Frequently Asked Questions

  • Am I liable for repairs after I sell?

    In certain situations. If the buyer's inspection reveals major problems with your house's structure or mechanical systems (heating, electrical, plumbing, etc.), the buyer may wish to negotiate the price downward on the basis of anticipated repair costs. So even though the repairs won't be made until after the sale, practically speaking, you'll be paying for them.

    Sometimes, repairs may be required before the transfer of title takes place. This is especially true in sales that involve financing that's insured or guaranteed by the government (FHA/VA loans, for example).

    You may have also heard about lawsuits involving sellers who failed to disclose major problems before the sale -- like an addition to the house that wasn't built to code. Most states now maintain very specific disclosure laws that require sellers to disclose any pertinent information relative to the condition of the property. For example, most states require sellers to notify buyers about the presence of any lead-based paint. It is important for you to be knowledgeable about your state's disclosure laws.

    These are just a few good reasons to retain a lawyer or agent who knows as much about the condition of your property as you do. It's also a good idea to get the buyer's written acknowledgment of any major problems when you accept their offer.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • How much house/land/investment can I/We afford?

    Everyone's circumstances are different. Your time is valuable and the best answer to this question can probably be found in the office of a local lender - whether banker or mortgage broker. They can usually qualify you for a certain amount within one visit. With this information you can then know what price range to start looking in. Also, a buyer with a prequalification letter from a lender is always seen by the sellers as a more serious buyer.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • How much, if any, negotiation is there in purchasing a home land?

    It totally depends on the seller and the seller’s particular motivation. Everything can and should be considered as part of the negotiation process. Price is not always the sole motivation for buyer or seller. The Realtor should take the time to find out what might be in the best interests of both parties and negotiate to best serve those interests. Many times, Realtors are only looking at one side and fail to see what and how the other party may benefit. Often there can be a win/win negotiation and that certainly helps keep everyone focused and motivated to successfully close.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

    Most states require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the state, so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems.

    The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from state to state. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents.

    The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the state, but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker's name, not the salesperson's.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • How do I make an offer after I find the right property?

    The agent you select to represent you will complete the South Carolina Association of Realtors Purchase and Sale Agreement with you. This standard industry form contains contingencies for inspections, financing, title search, and allows for additional concerns/items that pertain to your purchase. The Property Disclosure which has been provided to you by the seller of the property needs to be initialed and signed by you, attached to the Purchase and Sale Agreement. In addition, the Lead Paint Disclosure needs to be completed, acknowledged, and signed by the seller(s), the real estate agent(s) involved in the transaction, and the purchaser(s).

    After the offer is presented to the seller(s) by their listing agent (or representative of that agent), the seller response will be communicated to you in a timely fashion. The negotiation process may be quick and easy, or may be more tedious and require more time. Your agent will work with you every step of the way to the point where you have a signed agreement on the property, or decide to turn away from this property.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • Will you show me properties from other companies listings?

    Some real estate companies do offer their buyers' agents a higher commission if they are able to sell "in-house" listings. In such circumstances, there can be added incentive to limit the range of homes you are shown. This may impact your home search and how much your buyer agent's fee will be.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • There are a lot of abbreviations on the MLS listings. Can you explain what AWC, TOM, and DOM mean?

    “Active”: If a listing is active, then it is available for sale and there has not been an offer accepted. An offer may have been submitted, but it hasn't been accepted by the seller yet.

    “Pending”: This means an offer has been submitted and accepted, and there are no contingencies in the contract. Basically this means the property has been sold and is waiting for closing (although deals fall apart all the time between contract acceptance and close.) See AWC below for an explanation of contingencies.

    “AWC”: Stands for Active With Contingencies. This means an offer was submitted and accepted, but there are contingencies that must be settled before the deal can close. There are numerous possible contingencies, but by far the most common one is that the deal is contingent on the buyer's selling an existing property. The buyer needing to secure financing is also a common contingency. If a listing is in AWC status, additional offers can be submitted, but will be in "second position" to the original offer (ie: a backup offer). If the contingency can not be met, then the contingent contract would be cancelled and the backup offer moves into first (primary) position. Once the contingency is met, the listing should be moved to a Pending state, but most agents never seem to do that.

    “TOM”: Contrary to what a lot of people believe, TOM does not stand for Taken Off Market. It means Temporarily Off Market. This isn't a widely used category. A property may go TOM if a seller is going to be out of town for an extended period, or if the seller decides to do some repairs to the property and doesn't want it shown while repairs are being done. If you are an agent and you start calling owners who property is in TOM status to try and "relist" their home, then you are violating all kinds of listing and ethical rules and regulations. (And trust me, this happens all the time.) A property in TOM status is still under a signed listing agreement with the listing agent, hence any solicitation of a TOM property is a serious violation and you can lose your license if you pursue it!

    “Sold”: This indicates the property has been sold to a buyer. Sold in this case means the transaction has closed -- title/deed have been transferred to a new owner.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • How can I find information about a new neighborhood?

    If you are considering moving to a new neighborhood, here are a couple of things you can do:

    • Search the Web! Use the Internet to research the web. If you are insterested in moving to Upstate South Carolina, , please visit our Resource Websites page. Another good website is The Internet is a great place to begin your research.
    • Ask a Real Estate Agent. A good real estate agent knows the area. We drive around neighborhoods, we read the news, we talk to people. A good agent can tell you alot about a neighborhood. You should know however, that real estate law prohibits us from discussing certain things. We can't tell you if a neighborhood is "good" or "bad". YOU have to decide that. We can't discuss racial, religious or economic status of a neighborhood. But we can point you to places to find answers and can provide you a lot of great info on potential neighborhoods. We just have to stick to facts, not opinions.
    • Take a road trip! We strongly encourage our clients to simply drive the neighborhoods they are interested in. (Obviously this may be impossible if you are relocating from a significant distance.) Try to drive the area at different times of day, during the week, and on weekends. Doing this can give you an excellent understanding of what an area is like. Sometimes nothing beats seeing the neighborhood in action...

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • What is a buyer's agent?

    A real estate agent who is working on his/her buyer's behalf, representing that buyer-client and advocating for that client's interest.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

  • What does "multiple listing" mean?

    Just about all real estate agencies cooperate with other agencies in showing and selling their specific listings. When a family or individual decides to sell their property, that person finds an agent to work for them in the marketing and sale process. When the home is listed, it is entered into the multiple listing database, and the information shortly appears on "" as well. If you are searching for a home to buy, the agent you have chosen to represent you is in a position to show you all property, whether listed with that agent's office or another. Most of the time, the listing agency has already agreed to share their commission with the selling agency.

    Answered By: W. Lewis White

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