As a NJ real estate lawyer I handle purchases and sales of homes from $70,000 co-ops to multi-million dollar estates. Whatever the price, it is always a major financial transaction for the buyer and seller.
Over the years I've closed thousands of transactions and I can tell you the secret to a smooth and painless transaction: get the right team of Real Estate Professionals working for you.
Your core team should include a great Realtor, a great mortgage lender and a great real estate attorney. This core team of trusted professionals can help you find the other professionals that you will need along the way, such as a home inspector, homeowner's insurance agent and others.
How do you find the right professionals to place on your team? Research. Ask friends and neighbors for personal referrals. If you have chosen one member of your team, ask him or her for referrals for the other members. Once you have a few names, call them up and interview them. You will be spending alot of time with your Realtor, Lender and Attorney, so make sure you can develop a good rapport and that you will be comfortable working with them.
Some questions you should ask before you commit:
- are they full-time or part-time?
- how many transactions have they handled?
- how long they have been in the business?
- will they be with you through the entire transaction or will they hand you off to an assistant?
- are they comfortable using the latest technology to help you with your transaction?
- will they email documents and information to you, or will they ask you to go sit by a fax machine?
- do they offer online access to your transaction documents or will you have to call for status?
- do they have assistants who can help you when they are out, or do you have to wait for a call back?
I'm not saying that there are right or wrong answers to the questions above, but rather that you should be comfortable with the experience level and methods of operation of the professionals you choose to work with.
Putting together the right team takes time and effort, but I can tell you from my experience that the effort that you put into this stage of the transaction will pay big dividends later when the transaction goes smoothly, with no surprises!