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
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.
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.
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).
Put in an Offer
What You Need to Know
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
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
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.