Questions Commonly Asked by Crofton Buyers
1. Where should I start?
Your bank account is probably the best place to begin. Buying a home is a very large financial investment, so having a handle on your personal finances is critical. Take a look at how much you make versus how much you spend. How much debt do you currently have? What about savings or assets that could be put towards a down payment? Setting a budget, consolidating or paying off debts, and building up your savings are all good first steps.
2. How do I know what to look for in a home?
It’s important to remember that the single most important aspect of any home is its location—you cannot change a home’s location! So think about where you want to be. How far do you want to commute to work, to amenities, and to entertainment? Do you prefer a close community or something with a little more space? From here, take some time to think about which home features are most important to you. Keep in mind that some things—like the size of the home or the number of bathrooms and bedrooms—are very difficult or expensive to change. And if you can't find exactly what you're looking for right now, sign up for our listing alerts to find your perfect home!
3. Why should I use a Realtor?
For a buyer, an agent is an invaluable resource. A good agent can provide help, advice, and guidance in a number of ways—and in most cases, agent commission is paid by the seller, so there’s no cost to you! A good agent can help in just about every aspect of the buying process—from offering financial advice to assuring you find a home with all the features you want to negotiating the best deal for you. Paperwork, communication, planning, scheduling, showing… your agent will do all this and more.
4. Where and how can I get a loan?
Obtaining a mortgage is one of the most important aspects of buying a home, and unfortunately, it's also one of the least understood. First and foremost, know that there are dozens of different mortgage options out there—which means that even nontraditional buyers can find ways to purchase. It also means that it pays to do your research. Start simply by making some phone calls to lenders and banks. Check with places you already do business, like your bank or credit union. You might also want to find some local lenders. Your real estate agent probably has some good recommendations.
5. What if I have bad credit or no down payment?
It’s a common misconception that there’s only one type of mortgage out there—one that requires every buyer to have a 700+ credit score, no debt, and a 20% down payment. While this is the most common “traditional” loan used by buyers, it’s far from the only option. In fact, government-backed loans, like the FHA loan, the USDA loan, and the VA loan, provide alternatives to thousands of buyers every year. Talk to lenders to find out what kinds of programs they are able to offer buyers like you.
6. Once I find my home, what will I have to pay upfront?
- Earnest money: This is the "security deposit" you pay when you submit your offer to prove to the seller that you are serious. After your offer is accepted, it is applied to your down payment or closing costs.
- Down payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home. The amount will depend on your loan; government programs can help you decrease this amount.
- Closing costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.
7. What other costs will I pay?
Owning a home has a number of regular and one-time costs. Naturally, you’ll pay utility costs every month, as well as any necessary maintenance or repair costs. Additionally, you’ll pay property taxes and homeowners insurance, though in most cases, these will be collected in one payment with your mortgage, so you might not even notice them. Some neighborhoods or communities might charge a Homeowners Association (HOA) fee, so be sure to ask your agent before you buy.
I Still Have Questions!
That's easy! Give me a call and I can answer any of your home-buying questions about real estate in the Crofton area or its many communities. I can also help you learn more about the area, search homes for sale, and ultimately, get you on the road to home-buying success.