In addition to being knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the real estate marketplace, a savvy real estate agent is an excellent resource for valuable contacts who can aid in your home purchase or sale. Tapping into an agent’s arsenal of trusted resources can prove critical in ensuring that your sale or purchase of a new home moves forward seamlessly.
Here are six resources that your real estate agent can help you with:
— Mortgage banker.
— Real estate attorney.
— Home inspector.
— Contractor and architect.
[Read: The Guide to Selling Your Home]
The process of purchasing a home really cannot begin until the financial road map has been determined. A mortgage banker determines the size and terms of the loan available to the buyer. This preapproval process is key as, obviously, the search cannot begin until it is determined what one can afford to spend.
In addition, when the buyer is ready to make an offer, the seller will require verification from a lender preapproval letter to validate the offer. Real estate agents interact with mortgage bankers on a regular basis. Buyers who are financing their purchase should get preapproval for a loan as the first step.
As mortgage bankers rely on agents as a regular referral source, they strive to take special care of those who come recommended from agents. Agents can make several introductions at various institutions to help shop around for the most favorable loan terms. For a homebuyer, these contacts are an invaluable time-saver, especially when you are getting started, and later when you are financing your new purchase.
Real Estate Attorney
In cities like New York City and Chicago, a real estate attorney is a critical part of the equation. For the seller, the real estate attorney generates and negotiates the contract of sale, and for the buyer, the attorney reviews the due diligence of the property and negotiates the contract. Both sides coordinate and handle the closing.
The attorney needs to move fast, yet be thorough and specialize in real estate. He or she also needs to be accessible and a good communicator. Choosing a real estate attorney who specializes in your locale is of utmost importance. Real estate agents work with real estate attorneys day in and day out. This member of your team is key and should not be underestimated.
When purchasing a home, it’s common practice to hire a home inspector to examine the property and draw up a report. An inspector is trained to look at areas such as the electric wiring, HVAC and plumbing of a home and alert the buyer of any issues, especially if there are any defects or code violations. Real estate agents have inspectors that they regularly work with and trust, as this is a critical part of the due diligence process.
Most appraisers are hired by the mortgage lender during the loan underwriting and approval process, but many homeowners want to use a separate appraiser, either in preparation to sell or for a property in estate condition. For this purpose, many real estate agents have excellent recommendations for independent appraisers who can provide information on the property’s value.
Contractor and Architect
Rarely does a buyer purchase a home and make no changes. Whether structural or merely cosmetic, every new homeowner wants to personalize his or her space. Finding an architect or contractor who is willing to take on a big-budget, full-scale project is not that hard to accomplish. For smaller jobs, however, you may struggle to find a company you trust. Perhaps only one bathroom needs to be remodeled, or you’re looking for a great painter for a touch-up job.
An experienced agent can recommend contractors and architects for the smaller renovation projects that many are unwilling to do. Agents have tradespeople, especially painters, in their Rolodex to help get homes ready for the market. These resources can be great for buyers and sellers as well, and more often than not are reasonably priced.
Hiring a moving company can be stressful. Both sellers and buyers are nervous about the expense, and worry about the way their treasured belongings will be cared for in transit or in storage. With clients who are always on the move, real estate agents will know which companies offer reliable service. Moving companies work hard to forge relationships with real estate agents as an important referral source.
In addition, moving companies often offer discounts to customers of agents. Especially when working through agent referral, moving companies care about their reputation and are incentivized to do an excellent job as they count on the long-term relationship and potential future business from positive reviews.
In the end, an experienced real estate agent has curated over the course of her career many valuable contacts that she is willing to share for the benefit of the client. Agents take pride in this network, which doesn’t develop overnight but through experience and an intentional effort to build relationships with trusted bankers, attorneys and service providers. Most importantly, this is one more way that real estate agents are able to add value, provide excellent service and hopefully elevate the experience for their clients.
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