Finding a good home is easier than you may think if you have the right team on your side. You may think that you are perfectly capable of telling good from bad. The reality is, when you find the home that speaks to you, you will unintentionally overlook things. So having the right people on your side makes all the difference.
The realtor should know the process, be experienced in negotiation (not just simply saying “Okay”) and have recommendations of their own as to other members of your team. An experienced realtor will tell you about past clients of their own, not of their company or of their team. They show you past listings where they are the listing agent or the buyer’s agent. They have invested in additional Real Estate education and have letters after their name (ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, etc) to show it. Don’t make the mistake of seeking a “Buyer’s Agent”. Neighborhoods, schools, crime, etc are all available on the internet. However, when you want to sell your first home so you can buy a bigger one, you will want to work with someone you know. A good Realtor works with either buyer or seller as requested.
You lender should be able to give you at least two options for the loan you will need. They will be able to tell you how much you can borrow within a day of your request. They explain to you the various requirements and what they mean when they use terminology or acronyms that you don’t understand. As with a Realtor, they return your phone call the same day. Being available when you have questions or need an update is to be expected during normal business hours. Dedication to their craft will have them returning your call even after hours.
The Home Inspector
Your Realtor should have a good home inspector they can recommend. The inspector is up to date on latest issues and can demonstrate this with their certifications and continuing education. As with realtors and lenders, they take the time to discuss and show you things you need to know, like where the water and gas shut-off valves are. They also take the time to explain to you how you can monitor, repair or maintain various items. Of course, they point out things that need work or replacement and why. A good inspector will even tell you when the item in question needs further inspection by a specialist, such as a roofer or a plumber.
Beyond the realtor, lender and home inspector, you will be working with an Escrow Officer, a Title Representative and an Appraiser, at a minimum. These are professionals who are usually chosen by someone other than the buyer. I will discuss the role of each person in next week’s post.