. Another buyer may show up five minutes after you eager to pay that difference, sending you back to your search for a perfect home.
Engaging in a bidding war for a property with other buyers can be stressful. As one of an unknown number of rivals in a bidding war, you’re blindly competing against each other. Neither you nor your agent will know how many offers the seller has on the table.
FACT: Real estate license laws allow listing agents to keep information about quantity and quality of bidders confidential, in the seller’s interest.
You may end up having to cough up a lot of extra cash for the down payment if you’re the winner with the highest bid. Instead, you could keep your cool and stay off the multiple offer- and counteroffer-carousel.
Sometimes all rivals for your dream home may call the bidding war quits. Who knows, the seller may then come knocking at your door to ask you to submit your purchasing offer. In that case, you’ll end up the real winner, possibly holding the power to barter with the seller for a lower purchase price.
Making an Offer & Offer Contracts
There are many parts to an offer and all of them are negotiable. Remember to choose your battles carefully. You can be flexible with some items, while firm on others that you have deemed non-negotiable. Expect the process to be a give and take.
The Mave & Market team will prepare the contract, review the contract with you, and present it to the selling party. Your Charleston Realtor will work with the other party to negotiate terms agreeable to you and the seller, all the while keeping you informed. Our Contract To Close Checklist outlines the details of what to expect from the time a contract is accepted to the moment you close on your new home.
9. HOME INSPECTION AND FINAL NEGOTIATIONS
After the parties formed a contractual agreement, the escrow period begins. An average escrow period is 30 days, with the vast majority ranging from 15-45 days.
If your purchase contract has contingencies, such as a property contingency, then your agent will find inspectors to view the home during the contingency period. Mave & Market offers extensive information on Home Inspection process and the various types of Home Inspections Available in Charleston.
During the contingency period, you can determine whether you want to proceed with the purchase. Our buyer agents can assist you and ask the seller to credit you for any new problems. Usually, an agreement can still be reached if the seller accepts your requests. If your findings uncover a major issue, such as bad foundation, then you will likely want to back out of the deal without seeking a credit, as this involves a lot of risk. If you back out of a contract for a reason related to a contingency during the contingency period, then you are entitled to a full return of your “good faith deposit.”
If you have a loan, as most homebuyers do, then an appraiser will appraise your home. Also, our agents will work with your loan officer to ensure that the loan proceeds arrive on time and with little hassle. Once you are satisfied with the property and final contract, the next step is to close!
10. CLOSE ON YOUR HOME
Mave & Market agents are diligent about the details, so this part of the process should be the easy part! Our Contract To Close Checklist outlines the details of what to expect from the time a contract is accepted to the moment you close on your new home. Your Charleston agent will prepare all paperwork necessary for a smooth close at an attorney's office. Once the seller receives the transfer of the funds, the home is yours! Enjoy your new home! Mave & Market is here to serve you and all of your housing questions or issues after you close as well as during the escrow period. Don't hesitate to Contact Us anytime we can continue to serve you.
READY TO BUY A HOME IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA?
PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW AND RECEIVE AN INSTANT COPY OF OUR COMPREHENSIVE CHARLESTON REAL ESTATE BUYERS GUIDE VIA EMAIL. ONE OF OUR QUALIFIED AGENTS WILL BE IN CONTACT TO HELP YOU GET STARTED ON YOUR HOME SEARCH.