How to Buy a House
Have the property appraised. To determine its value, you need an appraiser. But generally you can’t hire one; your lender does this. You can, however, help the assessment go smoothly. “Ask the seller to be present so that any questions the appraiser has about the home can be answered,” says Bob Sicoli, the owner of RVS Appraisal Services, in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. He also should have a copy of the sales contract to verify exactly what is (and isn’t) being sold.
Tell your broker to provide a list of comparable properties. Point out where the home being appraised has been improved (like renovated bathrooms) and how that differs from other recent sales.
Comparison-shop for title insurance. You can choose the provider for this coverage, which protects you and your lender against liens. There’s no discernible difference in protection, so you can go with the cheapest option. Title insurance represents approximately 60 percent of your closing costs, and you should expect to pay around 0.5 percent of the home’s purchase price for it, says Timothy Dwyer, the founder and CEO of Entitle Direct Group, a title-insurance company in Stamford, Connecticut. To find the best rate, go to Closing.com. Take note: Your lender can veto your choice if the company isn’t highly rated, so ask the insurer for its rating.