The listing agent is the person the seller will engage to sell his or her property and with whom the seller will sign an agreement known as a "Listing Agreement" that allows the agent to show the property and establishes the basis of his or her commission. It is the listing agent who places the "For Sale" sign on the property.
The selling agent is the person who secures a buyer for the property being listed for sale. From time to time, the listing agent will also be the selling agent, i.e., he or she will not only place the property on the market, but will also be the same individual who secures a buyer. More commonly, the listing agent and selling agent will be different individuals, and often from different companies. In other words, ABC Realty will list the property, and XYZ will sell it.
As used here, a real estate broker as distinguished from a real estate agent refers to that individual who is ultimately responsible for the acts of the agents who have their licenses with his or her company. There is only one broker of record at each real estate company, even though that particular company may have many individual offices, each of which will have its own manager. A broker is licensed by the state, and generally must work as a real estate agent for several years before he or she can sit for the broker's examination.
The institute that provides you with the funds needed to complete the purchase of your property. Generally, you will make the down payment and closing costs from your own funds and the lender will provide the rest. A lender can be a bank, a savings and loan, or a mortgage company, each of which is in the business of lending money; however, a bank and a savings and loan may provide other services to its customers, while a mortgage company generally limits itself to originating loans.
The individual who interviews you at the time you make your loan application and who makes the initial determination as to whether your income, assets, liabilities and credit history satisfy the underwriting criteria of the lending institution with whom he or she is employed. The loan officer will order an appraisal of the property to determine if its value is sufficient to justify the amount of the loan for which you have applied. This is important because the property will be the security for the loan. He or she will order a credit report from the credit bureau and will contact your employer to verify your employment and income. While the loan officer will not personally approve your loan application, he should be able to accurately predict whether or not your application will be approved based upon the various financial data you provide him at the time you make your application.
The individual whose function is to examine your loan application and supporting documentation and who will ultimately make the final determination as to whether or not your application is approved, and thus commit the lender to fund the loan. Usually, the underwriter is employed by your lender, and it is his or her responsibility to ascertain that the lender's lending guidelines have been satisfied.
The appraiser's responsibility is to determine for lending purposes the value of the property you are buying. This value is generally referred to as "market value", and is commonly defined as the price at which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy, each being fully informed and under no abnormal pressure to either buy or sell. By far the most common approach taken by an appraiser in determining market value is the market data approach, whereby the appraiser compares the sale prices of similar properties that have sold recently and are in close proximity to the one being appraised.
The organization to which your lender will apply for information regarding your credit history.
The individual who is in the employ of the Iending institution and whose responsibility it is to prepare and package those documents the lender requires you to execute at settlement.
Many, but not all closings are conducted by an attorney, an individual licensed to practice law before the courts of the state in which he or she is licensed. An attorrney who specializes in conducting real estate closings is commonly referred to as a "title attorney", although he or she may practice other specialties as well. In the Maryland area, you will generally be referred to a title attorney after you have signed the contract to purchase, who will then proceed to handle the closing transaction upon loan approval. It is the attorney's responsibility, among other things, to have the title searched and indentify any liens or judgements that may have to be paid off at settlement and otherwise note any title defects that could impair the seller's ability to convey good title. The attorney will oversee the execution of all legal documents necessary to complete the closing transaction.
The organization that conducts real estate closings. While an attorney who conducts real estate closings in his capacity as attorney could be considered to be operating a title company, as the term is generally used it refers to those companies that are not engaged in the practice of law and which conduct real estate closings only, although many so-called title companies are owned and operated by attorneys.
TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY/ TITLE INSURER
A title insurance company, as opposed to a title company or law office, is an organization authorized by the state to issue title insurance. Title insurance policies are purchased at the time of closing and generally protect the lender and you against any losses either of you should incur as a result of title defects unknown at the time of closing but subsequently discovered.
This term applies to either the individual who assists the loan officer in accumulating the various documentation necessary to support your loan application or to the individual who assists your attorney in preparing your case for closing. In either case, a processor is both assistant and secretary and one with whom you will have considerable contact as your case proceeds from application to closing.
TITLE ABSTRACTOR/ TITLE SEARCHER
The individual who physically examines the various recorded documents, e.g. deeds, mortgages, etc, that appear in the chain of title. His or her offices will ordinarily be located at or near the court house in which all such documents are recorded. Most abstractors are independent contractors, although some some attorneys and title companies have an abstractor in their employ. In any event, it is the responsibility of the abstractor to report his or her findings back to the closing attorney who will then review and interpret them in preparation for closing.
The individual who conducts the real estate closing, often an attorney or someone in his employ.
One who measures the property to determine its boundaries and the position of the house and other structures situated upon the property in relation to these boundaries. Your lender will require the property to be surveyed primarily to ascertain whether the structures built upon the property fall within its boundaries and/or within county or deed set back or building restriction lines, or whether structures situated upon adjacent property encroach upon the property you are buying. The end result is a "house location plat". Technically speaking, this is not a survey, in that the corners have not been staked, so do not expect to see markers, flags, stakes or similar monuments marking the corners of the property you are buying. Your lender requires a house location plat only.
Nearly every contract to purchase will contain a clause that requires the sellar to insure that the property is not infested with wood destroying insects such as termites and powder post beetles. The property will be inspected by a licensed pest inspector prior to settlement.
The individual who examines the physical structure of the property, as well as its heating, plumbing and mechanical systems so as to assist the purchaser in determining whether the property is structurally sound and the systems are in working order. As used here, a home inspector is an independent contractor and is not in the employ of a lending institution or governmental agency.
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