This article was originally published in Real Estate Agent Magazine Twin Cities, written by Charity Malmberg, Founder and President of Trademark Title
1. RESEARCH, INTERVIEW AND SELECT A REALTOR (NOT A SALES ASSOCIATE). REALTORS have to abide by a code of ethics, sales associates do not. Select one who asks more questions about you and your wants than talks about himself or herself. Make sure they can prep you for the current market.
2. RESEARCH AND INTERVIEW LENDERS (NOT ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL). Don’t just go with the cheapest – it could cost you more in the long run. Local companies historically provide more customizable and higher levels of customer service. Their reputation relies on it.
3. RESEARCH AND CHECK FOR TESTIMONIALS OF ANY REFERRED TITLE COMPANIES. You have the right to choose your title company. Where your policy protection comes from is important and you want to make sure you have a reputable company backed by a strong underwriter That will still be around if anything should arise.
4. DETERMINE WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. Consider mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, association fees and all of the ancillary costs of owning a home. Furnace, heater, roof might need replacing, etc.
5. PRIOR TO WORKING WITH A LENDER, check your own credit score.
6. WHEN YOU MOVE BE SURE TO HAVE A BAG OR BOX HANDY with the following items: toilet paper, tooth brush, garbage bags, flashlight and pizza coupons.
7. DON’T PASS ON HAVING AN INSPECTION. Could be a costly mistake.
8. IF YOU HAVE PETS, keep an eye on them. Their world is disrupted as well.
9. EXPECT TO DO A WALK THROUGH PRIOR TO CLOSING. Catch any last-minute items after the personal belongings have been moved out and if any damage occurred. If the sellers were to leave any personal belongings, make sure those are still there.
10. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE. Expect about an hour for your closing and make sure if you bring your children they have something to do to keep them busy while you review and sign the last of the paperwork.
Provide the above checklist and prove you are a valuable resource to your first-time homebuyers.