Get your own Representation…


    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.

    71% of buyers thought that the “seller’s agent” showing them the property was actually their agent.

    73% of buyers told the agent confidential information, including the final price they would pay for the property.

    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 don’t use an agent and represent myself?”

    No, in virtually all situations, the buyer does not pay a commission for their agent’s services, so IT’S 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 afford (pre-qualify), and show properties in that price range and locale.

    • Assist in viewing properties by accompanying the buyer on the showing or previewing the properties on behalf of the buyer to ensure that the identified specifications are made.

    • Research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the buyer make an informed decision prior to making an offer to purchase the property.

    • Advise the buyer on structuring an appropriate offer to purchase the selected property

    • Negotiate on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the identified property — keeping the buyer’s best interests in mind while fully representing the buyer throughout the whole real estate transaction. 


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    Initial Consultation – A meeting with your REALTOR® to discuss your wants, needs, budget and the process. This is also where you will be explained the agency relationships and discuss the terms of the buyer’s agency.

    Loan Qualification – You will need to be pre-qualified before you go house hunting and have a budget in mind. This is also where you, your REALTOR®,  and your lender will discus the structure of your loan and your offers.

    Find a Home – Between you searching for houses on our website and your REALTOR® sending you perspective homes, we are certain you will find the home you wanted.

    Write/Present Offer – Once the home you want is found, your REALTOR® and yourself will draw up an offer to send to the seller.

    Under Contract – Once all parities have agreed to the terms of the contact, the home will be moved in the MLS from “Active” to “Active Contingent Upon Inspections” and your due diligence period will begin.

    Loan Application & Approval – Once you have a final contract, your lender will now begin to really dig in to your personal finances, tax returns, pay stubs etc. and they will qualify the home. If all comes back clear, your will be pre-approved and ready for closing.  

    Inspections & Repairs – Once you are under contract, you will be contacted by our closing coordinator to setup your inspections. Your due diligence period is 10 business days and you have the right to conduct any nondestructive inspections at your cost. Inspectors are paid at the time of inspection. Depending on your contract, you probably have the right to ask the seller to make repairs within the 10 day due diligence period. Once your due diligence period is up, you will have 5 business days to negotiate which repairs the seller will make and which ones they will not.

    Transfer Funds – Once the mortgage company has done their final checks and the attorney has all of the documents they need, the mortgage company will transfer the amount they are lending you to buy the home to the attorney’s escrow account. During this process, you will be either wiring your funds or getting a certified check for the amount you need to bring for your down payment and closing costs.  

    Utilities Setup – You’re almost to the end.  You will be reminded to transfer the utilities into your name for the day of closing.

    Homeowner’s Insurance – While the mortgage company and attorney are preparing for closing, you will need to choose who will be carrying your homeowner’s insurance and providing this information to the mortgage company.

    Closing – The day is finally here. The closing is completed, based on a mutually agreed upon date and time, either at an attorneys office or our office. You will need to bring the funds you need to close and two forms of ID. Other than that, about an hour  (and many documents signed) later, you will be a home owner.

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             • Application interview
             • Lender obtains all pertinent documentation


             • Credit report, appraisal on property, verifications of employment, mortgage or rent,
                and funds to close, landlord ratings, preliminary title report



             • The loan package is assembled and submitted to the underwriter for approval


             • Supporting documents come in
             • Lender checks on any problems
             • Requests for any additional items are made


             • Parties are notified of approval


             • Loan documents are completed & sent to closing attorney
             • Borrowers come in for final signatures


             • Lender reviews the loan package
             • Funds are transferred by wire
             • You get keys


             • Attorney records the deed of trust at the county recorder’s office.
             • Recorded deed is mailed to you with in 60-90 days.

  • tab4Final Contract – Once you have negotiated all the terms of your offer with the seller you will be “under contract” and a copy of the terms will be sent to the real estate attorney of your choice.

    Order Title Work – The attorney will begin by having an abstractor do a “40-record search” of the property you are buying to make sure it has changed ownership properly and there are not any lawsuits or pending liens.

    Order Survey – The attorney will always ask you if you want a survey and will recommend if they think you should get one based on the age of the last survey on file. A survey ensures that no one has built anything on your property by defining your property lines through a complex system of measurements.

    Review Title Work – The attorney will gather all the documents the abstractor has found and review them to see if there are any discrepancies.

    Issue Title Insurance – Title insurance is required by most mortgage companies.  As long as the title work comes back clear, title insurance can be issued on your property protecting the mortgage company and yourself from claims in the future. 

    Create HUD – The Mortgage company will send the attorney all of the documents (aka the package) they will need you and the seller to sign in order to give you a loan. The attorney will compile all of this information and create a form called a HUD-1, which shows where every penny is paid in this transaction.

    Buyer Reviews HUD – Once the attorney has finalized the HUD with the mortgage company to ensure nothing was missed, they will send a preliminary copy to you and your REALTOR® to make sure everything looks good. At this time, your REALTOR® or your mortgage lender will and explain this to you at length.

    Closing Day – This is when you will sign all of your documents.  The Mortgage Company will send the attorney money for your loan at which time you will become a new home owner.


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Buyer FAQs

  • 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.


  • We hear “financing won’t be a problem” every day, but what people don’t know is that the rules for loans changes almost daily. 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.

  • With everything we do at The ART of Real Estate, we want to make the entire process convenient and enjoyable for you. We have set up an entire searching site,, that ties into our main site,, to allow you to look at the most recent homes in Columbia, Lexington, Northeast Columbia, Downtown Columba, Irmo, Chapin, West Columbia, Cayce, Hopkins and Southeast Columbia. Your agent will go ahead and set up an account where you can go in and look at all the listings in the above areas, mark your favorites and setup searches and notifications when houses that meet your criteria come on the market or change price. This website has the most up-to-date information on homes in the Columbia, SC area. Your agent can also login to your account and setup searches that they think you would like and add specific homes that might interest you. When you’re ready to go look at homes, your agent can  pull your “favorite” homes and setup appointments to see them.

    If you are not a client of The ART of Real Estate and have not chosen an agent yet, feel free to sign up for an account and search at your leisure. As a disclaimer, a REALTOR® from our team will reach out to you to see if you need help. Feel free to tell them you’re just browsing or have them setup an appointment to meet.

  • The easy answer is nothing. 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.


  • 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. 


  • Of course! The way we approach real estate with clients is to assume that they know nothing about the home buying process. Even 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.


  • Most contracts have a place in them for where the buyer tells the seller how much money they are willing to put down to show their “earnest intentions” in buying the home. Without going into too much detail, the amount is negotiable and technically not required per South Carolina Real Estate Law, but since most contracts have it, sellers want to see some sort of earnest money. Don’t worry; your ART Team REALTOR® will explain in great detail the rules with earnest money such as who holds it, who gets it if someone defaults etc.


  • Once you and the seller have agreed upon the terms of buying the home, everyone has signed the final contact 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 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.

  • 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.