“None of us is as smart as all of us.”Ken Blanchard (American author and management expert)
A football quarterback is nothing without his offensive line. Any good quarterback knows there is only so much he can do without his team who provide the strength, support, and individual expertise needed to win games. In real estate, it’s equally important to put together your team if you want to avoid making costly mistakes.
Each avenue of real estate requires certain expertise. You’ve heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.” This is especially true in real estate due to how quickly things change with laws, financing programs, building codes, and individual markets. Learn below about the people involved in real estate transactions.
REAL ESTATE TEAM MEMBERS
Real Estate Agent / Broker
Other than yourself, your real estate agent is the most important member of your team. He or she can provide the most broad range of expertise because they are involved in every aspect of your transaction. Based on their experience working with previous investors, a good agent should be able to refer other qualified members of your team which makes your job a lot easier.
Loan Officer / Mortgage Broker
The job of a loan officer is to help you obtain a loan to purchase your future home. Loan officers are the intermediary between lenders and borrowers. They can work directly for banks and credit unions, or as independent mortgage brokers.
Escrow officers are independent third party companies whose job it is to ensure that property titles are clear, outstanding debt is paid, and the buyer and seller have fulfilled their obligations according the real estate agreement. Escrow Companies hold the funds in an independent Escrow Trust Account and disburse the funds upon a successful close of escrow based upon the instructions provided. Escrow provides a level of safety to all parties involved and ensures that all parties perform their obligations under a Purchase and Sale Agreement.
A certified home inspector’s job is to perform a thorough visual inspection of your home. If the home has pest infestation, a cracked foundation, or a problem with the electrical system, a home inspection will reveal it, potentially saving you thousands. On the other hand, if the home is in sound condition, you can rest easy, knowing it’s been thoroughly inspected by a professional.
An appraisal is the process taken by a licensed, professional, third-party appraiser to value a piece of real estate. Appraisals are done for many reasons, but typically the purpose is to find a fair market value. The most common type of appraisal is done in order to value the property to secure a loan for a new purchase. You are not able to choose your appraiser when they are hired by your lender. You may, however, privately employ an appraiser on a home you want to purchase which can be a valuable second opinion. Often times your real estate broker will have the experience to help you adequately judge the value of your home.
Your title representative will be involved in researching the property’s chain of title and placing a title insurance policy on it. Title Insurance will help protect you against fraud as well as hidden liens or easements on title. It is a standard cost and is based on the purchase price. Depending on purchase price, title insurance policies can cost anywhere from $500 for a property under $100,000 to several thousand when a purchase price is in the millions. A good title representative will help compare available policies and choose one that best suits your needs.
Having a contractor on your team will save you a lot of money and headaches. A general contractor can help you perform basic home upgrades or complex construction. A contractor can also provide an essential opinion about a home BEFORE you buy it so that you are prepared for the home improvement expenses you will incur.
Real Estate Attorney
A real estate attorney can protect you from costly mistakes, errors, and other problems that could lead to litigation or expensive legal action. An attorney can also help you set up a living trust after your investment so your intended heirs may inherit the property in the event of your unexpected death. In most cases, your real estate broker will be able to handle the complexities of your real estate transaction; however, even the best brokers occasionally seek the legal advice of a competent real estate attorney.
Your accountant is involved in all aspects or your finances and you should include them throughout the process of purchasing real estate. An accountant can provide an educated opinion on how much you can afford to put down in cash and how much to finance. They can also advise you of tax laws and loopholes that could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
Additional Team Members
In addition to the line-up above, you will also potentially find yourself working with a termite inspector, mortgage insurance agent, mold inspector, and more. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you referrals for most of the team members above.