Like many things in life, it takes a village to accomplish a goal − and home buying is the same way.
Besides you (and the person you’re buying your dream home from) there may be up to six other people involved in your home buying experience. Some will pop in and out of the process, and others will be involved from beginning to end. A few others are actually optional. While each state has its own unique legal requirements for transferring the ownership of a home, this will give you a great overview. You can get started today with U.S. Bank Access Home, which features information and resources for every step of your journey to homeownership.
Mortgage Loan Officer
Unless you’re purchasing your new home with all cash, you’ll likely start this journey with a mortgage loan officer who will stay with you until you’ve got the keys in your hand. He or she will help you figure out how much home you can afford and guide you through the transfer of the ownership.
Real Estate Agent
For homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, a real estate agent can be key to finding a home, making an offer and advising you on how to negotiate price and terms with the seller. Even after you have a signed agreement to buy the place, your real estate agent will stick by you through the home inspections and closing process.
Real Estate Attorney
Some states in the Northeast and Southeast require licensed real estate attorneys be involved in the transfer of homeownership. Every state has its own unique laws on how to transfer the legal ownership of homes, so be sure to check your local and state requirements. But it never hurts to have someone represent you when you’re making a big purchase, like this one.
Closing Agent or Settlement Agent
A closing agent, also known as a settlement agent, enters the process when you reach a signed written agreement with the seller and works with you until ownership of the home is transferred to you. They usually make their entrance during the last 30 to 45 days before you take ownership of the home. They’re the ones who make sure the buyer and seller do what they promised to do in the written contract − plus, they handle all the paperwork to transfer ownership of the home to you. In the Northeast and Southeast, the closing agent is likely a closing attorney. Otherwise, the closing agent is probably an escrow officer or title agent.
Home inspectors are the guest stars in this story. They pop in, do a home inspection in less than half a day, write a report the same day, and they’re gone. But their role is essential to ensure your home is in good shape for you to purchase it.
Your mortgage lender will hire an appraiser to estimate the market value of the home you’re buying to make sure they aren’t lending you more money than the home is worth. While you’ll likely be charged for the appraisal by your lender (which is totally normal), the appraiser works for your lender, not you. They are another fabulous guest star, making one appearance when they check out the house in person. Then they will do more research back at their offices, and within a few days send an official report with the appraised value of the home. You’ll probably never meet or even talk to the appraiser.
When you’re ready to learn more about homeownership, connect with a mortgage loan officer, and explore resources and information to help you along the way, visit U.S. Bank Access Home to get started.