30 FAQs

1. How long does the buying process take?
The process takes about 6 weeks from contract ratification to closing. The process can be shortened when a buyer pays cash because a lender will not be involved. Items can be tightly scheduled to shorten the process, such as the lender’s appraisal, the home inspection, and home repairs. 

2. How can I purchase a home with no money down?
This is typically done using an FHA loan for first time buyers. Some lenders will loan 100% to buyers willing to live in select rural areas. This is a benefit to help Farmers employees.

3. What closing costs are associated with buying a home?
There is an array of closing costs associated with buying a home. Things like deed stamps, taxes, title search, and numerous other costs will add up to generally 1-3% of the value of the property.

4. Can all home closing costs be built into a home loan?
Sometimes yes. It depends on the appraisal, the loan-to-value and the agreed upon sales price

5. Can the buyer request the seller pay some or all of the buyers closing costs?
Yes. The seller can agree or not agree to help the buyer with the expense of some or all of the closing costs

6. How long does it take to sell a home?
There are two things involved here. There is the days-on-the-market and there is the time from contract ratification to closing. Days on the market can vary greatly depending on the location, economy, and the job market. Think of it as three months. An accurate and current days-on-the-market is available by request. The time from ratified contract to closing is approximately 6 weeks

7. How much does it cost to list a home?
It does not cost anything to list a home. A real estate brokerage asks for a commission to be paid if the listed home sells. If it does not sell, there are no costs to the seller. Real estate commissions can vary greatly from 4 to 6 to 8 to 10 percent. The higher commissions are associated to commercial real estate.

8. How much does it cost to use a Real Estate Brokerage?
As a general residential-sales rule, a seller will typically agree to pay a real estate brokerage 6 percent (of the sales price of the home). The brokerage agrees (within written contracts) to handle all the aspects of selling the property. The brokerage will typically offer-out 3 percent to all the brokerage houses in the area. The 3 percent will be paid-out to any Realtor that brings a qualified buyer to the table. There are 6000 Realtors in Charleston SC and many of them are working with buyers.

9. Are we in a buyers market or sellers market?
This is something that changes with time. Typically there is a 9 year buyers market followed by a 9 year sellers market. Historically it has been cyclic.   

10. What is predicted this coming year in regard to sales?
In regards to now, the real estate market is expected to grow in Charleston SC. The reasoning is based on the influx of people and the expected growing job market

11. Is there an advantage of using a Mortgage Broker?
My opinion is absolutely yes. When you are shopping for a loan a Mortgage Broker makes all the sense in the world. The Mortgage Broker has information on hundreds of lenders and is familiar with the character, traits, and rules, of each individual one. He as worked with the lenders over many years and immediately knows which dozen or so to approach with your information.

12. What is the difference between a Mortgage Broker and a Lender?
The simple answer is a Lender is an institution that loans money and a Mortgage Broker is a middle-man that shops for a loan (for you)

13. What do Mortgage Brokers do?
The first thing they do is determine what you are wanting to accomplish. They then gather your financial data. They then turn to their long list of Lenders. They select the ones they think best fit you situation. They submit you information to many lenders. They then make a recommendation to you as to the Lenders they recommend and why. With your agreement, they finalize your loan prior to closing.  

14. How much do Mortgage Brokers charge?
Mortgage Brokers generally charge between 1% and 2% of the loan value. Check on this rate before you go forward with a Broker. If they are charging over 2% I personally would not use them.

15. How much house can I afford?
This is down to a fine science. Lenders have a math formula in which they put your financial numbers. They will give you a price range for you to stay within.

16. How much am I going to need for a down payment?
Down payments vary between 0-20%. The problem with loans more that 80% of the value is that they require Mortgage Insurance. Mortgage Insurance can increase your monthly mortgage payment 20%. So as you pay down your loan and your home value goes up, you can look forward to eliminating your mortgage insurance payment with your loan to value becomes 80%. You may want to try for a 100% FHA loan. The Lenders may only be willing to loan you 94% or 97%. Everybody’s financial picture is different.

17. Can a Realtor assist me in finding and buying a newly constructed home?
Yes. Realtors have access to detailed information of new subdivisions and new construction. Home builders are happy to work with Realtors. They know that Realtors are bringing them buyers. They are in the business of selling homes so they want all the buyers they can get.

18. Why should I purchase a Home Owners Warranty?
If you are buying a new home a Warranty is unnecessary because all new items have a factory warranty. When purchasing an older home, everything has some use on it. If your HVAC quits the day after closing, who a re you going to call? If you have a Home Warranty it becomes a simple matter. Home Warranties are always good to have but they are especially good in the beginning because you do not “know” the house.

19. Whose name(s) should I put on the title?
This is a matter of personal choice. The persons(or person’s) name on the mortgage is responsible for paying for the house, where-as the person’s(or person’s) name on the title is the owner of the house.

20. Can a Realtor assist me in finding the Area of Town where I want to live?
Yes. Absolutely. This is especially helpful when moving from out-of-town. The longer the Realtor has lived in the area the better it is for the Buyer. 

21. Can I buy a home contingent on the selling of my current home? How does that work?
This is a stipulation that is written into the contract. If the Buyer’s home does not sell in time then they are released from the contractual obligation 

22. Can I be shown only homes with my must-haves?
Room over the garage?
Fenced-in backyard?
Rear wooden deck?
Double-car garage?
Yes. When a Realtor is given a list of must-haves, the Realtor will only show the Buyer houses that have the features the Buyer desires.

23. Can I be provided information on school districts?
Yes. We have school district information available by request.

24. Can I be provided information on places of worship?
Yes. We have places of worship information available by request.

25. Can I be provided information on the demographics of  the area(s) in which I am interested?
Yes. We have demographics information available by request.

26. Can I be provided flood insurance and hurricane insurance requirements in the area(s) where I are looking?
Yes. We have flood insurance and hurricane insurance requirements information available by request.

27. Is there a Home-Owners-Association in the subdivision in which I am considering?
If there is a Home-Owners-Association in the subdivision you are interesting in, we will gather all the information necessary for you to make an educated decision

28. How much should I expect to pay for:
A loan appraisal? 250-400 once
A termite inspection?  75-200 once 
Property Taxes?  1200-1800 per year
Homeowners Insurance?  1200-1800
per year      
Mortgage Insurance?  150-250 per month
These items vary depending on the individuals circumstances

29. Can your Brokerage recommend a closing attorney?
Yes. Absolutely. We are very familiar with the closing Attorneys in and around Charleston SC

30. How much does a Realtor get paid?
A Realtor gets paid approximately 25-percent of the total commission. The commission comes from the Sellers proceeds and the Closing Attorney makes the financial distribution.