Most first-time home buyers tend to think that there is not much involved in the home-buying process. You find a home, make a bid to buy it, and it is yours. If only it were that simple! You actually need services from several different professionals in the real estate business in order to get your "dream house," and here are just some of the major players you will probably encounter.
The Real Estate Agent
The real estate agent and his/her agency are the go-to's any time people want to buy a house. You can try hunting down houses yourself, but in the end, if the seller has a real estate agent, you will need an agent to buy the house for you. You also cannot draw up your own real estate contracts, so again, you will need a real estate agent's help.
The Title Agent
Unless your real estate agent has a license to act as a title agent (and some do), you will need a title agent too. The title agent draws up new paperwork that allows the seller to transfer the property and the house to you. Then the title agent files the paperwork for you and your new home in the county in which you now reside. This is not a step you can do on your own, which is why you need the title agent.
The Real Estate Lawyer
The real estate lawyer attends the meeting where you, the real estate agent, the title agent and the seller all meet to transfer the property. The real estate lawyer makes sure the contracts are on the up-and-up, legally binding, and loop-hole free. It is usually more about protecting the real estate agent and the title agent, although your interests and the seller's interests are, to some extent, also protected.
The Housing Inspector
Homes cannot be bought or sold if they are not up to code or if they prove a hazard/danger to the buyer. The house has to be inspected before the owner can put it up for sale, and you should hire a home inspector to check out the house before you make a bid. If either of you fail to follow through on the inspections, it becomes a potentially illegal sale by the seller, and a "buyer beware" situation for you. The cost of the home inspector is usually a few hundred dollars, but it can save you thousands in the long run.