What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? Or a buyer’s agent and a listing agent? Having a glossary of real estate professionals to refer to as you navigate the home buying or selling process should come in handy.
Here’s a list of professionals that you’re likely to encounter:
An appraiser or assessor provides an objective estimated value of a piece of land or property, based on computations performed on market statistics and area information. Professional real estate appraisers are usually certified or licensed, and are typically required for transactions that are being financed.
A lawyer with specialized knowledge of the industry who is trained to help facilitate real estate transactions, including the buying, selling or leasing of property, land or natural resources. Real estate lawyers ensure that the letter and spirit of the law is followed, protecting the rights of their clients, while being held to the strictest ethical standards. Lawyers are not legally required in all states or provinces, with escrow officers often being used during closing instead. However, in cases with unusual terms or stipulations, seeking legal advice is recommended.
A real estate agent who represents buyers when they purchase a home, both advocating for and guiding them through the homebuying process. Exclusive buyer’s agents do not accept sellers’ listings.
Home inspectors perform safety and functional inspections of homes (and other pieces of real estate) to determine their condition and document any issues or areas in need of repair. Home inspectors are usually certified by governing bodies such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, with technical requirements differing by region.
Professional home stagers help prepare homes for sale, editing them to accentuate their appeal and possibilities when viewed by potential buyers. Home stagers also assist with the exterior appearance of homes to enhance curb-appeal.
Sometimes referred to as seller’s agents, these real estate agents represent the seller during the homebuying process.
Loan officers serve as intermediaries between creditors and borrowers, evaluating and recommending loan applications for approval. They are also referred to as mortgage loan originators.
Real estate agent
Licensed real estate professionals who represent buyers and/or sellers during real estate transactions.
Real estate broker
Licensed real estate professionals who have pursued education beyond the agent level, obtaining a broker’s license that allows them to operate a brokerage or real estate firm.
Real estate associate broker
Real estate broker who works for or under another broker.
Real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® or the Canadian Real Estate Association. These professional associations require REALTORS® to adhere to a strict code of standards and ethics, on which their membership is dependent.
Sometimes referred to as buyer’s agents, these real estate agents represent buyers during the homebuying process.
Title company representative
Review titles to pieces of real estate to ensure that they are legitimate and fit for transfer. Title representatives also issue title insurance once the title is found to be valid.