Buying or selling a home in Maryland?  Angela Rawlins can help.

Buying a home is intimidating for many people, but with some up-front planning, it isn't very complicated. I like to furnish buyers with a road map of the entire deal so they know exactly what they can expect. These are my nine steps to buying a home.

When you're ready to get started, you can call me or send an e-mail to I will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this information.

Step 1 – Get ready to purchase
Before you begin searching for a home, there are many things you'll want to do. You will most likely want to assemble a list of "must-haves", get a feel for which school districts you'd like to live in, and begin working on your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 30 percent of your net monthly income is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Step 2 – Contact Angela Rawlins  
This is where I come in. We can schedule a time to meet so we can talk about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your timeframe for purchasing We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, school districts in our local Maryland communities, the mortgage industry, and any other economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future.

In addition, I will help you begin the loan process. There are some excellent mortgage professionals in Maryland, and I work with several of them, so you will be in great hands. They will assist you in deciding which type of loan is best for you and help you get pre-qualified.

Step 3 – Start your search
After our initial meeting, I'll begin looking for houses on the market that are great for you and meet your criteria. When we tour the homes, I will point out the good features as well as the negative ones.  I will also discuss with you features of the home you like and dislike.   

It's common for buyers to update their wish list as we view the different homes, as some features may become far more important than others. If such is the case, we can go back through all the listings again and trim it down to the homes you have been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the market
My understanding of the Maryland housing market is a crucial asset in your search. I am well acquainted with many of the neighborhoods and schools in our local Maryland communities, and can let you know which neighborhoods are "hot" and warrant immediate action or which ones are "cool" and allow for more consideration.

When we tour houses, I will let you know if the list price has room for bargaining or if the house is "priced to sell." Make sure you ask a lot of questions.  I will be glad to answer them all.  My market expertise will help you stay a step ahead through the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
I am quite positive we will find the house of your dreams in one of our local Maryland communities.  Once you have identified your "perfect" home, I will meticulously develop your offer to purchase.  The offer will be tailored to suit your needs, including some very pertinent contingencies. A few examples of those contingencies include obtaining financing and/or getting the home inspection.   

When the time comes to submit your offer, you will need to present an "earnest money deposit." This is a check which shows the Sellers your good faith and intent to purchase their home.  The deposit will be credited to you at settlement and usually goes towards your closing costs. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close within 30 to 60 days afterward, however, if you are making an offer on a short sale or foreclosed/bank-owned property, you may need to allow a little more time before you go to settlement, perhaps 60 to 90 days.  

Do you want to know more about the process of purchasing a short sale or foreclosure?  Simply give me a call and I will be happy to discuss with you.

Let Angela Rawlins guide you through finding your dream home in Bowie

Step 6 – Negotiate
On some occasions, contracts are not accepted on the beginning offer, and you may receive a counteroffer from the Sellers. DO NOT let this alarm you. We will discuss whether or not to consent to the counteroffer, submit our own counteroffer, or decline the Seller's offer and move on.  The state of the market will definitely play a large role in how aggressively we negotiate any contracts. The main objective is to assemble a deal that is best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain your loan
After you sign the final contract and it is fully ratified, you will start working more closely with your mortgage lender so he/she can gather more of your pertinent and most recent financial documents.  It is always a good idea to have the necessary documents readily available because the loan process may start to move quite rapidly once there is a ratified contract.  Although you have already taken the very important first step of getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, you still need to stay in close contact with your lender. I will also provide all of the property information your lender may need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You should get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) detailing closing costs from your lender within a few days of accepting your loan application. This estimate is based on your loan amount. RESPA requirements mandate that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a precise range of accuracy.  I will study the estimate and let you know if everything looks permissible.

Step 9 – THE BIG DAY!!  Go to settlement & move in!!
You are almost at the finish line!!  We will go to settlement on your new home and PRAY for a smooth and hassle-free affair!!  CONGRATULATIONS!!  YOU'VE MADE IT!!  Now, you can move into your new home.  ENJOY IT!!  Remember, my service to you does not end at the settlement table.  I can be called upon anytime.  And,  if you know of anyone else who is looking to buy or sell a home, I am just a phone call away!!  

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