The Homebuyers Toolkit: Key Players

The role of the realtor, attorney and home inspector

bldpl040391Buying a home is a personal decision, but the process is not so private. Generally, you’ll work with about ten people. These include the seller, attorney, real estate agent/broker, home inspector, insurance agent, surveyor, appraiser, mortgage lender, title insurance officer, and an escrow officer. The attorney, real estate agent/broker, and the home inspector are the key players.

Enealia S. Nau, attorney at law; Kingsley Duah, vice president of sales/core property; and architect Patrick Barns, all of NauCorp. Properties, Inc.  helped us to further understand these three critical roles at this week’s home buying seminar sponsored by the Bedford Central Community Development Corp.

The attorney will deal with the real estate broker, handle the contract of sale, search and ensure the title, review the survey and your tax consequences, conduct the closing, and deal with the property condition and disclosure explains Nau. But, before choosing an attorney you should ask him/her these questions:

How long have you been in practice?
How many closings do you do a year?
Do you have any complaints against you?
Exactly what service and communication can I expect?
What paperwork is involved?
What is the process from start to finish?
How long will it take?
What happens if the seller cancels or if I change my mind?
How should I pick a real estate agent to work with you?
What are my expenses? What is your fee and how do I pay you?

“You want to make sure you find someone who is truly working for your best interests,” says Nau.

The real estate agent/broker is also a big part of the equation. “You should only contact a realtor when you’re ready to buy,” says Duah.  This is because realtors work on commission. They generally get paid 1% of the home purchase price once you close on the property. So if you don’t buy, they don’t get paid.

The role of the agent is to show you available houses in your price range that meet your needs. It is important to ask who the broker is representing. He/she may represent you, the seller, or both. This is important when negotiating the purchase price. If you make an offer, the broker will present your offer to the seller.

Lastly, the home inspector is responsible for surveying the property from basement to attic explains Barnes. The inspection includes an evaluation of the homes plumbing, electrical work, appliances, roof, and structural stability. This could save you a lot of money and prevent future maintenance. Making yourself aware of any flaws may help you negotiate a better price from the seller. I found the American Society of Home Inspectors Virtual Tour to be extremely helpful in understanding the inspection process.  Check it out, it’s well worth it.

Next week we’ll learn about the various grants available for home purchase, including the first-time homebuyer tax credit which has been extended to June. Also, follow me at www.twitter.com/LaToyaReports with daily tips for homebuyers.

Other posts in The Homebuyers Toolkit series:

Getting Started

Qualifying For A Mortgage

Let’s Talk Money

Money Attitudes and Budgeting

Building Financial Security

How Your Credit Score Adds Up

Renting vs. Buying

LaToya M. Smith is an editorial assistant at Black Enterprise

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