When you're looking for a mortgage, you'll probably speak with a number of different professionals. Here's a quick overview of what each of them does, and how they may help you in the loan process.
Your Real Estate Professional
Your real estate professional will help you find properties for sale that fit your budget and your needs. Your real estate professional may also:
- Write up your purchase offer and present it to the seller or seller's real estate professional.
- Guide you through negotiations with the seller and accompany you to the closing.
- Work with your lender to get them information they need about the home you've contracted to purchase.
- Help you understand the market you're looking in and provide comparable homes to review.
The Seller's Real Estate Professional
Sometimes also referred to as the "listing agent", the seller's real estate professional will work with your agent on the real estate offer, negotiations, and loan closing.
Your Mortgage Professional is prepared to act as your primary guide throughout the mortgage process. S/he will provide you with detailed information so you can determine the loan that best fits your needs and will coordinate all your loan paperwork. To contact a AmWest Mortgage Professional, click here.
Typically, Mortgage Professionals are responsible for:
- Assembling all required paperwork for loan prequalification. This is the process of providing financial and other information (such as employment history) by a prospective borrower in order for the lender to determine the loan amount the borrower may qualify for to purchase a home.
- Preparing prequalification letters for you, which will show sellers how much you could qualify for a home loan and potentially provide you with an advantage if competing with other interested buyers who are not prequalified.
- Gathering your income, expenses, assets and obtaining a copy of your credit report. It helps a lender determine whether or not a potential borrower is a good business risk.
- Sending your information to a loan underwriter for review.
- Providing qualified borrowers with a loan offer and loan disclosures.
- Information given to consumers about their loans that explain loan fees, terms, and conditions.
- Working with title companies to schedule closing your loan.
- Attending the loan closing. This is the time and place at which documents for your loan are signed, dated, and notarized.
- Keeping you informed throughout the process and ensuring you fully understand your mortgage.
The underwriter is the person who decides whether or not their lending organization will approve your application for a home loan. They make this decision based on the information they receive from your loan application and supporting documentation, including the home appraisal.
Typically, your Mortgage Professional will communicate with the underwriter on your behalf. Unless you experience unusual circumstances, it's unlikely that you will be asked to contact the underwriter directly.
An examination of a real estate property's condition, usually performed in connection with the property's sale. A qualified home inspector can assess the condition of a property's roof, foundation, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water and sewage, and some fire and safety issues. In addition, the home inspector will look for evidence of insect, water or fire damage or any other issue that may affect the value of the property.
A home inspector is often hired by a potential home buyer to provide a written report regarding a property's condition, including an assessment of necessary or recommended repairs, maintenance concerns or other issues. A home inspection is an examination of the property's condition, and should not be confused with a home appraisal, which determines the value of the property.
A practitioner who has the knowledge and expertise necessary to estimate the value of an asset, or the likelihood of an event occurring, and the cost of such an occurrence. Ideally, an appraiser acts independently of the buying and selling parties in a transaction in order to arrive at the fair value of an asset without bias.
Appraisers are useful when attempting to attach a value to items such as jewelry, art, gems, family heirlooms and real estate. Because of the lack of liquidity in these assets and the necessity to rely on comparisons to estimate their value, investors tend to hold an appraiser's work in high regard.
Title companies research and affirm associated property titles, which contain an overview of the underlying property and its ownership history. It is the responsibility of the title company to examine the associated title and clear any claims or liens against the property to ensure that the buyer receives a legitimate and clear property.
Once the title is affirmed, the title company must prepare the insurance policy and issue both lender’s and owner’s coverage. Lender’s coverage is required by the underlying mortgage company to protect the lender’s investment, while owner’s coverage may be procured at the settlement for the benefit of the buyer.
Title companies also maintain escrow accounts, which contain the funds required to finalize the purchase. Title companies are responsible for ensuring that the escrow is only utilized for closing costs. At the closing, the title company provides the necessary documents, explains the stipulations to both the buyer and seller, verifies tax payments and distributes any associated funds to the rightful party.