What are the biggest mistakes and misconceptions of buying a home?


Buying a home is probably the most expensive and complicated purchase you’ll ever make. While beginning this process and initially considering buying a home, one of the top questions you may be looking into is what are the biggest mistakes and misconception to be aware of when buying a home? From your initial decision to enter the market to the time after closing, it’s possible to make choices  along the way that you might regret later on.


Here are a few common mistakes and misconceptions to be aware of when it comes to buying a home:


Skipping Prequalification

The first step in the home buying process starts with prequalifying for a loan. Prequalifying gives you and your real estate agent an idea of what you can afford based on your income, debt levels and down payment. A number of sellers and their agents will not show their homes to people who have not completed this step first. This tends to be all the more important in hotter real estate markets (as Charleston has shown itself to be), as it is a way for sellers and other agents to quickly weed out those who really are interested versus those who are solely lukewarm when it comes to homebuying.


Lacking Information

Real estate markets are not set in stone and what looks like a good neighborhood today might change tomorrow (and vice versa). Local jurisdictions may make changes that impact the property values. Sometimes school districts plan for school closings long before the news hits the papers. The safest approach for learning about an unfamiliar area  is to rely on a Realtor who is knowledgeable about the neighborhood. This information alone can not only help you reduce stress as well as potential costs, it could be the difference between finding a great location versus years of disappointment when you realize you picked the wrong area of the city to live in.


Falling in Love with a Property

Anytime you base a decision heavily off of emotion, you may not exactly make the best choice. Making emotional decisions about a home is all too easy. If you need a three bedroom home and find a two bedroom you just can’t live without, you could be saddled with something that doesn’t work in a few years. It’s better to hand your real estate agent a list of must-haves and insist that the basics must be met first in the event you do find an unsuitable, but absolutely irresistible property.


Disregarding the Inspection

Before you can close, your lender will require a home inspection to reduce their risk when they fund the loan. Any problems the inspection turns up related to plumbing, wiring, the home’s structure, or the HVAC system can be expensive to repair.


At the very least, you should spend time with your agent when you get the report to learn what the issues are and what it will take to fix them. Realtors will also help you negotiate the seller’s price based on the condition of the home. Depending on its condition, a realtor could help you save thousands.


Overly High Expectations

The perfectly designed home and well maintained yard may exist somewhere; but if each one you visit comes up short, you may need to rethink your expectations. If all else about the homes you’re considering are acceptable to you but you pass because of small issues, you may need a reality check from a seasoned Realtor.


Overextending Yourself

Although there are plenty of checks in place to prevent someone from qualifying for too large a mortgage, once you close, you’re on your own. Be sure to avoid the temptation to invest a lot of money decorating or renovating a property to make it uniquely yours.


It takes a few years to recover your initial investment in a home before you can expect to sell it for a profit. In the meantime, the market may change or the home might require an extensive repair. It’s better overall to settle into a home for a while before investing more into it.


Taking your time will also give you a better sense of its livability, and a foundation for establishing your priorities. Caution will also prevent you from upgrading it too much for the neighborhood, which may not ever increase the home’s value, regardless of its cost.


Bottom Line

Throughout the purchasing process, a knowledgeable realtor is the best source you have for valuable information about a home, its condition, and the overall neighborhoods of Charleston. By using their expertise, you’ll avoid the pitfalls that could affect this significant investment down the road.


Come Find Out How Justin Thomas Can Help You With Your Buying Options Today.

How Should I Convert An Assessment To Home Value?


An assessment represents a certain percentage of the real estate market value of a home, and will be dependent on the county and the town of the corresponding property. Dealing with taxes, let alone trying to understand everything concerning real estate can be difficult and could leave you wondering how to convert an assessment to home value. The assessment percentage can range from 1-100 percent of the value. In Charleston, SC, for instance, fair market value is ideally the price a buyer would be realistically willing to pay for a home, and the county assessor determines that. When reasonably close to the sale price of any area, an assessment is considered an excellent estimate of fair market value. There are three things factored in determining a home’s value including:


  • The value of a home compared to others recently sold in the neighborhood.
  • The replacement cost of the property with a similar one in the area.
  • The amount the property would produce on a rental basis.


Due to the market value fluctuation possibilities, the value of a home can be reassessed every five years. Normally, ASR, (also known as Assessment to Sales Ratio) is what measures the acceptable value of a property. The ASR is determined through the division of the assessed value by the selling price. Note; that  the ASR is measured at the average level of the neighborhood median of sales.  In Charleston, SC, the assessment ratio for a primary residence is 4 percent. That means that if you have lived in a property for over 50 percent of the year, there are high chances of qualifying for the 4 percent, but this must be applied accordingly and properly. Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to realize they are taxed at 6 percent automatically upon a home purchase when they fail to file an application for the lower rate. Little items like this are only just a part of the difference a knowledgeable realtor brings to the table when it comes to dealing with real estate.


Why Is It Important To Estimate Market Value?

Establishing the market value of a property is the surest way to have greater control over insurance premiums, property taxes, and the refinancing of a home. Here, it is necessary to have a professional appraiser come into play. Remember, you will need a home valuation tool to make informed decisions. Appraisers will assess the condition of a home and ensure its description is accurately reflected on the Assessment Notice. An assessment is considered to be the fairest system of tax burden distribution.



To convert an assessment to home value, local sales activities must be monitored first. In most cases, computerized models are used to gauge the assessed value of local homes. Property value tends to increase together with high demand and low supply of real estate (as Charleston has been seeing recently). In that regard, downtown areas register stronger assessed values given that jobs are often in plenty and space is valued at a premium.


On the other hand, neighborhoods struggling with job opportunities experience weaker property values. Ideally, strong economies like SC have high job creation, translating into strong housing demand. This then further supports advances in property assessment. Normally, the municipality will rely on the assessment to structure tax bases. At times, a real estate property may be assessed incorrectly, and this can lead to an unfair tax burden. In such cases, a realtor can help in comparing the assessment with that of the neighborhood for accuracy and realignment. Tax is then levied against each property in line with the determined value.


Having a home assessed at the full market value makes it easy to understand the assessment and how fair it was. For certainty of what market value your neighborhood is taxing, the assessment must be converted into a market value, and the calculation should be based on a current property assessment for accuracy. Property taxes in Charleston SC are low since legal residences are exempted from property tax used in funding public school operations.


Make No Mistake And Be Certain Of The Value Of Your Home!


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What Are The Advantages Of The Charleston Real Estate Market?


Charleston, SC is an area that has seen rapid growth over the last several years. Whether moving or just visiting, you could be wondering what are the advantages of the Charleston real estate market over other areas? With a population of roughly 96,000 residents in 2000, Charleston has grown to an estimated 132,609 by 2015. It’s current growth rate is three times higher than the national average. Many people are relocating to Charleston for several different reasons which can include employment opportunities, retirement to a warmer area of the country, relocating from an area with a higher cost of living, or maybe just wanting to move to a lovely area. No matter what the reason, Charleston has much to offer potential residents in terms of not only the financial but also professional and personal.   


Real Estate Values In Charleston

Currently, the median sales price for a home sold in Charleston is $270,000 or roughly $196 per square foot. For renters, the median rent is $1,800 monthly. The market in Charleston has shown a steady increase in value that matches with its steady increase in popularity and population size over the years. The median home sales value from Trulia shows the following trends over the last five years:


  • 2012: $208,095
  • 2013: $215,000
  • 2014: $212,000
  • 2015: $233,467
  • 2016: $257,000
  • 2017: $265,500


Taken as a whole this points to a very healthy local market that has shown consistent increases for the most part (about a 128% increase in home values). The only year showing a decrease was 2014 in relation to outside factors concerning the then ongoing mortgage crisis. Home values quickly recovered in 2015 and increased in 2015, 2016, and 2017.   


Why People Are Moving To Charleston

Alongside the above noted growing real estate market the city of Charleston offers many advantages to potential residents:


  • A Diversified Economy: The economy of Charleston is a healthy one with employment opportunities across several different industries, and growing further over the last couple years. Tourism is a critical industry with several hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and restaurants catering to the city’s many visitors. The shipping industry here is also vital due to Charleston’s location on the water and having the 4th largest container seaport on the east coast (with further plans to dredge the harbor for bigger ships and more shipments) . The Tech industry is another crucial industry and continues to grow and expand. Employers include the likes of Boeing, Blackbaud, BoomTown, CSS and numerous startups. This is also without mentioning international companies moving here due to lower costs, including the likes of Volvo and Mercedes. Even further, one of every four jobs in the state of South Carolina is created in Charleston.    
  • Culture: Charleston is home to festivals including the Spoleto Festival USA art festival, the Cooper River Bridge Run, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Charleston Food and Wine Festival, the Taste of Charleston, and Charleston Fashion Week among many various festivals and events offered throughout the year. It is also a top city for theater and is home to museums, art galleries, and numerous historical buildings.
  • Sports: Local minor league teams include the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League, South Carolina Stingrays who play in the ECHL (hockey), and Minor League Baseball team The Charleston RiverDogs who play in the South Atlantic League (Bill Murray himself even being a Co-Owner and overall ‘Director of Fun’).      


Final Thoughts

The Charleston area is one of the more attractive ones to relocate or retire to in the entire country. Aside from the agreeable weather of the American south and the warm hospitality, the area is also a growing one with a healthy local economy and a very diverse and interesting culture. As the area keeps growing in home values and opportunities in both the professional and personal spheres, the real estate market is only going stronger. Whether looking to maybe buy or if you just have questions in general, always be sure to speak with a knowledgeable real estate professional to not only ensure you find the home you’re looking for but also assure you get the best price and location available.  


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What Are The Top Reasons To Sell A House in 2017?

What Are The Top Reasons To Sell A House in 2017?

In 2016, home sellers were in an encouraging market, where sales were up by 3.3 percent, higher than 2015. The National Association of Realtors predicts better growth in 2017, and this may just be one of only a few of the top reasons to sell a house in 2017 in Charleston, SC. The forecasted growth in home sales in 2017 is 2 percent, with the median price expected to increase by 4 percent. There are numerous reasons buyers are attracted to South Carolina, with the most notable being the fact that taxes here are low for owner-occupied homes. In fact, recent data shows that Charleston real estate will boom as of the start of the second quarter in 2017. The same issues that dogged the housing market in 2015-2016 are most likely coming into play in 2017 including low inventory, tight credit access, and low affordability. Other questions you may be asking yourself concerning selling might include How Much Should I Sell My Home For or When Is The Best Time To Sell My House?


Low-Interest Rates

With mortgage rates being low, monthly costs should also be low, and this is very interesting for buyers. Since mid-2016, the mortgage rates have been consistent at 4 percent, and this is expected to move slightly higher in 2017. As the year progresses, the rates could go a little higher to about 4.8 percent. Any potential home buyer armed with the knowledge is right now hustling to secure a house before the rates are hiked.


However, if you are not ready to get your house in the market immediately, there is no cause to worry as rates are expected to remain low enough to attract potential buyers. Experts see a 5 percent hike as the point of decline, meaning that 2017 will continue to be dominated by sellers. In fact, right now there are more buyers than sellers, making it a sellers’ market. The market is on a high-demand and low-supply trend, meaning as a seller you should expect high foot traffic if you price your home correctly, which a knowledgeable realtor will know how to do.


Starter Homes in Demand

2017 has also seen an increased housing demand from millennials who have been in the past reluctant about dipping their hands into the waters of real estate. Most of the fear has been based on job security and debt, among other factors. However, this demographic is now ready to own a home and making moves accordingly. Pricier homes are selling at a slower rate, while starter homes are facing high demand.


Shrinking Inventory

The concept of supply and demand in real estate means; the lower the number of homes available for purchase, the higher the value. Once the inventory tightens, the prices of homes on sale tend to rise. Before the housing crash for instance in 2007, the inventory peaked at 4 million homes for sale. By November 2016, the inventory had fallen to 1.85 million which is 54 percent lower. Due to a combination of the right pricing and high demand, homes on sale are not spending much time on the market.


High Buyer Demand

Buyer demand is back in a big way, as buyers realize it is a historic season to invest in real estate. In 2017, the interest rates are at historic lows, making buyers believe that purchasing a home is more reasonable than renting, especially now that rental prices are appreciating.  A combination of improved job markets, confidence in the economy, rental appreciation, and decent interest rates have all contributed to strong buyer demand. This is a great reason to list your home in 2017 if you have any inkling to do so accordingly


2017 is the time to sell your Charleston home without holding back, given that mortgage rates may change in the future. For you to sell fast for the best money, be sure to hire a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent!


Come find out the difference a great Charleston realtor makes and let’s find out how much your home is worth today!