The excitement of buying a new home in Charleston, SC can sometimes wane fast the moment you start encountering obstacles in the home-buying journey. While you can go on this endeavor on your own, it helps to have some professional guidance to minimize the stress and to avoid making costly mistakes that lead to the stress.
You need to hire a real estate agent – and a local expert at that.
As we go on, we shall reveal in this article why it makes perfect sense to hire a real estate agent when buying a home in Charleston, SC.
A real estate agent’s job
The most basic role of a buyer’s real estate agent is to help their clients in finding a home that matches their needs, budget, lifestyle, and other specifications. They should also be able to provide up-to-date information on the local real estate market and explain in understandable terms the impact of prevailing trends on the timing of the purchase, screen homes for flaws that may get worse over time, and properly guide their clients through the entire home-buying process.
Here are other essential responsibilities of a buyer’s real estate agent:
- Conduct research on homes in clients’ preferred neighborhoods.
- Help find alternative prospects.
- Help clients to draft a shortlist of preferred communities and properties and discuss the pros and cons of each one until the list is whittled down to a few top choices.
- See to the finer details of the entire negotiation process.
- Prepare all needed forms and documents.
- Help clients in drafting offers for their desired properties.
- Instill due diligence in their clients before the latter invests in particular properties.
- Go over all documents to ensure that the client’s interests and rights are protected.
Why you should hire a buyer’s real estate agent
Hiring a buyer’s real estate agent is a good first step toward a successful home purchase, primarily because – as their title suggests – they are out to see to your best interests from the start of the home-buying process up to the time the keys are handed over to you.
When acting in your best interests, real estate agents – especially those in Charleston, SC – will see to it that you enjoy the following benefits:
Access to listings
Browsing the internet may be able to provide you with several listings of homes in your preferred Charleston, SC neighborhoods. However, a real estate agent from the area will have even more homes that you can choose from, especially since they have access to more listings that are not readily available to the public. Also, given their advantage of access, they can easily recommend homes that have just hit the market so that you can be the first to present an offer.
Sharp negotiation skills
One of the more difficult parts of the home-buying process is the negotiations for the final price and terms that everyone can agree to. Hiring a buyer’s real estate agent means that you have someone representing you at the negotiation table who can adeptly present the merits of your offer and negotiate for the lowest reasonable pricing and best terms on your behalf. This person will be able to analyze counteroffers should they be presented to you and will know how to make concessions until both you and the seller can agree to the final pricing and terms.
Expertise in the local real estate market
Hiring a real estate agent can take the stress out of the home search as they can provide you, not just with more homes to choose from but also important local market data that can help you to decide whether to proceed with your home-buying plans or to wait at the sidelines for better market conditions.
A Charleston, SC real estate agent should have the ability to relate what they know to you in the most understandable terms possible. And since you’re the one who has to make the calls, they should also be able to explain clearly how these data could make an impact on the decisions you make.
A good buyer’s real estate agent, particularly one who works in the Charleston, SC area, will be able to use all the tricks of the trade in helping you buy the home of your dreams here. Their professional guidance can help you go through your entire home-buying journey with ease, assured in the thought that they have a better idea of what to do, as opposed to you doing this on your own and risking the possibility of costly mistakes and getting overwhelmed by the many nuances of the process.
In hiring and working with a real estate agent, you know you have someone by your side possessing a wealth of expertise and experience who can help you navigate the buying process. This includes helping you with due diligence and looking out for red flags regarding the home you fancy.
Support in paperwork management
When buying a new home, there are hundreds of documents and forms that must be carefully read, inspected, and filled out — a task that can become quite tedious for even the most experienced of buyers.
This is where hiring a real estate agent becomes relevant. Having gone through this process many times in their career, your agent will be able to identify the necessary papers and documentation needed for every step, help you as you accomplish every required form, and remind you of schedules on the submission of each document.
Qualities of a good buyer’s real estate agent
Knowing the value of a real estate agent’s contribution to the success of the home-buying journey, you will want to make sure that you hire one with whom you can have a great professional relationship. That said, screening potential agents is a must to find the best one to work with.
Here are some qualities to look for when hiring a real estate agent:
Extensive local knowledge
Having extensive knowledge of the local real estate market climate and the numbers that come with it is a given among real estate agents. But one who can tell you about the situation on the ground like the smallest details of a property you’re eyeing and the neighborhood it’s in is a definite winner. This person will most likely be either a long-time resident of your preferred area or a native. They can tell you details on things like schools, amenities, and attractions, as well as job options. They also have their ears to the ground for ongoing and future developments in the community and how these developments will affect it.
Strong communication skills and a proactive mindset
A real estate agent you want to hire to help you purchase a home in Charleston, SC should value communication in your working dynamics. They should be inquisitive about your preferred mode of communication and should be able to answer/return phone calls or emails promptly. Doing so reduces the stress and anxiety that come with finding a new home. An agent who’s adept at updating their client on developments is an assurance that the entire process will be as seamless and as hassle-free as possible.
The ability to explain abstract ideas and put them into perspective is another valuable communication skill to look for. For example, simply telling you that interest rates are poised to rise and may affect mortgage rates is not enough. They should also be able to explain clearly to you how this economic update will bear down on your home-buying plans and answer any questions you may have concerning this.
A good track record
An agent’s track record can very well show the kind of working relationship you will have with them. Thus, it matters to look at their previous transactions with other clients and see if these said clients had a positive experience working with this agent. You can check for testimonials they have on their respective websites or you can request for a list of their previous clients that you can get in touch with so you can personally ask for their feedback on the agent. You can also check out sites like Google, Yelp, or other websites that contain client feedback for reviews.
One great way to find good real estate agents in Charleston, SC is through referrals from friends and relatives. The fact that they are highly recommended speaks volumes about their ability to please their clientele.
An established buyer’s real estate agent in Charleston, SC should have years of experience working in the local real estate industry. Apart from the length of time the agent has been in business, you can also check their credentials. An active license should be the first thing to check, followed by trainings and recognitions under the agent’s belt. These recognitions indicate that they’re not only highly accomplished in the industry but also well-respected by their peers.
Extensive network of connections
A local real estate agent with an established network of connections among Charleston, SC colleagues and affiliates in the industry will work to your advantage. In high-end real estate transactions, the buyer’s agent can coordinate with fellow agents for first dibs to offline listings, essentially widening the range of property choices.
An agent’s connections with those in industries related to real estate, meanwhile, takes off the burden of looking for professionals such as contractors, inspectors, lawyers, insurers, and the like from the home buyer. This becomes one less concern to think about on the buyer’s part. And when they become homeowners, the agent’s network of home maintenance professionals like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and the like assures reliability and a job well done.
Attentiveness and a sharp eye for detail
Real estate transactions deal with many important parts and processes. Doing it alone, there is the danger of losing track of some of them.
When you have a real estate agent from Charleston, SC guiding you through the process, they can ensure that all documents are being processed on time and that all essential processes and deadlines are being followed to the letter.
How to find the right real estate agent
We have established the value of having a real estate agent on your side to help you find your next home in Charleston, SC. But before all that, you as the buyer have several things to do to get started on your home-buying endeavor, such as:
- Getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing so will give you an idea of how much you can realistically spend on your new home. This also tells the home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Moreover, this gives you the edge over others who are presenting their respective offers sans a pre-approval.
- Listing down your housing priorities. Make two lists: one of home “must-haves” and another of “nice-to-haves.” The must-have list contains features that your dream home should be equipped with (e.g., home thermostat) while the nice-to-have list contains features that you’d like to have but which don’t take top priority (e.g., swimming pool). You should also have an idea of the type of neighborhood you want to live in, as well as the amenities that you would like to see here (e.g., neighborhood with good schools and a grocery nearby). You can show these to your potential agent to make it easier for them to thresh out which among the available properties in your preferred area will be perfect for your needs.
Once you’ve completed your preliminary work, you can proceed with your search for a buyer’s real estate agent. Here’s how:
Search the internet
The internet is a good place to start your search for a buyer’s real estate agent. Try looking at various search engines and familiar websites like Google or Yelp to find reputable agents in your preferred Charleston neighborhood.
As mentioned earlier, friends, family, and co-workers are great sources for referrals, especially if they have recently completed a real estate transaction themselves. So are bank loan officers, mortgage brokers, and other real estate professionals as these people do business within the same industry. If you have a specific type of property in mind such as a ranch or a luxury home, these agents can point you to colleagues with the specific property specialization you require.
Attend open houses
As South Carolina learns to adjust to the new normal brought about by the ongoing pandemic, the housing sector is seeing the return of open houses – but with the addition of safety protocols and social distancing to prevent the spread of pathogens.
With that in mind, you may want to attend open houses in the area you are interested in. Not only do these events allow you to see properties up close but these events also give you a glimpse of how real estate agents deal with their prospective clients. Once you find someone who impresses you or who you feel comfortable with, try to schedule a meeting with them to find out if they, indeed, meet your standards.
Review agents’ websites and social media accounts
Once you have a list of agents who interest you, try to look at their online presence by checking their website and social media accounts.
You can also check with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission to see if an agent you’re considering is licensed and if there have been disciplinary actions or complaints lodged against them. Another good place to check is the South Carolina Better Business Bureau to see if there’s negative feedback regarding their services.
Shortlist at least three agents for an interview
While it is not impossible to find a good agent within the first day of your home-buying journey, it is still best if you take your time to add more names to your shortlist before proceeding with an interview.
Once you have at least three agents on your shortlist, you can proceed with an interview. Some of the questions you can ask include the following:
- How long have they been real estate agents?
- How many clients do they currently have?
- Are they hands-on agents or do they have a team to do the work for them?
- How much are their commission fees?
- What are the types of homes their clients usually buy?
- In which neighborhoods are they most active?
- How long do they typically work with buyers to close on a home?
By asking these questions, you will get a sense of the agents’ style and experience, as well as their familiarity with your preferred area. Their answers will also indicate how well they take your specific requirements into consideration.
Find your new home with ChuckTown Homes Real Estate
If you’re ready to jump into the Charleston real estate market, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at ChuckTown Homes Real Estate.
Composed of a dedicated team of Charleston-born real estate professionals and boasting almost two decades of industry experience, we at ChuckTown Homes Real Estate can help you find the best properties available in Charleston, whether it’s a modern downtown condo or a new single-family home.
Our team has a proven track record of providing quality service to clients. The numbers speak for themselves: In 2021 alone, we helped over 500 families in reaching their real estate goals and garnered sales with a total of over $200 million.
Our reputation as a Dave Ramsey ELP and the backing of the highly distinguished Keller Williams group assure you that we’ll be providing the kind of top-tier service tailor-fit to match your needs, budget, and lifestyle.