Mysteries of Home Buying Unveiled by Andrea Reinhardt

Home QuestionIt’s no secret that the home buying process can be complicated, stressful, and frustrating. Without a general knowledge of how things work, the process can be daunting even discouraging to the first-time home buyer. I am here to make sure that doesn’t happen. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power”, and in the real estate realm this couldn’t be more true. Knowing and understanding the process will help alleviate fears and reduce the stress of the process. This article will give you a general overview of a “regular” (not a short sale or foreclosure) home-buying transaction in Maryland.

The first step in the home buying process is selecting a knowledgeable real estate agent that takes the time to discover your expectations as a buyer. The qualities of a home often extend beyond the four walls and a roof, as the location of schools, neighborhood demographics, and other factors often influence the home buying decision too. A knowledgeable agent will ask the right questions and reduce the time and frustration linked to the process. Since a pre-approval letter from the bank is vital in today’s market, we can also help you find a reputable lender.

After the bank determines your purchasing power, we (Real Estate Agent) can organize a highly detailed auto-search through our online housing database. Once you see a few homes that spark your interest, we can begin to schedule showings for these particular homes. An agent can show buyers any home in the state(s) he/she is licensed in.

Once you find a home that fits your needs, we will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which shows all the comparable homes that sold and went under contract within the last 3-4 months. Based upon these findings, we can begin structuring an offer to submit on the home. You will also have to write a contractually contingent earnest money deposit check (typically 1-2% of offer amount) to accompany the offer. Often, the check is held by the buyer’s broker and will be applied towards your down payment and/or closing costs. The buyer’s agent will present the offer to the listing agent. There are 3 possible scenarios in this transaction:

  1. The seller will accept the offer
  2. The seller will counter the offer
  3. The seller will reject the offer outright or/and refuse to continue negotiations     

Assuming the offer gets accepted, all parties are officially under contract and the settlement process, which typically takes 30-45 begins. Once both parties are Under Contract there are a series of predetermined deadlines, such as, making a loan application, obtain a loan commitment, home inspection, etc. Violating these time lines could be grounds for default with a possible loss of the earnest money deposit. One of the most important steps in the home buying process is the buyer home inspection. Typically a home inspection costs $400-$500 and we can help assist you in selecting a reputable home inspector and negotiate any contract contingent repairs.

Once the contingencies have been settled and the appropriate milestones are met, we can settle on the home. Closing/Settlement is the final step in the home buying process and is merely a finalization of documents with a series of approving signatures.

This is just a broad overview of a real estate transaction but one can see it’s quite complex. Nevertheless, with the right agent and some patience it can and should be a smooth progression. If you have any additional questions in regards to the home buying process or real estate in general please contact me, Andrea Reinhardt at 410-209-0947.

Andrea Reinhardt
Andrea Reinhardt, REALTOR