Your first steps to buying a home in Carroll County.
Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Carroll County or any county in Maryland, there are some key steps and decisions that need to be completed. If more than one of you is purchasing the property, each person MUST communicate with each other on what’s important to them. Get out the ol’ pen and pad of paper, and start a list that you each agree on.
First and foremost is selecting an geographic area that suits your needs. This sounds easy, but needs to be thoroughly thought out. Go online or buy an actual physical map and draw an area that works for you. This is your “bulls-eye” area. Think about your commute, daycare, shopping etc. Then highlight an area a little outside of that bulls-eye, this is your “plan B” area. It’s a little outside your ideal area but is still doable if the perfect property came along.
Next, make a list of your ‘needs & wants’. What do you need? What is it that is critical to your property purchase? Example- “3 Bedrooms, 2 baths, basement (can be unfinished) on at least a quarter acre lot, no more than $300k etc.” Now on the ‘wants’ section- “ Fireplace, garage, updated kitchen, finished basement, walk-in closet etc”. On the ‘wants’ list, have some fun, make a long list of all the features you would love to find in the home and on the property i.e. all brick home, big deck, level lot, fruit trees, workshop, dead-end street, 3 car garage etc. It doesn’t hurt to dream a little, and remember dreams can become reality.
With the above steps done, now’s the time to find a Realtor to assist you. Talk to your friends, neighbors and relatives to see if they have any recommendations. You want to find an agent that is familiar with the area you are interested in. This is key, because Real Estate is so local. Hopefully several names will come up and you can talk to several. You want to feel comfortable with him or her as you will be spending a lot of time together, sharing some personal and financial information with them. Your Realtor is there to work and represent your interests. I can tell you that a good Real Estate agent can become a lifetime friend because we get so involved in our clients lives, we want to see them succeed in life and make good Real Estate decisions.
Your Realtor can assist you with finding a reputable mortgage lender. This is the next step that is critical in the home buying process. Whether you’re a 1st time home buyer or a 3rd or 4th time homebuyer, you need to get a pre-approval letter from a lender BEFORE you actually go out and look for properties. The mortgage lending world has changed in the last few years, standards have been tightened. It’s much more than a credit score. When you talk to a lender, honestly lay all your cards on the table. Hold nothing back with regards to you past and current financial situation. It’s better to find any bug-a-boos now than when you’re a week from settlement on your dream home and your lender says “we have a problem”. I’ve seen it happen too many times. Things that you think aren’t important, may be very important to a lender’s underwriters. Your lender will assist you in finding the best loan program for your situation, whether it’s FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional. The lender can tell you, based on their company’s and/or government standards, what the maximum amount they are willing to lend you and what your approximate monthly payment would be. (An exact amount can’t be computed until a specific property is identified.) You may not need/want to borrow the maximum amount, but now you know how much money a lending institution will loan you.
So now you 1) know the area you want to live in 2) have a list of your ‘needs & wants’ 3) found a full time Realtor who knows the area and you feel comfortable with and 4) have a pre-approval letter in hand as to how much you can borrow. You are now ready to begin your search for the perfect property!! What you do after you find “that” property will be covered in a future post.
My name is David Post and I’m a full time Realtor here in Carroll County Maryland. If I can assist you or someone you know in either buyer or selling a property in CarrollCountyor any other nearby county, please call me direct at 410-984-2221 anytime. This is what I do and this is what I love…. Real Estate! I’d be happy to sent out my Special Report- “How to avoid paying too much- A simple guide to help avoid over paying for your home”, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 410-984-2221. www.postwithdavid.com