Frequently Asked Questions for Home Buyers

**This section was authored by the Realtor, Daniel Furtick. In reference to the information below, please refer to your Lender, home inspector or closing attorney for further details.


I am a first time home buyer. Where do I start?

Welcome! I would love to discuss home buying with you in detail. I want to understand your property wants, needs and your time frame to buy. I can send you property lists and introduce you to an excellent mortgage professional who is great with first time home buyers. The lender will be able to answer your mortgage questions and provide a solid pre approval. After you have obtained pre approval, we can discuss which days you are available to view homes and get started.



Can you show me all homes for sale in the area?

Yes. I can show any property listed for sale. If you find properties online, in the news paper, magazines or see a sign while driving around one Sunday, I can assist with all of them so you do not have to reach out to multiple agents. 



Why do I need a pre approval? I don't want my credit pulled.

Yours and my time are valuable. You want the seller and your agent to be assured that you are qualified to buy a home before going inside. A pre approval is proof to your agent and the seller that you are a serious buyer and qualified to purchase a home. The pre approval will show you the maximum home price you are qualified for. There is no need to go out looking at homes that are priced over your qualified amount. If there are any issues with your credit or financial background, those problems can be fixed days or weeks before before looking at properties and not after you have found your dream home. This could save weeks of time and save you money. Most importantly, it ensures that you don't lose the opportunity to purchase your dream home. If you are several months from buying I still want to speak with you and would love to email you properties that fit your search.

-Many of my clients received property updates by email for months before they called me back to discuss pre approval and property showings. 



Are there any no money down/zero down payment mortgage options?

Yes. Below are zero down payment options:

VA (military buyers), Zero down

USDA (rural homes), Zero down (Annual household income limits apply)

State Housing, Zero down (most of the time) (Annual household income limits apply)

HUD owned foreclosures "HUD homes", $100 down payment when using FHA financing

Contact Mario the mortgage lender for details. Ask questions and obtain a solid pre approval

Mario Del Pino:

Mortgage Options, Columbia SC

Mobile: 864.237.5940



How much money do I need up front to buy a home?

**Please contact your lender to discuss the total costs in detail**

Down payment: if applicable. 3.5% for most buyers or 5% for "Conventional" financing

$375 - $475 Appraisal deposit (Usually paid through the lender at time of full mortgage application)

$600 - $800 Annual home insurance premium. Your lender will require proof of home insurance before closing

$75 Termite inspection (Required for FHA, USDA and VA financing)

$245-$300 Home inspection (Optional, highly recommended. Price based on square footage)

$150 Heating and air inspection, per unit. (Optional, highly recommended)

$$ Property taxes from closing date to the end of the year (Amount varies)

$$ Closing cost if the seller does not contribute. Usually 2-3% of the purchase price

** "Closing cost" is a blanket term and closing cost items can vary - Lender fees, attorney fees, appraisal deposit, pre paid property taxes etc. The seller is allowed to pay certain closing cost and can be a part of offer negotiations.



Are you a high pressure agent?

No. I never want you to be pressured or rushed. I am not a high pressure agent. But don't worry, I do posses the skill and knowledge to act quickly and precisely so you don't miss out on deals. I will be able to carefully negotiate on your behalf. My experience gives me the unique ability to see problems before they happen. I will be able to handle any situation that gets in the way of a smooth closing. I do not get paid just to show homes, but to solve problems and provide solutions fast. This will save you time and money. I want to make sure you have been served and have a full understanding of the market and available homes before you decide to offer. I work with some buyers for six weeks and other buyers for over a year. I love my work and appreciate all of my clients. 



How do you get paid? Do I have to pay to hire a Realtor?

No. There is NO charge or fee to hire your own Realtor. The seller pays my brokers commission. Before any home goes up for sale, the listing agent and the seller agree to a set amount of commission in writing. Usually 6%. The 6% commission is split between the two agents brokers and then each broker pays the agents a percentage. If the sellers agent represents both buyer and seller, the agents broker will receive the entire 6% commission. 



What is earnest money?

When you decide to offer on a property it is traditional to offer earnest money to show the seller that you are a serious buyer. It is usually $500-$1000 and will count toward your down payment or other loan cost. The earnest money amount and rules will be specified in the sales contract. The earnest check will be deposited into the brokers real estate trust account. If you default on the contract the seller usually retains the right to keep the earnest money. If the contract is honored you have no risk of losing your deposit. Some buyers can expect to pay $2000 or more for more expensive or new construction transactions.



Why do I need my own agent? Why not just work with the listing agent?

Smart buyers understand it would be a conflict of interest for the listing agent to represent the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. My services are FREE to the buyer. Hiring a Realtor who will provide unbiased service and who understands what you are looking for is extremely important. When you hire me, it will not be necessary to explain your needs to multiple agents. Also, the primary job of the listing agent is to represent the seller. If you want full and exclusive representation you should hire your own agent. I can discuss property values with you and suggest a fair and honest offer price that is not biased toward the seller. The listing agent can not provide this full service if they represent both buyer and seller. This service is free to you and I am eager to work with motivated buyers.



Can you help me with new construction homes? 

Yes. You are not obligated to work with the site agent. I have experience and knowledge of the local builders. I can help you understand all of the different home builders in the area. I have can show you how different builders compare and what they offer. Some builders focus on price and economy and other builders offer lots of serious energy efficient features. There are several excellent new home builders in Columbia and Lexington South Carolina. From start to closing, I will be able to cover the details and guide you in the right direction to fit your needs. New home construction requires special attention so that you will be fully satisfied. I've got it covered.



Can you help me find foreclosures?

Yes. I have experience with all types of foreclosure sales. Home Path, HUD homes and more. The agent must have experience or careful guidance when working with certain types of foreclosures. Its easy to make mistakes and lose the deal and your earnest deposit. The foreclosure buying process varies greatly among the different foreclosure sellers (Home Path, HUD, big and small banks) I can explain each process in detail and make it a smooth transaction.

Never pay for a foreclosure list. Contact me for a free complete list of all foreclosures that fit your needs.



What is a USDA qualified home?

The US Department of Agriculture provides a zero down payment incentive when you purchase a rural home with in "USDA territory" Annual household income limits will apply. I can help you find homes that are inside the USDA map territory. Mario the lender is also well qualified and understands every detail the USDA mortgage process.

USDA map below (Read and accept the disclaimer to reveal the map) 

Official USDA Map



What is a short sale?

Simply put, a short sale means the seller is attempting to sell their home for much less than they owe the bank. This means the sellers lien holder must approve the sale and purchase price. Short sales can usually take 60-90 days or more to complete. I do NOT recommend short sales to most buyers. You need to be patient and understand other homes you like may sell while you wait. It could even take 30-45 days for the bank to respond to your offer. This can be extremely frustrating to most buyers. In general, short sales are not "steals" or "great deals". You can expect to pay fair market value because the lien holder will obtain an appraisal to determine the sales price.



I am using VA financing. Can you by my Realtor?

Yes. Almost half of my clients use VA financing with zero down payment. I have an understanding of the process. It is similar to other financing types with a typical 30 day close.



What is Private Mortgage Insurance or "PMI"?

Private mortgage insurance is required for most loan types. It is insurance that covers the lien holder against loss or default on your mortgage obligation. If you default on your mortgage obligation, the lien holder can use PMI to recoup losses. For FHA, private mortgage insurance will be for the life of the loan and is a part of your mortgage payment. For other loan types, the PMI could drop off once you have 25% equity in the home. You must refer to your loan documents and lender to know for sure. Please contact Mario the lender at 864 237 5940 for further details on PMI and other mortgage related questions.



Can you recommend a mortgage professional?

Yes. Mortgage Options, Columbia SC

Mario Del Pino, 864.237.5940

Click: Mortgage and Pre Approval Section

I have done all types of transactions with Mario. He has over 20 years of experience and is an expert with FHA, VA and USDA financing. He can assist first time home buyers and experienced buyers. Mario has closed many loans that other lenders failed to complete. Mortgage Options rates are the most competitive around.



Can you recommend a home inspector?

Yes. Home Inspection One

Kevin Bost has 15 years of experience. His inspections are very thorough. You will receive a printed copy of your inspection report at the property and time taken to discuss the report and ask questions. A general home inspection starts at $245 and $300 for larger homes.

Kevin Bost, Home Inspection One




Can you recommend a closing attorney?

Harvey and Vallini has offices in Lexington and North East Columbia SC. Their attorneys and paralegals are the best in the business. They have closed dozens of sales with my buyers and have all been flawless. In South Carolina the buyer selects the closing attorney of their choice. I recommend Harvey and Vallini. Your lender will contact the attorney you select at the time of contract. 



North East Columbia:



Contact Daniel by Phone, Email or Text Message. Seven days per week

(803) 673-7809