Buying or selling a home? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty can help.

Buying a home is stressful for many people, but with a bit of up-front planning, it's not too difficult. So they'll understand exactly what to expect, I'll supply buyers with an overview of the whole deal. Below are my nine steps to buying a home. Should you have questions about this information or if you're ready to get started, you can contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Get ready to purchase
There are many things you should do before starting your home search. When you start your search, you'll probably want to make a list of must-haves, get a feel for what school districts you'd like to live in, and start planning your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 1/3 of your monthly income is a good rule to adhere to.

Step 2 – Talk to a real estate agent
That's where I come in. We'll book a time to get together so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, schools in the Annapolis area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also help you start the loan process. I work with some of Annapolis's finest mortgage professionals, so you can rest assured that you're in great hands. They can help you determine which kind of loan is best for you, as well as help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Start house hunting
Following our initial meeting, I'll start finding available houses on the market that are a great fit for you. I'll research most of the houses and remove the duds, and then we'll book appointments to tour the homes whenever it's convenient for you.

As we view houses, I'll point out positive features and negative ones. And I'll ask you about things you like and dislike. It's pretty common for buyers to change their must-have list as we tour homes and some items become more important than others. If that's the situation, I'll search all the listings once more and narrow it down to the home you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
Your agent's knowledge of the Annapolis housing market is a leading agent in your home search. And I assure you I'm mindful of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I can communicate what neighborhoods are "hot" and call for prompt action and others that are "cool" and allow for more analysis.

When we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you when the seller's list price has room for negotiation and also when I trust the house is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, trust your instincts and make sure you ask a lot of questions, as any REALTOR in Annapolis will tell you they understand the housing market. If things don't add up, just call me at 410-647-8000 ext. 817 or e-mail me at , and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. My market knowledge will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
I'm certain we'll find the home of your dreams in the Annapolis area. When we do, I'll thoroughly develop your home purchase offer. The offer will be tailored with your needs in mind and the home, including several contingencies, such as getting financing, finishing the home inspection, and a clear title.

When sending in your purchase offer, you'll likely want to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to a home seller to secure the offer to buy the property and is typically put towards the closing costs. If the offer is accepted, we should close on the home about 30 to 60 days after. This allows sufficient time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most contracts don't close on the initial offer – it's really common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this intimidate you. We'll discuss whether or not to take the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or reject the seller's offer and move on.

Market circumstances determine how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your financing limits. And at the end of the day, we'll assemble a contract that is best for you.

Step 7 – Secure financing
Once we sign the final deal, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. It won't take much time at all if you're pre-approved, but you need to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll take care of all the property information your lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
Your mortgage lender will provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) of closing costs within three days of receiving your application. You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) of your closing costs from your lender within three days of accepting your application. The estimate is based on the loan amount. RESPA requirements dictate that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a narrow range of accuracy, and I'll go over the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then we'll close on your house. This will likely take place at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and relaxing occasion.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, simply call me at 410-647-8000 ext. 817 or e-mail me at .

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