Kim Meyer's Complete First Home Buyer's Guide for Charleston, SC

Kim Meyer's Complete First Home Buyer's Guide for Charleston, SC

Beginning your journey to purchasing your first home in Charleston, South Carolina, is an exciting milestone in your life. While the process may seem overwhelming initially, it is easy to manage when looking at the specific steps involved. Review the home buying guide below before purchasing your first house.

Take the time to become pre-approved for a loan

One of the most critical steps in buying your first home is getting pre-approved for your loan. Doing so ensures the seller knows your offer is serious and competitive. The seller will know you have the financing to purchase a luxury property and complete the home-buying process. Additionally, pre-approval allows you to make an immediate offer on a home you want and secure a deal before anyone else.

Ideally, if you have been employed in your job for a few years, securing a loan should be relatively easy as long as your credit is solid. However, it can be more involved if you have recently switched jobs or are self-employed. Be prepared to show tax returns for the last two years. You may also need to disclose additional financial information to show you make enough money after expenses to pay for the mortgage on your new home if you own your own business.

Frequently, once you are pre-approved, you can lock into the current interest rate. If the rates fluctuate, securing the current rate may be beneficial before they increase.

Save money for a down payment, closing costs, appraisal fees, and more

When applying for a mortgage, try to avoid paying private mortgage insurance by putting down at least 20% of the total purchase price. Conventional loans sometimes require private mortgage insurance. It protects the lender if you stop making loan payments. Additionally, the more you put toward a down payment, the less you will need to borrow and the lower your monthly payment.

Before looking for a home, be sure to set a budget and factor in additional costs like taxes, maintenance, and fees. Ensure you have set aside enough extra cash to pay for any unexpected expenses that might pop up during the home-buying process. Doing so will reduce your stress level and make the experience more enjoyable.

Hire the right realtor

The luxury housing market requires a realtor such as Kim Meyer with the experience and know-how to navigate a more complex real estate transaction. Interview several realtors before starting your home search. Look for a realtor with expertise in contract negotiation, integrated marketing experience, superior interpersonal skills, and close attention to detail. The desire and ability to work with first-time homebuyers is also a must.

Additionally, working with a realtor with connections to other buyers and sellers in the luxury market may help you find a home sooner. Often these connections lead to new homes that will be coming on the market but may not have been listed yet. Knowing this information will allow you to promptly take a tour and make an offer right when the house comes onto the market.

Decide on your must-haves and nice-to-haves

When looking at Charleston, SC, real estate for your first home, come prepared. Make a list of your absolute must-haves and a second list of your nice-to-haves. For example, if a short commute or living in a particular school district is non-negotiable, add that to your must-haves list. In contrast, an outdoor patio and a newly renovated kitchen would be lovely but maybe not a deal breaker. Consider items you could add or negotiate for, such as appliances, during the home-buying process.

Sticking to this list is imperative for long-term success. It is easy to allow emotions to overtake your decision-making skills. The last thing you want to experience after purchasing your home is buyer's regret. Share your list with your realtor to help you focus on the essential aspects of each luxury home you view. In the long run, you will be glad you did.

Put an offer on the home

Once you find a home that meets your requirements, it is time to put in an offer on the house. Your realtor will guide you through the process of making an offer. The process will also address any contingencies. If the seller makes a counteroffer, your realtor will assist you with the negotiation and work to ensure the contract provides you with the best possible offer. Once the offer is accepted, you will officially be "under contract" for the new home and on your way to closing.

Inspection and appraisal

Be prepared for a few additional steps before closing on your new home. An inspector will physically walk through the house and looks at each detail. They will inspect the heating and cooling systems, roof condition, gutter functionality, plumbing, and other home features.

Ensuring everything is in tip-top shape is imperative before purchasing the home. The inspector will issue a written report detailing their findings. The report will address any issues needing attention. You and your realtor can discuss anything that might be concerning.

Often, the seller will either pay for the repair or reduce the home's price to allow you to arrange for the repair.

As part of the mortgage, the home goes through an appraisal process. Completed by a licensed and professional appraiser, the assessment provides an impartial opinion of the home's value. They review recent sales of properties similar to the one you put an offer on, analyze current market trends, and take into account the features of the homes, such as the floor plan, amenities, size, and condition. The appraisal ensures the home is worth the money the lender borrows for the mortgage.


The real estate transaction process unfolds over several weeks and includes multiple steps. For these steps alone, using a realtor with ample experience working with contracts is a good idea. Being pre-approved for your mortgage helps speed up the process, and you may be able to close sooner.

Once your mortgage is approved, you can schedule the closing. Keep in mind any closing costs covering items such as appraisal, loan, legal, homeowners association, and taxes. Sometimes the seller will pay these fees, and other times the buyer pays the fees. You can work with your loan officer and realtor to determine the specific costs.

After the final walkthrough is completed and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys to your new luxury home. Congratulations on accomplishing this exciting transaction, and enjoy making memories in your new house!

When looking for a realtor with local knowledge, luxury real estate expertise, and a passion for Lowcountry living, contact Kim Meyer. Her excellent industry experience, attention to detail, and care for each client will ensure a first-time home-buying experience that is stress-free and successful.

Work With Kim

Kim still has the same passion for the Lowcountry that she had when she first arrived and loves to share that with a great enthusiasm with her clients who have now become dear friends. Charleston is a special place and Kim is always honored to share and educate those who want to call it home.

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