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Putting together your Homebuying Team

posted by Stephen Katz @ 3:16 PM
Friday, March 7, 2014

Home may be where the heart is, but the house-buying process can easily become a headache.

To keep trouble to a minimum, take time to independently evaluate each professional you’ll need on your team, from lender to real estate agent to home inspector to title agent. Choose client-focused, experienced pros…preferably referred by trusted sources.

Here are more tips, based on my interviews with consumers and highly rated service providers:

Mortgage lender

Before you start looking at homes, find a reliable lender to pre-approve you for financing. This is especially important now, given the strict government regulation of home financing.

Seek a responsive bank or mortgage professional who keeps the terms of the agreement consistent, and who communicates well so that paperwork flows in a timely fashion.

Real estate agent

Look for an agent who will communicate with you promptly throughout the process.

Avoid an agent who steers you only to his or her own listings or those of the company. Be wary of hiring relatives or friends with limited experience or agents who work only part time. Make sure the agent you hire has the computer skills and web savvy to set up automated searches so you’re notified quickly of new listings.

Confirm that an agent is properly licensed and in good professional standing. All states require that real estate agents be licensed. Most states have sites that provide information on disciplinary action taken against licensed agents.

If you end up under tied to an agent you’re unhappy with, ask to be released from the arrangement. If that fails, consider asking a local real estate attorney for advice.

Home inspector

Look for home inspectors who go beyond state regulatory requirements (though not all states require inspectors to be licensed), receive continued education and belong to a professional organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.

ASHI requires that members follow a code of ethics that prohibits receipt of referral fees. Ethical inspectors don’t take kickbacks from contractors who repair problems an inspection uncovers, or receive money from real estate agents who refer their clients.

Be sure to schedule an inspection early enough in the process that there’s time to deal with any repair issues or other problems.

To prevent last-minute problems at closing, check that the sellers take care of any agreed-upon repairs.

Closing Attorney

Lenders or real estate agents may recommend a closing attorney, but to avoid hiring someone with a conflict of interest, be sure to ask about affiliations between parties. Keep in mind that the closing attorney represents the lender at closing, but is obligated to be fair and honest with all parties.

Stephen Katz

(770) 309-0939 (direct) or (866) 742-8400 -- For the past 18 years, Stephen Katz has built a successful business almost entirely on referrals. As your mortgage consultant throughout the home loan process, Stephen will explain the pros and cons of all available mortgage programs and help you choose the financing option that is best suited to your needs. Throughout the loan process, he will keep you informed and will respond quickly to your requests with answers and solutions. Consistently a top producer, Stephen is a Mortgage Bankers Association "Diamond" Award winner, a Georgia Mortgage "Top Gun" and has closed almost half a billion dollars in loans. Put his knowledge and experience to work for you!

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