Agents and brokers and lawyers, oh my! You might know that there are multiple parties involved in a real estate sale or purchase, without actually knowing what each of them does, or why exactly you need them.
There are, indeed, multiple professionals who keep your transaction running smoothly and correctly. Here’s how to differentiate:
The Real Estate Agent/Broker
You may often hear the terms broker and agent used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Generally speaking, an agent is the professional hired by a client to represent his or her interests in a real estate sale or purchase. Both agents and brokers are educated and licensed, but a broker has taken real estate education beyond the agent level, and has passed a broker’s license exam. The broker can either work alone, or hire agents to work under him or her, within the agency.
Either way, the real estate agent or broker is critical in the sale or purchase of a home. He or she has extensive knowledge of the industry, the procedure, and the particular market in which you’re buying or selling. These individuals work on your behalf to find you the home you are looking for and help negotiate the deal, or sell your home in the fastest way possible at the optimal price. During the process, they’re you and your home’s best friend.
The Mortgage Agent/Broker
Most home buyers aren’t multimillionaires with unlimited amounts of cash, and therefore must finance the deal with a home loan, or mortgage. This is where the mortgage broker/agent comes in. He or she will gather all of your necessary financial information, will shop around for the best loan for you, based on your specific situation, and will help you secure a mortgage. The mortgage professional, like the real estate agent or broker, knows all about the industry and the current rates and trends, and is an invaluable facilitator.
There are multiple issues that can arise during a home purchase, ranging from property and boundary lines to zoning and easements. This is where the real estate attorney comes into play.
Once you are under contract, the attorney will thoroughly review the agreement, and will also make sure the insurance policy, mortgage, title, and property background are in order and legally correct. Basically, the attorney is your protection against legal risk and liability.
In the end, hiring these three professionals ensures you buy (or sell) the right home at the right price, while getting the best deal and the best loan, and are legally protected. Considering buying or selling a house is one of the biggest and most important undertakings you’ll ever experience, these people are some of the most significant you’ll encounter (so hire wisely!).
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Madison, WI area, or have any questions along the way, please call or email me anytime.