It takes more than one person to buy a house. Depending on where you’re at in the process, you may have already spoken to the seller, and if you’re lucky, you might have also had a friend or family member who’s given you their two cents. But when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, who else should you have in your corner? Here’s a breakdown of the experts you’ll need to consult before officially becoming a homeowner.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will be your guide throughout the entire home-buying process. They’ll help you find properties that match your budget and wishlist, and they’ll be with you every step—from negotiating with the seller to handing over the keys on closing day.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 87 percent of homebuyers have successfully purchased a property through a real estate agent. That’s because agents have the experience, connections, and knowledge to make the home-buying process as smooth as possible.
When interviewing agents, ask about their experience, what services they offer, how they’ll communicate with you, and whether they have any industry connections that could benefit you. This way, you can be sure you’re working with someone who’s the right fit for you and your needs.
Checking the property for any hidden damage is crucial before making an offer—after all, you don’t want to be surprised by any repairs down the road. That’s where a home inspector comes in.
A home inspector can check for any defects in the property before you buy it. This person should be licensed and insured, and it’s recommended that you choose someone with experience inspecting the type of home you’re interested in purchasing (e.g., condo, townhouse, single-family dwelling).
During the inspection, the home inspector will look for problems with the roof, windows, gutters, plumbing, electrical work, HVAC system, and more. If any significant issues are discovered, you may be able to renegotiate the purchase price or ask the seller to make repairs before going through with the sale. In doing so, you can avoid any costly repairs down the road.
Unless you’re buying a brand-new construction unit that hasn’t been occupied yet, it’s worth consulting with a property lawyer before finalizing your purchase.
A property lawyer will review your contract of sale and explain any clauses that could potentially trip you down the road. They can also conduct a title search to ensure no hidden liens or judgments against the property that could become your responsibility as the new owner.
With their help, you can avoid any legal issues that could arise from your purchase—leaving you to focus on enjoying your new home.
Chances are you’ll need to get a loan from a mortgage company. Many potential homeowners can’t make a spot-on cash purchase, so they take out a mortgage to finance the property.
You can start by shopping around for mortgage rates and terms that work for you—you may even want to get pre-approved for a loan before starting your house hunt, so you know exactly how much money you have to work with.
After finding a lender and being approved for a loan amount, they’ll work with your real estate agent and lawyer to coordinate everything on closing day. Thus, you won’t have to worry about a thing come moving day.
As soon as you own a home, it’s vital to insure it against damages like fire, theft, or flooding. You may even require specific types of coverage from your mortgage lender. Talk to an insurance agent about what kind of policy makes sense for your needs and budget—and don’t forget to shop around for competitive rates.
Homeowners insurance is one expense worth having because it gives peace of mind in knowing that your most valuable asset is protected against potential risks.
Buying a house is no small feat—but with the right team in your corner, it can be an exciting and smooth process. Be sure to consult with a real estate agent early on, so they can guide you through finding properties within your budget while keeping your wishlist top of mind. Before making home offers or signing contracts, arrange for a home inspector and property lawyer to check things out first. And finally, once everything is said and done on closing day and those keys are officially yours, remember to insure your new property against potential risks by speaking with an insurance agent. Congratulations on taking this big step—enjoy your new home.