I’ve chosen my lender, so what’s next?
One of the major steps in purchasing a home, of course, is finding a lender.
While some people are in a position to buy homes outright, most buyers will have to finance their homes. Many buyers start hunting for homes by finding houses in price ranges they believe they can afford then finding lenders – and mortgage packages – that fit their needs.
Once the financing is squared away and a buyer knows which price range to shop in, the next step is to figure out how to find that ideal house and purchase it. Securing the financing to purchase a house is one thing, but finding a house is another.
There are, quite frankly, some things that lenders simply can’t do. A mortgage banker cannot:
* Offer advice on contracts;
* Serve as mediators between buyers and sellers; or
* Provide the experience and knowledge that go into the often complicated process of buying and selling homes.
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of purchasing a home, then, buyers are typically better when they enter the process with the help of a Realtor. While sellers are always free to sell their own homes and more than a few buyers have been able to successfully purchase houses through the for sale by owner (FSBO) process, choosing a good Realtor can often take the headaches out of what can be a complicated process.
Why? It’s the job of a Realtor to represent the best interests of their clients. That includes negotiating sales prices, making sure buyers know that a home inspection is a great way to learn what flaws might be hidden in a home, and generally step through the home transaction all the way through the closing date when all the documents are sign and the deal is done.
Furthermore, it’s customary in Arkansas for a seller to cover the commission earned by Realtors when a home does sell – that, of course, means that the buyer who chooses to hire a real estate agent to find a home can probably take advantage of the professional’s services at no cost. Yes, that’s right – the seller generally pays commissions in this state.
There’s also the advantage of the multiple listing service (MLS), a database that displays all properties listed for sale in an area by Realtors. Since most sellers list their homes with Realtors, that means the largest selection of homes is in the MLS and only Realtors have full access to that system.
What, then, is the best way to choose a Realtor? Quite often, your mortgage banker has worked with several Realtors and can refer you to some. Conversely, a Realtor you know and trust will probably be able to refer you to a solid lender who can help find the best mortgage package for your particular situation.
Also, choosing a good Realtor can often be done through simply getting out and talking to friends and family who have dealt with real estate agents in the past. If a Realtor has done a good job for those friends and family members in the past, they’re likely to provide a good reference.
Buying a home can be broken down into two distinct components – securing financing and going through the steps necessary to find a suitable house and negotiating sales contract terms that are agreeable to all parties. It’s a very good idea to make sure professionals represent you throughout both steps of that process.
Home Sweet Home is written by Ethan C. Nobles and is distributed weekly by the Mortgage Bankers Association of Arkansas.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.