Originally published by Redfin
Buying a new home is an exciting moment in anyone’s life — whether you’re finally ready to make the leap from renter to homeowner or you’re an experienced buyer. However, even if this isn’t your first rodeo, the homebuying process can be complex. From navigating the mortgage approval process to the possibility of a bidding war, it can be tricky to go at it alone.
The good news is, your homebuying journey can be smooth sailing if you have an experienced and talented “team” to guide you through the process. So, if you’re planning on buying a new home in the near future, make sure you have these 8 people on your side to make your homebuying experience quicker, simpler, and less stressful.
1. Real estate agent
Buying a new home can be confusing and overwhelming, regardless of whether it’s your first time purchasing a home or your second or third. However, the process will feel less daunting with an experienced real estate agent by your side. From finding the ideal home in your price range to knowing how much to offer on a house, your real estate agent is there to make your homebuying experience as smooth as possible. After all, this is what they do best.
Because your real estate agent plays such an important role in your homebuying process, you should do your research and make sure you’re choosing an agent you trust. Make sure they’re knowledgeable about your local real estate market and the neighborhoods you’re looking to purchase a home in.
2. Mortgage lender
Deciding on how to finance your home — and with whom — is an important decision. And with a handful of loan types and mortgage lenders out there, you’ll want to thoughtfully choose the company you work with.
It’s recommended to begin looking for a mortgage lender before you submit an offer on a home. While an online mortgage calculator is a great way to get an estimate for your potential mortgage payment, a mortgage lender will let you know how much you can afford and the loan amount you qualify for. This way you can get pre-approved to show sellers that you’re a qualified and serious buyer, and you’ll know exactly how much you can afford.
The mortgage lender you choose to work with plays a critical role when buying a new home, so you should meet with multiple mortgage lenders before deciding who you’ll want on your team.
3. Financial advisor
Buying a new home is a huge financial decision and long-term obligation. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor prior to making such an important decision. While it’s likely that your real estate agent and mortgage lender have helped you determine how much house you can afford, a financial advisor will look at the bigger picture of your finances. They’ll assess your financial situation and help you determine if now is the right time for you to buy a new home. If it is, they can also help you budget for expenses that come with homeownership.
4. Home inspector
A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process, so having a knowledgeable home inspector on your team is key. As a homebuyer, you’ll want to cover your bases and protect yourself from any future issues or expenses for major repairs. So before signing on the dotted line, you’ll want to hire a home inspector to thoroughly inspect the home — there may be hidden issues that only a professional home inspector can uncover such as structural issues. Depending on the age and condition of the home, consider also hiring inspectors that specifically inspect for radon, mold, lead paint, or asbestos.
Depending on the results of the home inspection report, you may have more negotiating power than before. If you’ve included an inspection contingency in your offer, you may be able to get the seller to cover the costs of certain repairs that come up in the inspection.
5. Home appraiser
A home appraisal is an unbiased and professional evaluation of a home’s value — and is required by lenders before issuing a mortgage. Typically, the appraisal occurs once the seller has accepted your offer. Factors like the size of the home, quality, condition, and presence or absence of key features impact the home’s value. Hiring an experienced and credible appraiser is important to know the accurate value of the home and to ensure you are not over-paying above the fair market value.
6. Title officer
Your title company plays an important role in your homebuying process. The title officer will thoroughly examine public records to ensure the legality of the title. They will also make sure that there are not any outstanding mortgage payments, liens, etc. before ownership is transferred from the seller to you. After this, they’ll issue a title insurance policy to protect you as the buyer, as well as your lender.
When it comes time for closing, your title officer will be there to make sure the new title, deed, and other necessary documents are correctly filled out and recorded. While your lender or real estate agent may have a title officer and company they’ve used in the past, it’s ultimately up to you. And since your title officer is such a crucial member on your real estate team, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one for you.
7. Real estate lawyer
For a smooth home purchase and to help mitigate risk, hiring a real estate attorney can be well worth it. Whether you legally need a lawyer depends on the property you’re purchasing and where you live. Some states require that a real estate lawyer is present at closing, while others do not. However, a real estate lawyer can be particularly important to help you navigate documents or resolve any disputes that arise. Let’s say the home you’re purchasing was a part of someone else’s estate or the property is owned by the bank. These situations can be complex and best dealt with by a knowledgeable real estate lawyer. But even if you’re not dealing with a tricky situation or a real estate lawyer isn’t required in your state, having an attorney on your team can ease your mind when it comes to buying a new home.
8. Home insurance company
Since buying a new home is likely one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, you’re going to want financial protection. Home insurance typically protects your home and personal property if it’s damaged by fire and other natural disasters, as well as theft. Most standard home insurance policies include four essential protections: structural coverage, personal belongings coverage, liability protection, and coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). The coverage you’ll need will depend on the location of your home, it’s age, and condition.