Real Estate 101

Who’s Who in Real Estate

Who's who in a real estate transaction

The buying and selling of a home is an event that requires the services of a number of professionals. Here are the key players involved in the process.


This person, hired by the seller to market and guide the sale of their property, helps the seller to get the highest possible price and best terms in the sale of their existing property. The seller pays the listing agent who splits that fee with the agent representing the buyer.


The buyer’s agent helps someone looking to purchase a new property to find potential homes, engage the listing agent for showings, and obtain the best possible price and terms for the new property.


The lender can be a bank or mortgage company that loans the money to the buyer so that they can purchase the property.


Representing the lender, the loan officer works directly with the buyer/borrower to prequalify them, complete the loan application, and put together the documents required for loan approval.


The underwriter, who works for the lender, assesses the borrower’s ability to repay the loan by reviewing all assets and past credit history, as well as the property details, appraisal, and title search reports. Then, they will generate detailed reports of their findings before making final loan approval.


When you buy title insurance for your property, a title company searches public records and archives to find any title ownership irregularities – and remedy, if possible – several types of ownership issues. After this search, the underwriter will determine the insurability of the title.


An escrow or closing officer, usually employed by your real estate agent or title company, works with all participants to facilitate a successful closing of a real estate transaction. At closing, they will collect the purchase money funds from the buyer and lender as well as the settlement costs from each party, then disburse the funds in accordance with the HUD-1 settlement statement and record the necessary documents to transfer ownership of the property.


An appraiser works on behalf of a lender and provides market analysis and valuation of the subject property. An appraiser’s finding is subjective and combined with market findings of sold properties within the surrounding neighborhood.


This visual inspection is conducted by a state-licensed professional hired to look for signs of infestation or damage to a structure by wood-destroying pests, standing water, earth-to-wood contact and plumbing leaks.


A home inspector objectively and independently provides a comprehensive analysis of a home’s major systems and components and is normally hired by the buyer.


An insurance agent helps a home buyer determine the homeowner’s protection coverage needed and assists in locating the right insurance policy to fit those needs.