Buying A Home With
involved in the entire process when you purchase a home
through her team of buyer’s agents. This team of real
estate professionals will assist you in gaining a clear
understanding of the entire home buying process and your
agent will work with you to understand your criteria and
special needs. Darlene’s agent will provide valuable
information regarding location, community, schools and
builders to help make your home buying experience
informed and pleasurable. As a homebuyer you have the
right to have a professional real estate agent represent
you and serve your best interests.
State law requires that you be informed of all forms of
• Listing Agent represents the seller only
• Seller’s Agent works with buyers but represents the
• Buyer’s Agent works with and represents the buyer
• Dual Agent works with both buyers and sellers,
representing both (This form of agency is also practiced
when two agents work for the same company.)
• Designated Agent works with either buyers or sellers,
representing either – not both
Before you begin
going out to look at homes to purchase, you need to be
pre-qualified or pre-approved. Sometimes this can be
done with a simple phone call. An offer to purchase and
contract carries more weight when you have a letter of
You qualify for a specific loan amount based on a review
of your income and debt ratio.
• Pre-approved: In addition to a review of your income
and debt ratio, your credit report will be ordered and
considered in qualifying for a specific loan amount.
Selecting a Lender
There are hundreds
of lenders available offering an endless number of loan
options. Darlene’s buyer’s agents are highly
knowledgeable and, upon request, they can provide
suggestions to assist you in this process. You will want
to determine how much you can afford to borrow based on
your personal financial situation. Mortgage bankers and
brokers will likely ask you to document your income and
• The Mortgage
Lender usually loans you money from his company (i.e.
bank) and typically offers several set programs with
• The Mortgage Broker works with many different lenders
and facilitates numerous types of loan programs.
Finding Your New Home
When you purchase
a home through Darlene’s team of buyer’s agents, you can
expect your buyer’s specialist to listen to your
specific criteria and special needs to help you select
the perfect home for you and your family. Darlene’s team
members are knowledgeable about the many neighborhoods
and communities throughout the Charleston Area. Based on the
research of your buyer’s specialist, you will begin
visiting many homes; some you may have requested and
some that seem to fit your criteria. Your buyer’s
specialist will schedule appointments for these showings
and personally take you to each one. As you tour these
homes, select the ones you like and envision yourself
and your family living in them. After several of these
outings, you will easily be able to make a decision.
You may find a
home that is being sold by its owner without the benefit
of being listed with a real estate agency. We
endearingly call these homes FSBO’s. You may request
that your agent contact the home’s owner to view the
home. Often, the home’s owner will allow this and pay
the selling side of the commission to your buyer’s
agent. Never hesitate to involve your buyer’s agent!
This is when you are most likely to need the help of
Darlene’s professional team the most.
Buying Your New Home
This is the one!
You have found the perfect home for you and your family.
Now, with your buyer’s specialist, you will review the
listing price and decide what amount you would like to
offer for the home. Your agent will help you prepare an
offer to purchase and contract, including any
appropriate addenda. Your offer must be accompanied by
earnest money, which is considered a deposit made in
good faith to show that you are serious about purchasing
this particular home. Your agent must present your offer
In a perfect world
your offer would be accepted immediately, but in
reality, you can expect a counter offer – unless you
have offered to pay the asking price. These negotiations
are usually done verbally but can be done in writing.
This often takes several days. Once you have agreement
on all the terms of your contract, you will be ready for
the final steps.
Your buyer’s agent will recommend several different
types of inspections for your protection. Inspections
are performed at the buyer’s expense. These are not
required unless specified by your lender (i.e. termite
inspection), but they are very important to protect you
and your new investment.
Your agent will help you set up the necessary
inspections and should be present during the
• Home Inspection – This inspection covers the
entire home including structural, drainage, plumbing and
• Termites – In South Carolina, this could be one
of the most important inspections you will need.
• Radon Gas – This inspection looks for trap
radon gas, which is found mostly in homes with slabs and
• Mold – This is a relatively new inspection for
the Charleston market. This inspection looks for toxic
mold growth that could be hazardous to your health.
• Well & Septic – If this inspection applies to
the particular home you are purchasing, it will verify
the quality of your water and identify any need for
repairs or cleaning of the septic system.
Repairs that are identified as a result of these
inspections are negotiable with the seller. Please be
cautious not to confuse required repairs with cosmetic
repairs. Sellers are not required to make cosmetic
repairs unless otherwise agreed to in the original
Lead Paint - Residential dwellings built before
1978 will be inspected for lead based paint.
Your lender will order an appraisal as part of the loan
process. A house will almost always appraise for the
contract price, or higher. In the unlikely event that it
does not appraise for the sale price, you may choose to
re-negotiate your contract or withdraw your offer.
As the new homebuyer, you are entitled to a walk through
24 hours in advance of your closing. This is where you
ensure that the home is in the same or better condition
then when you originally selected it. This also provides
the opportunity to verify that all requested repairs
have been made. This is extremely important since a
closing constitutes acceptance of the property in its
The real estate closing attorney that you selected with
the help of your buyer’s specialist will review the
final numbers with you prior to the closing. You will
sign the necessary paperwork that is provided to your
attorney by your mortgage lender. Please remember to
bring personal identification with you to the closing so
that your attorney can notarize your signatures.
This is where you get the keys to your new home and you
can move in. Now you can celebrate!