Annapolis, Maryland is home to over 38,000 residents and offers a sense of small town living with easy access to big city amenities in nearby Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Located at the mouth of the Severn River along the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is the county of seat of Anne Arundel County. Annapolis boasts a rich boating and sailing community and is home to one the largest boat shows in the United States. In addition to the thriving boating scene, Annapolis is home to the U.S. Naval Academy and has a rich and celebrated colonial history.For the first-time home buyer, Annapolis real estate offers a variety of choices from condos and townhouses to waterfront homes with a view. First-time home buying in the Annapolis area can be exciting and by following these simple tips, the first-time home buyer will know what to expect and how to prepare.
Condo, Townhouse, Single-Family?
Before diving into the world of home ownership, decide what type of home best fits your lifestyle. Do you have time to keep up a lawn and make improvements to your home or would a condo be a better option? Do you plan on raising a family? Perhaps a single family home is best. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of home so deciding what type would work best for you and your family is best before you start house-hunting.
Many first-time home buyers overlook the importance of a good neighborhood with access to local schools, grocery stores and local highways and interstates. Research the neighborhoods in Annapolis and get a feel for each one and what best suits your needs. Downtown Annapolis is within walking distance of the Chesapeake Bay while the Admiral Heights, Homewood and Hunt Meadow neighborhoods offer smaller price tags for those looking for more affordable options. Research home values in each of these neighborhoods to determine just how much you’ll be paying and to avoid sticker shock when you embark on first-time home buying in the Annapolis area.
Budget and Price
We all want a dream home located in a quiet neighborhood with a pool and plenty of closet space but is it really within your budget? Before applying for a home loan, determine your budget and how much you can afford each month. Include utilities, insurance rates and property taxes into this calculation so there are no surprises when you get your first mortgage bill. Many websites have insurance calculators by neighborhoods or your insurance broker can give you advice on how much you’ll pay. Lenders and banks recommend buyers spend no more than 28 percent of their monthly income on mortgage payments or risk becoming “house poor.”
Financing and Loans for the First Time Homebuyer
Research the different loan types and special offers for first-time home buying and what types of loans you may qualify for. Many loans are tailored to the first-time home buyer including FHA loans, fixed term and adjustable rate mortgages. Veterans benefit from the V.A. Loan which has no closing costs. These costs are often overlooked in the final sale of the home so you will need to determine the fees charged by the lender, title and recording fees, prepaid taxes and insurance. There’s also appraisal and inspection fees to consider and whether or not you plan on making a down payment.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Finding a reputable agent to help you navigate through unfamiliar waters is the best way to make one’s first home purchase a pleasant process. There are many issues to consider when you are a first time home buyer and a Realtor can offer tips and advice on where to start, what is available, and what to expect. Your Realtor can also recommend neighborhoods that fit your needs and lenders to use if you haven’t secured funding before starting the house-hunting process. A good Realtor is familiar with first-time home buying in the Annapolis area can help you negotiate closing costs and get you the best deal.
Once you’ve found the house that best fits your lifestyle and budget, get the house inspected by a qualified contractor. The inspector will examine the interior and exterior of the home and give a thorough report on the state of the home including any structural damage or repairs that need to be made before the deal closes. The inspector checks everything from the roof to the foundation to ensure the house is in good condition. No one wants to find out the home of their dreams has dry rot or mold problems.
First-time home buying in the Annapolis area is tricky for anyone just starting out but with a little preparation and the right representation, the right home is can be a very rewarding experience.