Tips For First Time Home Buyers Charleston SC
Today I am sharing some tips for first time home buyers Charleston SC. Some of these you may have seen before, but they are worth repeating. I also have some additional info to help you see that buying a home is a smart decision financially.
One of the most important bits of advice for first time home buyers is to be proactive. Months before you start looking for homes, you need to first get in touch with a mortgage loan officer.
They will help get you mortgage pre approval. This is not the same as pre qualified. Pre qualified simply means that a loan officer asks a few basic questions and based on the information you give them, they can declare you pre qualified. This is essentially worthless when it comes to buying a home.
Pre approval involves completing a mortgage application, having your credit checked and verifying your income.
It only takes a day or so to do this, and it costs you nothing. The benefit of pre approval is you know that you qualify for a mortgage and you will have a rough idea of your monthly payment.
The benefit of being proactive and doing this first is your loan officer can see if there are any credit issues keeping you from qualifying for a mortgage.
If that is not the case, then there could be some items on your credit that are keeping you from getting the best loan possible.
The better your credit, the better loan options you have. Plus, you will pay less each month and over the life of the loan.
It takes time to repair and/or improve your credit, so this is why it is important to do this ahead of time.
When it comes time to buy a home you will need a mortgage pre approval letter when you make an offer. Sellers will not consider any offer that is not accompanied by one.
If you are thinking of buying your first house, then the good news is now is a great time to buy. Home ownership offers many advantages over renting.
You may have heard that you can buy a house and spend less each month on a mortgage each month than rent. In most cases, that is true. Interest rates are very low right now.
Even if your mortgage payment would be more than rent, in short time that will no longer be true. Because with a mortgage, your monthly payment will stay the same over the life of the mortgage–usually 30 years.
Rents on the other hand are constantly on the rise–see the graph below showing rents over the last 30 years.
Another benefit to owning a home is the ability to build wealth. Your home is an asset that will increase in value over time. If you rent, you do not get this benefit.
Either way you are paying a mortgage, so you might as well pay your own. That way you benefit from gaining equity in the home, and the increasing value of the home. This helps create wealth.
Another important tip for first time buyers in Charleston SC is finding the right real estate agent to represent you.
The internet is a great resource to learn about the home buying process, but it can’t replace an experienced professional.
But not all agents are the same, so be careful.
If you are thinking of buying a new home, then you will likely visit a sales office on site. There are helpful agents there that will answer questions and show you floor plans.
They can even draw up a contract if you decide to buy. However, you should realize those agent work for the builder, and therefore, represent the builder. Their job is to look out for the builder’s best interest, not yours.
Another situation is when you find a house you like. You call the number on the sign and the agent will tell you all about the house. They may even agree to show you the house.
However, if that agent’s name is on the sign, they are the list agent. They represent the seller and are looking out for the seller’s best interest.
In either situation, you, as the buyer, are not being represented by an agent. In these situations you are in what is known as “Dual Agency”, which means one agent represents both parties in a transaction.
While this is not illegal in South Carolina, it can leave both parties unrepresented fully.
If you find yourself in either situation, the agent must disclose the fact that they represent the seller, and that if you continue you will be in Dual Agency.
The best advice? Avoid this at all costs. You are entitled to be represented by your own real estate agent, also known as a Buyer’s Agent.
Best of all, you are entitled to be represented by your own agent and it DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING!!
So, it is best to contact an agent early in the process, so you can avoid situations like this.
It is also important that you choose the right agent. One that specializes in working with first time buyers. Not all agents have the patience or desire to work with first time buyers.
First time buyers ask a lot of questions, need to be walked through the home buying process and sometimes need someone to hold their hand through the process.
For some agents that is ok. For others, they simply will not do that. Make sure you choose the agent that wants to work with first time buyers.
You can usually tell by how responsive they are. If they do not return your phone calls or emails in a timely manner, or are short or impatient with you when they do talk to you, then move on to the next agent!
You will save yourself a lot of aggravation down the road.
Bee sure to check out my Pam Marshall Realtor website for helpful home buying information, including videos, more blog posts and helpful home buying guides.
You can also sign up for a free list of homes that match your criteria sent to your mailbox.
Sign up below for my “Homebuyer’s Survival Guide” and stay tuned for more tips for first time home buyer Charleston SC.