Deciding to Purchase
Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether you are an experienced buyer or this is your first purchase, this decision must be made carefully. Town Square Realty will help you with the process step-by-step.
Why Do You Want To Purchase?
Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property. Do you want to down size? Are you tired of paying rent? Are you tired of high property taxes? Are you sick of shoveling snow? Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Are you looking for a rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Are you looking for a new lifestyle community with amenities such as golf, fitness, tennis, arts-crafts, boating and beach oriented?
Is Your Income Growing?
Owning real estate is one of the least risky ways to obtain a greater return on your initial investment, and build equity. Property ownership is an excellent investment; whether you want to expand your investment portfolio, looking for your dream home, or you want a rental property.
It is a good idea to make some preparations, before you start shopping for your property.
Build Your Financial File
A financial file contains all your important financial documents. You will need it to secure financing for your property. Your financial file should contain:
- Bank accounts
- Financial statements
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- Recent pay stubs
- Tax returns for two years
- Copies of leases for investment properties
- 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Do You Know Your Credit Rating?
It is recommended to check your credit rating from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union or with an experienced lending institution so that they can determine what you can afford. We will be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the real estate field.
You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability. Now is not a good time to make large purchases or sudden career changes.
Why Choose Town Square Realty?
When undertaking such a large purchase, it helps to have an expert in your corner. Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing the necessary paperwork. Town Square Realty can guide you through this process, and provide you with access to property listings of the general market.
Here are some reasons why to choose the Professionals of Town Square Realty:
- Town Square Realty Professionals have the experience and knowledge to help their customers accurately complete the home buying process.
- Town Square Realty Professionals continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
- Town Square Realty Professionals return calls promptly, because time is money when attempting to buy a property.
- Town Square Realty Professionals listen attentively to your needs and concerns, so you feel comfortable during the home buying process.
It is time to find the right property for you, once the preparations are out of the way.
Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas. Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you.
Narrow Your Interests
Now that you have narrowed your search, Town Square Realty will make appointments to visit the properties that interest you the most.
Time to Purchase
Town Square Realty can help you make an offer that the seller will accept, once you have picked out the property you want to purchase. Town Square Realty will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. Town Square Realty will help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer.
The Purchase Offer, Step-by-Step
The Purchase Agreement and Deposit
The purchase agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
Town Square Realty tip’s to streamline the process:
- Keep written records. For the sake of clarity, it will be extremely useful to transcribe all verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums and to convert them into written agreements to be signed by both parties. Town Square Realty will assist you in drafting all the paperwork for your purchase and make sure that you have copies of everything.
- Stay with the schedule. Now that you have chosen your offer, you and the seller will be given a timeline to mark every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations so that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During the process Town Square Realty will keep you constantly updated, so you will always be prepared for the next step.
The Closing Attorney
In South Carolina an attorney must be used for the closing. The closing attorney will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. They also prepare the settlement statement and review all closing documents.
How to Hold Title
You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the timeframe that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. You may elect to have different inspectors inspect the property, if you wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). Town Square Realty can recommend several different inspectors.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
Lending and Appraisal. It is important that you keep in communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is contingent upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lender, via a third party. This is done so that the lender can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase. Make sure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate person at the association by the required time. Fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing the application. If you are required to meet with the association for your approval, make an appointment as soon as possible for the interview. Most associations require a certificate of approval before move-in. Your closing attorney will request that the original copy of this approval letter be brought to the closing, so that it can be recorded with the deed in the county public records.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.
- Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
- Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant roofing materials. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
- Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you do not subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
Town Square Realty will be happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for every property type.
If you have come this far, then this means that it is almost time for congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends:
Final Walk-Through Inspection
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities
Town Square Realty will provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.
Town Square Realty is ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. Something at the property breaks down, or some other minor detail – no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manner.
The closing attorney will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing attorney’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing so that you may receive these items at this time.