First Time Home Buyer's Guide

If you are a home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying a home in Central Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania, Virginia & West Virginia.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.

  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.

  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.

  • Representation by a Professional: Hire your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.

First Time Home Buyer's Guide-
  • 1. Save for down payment, closing costs and escrow for insurance and taxes. 
  • 2. Improve or maintain your credit score- stay current on bills, no major purchases, don't cancel any credit cards. Higher credit card score=lower interest rate
  • 3. Calculate what you can afford
  • 4. Get mortgage pre-approval 
  • 5. Decide what you want in a home
  • 6. Choose a realtor
  • 7. Visit homes- take photos, make notes, home shopping checklist
  • 8. Narrow choices- visit neighborhood during the day and night to gauge traffic noise, e.t.c., test commute, consider resale value. 
  • 9. Make an offer-  Work with your agent to analyze comparable sales and structure your best possible offer 
  • 10.Schedule home inspection
  • 11. Bank- Mortgage Processing including Appraisal 
  • 12. Make final walk-through- test light switches, sockets, check that windows and doors work. Test faucets, drains, toilets. 
  • 13. Close and move in!
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.