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Christopher Brice's Blog

By Christopher Brice - REAL Buffalo | Agent in Buffalo, NY

The ESSENTIAL People in your Real Estate Transaction:

Hello everyone, thanks for taking some time to read the REAL Buffalo blog.  I really appreciate your interest and certainly welcome any questions or comments you may have.  Today’s piece is going to continue in the educational format that I tend to use – my favorite part of being a Realtor is helping folks learn and understand the process involved in buying or selling their home.  As a former teacher, this aspect of the job has really translated well, and I’ve actually found my real estate career to be more fulfilling than my teaching career ever was.  I’m not sure if that reflects well on the real estate industry or poorly on the education industry (or both), but either way I’m happy to be enjoying what I do. 


Today I’d like to give you some insight into the essential people that will make up your very own real estate “team.”  Every standard real estate transaction should have these four major players that you will be personally interacting with: your agent, attorney, mortgage consultant, and home inspector.  Let’s take a look at what each of them does…



Whether buying or selling, your agent will be the CENTRAL HUB of your transaction.  (See my previous post for a detailed description of what to expect from your BUYERS agent … SELLER agency coming soon!)  In short, we are the ones you go to with any questions you may have at any point; and from there, we will either answer them for you or refer you to the appropriate team member that will serve you best.  For instance, if you had a legal question such as, “does the property have a shared driveway, or does the neighbor have an easement?” Your attorney will work out the legal details with the other attorney according to what is in the deed and how the property relationship will proceed. Or, if you ask something like “what do you think about the electrical box and the quality of the wiring?” – in this case we will refer you to your home inspector for a professional opinion.  As much as we would love to know it all about everything, that is obviously not the case; and, in many cases, liability is a factor as well.  Your agent won’t want to be responsible for giving you bad advice but we will always do what it takes to get you the best answer.  Your agent will be responsible for most of the paperwork involved in the transaction as well as facilitating other aspects of it such as inspections, appraisals, negotiations and communication among everyone involved in the sale/purchase of the property.  There is a LOT of time and work loaded into that previous sentence! 


A good agent will have their team in place and recommend them to you.  Even if you have an attorney, mortgage consultant, etc… in mind, consider using your agent’s team.  These people will be unquestionably qualified, trustworthy, and good communicators.  When things get tough, the history and positive relationships your agent has with the other team members can save a deal if something unexpected happens.  Speaking from experience, your agent won’t continually refer business to or work with others that they don’t trust or can’t easily get a hold of.  After all, we are the ones interacting with them most of the time, and our success depends on their success and quality of service.  A large part of an agent’s reputation for great service relates to the great people he or she works with and refers.  I wouldn’t refer you to ANYONE that I wouldn’t use myself, nor would I refer you to anyone that would make me or my company look bad.  We want the BEST people for the job. 



A qualified home inspector can play a very important role in your transaction, whether buying or selling.  They can save you a lot of money, and can help you to avoid a home that may eat you alive with costly repairs you and your agent didn’t notice.  Even if you are a contractor yourself, I still 100% recommend getting a home inspection. These people do this for a living everyday, offer objective advice, and will always find something that you miss.  Also, doing a home inspection allows you to get into the house for a few hours and really get to know it.  A good home inspector will ‘introduce’ you to your new home and help you to understand how everything works.  My first recommendation is always my good friend Rick Pezzino of Accuview Home Inspections because of the stellar work he does.  His reports include safety information, recommended fixes, color photographs of trouble spots, and lots more information.  In addition to being great at what he does, he is a true professional, always available for follow up questions, and treats people well.  A good home inspection can bring awareness to many things, including safety issues such as carbon monoxide leaks, improper wiring, or other things you or I may not notice that could be serious health threats to you and your family.  Also, inspectors will often find hidden issues and necessary repairs that allow you to go back to the negotiating table and get a price reduction, or get the sellers to make the repairs before you move in.  In fact, a client of mine over the summer saved several thousand dollars as the result of a thorough home inspection. 


On the seller’s side, getting a home inspection done prior to listing your house can help you avoid those last minute losses when a buyer finds a problem and asks you to replace the plumbing, or something to that effect.  Knowing possible issues help you to determine a more accurate price for you home, and allows you to stick to that price more firmly than if your buyer comes in and finds a laundry list of issues.  Make the inspection report available to prospective buyers … the unknown and undisclosed issues will, one way or another, end up costing you more than the known.  Check back for a future article on home inspections.



The mortgage consultant will be responsible for pre-approving you for a mortgage, which will give you and your agent a clear and realistic picture of exactly what you can afford.  Doing a pre-approval is imperative before you start to tour homes (unless you are paying cash)  for the following reasons:  A. Why waste your own time looking at homes you can’t afford – and, given all the factors involved including interest rates, credit scores, income, etc… you probably don’t know what you can afford and have only guessed.  B.  Many homeowners won’t let you come see their homes if you haven’t been pre-approved.  (Why would they want to waste their time and privacy having strangers walking though their home, not knowing if they can perform financially?)  C.  Your agent probably won’t show you homes without one.  Again, it goes back to wasting time and having a clear picture.  I have turned down working with potential buyers who refused to get a pre-approval, and most good agents will.  Real estate agents are not tour guides, our time (like yours) is valuable, and we need to separate the lookers from the buyers.  Going through people’s homes is serious business.  And honestly, what person who is serious about buying a home wouldn’t agree to get a pre-approval done first to get their finances in order? Do it, it’s very quick and easy!


Like the other team members, your agent will refer you to a mortgage consultant they know and trust.  After all, if this person doesn’t do a good job or miscalculates your finances and your deal falls through after a couple of months, nobody is going to be happy.  When you’ve found a home and is comes time to do your loan application, your agent will trust that the consultant on your team will do everything possible to get you the best interest rate and loan package available; and when times are tough, will have suggestions on how to get things in order and move forward.  If your agent forgets to mention it, make sure to ask why we recommended a specific mortgage consultant.  Keep in mind that, like your agent, your mortgage consultant will want to develop and build a long-term relationship with you.  Next time you buy a home, or if you decide to refinance at some point, you’ll be happy that you have someone you know and trust to help you with these important financial matters. 



OH the attorneys … They are necessary for any real estate transaction, and can be a very interesting bunch.  Like any profession, I have found that some attorneys are difficult to work with, and some are easy to work with.  Likewise, some are easy to get on the phone, and some are not.  All of these things can make a big difference because attorneys carry a lot of power and can literally make or break a deal at any point.  Many people have an attorney themselves, or know a family attorney and will use them to close the sale or purchase of a home.  If you have an attorney that you plan on using, make sure to find out what their level of knowledge is and their frequency in working with real estate.  Much like doctors and specialists, there are MANY different attorney designations.  I think it’s very important to use an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions and feels comfortable representing you and providing that service.  In fact, I recently had an attorney back out of a deal halfway though.  They ended up jumping back on board, but it caused a real ruckus for a couple of days!  That said, consider using an attorney your agent recommends. And, as always, ask why we are referring you.  I frequently refer clients to my good friend Carolyn Leed – she’s an talented real estate attorney who works hard for her clients, treats people well, and actually picks up the phone and answers emails in a timely manner.  (For any other agents who are reading the REAL Buffalo blog, give Carolyn a call – she will do a great job for your clients!) 


Your attorney will do a lot of important things during the process including title search, surveys, contract approval, scheduling and conducting the closing, and more.  For those who have considered buying or selling a home without using the services of an agent, one thing I’ll tell you is that attorneys do not need to be licensed to sell real estate (like your agent does) and can assist you with other areas of the transaction. But, you’ll be hard pressed to find an attorney that will work for you to help sell (or purchase) a home like an agent will.  They don’t have the time, usually aren’t interested, and will probably charge a hefty additional fee for all of the extra work involved.  Plus, the day to day activities involved in the transaction are not the common business activities that attorneys generally partake in.  Relating back to the medical field again, you wouldn’t have your family doctor perform neurosurgery … and your neurosurgeon, although capable, wouldn’t be your family doctor you see regularly.  Using the services of an agent like me will save you more time and money when you buy, will net you more when you sell, and will get your home sold faster.  I’ll give you some reasons why in a future post, or we can get together and I can show you how we get the job done. 



That will about do it for this one.  Thank you again for taking some time to read.  As always, if you have any real estate needs please allow me the opportunity to help you out. And, if you know of anyone who may benefit from my service, please pass my contact info or send me theirs so that we can get in touch.  All the best!




P.S. A reminder to prospective BUYERS – call me today so we can set up an appointment to discuss your plans.  Interest rates are locking in at around 4% - this is crazy!  Waiting until the spring, next year, etc… could cost you a LOT of money. TAKE ADVANTAGE!

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