Buying a home is a complicated process with many steps. Fortunately, there are many professionals available to help you.
Each real estate transaction does not necessarily require the participation of all housing professionals. The specific people of your home buying team will depend on your situation and the state in which you live. Your equipment may include the following:
- Housing counselor
- Real Estate Professional
- Custody Account Officer
- Title Insurance Officer
- House inspector
- Insurance agent
The housing counselor
There are so many different professionals that you are going to hire and work with them throughout the home buying process, you will probably want someone present to give you unbiased advice. That person must be a certified housing counselor. A certified housing counselor is a trained professional who works for a non-profit organization, such as a Neighbor Works organization, a community development agency, a credit counseling service, or a housing agency.
The counselor can give classes for homeowners, conduct personal counseling sessions or both. As the advisor works for a non-profit organization and has nothing to gain financially if you buy a home, you can expect to receive objective information and unbiased recommendations. Your advisor can help you learn more about the steps needed to buy a home in your area. It can also help you get a home loan by making sure that you resolve any financial problems you have before you meet with a lender.
Ask if your housing counselor is certified by the Neighbor Works Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC).
The real estate professional
Ask for an agent who specializes in helping buyers. This professional is one of the most important members of your team. The real estate professional is licensed by the state and has been specially trained in the sale of homes, buildings and land.
Your agent must:
- Talk to you and your family about what you want in a house
- Give you information about the neighborhood where you want to buy a house
- Recommend providers to help you get the qualification or prior approval so that you know how much money you can spend
- Research all available homes in your price category with the features you want
- Give you copies of lists of homes for sale that describe homes that meet your needs
- Take you to see the houses that interest you
- Help you determine how much houses are worth by giving you information on others that have been sold recently
- Help you write the purchase offer in a way that protects you and is also attractive to the seller
- Negotiate with the seller to get the best price for you
- Help you find a good lender to finance your home
- Remind other professionals to help you with things that happen between the time the contract is signed and the closing, such as appraisers, home inspectors, title companies, lawyers and custody agents
- Explain all legal paperwork so that he understands what he is signing
It is important that you work with an agent you respect and trust. A good way to find a real estate agent is to ask for recommendations from people you know. National real estate companies also have referral services to connect buyers with agents.
When searching for your home, if you believe that an agent is moving you away from or into a neighborhood because of your race, religion, national origin or other unlawful reasons, that agent may be violating the Fair Housing Act. You should contact the broker of that agent or the local office of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To request information about it, or to report what happened to him.
There are several different types of agents:
- Real estate brokers licensed by the state to own and operate a real estate agency.
- Real estate agents licensed by the state to work for a real estate broker.
- A “Realtor” is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of the
- National Association of Realtors and subscribes to the association’s code of ethics. Many active agents are also Realtors.
Almost everyone who buys a home gets a home loan, called a home loan, from a lender. Lenders may be banks, credit and savings associations, credit unions, mortgage companies, government agencies, or private individuals.
How to get the loan
You apply for the mortgage loan by filing a formal loan application at the lender’s office. After the lender receives your credit application, you process and subscribe. These are terms that refer to the work that the lender does to decide if you are a good credit risk.
A few states require an attorney to write the real estate contract, investigate the title, and make the closing. In other states, real estate agents and title insurance companies perform these functions, and lawyers are used to resolve disputes or examine the terms of the documents being signed.
The custody agent
Between the dates the contract of sale is signed and the date on which the closing takes place, your purchase is in custody. The person who administers the custody account is the custodial officer, an independent person working for the buyer and the seller. The custody officer keeps the original sales contract and other documents, stores the deposit in good faith and ensures that all those interested in the sale do their duties. The custody officer receives a fee on the day of closing, which is usually paid in equal parts between the buyer and the seller. In some states, the work of a custodial officer is done by a custody company, a lawyer, a title insurance company or even a real estate agent.
The title insurance official
When you buy a home, you will want a title officer to research the title chain and give you a history of who owned it so you can be sure that the person selling the house really has the right to do so. The title officer investigates the public records and issues a title report, or abstract, that not only shows who the owner is, but also gives important information about the property, including:
Loans that the seller may have and which he has secured with the house. These loans have to be paid before you become the owner, or else you may have to pay them to protect your home.
Any right (easements) or parts of the property that you will not be able to use because there are electric cables buried in it, or land set aside for a possible extension of the street.
The amount of taxes of the state, city, county, school district or other, and whether they have been paid.
Any restrictions on deed or ordinances that limit the way the property may be used. For example, you usually cannot raise livestock on a property intended for residential use.
If the property is part of a homeowners association, and the amount of backdated contributions from the owners. In some states, title research is done by a lawyer instead of a title officer.
The title officer works for a title insurance company that sells insurance to ensure that the title report is accurate and that you can depend on it. All lenders require the buyer to pay the title insurance policy obtained by the lender to protect the lender if there is an error in the title report.
The house inspector
It would be great to do a property inspection before bidding on a home so that you can determine the price you are going to offer based on how much it will cost you to make any repairs that are needed. However, property inspections cost money. Depending on where you live and how thorough the inspection you want, your cost can range from $ 200 to $ 300. For this reason, many contracts contain a contingency clause that depends on the outcome of the house inspection. Contingency means that if the inspection reveals serious problems, you can ask to be returned in good faith and cancel the purchase. If you do not want to cancel, you can ask the seller to make the necessary repairs or give you a credit on the closing day for the amount it would cost you to make them. However, the seller has no obligation to do so.
What does a home inspector do?
A home inspector checks the structural and mechanical parts of a property. Then write a report describing any serious problems you encounter. These are some of the parts that the inspector would check:
- Roof or roof
- Electric systems
- Air conditioning
- Septic tanks, septic tanks and wells
The inspector’s job is to report everything he sees that may be a problem now or in the near future. Use the inspection report to protect yourself against serious problems such as a leaky basement, a decomposed air conditioner, or rotting on the terrace. Do not expect the seller to make the house look like new unless you want to pay the price of a new home.
Some states require sellers to give buyers an inspection report or disclosure of property conditions, but this may have been done by the seller and not by a licensed contractor. The seller has the obligation to give you a document that indicates that the property is free of toxic elements. It is always a good idea to ask your own inspector to see the new house.
The function of the appraiser is to determine the fair market value of your home. You do not work directly with the appraiser, although you will pay for your services when you apply for the loan. Single-family home appraisals are ordered by the lender and cost between $ 275 and $ 550.
To determine the fair market value, the appraiser compares the house you want with similar ones to it that have recently been sold in the same area. The physical conditions of the house affect its market value, as do the special features that other houses do not have, such as a corner plot or an additional bedroom.
The surveyor is a licensed professional who checks the measurements of a property and the land surrounding it. All property has a legal description that defines the boundaries of it. The topographical survey tells you and the lender the size of the property, whether there are rights (or also known as “easements”) or usurpations, what is the location and size of the improvements made to the property, and if any the improvements (buildings, fences or other structures) are on the lines of the property. The buyer generally pays the cost of surveying. The topographical survey request is usually requested at the same time as the appraisal or is one of the last steps in the buying process before going to close.
The insurance agent
Your insurance agent recommends how much insurance you should have and the policy you must buy before closing. You will generally be glad to visit your new home to give you a safety inspection and recommend the appropriate types of door locks, fire alarms and other security systems. Some insurance companies even offer discounts for installing security and protection systems. Choose a reputable company and agent with whom you feel comfortable working and who can explain the insurance products and services in a way that you understand them.