Ever wonder how many people are involved in a real estate transaction? Believe it or not, a typical sale today involves more than 20 steps and can require over a 100 different people. Less than 20 years ago, a property could be bought with a simple two-page contract. Today, there are better laws to protect the consumer, which include mandated disclosures; environmental and structural reports; and other legal documents that make a transaction more complex. Several professionals with different skills and expertise are needed to ensure that the buying and selling transaction goes smoothly, on schedule and conforming to the legal requirements. Whether you’re contemplating buying your first property or hundredth, it’s a good idea to be familiar with some of the key players who may work directly with you or behind the scenes.


Appraisers
A professional who estimates the value of a home to be purchased. In the purchase of a home, the appraiser is usually hired by the mortgage lender to determine whether the price paid is in line with fair market value and therefore justifies the mortgage amount.

Buyer’s Attorney
A real estate attorney who represents the buyer(s) in a real estate transaction.

Buyer’s Representative
You’re a buyer’s representative if you have a contractual relationship with a buyer to help the buyer purchase a home.

City Inspector

Some cities require a Point of Sale inspection by the Building Department as a condition of title transfer.  


Client
People with whom you’ve established a contractual relationship to represent them in the buying or selling of a home.

Customer

Buyers and sellers you do not represent but whom you assist in the purchase or sale of a home. 

County Recorder and Auditor
To establish your clear title to the property, the deed and mortgage must be filed and recorded in the Recorder's office of the county where the property is located. The Auditor's office provides information regarding the taxable value of a home and real estate property taxes.

Home Inspector
Most purchase contracts allow a buyer to have a home inspected within five days of signing the purchase contract. A home inspector performs an inspection of the home to be purchased on behalf of the buyers in the transaction. The inspector examines the home for structural soundness and identifies recommended repairs in his or her report. Depending on the area of the country where you sell, common practice may include other types of inspections, including a termite inspection and a radon inspection.

Insurance Agent
A person who sells insurance policies, such as homeowners’ and automobile insurance. Typically, homebuyers need to show proof of homeowners’ insurance before or at the time of closing on the purchased property. Without this, some closings can’t move forward as planned. If you represent buyers, make sure they have secured a homeowners’ policy prior to closing.


Loan Officer
An employee of a mortgage lender who helps borrowers secure financing for a home purchase.

Mortgage Broker
An independent contractor who helps bring borrowers and lenders together by originating residential and/or commercial loans offered by multiple wholesale lenders.

Mortgage Lender

A mortgage loan company that originates, services, and sells loans to investors or purchasers.

Mortgage Underwriter
This individual evaluates a loan application to determine if it meets the lender's standards.

Seller’s Agent
You’re a seller’s representative if you have a contractual relationship with a seller to help sell a home (also often known as “listing agent”).

Seller’s Attorney
A real estate attorney who represents the seller(s) in a real estate transaction.

Surveyor
Usually on land deals, this person takes a legal description of the property and maps out the exact boundaries. The legal description in many cases refers to physical landmarks. Those landmarks can change over time—and there may be unintentional or intentional encroachment by neighbors over time. Neighbors may have even been given permission, for example, to put a driveway on a neighbor’s property, but when the house is sold, the driveway can become a point of contention.

Title Companies
Once the purchase contract on a property is completed, terms are agreed upon, and financing arrangements have been made, the lender orders a title search of the property to be purchased. Depending on the region, a title company or practicing attorney can conduct this search. A title search is the examination of public records to determine that the person selling the property has the right to sell it and the buyer is getting all the rights to the property. The title search seeks to uncover any liens or other problems with the title. The title company then works to fix any problems with the title before issuing lender’s title insurance, or the loan policy. The loan policy protects the lender’s interests in the property. Buyers also may obtain an owner’s policy to protect their interests. In some parts of the country, the seller would purchase the owner’s title policy for the buyer—in effect telling them the house they are buying has a clear title. In other areas, the buyer must obtain the owner’s policy on his/her own. It’s a matter of custom so ask your local title professional how it’s handled in your area.

Transaction Broker
Also called a “facilitator” or “statutory broker” in some states, these terms refer to real estate professionals who enter into a non-agency relationship with their clients that is governed by statutorily-defined duties. The statutorily-defined duties of a transaction broker replace the common-law agency principles that otherwise govern the relationship between a practitioner and a client and impose a fiduciary duty—or heightened legal duty—upon the real estate professional who is in an agency relationship with a client.

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JK Realty

NJ Licensed Real Estate Broker