Building your Home Buying Team
Find a Real Estate Agent
The first step in the home buying process is to find a real estate agent. Your advocate and team leader. Your agent will organize your entire home buying experience, ensuring a smooth transaction. They might make it look easy, but behind the scenes, they work nonstop for you!
Your agent will:
- Educate you on the home buying process
- Locate potential homes for you to see
- Research the neighborhoods
- Counsel you on pricing
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Draw up offers and contracts
- Work through contingencies
Your Real Estate Agent Communicates with:
- Escrow Officers
- Appraisers & Inspectors
- Insurance Agents
Broker Vs. Agent: Is there a difference?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps people buy, sell, rent or invest in homes. To become an agent, a person must take pre-licensing training from a certified institution and pass the state’s real estate licensing exam. Then they must affiliate themselves with a real estate brokerage and operate under a broker’s license.
A real estate broker is a professional who has additional education beyond the agent level, as required by state law, and who has passed a broker’s exam. In some cases, brokers also have more years of experience than agents. The biggest difference between a broker and an agent is that a broker may work independently. An agent must be overseen by a broker.
Most importantly, choose someone to represent you that you are comfortable working with. Just because an agent has 100 sales in the last year does not mean they will be good for you. Someone that busy could have very little time for each customer.
What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent
- Local knowledge: Do they know their stuff about neighborhood home value trends, shops and restaurants, schools, events, transit, local government and upcoming development?
- Product knowledge: Do they know home construction, lending, inspections, common issues, code issues, permit violations, contracts, negotiations and are they a good teacher- you’ll want to learn!
- Communication: There will be lots of questions. How do they communicate best? Text, call, email? How many customers do they have right now? Do they have time for you on your terms?
- Reputation: How are their online reviews, can they offer any testimonials or references?
- Verify the agent’s license: search “Florida real estate license ”
Hire a Great Mortgage Broker
Your mortgage broker will be your personal guide through the loan application, processing, and underwriting process. When working with a mortgage broker, you have a professional that will help you shop various lenders to get the best rate and terms. If you decide to work with a loan officer, you will need to shop around for a mortgage on your own because loan officers represent one lender whereas mortgage brokers work with multiple financial institutions.
Your Lender is going to:
- Handle all of your sensitive information
- Document your financial history
- Determine your creditworthiness
- Get you the funds to buy your home
Get a Thorough Home Inspector
Hiring a detail-oriented home inspector and finding a real estate agent with expertise and strong negotiation skills are key to getting a good deal on your home purchase. Your home inspector will give you the inside scoop on the structural integrity, plumbing & electrical systems, appliances, and roof. You should familiarize yourself with the different types of home inspections and talk to your real estate agent about which inspections will be essential. They will uncover all the issues and defects you should know about to ensure you don’t discover hidden problems after you close.
Your closer could be an attorney or title company.
The closer is going to:
- Ensure your home has a clear title
- Arrange title insurance
- Draft and record the deed
- Hold and transfer closing funds and escrows
- Compile the documents from all parties and host the signing on closing day
Ultimately: Find a real estate agent you like! Good vibes? Friendly? Trust? Remember you will be spending a lot of time with this person. Find the perfect agent for you!