Real Estate

Who's Who In Real Estate

Real Estate Agents

A real estate agent can show you homes for sale, negotiate the terms and price on a home purchase. Buyer's agents represent the homebuyer in the sale. Seller's agents may work with buyers, but they are responsible for the seller's best interest. Typically, the seller, not the buyer, pays agent fees.

Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage brokers match homebuyers with lenders. A broker may be paid with a loan "origination" fee from the consumer or indirectly by the lender that will be providing the funds—or both. Broker fees are negotiable—ask for a breakdown of how your broker is compensated and question all charges so that you don't pay more than you need to.

Mortgage Banks and Online Lenders

To shop for the best loan, you can meet directly with banks and other mortgage lenders or visit them on the Internet. National online lenders also arrange mortgages.


These professionals determine the current value of the house you want to buy. Appraisers are usually hired by your mortgage lender, but you pay the appraisal fee of $300-$500.

Home Inspectors

Hire an inspector to learn if there are any major problems with the house you want. When you sign a contract for a home, ask for a home inspection contingency—then you can walk away if the inspection finds problems you don't want to fix. To find an inspector, ask your buyer's agent for a recommendation or contact The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, 877-FIND-INS or The American Society of Home Inspectors, 800-743-2744.

Consumer Action's Housing Information Project created this brochure in partnership with Capital One Services, Inc. © 2007 Consumer Action. Rights Reserved.