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.
- 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!