What Should I Ask A Listing Agent During An Open House?


An open house offers arguably one of the best shopping experiences in the real estate space. In fact, it provides an opportunity for numerous potential home buyers to view a variety of houses without the need for an appointment. Aside from giving the much-desired sneak peek into the potential house, it allows you to make valuable queries that delve deeper into various aspects of the house. In case, you are wondering what sort of queries you need to put across during an open house; the following list has you covered.


1.Could the house be having any problems?

Do not assume the house is in perfect condition just because the walls are painted or simply because it looks nice.  Be sure to ask the listing agent whether the house has any existing problems. Most states in the US require real estate agents to give potential buyers full disclosure of code violations or structural issues.  For this reason, a transparent agent will give you information pertaining to details that you could have missed during your visit or personal inspection.


2.Has the house been on the market for long?

A listing agent can help you get the correct timeframe that the house has been on the market. If the house has been unsold for a considerable duration, there may be underlying reasons behind it such as the price. Moreover, the duration may play a huge role in determining the motivation of the seller.


3.How is the neighborhood?

If you are an avid homebuyer, you ought to know that a home goes beyond your personal space.  The surrounding neighborhood plays a vital role in determining how comfortable you and your family will be after you purchase the desired house. After all, it could almost be a more determining factor in how happy you are with your living situation than your own house.  Hence, asking this question will help you narrow down your housing options, as you will be better placed to pick a home that complements your overall lifestyle.


4.What are the utility costs for the house?

When you attend an open house, ensure that you do not leave out this piece of information.  Bear in mind that an older roof, home insulation, and windows may affect your utility bills such as electricity costs.  Average utility costs for the house you are interested in will help you gauge whether it’s a worthy investment or one that will eventually become a financial burden. This is such a vital aspect to consider as it will affect your bottom line. Also, whether the house in energy efficient could be something to consider in the future due to possible tax deductions you could receive for buying energy efficient appliances or if looking at upgrading the house once you move in.


5.Does the seller have a timetable for selling the house?

Different sellers each have distinct motivations behind selling their property. What’s more, they likely have a specific period for selling their home. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you find out what the seller’s plans are to help you come up with a suitable strategy.  In cases where the seller may be in a hurry to relocate, the price may be more negotiable as opposed to when he or she is not.


6.Has the home received other offers?

Keep in mind that most listing agents are always going to be eager to inform you of the available offers from other potential buyers in an attempt to drive up the final price or trigger a bidding war (it’s business tactics 101). All the same, you have to obtain information about this matter to remain abreast of the existing competition.  If many potential buyers have shown similar interest in the house that you want, you may need to revisit your home buying plans to ensure you beat your competition.


7.Have there been any recent renovations?

Knowing whether recent improvements have been undertaken will help you rule out the need to redo what has already been fixed (as referenced earlier).   In this case, ask about the condition of different items like the electrical system, plumbing, and roof. Repairing these aspects can be downright costly (especially a roof). Hence, you absolutely must know about the expenses to expect after you buy the home.


If You Are Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.

What Makes A Neighborhood Great?


To both tourists and locals, Charleston SC is not just a top travel destination, but also a vibrant place to live in and work. Being one of the gems of the East Coast, the neighborhoods here present a mix of activity, world-class restaurants, history, and beauty. In fact, the job industry here is mostly military, technology, and tourism. However, do not make the mistake of settling for any home that hits the market.


Understand that choosing a great neighborhood leaves you with a property that depreciates at a slower rate. In real estate, location is a common mantra, meaning that the golden rule when closing a deal is to remember you are also buying to become part of the neighborhood too. As you evaluate your opinion on what a great neighborhood would be, be sure to match that to your immediate and future needs. If you are planning to permanently relocate to Charleston SC with your family, below are excellent areas to consider.



Downtown has an electric lifestyle, a quaint city rich in golf courses, adventure, beaches and high-end shopping. Adorned with beauty and a touch of history, Downtown is accentuated by cobblestone streets, church steeples, custom iron gates, and a general historical look and feel.


South of Broad is a highly sought after neighborhood you might want to consider. Here, you find will find lash architectural details with iron-fenced courtyards, quaint carriage houses, and sophisticated mansions. It is also one of the most exclusive areas in all of Charleston. Although it is popular with horse-drawn carriages and tourists, it tends to be a very quiet neighborhood, allowing the residents to enjoy the tranquility of the suburbs while being located downtown.



Summerville is known for successful school football teams. The seventh largest neighborhood in South Carolina is a highly desired place to live for people of all ages for its reputation of top school districts. It is endeared for its close proximity to area hospitals, schools, and even major job hubs like Volvo and Boeing.


Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is a great neighborhood to live in for its many shopping centers, schools, restaurants, recreational activities, and tranquil living. Among its neighborhoods, the Old Village and I’On tend to be the most popular. The Old Village is close-knit, with most of its residents having lived there for generations. Although the real estate here can be pricey, the advantage is that kids have access to easy biking to school, fishing, and even the local Mount Pleasant Library (one of the busiest in the state).


West Ashley

Across the Ashley River lies West Ashley, a city with a rich set of styles when it comes to homes for sale, and a huge shopping center. This charming area is diverse offering many lifestyle perks and has an ecclectic mix of locals including retirees, students, families, and professionals. The beauty of West Ashley is that it has something unique for each family. One notable neighborhood here is the Byrnes Down. It has manageable house with sizes of up to three bedrooms, one can easily access the West Ashley Greenway, and the trees are canopied as well.


The Islands

The islands (like Daniel’s Island and Sullivan’s Island) leave a breathtaking view of landscape and beaches, making it the perfect place for nature-loving families. Sullivan’s island especially has a high demand. This island has a rich history and natural beauty that has a way of absolutely charming home buyers. Across Charleston, this is the city where you can even find oceanfront public elementary schools.


From its sophisticated culture, great schools, temperatures, to historical architecture, The Holy City (Charleston), is America’s most beautiful and hard to leave city. If you are looking to buy a home, Charleston’s neighborhoods will have exciting spots to consider.


If You’re Considering Buying in Charleston, Let’s Talk About What’s Available Today.

What Are The Top Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make?

Buying your first homeWhat-Are-The-Top-Mistakes-First-Time-Home-Buyers-Make is a very exciting time for many. But it can also become hectic and disappointing if you aren’t fully prepared or fall into some of the mistakes the first-time homebuyers often make. One of the best ways to avoid falling into making mistakes when buying your first home is to work with a knowledgeable and professional realtor who can help you navigate through the buying process. Nonetheless, here are some of the top mistakes that can turn trying to buy your first home into an unpleasant experience and what you can do to avoid these mistakes.


Not Knowing Your Credit Score

Before you even start to look at houses, you should check your credit score and credit history several months beforehand. A bad credit score or errors on your credit report will cost you in the way of having to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage. Of course, that’s if you can even obtain a mortgage in the first place. Make sure that all the information is correct on your report and if you do have accurate bad marks on your credit, take action to start repairing your credit.


Not Having Enough Money Saved

It’s great that you have money saved for a down payment on a house…but what about closing costs, homeowners’ insurance and property taxes? Then there are all the essentials you are probably going to need as a first-time homebuyer like a lawn mower, tools for minor repairs  around the house and appliances, like a washer and dryer possibly. It’s a good idea to plan on saving at least 5 percent of the price of the home for closing costs and to sock away at least two to three months’ worth of mortgage payments in the bank for unexpected expenses.


Home Shopping Without Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Speaking of mortgage payments, a big mistake that many first-time homebuyers make is failing to get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start looking at homes. While you may have a good idea what you can afford to pay each month, not officially knowing how much a mortgage lender is going allow you to borrow can throw a wrench into your home buying plans. When you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, you have a realistic idea of what your price range will be for buying a home. Having a letter showing that you have been pre-approved for a mortgage also means sellers and agents will take your offer much more seriously.


Getting Stuck Paying Private Mortgage Insurance

While you might not have to put down a 20 percent payment down on your first home, doing so will prevent you from having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, if you do end up having to pay PMI, as soon as you have paid your mortgage down enough so that you only owe 80 percent of its value, notify your lender. Otherwise, you will have to continue paying this extra charge until your lender automatically cancels your PMI when you reach 78 percent owned on your mortgage.


Not Investigating What Home Insurance is Needed

Depending on where you are buying a home will determine what options you will need with your homeowners’ insurance. Potential hazards, like having a built-in swimming pool will also add to the cost of homeowners’ insurance. Before putting an offer in on a house, find out what your insurance costs will be before hand.


There are number of things to be aware if it is your first time buying. Being aware, prepared, and having the right real estate agent in your corner can be make a vast difference.


If You Are Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.

How to Better Your Chances For An Open House Success?


Starting your new home search nowadays typically means first looking online through multiple pages of pictures and reading paragraphs of descriptions. While you will find some exciting properties through this search, you may want to use a traditional method when it’s time to make an offer.  What typically works best and gives the best source of information about a house is performing a traditional walk-through during an open house. This then leads some wonder how to better your chances for an open house success.


Now, if you find a house that promises to make a great home for you, you’ll want to make an offer that gets noticed and not thrown out amongst all those other offers coming in from the open house. There are additional tips for you to consider when you set out to tour open houses. Use this list to make sure any offer you decide to make has a better chance of being accepted.


First Be Sure To Create Rapport with The Seller’s Agent

If you are previewing a new home at a private showing or as part of an open-house event, you’ll need to create a rapport with the seller’s agent. When you get to know the seller’s agent, you get an insight into the seller’s needs and wants with the sale. This insight could inform you of a preferred closing date and even what type of buyer the seller is hoping for in the sale of their home. This information will help you in making an offer that stands out and has a better chance of being chosen.


Utilize Open Houses During The Week

You can gain more critical clues about a property if you attend the open-house during midday or possibly during happy hour on a workday, when less potential buyers will be present. During midday most people will be having their lunch and less likely to appear at the house, giving you a better advantage on viewing and possibly making an offer. The process of purchasing a home may seem a lengthy one, however; it does not take too much time to sell a home.  Be sure to optimize every opportunity you can arrange to get access to the house.


Make Sure To Maintain Your Poker Face

Buyers will often be present at the open house. If this house looks like the answer to your dreams, just make sure to keep your excitement to yourself. More so, save the feelings for your celebration if your offer actually gets accepted. Buyers will be looking for a level of interest in their property and reactions could affect which offers they will take and how quickly.


Private Tours Can Be A Good Idea

Having a private tour is an excellent opportunity for you to get a closer look at the house. During private tours with an agent, it is unlikely the buyer will be present. Ask your agent if  you can schedule a private visit before the doors open to the open-house and insist on this point if you are interested in making an offer for the property. If the house turns out to be what you’re looking for, make your bid compelling. The seller will then compare all other offers against what you have set.


Get to Know The Neighborhood

Be sure to explore the neighborhood where your ideal house is located. Driving by the house on a weekday morning or in the evening will give you an idea of who you will be living close to. You may even decide to drive by again during rush hour to determine what type of traffic you’ll have to deal with in your typical day to day. This information is almost as valuable as the condition of the actual property itself. Who you live near and the location of your home will strongly affect your happiness with your new home.


At the end of the day, buying a home is not always the easiest; but it does not need to be complicated.


Having the right real estate agent can be the difference between a frustrating and painstaking process, versus one that leaves you happy.


If You’re Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.

What Are The Top Mistakes Buyers Make In A Seller’s Market?


The U.S economy is projected to experience a 2.0% growth throughout 2017. Only 62% of new homes, together with existing residential properties, were regarded as affordable to the average American in 2016. Now, what about for our current year? Well, the rate of home prices rises by about 5% yearly, which means the percentage of these homes (in the affordable price range) will further decrease year over year as prices go up (especially in a market that appreciates like Charleston does).


The numbers signal an obvious hike in home prices, leaving middle-class folks with a huge challenge when thinking of bidding on a home in a hot seller’s market so they can avoid making costly mistakes. However, by understanding the shortcomings of many buyers in real estate markets, you can save significantly and make the most efficient decisions for you and your wallet.


Here are a few items to be aware of if you’re looking to buy in a hot seller market:


  1. Taking Action Out of Desperation

It is challenging to overcome the disappointment that sets in when you see a home moved from the “new” class to the “awaiting approval” category. At the back of your mind, always remember that acting out of desperation can vastly compromise the transaction.


Unfortunately, desperation always tends to increase the probability of someone making irrational decisions (no matter what the circumstance is). Such instances can include either negotiating on a home that maybe does not meet your true preference or paying more than the property is worth. By duly researching on the available homes you continually gain useful insights regarding the purchasing process,enabling you to decide what amenities you require in your future home. A great realtor will also be able to vastly help you in understanding the Charleston market and position you for success.


  1. Lack of “On-Call” Preparedness

As it’s name suggests, hot sellers’ markets will see the sales of houses go at a fast rate, with most properties appearing in the “listed now” list to the “under contract” list. With many shoppers in the market, you need to always be ready to seize the opportunity to have a grasp of attaining your dream home.


  1. Bypassing Market Analysis and Trends

Most people make the resolute decision to buy independent of what’s happening in the seller’s markets. On another token, it is critical to make real estate decisions based on your current family status, and what it will be after five years. If you’re only thinking about your current conditions, things could change in the next couple years; whether that’s maybe your job or possibly concerning items pertaining to your family like education opportunities.


Now, ignorance may be bliss, but burying your head in the sand on the buzz going around in the markets could result in you losing out on great deals on some beautiful homes. That compels many to lose control of the situation and throw every last dollar on the next house they see, whether or not it fits their taste. Being prepared and thinking smart in this step will help you vastly, which is further reason to work with a great and knowledgeable realtor.


  1. Hesitating to Bid

Readiness for an On-Call deal could at times mean that you miss the chance of visiting the property without making an offer. Any great realtor will be able to offer a virtual walkthrough or videos for home sales, so you may have a sneak peek of what the house has to offer. Making an offer marks the start of the buying process, and it is recommendable that you make an offer and view the home instead of solely seeing it enlisted as “under contract.”


  1. Foggy Financial Plan

Avoid trying to juggle all the financial numbers in your brain. Make sure to verify all the income you’ll be receiving in the future, your loan payments, and all your utility bills by coming up with a financial figure (ahead of time) that you will be comfortable paying duly for a future home. Real estate matters have significant financial implications, and it is only by having a clear mind on what you can afford that you will be able to succeed.


Sometimes, you may be required to hike your price range on a whim. If you are new to the market, your realtor might be able to enlighten you on tax breaks which can assist you financially. If they can’t directly, they will likely be able to connect you with someone who can.



The demand for new homes simply keeps rising, and people sometimes make bids before even viewing the home to win over other buyers.  Be sure to avoid the above mistakes and raise your chances of landing a great deal on an amazing home in Charleston.


If You’re Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.