Step 1

Talk with a Housing Counselor

Housing Counseling agencies are certified organizations that provide counseling and home buyer certification to prospective home buyers. Baltimore County SELP, Maryland Mortgage Program, as well as our home buyer grant program require home buyer certification.

A housing counselor will:

  • Collect your financial information, examine your budget, and help you determine how much home you can afford.
  • Walk you through the home buying process and responsibilities of home ownership.
  • Identify programs you are eligible for that could help you with closing costs or a down payment.
  • Work with you to rebuild credit and become home buyer ready.

Housing Counseling Agencies

3545 Belair Road, Baltimore MD 21213
8025 Liberty Road, Baltimore MD 21244
7538 Eastern Ave. East Point Mall #302, Baltimore MD 21224
5807 Harford Road, Baltimore MD 21214
3323 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
321 E. 25th St., Baltimore MD 21218

Home Buyer Certification at Your Fingertips

Online certification is available. We typically recommend checking out the options listed on the Maryland Mortgage Program’s site.  Ask your housing counselor for more information.  Certifications expire after 12 months.

Step 2

Pick Your Lender

Find a Lender Who Works for You

Talk to your bank and see what loan options they have and then shop around. We recommend you speak to one or two additional loan officers affiliated with different banks to get an overview of what else is available to you.  Once you decide on your lender, have them pre-qualify you for a loan then ask if they know of any additional grant programs or incentives you may qualify for.


Sponsored Lender Partners

M&T Bank
Debbie Meeder
3401 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224

PNC Bank
Denise Flynn
7939 Honeygo Boulevard, Suite 116
Baltimore, MD 21236

Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association
Tracy Carroll
6810 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212
410.668.4400 ext. 381

Toni Davis-Spivey
7101 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21244

**This is when you should reach out to Dundalk Renaissance to see if you qualify for our Home Buyer Grant Program.**

Step 3

Pick Your Realtor

Like Your Realtor

There’s a good chance you’ll be spending A LOT of time with your realtor, so make sure they’re some one you like and trust.

Your realtor will:

  • Organize private showings.
  • Share homes you might like with you.
  • Negotiate the best deal for you–but they can only do this if you know what you’re monthly mortgage payment limit is (which is why it’s so important to put in the budgeting work ahead of time).

Sponsored Realtor Partners

GQ Home Team

Keller Williams

Key Bridge Realty

Long and Foster Real Estate

Step 4

Put in an Offer


1-3% of the sale price of the home you placed an offer on. As the buyer, you will place the money in escrow to show how serious you are about buying the home.

When it comes to buying a home, an impartial third party will hold your earnest money deposit while negotiations and inspections are underway.

Your agent! Your agent works for you and thinks about your best interest when negotiating the terms for the sale of a home.

The agent of the individual or family selling the home.  The seller’s agent is paid based on the total sale price of the home (usually around 6%).  It is in the best interest of the seller’s agent to negotiate a higher price for the home.

A seller’s agent’s first loyalty is to the individual or family selling their home, not you.

What You Need to Know

After looking at homes on Redfin and Zillow, then visiting homes IRL, you’ve finally found THE ONE.  Talk with your agent about the offer price you will put in and be prepared for the seller to negotiate a little.
Once the terms of the sale are decided, you will put 1-3% of the home’s sale price into escrow as an earnest money deposit to show your dedication to purchasing the home.  If you walk away from the deal for any reason, other than a contingency noted in your contract, the seller will keep your earnest money deposit.  Typically your realtor will include language in your offer about contingencies based on financing ability and home inspections.
Be sure to talk to your realtor about contingencies before you submit your offer.
After you submit your offer and it is accepted, there might be several rounds of negotiations.  Your realtor will negotiate directly with the seller’s agent–which is why you want to make sure your realtor solely represents you and not the seller as well.
We strongly advise against using the seller’s agent to purchase your home.

Step 5

Home Inspections and Closing

What to Expect When You’re Inspecting

You will hire inspectors to identify any major maintenance project that could occur once you move into your new home.  Most home inspectors will look at:

  • Electrical system
  • HVAC unit
  • Attic
  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Plumbing
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Basement

Your inspector will then provide you with a written report of their inspection.  If you’re moving into a home with a fire place, you should have your chimney inspected professionally.  Once the inspection is complete, talk to your real estate agent to see if the home’s condition meets the terms of sale.

Almost a Home Owner

Before you close, your lender will pull your credit score one last time.  It is crucial that up until this point you do not make any major purchases or withdraw or deposit any large sums to your bank account.  Your lender distributes funds covering your home loan amount to the closing agent, or title company.  Your Home Buyer Grant money, and most other grants, will be sent to the title company handling your closing.

You may be required to set up a second escrow account to cover property taxes and home owners insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payment.

You, your agent, the seller, and the seller’s agent will go through the bill of sale for the home and sign off that everything is in order.  Once the signing is complete, both realtors receive their payment and you get your keys and go home!

Prior to signing you will do a walk through with your agent and make sure anything that was supposed to be repaired as the result of the home inspection is in order

Your Deed 

We recommend only the individuals listed on your mortgage be listed on your deed.  For our grant, all individuals on your deed must be on your mortgage.

You cannot rent out your home under our grant, however if you are moving in with an individual who is concerned about their rights if they are not on the deed, we recommend creating a room lease.  Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs has lease examples and additional resources.