When it comes to the world of real estate, there is A LOT to know! Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming—who should you work with? Where do you even start? 

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the different real estate professionals who are involved in the buying and selling process. Below, you’ll find 11 different professionals who can help you will different steps of the home buying or selling process! 

1. REALTOR®

A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. 

2. REAL ESTATE AGENT

A real estate agent is licensed by the state to represent parties in the transfer of property. Every REALTOR® is a real estate agent, but not every real estate agent has the professional designation of a REALTOR®.

3. LISTING AGENT

A listing agent or broker forms a legal relationship with the homeowner to sell the property.

4. BUYER'S AGENT

A buyer's agent or broker works with a buyer to find a property they want to buy and to negotiate a successful purchase of the home.

5. HOME INSPECTOR

A home inspector objectively and independently provides a comprehensive analysis of a home's major systems and components.

6. LOAN OFFICER

A loan officer represents a bank or other financial institution. They help customers identify their borrowing options, and they help them understand the terms of their loan.

7. APPRAISER

An appraiser works for the lender and provides a market analysis of the subject property. An appraiser's finding is subjective and combined with market findings of sold properties within the surrounding neighborhood.

8. INSURANCE AGENT

An insurance agent helps a homebuyer determine the homeowner's protection coverage needed and then finds the right insurance policy to fit those needs.

9. REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY

A real estate attorney can give advice on all legal aspects of the real estate transaction. Additionally, they are able to draft and review contracts, help decide how to take title and assist with the closing process. In some states, real estate closings can only be conducted by attorneys.

10. ESCROW/CLOSING OFFICER

An escrow or closing officer is a non-biased third party who works with all participants to facilitate a successful closing of a real estate transaction. At closing, the closing officer will collect the purchase money funds from the buyer and lender as well as the settlement costs from each party. They disburse the funds in accordance with the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and record the necessary documents to transfer ownership of the property.

11. CLOSING/TITLE AGENT

A closing or title agent performs title searches to ensure a clear title so a title insurance policy can be issued. In some states they are able to facilitate the transfer of real estate.