Buying a house in South Carolina is exciting but it’s also not easy. The market, your own financials, and the local economy all blend to create a unique mix that determines what home you’ll buy and how much you’ll pay for it. But if you understand the steps to buying a house in South Carolina, you’ll find it a lot easier to navigate both the choices and the red tape.
1. Evaluate your financial situation & get preapproved for a mortgage
Figuring out and understanding your financial situation is the very first step to buying a home. Knowing your debt to income ratio, credit history, and what you’ll need for a down payment, closing costs, and home maintenance are all crucial to knowing how much mortgage you can afford.
Getting preapproved for that mortgage is also a critical part of the first step. Many sellers won’t even consider showing you their home, much less looking at your offer, without a preapproval letter showing that you are serious and can afford their home.
2. Find the right real estate agent & start house hunting
Once you know your financial situation and are preapproved for a mortgage, it’s time to find the right real estate agent to help you start house hunting. A huge bonus is being able to find a real estate agent who also has a loan officer in-house so they can start helping you from step one.
Your real estate agent will help you find the right homes to look at based on home values and lifestyle features that matter to you. Consider the things that are most important to you, such as school districts, crime rates, walkability and transportation options, and restaurants and other amenities.
3. Find your dream home, put in an offer, and get accepted
Whether you truly find the home you’ve always dreamed of or you just find multiple homes you can see yourself and your family living in happily, the next step is to start putting in offers and see which one(s) get accepted. Work with your agent to find out how quickly you need to make an offer when you see a home you love – it might be sooner than you think.
You may want to sweeten your offer to persuade a seller to accept it. This might include waiving inspection contingencies or writing a personal letter to the seller to convince them that you’ll love their home as much as they do. Once your offer is accepted, there’s only two steps left.
4. Go through the inspections and appraisals
After an offer is accepted, there are a series of inspections that need to happen to ensure the home is in good condition and you, as the buyer, know exactly what you’re buying. These inspections include, but aren’t limited to, the roof, foundation, HVAC, septic system (if applicable), and electrical and plumbing systems. If anything pops up, you’ll be able to negotiate the offer you made.
The appraisal confirms the home’s value. If it comes back much lower than your offer, you’ll either need to renegotiate the price or come up with a bigger down payment.
5. Have your final walk-through and close on your new house
The final step to buying a house in South Carolina is having the final walk-through and closing on the new house. The final walk-through is a chance to make sure that everything about the house is still in the condition you expected it to be in. This is your chance to test all appliances, flush all toilets, make sure you have all the keys and garage door openers and other things you need. It’s also a chance to make sure the sellers have removed all their possessions and any trash.
Then you have your closing. This is where you “sign your life away” by signing what feels like hundreds of documents. It’s important that you go over these documents as you sign them so you understand exactly what you’re signing. Ask your agent or your lawyer to explain anything you don’t understand before you sign.
The process to buying a home can be a little lengthy and very confusing. But if you follow these steps and trust your qualified real estate agent, you can come out the other side in a home that you love and didn’t overpay for. And that makes it worth the process.