You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village” to describe the way people need to work together to achieve a goal. In home lending, we have a similar concept: It takes a team. Of course, you’ll have our lending team for your loan, but today I’m talking about the professionals for your entire transaction. If you’re buying (or selling) a home, your team will be bigger than if you’re refinancing, and if you’re renovating, it expands further. Let’s stick to the basics and look at the professionals in your home buying team you’ll need for a successful purchase.
Lender. I’m not putting the lender first simply because I work for a lender. It’s actually common sense. Unless you are in the happy position of being able to pay cash for your home, you will need a home loan, and before you start looking for a home, you need to know how much you can afford. Sellers want to know that you can pay for their home, too. Furthermore, home loans are not one size fits all. There are loans and programs that can help if you don’t have a lot saved for a down payment. There are loans for specific geographic areas. There are loans for Veterans, qualified service members, and their surviving spouses. There are 30-year loans and 15-year loans, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate and interest-only loans. Your First Choice Loan Services Inc. mortgage loan originator will demystify the jargon, advise you of your options, and help you choose the loan that’s right for you.
Realtor®. Do you need a real estate professional? You can search for properties online, go to an open house, or arrange a showing, but there’s a lot more to purchasing a home. When it comes to writing up the purchase offer, or negotiating a counter offer or concessions, your Realtor® will understand your concerns and represent you in the transaction. In a tight housing market, they may know about homes coming on the market before public listings, giving you an advantage. In addition, real estate professionals are a valuable source of information. They can recommend a home inspector, a real estate attorney or a settlement service provider, and suggest home professionals to help you with upgrades or repairs after you close.
Appraiser. The appraiser is the one professional you cannot choose. There’s a good reason for that. The appraiser is responsible for determining the value of the home you want to buy. Did you think that the purchase price was the deciding factor? Nope. The value has to come from an independent evaluation of the property, and the evaluation includes both the size and condition of the home and the sales prices of comparable homes in the same area. By the way, the lender can’t choose the appraiser, either.
Home Inspector. Not to be confused with the appraiser, the home inspector is responsible for telling you about the condition of the property. Is the foundation solid? What does the roof look like? Is that a leaky skylight? How’s the wiring? You need to know as much as possible about the home you are buying before you close the deal. There may be serious health and safety issues, or simple cosmetic blemishes. The home inspection report may identify items that warrant further negotiation with the seller. (You’ll be glad you have your Realtor® to handle this!)
Real Estate Attorney. Real estate customs vary from state to state, and even from town to town. In some parts of the country, it is customary to have a real estate attorney as part of your team. Your loan originator and Realtor® can advise you about the process in your area.
Title and Escrow Providers. You want to be sure that you can take clear title to the property you are buying, and that your ownership will be recorded properly. You need someone to make sure all the documents are correct for the transaction. And someone needs to be responsible for the orderly, secure transfer of a very large amount of money! Enter title and escrow providers. Again, customs vary by state and region, so your lender and Realtor® will help you understand who does what, and why their roles are important.
Buying a home is exciting, but it is also stressful. Use your team to lighten your load while you focus on some of the more fun aspects, like what color to paint the living room. And remember to think financing first!