June 15th 2022
Buying a home? Here are the 10 key people you'll need to consult
Buying a home is a process that involves a lot of moving parts.
But if you enlist the help of the right people to navigate your real estate journey, it can be significantly smoother and less stressful than you might expect.
Who will you need to work with to make buying your next home as simple as possible? Ahead, we'll introduce you to the 10 people and parties most commonly involved in the home-buying process:
- Your real estate agent
- The seller's real estate agent (a.k.a. the listing agent)
- Mortgage broker
- Mortgage lender
- Insurance company
- Title insurance specialist
- Real estate lawyer
- Home inspector
- Tax advisor … and a few more!
Now, let’s make some introductions, and help make your future move smooth.
#1. Your real estate agent
Your real estate agent is the most important person you’ll work with throughout your home-buying journey. They’re there to guide you through each step and act as a resource, advisor, and sounding board—and they will answer any questions and address any concerns you might have.
Your agent is also there to help you find the right place for the best price, negotiate an offer on your behalf, and walk you through the final steps to close on your home.
Finding an agent you trust—and who meets your needs—is essential to having a positive real estate experience. Don't be afraid to shop around! Meet with a few agents and go with one who feels like the right fit.
#2. The seller's real estate agent (a.k.a. the listing agent)
The listing agent is your real estate agent’s counterpart, representing the seller’s interests on the other side of the negotiation.
When you make an offer, your real estate agent will present it to the listing agent and work with them to negotiate a fair price. They’ll also be in the know on any inspections, repairs, or other conditions of your offer.
The listing agent is motivated to sell their client’s home—and for the best price. They may use marketing tactics such as home staging, website listings, and social media posts to attract as many buyers as possible to the bargaining table.
#3. Mortgage broker
A mortgage broker is responsible for matching you with the best mortgage lender or mortgage product based on your needs and financial profile.
Once they receive your mortgage application, a broker will present you with various options, before placing your mortgage with a financial institution that will work best for you. Their goal? To get your mortgage approved by a lender that will offer the best features and interest rates.
Working with a mortgage broker gives you more flexibility in the products and offerings you have access to because mortgage brokers aren’t tied to a single financial institution.
Tip: every broker specializes in their own sets of products and services, and may have varying levels of qualifications—keep that in mind when finding your mortgage broker match.
Need more information on lenders? Read our deep dive into mortgage brokers and lenders here.
#4. Mortgage lender
Your mortgage lender—sometimes called the “mortgagee”—is the person or financial institution that loans you the money you need to purchase your next home.
There are many different types of lenders, including commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, and credit unions. The main goal of the lender is to earn money by charging interest on your loan.
If you're actively looking to buy a home, you may needto start looking for a lender at the same time, and get pre-approved for a mortgage before you fall in love with a place. This will help you shop with confidence—and set an accurate budget.
Or, if you find a mortgage broker you're interested in working with (see #3 above!), they'll take the lead and find the mortgage lender for you.
#5. Insurance company or broker
One of the most overlooked parts of the home-buying process is purchasing home insurance.
It's essential to have insurance before you close on your property so you’re covered from the second the title is transferred to you.
There are plenty of companies and brokers out there who can help, but how do you know if you’re getting the right coverage?
- Start with research: Find several companies in your area and request detailed quotes, comparing them side by side.
- Consider the elements: Don't forget to consider the types of weather or natural disaster events that may be common in your area (i.e. are you prone to flooding, wind storms, etc.?)
- Pick the best package for you: It may be wise to add additional insurance packages to your coverage to ensure you’re fully protected in the case of an accident.
Before you get final approval on your mortgage, your mortgage lender will likely require that the house you’re buying be appraised.
Why an appraisal? It confirms that the purchase price, and actual value of the home are all aligned. This is important to your mortgage lender because they’re holding your home as security against your loan and—if you default—want to be sure they’re not left in the negative.
The appraiser is the person who will do the site visit, view the home, and will prepare a valuation report for the property.
Note: In most cases, it's the buyer's responsibility to cover the cost of the appraisal.
#7. Real estate lawyer
In addition to representing the lender in a real estate deal, one of the primary functions of a real estate lawyer is to protect you from making a fraudulent home purchase. The real estate lawyer ensures that all the terms of your Agreement of Purchase and Sale are met, and that you receive a clear title on the property.
Ultimately, your real estate lawyer helps you navigate the sometimes challenging legal jargon of the home-buying process and explain the transaction documents so that you fully understand the process and what you’re signing.
Purchasing a property is a huge investment and having an experienced lawyer that you can trust on your team is extremely important—especially if any unforeseen legal situations arise.
#8. Home inspector
Think you’ve found your dream home, but wary of any hidden surprises lurking behind the scenes? No problem. Inspectors are here to help.
One of the most common conditions to include in an offer is the request for a home inspection before entering into a purchase agreement. A home inspection benefits you as the buyer by ensuring the home meets all proper standards, and isn't hiding any costly issues that need to be addressed.
The home inspector is the one who conducts the home inspection. They’ll visit the home to review its condition from top to bottom, inside and out. They’ll then prepare a report of their findings for you to review so you can decide how to proceed. Since a lot is riding on the home inspector’s findings, it’s important to source a credible inspection company. Your real estate agent can help!
#9. Tax advisor
Engaging a tax advisor as a member of your home-buying team is one of the best ways to protect yourself against potential tax penalties from your new home purchase.
It’s especially important to consult a tax advisor during the home-buying process if you’re considering:
- Strategically tapping into retirement savings to purchase your home
- Purchasing an investment property
- Using business funds to pay for a down payment, or
- Purchasing a home with gift funds
Your advisor will help you understand any tax implications stemming from these choices so you aren’t left with costly surprises next tax season.
Not sure where to find a tax advisor? Your real estate agent may have recommendations, or if you’re already working with an accountant to help manage your financial portfolio, they may also be able to point you in the right direction.
#10. Countless others!
Not every home-buying process will involve all of the people mentioned above. And some may require even more parties: a contractor to help review your home inspection, pest control specialists, or even an architect or interior designer if you’re purchasing a home with the intention of renovating it.
Based on what you’re hoping to achieve through your home purchase, you can rest assured knowing there’s always an expert available to help.
And: that includes us. If you’re looking for someone to help guide you through the home-buying process, you can consult our local Properly agents today—we’re happy to help you on the path towards one of the biggest investments you’ll make: your next home.
*DISCLAIMER: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an exhaustive review of this topic. The content is not financial or investment advice. No professional relationship of any kind is formed between you and Properly, Properly Brokerage, or Properly Homes. While we have obtained or compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. We recommend that you consult a trusted professional before taking any action related to this information. Properly is a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that is transforming the home buying and selling experience with AI-powered home valuations, Sale Assurance, and a modern streamlined service. We recommend that you compare and contrast your options, read the fine print, and conduct detailed research into any real estate, loan, and/or investment provider before using their services.*
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