If you’re planning to buy or sell real estate, it’s best to get help from the pros. Like anything in life, you’re better at it when you’ve done it before. Most people (outside the real estate industry) don’t buy or sell houses too often. And let me tell you, there’s more to it that sticking a sign in your front yard. Read on to find out who can help you.
While I may be biased on this one, everyone I know who is familiar with the real estate industry believes you’d be crazy to go through a real estate transaction without a Realtor.
On the selling side, a Realtor will give you an objective assessment of your property, determining its market value and bringing to light any issues that make it stand out. Realtors advertise your property locally, online, and via the Multiple Listing Service, reaching thousands of potential buyers. And remember, the Realtor doesn’t make a dime unless your house sells.
On the buying side, Realtors can save you a ton of time. As long as you are clear and specific about your needs, a Realtor can filter through all the properties for sale, so you only see ones of interest to you.
Whether you’re a buyer or seller, in negotiations, he who speaks first loses. However, when Realtors communicate, they can act as independent parties and provide you with information without giving away your position. Realtors can also help you understand the process of buying or selling property, and serve as your advocate until escrow closes.
ESCROW (TITLE) OFFICERS
If you don’t really know what you’re escrow officer has done for you because everything went off without a hitch, you should probably send that person a thank you card. Good escrow officers anticipate problems and resolve them before they get in the way of your transaction. They spot old deeds of trust that weren’t reconveyed or fraudulent deeds in the chain of title. When these problems are identified early, you can avoid delays. Delays can be inconvenient and expensive.
Like your title officer, loan officers are unsung heroes. Good ones are organized and proactive. They don’t send 27 separate emails requesting information, but rather anticipate all the likely information they’ll need and ask for it up front. They’ll review your data and recommend the type of loan that makes the most sense for you.
Having a good insurance agent can mean the difference between getting affordable homeowners insurance and not getting insurance at all. Right now, many insurance companies are becoming stricter about which properties they’ll insure, especially after last year’s fires.
Inspectors who tell you the condition of various parts of the property.
- Property inspectors scrutinize the structure. Although your brother-in-law may be a contractor, I’d still hire a property inspector who is used to looking for signs of problems that contractors often overlook.
- Pest and fungus inspectors identify active infestations, signs of old infestations, and situations that could lead to infestations.
- Heat/Air specialists can find things like a cracked heat exchanger, which could save your life and the lives of your children.
- Well inspectors determine the condition and production capacity of the well, in addition to the water quality.
- Engineers are only called in when buyers or sellers are concerned about structural integrity or maybe a retaining wall.
REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY
Realtors know a lot about real estate, including when to refer clients for legal advice. A Realtor can review everything in a contract; a real estate attorney can interpret and advise you about whether you should sign it. Most transactions do not require an attorney, but if your situation calls for legal advice, make sure you get it.
CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT
Some real estate transactions can get incredibly complex from a tax perspective. Involve your CPA to be sure you’re maximizing tax benefits.
You do not get to choose who appraises your property. The federal government requires a convoluted process whereby a lender submits a list of approved appraisers to a third party who then chooses the appraiser. Don’t get me started on unnecessary government regulation.
Your Realtor can help you find all the professionals you need to have a great real estate buying or selling experience.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.