Buying A House In Maryland
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Getting ready to buy a house in Maryland? Congratulations! Buying a new home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. I’ve written in the past about the home buying process, but I wanted to go over a few points specific to buying a home in Maryland. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin the process of finding a home.
Talk To Local Lenders. I always encourage buyers to speak to a few different lenders before they start looking at homes. I work with both home and farm buyers and I believe it is in their best interest to shop around for a loan and get their financing plan together before they start their search. After all, a preapproval letter is really a mandatory part of an offer these days. At least one lender that you speak to should be a local lender. If you are buying a farm, speak to a local lender with experience working with farm buyers. It is important to note that different lending institutions have different underwriting processes and different loan officers have experience working with particular loans. For example, not all lenders work with USDA loans. Buyers tend to really benefit from working with a local lender because they may be able to offer special programs specific to the area and the type of buyer.
Check Out The Maryland Mortgage Program. Local lenders will be able to tell you more about the Maryland Mortgage Program and whether or not you qualify. The MMP offers incentives to buy in certain neighborhoods, closing cost assistance, down payment assistance, federal tax credits, pre-purchase counseling, and the opportunity to pay off student debt as part of the purchase. It is worth finding out if you qualify.
Pay Attention To The County. Counties play a heavy role in homeownership and the home buying process in Maryland. An agent will be able to guide you through the county specific paperwork, but be sure to pay attention to the tax rates and zoning laws. Each county and city in Maryland has its own local tax rates and its own zoning ordinance. Moving one county over or into an area that is zoned differently can make a world of a difference on how much you pay in taxes and what you are allowed to do with a property. Zoning becomes especially important when you plan to buy a farm so don’t assume that A zoning in one county means the same thing as A zoning in the next county over.
Research The Markets. Maryland housing markets vary wildly. Here you can find some of the most expensive zip codes in the nation in addition to housing that is quite affordable. Research the neighborhoods and areas that interest you the most to get an idea of what it will cost to live there not just in terms of housing, but also in terms of the cost of commuting, groceries, and other amenities. Condo fees are another important factor to be on the lookout for. Some neighborhoods seem quite affordable, but it is common for condo fees to be as much as your monthly mortgage payment in some areas.