× Close search
House Hunting Blog Featured Image Pictured L to R: Michael King, CEO/Founder of King One Properties; Connie Thompson, Carolina Trust FCU AVP of Mortgage Services; August Mize, Carolina Trust FCU Brand Ambassador; Rainee Romero, WBTW News 13 Living Local Show Host

House Hunting: 3 Tips to Help You Find the Right Home for You

Posted by August on Jul 17, 2020 12:00:13 PM


Purchasing a home is a huge milestone in many people's lives. It can be intimidating; I know it definitely was for me as I first began the process. Luckily, with the help of the mortgage team at Carolina Trust, I was able to put my worries aside and enjoy embarking on the journey of house hunting and purchasing my first home. 

If you're thinking about beginning the house-hunting process yourself, here are a few helpful tips that I used to make the process exciting and stress-free.

1. Consider Financing First

Before you begin searching for homes, it's good to think about how you'll finance your home. Most realtors won't even start to show you homes until you've been prequalified by a lender. 

For most people, purchasing their home with cash isn't an option. No need to worry, there are lots of other great financing options. As a young professional and first-time homebuyer, I was looking for a mortgage that didn't require a large downpayment. Although I had been saving up for a while, I knew that I would need to use a lot of my savings for purchasing things I would need for my new home: appliances, furniture, etc.

With this in mind, Connie Thompson, Carolina Trust AVP of Mortgage Services, suggested I consider one of two mortgage products, our 30-Year Fixed Mortgage or our First Time Homebuyer Mortgage.

The 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage was a great option because rates are so low right now, that it's a perfect time to lock in on a fixed rate mortgage. Our competitive fixed rate mortgages  guarantee that your rate will stay the same for the life of your loan, providing the added stability of a fixed payment.

The First Time Homebuyer Mortgage is for people who have never owned a home or haven't owned one in the last 3 years. The loan is a 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage with a maximum term of 30 years. The first 5 years of your loan are financed at a fixed rate. Then, on the 61st payment, the initial fixed-rate can adjust based on market conditions but would not increase or decrease more than 2.00% each year with a lifetime rate cap of 5% over the initial rate.* With a zero percent down payment and excellent mortgage rates, it made perfect sense for me!

2. Establish Your "Must Haves"

Once I had a good idea of how I planned to finance my home purchase, I determined a few of my "must haves." Growing up in a rural area of Virginia, I've always lived in a home with a large yard and lots of privacy and knew that was something I wanted in my new home. I also wanted a relaxing spot to enjoy my morning coffee, so a front porch or a back deck were at the top of my list. And of course, a master closet with room for my clothes, shoes, and extra space for new purchases.

3. Find a Great Realtor

Once I knew what I was looking for, I went straight online to begin my search. As exciting as it was browsing real estate sites for homes in the area, I knew I needed the help of an expert if I wanted to find the perfect home for me. Michael King, CEO/Founder of King One Properties, came highly recommended and worked with me to ensure that I found the perfect home for me, that met all of my "must have" criteria.

In South Carolina, real estate agent fees are paid by the seller, not the buyer. Use this to your advantage and get help from an expert. Real Estate Agents may have the ability to find homes that are not visible on real estate sites. They can typically do more in-depth searches and may have connections with other agents or builders to find homes before they're listed on the market.

When selecting a Real Estate Agent, you'll want to keep a few things in mind: experience, location, and comfort. Finding an agent who has experience working with lenders, selling agents, and attorneys will reduce stress during the period from contract to closing. You also want to make sure the real estate agent you select is familiar with the area where you plan to purchase. Familiarity with your preferred location allows your Real Estate Agent to give you insight into the pros and cons of the area and may increase their ability to find the homes you're looking for. Lastly, you want to make sure that you're comfortable with the Real Estate Agent that you select. Depending on how long your home buying journey takes, you'll spend a lot of time together. The better understanding that your agent has about you, the more likely he/she will find a home that you'll love.

Purchasing a home is a big decision, but it should be an exciting one with as little stress as possible. Your new home will be a place that you spend lots of time and make beautiful memories with your loved ones.

I hope these tips can help you get started on your home buying journey and make the experience an exciting one. For more tips, check out my home buying journey with Rainee Romero, WBTW News 13 Living Local Carolina Host; Connie Thompson, AVP of Mortgage Services; and Michael King, CEO/Founder of King One Properties.

*Loan approval and Annual Percentage Rate subject to credit worthiness. Loan type subject to property and borrower qualifications. Other restrictions apply.

Topics: Real Estate & Home Buying