Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make – and sometimes, it can feel like one of the most complex. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone! Smart homebuyers know that purchasing a piece of property is really a team effort.
Everyone on your homebuying team has a different specialty, and when you put them together you get a smoother homebuying process with less stress for you, less money spent in the long run, and most importantly, less chance of something going seriously wrong.
Curious to know more? Here’s a quick guide to a few of the homebuying experts you’ll want by your side as you journey through the various stages of buying a house. Homebuying Team, Assemble!
Lender: Your lender is the credit union, bank, or other financial institution that will lend you the money you need to buy a home. The right lender should make the mortgage process straightforward and hassle-free, with a good product menu so you can access the loan that’s right for you. For example, you might want the option of a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage, depending on how long you plan to live in the property. In addition, look for a lender staffed with experienced loan officers who are available to offer support and take your questions, because this person will be another invaluable member of your homebuying team.
Loan Officer: This is the person who will be assigned to you by your lender to guide you through everything you need to know about financing your home. When choosing an officer, it’s a good idea to check in about how many years they’ve been doing the job and how well connected they are within the community to underwriters, vendors, and everyone else who plays a behind-the-scenes role in ensuring you get a loan that fits your needs and offers good terms. If you feel pressured or like you’re not being listened to by your loan officer, consider finding someone else who can offer the right support and expertise. You can find a registered Mortgage Loan Originator in Massachusetts online at nmlsconsumeraccess.org.
Buyer’s Agent: You’re no doubt very familiar with real estate agents, but many people haven’t heard about a buyer’s agent. While a real estate agent is responsible for listing the property for sale, a buyer’s agent is specifically hired to support you, the homebuyer, in getting the most from your purchasing experience. Seek out a pro who can help you navigate the entire process – from finding the right property, to negotiating a final offer, to getting in touch with other professionals you might need along the way such as a home inspector. Usually, the best buyer’s agent will be an experienced professional who’s based in the community and doing the job full-time.
Real Estate Attorney: When making a major financial investment such as buying a house, it’s a smart idea to have a legal professional by your side who understands property law and specifically works with home buyers. A real estate attorney can assist in reviewing paperwork to make sure everything’s being done by the books. Moreover, some states require you to have a real estate attorney present at your home closing – Massachusetts is one of them. Start working with an attorney sooner rather than later so they can be an integrated part of your homebuying team and ensure your interests are represented at every stage of the process, in terms of titles, zoning, property taxes and so on.
Inspector: While a home inspector might only offer a few hours of his or her service, this homebuying team member is absolutely critical to ensuring your real estate purchase is financially sound. A home inspector will examine your potential property with a fine-toothed comb to confirm that the asking price matches what the house is worth and that there are no hidden areas of concern you need to know about before committing to a purchase. Find a licensed home inspection professional, and if you’ve got any major concerns about the place you’re looking at, consider asking for a reference or getting in touch with the inspector’s past clients to ask if they were fully satisfied with the service. You can find certified home inspectors online at nachi.org.
Insurance Agent: It’s not essential to work with a separate insurance agent, but increasingly, many homebuyers are choosing to make this person a member of their homebuying team. First-time homebuyers in particular may benefit from more guidance around what you’re responsible for as a homeowner and how you can protect your property from serious damage. Unfortunately, a number of unusual climate events during the past year — including forest fires, snowstorms and hurricanes — point to the importance of having the right insurance in order to protect your property investment. A good agent should help to understand the risks and manage them in a way that makes the most financial sense for you.
Interested in buying a home? First, learn how to pre-qualify.