THE BUYING PROCESS
At the ART of Real Estate, we have broken down the buying process to make it easy to understand and to show that
a real estate transaction is more than a potential buyer would think. We take you step-by-step through buying your new home to certain your experience is the smoothest it can be.
With everything we do at The ART of Real Estate, we want to make the entire home buying process convenient and enjoyable for you. We have set up an entire home searching site, BuyAHomeInColumbiaSC.com, that allows you to look at the most recent homes in Columbia area under “custom home search”. You can also look at our featured listings, our Columbia, SC community guide or our featured community of the month. Happy searching!
SHOULD I USE A BUYER’S AGENT?
WHY USE A BUYER’S AGENT?
A real estate agent is more than just a “sales person.” They act on your behalf as your agent providing you with advice and guidance in order to help you buy or sell a home. Due to the fast-changing market, it is important for both sellers and buyers to be equally represented in a transaction.
If you are in the market to buy, it would be to your advantage to use a Buyer’s agent. They can make recommendations on what terms and price to offer as well as negotiating a deal with your best interest in mind.
The seller has an agent looking out for his best interest, so why not have someone looking out for yours?
WON’T I SAVE MONEY IF I
In virtually all situations, the buyer (you) does not pay a commission for their agent’s services, it is a free service to you. The listing contract between the seller and the listing agent states a specific commission rate that the seller agrees to pay the listing broker for marketing the property and for bringing a “ready, willing and able” buyer to purchase the home whether the buyer is represented by an agent or not.
WHAT CAN A BUYER’S AGENT
DO FOR ME?
The buyer’s representative works for and owes fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer’s client and has the buyer’s best interests in mind throughout the entire real estate process. A buyer’s representative will:
Evaluate the specific needs and wants of the buyer and locate properties that fit those specifications.
Assist the buyer in determining the amount that they can prequalify for.
Assist in viewing properties by accompanying the buyer on the showing or previewing the properties on behalf of the buyer.
Research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the buyer make an informed decision prior to making an offer.
Advise the buyer on structuring an appropriate offer to purchase the selected property.
- Negotiate on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the property — keeping the buyer’s best interests in mind while fully representing the buyer throughout the entire real estate transaction.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A: By law, the first step is for a real estate agent to give you South Carolina’s Labor Licensing and Regulations’ Agency Disclosure Brochure and explain its contents. We have to give you this at the first substantive contact.
The second step is for us to set up an in-office meeting. We will walk you through the process, discuss the buyer agency contact, the contract of sale, take an inventory of qualities you want in a home and set expectations. Buying a home is a huge investment and we feel that we need to take a professional approach and inform you of all of the options available to you when it comes to buying a home.
To show homes to any clients, they must be pre-qualified by a Mortgage Professional. Even though someone may even be giving you money to buy the home, there are a list of rules that accompany this process as well. It is important to know your financial situation and set a budget so that we can structure your offer to be the most convenient for you and your pocket book.
A: No. Our fee is paid by the seller out of their proceeds at the time of closing. There are some variables with this but 99% of the time, you pay us nothing. We want to make sure you have a professional REALTOR® to help you through the process. If you never buy a house, you owe us nothing.
A: By law, real estate agents are not allowed to show you any listings outside of their company’s inventory without a signed Buyer Agency’s agreement between the buyer and the buyers agent’s broker. This contract goes into detail on how your agent will be paid, when they are due a commission, what is expected of a buyer and what fiduciary duties the real estate agent owes you.
The terms are negotiable, but we have to have a contract signed to show you homes for the protection of everyone.
Many buyers have expressed their reluctancy to sign a contract with a real estate agent they barely know and we understand where they are coming from. Oftentimes we can sign a buyer agency just for the homes you see with that agent, or on a daily basis until you feel comfortable with that agent. Once you know they are in your corner and fighting for you, we can extend the terms to what ever you feel comfortable.
A: Of course! The way we approach real estate with clients is to assume that they know nothing about the home buying process. Even if you have bought and sold 20 homes, every time and every market is different. We have a step-by-step system to make sure we don’t miss a step and we provide you will a binder full of information for you to refer to during this process.
The team concept plays a huge role with the buying process. There will always be someone to show you homes when you want to see them and someone you can always get in contact with when you have a question.
A: Once you and the seller have agreed upon the terms of buying the home, everyone has signed the final contract and it is has been delivered to the real estate agents involved, your due diligence will begin on the following business day (barring federal holidays). You will get 10 business days to perform any and all inspections you want, as long as they do not cause damage to the home.
We will be more than happy to recommend several inspectors in each category. With the amount of business we conduct each year, we feel we have surrounded ourselves with trustworthy and ethical vendors. Check out our concierge services.
A: We find that oftentimes buyers request a general Home Inspection, a Termite Inspection (CL-100) and an HVAC inspection. We have seen buyers bring specific people to inspections like electricians, plumbers, pool companies, lead paint inspectors and mold inspectors.
Home Inspection – This inspection is almost always performed and we recommend it. Inspections have to be done by a home inspector licensed with LLR. They perform a visible inspection by testing all of the features of the home. This is usually a thorough inspection with pictures and a lengthy summary of the issues as well as basic knowledge of the home such as the size of the water heater, where the panel box is located, etc. The cost varies on the size of the home but you should estimate between $250 – $400 for a standard home with a crawlspace under 3,000 sqft.
Termite (CL-100 )- This is another inspection we recommend. This also has to be performed by a licensed termite inspector and it is issued on a governmental form called a CL-100. They look for all wood destroying organisms and insects, for example but not limited to: termites, powder post beetle, fungi, dry rot. The cost is between $100-$150. Your Mortgage Lender may require you to have one of these done and often times they will require any problems found on the CL-100 to be corrected by the day of closing.
HVAC – This is the biggest mechanical system in your new home and is it important to know how it is functioning. This usually cost around $100 for the first unit then an additional amount for each additional unit.