The listing agent is a licensed real estate professional who lists and markets the property for sale, after conducting market research in order to set the appropriate asking price. This agent works strictly for the seller and can show the property to prospective buyers but will not represent the buyer in the transaction.
Nowadays, buyers often choose to work with a buyer agent who will represent them (and not the seller) throughout the transaction. The buyer agent locates suitable properties based on the buyer’s criteria, shows them, prepares a contract to make an offer, and works with the listing agent to coordinate inspections and the closing. The buyer agent also often works with the mortgage loan officer (the person who puts your loan together) to make sure all the required documents are provided in a timely manner in order to close on schedule. The buyer does not usually pay the buyer agent commission.
The inspector works for and is paid by the buyer. After a thorough inspection he prepares a detailed report of his findings and discusses them with buyers.
The escrow officer works for a title company and is essential in keeping the transaction moving along smoothly by working with both real estate agents involved, the mortgage loan officer, and real estate attorneys. The escrow officer and title company are the keepers of all the paperwork and money transfers. Any earnest money provided at the time of contract should be deposited with the title company, where the escrow officer will prorate taxes and calculate how the money is to be distributed to pay off outstanding loans, commissions and other fees, and of course write a check to the seller. A disorganized escrow officer can easily cause the transaction to fall apart.