Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or getting ready to buy your second or third place, making a move can be exciting. But, it also can be intimidating and a bit overwhelming when you consider the many steps you need to take before picking up your new keys.
Fortunately, it’s a lot easier when you work with professionals who know the ins and outs. So consider reaching out to these four individuals during the home-buying process.
- Realtor: You may think looking for potential homes is something you can do on your own. However, first-time buyers — and even more experienced buyers — can benefit from hiring a professional Realtor. He or she can help you find listings that specifically fit your criteria, including listings that may not be advertised, as well as provide insight into the market. Plus, they can help you negotiate things like price, the date you can take possession of the home, and any extras you want included like repairs, furniture and appliances.Consider finding an exclusive buyer agent — a Realtor who only represents you the buyer, not you and the seller. He or she should keep your best interests in mind and be especially helpful during the bidding process.
- Lawyer: A lawyer may act as an advocate on your behalf throughout the home-buying process. He or she will help coordinate everything from drafting and negotiating the contract of the sale to examining inspection reports and mortgage documents.Having a lawyer can save you a lot of stress if anything goes wrong with the sale at the last minute — for example, the seller backing out on short notice.
- Home Inspector: It’s to your benefit to hire a home inspector to look over the home before you buy. According to Realtor.com , getting a home inspection costs between $300 to $500 — but it is money well spent, because a home inspector can alert you to issues you may not see on the surface, like problems with the roof, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, windows and doors, and foundation.Look for a home inspector with a background in engineering and experience doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. He or she can inspect the home you are considering and find any systems that are not working properly or structural defects that may lead to costly repairs down the road.
- Banker: Last, but not least, having a working relationship with a trusted banker is essential during the home-buying process. He or she can help review your finances and help you determine how much home you can realistically afford. Your banker can also help you decide what type of mortgage loan is right for your situation and how much you can afford for a down payment.
Your banker can also assist you in getting prequalified for a mortgage loan. Taking this step helps you know exactly how much house you can afford so you don’t end up wasting time looking at homes that are outside your budget.