Buying a home is a major event in people’s lives. It has far reaching effect on a person’s future both in terms of financial well being as well as happiness. If all the steps needed to purchase a house are followed diligently one can hope to enjoy the fruits of living in a dream home for many years. Buying a home is not a simple select, buy and move in process. A number of factors are involved in home buying such as, selection of the house, knowledge about the demographics of the area, knowledge of real local estate prices and laws, inspection, loans, insurance and taxes to mention only a few. Neglecting any of the factors involved may lead to unnecessary heartache later on. To make your home buying experience a pleasant one you need the help of a team of professionals who are experienced in the various aspects of home buying.
Real Estate Agent
The first person who should be in your team is a real estate agent having good experience and referrals. The right real estate agent should have proper credentials and understand your home buying goals. The advantages of having an experienced real estate agent are many. The real estate agent will be familiar with the local real estate market and its idiosyncrasies. Every real estate market is unique and that is why you cannot extrapolate the knowledge of one market on another. A good real estate agent does your legwork for you so that you are saved from unnecessary visits. Your choice is narrowed down to what you really need and it saves a lot of your precious time. There is a lot of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction and the agent will handle most of it for you. You can also take advantage of the real estate agent’s insider knowledge and professional networking.
Real Estate Broker
The second person whose services you may need is a real estate broker. A real estate broker will have a thorough knowledge of the properties available in the area and will usually have his/her own property to sell. Your agent may be a person who wears both hats but both the licenses are separate. The broker brings the buyer and seller together. If you deal through a broker then you won’t need to go through a third person. The broker is independent whereas the buyer’s agent works for the buyer and looks after his interests. Going through a broker gives you a wider choice. You may meet several brokers before deciding on one who can deliver what you need.
The third person whose services you will need is a reputed home inspector. You can either hire a home inspector yourself or have your agent select one. It is advisable to hire the services of an experienced home inspector who must be accredited to professional bodies like the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors. Many buyers neglect this aspect of home buying because the cost of inspection may be anywhere between $250 and $400.
However this is money well spent because a thorough inspection of the house by an experienced professional will save you thousands later in terms of repair costs. There may be some structural defects which may need partial demolition. The inspector should provide you beforehand with details of the inspection to be carried out. Attention should be given to structural parts, ceiling, plumbing, wiring, painting, heating, ducting, dampness, mould, termite attack, etc. However termite attack may need pest control experts. You can ask the seller to remove any defects discovered during the inspection. Reinspection should be done after the repairs. This will have a direct effect on the cost of the property.
Real Estate Attorney
The fourth person whose services are essential is a real estate attorney. Real estate transactions involve a lot of legalities which if neglected, may lead to legal complications in the future. A lot of paper work is involved much of which is is legal in nature. Inexperienced buyers will have the tendency to gloss over the fine print before signing on the dotted line. This may come back to haunt them in the future. The seller and lender will usually be represented by their attorneys, so it is imperative that you also do so. A real estate attorney must be present during all negotiations where any agreement is likely. The presence of an attorney is a must at closing. Legal complications have the habit of cropping up long after closing and the legal costs can be very high. So it is better to be careful than sorry.
The last person whose services you will need is the lender. Lenders are usually banks working through lending companies. Make sure that you are dealing with a reputed company which has been operating for some time. Your loan officer should fully understand your requirements and see that you use the most suitable loan. The loan officer should match your requirements with your financial position so that all costs are taken into account and there are no surprises. The loan terms should match your paying capacity so that you will not need to drastically change your lifestyle. It is advisable that you prepare a realistic budget and discuss it with your loan officer. Neglect of this aspect is responsible for the large number foreclosures that you hear of these days.
Buying a home need not be a daunting task if you have the right team in place. Be sure to take full advantage of your team’s knowledge and experience. Not only will you be able to buy your dream home, you will also be able to enjoy its fruits for a long time. Your future happiness and well being depends on the choices you make now. So choose wisely.