The homebuying process: It's exciting, can be intimidating and there are a lot of people involved. The good news? All these people work hard to make your experience as smooth as possible, including several that will hold your hand throughout the process.
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From the day you begin looking at homes to the day you close (or settle), you'll likely come into contact with many of the following real estate professionals who all work together and play an important role in your transaction:
- Housing counselors can help you assess your financial situation, build or improve your credit, and ensure you’re well-prepared for homeownership – and their services are free. Housing counselors are not required, but they are often recommended for first-time homebuyers.
- Loan officers evaluate your credit, financial, and employment information to see if you qualify for a mortgage and provide financing options based on your capacity. They'll also help you complete your mortgage application and keep track of the status during the loan approval process.
- Real estate agents help you find homes that meet your needs, including location, size, and price. They also provide you with information on neighborhoods, shopping, schools, property tax rates and typically handle all negotiations with the seller. It's likely you’ll work very closely with your real estate agent throughout the entire process.
- Loan processors prepare your mortgage loan information and application for presentation to the mortgage underwriter. They make sure you've included all proper documentation, all numbers are calculated correctly, and everything is in order to ensure a timely decision on your approval.
- Homeowners Insurance Representatives will provide you with an insurance policy that lists you as the insured. Your lender can help you find a homeowner's insurance policy that meets their specific requirements. You will need a proof of insurance document for closing.
- Mortgage underwriters assess if you are eligible for the loan based on your credit history, employment history, assets, debts, and other factors.
- Real estate appraisers evaluate the property you are purchasing and determine how much it is worth.
- Home inspectors examine the condition of the home you are purchasing, making sure you are aware of any items requiring extensive repairs, as well as general maintenance and safety issues.
- Closing representatives oversee and coordinate the closing or "settlement" of your loan, record the closing documents, and disperse the money to the appropriate individuals and organizations.
All of these people play different, but complementary, roles in your homebuying experience. Lean on them, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to reach out often. This is their job and this is your home.