Are you aware of how many professionals it will take to help you find, finance and close on your new home? It actually takes a whole team of experts. Let’s look at who they are.
1. Realtor: Your Realtor will be your main contact for everything and everyone involved in your home purchase. Your Realtor will make appointments to show you houses; negotiate on your behalf when you find a house; walk with you through the inspection; and co-ordinate the entire post-inspection process, and all of your other team members. Make sure you choose a Realtor with a track record—don’t be afraid to ask for references. Remember, this may be the biggest investment of your life—you need a Realtor who works for you.
2. Lender: Your Realtor can help you select a lender. Too many buyers choose the wrong lender, with disastrous and costly results. There are differences between working with a bank, a credit union, and a mortgage broker, and your Realtor can help you find the best and most cost-effective lender for your situation. You will need a pre-approval letter from the lender you choose to work with. This letter will be sent, along with your offer, to the seller’s Realtor.
3. Inspector: It’s always wise to have your home inspected, and any offer you make should be contingent on an inspection. Inspections range in price from about $250 to $500, but the cost is worth it, considering the size of your investment. Again, your Realtor can help you find a reputable professional inspector. A Realtor sells hundreds of houses over the course of his or her career, and works with many inspectors. Realtors soon learn which inspectors they trust, and they are happy to pass that knowledge along to their buyers. The choice of inspector is ultimately yours, but consider carefully any advice or referrals from your Realtor. After an inspection, there may be items you’ll want your Realtor to negotiate with the seller. The sale is not completed until all contingencies are removed, so you can cancel the purchase if the inspection reveals items that you cannot, or do not want to deal with.
4. Appraiser: After your inspection contingency is removed, your Realtor sends your Purchase Agreement to your lender. The lender will order an appraisal, which is a detailed evaluation of the house to determine if it’s worth the price you agreed to pay. The appraiser may find that the house’s value is at, below or above the sale price. If it’s below sale price, your Realtor will have to find comparable properties to demonstrate the house’s value, or renegotiate the sale price. The appraiser may also determine that certain work must be done before the lender can approve your loan. Any “work orders” are usually negotiated between buyer and seller—another job for your Realtor!
5. Closer: When you buy a house, you take “title” to it and are issued a deed signifying your rights in the property. The closer does research on all the past owners of the house to make sure that the title is clear. The closer also organizes the documents for the closing—the day you will sign a stack of papers and receive the keys to your new home.
These are the major players on your real estate team. Your Realtor is the coach who coordinates everything, and her goal is to help you find a great property at a great price.
Janet Contursi has been a Twin Cities Realtor® for more than 10 years. She is expert in all types of residential real estate, including short sales and foreclosures, and she especially enjoys working with first-time buyers and sellers. Contact her at 612-655-1207 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
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