Who Are All the People You Deal with When Buying a House
When I first decided to buy a home, I had no idea that the process involved so many different people. From before you start house hunting to even after you close on your home, you’ll come into contact with several individuals, each playing important roles in your purchase journey. So I’m going to give you a little explanation of the key players.
Before you're under contract
Before you go under contract on your home, you’ll most likely be dealing with the following individuals. And you’ll keep in touch with these people throughout the entire mortgage process.
While this isn’t specifically a person, it’s an important part of your home process. A mortgage lender is an institution that finances home loans; they could be independent mortgage lenders, banks, or credit unions.
Throughout the home loan process, your mortgage banker, often referred to as a loan officer or loan consultant, will be your main point of contact. They’re financial professionals that help determine the money you’ll be able to borrow for your home loan. You’re allowed to use any lender or mortgage banker of your choice. They’ll also help you complete your application, pull your credit report, gather important documents, help you choose the right loan product, and guide you through the mortgage process.
Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents, REALTORS ®, and brokers are licensed, trained professionals who help negotiate the purchase and sale of real estate. More specifically, a real estate agent is anyone with a real estate license, while a REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent who’s also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® are required to meet specific standards set forth by the association. A broker, however, has a real estate license but also has a broker’s license. They have the ability to hire and screen other agents to work for them.
Regardless of how you choose your real estate professional, they play a significant role in your home purchase experience.
They’ll help you research and find homes that fit your needs, advise on local property values, negotiate your sales contract, and answer questions during closing. And just like your mortgage banker, your choice of agent is completely up to you.
Simply put, the seller is the property owner who put their home up for sale.
Just like you’ll probably have an agent helping with your home purchase, the seller also will likely have an agent who acts on their behalf as well. Seller’s agents are also referred to as listing agents, because they list the home for sale on the real estate market.
Under contract and during loan origination
A home inspection is voluntary, but highly recommended and customary. Your chosen home inspector checks out the structural condition of the home, including electrical, heating, venting, air conditioning, plumbing, and roofing.
Your real estate agent should request an inspection soon after you sign the contract and put down your escrow deposit. The inspector will provide a report of their findings, and you can then negotiate with the seller to repair any issues, if needed.
A property appraiser provides a professional opinion of the overall condition of your home, compares surrounding sales of homes that have similar features, and gives a value of what your home and land is worth based on current market data. This appraisal helps you and your lender ensure you’re not overpaying for your property.
There’s a good chance that you won’t communicate with the production team who’s working on your loan package. However in some cases, someone who supports your mortgage banker may request additional information directly. These people may be assistants, processors, underwriters, or closers. But most communication will probably come from your mortgage banker.
Home Insurance Agent
Homeowner’s insurance is financial protection for your home against disasters. Agents will give you different quotes and packages, based on varying levels of coverage. It’s your choice what company and policy you choose, but you’re required to have it when getting a mortgage.
Title Company or Settlement Agent/Attorney
A title company or settlement agent/attorney examines public records to determine the legality of transferring ownership of a home from the seller to you and then issues title insurance for your property. They also help you schedule your closing. And at your closing, they’ll bring necessary documents, explain it to you, collect closing costs, and distribute money. They’ll then make sure your new title, deed, or other documents are filed and recorded properly. You can use the company recommended by your lender, or you can choose your own.
After your loan is closed, you may have occasional questions or need a contact person, such as who your monthly mortgage payment needs to go to. So the good news is that there’s someone who handles that too.
Once you’ve received the keys to your home, a loan servicer will begin handling the day-to-day management of your loan. For example, they’ll help with payment processing, billing, record keeping, or any other customer service tasks you may need.
Keep in mind that everyone’s home buying experience is unique, and you may not deal with every individual on this list.
Or you may encounter even more people. One of the best ways to ensure a smooth, successful home purchase is to choose a lender, mortgage banker, and agent that you trust. You should always feel comfortable asking questions when anything doesn’t make sense. Happy home hunting!