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Humans of Real Estate

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Humans of Real Estate

By Hewlett Santos. 10 min read.

If you were to deep dive the Real Estate Dictionary for every actor within the industry, you would need lots of patience and very little on your schedule.

It is quite extensive. So I’ve compiled a condensed version of actors within the industry that people encounter when they rent, own, want to buy, or hope to sell. In effort to keep it short (I tried!), I’ve left out tons of granular roles and titles. Some you may be seeing for the first time, others you will already be familiar with.


This is the role that is on the top of people’s minds when they hear the term Real Estate, and is also conveniently on the top of this list. Real Estate Agents partake in more than 90% of real estate transactions. Their job is to represent buyers and sellers in the transaction, market and hold showings of a seller client’s property for sale, find a property that fits their buyer client’s criteria, and generally be the glue that holds the deal together. Whether you rent or own your home, chances are extremely high that you acquired it with the help of an Agent. Some Agents are also REALTORS.


Does financial analysis in support to a property’s financing, acquisition, marketing and leasing. Role is generally found within an organization whose business pertains to the acquisition and disposition of real estate. Usually large corporations would justify hiring a financial analyst, however one can potentially create a niche for themselves within the world of smaller investment groups.


Main role is to perform property valuations on residential and commercial real estate. They are an unbiased arbiter of determining what a property is worth, making sure that the property is sold at a fair price (not to be confused with Inspectors). They review the home and compare it to similar properties on the market to make sure that it is priced fairly. Appraisers are involved in a vast majority of real estate transactions.


Professionals who are skilled and specialize in matters related to properties, from standard transactions to legal disputes. They typically review or prepare documentation specific to mortgages, purchase agreements, title and trust. Attorneys also handle the closing of a real estate transaction. More importantly, Attorneys provide professional guidance to their client to satisfy their best interest.

New York and Connecticut are attorney states, meaning real estate transactions that occur in these states must be closed by an attorney. In Pennsylvania, either an attorney or a title company can be used to close. In Northern New Jersey, typically an attorney is utilized to closing transactions, whereas in Southern NJ, transactions are typically closed by title companies.

Building Inspector

An individual whose job is to check the compliance of the property with local ordinances. Each municipality can carry its own set of regulations for how details of a property must be done, including electrical, plumbing, and landscaping. Also known as Home Inspectors, the work for the city or county government and need to sign off on construction projects at multiple phases before the next phase can commence.
The Real Estate industry produces many individual with different roles and flavors.

The Real Estate industry produces many individual with different roles and flavors.


An individual or entity that will acquire real estate. The person who purchased the building that you currently live in is the last buyer of that property. The buyer is the B side of an A-B purchase agreement.


Certified Public Accountants are practitioners of the measurement, assurance, and disclosure of financial information that helps people and companies keep track of their money, stay compliant, and make sound financial decisions. A CPA is a crucial member of anyone’s team who is serious about their financial standing, whether individual or business entity.


The person, financial institution, or bank to which a debt is owed. If you take out a loan, the bank that issued your loan is the creditor.

Mindset hack: The bank is not the only place that provides loans. Credit unions are not the only additional option. Look within your community and you might find people who look like you, who have money and are willing to fund your goals.

Designer (architect, interior designer, landscape designer)

Individual or company that deals in the creative aspects of building real estate, creating the atmosphere and planning the aesthetic. Architects, Interior Designers, and Landscape Designers are some examples.


Individual or entity involved in the process of purchasing, renovating, and releasing raw land to developed land or parcels. They take the raw land and use their imagination to convert it to usable property, whether in the form of a lot ready to be build on, or a fully finished and furnished property.

It’s 2019; Don’t expect every person doing business to be dressed up in a suit and tie.

It’s 2019; Don’t expect every person doing business to be dressed up in a suit and tie.

Escrow Officer

A highly-trained and experienced employee of an escrow company, this individual acts as a neutral third party who helps the A and B side of the purchase agreement to accomplish their overall goal of transferring a property. They work closely with agents, lenders and other service providers involved in each transaction. They are responsible for receiving funding from the buyer, preparing or securing deed, conducting title search, and more. They are the central communication point for all parties, once they have entered into agreement.

“Empty Nester”

The term that describes an individual who is looking to downsize, or move into a smaller property, because their existing property is no longer occupied with their children. When the chicks leave the nest, the bird searches for something cozier and more accommodating. Typically older adults who have adult children who have moved out.


The person or institution who is responsible for “executing” the wishes stated in the will of deceased individual. They are required to follow the instructions that the deceased has called for when handling their assets. If no will and testament is recorded before an individual passes away, the State where they reside will act as the executor.

Don’t slack on this! Do your research and create your will.

Financial Advisor

This is a qualified investment professional whose job is to help guide individuals and business entities toward their long term financial goals. They work with their clients by identifying where they are currently at with their finances, extracting their clients goals, discovering their tolerance of risk, and devising a strategy that meets their needs.

General Contractor

Abbreviated as “GC,” these are individuals or companies that are hired to work adjacently with builders, architects, designers and the investor or homeowner to accomplish the completion of a renovation/rehab or new construction project. Within their scope, they direct subcontractors such as Electricians, HVAC Technicians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Painters, Landscapers, Masonry, Roofers and even Cleaning companies. They seek to accomplish the goals of the project under time, under budget, and in compliance with county or city ordinances. Finding a good GC is not an easy task!

You may not experience all of these individuals, but you definitely have dealt with some.

You may not experience all of these individuals, but you definitely have dealt with some.

Grantee - Buyer

This is the person who is buying the property


This is the issuer of mortgage, lender, or the seller.


I know. “Thanks, Captain Obvious.” Whatever.

I must mention that not all homeowners live in the property. Not all homeowners are individuals; some are companies. Most homeowners don’t actually own the home, but the mortgage lien that the lender places on the property (they don’t even own the deed). You’re welcome.

Insurance Agent

Individual or company who helps clients to choose a policy that meets their coverage needs, whether as a renter or a homeowner.


A person who acts as a link between two parties in order to accomplish what they set out within their agreement. Escrow Officers play a good, unbiased intermediary.

Some of these individuals you will never meet. Other’s services you may use multiple times.

Some of these individuals you will never meet. Other’s services you may use multiple times.


An individual or entity that seeks to capitalize on opportunities to earn money on their money, time, network, or physical efforts. They are professionals who are skilled at generating returns on investment, whether by way of stocks, bonds, businesses, assets or other opportunities.


The owner of a property that is currently under a lease agreement with a Tenant. The Tenant pays the Landlord for the use of their asset.

Leasing Agent

They work with Landlords and Property Managers to find good tenants for their properties. They operate in both residential and commercial space. They work in tandem with Realtors to satisfy the needs of their owner client and the realtor’s tenant client.


This is the individual or institution that underwrites the mortgage for the purchase of a property. This is typically a bank, but individuals and smaller private organizations can also act as a lender (most of the time, with more favorable terms). The lender issues a lien on the property in the form of a mortgage, and so the property can be reclaimed by them at any time if the rules and terms of the agreement with the mortgagor (consumer of the lender’s product = $$$) are not followed.


Person who has borrowed a mortgage. The Mortgagor will receive the deed to a property once they have satisfied all payment on a mortgage.


Motivated Buyer


I want to buy distressed property in:
New York (Westchester and Bronx County)
New Jersey (Passaic, Essex, Bergen Counties)
Pennsylvaniea (Lehigh and Philadelphia Counties)
Connecticut (Fairfield and Hartford Counties).

We are looking for investment opportunities where we can add value. We pay cash for our properties and can close quickly, typically in less than 30 days (or less, if the situation calls for it!). When you sell your home to us, you pay no closing costs, no realtor fees or commissions, and can sell your property with no hassle, in no time!

Click here to learn more

Motivated Seller

Someone who has a property for sale and wants to sell quickly, for many reasons. They are typically willing to sell at a discount because they seek convenience and speed in the sale of their property. Here are some reasons why someone might find themselves in the position of a Motivated Seller:

  1. They are relocating due to a new job opportunity

  2. They have moved and don’t want to pay two mortgages

  3. They have just inherited an unwanted property due to the loss of a relative

  4. They are an “Empty Nester” seeking to downsize

  5. They don’t want their property but have trouble selling it because it needs lots of work

  6. They don’t want to pay thousands in closing costs and realtor fees

  7. They are facing a potential foreclosure or want to avoid bankruptcy

  8. They are facing divorce and need to sell the property ASAP

  9. They are in physically ill and have moved in with a caregiver

  10. Their house is a burden and they just want it gone fast

There are many more reasons why homeowners can be motivated to sell their home fast. We have witnessed many complex and unique situations that people are faced with.

If you are a motivated seller and would like some more information about us and our service, or just want to discuss your situation and options with a professional who can help you find your best solution, contact us today.

Contact us today to see what your options are. We will not always be the best fit, but we will offer whatever we can to help!

Contact us today to see what your options are. We will not always be the best fit, but we will offer whatever we can to help!

Property Manager

Sometimes abbreviated as “PM,” this is an individual or company who is in charge of the day to day maintenance of a property. They manage tenants, deal with contractors who are brought in for unexpected repairs, and other tasks associated. Sometimes hired by property owners, a Property Manager or Property Management Company allows the owner of an investment property to separate themself from the property and focus on other things. Property Managers are crucial when investing out of state.


Not to be confused with a Real Estate Agent, a REALTOR is an individual who happens to be an agent, but also a member of the nationally accredited National Association of REALTORS. They hold themselves an their service at a higher standard, have a higher sense of accountability and therefore exude just a bit more trust. Probably cost more also (joking!).


Employees of the government who are tasked with maintaining the updated information pertaining to the public records of real estate. They note who the current and all past owners are, who holds the deed, who owes what to who, and the amount. They document legal description of the property. In most states, they keep digital records of each agreement related to the purchase and sale of any given property.


The agency that collects the money you pay to your lender. Essentially, your lender issued the mortgage to you, put a lien on the property, and hired out a company (or created a division in house) which is tasked with collecting and processing your monthly payments as a homeowner.


A term used to describe a Real Estate Agent/Broker who is on the other side of the transaction. Let’s say you are a motivated seller who decides to list with an agent and you hired me as your agent. If a buyer is presented to me by an Agent, whose offer I present to you, then that Agent is known as the subagent by me and my brokerage. If I represent you as the seller and I find you a buyer myself, then there is no subagent.

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This is the person who is responsible for maintenance of a building and communication with Tenants. They can be hired by the Property Manager or Property Management Company, or they can be the Property Manager themself. One of the few benefits of renting is that you can blow up your super’s phone at 1AM to come fix the broken pipes or change the light bulb or whatever.


If you have a lease agreement and are renting, you are the tenant. You can be a tenant of an apartment, a house, or commercial space.

Title Company

Ensures that you’re purchasing a legitimate parcel of real estate, from a legitimate seller. They help to deliver the title from the seller to the buyer. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are states where you can use a title company to close a transaction without requiring an Attorney. New York and Connecticut are Attorney only states.

Trusts (REIT)

A Trust is a community of investors who seek to gain dividends from shares they own in the company which owns a property. REIT is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. This is different from a group of Investors who partner up to purchase property and split the return on investment. This is like purchasing “stock” in a non-public company who owns positively cash-flowing real estate. REIT’s are great for people who want a hands-off approach to investing in Real Estate.


This is a third party who has equitable interest in a piece of property. The first and second party are the lender and the borrower. A Trustee can be strategically put in place for multiple reasons which are not relevant to this post.

I mentioned this because I plan on discussing techniques and strategies relevant to Real Estate Investing in the future and want to begin to enter this information in your consciousness. I will link here when that information is live on this site.

Undisclosed Heir/Spouse

An individual who is related to the deceased yet was unlisted in the deceased’s living will and testament. They usually come forward and make a legal claim to the ownership of the assets of the deceased which have already been disbursed, creating the potential for a legal dispute.

There are lots of individuals in the industry, whether professional or not! This is very surface level and only touches on the few that most people will experience.

There are lots of individuals in the industry, whether professional or not! This is very surface level and only touches on the few that most people will experience.


That was a lot.

However, that is only the tip of the real estate iceberg.

There are dozens more titles and roles that can be very granular and specific to different niches in the industry. Here I hope to have covered some of the most relevant actors who deal within the residential spaces of real estate. If you or someone you know has one of these titles and would like to add any knowledge to this post in the form of personal experience or a more specific definition, please comment below and help me to educate those who seek your expertise!