Answers to Common Home Buying Questions in Charleston, SC
Buying a home is a big commitment, but here in Charleston, South Carolina, there are many deals to be had in the home market, making it a great time to buy. Read through the tips below to orient yourself with the home buying process before jumping in.
What should I do before buying a home?
There are so many things that need to happen prior to purchasing a home. It will seem like an incredibly slow process at first, but once you find your new home things go fast, so make sure to get these done early. Important first steps are:
- Saving money for a down payment and closing costs
- Get a credit check
- Get pre-qualified for a loan
You should do a credit check early on, as there are often errors that can take some time to correct. Errors on your credit score can cost you thousands of dollars in the home buying process, so it is in your best interest to check that early and monitor it throughout the purchase. Getting pre-qualified will show you how much a lender is willing to loan you and how much you can afford.
How much can I afford?
The pre-qualification process will give you a good idea of how much you can afford, and what the monthly payments will be. As a general rule, you should be spending no more than about 35% of your pre-tax income on housing per month. When looking for a home, make sure to factor in additional costs, such as closing fees, your down payment, homeowners association fees, and regular maintenance. All these things should be included in your budget when looking at homes around Charleston.
Why should I buy instead of rent?
The main difference between owning and renting is equity. Every time you pay your monthly mortgage payment, you build equity toward your home. As equity builds, so does your home’s value, which you can capitalize on when you decide to sell. If you were renting, all those monthly checks build up to nothing. Owning a home allows you to customize your living areas as you want without being restricted by landlord rules.
How do I choose the best mortgage loan?
There are many different kinds of loans available, and it can be confusing to wade through all of them to decide which one is right for you. To determine the best loan for you, speak with our lender and be ready to answer these questions:
- Do you expect your financial situation to be the same in a few years?
- How long do you plan to stay in this home?
- Does the idea of a changing monthly payment scare you?
- Do you want to be free of mortgage debt as your kids go to college and you approach retirement?
Answering these questions can give your mortgage lender a good idea of what mortgage options are right for you.
What should I look for when deciding on a community?
Charleston is a unique city with a charming combination of big city and old time charm. Families should pay special attention to the schools surrounding the neighborhood. We all want quality education for our children. Also note, any amenities such as parks and accessibility to work. For those who love being in the heart of action, maybe living in downtown Charleston is the right place for you.
How do I make the right offer on a home?
Have your realtor guide you through the process of placing an offer on a home. Many houses are priced too high, so five percent below asking price is a reasonable place to start. Ask your realtor for recent sales on comparable homes in the area, and use their expertise when negotiating the sale.