Buying a House in Columbia SC and Lake Murray
You are ready to purchase a home and you may ask yourself if you want a brand-new home or an existing home. Some buyers like the feeling of a brand-new home and should consider several things before heading to a model home of a new development. Did you know that the onsite sales agent represents the builder and not you, the buyer? You are a customer and represent yourself. You will also be at the closing by yourself with the attorney the builder pays for. It is good to have a Buyer’s Agent representing you and your interest. To select a Realtor® to represent you please know that not all sales agents are Realtors®. Some people think that all real estate sales agents are Realtors® and call all agents by that name without realizing that legally sales agents can’t use that title. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, called NAR.
Agents that chose to become REALTORS® agree to abide to NAR's strict Code of Ethics. All licensed agents are required to take continuing education courses approved by their state licensing boards. Realtors® are required to take additional continuing education classes, often focusing on ethical work habits and other consumer protection topics.
Getting Ready to Purchase a Home
Get pre-approved by your bank or a mortgage broker (your buyer agent may have a recommendation) so you know what the lender agrees to loan you based on your income and debt. New home construction has in most cases lenders they work with by volume and the builder offers to pay some of all closing cost for you to obtain the loan if you use their preferred lender and attorney.
Make a list of what is important for you to have in your new home, you won’t negotiate on.
Make a list of what is nice to have in your new home. This is negotiable.
Think about where you like to live? Community, schools and location are important considering resale. How much of a commute to work do you prefer? Are amenities important to you, location of doctors and hospitals?
Ask yourself how much you are willing to pay every month in your mortgage. Consider all your expenses: car payment, insurance, gas, credit card debt, etc. I don’t like to put my clients in a position where they stretch themselves too high and they have no way to save for retirement, emergencies, going out to eat or plan a vacation. The bank or mortgage company may go higher than you are comfortable to spend a month. It may make you feel good they give you that much money to buy a home but is it realistic for your lifestyle?
A New Home Purchase:
You may feel there is nothing to do but move in and enjoy. But you may have to wait for construction to be completed. There can be delays due to weather or otherwise.
Lots are in general smaller.
You have to deal with construction noise, mess and dust.
If you start from the ground up you get an estimated closing date. Your base price of the house is not going to be what you pay for in the end. You may be able to select a plan and exterior colors, but as you are given choice of upgrades you will do some of them. Most common are upgrades for flooring, light and plumbing fixtures, appliances, smooth ceilings and walls, increase sqft to bonus room or master if possible and more. You go to the builders design center and it is easy for you to get overwhelmed by the choices. It is very helpful to have a buyer’s agent at your side.
You have to get landscaping and the lawn started. Watering it regularly.
Builder may pay for some or all closing cost
New Roof, Appliances, flooring, everything is brand-new and warranted. Nothing to replace for years to come
You will need window treatments, landscaping, sprinklers, fence, storage building (many new homes have little or no storage and many times a small garage), gutters, deck or patio and more
Without a Buyer’s Agent you do walk-throughs and closing by yourself as customer. A buyer’s agent will look at everything for you representing you.
An Existing Home Purchase
In general you get more for your money. You look at the price and the house and all the things that are coming with the home. You get upgrades for less that the home owner has made. Existing homes, homes someone has cherished and loved, may have many improvements, i.e. different architectural designs, mature landscaping (shade trees or a large tree to hang a swing from, blooming bulbs and flowers), garden beds, fences, screen porch or sun rooms added, window treatments, pocket doors, trim, custom paint, upgraded flooring, hardwood floors, larger decks and or patios, storage building, gutters, upgraded appliances could be included in the sale. You drive into the established community and get a feeling of coming home, you see if it has lots of college kids or small children, if it is quiet or noisy. You may find a neighbor to talk to and ask questions. You see how the neighborhood is. No construction noise, dust or mess.
In a new home you are the one adding many things you want at a set price to the basic price and do not know what the final sales price will be until you have been to the design center.
In an existing home purchase the seller may pay for the buyer’s closing cost, included in the sales price if that is important for you to have.
The seller may pay for a 1 Year Home Warranty that the buyer can renew after 1 year. The home inspector may find it easier to find things that need to be repaired like a slow leak (which would be harder to detect in a new home). I do recommend to inspect new homes too.
A well maintained home in an established community has many benefit. Just the feeling when driving into an established community with mature landscaping throughout the community, variety of architectural styles and larger lots can be inviting. In general in a location you like, closer to commute perhaps. New developments are in general where land is, further out. Most of the time no mature trees, clear cut to build new homes. No waiting for new construction to be completed. You see what you are getting. There is value in the upgrades added that are gently used.
After I received my real estate sales license I took courses offered by the National Association of REALTORS NAR® and the Home Builders Association to learn about the business to better serve buyers and sellers. Over the years I have received designations and certifications.
I am an Accredited Buyer Representative ABR® trained and qualified to represent you and all buyers whether you purchase a new home or an existing home.
I am a Certified Residential Specialist CRS® Less than 4% of all Realtors® nationwide have been awarded the highest professional designation in residential sales providing buyers and sellers with a proven track record of success. https://CRS.com has more details for you
I am a Certified New Home Sales Specialist CSP®
I have taken courses offered by the Institute of Residential Marketing (Home Builders Association) in New Construction.
If you prefer to contact a different Realtor® or Real Estate Sales agent you should look for those kind of qualifications for the best representation.
By Rosemarie Averhoff, CRS®
Please contact me with all your real estate needs and questions.
Rosemarie Averhoff, CRS®
e-PRO Certified Internet REALTOR®
ABR Accredited Buyer Representative®
CRS Certified Residential Specialist®
CSP Certified New Home Specialist®
GRI Graduate REALTOR Institute®
RE/MAX Metro Associates
7321 B St Andrews Rd.
Irmo SC 29063
(803) 629-8844 Cell Phone
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