If you’re buying a home for the first time here in the Charleston, SC area, it can be a little difficult trying to figure out where to start. Here’s a handy to-do list to help you out, and be sure to call me if you have any questions!

1) Save: Save for a down payment, closing costs, and escrow for insurance and taxes. It is always safe to have 20% of the amount of the home you are trying to buy so you do not have to pay private mortgage insurance. So, if you are looking at a $300,000 home, try to have $60,000 saved. TIP: You can always get a loan if you do not have this as you can put down as little as 3%, if qualified.

2) Improve Credit Score: Make sure to stay current on your bills, make no major purchases, don’t cancel any credit cards. A higher credit score means a lower interest rate!

3) Calculate what you can afford: Look for a mortgage calculator online, or give me a call and I can let you know what you can afford!

4) Get Mortgage Preapproval: Shop for the best deal, choose primary and backup lenders, and look for mortgage advice. I have some great, local lenders you can choose from, and I am here if you need any advice. TIP: Always try to work with local lenders as state laws are different from state to state and a lender located in California may not know local laws of South Carolina.

5) Decide: Decide what you want in a home. Are you looking for a home with a pool, or do you need something with a big backyard for your dog to run-around in? How many bedrooms do you need? What kind of kitchen do you want? Do you want a new build? Write down all of the things you want in a home, and give it to your Realtor and they will help you find a home with everything you need.

6) Choose a Realtor- Looking for a Realtor? You have come to the right place! I have the experience, patience, and knowledge you have been searching for.

7) Visit Homes- Your Realtor will take you to the homes you would like, but there are a few things that you should do to ensure that your favorite home will end up working out for you. Take photos and make notes about each home that you visit and compare it to the list you made in step five.

8) Narrow choices- Choose your favorite homes and visit the neighborhood during the day and at night to gauge traffic, noise, etc. Also, test the commute from work and consider the resale value.

9) Make an Offer- Make an offer on the home! I am here to make sure your offer is considered, and will work hard and collaborate with the other Realtor to make sure I highlight how much you are interested.

10) Schedule Home Inspection: I have a great inspector that will do a walk-through of the home and let you know things that may need to be fixed.

11) Make Final Walk-Through: Test the light switches and sockets, check and make sure that the doors and windows work, and test the faucets, drains, toilets, etc.

12) Close and Move In- Start your life and enjoy the happiness!