Purchasing a home can and will have its challenges. Everything ranging from inadequate loan financing to inaccurate surveys to that funny smell in the basement. Anything can come up when you least expect it and put a dent in your home buying dreams. This is where choosing a team to work with becomes so important.
Most seasoned Real Estate professional have experienced about every major setback that can be thrown at a buyer and that gives them the ammunition they need to avoid set backs in there next transaction. The same goes for the Mortgage Originator that is going to provide your home financing. They are the single most important people you will work with when buying a home.
What is important is that you develop a relationship with your Loan Officer and Realtor and ask for referrals of trusted affiliates like Attorneys, Surveyors, Title Companies, Pest Inspectors, Home Inspectors etc. A trusted advisor like a Mortgage Originator should be able to provide you with at least 3 names of Attorneys or Real Estate Agents that can represent you in buying a home. Interview them and ask what they will be doing for you and how it differs from their competition. Educate yourself on what every ones role is, the more knowlegde you have, the more options you have.
Also know, in uncertain times, consumers interact with brands they trust, and they align themselves with the strongest in the industry. The last thing you need to have take place is for the mortgage broker you are working with to go out of business a week before your closing date. Choose solid partners, industry professionals with a track record of stability. The mom and pop shops out there are nice as far as relationships go but when it comes to support, resources and servicing (after closing), the larger brand names will usually perform at a higher level.
An experienced Loan Originator should be able to set expectations for you of what your total costs are associated with your home purchase. They should speak in specifics when it comes to your down payment, closing costs, interest rate and loan product type. Be sure to ask not only what you can afford as the bank sees it but what your affordability range is based on your lifestyle and other monthly obligations. Just because someone qualifies for a million dollar home may not mean they want the monthly payment that goes along with it. Remember, most mortgages are for 30 years so plan for a mortgage payment that you can afford now and down the road, accommodating for life events like child birth or retirement.
Your Real Estate agent should and will assist you in locating a home in your affordability range, negotiating a sales price and terms that benefit you. They are your advocate in every aspect of the transaction. Expect them to communicate with the Loan Officer and Attorney (where applicable in "Attorney" states) to validate your loan status throughout the process and coordinate a closing. A Real Estate Agent will be your liaison to the sellers when it comes to following up with your requests on any property specifics like, water testing, septic certifications, surveys, roof validations etc.
A good Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Loan Officer should both be proactive in making suggestions in all aspects of cost savings as it relates to your home purchase. Most importantly, choose to work with winners who are committed and engaged in what they do. With the availability of information via the internet and the millions of dollars spent to advertise Real Estate agencies and Banks, word of mouth still is the best way to find hard working people.