Your Home Buying Team

What is my Home Buying Team?

You’ve heard it before many times but it’s absolutely true: buying a home will be the biggest financial decision you’ll likely ever make.  You need to make sure you’re making the right decision in all aspects of the home buying process because once you decide and sign your closing papers, it’s all yours—the property, the terms of your loan, where you live, and more. I don’t mean to scare you away, but I want to point out that you won’t be doing this on your own. You won’t be flying solo on this one.

The real estate industry has many players, all playing an important part of the purchase of your home, from getting a credit report to paying for a property appraisal. They do this for a living and get paid for it. They’re professionals. Their job is to provide a needed service and they do it every day. Some you’ll pick out on your own, while others will be chosen for you. Here are the ones you get to pick:

Your Real Estate Agent

Don’t buy a house without an agent. Even if you pay cash for a property and don’t need or want to finance, an experienced real estate agent is essential and could be regarded as the “captain” of your team. An experienced real estate agent will guide you through the entire process, from deciding where to live to making an offer on a home. Your agent will negotiate for you and stand up for you during the course of buying your home.

Your agent will begin by asking probing questions about your plans and goals. Your agent will provide you with referrals for services you’ll need, including getting a mortgage. When it’s time to order a property inspection, your agent will have some resources for you to use. Where you want to live, how much you want to pay, and the ideal type of property is all in the experienced agent’s wheelhouse.

Your Mortgage Lender

Okay, if you’re not an all-cash buyer, you’ll need a home loan. Your loan officer will meet with you and talk about your plans and needs as well. There are multiple loan types in a mortgage lender’s inventory, from 30-year fixed rate programs to 7/1 hybrids, from the conventional to the government, from conforming to jumbo, as well as piggybacks and low down payment options. Each day, your loan officer will receive multiple pages of loan programs and interest rate choices and from this selection, will provide you with your best financing options based on your needs.

Your mortgage lender will not only provide you with financing options but provide estimated monthly payments, closing costs, and how much money you’ll need when you head to the settlement table. Your loan officer will be there from the initial phone call to the date of your closing.

Your Loan Processor

Once you’ve got an accepted offer in your hands and delivered to your mortgage company, your loan processor will become your new best friend. At this stage, your loan officer hands the file over to the processor who will then order the additional third-party documentation needed to approve the loan. The loan processor will review the required lending guidelines and make sure there are no items missing in the loan file that need to be included. The loan processor, for instance, may ask for your insurance information, if there is none in the file. If you’re missing a paycheck stub, you’ll be asked for that too.

As various documents arrive at the lender’s office, the loan processor places those items in your file in proper order and once completely documented, the entire loan file is transferred to the lender’s underwriting department.

Your Property Inspector

Not to be confused with a property appraiser whose job it is to provide a market value for a home, the property inspector performs a basement-to-attic inspection. This physical inspection produces a multi-page report regarding what was inspected, and if there are any issues that need to be addressed. For example, the inspector will flip light switches and check the sink disposal, will look for telltale cracks around door jambs and signs of foundation issues, as well as water damage and signs of mold. Dripping faucet? Yeah, that too.

Don’t buy a home without first receiving a property inspection report early on in the process. Once you buy a home, it’s yours and you need to review your potential purchase with eyes wide open, and your inspector must provide the proper materials needed to assist in the home buying process.