Home Buyer’s Guide

One half century (50 years) of strategic experiences qualify our company’s staff to identify and guide each prospective Buyer. We know what transactional questions to ask and how to secure the answers = 100% confidence / satisfaction for our Buyer clients during property search and selection steps.
Kiser & Associates, Inc. / “Real Estate Achievements”.

Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will likely make in your entire life. It’s also a very exciting and fun process too! We help take the guesswork out of finding a new home so you can enjoy the hunt and fall in love with that perfect home when we find it.

What is the first step to buying a home?

The first step to buying a new home is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Searching for a home without a pre-approval is pointless if you don’t know how much you can afford or even if you can be approved. Getting pre-approved helps us understand what price range to look in and, especially in our current seller’s market, where many homes are selling within the first few days of hitting the market, makes it easier when you do find a home to make an offer as soon as you know you’re ready.

What credit score do I need to buy a home?

The higher the score the better interest rate you will receive, however, we have lender partners who can help someone with a score as low as 580 get a mortgage. Most prime rates require at least a 720 or higher.

How much do I need to put down to buy a home?

The minimum you can put down is at least 3.5% if you are getting an FHA loan. If you are looking for a conventional loan, the minimum may be at least 5% but sometimes it can be 10%. If you are a first time home buyer or a Veteran, it is possible to purchase a home with no money down. In most cases it depends on the type of loan you are approved for and then ultimately how much you really want to put down on a home.

How long does it take to buy a home?

There really is no set timeframe to purchase a home because this process is entirely based on when you find the home that you want to make an offer on. Once you do find a home and have an accepted offer, you can expect that process to take between 30-45 days on average to get from accepted offer to the closing table.

How long does it take to build a new home?

In most cases it takes between 6-9 months to build a new home. This process includes selecting your floorplan, signing a purchase agreement, picking your finishes, construction and walk-throughs at various stages of construction and then closing.

How much do I pay an agent to buy a home?

This is the best part, my services to help you buy a home are completely FREE to you! I get paid a commission from the seller when you buy their home.

What is a buyers market?

A buyer’s market is when there are a lot of homes on the market, or high inventory, and so as a result, you, the buyer, have more negotiating power with the seller because there is a lot of competition in the market for your purchase.

What is a seller’s market?

A seller’s market is when there are few homes on the market, or low inventory, and so because there are not many homes available, the seller has the negotiating power. In many cases in this kind of market, homes sell for close to, if not at the price they were listed for. In a lot of cases, homes in a seller’s market will have multiple offers and will go into a bidding war, driving the price up past the list price.

What is earnest money?

Earnest money is like a deposit as part of the purchase agreement of a home. This typically is 1-2% of the purchase price of the home. Earnest money is the buyer’s way of saying they are serious about purchasing the home and they are providing a deposit in good faith that they do not intend on backing out of the contract.

Can I buy a home and sell mine at the same time?

Absolutely! If the timing of the sale of your home and the purchase of a new home are right, this can be a very seamless transaction. However, there are some factors that could make this a little complicated. If your home is still on the market when you find the home of your dreams, you have a few options. You can make an offer that is contingent on the sale of your home, which means that the seller can continue to show their home and if they get another buyer, they can opt to take that offer and then you get to keep looking. You can make a first right offer, which means that you have the first right to refuse the sale of their home to another buyer, but this also means that you may have to pay two mortgages while you try to sell your home. A first right only works if your mortgage broker says you can afford to keep two homes at once and you don’t require money from the sale of your home to make the down payment on the new home. If you are building a home or buying a quick move-in home, often times builders will allow a certain period of time for you to sell your home while under contract on a new home.

How quickly can I close on my new home?

Typically from the time you and the seller agree to terms, it takes about 30-45 days to close. There are factors that can make this a longer process such as inspections, appraisals, financing approvals, etc. Most buyers take possession of their home within the 30-45 day range.

What is a spec or quick move-in home?

A quick move-in home, also known as a spec (speculation) home, is a house that the builder has opted to build on one of their available lots to make available for sale. These homes are often good options for buyers in a market with low inventory because they can get into a completely new home that include builder warranties. Depending on the stage of the build process a quick move-in home is in, there may be options to customize the finishes to suit your needs. The biggest benefit to a quick move-in home is being able to move into a brand new home without the 6-9 month construction process.

Do I need a realtor to help me purchase a new construction or quick move-in home?

You don’t, however, since there is no cost to you to have a realtor present, you might as well have the added experience and extra set of eyes and ears available at the various meetings you will have throughout the process. Our experience can help you think through options that you may not have considered like home orientation, the value of certain upgrades, etc.

Will builders give me an extra discount on my home if I don’t use a realtor?

In most cases they will not. Often times builders have a separate marketing budget that is specifically designated for paying realtor commissions, so that value is not built into the price of the home itself. Some builders will, but I would be skeptical of builders who offer that up front as they know that realtors come to the table with an understanding of the construction process and quality of construction that buyers may not. So they know that having the realtor out of the process saves them time and headaches, which also means they may cut corners that ultimately could hurt you in the future. A good builder will appreciate the value that a realtor brings to the table and it will help them remain honest as they walk with you through the new construction process.

Can you negotiate the price on a quick move-in home? Or Do new home builders ever negotiate?

My perspective is you can always negotiate with any seller, regardless of the state of the market. Builders are a little more challenging as they typically have pretty strict profit margins they like to meet. The longer a quick move-in home is on the market, the more willing a builder may be to negotiate the price.

Do quick move-in homes still have a builder warranty?

Absolutely! Quick move-in homes carry the same builder structural warranties that a new construction home would carry. Many new construction homes have at least a 10 year structural warranty and some carry additional warranties for things like basement waterproofing, energy efficiency, etc. You will also be able to walk through the home with the builder shortly after signing a purchase agreement to find things that need to be touched up or fixed prior to purchase and you will walk through the home again prior to closing on the home to make sure those items were addressed and fixed to your specifications.

Brian and Mollie S.

“Julia Pratt was a huge help to our family when we relocated to the LowCountry from Northern Virginia. Our time was limited in trips down and Julia gave us a great look at our next home options and took the time to point out some great spots in Bluffton - couldn’t have been more pleased!”

Brian & Mollie S,
Home Buyers LowCountry, SC
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Reid B.

“Steve Kiser successfully managed and sold an Old Town Bluffton parcel for me over 20 years ago. I now have Kiser & Associates handling two properties for me and have worked with the company on other properties in the past. I give Steve's company 5 stars for knowledge of market conditions, awareness of current government regulations, coupled with a professional approach in dealing with all situations. I totally trust Steve to advise me; he is always a professional.”

Reid B.,
Home Owner Bluffton, SC
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Tim and Michelle E.

“From the moment we walked into the office of Kiser and Associates, we felt a wave of assurance! We were warmly welcomed into this family-owned agency, and we immediately sensed that we were standing in a hub of our community. Not only did Steve & Julia patiently & joyfully help us through every step of our home purchase, their love of the lowcountry and their knowledge of the area were a strong foundation for our search. It is a pleasure to recommend Kiser and Associates for all of your real estate needs!”

Tim & Michelle E.,
Home Buyers Bluffton / Pritchardville
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