Picture this - you’ve developed a 5 year plan to help you budget, you’ve stuck to it and have saved up for a down payment, and now you’re ready to buy a house. This is an exciting time; you get to tour different houses and find the house you’re going to make your home. To keep things running smoothly, you’re going to want to choose your home buying team wisely. You should choose experienced professionals who will keep your best interests in mind when assisting you in the home buying process.
As you start your search, it may be beneficial to consult with trusted family and friends for referrals. You may want to check online and read reviews to ensure that you are hiring the right people to help you navigate the process.
People you will need on your team:
While everyone’s home buying experience is different, it would be best to connect with these professionals as a starting point:
- Real Estate Agent. Your real estate agent is going to be your point of contact throughout the whole process. They’ll be responsible for helping you find houses in your price range, ideally with all your preferred amenities, helping you navigate through making an offer, and making sure all the necessary paperwork is signed. When it comes to selecting an agent to work with, be sure that you choose someone you feel comfortable with since you will most likely be working closely with them for a long period of time. It typically takes anywhere from six months to one year (maybe even longer!) to find a house, make an offer, and close the deal.
- Mortgage Lenders or Lending Institutions. Now that you’re starting to look for houses, it’s important for you to connect with a lending institution to determine what you are able to afford. A lender or lending institution will help you set up a realistic budget. They are going to assess your financial situation and prepare a preapproval letter. A mortgage lender will lend you a predetermined sum of money to buy your house. It is their responsibility to assess your finances and ensure that you are able to repay your loans. It’s important to remember that a mortgage lender can rescind your loans if your home appraisal is lower than your offer price.
- Home Inspector. Home inspectors help you evaluate and measure the health of the home and identify any problem areas. Their role is to compile a list of any areas that may need to be repaired or replaced, including the electrical, plumbing, and AC systems and the structural integrity of the house. You’ll want to find a trusted professional to do a thorough job -- you don’t want to discover any hidden costs after you’ve bought the house!
- Appraiser. Appraisers determine the value of the property. They will inspect the house and compare it to similar houses in the neighborhood to set an objective market value on the property. The appraiser’s report determines your mortgage loans and can be a key factor to preventing home buyers from overpaying on a house.
- Title and Escrow Agents. After your offer has been accepted, you enter the closing process where you will work with title and escrow agents to address the legalities to your house. A title agent will review property records to verify that the seller is the owner of that property, facilitate the transfer of title to you, and issue title insurance. An escrow agent acts as the third party facilitator to ensure that all legal documents are signed, payments and property are transferred, and the sale is properly recorded.
- Insurance Agents . Most mortgage lenders will require you to get a homeowners insurance policy. If you’re a first-time home buyer, it will be helpful to speak with an insurance agent who can help you determine the amount of homeowner insurance you will need. Consider adding additional coverage for your belongings or if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. You’ll want to be protected.
There you go! Those are the 6 professionals that you will most likely be working closely with throughout the process of buying your house. Whether you’re buying a house for the first time or you’re a seasoned buyer, having these people on your team will help minimize the stress and keep you from getting overwhelmed over the logistics. This is an exciting time, and you’ll want to be careful with who you’re working with to make sure that the process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.