What happens when you’re driving down the road and see a beautiful house on the left and a sign on the right welcoming you to buy it? You may feel inclined to pull off to the side of the road to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, most of us don’t have to because online brokers exist that specialize in helping people like you find that perfect home without having to leave the comfort of your car.
Just because you’re online does not mean you’re bound to do business with a brick-and-mortar company. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, you have countless options when it comes to finding a company to do business with. You can research reviews or read online comments about virtually any business, product, or service and gain valuable information about what to expect. When it comes to purchasing real estate, whether you’re buying a home, condo, or investment property, reviews can help you find information about mortgage brokers or lenders that are highly recommended and provide positive service experiences. Likewise, home surveys or questionnaires can help you find out what other customers think about specific companies or products (e.g., appliances, tools, etc.).
Reviews Are Key
As much as we’d like to believe that a beautiful house will draw people to it, the truth is that it’s not always the case. Sometimes, all it takes are some great reviews. Luckily for you, we’ve arrived at the point in time where we can provide you with a list of hundreds of reputable companies that specialize in mortgages and real estate sales. Take a few minutes and browse our extensive company reviews so that you can find the best one for your needs. In some cases, you may need to do business with a few different companies to get the best deal or service for your money. But for the most part, everything is accessible through a single platform.
Choose A Licensed Residential Real Estate Agent
Unfortunately, not all real estate agents are created equal. A number of scammers and fly-by-night operators prey on unsuspecting, less-educated buyers and sellers who lack the wherewithal or desire to do proper research. To avoid these pitfalls and get the best possible deal, always, always, choose a licensed agent. A real estate agent who is licensed to sell services in your area is required to adhere to certain standards of professional conduct. Just know that you’re paying for these standards – whether you’re aware of it or not. Shop around and you’ll find that there are several agents in your area who meet the standards of a reputable, ethical real estate agency.
Mortgage Loan Officers Are A Great Place To Start
If you’re shopping for a mortgage lender, it’s wise to start your search online. A quick Google search for “Mortgage Loan Officer” will pull up thousands of lenders who specialize in home loans. Most homeowners, including myself, strongly advocate paying attention to the reviews about mortgage loan officers you come across online. In most cases, negative reviews are written by loan officers who either did not get paid or were underpaid by their previous lenders. In either case, their opinions about the industry and/or the companies they work for may not be favorable. Take a few moments to screen their reviews before you decide to do business with any of the listed companies. In some cases, it may be necessary to do business with more than one mortgage lender before you find the best lender for your needs. Banks and credit unions are also popular places to find mortgage loans. Just remember that most banks limit how many mortgage loans they will make without some sort of co-signature or collateral. That being said, we’re not advising you to rush into a mortgage loan just to comply with the arbitrary limits that your bank places on you. Instead, look for a mortgage lender who can give you the type of loan that you want (e.g., FHA, VA, or conventional) with the terms that you require. When choosing a mortgage lender, make sure to consider their deposit policies, loan processing times, and settlement (closing) fees.
Use An Escrow Service
If you’re purchasing a home worth more than $500,000 in an area or state where the price per square foot is less than $300, use an escrow service. Escrow services are essentially middlemen who stand between you and the seller. When you make an offer on a home, the escrow service will send out a team to meet the seller at their place of business. Once both parties sign off on the contract and the seller gives the keys, the escrow service will make payments directly to the vendor (e.g., the seller) as the contract is fulfilled. Most escrow services require the purchaser to make a down payment – usually between 5% and 10% of the purchase price – and use the rest of the funds to pay for closing costs. For a more detailed description, check out our escrow guide.
Consider An Agent’s Experience
If you’re thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider hiring a real estate agent who specializes in high-end, luxury real estate (i.e., properties worth $500,000 or more). To ensure that you get the most out of your agent’s service, ensure that they have a lot of experience in handling high-end listings and luxury properties. Consider their track record, look at their reviews, and decide whether or not this is someone who you want to work with. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But if you’re looking for an expert in high-end, luxury real estate who can put your interests first, choose someone who has a lot of experience in this area.
Seek Help From Family Or Friends
If you’re looking for a friend or family member to help you buy your first home, there are a few things you can do to make sure that they are sufficiently equipped to walk you through the process. First, decide whether or not you want to keep the costs down by doing most of the legwork yourself or if you want to pay a friend or family member to handle the details. In either case, be sure to consult with legal and financial advisors who can help you structure a simple and inexpensive living trust or other forms of estate planning. In some cases, it may be necessary to draft legal documents by a lawyer, but for the most part, the paperwork can be handled by an estate planning professional who specializes in this area. If you decide that you’d prefer to pay a friend or family member to help you with this process, be sure to include them as a collaborator – not a supplant – in the negotiation of the purchase contract. Collaboration is the key to ensuring that everyone is pulling in the same direction and that no one is blocked or held back from giving their best effort. In the end, nobody wants to deal with the stress and burden of a real estate purchase or sale process alone. Therefore, including someone you trust and who has your best interests at heart will most certainly make the process easier. You’re in good hands.