This is primer. There are several things to consider when buying a home - ie realtor, title and application process..
The Realtor - local to the property is best for residential real esate,
Considerations: If you are the buyer, you want to be sure your broker knows the market - prices, schools, inspectors, and contractors. If you are the seller, you want someone who will actually show your home frequently. Realtors located close to you will show the house most often. Be sure your realtor is a member of the Multiple Listing Service. With an MLS, both realtors get paid out of the commission without complication and at no additional cost. Your Attorney
Considerations: 1) You need an attorney located close to you no matter where you live in the state. And, in some areas of the state standard purchase offers state that the offer is subject to obtaining attorneys approval within a few days or the approval is waived . The right to approve or disapprove is not unlimited and actually talking with your attorney before signing can avoid many problems. You usually can get in to see local attorneys quickly and before this time limit expires; like the realtor, they know the lay of the land. 2) If the bank or mortgage broker tries to send you to its closing attorney, insist on a full disclosure statement about all side agreements, fees, and related subcontractors - by law these must be disclosed, but the fact is this is often overlooked. 3) The bank's only concerned is that it gets paid. Banks require "Mortgagee Insurance" which will pay it off if the buyer loses the property, or some portion of it, in a law suit. What a buyer actually needs is "good and marketable title" which the buyer's attorney guarantees. 4) Sellers need to be sure of many things including potentially hidden costs. More Than An Abstract and Deed Are Required
The underlying title papers.
The abstract lists the legal history of the property. It doesn't tell you if there is a problem and often what the abstract doesn't say is just as important as what it does say. This is what is meant when an attorney "reads the abstract". The deed contains a description of the property and various promises. The "warranty" in a warranty deed is, as a practical matter, only as good as the attorney's reading of the abstract and survey. The attorney and your title insurer know what these documents need to disclose. The Mortgage Broker and Bank
Nowadays, mortgage brokers often match a buyer and a bank. There is a great deal of variation between banks! Some will do their paperwork quickly and are easy to deal with; many are like pulling a tooth. Several banks have all sorts of extra (sometimes bogus) fees that are not advertised in advance. (The Cropsey & Cropsey firm (and other firms who are members of this group) are well known for their work protecting consumers from extra fees and bogus fees.) Some banks pay the mortgage broker based, in part, on a mark up of interest rate by the broker. Find out how the broker expects to get paid. The broker is absolutely entitled to be paid for helping you but many question if (or at least how much) a mortgage broker should also be paid if he or she has steered business to a particular bank because of the fee arrangement. Never sign an arbitration agreement! It is a fairly sure sign that the bank has been particularly aggressive with your loan and its charges. Find out if one is required at the outset. Most abstract companies and surveyors have fairly comparable fees. (Some surveyor's are just plain better and/or quicker than others and some may charge a few dollars more for better service and/or quality.) Both the buyer and seller are well served when the survey is accurate and the attorneys know the surveyor's work can be trusted! 2) The basic Title Insurance rate, recording costs, and transfer taxes are set by the State. This can occasionally cause some delay so get to this as soon as possible.
When will I really close.
Even though the contract may say that closing will be on a particular date, unless your contract or accepted purchase offer states "time is of the essence" reasonable delays in obtaining closing documents and actually closing are acceptable and legally enforceable. Many people will be at work on different parts of each project.. 2) In some areas and for some properties attorneys will not order the abstract and survey until the buyer's bank commitment is received. Both are dated materials and expire if you do not close in a timely manner. Your local realtor and local attorney can often have a sense on how fast a property may sell - they know what prices will move. And they will tell you if the price you want is simply beyond what the market will bear. Both seller and buyer must work this out and tell the attorney if they want to take this risk and then figure out who will pay if there is a problem. Many Costs Are Fairly Standard
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