What steps should I take in order to buy a place by next summer?

Asked by Leeann, Frederick, MD Wed Oct 17, 2012

I have saved about $6k and I receive a bonus check from work around March. That is what I'll base my down payment on (I don't want to touch my 401k or my Roths). Should I wait until March to seriously look for a house and find an agent? What should I do in the meantime?

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Grettell Del…, Agent, Frederick, MD
Tue Dec 31, 2013
You need a good credit score and have a stable job. Also you will need to make enough to qualify for a loan and you need to have the following documents available: Pay stubs, W2, Last 2 years of tax returns. You must show a bank account with savings needed for down payment or closing cost plus any other saving account (401K, bones, etc).
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Terry La Sco…, Agent, Frederick, MD
Tue Dec 10, 2013
Want to purchase a home and want to plan? That's a great question and an even better decision. Planning is key in having a healthy financial outlook. First things first. Make a budget. Go to a professional for help like Dave Ramsey at FinancialPeaceUniversity.com. I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey's financial advice. And its easy online! Before you own a home you should be educated about your finances and be prepared financially for the joys and the risks of homeownership. After you have a "good" budget, get yourself an emergency fund. Start by saving up $1000 as quick as you can. Then look at your debts. Pay off the credit cards and make sure you are not over extended on things like fancy new cars. To own your home you need to make priorities. Most first time buyers need to decide which is more important before just going out and buying a home. Once you have your priorities straight and a healthy budget, its time to contact a local lender and a very experienced Buyer's Agent. That's a highly qualified local Realtor who works for you for FREE. Start interviewing Realtors and choose the one who offers you the education first and is not pushing you to see houses before you have been properly education on the buying process. At out team we give every first time buyer a one hour education on the process for FREE and a notebook filled with advice and discounts on their purchasing process. A good Realtor will help you make the connections and get you started the right way!
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Russ Ravary, Agent, Commerce Township, MI
Wed Mar 13, 2013
Checking with a lender to get pre approved is one of your first steps. You sound financially smart so you need to figure out yourself not the bank what you can afford as a payment
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Tammy Durbin, Agent, Mount Airy, MD
Wed Mar 13, 2013
Definitely take the time to speak with a lender. There are great programs for first time home buyers. USDA is a program where the buyer doesn't have to put down a down payment. This program is also great to avoid monthly mortgage insurance. One of my clients recently moved into a townhouse for only $2,500 total out of pocket. You could always use the $6,000 toward some furniture and savings account. If you haven't found an agent I would love to work with you. Feel free to call or email me anytime.

Tammy Durbin, A-REO, e-PRO, GRI, SFR
Long and Foster Real Estate Inc.
cell 240-405-3118
email: TammyD@LNF.com
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Paul Moffett, Agent, Westminster, MD
Fri Jan 4, 2013
Hello again Leeann,
You will want to find a lend and loan officer that are going to be there for you and offer all the possibilities that work for you.
As an example i have a mortgage officer Ive recommended since the 90's who is great with 1st time buyers,has very competitive rates,offers many programs that would suit your needs well and he is very patient and not pushy at all.
Personal recommendations are one of the best ways to find someone,you know first hand fom someone that the person they are telling you about will do what they say.
take care!
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Leeann, Home Buyer, Frederick, MD
Fri Jan 4, 2013
Thank you to everyone who replied! What are some tips for picking a lender, or should I just go to my local bank and see if I can be prequalified?
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Hi Leann,
You've been getting some great advise and I think it is really awesome that you are doing everything you can before you start your home search. You want to make sure you use a local lender and one you can get in touch with at any time. The buyers agent you decide to work with will make recommendations on lenders they use. Most agents have established relationships with lenders and that alone will be used to your advantage as they will be in constant communication and BOTH be working on your behalf for your best interest. I personally recommend you schedule a meeting face to face so you can get all your questions answered and get educated on your options. In the meantime, be sure not to open any store credit cards or make any large purchases until after you have closed on your new home. If you haven't chosen your buyer agent yet, please read my clients recommendations to see if you would be interested in meeting with me to discuss your needs.
All the Best,
Flag Tue Jan 7, 2014
Hi Leeann,

It is good to explore all your options. Your local bank is a good place to start especially if you have been banking with them for a while.

Please feel free to contact me, I can recommend some other people to contact. One I have in mind actually lives in the Frederick area.

Good luck in your search and keep asking questions!

Flag Sun Jan 5, 2014
Paul Moffett, Agent, Westminster, MD
Thu Jan 3, 2013
It is best to get the ball rolling now with getting pre qualified and getting an agent with who you will be working with towards your purchase.
That agent can start sending you lisitngs to educate you on the market and educate you on the process so its as smooth as possible when you are ready with no surprises.
Good luck and enjoy your new home!
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Nancy Milton…, Agent, Edwardsville, IL
Sun Oct 21, 2012
Hi, Leeann: Elizabeth is right on all counts. I'd say the first thing to do is talk to a lender to make sure you're going to qualify for a mortgage and to find out what your comfort level will be with a payment. Don't forget to include the taxes, interest and insurance in your payment to get a realistic idea of what you want to spend each month.

Then find a Realtor you like and form a real partnership with her/him to find your new home. They can set you up with emails from the MLS in your preferred price range. That way, when you decide to go out looking in person, you'll know a lot about what type of home is available.

Also, make sure advance decisions about where you'd like to live. Buyers who are unsuccessful are often unsure about where they want to be geographically and it leaves them too large of an area of consideration, becomes confusing and ends in frustration. Location is a decision you can make before you start to look -- based on commute distance, school districts, access to services, proximity to family, etc.

Best of luck!
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