The Role of a Loan Officer vs. a Realtor
One key to a smooth and successful homebuying process is selecting the right experts who can support and guide you throughout the process. Your partnership with a loan officer and Realtor is essential to making your homebuying experience not only successful, but much smoother. Each of these professionals has different but complementary experience and they can work together to assist you.
A loan officer is a financial professional who helps the homebuyer with the home loan application process. Here are some of the key services your loan officer will provide:
- Getting prequalified or preapproved for a home loan
For a smoother homebuying experience, a loan officer is the first person you want to work with when buying a home. Your loan officer can work with you to get you prequalified or preapproved so you know how much home you can afford before you begin your home search. This is an important step to minimize any potential delays or challenges you might encounter once you find the right home for you.
- Finding the right type of mortgage
There are many loan options available to help you achieve homeownership. While many members like to do their own research, your loan officer has helpful experience and will work closely with you to determine what loan type of mortgage is best for your individual needs and home goals.
- Assisting with your loan application
The loan application process includes completing the application, collecting the application fees, pulling your consumer credit report, and collecting and verifying all required financial documents necessary for final loan review and potential approval. Whether you choose to do everything online, want to work with someone face-to-face, or have a combination, your loan officer can assist you with these steps and answer questions along the way.
- Locking in your loan interest rate
Mortgage interest rates fluctuate frequently, sometimes every day or even several times per day. Your loan officer can work with you to determine if you should lock your rate, when you should lock your rate and how long the rate lock lasts. They can also discuss options for paying points on the loan to lower the interest rate if that is a good option for you and your budget.
Your loan officer will walk you through all the final terms and costs of your loan prior to loan closing. This will help you better understand the important documents you’re signing.
- Ongoing guidance and support
You may get several mortgages throughout your lifetime, but your loan officer assists credit union members with home loans every day. Count on them to keep you informed throughout the loan process and answer all your questions. They will let you know any loan conditions that need to be met and provide you with information regarding exactly what you need to bring to your loan closing.
A Realtor is a licensed professional who helps their clients buy or sell a home or property. Here are some of the key services your Realtor will provide:
- Assist the buyer with their home search
Your Realtor can provide you with home listings that match your budget based on your home loan prequalification or preapproval, and with the features you want, including location, square footage, school district, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, neighborhood amenities and more.
- Prepare your current home for sale
If you need to sell your current home, your Realtor can work with you to prepare your home for listing it for sale, including home staging, taking listing photos to show your home online, having open houses and negotiate offers made on the home.
- Show you homes that interest you
Your Realtor can save you a lot of time by helping you find homes that meet your needs and budget. Once you’ve selected the homes that interest you, your Realtor can schedule an in-person or virtual showing of the homes so you can narrow your list and make a more informed decision.
- Present your purchase offer
When you’re ready to make an offer, your Realtor will work with you to determine a fair purchase price to offer for the home and present your offer to the seller’s agent. From there, your Realtor will work on your behalf to facilitate negotiations.
- Prepare the purchase agreement
Once your purchase offer has been accepted, your Realtor will prepare your purchase agreement for the transaction.
- Help schedule inspections
Most buyers will want to schedule a home inspection prior to purchasing the home to find any issues that may not be observed during a walk-through tour of the home. Use a professional who is experienced in looking for things you may not see or may not know to watch for. In addition, some loans require additional inspections as a condition of financing, such as a termite inspection or radon testing.
- Facilitate overcoming any setbacks
If the inspections or the home appraisal uncover any issues, your Realtor will work on your behalf to negotiate with the seller. Some may need to be fixed and some can probably wait, but either way, you’ll want to know, and your Realtor is experienced in this type of negotiations on their client’s behalf.
Your Realtor will work with the title agency to ensure all conditions are met and you are ready for loan closing.
With a major purchase like a home, help yourself by assembling a qualified, experienced team to assist you. Plus, remember that you are the most important member of your own team. Even though your team is working for you, there are still tasks that only you can complete to keep things moving forward, and your loan officer and Realtor can tell you what those are and work with you to complete them. Connecting with an experienced loan officer and Realtor is a great place to start.
This educational article is provided as a courtesy by your credit union’s home loan partner, myCUmortgage. For information regarding your unique home loan needs, please work with your credit union loan officer.