Buying or selling a home?

Buying a home can be stressful for most people, but it isn't all that complex with some up-front planning. So you'll understand exactly what to expect, I like to give my buyers an outline of the entire deal. These are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

When you're ready to get started, you can contact me here or send e-mail to mike@mikecassell.com. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about this information.


Step 1 – Prepare to buy
Before you start searching for a home, there are plenty of things you need to contemplate. You'll probably want to form a checklist of features you need, get a plan of what school districts you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is less than or close to 30 percent of your net monthly income is a good guideline to go by.

Step 2 – Speak with a real estate agent
That's where I can help. I'd be happy to book a time to meet with you and speak with you regarding your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll discuss the mortgage and housing industries, other economic factors that may affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and schools in the Baltimore area.

I can also help you get started on your loan. MikeCassell.com works with some of the best mortgage professionals in Baltimore, so you can rest assured that you're in great hands. They'll assist you in figuring out which type of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Begin looking
After we meet for the first time, I'll start finding houses on the market that are great for you. I'll preview many of the homes and throw out the bad ones, and then we'll book appointments to view the homes whenever it's convenient for you.

As we view homes, I'll identify positive features and bad ones. And I'll ask you to tell us about things you like and don't like. It's widely common for buyers to revise their list of must-haves as we view houses and some features become more crucial than others. If that's the situation, I'll look through all the listings once again and trim it down to the home you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Get a feel for the housing market
An agent's awareness of the Baltimore housing market is a necessary aspect in your home search. And I can assure you I'm conscious of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I'll communicate some neighborhoods are "hot" and demand immediate action and others that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful consideration.

When we view homes, I'll be sure to tell you when the seller's list price has room for bargaining and also when I trust the home is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be mindful and make sure you ask a lot of questions, as every REALTOR® in Baltimore will tell you they truly know the home market. If things don't add up, call me at (410) 922-4262 or e-mail me at mike@mikecassell.com, and I'd be glad to answer any questions you have. My market expertise will keep you a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
We'll find the home of your dreams in the Baltimore area, and when that happens, I'll thoroughly develop your home purchase offer. The offer will be made exactly to your needs. Whenever necessary, I never forget to make contracts contingent upon items like acquiring financing and the results of the home inspection.

Let MikeCassell.com guide you through finding your dream home in Baltimore Upon presenting your offer, you'll need to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the seller to secure an offer to buy the property. The amount is usually put towards the closing costs. If the offer is accepted, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days after. This allows ample time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
Most contracts don't close on the first offer – it's very common to receive a counter offer. But don't let this intimidate you. We'll talk about whether or not to accept the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

How aggressively we negotiate the deal depends on market conditions. We'll also work within your financing constraints. And at the end of the day, we'll formulate a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Get a loan
Once the deal is finalized, you'll begin working with your lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-qualified, this shouldn't be a long process at all. But you'll need to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll sort out all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of your closing costs from your lender within three days of receiving your application. This estimate is formed from the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to include all closing costs and be within a strict range of accuracy, and I'll examine the estimate and let you know if everything looks okay.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most often take place at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and relaxed affair.

Step 9 – Move in
Success! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, be sure to call me at (410) 922-4262 or send me an e-mail.