Buying a home requires more than just the services of a great real estate agent. You are going to need a team of real estate specialists to help you with your financing, legal, and insurance needs. A great team can make a big difference in your real estate transactional experience, so it’s important to start assembling that team as soon as possible.
Buying a home is a big project. It’s not something you can do yourself, and it’s not something that even the best real estate agent in the world can do by herself. Like any big project, you need more than just one person. You need a team.
Your real estate agent is like the quarterback of your team, the most important player, the one who has the ball in her hands for most of the game. Indeed, her primary role through much of the process will be directly helping you find that home: taking you on showings, evaluating the market, preparing and presenting offers, and reaching a meeting of the minds with a seller.
But once you’ve reached an accepted offer with a seller, your agent’s role becomes much more facili tative . She doesn’t have much direct work to do once you’ve found the home you’re going to purchase, but now has the primary role of coordinating and directing the rest of the players on your team. Like the quarterback, her role is to set the formation, call the plays, and make sure everyone else is doing their job correctly.
Here are some of the players that you’ll need on your home buying team:
•Loan Officer. Your loan officer is responsible for ensuring that you get financing for your home purchase. You should start working with your loan officer right at the beginning of your process, getting prequalified so that you know how much home you can afford.
•Home Inspector. Once you have an accepted offer on a home, you’ll need an inspection to ensure that the home is fundamentally sound. Your home inspector will review the condition of the home, and prepare a report that you’ll be able to review with your agent before you sign contracts to purchase the home.
•Real Estate Attorney. Your attorney will counsel you about your rights and responsibilities under your contract of sale, and negotiate the final terms of the deal with the seller’s agent.
•Title Representative. Your title rep will order your title insurance, which you’ll need to protect against adverse claims of ownership. And if you’re working with Hudson United, you can order preliminary lien searches during your home search process to gather important information about homes you’re placing offers on.
•Home Insurance Representative. You will need full home insurance coverage before your closing. As always, we urge you to be prepared in advance, and one way to do that is make contact with your Hudson
United Insurance representative early in the process, discuss your insurance options, and then be able to secure coverage quickly.
Throughout your home buying process, it’s your agent’s job to facilitate the work of all these professionals. She’ll coordinate with the loan officer, schedule and attend the inspection, provide your attorney with all the deal terms, order preliminary lien searches from your title representative, and provide whatever information your insurance representative needs to make sure you have coverage at your closing. Like the quarterback, a good real estate agent knows how to get the most out of the other players on the team.
Choosing Your Team
Now that you know the players, the next question is about choosing up sides. If you want to have the best possible transactional experience, we have some recommendations about how you should pick the professionals that you’re going to have on your home buying team:
First, trust your agent’s guidance in choosing your real estate professionals. Your agent is going to have to coordinate all the moving parts of your real estate transaction, so you will most likely have a better experience if you agent is working with professionals that she has worked with in the past. Your team will perform better if the players have more experience working together. Moreover, trusting your agent’s recommendations is also a great way to ensure the quality of the professionals you’re going to work with.
Those professionals know how important it is to maintain their service reputation in the industry, to ensure that they continue to get referrals from real estate agents. After all, you’re likely to do only one real estate transaction in the next few years, but your agent will do many transactions this year and have many more opportunities to refer service professionals. Those attorneys, engineers, and mortgage officers want to stay on that referral list.
Second, hire only local professionals with expertise in your market area. Too many buyers make the mistake of hiring out-of-market professionals who are not familiar with the local market when buying a home. They’ll try to get financing from some online mortgage company because they get seduced by some “bait and switch” rate that will mysteriously be unavailable once they are getting ready to close. Or they’ll try to save a few bucks by getting relatives who happen to be attorneys to handle their contract and closing, even though they don’t normally do real estate law. Don’t make these mistakes. Trust your agent to refer you to professionals who know the local area and have a strong reputation in the local industry. Hiring out of market lenders, attorneys, or engineers might look like a good deal, but it almost always causes delays or difficulties for your home buying process.
Third, don’t wait until the last minute. We include this section on “Assembling Your Team” in the Preparation Stage of the Orientation Guide for a reason – because it’s important for you to start planning ahead in choosing the professionals who are going to help you through your real estate transaction. For example, most buyers make the mistake of waiting until they have an accepted offer to hire an attorney, which invariably causes delays in the process while they find the attorney, make first contact, have a consultation, and then start the process of reviewing the sales contract. Similarly, too many buyers find themselves scrambling to get home insurance coverage the day before their closing, because they failed to plan ahead.
That’s why you should start assembling your team now. Ask your agent for referrals for the professionals you will need throughout the process. Establish those relationships. It doesn’t take a lot of your time, or their time, to have a five-minute conversation to put them on notice that you might need their services sometime in the future. And then they’ll be available to you throughout the process whenever you have questions that you need answered. You’re going to need them eventually, so why not hire them now?
Finally, we also encourage you to meet with the professionals from Hudson United, who can provide you with an integrated and seamless “one stop shopping” experience for your mortgage, title, and insurance needs. The better the working relationships among your team members, the easier it will be to ensure that you have a great transactional experience with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.