Buying a house in South Carolina: Important steps you need to take

Mon Mar 27 2023

Family with two boys standing in front of house with For Sale sign in front yard.

In recent years, there have been two significant factors that have caused more people to consider relocating and buying a home in different parts of the country that they may not have considered before.

The first reason is the trend toward remote work. Working from home has allowed people to choose where they want to live for reasons other than their job.

The second reason? Real estate prices have skyrocketed in metropolitan areas throughout the United States, causing many people to look at areas with a lower cost of living.

Buying a house in South Carolina can be an excellent choice for the reasons listed above. Real estate values and living costs across the state are relatively affordable compared to other areas. Combine those benefits with the Palmetto State’s mild climate, natural beauty, and historic charm, and you see why South Carolina is a great choice when looking to buy a home.

In this article, we explain how to buy a house in South Carolina and what cities you may want to consider when buying a home there.

Things to consider before buying a house in South Carolina

Before you begin searching for houses, you need to think about where in the state you want to live. Living along the coast is a different experience than choosing a home in the Blue Ridge Mountains in terms of both climate and lifestyle.

You also need to think about your career and job prospects in that area. This might be less of a concern if you’re a remote worker, but you still need to consider what you want out of the location you pick. Are you drawn to the quiet of a small town? Do you want to enjoy the amenities of a larger city? These are important questions to answer before you search for houses in South Carolina for sale.

If you’re already from South Carolina and are simply looking to relocate within the state, you’re probably already familiar with different regions and cities. But if you’re new to South Carolina,you want to consider which part of the state appeals to you most.

For example, Clemson is a popular city for young professionals that offers affordable homes with a median sold home price of $265,000 . Another option is the smaller city of Greenville, which has a thriving business district.

South Carolina also offers many areas that may appeal to people looking to enjoy outdoor lifestyles and activities. With 78 acres of parks and greenways, the city of Mauldin is a good example that’s just about an hour away from Greenville. Median home prices in Mauldin are a bit higher than in Clemson, but you generally get more house for your dollar.

Whatever you’re looking for in a new home, South Carolina likely has something for you. But it’s essential to understand exactly what you want out of your new community first before deciding on a home.

Finding a house in South Carolina

There are several tools you can use to help you find currently listed homes in South Carolina. One of the best ways is to work with a local realtor who has experience in the state and the specific cities you are interested in.

This is especially true if you’re coming from out of state. The internet can be a great resource for finding information on various cities, but nothing beats the advice of someone with years of experience in the area.

Pro tip: Try to find your own realtor instead of simply working with the listing agent for the home you are considering. The listing agent works for the seller, so you want to balance the equation by getting an agent who will keep your best interest in mind during negotiations..

Of course, you can use sites like Zillow and other popular real estate portals to do your own research. But when it comes time to look at houses and make offers, working with a professional real estate agent typically produces the best results.

Steps to take before buying a home in South Carolina

Although the process of buying a home in South Carolina may have aspects unique to the state, many of the steps listed here are typical no matter where you’re looking. Use them to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Start building your down payment

If you haven’t already, start putting money aside for a down payment. Over the last year, lending criteria have tightened, so the more significant your down payment is, the more options you will have when buying a home in South Carolina.

The general rule when looking for a home is to have 20% as a down payment ready to go. According to Zillow, this translates to about $53,000 based on the median home prices in South Carolina .

Haven’t started saving up for that kind of down payment? Don’t lose hope! We know of at least 13 ways to afford a house. One option is to look into the various government programs that help first-time buyers get a home with no money down. For example, the US Department of Veteran Affairs offers loans to eligible applicants, as does the US Department of Agriculture.

If you don’t qualify for these programs, you may want to investigate loan options from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). You may be eligible for an FHA loan with as little as 3.5% down depending on your credit score.

You might also want to check out state-run programs , Some are designed specifically for first-time home buyers in South Carolina while others simply encourage homeownership. Examples from SC Housing include:

First-time home buyer grants in South Carolina usually have a set of criteria you must meet before you may qualify, so be sure to do your research.

Make sure to look into these programs or ask your realtor about them. A little bit of extra work may help you save that down payment for other expenses and make the loan process easier.

Choose the right realtor

Choosing your realtor may be the most critical factor when determining whether or not your home purchase goes smoothly. A realtor has expertise in many of the things that you simply don’t know much about, such as:

  • Getting pre-approved for a mortgage.
  • Locating the right neighborhood for your budget and lifestyle.
  • Identifying market conditions that may make it difficult to buy a home.
  • Negotiating the best deal for you.
  • Finding first-time homebuyer programs in South Carolina for which you may qualify.

For these reasons and more, real estate agents are an indispensable resource for any homebuyer.

Some key questions to ask when deciding on a real estate agent are:

  • How long have you been a real estate agent in the area? Longer is usually better.
  • How many transactions have you completed in the past year? Once again, more is generally better.
  • Do you work in my price range? A realtor who specializes in luxury homes may not be the best fit for those looking at starter homes.
  • How are your reviews? Although this can be a bit tricky to determine, someone with overall negative reviews may not be the best fit.

Remember, you don’t have to pick the first agent you meet. Try to contact more than one and see which one fits your needs the best.

Getting your finances in order for mortgage pre-approval

You want to get pre-approved for a mortgage in your price range. This allows you to work more closely with an agent and is a sign to sellers that you’re a serious buyer who is ready to make an offer immediately.

Once you get pre-approved, don’t make any drastic financial decisions that could change your credit score. Buying a new car or racking up credit card debt after you’re pre-approved may cause problems when you try to finalize your loan.

This may also be a great time to check your credit score and other financial information. Make sure there’s no false or outdated information that could cause you to pay a higher interest rate than you should. Going over your credit score may take some time, so it’s best to start well before you start applying for a loan.

Start shopping for a house

Once your real estate agent has been chosen and your pre-approved mortgage letter is in hand, you can start to shop for houses in your price range.

The time of year you choose to buy a new home can have an impact on the market. Spring and summer tend to be busy periods for home buying, so that means more competition. Homes may not stay on the market as long, creating smaller inventories and sometimes higher prices.

Fall and winter are typically slower months, so sellers may be more willing to bend prices. However, every situation is different, and there are no guarantees. (Another good reason to work with a professional real estate agent!)

Make an offer and close on your new homemake

When you’ve found the perfect place, it’s time to make an offer. This is another area where your agent can help. They will let you know what constitutes a good offer based on market conditions.

So how much are houses in South Carolina? Zillow lists the median home price as around $267,835 at the time of writing. But you will set your offer based on the market you are shopping in.

Deciding on how much to offer can be tricky. On the one hand, you want to get the best deal, but you also want to increase your chances of closing the deal. That’s a delicate balance that needs to work for both the buyer and the seller, and your agent plays a significant role in that process.

Once the offer is accepted, you will move on to the closing process. Closing costs in South Carolina can include fees for:

Your agent can walk you through these and all the other fees, plus any paperwork that’s likely required..

Once completed, you close on your new home!

Best area to live in South Carolina

The best area to live in South Carolina really depends on your personal preference. The best place for a young, professional couple may not be the right choice for a retired couple looking for a relaxing country home. Thankfully, South Carolina offers something for almost every home buyer.

Below is a selection of the most popular areas and what they have to offer to specific homebuyers. Median prices are all from February 2023.


One of the most popular locations in South Carolina, Clemson is great for families or professionals. Offering affordable homes, a thriving business district, and easy access to the Blue Ridge mountains makes this a great place to call home.

Clemson University is also nearby, so this area trends younger. With median home prices right around $260,000, Clemson can be a great option for almost any budget.


Greenville is smaller than some of the cities on this list, but it still has a robust business district along with an arts and culture scene that defies its small size.

Home prices are slightly higher here, with a median price of $299,000 , but that’s still much lower than in other areas of the country. Greenville also caters to people of almost any age, so anyone from young adults to and retirees can feel comfortable making a home in Greenville.


This suburb of Greenville is great for those who want a little more space and a relaxing atmosphere while still being close to the city. Mauldin’s schools rank as some of the best in the state, so it’s perfect for families with young children. The more relaxed lifestyle also makes this a great choice for older home buyers.

What makes this area even more appealing is the median price per square foot is $161 , making it one of the better deals in the state. Buyers looking for a lower cost of living will find a great option in Mauldin.


It’s hard to find a more historic city than Charleston. This city is popular for its breathtaking landscape and rich history. Many of its streets are still paved with cobblestones, evidence of its roots that date back to the 1600s.

However, Charleston is one of the pricier places to live in South Carolina. The median listed price for homes in the city is $535,000 . That said, Charleston may be the perfect city for anyone who loves historical architecture and Southern charm appeals to you,


Near the state capital of Columbia, Lexington gives you access to the larger city while still providing the comforts of small-town life. The city is an excellent choice for those who love the outdoors. With proximity to the mountains and the coast, it has everything you need for your next outdoor adventure.

Homebuyers may get a lot more for their money in Lexington. The median listing price is $280,000, but the per square foot median is $147.

Sullivan’s Island

Considered one of the most luxurious places to live in South Carolina, Sullivan’s Island median listing price exceeds $5 million. But that price gets you into a very exclusive town with a population of just over 2,000. If you are looking for the best South Carolina offers, look into Sullivan’s Island.

More help with buying a home in South Carolina

Buying your new home can be a time filled with excitement and new beginnings. But the expense and the procedures can also cause plenty of stress and anxiety.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is how you can protect your home once it’s yours. We’re ready to help you secure your new home with the insurance you need to protect your investment and put your mind at ease. Our simple and customizable House & Property insurance is easy to understand and can be tailored to any homeowner on any budget.

Call us at 855-717-0022 or enter your address today to get a quote. Our team of experts will be happy to walk you through the steps needed to protect your beautiful new home for years to come.