Behind every great home is a great team.
Buying a home is complicated and time-consuming. Aaand probably the most expensive thing you'll ever do. These are the players you can recruit to help:
Real Estate Agent: The point guard, coach, and cheerleader rolled into one. Your agent will break things down, and rep your best interests in negotiations. Psst...agents typically specialize in either buying or selling. If you hit an open house, the person in charge is probably a seller’s agent. Their job is to get the best deal for the seller. You want a buyer’s agent. Oh, and people tend to use the words agent, broker, and realtor to mean the same thing. But a broker is usually a more experienced agent who has gotten extra certification. An agent almost always reports to a broker, but a broker can work on their own. Agents and brokers can become realtors by becoming a member of the National Association of Realtors. Which means they pay an annual fee and pinky promise to stay ethical.
Mortgage Lender: The real MVP. This person – er, bank or financial institution – gives you the financing you need to actually buy your home. And helps you with some of the other money stuff. Like paying property taxes and home insurance premiums. You’ll work with them from pre-approval until your mortgage is paid off. So be ready for a long-term relationship.
Insurance Provider: The safety. Your lender requires you to financially protect your would-be home. Because it’s their money on the line, too. Your home’s size, layout, and location will determine the coverage. Bonus: your homeowners policy should cover the value of the stuff inside your home, too.
Home Inspector: The ref...or ump...or line judge. They come in after the seller accepts your offer. To check the condition of the home, and make sure everything’s legit. If anything needs to be fixed, they can help you determine how much it will cost.
Real Estate Attorney: The lawyer. No metaphor needed. This person writes and reviews the documents that make your purchase official, and holds your hand during the closing. They can also step in if you aren't seeing eye-to-eye with your lender or the seller. Some places make you use an attorney. But you probably want one on your team no matter where you're buying.
Where can I find these people?
Most buyers start with a real estate agent. They can make recommendations for the other people you need. So can your family and friends. You can also hit up your social media networks or consult a community page. Or both.
If all else fails, search the interwebs. On real estate sites like realtor.com, Zillow, and Redfin. And databases of the big national agencies, like Coldwell Banker, Weichert, and Sotheby’s (if you fancy). You probably want to shop around and compare prices before locking any one in.
Buying a home ain’t easy. But there’s someone to lean on for every step. And picking the right people means you can close the best possible deal. Worth it.
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