Article by Lee Keadle
Process of Purchasing a New Construction Home in Charleston, SC – Real Estate – Construction
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In Charleston, the process of purchasing new homes can be easier than purchasing resale (or preowned) homes. It all depends on when the construction is scheduled to be complete. Some Charleston new homes are ready in less than thirty days, while others take much longer. Many buyers we talk to assume that purchasing a new home is more work. However, the negotiations and inspections usually go much smoother compared to a regular sale.First, find a Charleston real estate agent that you trust. He or she should be knowledgeable of the area and have experience specifically with Charleston new homes. For example, if you know which Mount Pleasant new construction builder you would like to work with, it wouldn’t hurt to search the builder’s name or neighborhood online to see which real estate agents have websites with information on this particular neighborhood.
Why use a real estate agent if you already know which homes or neighborhoods you want to view? It is no cost to you to have your own buyer’s agent. The new home price does not increase when you use an agent, and you are not billed separately by your agent. A good real estate agent can help tremendously by negotiating price and coordinating with the closing attorney, bank, builder, appraiser, and inspector. Foreseeing and preventing problems before they even arise is part of a real estate agent’s job description, as well. So why not use your own real estate agent?
Second, choose the lot and floor plan you would like to purchase. Ask when your home will be built, keeping in mind that dates can change due to natural weather patterns. From a bare lot, Mount Pleasant new construction homes typically take about nine months to complete. You will not be responsible for a payment until the home is given a CO (Certificate of Occupancy) by the Town of Mount Pleasant and you have signed all the closing paperwork at the attorney’s office. Once you have decided on a home and lot, sit down with your agent and the builder to fill out the contract, and put your earnest money down (1-20% of sales price normally).
Third, if colors and home options have not been chosen by the builder yet, you will meet with the builder’s design coordinator. He or she will help you pick out interior and exterior paint colors, carpet, wood floors, ceramic tile, cabinetry, countertops, appliances, lighting, and much more. This process is a little overwhelming for some, but most enjoy this part because it allows you to design your home without actually doing any of the manual labor yourself. Once your selections are made, most of them cannot be changed, so select wisely. Most builders require a 10-15% deposit of the cost of the upgrades chosen.
Fourth, if you must obtain a loan to purchase your new home, then you will complete the loan application for your lender of choice. Some builders in Charleston give financial incentives to use a specific loan officer or closing attorney. The lender (your bank) will randomly select an appraiser to give an opinion of the value of your new home a week or two before the closing. If the appraisal comes back higher or the same price as the sales price on your contract, then all is well, and the closing continues. If the appraisal comes back lower, then you go back to negotiating the price and have the opportunity to ask for a lower sales price.
Fifth, once your Mount Pleasant new home is almost complete, the builder and your real estate agent will come up with a time to have your inspector of choice inspect the home. Feel free to ask for anything on the inspection report to be corrected before closing. There will be a walkthrough or an orientation with the builder to voice any concerns. This usually lasts an hour or two. If you see any paint imperfections or other issues, now is the time to speak up. The builder will make a list of items, and then you will sign it.
Within forty-eight hours or so before closing, you will have a final walkthrough meaning that you will meet the builder with his list of corrections. You will walk through the home and make sure that everything on your list has been addressed before heading to the attorney’s office to sign the closing paperwork. After the closing paperwork is signed, you will walk away with warranty paperwork and the keys to your new home!
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