• Sarah Lipkowitz

Buying Your First Home In Maryland

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Buying a home is a monumental undertaking and buying your first home can be overwhelming. For most, it is the largest financial investment of their lives and there are a few things you need to know before diving in

Understanding Agency. It is crucial that you understand which party each agent represents in a real estate transaction. Dealing directly with a listing agent is not the best idea because they don’t represent you as a fiduciary. Find yourself a buyer’s agent that you trust and keep in mind that without a signed agency agreement, all agents represent the seller. It is possible to have one agent represent both parties, but everyone must agree to the dual agency/ transaction brokerage arrangement. There are some benefits to dual agency, but keep in mind that the lines of neutrality and confidentiality owed to each client might become muddled.

Loans. While you may be itching to go house hunting, there is one very important step you must take first—getting pre-approved. Pre-approval is better than pre-qualification because your finances are more closely scrutinized and the underwriting process will begin. This gives you a concrete upper price limit for your search and the ability to move quickly once you’ve found a property you want to buy.

Assistance Programs. Many states have assistance programs for first-time homebuyers. If you are unsure whether or not you can afford to purchase a home, I would encourage you to see what your state has to offer. For instance, the Maryland Mortgage Program offers different programs throughout the year and anyone who has never bought a home in the state of Maryland is considered a first-time homebuyer.

The Down Payment. While the thought of putting 20% down and not paying for mortgage insurance seems appealing, you may want to reconsider. It is unwise to spend all of your savings on a 20% down payment and not leave anything stashed away for emergencies. The cost of homeownership does not end at closing. You don’t want to sweat through a heat wave because you can’t afford to fix the AC until next month.

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