If you are a first-time buyer looking for that special home, you may be confused in general about the process, the terms, the players, and more. Most people say that one of your first moves should be to talk to a real estate professional in the area you want to buy, but which one? Read on to find out why doing that is such good advice along with a primer on who all the major players are that you could come into contact with during your home search and purchase.

Your Main Person

Real estate agents are ready to assist buyers in finding a home that meets their requirements. They work for both buyers and sellers but buyers usually won't have to pay a dime for those services. You can, if you want, talk to a special type of agent known as a buyer's agent. These real estate agents also don't charge anything but are focused only on fulfilling the needs of buyers and not sellers. Real estate agents have a keen knowledge of the local market along with expertise in advising buyers about pricing and what types of features to expect for that price. They may know about homes before they even come on the market. Here are few other real estate professionals you should know about:

Realtors® — This special breed of real estate agent is recognized by the National Board of Realtors® (NAR) for their high ethical standards and expertise. This certification may not be necessary to all buyers but it does elevate those who carry that certification with more prestige, ethics, and real estate knowledge.

Brokers — Real estate agents work under the umbrella of a broker and any real estate agent not doing so likely is a broker themselves. Agents may work under the name of a broker using their offices, staff, advertising, and more. When commissions are paid by a seller, the agent must split it with the broker.

Other Real Estate Professionals

Along with those that assist in the home-buying process are those auxiliary professionals that you might come into contact with between the time the seller accepts your offer and you close on the home.

Home Appraisers You must have your home appraised if you are seeking lending, and your agent can usually recommend a reliable person to perform the task of valuing the property you want to buy.

Home Inspectors — Even an "as-is" home deserves a close look at the major systems like plumbing and electrical.

Title Specialists — Finally, the title company performs a thorough search of the home's title to ascertain the true owner of the property before you close. Title insurance is a smart purchase that helps you if someone steps forward later to claim ownership.

Talk to a real estate agent to find the new home just right for you.