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It Takes Preparation to be a Home Buyer

Crofton MD Real Estate Q&A

Q:  Is there anything I have to do to prepare for buying a Crofton home?

A.  The short answer is “no.”  The better answer is “yes!”  

Lots of home buyers walk into a real estate office or model home with no preparation at all, and eventually they succeed in finding and buying a house.  The process is rarely without disappointments, delays and frustrations, however, which might have been avoided with a little preparation.

If you want a more pleasant home-buying experience, here are some suggestions to help you prepare for becoming a home buyer:

1.  Know how much home you can afford before you start looking. 

Loan Pre-approval:  Contact a local lender to be pre-approved for a loan. The lender will require you to provide information for yourself and any additional borrowers before you can be pre-approved:

  • Full name, contact information, social security number, and birthdate.
  • The name and contact information for employer, gross income, length of employment, and employment history for the past several years.
  • The name, address, and account number for all monthly financial obligations including long and short term loans, credit accounts, child support, alimony, and child care.

CalculatorYour lender may ask for additional information, but this list will get you started.

Budget:  Just because a lender says you qualify for a loan, doesn’t mean you want to borrow that much. Sit down with a calculator and evaluate the required monthly expenses you shared with the lender AND your discretionary spending such as hobby-related expenses, private schools for your children, or that annual vacation.  Then you’ll have a more realistic picture of how much you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment, and that can be easily translated into how much you can borrow.

Down payment and closing costs:  How much cash do you have on hand for up-front expenses such as a home inspection, credit report, and appraisal?  How much will you have for down payment and closing?  There are other options besides savings or equity from another home.  Click on this previous blog post, 8 Ideas for Down Payment and Closing Costs.

2.  Know what features you want in a home and community

Make a wish list:  If price were no object, what features would you like to have in your home and community?  Now let’s add a dose of reality to your wish list by separating your “wants” from your “needs.”  For example, you may want 4 bedrooms but need 3. 

Do your research:  Take advantage of the many online home search options to get a preliminary idea of home prices, features, and neighborhoods. You can begin your home search right here, by clicking on the Search for Homes tab at the top of this page.  Homesdatabase.com is is another good resource, since it is the public version of MRIS, the multiple listing service used by real estate agents throughout the Middle Atlantic region, including the greater Crofton area.

3. Choose a real estate agent

How to choose an agent and what to expect at your first appointment are topics for another day.

Let it suffice, for now, to say that it’s never been easier to choose a real estate agent.  You can practically interview them online by visiting their websites, reading their blogs, and checking their reviews on 3rd party websites – not to mention the various social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Well-prepared home buyers are usually happy home-buyers, because there will be fewer delays, disappointments, and frustrations for them during the home-buying process. 

As your buyer’s agent, I will be a tireless advocate and adviser for you.  Why not give me a call?  Click on Contact Margaret to get started.

Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.

  DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication,
but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
__________________________________

Margaret WodaMargaret Woda, REALTOR and Associate Broker
Direct:  (301)346-2923 or click on EMAIL

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Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., 2191 Defense Hwy., Crofton, MD 21114 (410) 451–6245

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