When it comes to buying a home or getting a new mortgage, you’ll never need to go it alone. Here’s a quick intro to the 10 mortgage and real estate pros you’ll likely work with during your home loan journey.
Getting a home loan can seem complicated. But here’s the good news: you’re never alone. From your loan originator and underwriter to the home appraiser and insurance company, here’s a look at the 10 mortgage MVPs who play a part in the home loan process.
1. The Mortgage Lender
First things first. A mortgage lender is an institution that finances your mortgage: It could be an independent lender, a credit union, or a bank. It’s always best to shop around and find the right lender (and the right loan) that fits your needs. Many borrowers go with a lender that offers a low rate, but you can’t underestimate the value of a hassle-free online process that fits your lifestyle.
2. The Mortgage Loan Originator
Think of your mortgage loan originator as your personal guide through your home loan journey. From the very beginning, they’ll speak with you personally, help prepare your loan application and step you all the way through the process. Loan originators take the time to get to know you and your unique financial situation, so they can help fit the right loan to you. They’ll compile your financial documents (pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns, etc…) and coordinate with everyone throughout the loan process.
3. Buyer’s Agent
Just like you can shop around for a lender, find the real estate agent that’s right for you! If you’re looking to buy a home, a real estate agent (or buyer’s agent) specializes in helping you find the right home for the right price. They’ll help you browse through home listings, tour homes that are on the market with you, help you write an offer, and negotiate with the selling agent when it’s time to buy.
4. Seller’s Agent/Listing Agent
The seller’s agent, as you can probably guess, represents the seller of a property. A seller’s agent, otherwise known as a listing agent, aims to sell a client’s home quickly and at the best possible price. Just as a buyer’s agent works on the buyer’s behalf, a seller’s agent represents the seller’s interests. Your real estate agent will work closely with the listing agent to negotiate on a fair price, as well as any post-inspection or repair request negotiations.
5. Home Inspector
As a buyer, you want to make sure your new home is safe and free of any major structural issues before you sign on the dotted line. That’s why you’ll hire a home inspector to perform a detailed inspection of the house, and provide a full report of anything in need of repair or replacement. If there are any issues—from major foundational problems to smaller, fixable ones like a cracked window—the inspector will note them in their report. You can then use the findings to either adjust your offer, ask the seller to make repairs, or walk away from the home. A home inspection is not a requirement, but it’s a common practice and a good idea to make sure you’re making a wise investment!
6. Home Appraiser
Before the deal is sealed, your lender will ask a third-party appraiser to determine the value of the home you’re purchasing. Appraisers are often local professionals who do research on the market and visit the home to assess its condition and value. If the appraiser finds that the home is worth less than expected, you might need to renegotiate the price or pull your offer.
7. Loan Processor
You’ve worked with your mortgage loan originator to create your application. Once it’s time to submit it, your loan processor will step in. A loan processor is like a fact-checker, who verifies where you work, your income, your financial documents, and helps get you a final loan approval, once you reach that point. If any of your documents are missing, incomplete, or incorrect, the loan processor will get in touch with you to straighten out any issues.
Once the loan processor is finished compiling all the necessary information, an underwriter will give your application a formal review. An underwriter is a licensed professional who will check your income, assets, credit history, debt, property details, and loan amount to evaluate the risk in giving you a mortgage. Once the home appraisal is complete, and the loan value matches up with the appraised home value, the underwriter can approve the loan for closing.
9. Insurance Company
Your home will likely be the most valuable thing you ever own, so take your time finding the right homeowners insurance that protects you, should the worst happen. It’s up to you to shop around for the best coverage and the best rates. If you live in an area that floods often, you might want to find a company that offers insurance packages against natural disasters, hail, rain, or wind.
10. Title Company/ Real Estate Attorney
A title company or real estate attorney (some states require buyers to use an attorney) can search through public records and make sure there are no issues that would get in the way of your home purchase. They look for things like liens against the property, overdue taxes, and zoning restrictions. Then the title company or attorney also facilitates scheduling your closing date and actual closing, making sure closing documents are executed, your new home’s title is filed, and that funds are distributed from buyer to seller.
Now that you’re acquainted with some of the MVPs of the mortgage process, where do you go from here? The best way to get started is to reach out to one of our experienced loan originators (You know, those nice people we told you about at the beginning?).
A Cardinal loan originator can help step you through the process, whether you’re looking to make new memories in a new home, or you want to refinance your current space. And if you’re ready to get going ASAP, you can always crunch the numbers on our mortgage calculator or refinance calculator!