Home Buying Process



Welcome to the top online resource for buying a home in Charleston, South Carolina. Mave & Market’s innovative, step-by-step guide 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, research all available Charleston homes for sale and get connected with the top real estate agents in Charleston, South Carolina. Because a real estate purchase is one of the largest investments in your life, it is important that you select the right agent, know the neighborhoods, and thoroughly understand the real estate transaction process. Follow the step-by-step Charleston Home Buyers Guide below and get the value you deserve by choosing Mave & Market.



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:


  • Why Hire a Buyer's Agent?
  • The Home Buying Process
  • The Life of a Transaction
  • Preparing to Buy a Home
  • Choosing a Lender
  • List of Reputable Lenders
  • Applying for a Loan
  • Negotiating Tactics
  • What Happens when Under Contract
  • Choosing a Home Inspector
  • And much, much more...




The first step in finding a home in Charleston is to select the right agent. Purchasing a home is a big investment with many legal and financial ramifications, so you should not choose an agent merely on “personal connection” or because that agent is “nice,” without further investigation. Just like lawyers and doctors, the best agents tend to specialize in certain types of sales, certain market segments, or other special areas. Here at Mave & Market, we offer just that. We require all of our buyer agents to have specialized knowledge within particular cities and neighborhoods. While no agent is “right” for everyone, we believe that experience, training, education, background, and specialization all contribute to success. 

There is so much more to hiring a buyer's agent than getting access to Charleston houses and a chauffer to show you around. Nowadays, it is easy to locate properties through a combination of open houses and online searching. It may not, however, be in the client’s best interest to wait until they locate a house to select a specific agent. 


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! 



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:

o    1. What is your favorite room in the house?

o    2. Are you upsizing or downsizing?

o    3. How important is a garage/outdoor space?

o    4. Will a fixer up do or do you want new construction?

o    5. How long do you think you'll stay in the house you buy?

o    6. What if we found the perfect home tomorrow?

o    7. Do you want to be in a certain school district or school zone?

o    8. What are your three favorite neighborhoods?

o    9. What is a deal breaker for you?

o    10. Why is now the right time to move?




Use our mortgage calculator to figure out how much home you can afford. It is critical in today's tight lending market to talk to a lender and get pre-approved for a loan in the early stage of your home buying effort. 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. Having a pre-approval letter upfront will help you understand how much you can spend, and submitting the letter with a contract for a home makes your offer look stronger to the seller. 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. 


Getting pre-approved by a local lender or mortgage broker is one of the first things you should do for many reasons. In Charleston, a pre-approval letter is a prerequisite for serious consideration of your offer. Knowing the available loan amount will aid in determining how much you intend to spend on your home and which neighborhoods to consider.  

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! 




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 128-page 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.


Our powerful Charleston Home Search tool allows you to search through all available Charleston, South Carolina homes the way you want to search: byNeighborhood, School, or Zip Code. You can even search Luxury Properties, Waterfront 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.



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.




Once you have identified the house you want to buy, your Charleston Realtor will help you determine how much to offer based on a comprehensive real estate data review, showing the selling price of recent comparable properties and what the market value is of the current property. Our agent will speak with the listing agent ahead of time to be certain of the seller’s desires and to see if you can offer any items of value to the seller with little cost to you. This shows your desire to work with the seller and can optimize the situation for both you and the seller. Additionally, our agent will update you on the interest level of other parties and whether you may be in a multiple offer situation. 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.

Once an offer is made, it can be accepted, rejected, or countered. A counteroffer accepts all the terms of the contract, except the terms that are mentioned. For instance, a counteroffer may increase the purchase price or shorten the escrow period. A counteroffer can be made to one party or multiple parties. If there is only one counteroffer and that counteroffer is accepted, then a binding contract has formed. On the other hand, if there are multiple counteroffers, which may all have the same or different terms, the counteroffer must be accepted by the buyer and reaccepted by the seller, ensuring that the home sells to only one party.



After the parties formed a contractual agreement, the escrow period begins. An average escrow period is 30-45 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!



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.