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Purchasing - Who to Hire

     When you decide you're ready to purchase a home, you will want to hire a team of skilled professionals that will make the buying process as enjoyable as possible. Locating these individuals can be as easy as opening the phone book, though it's a good idea to seek referrals from friends and family who have acquired such services. The following is a list of people you may wish to hire if you are purchasing a home.

Appraisers: If you so choose, you can have an independent appraiser come in and value the house prior to purchase. Vendors generally get an appraisal done prior to sale; though it never hurts have your own. An appraisal will stop you from paying more than the house is worth and may even give you bargaining leverage if the appraisal is lower than the home's advertised price. Appraisers use current market trends, the condition and size of the home and his or her expert opinion, when determining the value of a home.

Builders / Contractors: If you choose to buy a new or custom built home, you will undoubtedly have to deal with builders and contractors. Make it a point to get as much background information on these individuals as possible; look at previous homes they've built, talk to current residents, make sure they're registered and most importantly, ensure that they have your best interests in mind. Homebuilders can be found in your local real estate magazine, on television, in newspapers, and through a real estate agent.

Home Inspectors: A home inspector's job is to evaluate the condition and safety of a home. Both vendors and buyers can hire home inspectors, and depending on the law of your location, it may be mandatory. Inspectors view the home as a systematic interaction of components; they check every possible component to make sure that it is working properly on its own and in sequence with its dependant parts. Home inspections take approximately two to three hours and can cost up to $400, depending on the size of the home. For the price of the inspection you will receive a detailed outline of everything examined as well as suggestions for repairs. Most states and provinces have regulatory bodies that register home inspectors and as such, locating one of these professionals should not be difficult. The Internet is a great resource, as is your realtor.

Insurance Brokers: Upon purchasing your new home you may choose to retain the services of an insurance broker. Brokers can provide you with all your insurance needs including, life, health, car, and property insurance. It is best to get all your insurance from one company if possible; not only will it save you time and hassle, but you may also get a break on the monthly costs.

Lawyers: A lawyer is an essential part of the home buying process, and though they are not necessary by law, they will protect your legal interests when purchasing a home and will prove to be invaluable when making an offer of purchase. They will make you aware of all legal issues relating to your home purchase and will ensure that all documents are drafted, signed and delivered in a timely manner. Most real estate agencies do business with specific lawyers, and as such you may benefit from using the lawyer that your realtor uses.

Lenders: As was previously discussed, there are many types of lenders. They range from private companies to big banks and insurance firms. Lenders are very important in that they will provide you with the economic resources to purchase your home. You can approach any company as a potential lender, though you may fair well by first looking at the bank you do business with. Some lenders require you to become a member of their institution and other require that you have a bank account with them, though this is not always the case. You may potentially have to deal with your lender for next twenty-five years, so make sure you are comfortable with them and their methods of conducting business.

Mortgage Brokers: Mortgage brokers are rarely lenders, though they can be of tremendous use if you do not wish to approach lenders yourself. The role of a mortgage broker is to get you the best possible loan with the lowest interest rates. They are aware of private lenders that are not usually accessible to the general public and often have long standing relationships with the people that will lend you money. They take the hassle out of finding a mortgage and can be a great resource if you have poor credit.

Real Estate Agents: There are two types of real estate agents; those that work for the vendor and those that work exclusively for you. Agents that work for the vendor will be of no cost to you, as they receive their payment as commission after the vendor's sell their home. Agents that work for the vendor may not always have your best interest in mind and as such you may choose to hire your own real estate representative. Agents that work strictly for you, are paid by you, and are meant to save you time, money and frustration. Giving your realtor a copy of your 'wish list' will aid them in determining what house they will show you. They are aware of current market trends and are very helpful when it comes to choosing an ideal neighborhood with all your requested amenities. Your agent will work around your schedule and will set up times for you to view other homes. They are also great for networking; they can recommend appraisers, inspector, lawyers and even mortgage brokers. A good realtor will make you aware of every aspect of the home buying process and will assist you in drawing up any necessary documents.