Buying a new home is an exciting and life changing adventure. For someone that has never bought a home, the question is, “Where do I begin?” Most people simply take to Google and begin looking at the pictures of homes they like. But how do you get from seeing a home you like, to crossing the threshold of that dream home with keys in hand?
Well let’s think about this for a second. When we need groceries, we go to a grocery store. When we need gas we go to a gas station. When we need insurance, we call an insurance company. Just like all of these things, we go to the experts in that field. So when buying a home, the first place to go would be an expert, a realtor. Finding the right realtor for your family’s needs is daunting enough, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are some odd 116,640 real estate sales agents in Maryland alone. So how does one find the right agent for their family? As an LGBTQ couple or individual, this task can become even harder.
When searching for a realtor, one should look into everything the person offers. You’d look at the statistics, numbers do not lie. Who has the better stats when it comes to buying or selling? Is this person licensed? You can always check if a person is licensed online in Maryland (or any state for that matter) by going to the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. On their website there is a “verify license” option, where you can search the person by name. With all of the fraud going on in today’s world, I cannot stress this step enough – please protect yourself. Agents go through rigorous testing and criminal checks before they can hold a license – this is for your safety. No one wants to be alone in a vacant house with someone that seems a bit off, you know? There are many directories online to search for realtors. These are free; never ever pay anyone to do this search for you.
Okay, you’ve narrowed down a few that you like. It’s okay to interview them. Ask how long they’ve been in business, how long have they worked in the area that you are interested in looking into. It’s perfectly okay to screen your realtor – this is a big step and choosing the right realtor to negotiate on your behalf could be the difference in you receiving the keys to your new home and you losing a bid for the home you have fallen in love with.
Once you have decided on the right person for the job, the next step would be to see how much home you can afford. This is where pre-qualification comes into play. This protects you from looking at homes that may or may not be feasible for your budget. Along with choosing a lender, you’ll also need to choose a title company, an insurance agency, and sometimes a homebuyer’s program. I’ll go into more depth in my next article that will help you navigate the costs of buying and owning a home. Another reason why a knowledgeable realtor is needed, someone that can help you get the most bang for your buck.
Now you have a team in place and it’s time to go visit the homes that have captivated your heart. You go into one and it just feels right; it feels like home. What next? Before you begin decorating in your head, you’ll want to make sure that you can get the home. Aside from obstacles heterosexuals face when buying homes, LGBTQ folks have a few more factors that need to be considered.
Discrimination is alive and well in our country and can take several forms: From inflated buyer costs, to lending practices that require additional paperwork and qualifications, to outright refusal of loans and/or seller refusal. Maryland only prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation while the District of Columbia covers both sexual orientation and gender identity. While the legalization of same-sex marriage has opened many doors, couples, whatever their status, need to figure out how to manage their home purchase around the guidelines set by the government. Who gets the tax credits? Who gets the mortgage? Whose name will go on the deed? If your wife/husband dies, how will the surviving wife/husband keep the home? A real estate professional can assist here.
By taking the extra time to research quality agents and ensuring that all financial documents are intact, you’ll save yourself a lot of extra time and headache in the long run. Remember to be patient and enjoy the journey. Planning and coordinating with your real estate expert will be key to your success and to finding your forever home.
I look forward to providing you professional and detailed client services and supporting your purchase and/or sale of residential properties. My professional background in Accounting and commitment to providing detailed marketing research allows me to identify properties that fit your personal and family needs. I am dedicated to facilitating a transparent, stress free, and overall successful completion of your Real Estate experience.
My personal interests and love of family events, Interior Design, traveling and art gives me a unique insight of how homes inspire and promote a happy healthy family life.