Buying a home is a life-changing event. It can provide more stable housing, allows people to build their net worth and can improve quality of life. But it’s a complex process that involves a huge amount of money.
The first step to preparing for a big purchase, like buying a home, is to know how the process works and who can help you along the way. Here’s a list of real estate professionals that have a hand in most transactions.
Real Estate Agents
The first professional most people think about when they think of real estate is the agents that handle the transactions. There are listing agents that represent the home seller and buying agents that represent the homebuyer.
When you start the homebuying process a real estate agent can provide access to homes for tours, gather comparables for pricing and help you write an offer. Agents are also vital in explaining how the home buying process works and making sure everything gets done within the established deadlines.
Once you have an accepted offer you’ll need to make sure the property has a clear title and the seller is the legal owner. Elevated Title, a nationwide title company, explains that their team handles the entire closing process. Today, title companies should be able to manage a mobile close so buyers don’t have to travel to get to the closing table.
If a survey doesn’t exist or doesn’t reflect changes made on the property then a new one will need to be created. The title company will help arrange for a surveyor to come out to the property and take measurements. The survey will clearly show the property lines and structure locations.
Getting an inspection isn’t always a requirement, but it’s always highly advisable. A licensed inspector will check the structure from the roof to the foundation so that you know the true condition of the home. You never know what may have been missed during the home tour or lurking out of sight.
A general home inspector can provide an overall, basic inspection. However, if they find something questionable you may need to hire a specialized inspector. One of the most common reasons for a specialized inspection is if there are possible foundation issues that need to be evaluated by an engineer.
The vast majority of homebuyers need the help of a lender to buy a home. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, in January 2017 the average home mortgage was just over $309,000.
The lender is the funder. Before they’ll agree to lend the money, the lender will look into your finances and credit report. That requires gathering a number of financial documents. After qualifying you’ll enter into an agreement with the lender to repay the mortgage loan plus interest over a specified period of time. The lender can also arrange for property taxes and insurance to be included with the monthly payments.
In order to secure the home loan, you’ll need to get an appraisal. A licensed appraiser is tasked with valuing the property based on an unbiased assessment. The appraiser will visit the property to take measurements, photos and get a general idea of the condition. They’ll then compare the home to other nearby properties that have recently sold.
Once they’re done analyzing the data they’ll assign an appraised value. If the home doesn’t appraise at or above the agreed upon purchase price you’ll need to pay the difference at closing or renegotiate with the seller.
Buyers that want a new home will become familiar with the local builders. Buying new means that you’ll be interacting with the development team and their building contractors on a regular basis. In most cases, you’ll have a primary point of contact that will help manage the build process.
The developer may also act as the lender, but it’s not a necessity for buying a new home.
Handymen and Contractors
After the inspection, you’ll have an opportunity to negotiate repairs. If the seller agrees to make the repairs a handyman, general contractor or specialized contractor will be needed to complete them.
Categories: Real Estate