Serving Charlotte NC MLS and Columbia SC MLS

Essential Up Front Homework


We are a client-focused real estate firm founded on the simple premise to provide exceptional, personal and professional real estate services from start to finish.

We employ a wide range of the most effective technologies to stay on top of the fast-paced real estate market. These tools give you access to the best search engines, professional photography, and electronic document processing so we can focus even more on you and your real estate needs.

The buying process can be lengthy and stressful, but it is always about you. That is why it is so important that we understand all your real estate needs up front.



Step 1:  Essential Up Front Homework 

The very first step in the home buying process is to meet with your Realtor to discuss your general home buying needs and – just like at the doctor’s office – to fill out essential paperwork that officially kicks off the home buying process.

The Realtor will also discuss with you some of the expenses you will face as soon as an offer has been accepted. These expenses include earnest money, due diligence money, and inspections. We will also talk about the due diligence process, including inspections, underwriting, financing, neighborhood and HOA regulations and developments, etc.

Step 2: Get your Initial Financing Squared Away – “The Pre-Approval Letter”

Before you even lay your eyes on a house, you need to secure financing through a reputable lender, such as a bank, a well-known mortgage lender, or a credit union. The lender will help you understand how much house you can afford, based on your monthly and annual income, expenses, and credit score / history.

Once we have established the budget available for your new home, it becomes much easier to go through the search process and to find you your next dream home.

This initial “Pre-Qualification” process takes only a few days to complete

  • You contact the lender by phone or in person
  • You provide the lender with your full legal name, address, and Social Security Number
  • You request a “Pre-qualification Letter” to be sent to you and to your real estate agent

The pre-qualification letter needs to state that your income has been verified, and that some of your reoccurring expenses have been verified, and that an initial credit check has been done to find out about your credit score. Based on that preliminary financial information, the lender will give you a specific dollar amount which he is willing to lend you for your new home.

Step 3: “The Search and Let’s Look at Homes” Phase

Once you have completed this initial process, you will consult again with your Realtor and discuss how your specific home buying wish list fits into your budget. That includes points such as general location, schools, type of home, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and their locations, size of yard, and neighborhood amenities. Please keep in mind that during the course of our home visits, these criteria will expand and may need adjustment as your needs change after exploring several homes.

Step 4:  Do Not Rule Out Buying Sooner, Rather Than Later

Even if you intended to buy later, what if you find the home that you really like much earlier than anticipated? You may find your perfect home after 5 visits. Maybe it will take 10 or 15 visits. So, if you are willing and able to buy earlier, lock in your interest rate, and don’t hesitate to write an offer. Because if you don’t, someone else will, and you may have to look for another dream home.


Essential Up Front Homework

Financial Considerations

The Underwriting Process and Estimated Timing