3 Criteria for Selecting the Right Professionals

No one buys or sells a home alone. You need the help of a professional–and likely a whole team of professionals–to assist you in achieving your goals and protecting your interests. A real estate transaction can be stressful enough. So when it comes to choosing professionals to help you–before, during and after the transaction–be selective. Typically, you will require a realtor and a lawyer to complete the purchase and/or sale. But you may also need a lender, home inspector, insurance broker, home improvement contractor, landscape specialist, interior designer, tradesperson(s), etc. Here are three important factors to consider when making your choices:

    1. Qualifications

      Before you hire any professional, make sure they have the appropriate qualifications. Ask specifically what degree, certification or training they've received. Many professionals in the home industry are licensed or certified by their respective professional or trade associations. Ask to see these documents.

    2. Experience

      As author Douglas Gray points out in Home Buying Made Easy, a lawyer with ten years experience may only have spent six months handling real estate transactions. Remember, you'll be relying heavily on the skill, advice and insights of each professional you hire. Make sure they have experience in the specific field you require.

    3. Reputation

      Ask for client testimonials and references. Be sure to call these people and ask for their candid opinions of the services provided. Talk to others in the industry. Word of a good, as well as a bad, reputation gets around. Choosing the right professional is like picking the right players for a baseball team. The better you choose, the more likely you are to win the game. (Or, in this case, the home of your dreams.)

Beware! of a conflict of interest

Imagine this scenario. You hire a Home Inspector to inspect a house you've made an offer on. The inspector goes over everything with a fine tooth comb, outside-to-inside, basement-to-ceiling.

Great so far.

Then he presents you with his findings, points out areas that need repairs–and then offers to do this work himself because he's also a contractor!

That's called a "conflict of interest". You cannot confirm whether the home inspection was done honestly, or with the aim of getting more work from you.

When hiring any professional, make sure that the advice or opinion you'll be relying on is unbiased.

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