How “Qualified” Are You?

I often see the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval” used interchangeably by buyers, sellers and their agents, but there are important differences you want to know when looking to buy or sell a home in Upstate, SC.

Definitions may vary a little from lender to lender, but these descriptions are a good start:

Pre-qualification: The lowest and often least accurate expression of a buyer’s ability to complete a home purchase. The lender (or lender’s website in many cases) has compared the potential buyer’s income and debts to conclude that the buyer can likely afford to purchase a home in a certain price range. The lender typically runs the buyer’s credit, but the buyer’s  financial information is not verified.

It’s often said that “pre-qualification” letters aren’t worth  the paper they’re written on, as the potential buyer may not have disclosed their full financial  situation and without further investigation their ability to purchase cannot be completely  verified.  

Pre-approval: Similar to a pre-qualification, but more valuable to both buyers and sellers because additional due-diligence has been done by the lender. Buyers are often required to submit a few financial documents (bank statements, pay stubs, tax records, etc.) for  verification prior to the lender issuing a “pre-approval” letter. 

Pre-underwriting: The most comprehensive and certain form of buyer pre-approval. The lender collects, analyzes and approves all necessary financial documents from the buyer and issues their final financial approval of the buyer. Very few lenders will “pre-underwrite” a buyer  as the process is time consuming and expensive, but sellers and their agents are generally  impressed by buyers that are fully approved in this manner.  

So what does this mean to YOU?  

If you’re a seller… 

Pre-approved and pre-underwritten buyers are less risky. If you accept an offer from one of  these buyers there’s a much smaller chance that your sale will fall through and you’ll have to put your home back on the market.  

If you’re a buyer… 

Let’s be honest, the loan application and approval process is a hassle. Lot of time, and lots of paperwork, but you’ll have to do it either before you find your new home or after you’re under contract. It’s best to give your lender all the financial documentation they ask for (before you start submitting offers) to get “pre-approved or “pre-underwritten” to ensure that you’re financially qualified to purchase and to reduce the risk that your lender will deny your loan at  the last minute.

If there’s a problem you definitely want to find out sooner rather than later, potentially after you’ve completed and paid for your home inspections and appraisal, sold your  current home, or terminated your lease and gotten excited about moving into your new home.

—> Like this post? Check out “5 Must-Knows Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent” next by clicking HERE.

"Let me just start out saying... this agent is AWESOME!!!! He looks for what you want. He goes far beyond expectations to make sure there are not any flaws with the house, and if so he lets you know. I felt very comfortable with him. He made the process so easy."

R. Dickerson

5 Must-Knows Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent

The expert you hire to represent you, in negotiating and purchasing or selling a home, can make a huge difference in the overall experience and the outcome you want.

Pro Chris Webb shares insider tips and questions you should ask before selecting a real estate agent to represent you, whether you are buying or selling.

These questions often reveal information that will confirm or invalidate your confidence in a real estate agent. Let’s be honest, more transactions equal more experience and more practice problem solving and managing the home buying and selling processes. Trust me, you don’t want to be part of an inexperienced agent’s learning curve – it can be expensive and frustrating!

What services do you offer? What exactly will you do for me as my agent? This will vary depending on if you’re buying or selling. It’s important to know what you are paying for and the agent’s responsibilities versus your own.

1. Can your explain the entire home buying or selling process before you sign any type of representation agreement?

They should be. This is the most important service they offer, so be sure to check with them to understand their process and what to expect.

2. If you are selling your home, the agent listing your home, are they going to:

  • Help determine the best price to market your home?
  • Advise the homeowner in preparing the home for listing and showing?
  • Enter the home into the MLS database to gain maximum attention?
  • Market the home to other agents and brokerage members of the MLS?
  • Market the home to potential buyers using the best available methods?
  • Supervise and/or schedule home showings?
  • Report to the seller any interest and feedback from buyers?
  • Present all offers and suggest negotiation strategies?
  • Coordinate the process from signing the contract to closing the deal, including  inspections, preparing documents and other items necessary to close?

3. For a buyer’s agent, at a minimum they should do the below. Will they: 

  • Help the home buyers to locate and view homes that meet their requirements?
  • Advise them on neighborhoods, pricing and market conditions?
  • Write and negotiate offers?
  • Schedule and attend inspections?

South Carolina law allows real estate brokers to practice single agency (representing one party in the transaction), dual agency (representing both buyer and seller in a transaction) and designated agency (the agent representing the buyer and the agent representing the seller both work for the same broker). As a consumer you can express, through a written listing agreement or buyer agency agreement with your chosen broker, which form(s) of representation you will allow the broker to engage in to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts of interest.

4. If you aren’t doing a good job can I terminate our agency agreement? How?

The representation agreements most commonly used in South Carolina (maintained and distributed by South Carolina REALTORS(r) association) do not provide the consumer with the right to unilaterally terminate their listing or buyer agency agreement before the expiration date input on the form.  Ask the agents you are interviewing if they would be willing to add a termination clause to your agreement (you might get an interesting reaction!).

5. How much do your services cost me?

This is important for both sellers and buyers, as commission rates and fees charged by brokers can vary widely.  It’s typical for sellers to pay a commission to their listing broker, then have their broker share (co-op or co-broker) commissions with the buyer’s broker (so the buyer doesn’t pay their agent directly), but this isn’t always the case, so be sure to get a detailed explanation from your agent.

These are just a few quick pro tips to help you choose the right agent for you. Follow us here and on social media for more tips, tools, and videos coming your way!

Buying or selling a home in Greenville and the Upstate, SC? Give us a call today and let us help you find the home you love.

A Little Detail That Makes A Big Difference

When it comes to selling and buying a home in the Upstate of South Carolina, it’s often the little things that can make a big difference in how you love your home.

In the video below, pro Chris Webb shares an easily overlooked detail that you often see in flipped homes. If you are considering updating your home or buying a home with barn doors, check out this video for an easy tip to improve the way homeowners will love the home.
Follow us here and on social media for more tips, tools, and videos coming your way!

The Must Do’s & Don’ts To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

When it comes to selling your home, you’re going to be bombarded with a lot of opinions and clutter about what all you need to do in order to get your house market ready. Here’s the good news… you can ignore most of it.

With 25 years of experience in real estate, we’ve learned what is truly a MUST-DO to sell your home. So, we’re sharing this helpful guide with you to help relieve a little stress and help you cut through the clutter! 


  1. Give your home some curb appeal. You don’t need a full yard renovation before putting your house on the market. Creating curb appeal is all about making your home look welcoming. How do you do that? Focus on the key exterior items that show a home has been taken care of. Mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, and removing cobwebs/debris from your front door is a solid start. If you want to add a little more pizazz, touch up the paint on your mailbox and hang/plant a few flowers for a pop of color.
  2. Clean up and de-clutter. A potential buyer wants a fresh start in a new home. Make it easy for them to see the possibilities by creating a clean slate they can project their life onto. First, start with simply deep cleaning. Go through each room and clean it like your mother-in-law is coming to stay for a few weeks. Then, take a hard look at the items in the room. Are there places to de-clutter and create more visual space? Use this as the opportunity to start packing and remove items you don’t really need anymore. (It makes YOUR move easier, too.)
  3. Repair small items. Potential buyers tend to be a little anxious — buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most families make. Every home buyer has heard horror stories about buying a home and only finding out there are major problems after the close. So, don’t give them reason to worry. By repairing small items that can be seen, you’re giving the sign that you’ve cared for your home and they don’t need to worry it’s a money-pit waiting to happen. Front door locks that don’t work, dead light bulbs, a broken screen, and toilets that don’t easily flush may seem like small things, but they trigger someone to wonder WHAT ELSE you haven’t you been taking care of? Take a weekend for those honey-do repairs you’ve been wanting to do and don’t give a potential buyer a reason to worry.
  4. Make your home smell gooooooood. Smell is one of the most powerful senses, with the olfactory system located in the same part of the brain that effects emotions and memory. By creating a warm, welcoming scent throughout your home, you’re helping your house to stand out amongst the crowd. When it comes to smells, be careful and don’t go overboard. Think grandma’s house or a hotel lobby you love. Choose a scent that evokes either warmth and home (like cookies baking or a light vanilla), or one that reinforces how clean and loved your house is (lemon, a little lavender, or lemongrass do the trick).


  1. Remove all of your family photos. It’s not necessary to completely depersonalize your house. A potential buyer wants to know they’ll be happy there, too. Seeing pictures of your family and you being happy can reinforce it’s a home, not just a house.
  2. Remove furniture that helps demonstrate an effective way to furnish a room. If you have furniture that fits well in the room and can help the buyer imagine themselves in it, you can leave it. A good example is a king/queen size bed that shows there is plenty of space in a bedroom.
  3. Feel the need to paint every room the same neutral color. It’s okay to have some personality in the house. If you have a nice paint palette already in the house, don’t spend your time and money painting neutral walls. When it is worth painting is if you have a bright orange Clemson room or  dark purple in your kid’s space. Painting something that extreme a neutral color will give the buyer the flexibility to see the rooms as they’d like to use them.
  4. Assume that you have to do a major renovation before listing your home. Minor upgrades that are very visible (like new track lighting or a fresh carpet if it’s run down) are worth the energy. But, you don’t have to spend thousands on a new bathroom to show the value of your home. Potential buyers like to bring their personality into their new home, so give them the chance to do that. Only spend bigger dollars if it’s a major flaw that will hold up the sale, like a broken AC or a room with a major leak.

Hopefully this guide helps you to focus on the improvements that truly matter and remove a little stress from the selling process. When you’re ready to sell, give Reliable Home Advisors a call and let us help you navigate the buying and selling process with ease.


—> Like this post? Check out “Should You Replace Your Single Pane Windows” next by clicking HERE.

"Let me just start out saying... this agent is AWESOME!!!! He looks for what you want. He goes far beyond expectations to make sure there are not any flaws with the house, and if so he lets you know. I felt very comfortable with him. He made the process so easy."

R. Dickerson

Should You Replace Your Single Pane Windows?

Pro Chris Webb shares how one update can increase your resell value, reduce energy costs, AND save your furniture.

Check out the video below to find out how, and give us a call today to help you buy or sell your home in Upstate, SC.

Follow us here and on social media for more tips, tools, and videos coming your way!