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How to Buy a House in South Carolina

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Are you thinking about becoming a homeowner in the Palmetto State? Our quick and easy guide to mortgages in South Carolina will help you find the best mortgage for you. 

Step 1: Consider Current South Carolina Mortgage Rates

No one wants to pay more for their mortgage loan than they have to. Securing the lowest possible rate on your mortgage loan when you apply can save you thousands of dollars by the time you finish paying off your loan. Mortgage rates can change on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis as the bond market, overall economy and your local housing demand.

To get a general idea of what you should pay for your mortgage loan in South Carolina, take a look at our mortgage table below. We update our rates regularly to give you the most accurate data available. 

Loan Type Rate APR
30-year fixed 3.468% 3.554%
15-year fixed 2.764% 2.933%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 0% 0%
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 2.724% 3.028%
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Get Preapproved

The first step in the home buying process is to get preapproved for a mortgage loan. If you haven’t already chosen a lender, consider a few of our favorites below.  

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
620

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States, offering every type of mortgage loan. Quicken Loans is one of the best lenders for first-time buyers because it offers one of the widest selection of government-backed mortgage options we’ve seen. If you’re confused by the mortgage process, you’ll love Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage® platform, which offers tons of information on the difference between mortgage loans, how to buy your first home and much more.

Quicken Loans’ preapproval process is simple and straight-forward. Most people will receive an instant decision, and the application is so easy you can complete it on a phone or tablet. With an easy application, tons of loan options and an informative online site, Quicken Loans is our top choice for lenders in South Carolina. 

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
620

2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United

Veterans United is a mortgage lender that specializes in government-backed VA loans for active-duty service members and veterans. Veterans United employs a full team of former service members — you’ll know that you’re getting information from men and women who have gone through the VA loan process themselves. Veterans United’s team members can even assist you in filing your VA loan paperwork and getting your Certificate of Eligibility.

Don’t qualify for a VA loan at this time? Veterans United also offers conventional loan solutions and the Veterans United team can help you decide which option is best considering your unique financial situation.  

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30 – 40
Minimum Credit Score
620

3. Best for Self-Employed Buyers: Luxury Mortgage

If you’re self-employed, you might be surprised at just how difficult it is to get a mortgage loan — even if your credit is stellar and your income is higher than average for your area. Most mortgage lenders want to see documentation that proves that you’ll be able to continue paying your mortgage loans for years to come, which can be difficult if you don’t have W-2s proving your income.

Luxury Mortgage is the premier mortgage lender for self-employed men and women in South Carolina. Its Asset Qualifier home loan program gives you flexible income qualification, which can be especially beneficial for men and women whose income fluctuates from month to month. You can borrow up to 80% of your loan’s value (up to $6 million) and your credit score can be as low as 580 points to qualify. With competitive pricing and flexible income standards, Luxury Mortgage can be a great choice if you’re having trouble qualifying with other lenders. 

Step 3: Find a House

After you’ve been preapproved for a home loan, it’s time for the most fun part of the buying process — finding the perfect property. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she will likely ask you a few questions about your budget and ideal home before showing you properties. 

If you’re working on your own, you should start by making a list of “wants” and “needs” to narrow down your search. Some qualities you might want to consider include:

  • Location: Where would you like your home to be located? Are property taxes in one ZIP code significantly different than others in your area? Do you need to be located close to public transportation? If you have children or plan to have children, are you able to pay more to be located in a district with a more highly rated school?
  • Age: How much work are you willing or able to put into your new home? Do you have a budget for repairs or remodeling? Would you prefer a more expensive turn-key property or a lower-priced property that needs repairs?
  • Size: How many bedrooms and bathrooms are in your current space? Do you need more space or are you looking to downsize? If you plan to grow your family in the future, how will that affect your home needs?

Defining your priorities when hunting will help you shop more effectively. However, it’s also important to narrow down your needs and prioritize the features that are most important to you. This will help you stay within your budget while ensuring that you’re buying a property you love. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

Once you find a home that you want to buy, you must make an offer on the property. Your real estate agent can help you decide how much to offer and will usually be responsible for drafting your offer letter. If you decide to draft your letter on your own, be sure to consider the following information in your offer:

  • The address of the home you plan to buy
  • Your full legal name and the full legal name of anyone else who will be listed on the title with you (like a spouse)
  • The amount of money you’re offering for the home
  • Any contingencies and concessions you want to add to your offer (for example, you might want to specify that your offer is only valid if the home passes an inspection)
  • Your preapproval letter from your mortgage lender — tells the seller that you won’t have trouble financing the purchase if they accept
  • Permanent items that you want included in the sale (for example, lighting fixtures and removable appliances)
  • The date you want to move into the home and the date you expect to close on your loan
  • A deadline that the seller must respond to your offer by

After you submit your offer to the seller or the seller’s agent, they can respond in 1 of 3 ways:

  • Accept the offer.  If the seller accepts your offer, you can move onto closing.
  • Reject the offer. If the seller rejects your offer, you may choose to submit another offer or move onto a different property.
  • Make a counteroffer. If the seller gives you a counteroffer, the ball is back in your court. You may choose to accept, reject or make another offer. 

Step 5: Closing Time

When you reach an agreement with the seller, it’s time to move onto closing. Most closing processes involve 3 steps:

  • Appraisal: During a home appraisal, a property value expert will visit your new home and assign your home an official estimated value. Mortgage lenders require appraisals because they cannot loan you more money than the home you’re buying is worth.
  • Inspection: Unlike an appraisal, most lenders don’t require an inspection. However, you should always get one to ensure that your home doesn’t have any expensive underlying issues. During an inspection, a home inspector will visit your property, test your home’s systems and provide you with a list of things that need to be repaired or replaced. A solid inspection will give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay in repair costs after you close.
  • Underwriting: While your appraisal and inspection are being conducted, your lender will finish underwriting your loan. During underwriting, your lender double-checks your financial documentation and verifies your income and assets to make sure you qualify for the loan you want.

After all 3 steps are completed, you’ll attend a closing meeting with your real estate agent, lender and seller. During the closing meeting, you’ll pay your down payment and closing costs, sign on your loan and take control of your new home. 

Move-in Day in South Carolina

Once you leave closing, you’re officially a homeowner! The only thing left to do now is schedule your moving day and begin decorating your new home. You’ll also need to remember to manage your mortgage payments effectively — so don’t forget to sign up for autopay or create a schedule to pay your base payment and insurance every month.