How To Handle Buying A Home In Charleston From Out Of State?

House hunting is as exciting as it is strenuous. You have to make a lot of considerations based on various factors such as price, location, maintenance among others. The situation worsens when you want to purchase a house outside your local area, for instance, in another state. It can be a scary process at first bearing in mind that you may not be familiar with the new area, its real estate agents or even neighborhoods. Despite these challenges, buying a home in Charleston from out of state be a seamless process, especially if you adhere to the following tips.


  • Have Specific and Realistic Goals

When shopping for a home, keep in mind that the market will have a wide array of options. Since you are not looking for just any house, try to narrow down the list by coming up with the specific features you would want your new house to possess. Some of these aspects include the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, or the type of kitchen, etc. Having a self-customized list of what you want will also assist your buyer’s agent in identifying the ideal home on your behalf.


  • Have You Tried Web Searches?

If you’re want to purchase a house outside your state, the most obvious way to commence your search is via the Internet (and we’re more than happy you found us here!). Be sure to take advantage of online home listings to view the different homes on sale. You can even filter the specific location or neighborhood. Even so, online listings will allow you to interact with or contact real estate agents who are well conversant with the housing space/market in that area. The beauty of dealing with local agents is that you can get to know when new homes are up for sale or possibly get informed about pocket listings.


  • Take a Trip to Charleston

Regardless of your reasons to buy a house in another state, it is imperative that you take a trip here even for just a few days. Take a weekend off with a friend or family member to familiarize yourself with your soon-to-be local area. Use the opportunity to meet with a real estate agent who you may have bonded with earlier via the Internet. They might be able to take you around to see some open houses in a bid to get a feel of the neighborhood.


  • Seek Referrals

In case you have family members, relatives or friends in the other area, you can seek their assistance in spotting ideal neighborhoods that meet your needs.  While on your visit to the other state, you can stay with your friend or relative as they show you around the city. What’s more, they can connect you to buyer’s agents who may have helped them or people they know get or buy a great home in the area.


  • Research about the Cost

Before making any offer (link), make sure that you assess all the potential costs associated with purchasing a home. Some of these expenses include insurance costs, replacing and repairing costs or even the cost of upgrading certain aspects of the house such as the bathroom or kitchen. Also, you may want to ensure that you meet all the requirements for mortgage financing. In this case, be sure to prepare all the vital paperwork and research about the homeowner’s insurance costs through calling several insurance companies.


Overall, Charleston is a great area and has some beautiful real estate. Be sure to use the above tips to rid of your long-distance home-buying jitters. Also, try to focus on the positive side of the entire exercise including the chance to meet new people, gain new experiences or even the opportunity of owning your dream house in a new neighborhood in one of the top cities in the United States.


If you’re considering buying in Charleston, let’s talk today!.

How Do I Decide Whether To Rent Or Buy A Home In Charleston?

Charleston, South Carolina is a strongly desired living location due to it’s southern charm of cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages. Whether you’re here for the lovely year round weather, beaches, cuisine, warm people or even the beautiful historic sights; Charleston has it all and is an amazing city to see. 


Amongst the walks along the beach, East Bay, or even King Street on Second Sunday; you might very well fall for Charleston’s southern charm! If you’re considering moving here for the right opportunity, it might leave you wondering how do I decide whether to rent or a buy a home in Charleston? Making a concrete decision can be a definitely complicated one due to the advantages and disadvantages of both situations. When it comes down it one should always weigh their options and choose the best one that suits their needs.


Advantages of Renting A Home

A lot of people, as many as 43.3 million people in the United States in 2016 rented their homes. There are different reasons you may decide to rent your home instead of buying a home.



Buying a home very well may not seem like an attractive option if you cannot afford the cost of maintenance and repairs of a home. In this situation, you can better prepare for incidents and mishaps by opening a savings account dedicated to the cost of maintenance for your home. Create a schedule to deposit money into this account each month and have it automated every month accordingly.


Another financial aspect that makes renting a home a good idea is financial change. Are your finances on a slightly less sure footing? A decline in finances could make it difficult to stay current with mortgage payments. To make sure you don’t end up in this situation, start saving money as soon as possible or consider strengthening another revenue stream if you don’t have more than one. Services like Mint or Acorns might be able to help you with either tracking your finances or start even investing with just spare change.



If you plan on relocating immediately, renting can be your best bet. Breaking a lease is much easier to do than dealing with the possible hassle of selling a home. Once your leasing contract expires, you are free to pack your belongings and move anywhere you want without penalties.


Reasons to Buy A House

The number of people buying homes though is steadily increasing. In 2016, over 5 million homes were sold in the United States, and more than 6 million homes are expected to be sold in 2018.


Foundation and Security

If you’re looking to build a future for your family, buying a home is one way you can achieve this goal. Are you planning on living in the same area, such as Charleston, South Carolina; for a while? Buying a home is ideal for settling down and making your house a home. Being a homeowner gives you a sense of security.


Financial Changes

In the event that your financial situation changes, you can use your home as a means to supplement your income by renting other rooms in your home out to relatives, visitors, or new people moving into Charleston. Since the home is yours, you make the rules by which people abide.



A home offers a lot more privacy than an apartment or renting a home. When you’re renting a home, you are at the mercy of the landlord, and you are not the only person with keys to your home.


Value and Equity

Buying a home secures a financial foundation and nest egg for the future. Over time, your home will increase in value as well as equity. You can add additional rooms, bathrooms or spaces to your home and you can decorate your home the way you wish!


Buying a home offers a lot of flexibility and stability. Before you rent or buy a home, make sure you consider all of your options.


If you’re interested in Charleston, let’s talk about what homes are available today!

Top 4 Home Renovations for Max ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top 4 Home Renovations for Max ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Top 4 Home Renovations for Max ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.
  • Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door. These upgrades rank as the 2nd and 4th renovations for returns on investment.

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Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight?

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight? | Simplifying The Market

With home values appreciating at record rates, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing bubble like the one we experienced a decade ago. One of the major culprits of that housing boom and bust was the loosening of standards for mortgage credit.

In a study done at the University of North Carolina immediately after the crisis, it was revealed that:

“Lenders began originating large numbers of high risk mortgages from around 2004 to 2007, and loans from those vintage years exhibited higher default rates than loans made either before or after.”

A study by John V Duca, John Muellbauer, and Anthony Murphy concluded that those risky mortgages caused the housing crisis:

“Our findings indicate that swings in credit standards played a major, if not the major, role in driving the recent boom and bust in US house prices.”

How do today’s mortgage standards compare to those from 2004 to 2007?

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association tracts mortgage standards in their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. While the chart below shows the index going back to that period between 2004 and 2007 when loose standards caused the housing bubble, we can see that, though the index has risen slightly over the last several years, we are nowhere near the standards that precipitated the housing crisis.

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If anything, standards today are too tight and are preventing some qualified buyers from getting the mortgage credit they deserve.

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Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | Simplifying The Market

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.”

When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home.

So what features in a home are most important to kids?

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | Simplifying The Market

Coming in at 57%, it should come as no surprise that gaining their own bedrooms was the top most-desirable feature of any home for kids, followed by a large back yard to play in at 34%.

Todd Chamberlain, Head of Mortgage Banking at SunTrust explained the reasoning behind the survey,

“As a parent of two kids, I know from experience that including children in the home buying process is not only fun for the whole family, but also educational for our homebuyers of tomorrow.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, make sure to highlight all the kid-friendly features your home has to offer so that you can sway the real decision makers.

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When Is a Good Time to Rent? Not Now!

When Is a Good Time to Rent? Not Now! | Simplifying The Market

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. According to their report, here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:


When Is a Good Time to Rent? Not Now! | Simplifying The Market

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.

Bottom Line

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, let’s meet to determine if you are able to today!

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Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | Simplifying The Market

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract.

The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018:

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is debating whether or not to list your home for sale, know that national market conditions are primed for a quick turnaround! Let’s get together to discuss exactly what’s going on in our area, today!

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How Do I Decide Which Offer To Take When Selling My Home?


It takes a lot of work to prepare your home for selling. You may have done some homework and checked on local property prices to decide around a proper price. Then you might sit back and hope the right offers start coming. If you do receive multiple offers in a great market (like Charleston), you will have to make a decision on which is the best to accept. This might have left you wondering how do I decide which offer to take when selling my home?


There is a definite plan you can follow to know which offer to take when you sell your home.


Review Process

Begin by creating a review process should you end up receiving multiple offers. Work with your realtor to set a time limit on when buyers can submit their proposal. This time frame will allow the realtor to show your home as many times as possible and give you the time to review the offers as they come.


Determine a Baseline

You should determine ahead of time before the offers arrie, which terms are most important to you. If getting the best price is the highest priority, realize you may have to negotiate this amount to make the sale. If having the most secure offer is a top concern so you’re comforted by knowing the deal won’t fall apart last minute; then make sure offers are accepted by only prequalified buyers or possibly by cash buyers.


Asking buyers to attach a prequalification letter is in your absolute best interest. This letter verifies the buyer will be able to complete a purchase for the value of your house. This letter also takes away the uncertainty of the closing process, so you won’t get to closing only to find that the buyer can’t come up with the funds needed to complete the purchase.


Know the Process

Understand that all offers coming in on your house are negotiable. You can accept an offer as it is presented, reject it entirely, or counter-offer. When you counter an offer, you can ask for a different price then the one offered or for some of the terms to be changed.


Evaluate Terms

Be sure to understand all the terms presented in an offer. Evaluate what a potential buyer is offering, including the amount they’re stating they will pay. The price you’ve set is an important factor in offers, but so are the terms being set. Some buyers will ask for appliances that you may not have considered replacing. Others might want specific pieces of furniture left that could have more than monetary value to you.


Make sure all terms listed in a purchase offer are acceptable, including the price. Earnest money is another consideration. Buyers who are able to put down sufficient earnest money will be more likely to proceed with the buying process.


Don’t Make It Personal

Selling your home can be an emotional time. You have to look at this process as a business transaction and not take into consideration the emotional ties you have, thinking it has more value than the markets state. There also may be complaints about specific areas in your home that potential buyers don’t like. These complaints should not be taken personally. Some complaints are stated as to help negotiate a lower price.


When you receive offers on your home, talk with your agent to make sure it is in your best interests. Look over all terms and make sure the price will help satisfying to you. The key to achieving a successful sale is being truly able to remain flexible.


If You’re Considering Selling, Let’s Talk About How Much Your Home Is Worth Today!

When Choosing A Realtor To List Your Home With, What Are The Top Questions You Should Ask?

When-Choosing-A-Realtor-To-List-Your-Home-With, What-Are-The-Top-Questions-You-Should-Ask?

While selling your home is possible to do yourself, however, hiring a real estate agent is advisable. A great real estate agent brings experience and knowledge to your home selling experience, which will help the process go more smoothly and assures you get a fair value for your home. This have left you wondering when choosing a realtor to list your home with, what are the top questions to ask? Your interview process should be involved, detailed, and you shouldn’t solely really on only first impressions or even overall appearance.


Here is a list of questions to consider for your realtor before you hire them:


How Quickly Do Your Listings Sell?: The Charleston housing market is a competitive one and in a good area with a good price, a home should sell rather quickly. A real estate agent that knows their market should not have homes sitting for sale for very long. A fast turn around time is not only convenient, it also keeps the selling price high. A home that sits on the market for too long will see it’s selling price increasingly reduced in an attempt to sell it.


What’s Your Experience Level?: This is a surprisingly easy question to overlook. Always ask a real estate agent about their experience in the profession. This should include years spent doing it, number of homes sold, success rate, and knowledge of the local area.


Have You Sold Homes In My Neighborhood Before?: Related to the above is relevant experience. If a real estate agent is familiar with your neighborhood and has sold homes in it within the last year  that is extremely valuable. This means their knowledge is both current and very specific to your property.


How Do You Price The Homes You List?: Every market has it’s own price range for homes. A good agent will know the general market and it’s pricing trends for homes similar to yours. A price has to fall in just the right range as too high a price will cause a home not to sell  or too low of a price reduces profit.


How Will You Communicate With Me?: When selling your home, a real estate agent should be in contact with you on a regular basis. It is vital in any relationship to set ground rules so communication goes smoothly. Clarify when and how you want to be contacted.


What’s Your Marketing Strategy?: In the modern real estate market, online marketing has become very important. An effective real estate agent will be aware of this in addition to having strategies for traditional print marketing, in-person interviews, and various new techniques such as virtual tours.


What’s Your Commission Structure?: Generally, the commission fee for most home sales is 6% of the sale price of the property. Both the buyer and seller’s real estate agent receives half of this total or 3% each. You should always be aware of what this fee is and what services and support you are gaining for your money.


How Do You Follow Up With Interested Buyers?: Interested buyers can include online communication, phone calls, and open house visitations. Your real estate agent should keep track of all interested buyers and follow up with inquiries. It’s not a bad idea to ask how they plan to approach this.


Do You Have Any Reviews Or Past Client References?: An experienced and well-regarded agent should have no shortage of good feedback. Ask them for examples, references, and check online review sites for common areas of praise or complaint.


Do You Represent Sellers And Buyers On The Same Property?: If a real estate agent represents both sides of a sale, this is a massive conflict of interest. This is commonly referred to as Dual Agency and is a red flag.


If You’re Interested In Selling, Let’s Go Over How Much Your Home Is Worth Today!

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

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