Create Your City Living Profile
When you create a City Living Profile, you’re helping us understand how we can best help you. Additionally, you’re gaining access to customizable tools we developed to make your home search as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Explore The Neighborhoods
Each neighborhood has a soul. It’s expressed in the types of architecture and businesses you find there, the culture of the people and the stories they pass down, even in the kind of amenities that make for a desirable quality of life. All of these things differ from one neighborhood to the next. Narrow down your search by using our Interactive Map and Neighborhood Profiles to save the neighborhoods that pique your interest and are inspired to explore to your City Living Profile.
Have specific questions? Contact one of our Neighborhood Know-It-Alls to get the scoop. Whatever you do, just make sure you go and experience the neighborhoods for yourself. The only way to get a feel for a place is with your feet on the ground.
Match Yourself With Financial Incentives
There are a number of financial incentives you can use toward buying a home in Baltimore City. Use the filters on our Financial Incentives page to see which ones you may qualify for and save them to your City Living Profile. You’ll go over those with your Homeownership Counselor, Mortgage Lender, and Real Estate Agent later in the process. Some incentives are income-based while others are for specific neighborhoods. So take a look, you may be surprised at how much money you can save!
Earn Your Housing Counseling Certificate
There are a number of homeownership counseling agencies dedicated to helping you sort out the nitty-gritty details of the homebuying process from start to finish. Your counselor will also help you decide whether or not you are ready for homeownership, review any credit issues with you, and help you understand your financial standing. Nearly all homebuying incentives require that you earn your Homeownership Counseling Certificate from an approved agency before making an offer on a home. Certificates are good for one year, so we recommend you take care of this early in the process so that when you do find your dream home, you can make an offer in right away!
Choose a Lender and Get Pre-qualified
Before you start house hunting, meet with a mortgage lender to figure out how much you qualify for. They’ll provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE), which includes an itemized list of all fees and costs associated with getting a mortgage, and a pre-qualification letter. If you qualify for any incentives let your lender know. Incentives can affect your interest rate and be used toward paying fees and costs, both of which can affect your overall mortgage qualification.
Working with a lender who is well-versed in the many financial incentives available to city buyers can make your life a whole lot easier. Contact a Live Baltimore lending partner for pre-qualification and guidance on using incentives to buy your home. Your lender will provide you with a checklist of financial documents you’ll need to gather and pull your credit history. By getting pre-qualified, you’ll be able to narrow your search to homes you can afford. Now on to the fun part: house hunting!
Choose a Real Estate Agent
Call us crazy, but we think that if you’re looking to buy a house in a city neighborhood you should probably deal with someone who’s had their feet on the ground for a while. You want someone who can give you a local's perspective and knows the particulars when it comes to homebuying incentives, property taxes, tax credits, and other aspects of homebuying in Baltimore City that change from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Of course we think you should work with one of our trusted City Living Experts, but you can, and should, work with whichever real estate agent you feel most comfortable. That’s the most important part!
Besides that, your agent will take care of the tedious details like dealing with inspectors, title companies, home warranty companies, and all the other companies that could distract you from the important daydreaming that’s required when envisioning your life in your new home.
Keep in mind that it’s not unusual for agents to require exclusive representation agreements. These agreements can strengthen your working relationship by helping the agent feel secure that they’re making the best use of their time.
Types of Agents
- Seller’s Agent or Listing Agent: represents the interests of the home seller with the goal of selling the house at the best price.
- The Buyer's Agent: finds homes that meet the requirements of the buyers they represent.
- Dual Agent: represents both buyer and seller. Dual agents are not allowed in Maryland unless the agent obtains informed consent, in writing, from both the buyer and seller, and assigns an intra-company agent on behalf of the buyer or seller.
Making An Offer
Hopefully, your search will culminate in finding a home that fills your heart and mind, day and night, with all the happiness you can possibly stand. When that happens, you and your agent will make an offer. In many instances, the listing agent will almost certainly present a counteroffer. This process will move along, an inspection will ensue, and before you know it, you may have come to an agreement.
Once you have a signed sales contract, it's time to sit back and let your lender take over. They will order an appraisal on the property, approve your loan, and send you a commitment letter with terms and conditions of your loan. Review this carefully to make sure you understand all of the terms and fees.
Choose a Title Company
As your final loan is being approved, secure a title company to work with. A title company will review your potential new home's ownership records to make sure there are no liens or any outstanding legal issues surrounding the home. Although your lender or agent may recommend a title company, you have the right to choose a title company with whom you want to do business.
Choose a Homeowner's Insurance Agency
You typically have to pay for one-year of homeowners insurance (sometimes called "hazard insurance") up front, in addition to the fees and costs due at settlement.
Getting Your Keys
After you sign the appropriate documents, you will be handed the keys to your new home along with a stack of documents written in legalese that should be stored in a safe place... and everyone lives happily ever after.
Get Your Welcome Gift
Update your Profile and send us an email with your new City Living Status and new address and we'll send you a welcome gift! And if you really want to immerse yourself in city life, become a Neighborhood Know-It-All so you can help others through their process of learning about neighborhoods. We look forward to seeing you around, neighbor!