Contemplating buying a new home in Annapolis? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty can help.

With a little up-front planning, purchasing a home isn't too hard, but the event intimidates many people. I like to supply buyers with a road map of the entire deal so they'll know exactly what they can expect. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home. If you have questions about any of this information or if you're prepared to get started, you can contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Get ready to buy
Before you commence your home search, there are a lot of things you need to consider. When you begin your search, you'll probably want to create an index of items you want to have, plan for what school districts and neighborhoods you want to live in, and start planning around your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 1/3 of your monthly income is a good principle to go by.

Step 2 – Talk to a real estate agent
That's where I come in. We can arrange a time to get together so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll talk about the mortgage and housing industries, other economic factors that could potentially affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and schools in the Annapolis area.

In addition, I'll help you facilitate the loan process. There are some excellent mortgage professionals in Annapolis, and I partner with a lot of them, so you're in great hands. They'll assist you with figuring out which type of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Begin looking for a house
Following our initial meeting, I'll begin finding available houses on the market that are great for you. I'll research most of the homes and remove the bad ones, and then we'll schedule appointments to view the houses whenever it's convenient for you.

When we view the houses, I'll call attention to good features, as well as negative ones. I'll even ask you what things you like and dislike. As a rule, buyers revise their wish list as we view houses and some features become far more substantial than others. If that's the situation, I'll look through all the listings another time and trim it down to the home you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Understand the housing market
An agent's awareness of the Annapolis housing market is a crucial aspect in your house search. And I assure you I'm informed of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I can alert you to what neighborhoods are "hot" and require immediate action and some that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful consideration.

As we tour houses, I'll make sure to communicate if the asking price has room for negotiation or if I believe the home is "priced to sell." Be careful and make sure you ask a lot of questions, as every real estate agent in Annapolis will convince you they know the housing market. If things don't add up, contact me at 410-647-8000 ext. 817 or e-mail me at , and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have. My understanding of the market will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home of your dreams
We'll find the house of your dreams in Annapolis, and when we do, I'll precisely develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be made to suit your needs and the home. We'll include many contingencies, such as obtaining financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clear title.

When we present your purchase offer, you'll need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit given to the home seller to secure an offer to purchase the property. The amount is often applied to the closing costs. If your offer is accepted, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days after. This allows enough time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
Unfortunately most contracts aren't closed on the first offer – it's pretty common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and go on.

Market conditions will play a large role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your financing constraints. And at the end of the day, we'll assemble a contract that works well for you.

Step 7 – Get your loan
Upon finalizing the deal, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-approved, it shouldn't take much time at all. But you should to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll look after all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
Your lender will provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) of your closing costs within three days of taking your application. You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing your closing costs from your lender within three days of receiving your application. The estimate is formed from the loan amount. RESPA requirements dictate that it has to involve all closing costs and be within a close range of accuracy, and I'll examine the estimate and let you know if it all looks good.

Then it's time to close on your home. This will most likely take place at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and pleasant event.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, make sure you call me at 410-647-8000 ext. 817 or e-mail me at .

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