Whether you’re buying or selling, real estate is a team sport. Both buyers and sellers need to assemble a team of experienced professionals to help guide them in some the most trying and emotional decisions.
Here’s who should be on your team:
Consider your real estate agent as your team captain, putting together the right players to score you the right home at the right price. Your team captain — the agent — keeps all the players motivated and moving to the ultimate goal — the sale or purchase of your property.
Since 85 percent of sellers list their homes through an agent — but those agents are working for the seller, not you. Therefore, what you need is what’s known as a “buyer’s agent.” Sometimes buyer’s agents are paid by the commission that the seller’s agent gets upon a closed sale. A good real estate agent can help you make sound decisions and guide you through what might easily be the most expensive and emotionally charged transaction of your life.
On the selling side, sellers sign contracts with their listing agents, called a listing agreement, which outlines the list price, the listing duration, the commissions paid and other legally binding issues. Buyers who don’t work with a specific agent sometimes agree to “dual agency,” in which the seller’s broker also represents the buyer.
In the end, both buyers and sellers should have representatives.
Next, start looking for a mortgage lender. You also want to check out current mortgage interest rates. Once you have an idea of the best rates from national lenders, get on the phone to your community banks and any other institutions with which you may have a relationship. Ask the local banks if they can beat the national rates. Often, the local lender can offer a better deal simply because he or she knows the local market and wants to keep your business.
You may want to consider using a mortgage broker, a middleman who keeps tabs on the mortgage industry from various lenders.
Your home inspector helps prepare you for unexpected surprises that could derail your deal. Expensive repairs can be a game changer. Home inspectors are your best defense. Use them wisely and they can save you thousands of dollars in unseen surprises.
The title company plays an important role in making sure you are getting marketable title. They make sure no liens or unpaid taxes are levied against the property you or buying or selling.
Finally, you play a key role in buying or selling real estate. Essentially, you are the team manage, ensuring that everyone is performing their role and working as a unit. Meet frequently with your team captain and communicate often.