The 4 most important people to know when home buying

1. The Person Who Approves the Loan

One of the first people you’ll need to work with is a mortage lender. This is the person who helps you understand the ins and outs of getting a loan, as well as any requirements or conditions. 

Before speaking with the loan officer, however, you may want to estimate what a monthly mortgage payment may look like, which you can do with a simple mortgage calculator. 

Remember: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage before looking at properties gives you a more realistic expectation of what you can afford. But it’s up to you to account for your own personal budget and living expenses.

You can get mortgage pre-approval from a traditional lender, such as a bank and credit union, or by working with a mortgage broker who acts as an intermediary between you and the lender. Mortgage brokers negotiate mortgage terms and rates on your behalf, and usually work with dozens of different lenders, including mortgage finance companies. Their fees are paid by the lender when your mortgage is signed.

2. Next Up: The Person Who Finds the Home

A real estate agent is usually the first person that most people speak to during the homebuying process. A professional REALTOR® has the training and the resources to help you find the right home and location for you based on your needs and wants.

When you begin your home search, you might start with an online search. While sites such as provide formatted data on available properties, a REALTOR® will have access to the latest information and can provide any updates or correct misinformation found online.

A REALTOR® can work on your behalf or on behalf of the seller. When you’re buying a home, it’s important to work with a buyer’s agent, whose responsibility is to you, not the seller. 

You should ask the agent all the questions that are important to you — how much other homes in the area recently sold for, how long those homes were on the market, and any other questions that might help you make an informed decision.

While searching for a home, you can also get a sense for what types of events and activities around your desired areas, all the things that the REALTOR® had a great sense for.

3. Don’t Forget: The Person Who Inspects the Home

While this is optional, hiring a home inspector may give you peace of mind when buying a home. The home inspector will come to check things like structural integrity, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and cooling, the condition of windows, walls, door frames, ceilings, the attic — basically anything that can be seen without going into walls.

4. The Last Stop: Your lawyer

Legal costs cover your lawyers’s fees and may include:

• Reviewing the terms of the offer

• Conducting a title search on the property

• Registering a new title

• Obtaining relevant documents, such as surveys and evidence of liens on the property

• Checking the statement of adjustments for taxes, utility and fuel bills, and other costs that have been pre-paid by the seller at the date of closing