The key people are the loan officer, loan processor, loan underwriter, inspector, appraiser, closer, and settlement agent.


image Loan Officer. This is the person who helps you complete the mortgage application and acts as a “consultant” when it comes to deciding which program might be best for you. The loan officer is typically your key contact who generally oversees your loan package throughout the process, working up monthly payments, closing costs, and funds required to close. The loan officer might sometimes help the loan processor gather information needed for your file.

image Loan Processor. This person assembles your documentation as it comes in for preparation to go either to the underwriter or straight to order your loan papers. You’ll get to know your loan processor fairly well since this person will be collecting your errant paycheck stub or contacting your insurance agent for policy information. Loan officers also keep track of what loan items are in and which items have yet to arrive. Loans don’t get processed for underwriting or closing unless all required documents are in the file.

image Loan Underwriter. This person is responsible for ultimately saying “yes” or “no” on a loan file. The underwriter compares loan guidelines with what you have documented in the file. If you say you make $5,000 per month, the loan underwriter verifies that you make that amount by checking your paycheck stubs. Can you afford the house? Are the credit scores in line for a particular program? The underwriter makes sure the loan conforms to loan guidelines. You’ll probably never speak to an underwriter, just to the loan officer and loan processor.

image Inspector. This person makes a visual inspection of your home, looking for building defects or pests such as termites. Inspectors can find problems that need repair before the house can close, such as a cracked foundation or a faulty roof. You should get an inspection before you order the appraisal. If the inspection report comes back showing thousands of dollars worth of needed repairs, then there’s no sense in ordering an appraisal if you’re not going to buy the house due to its poor condition. Don’t pay for an appraisal until your home has passed inspection.

image Appraiser. This person determines the market value of the home by comparing the sales prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. Appraisers aren’t property inspectors, although they may notice something about the house that would affect value. If they see a crack on an inside wall, they might make note of that crack. If they do, then the lender will want to see if there are any problems with the foundation or investigate further for structural defects. They’ll measure square footage and take pictures of the house, both inside and out.

image Closer. In the lender’s department, this person reviews the loan and helps prepare the lender’s closing documents. The closer forwards those documents to your settlement agent’s office, where you will be signing closing papers.image Settlement Agent. This person receives specific instructions from the lender explaining what the lender needs to fund the loan. The settlement agent can be called different things in different parts of the country. In some areas only attorneys can close deals, while in some states an escrow agent holds the closing. The settlement agent watches you sign all of your closing documents and verifies that the sale of the home goes according to state laws and the lender’s requirements. The settlement agent also verifies that you are who you say you are.

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