For first time homebuyers, money is a hot topic since purchasing a home requires your money, other people’s money, and sometimes government money. You can wield all of this in your favor, but you need a solid lender, and some do it better than others.
A good lender will inform you of the various Maryland and Baltimore City grants offered to first time homebuyers. The feasibility of purchasing a property or it falling out of range can be the difference of a grant, most of which provide down payment assistance.
If you’re ready to buy but need some OPM to make it happen, one of the initial steps first time homebuyers should take is complete the home ownership-counseling course. This is not only informative, but also qualifies buyers for some of this OPM via grants and incentives.
Planning to buy during the spring market? Get the course done during the winter so you can focus on finding the home you want, and be ready to submit an offer when the time comes. The last thing you want to do is run around at the last second, trying to schedule a class or your advisor meeting, as appointments can be hard to come by.
The class doesn’t take too long, but does require a small time commitment and a follow up meeting with an advisor. We like to think of it like this – take the course, which is 8 hours long. Upon completion, let’s say you qualify for $5,000 of down payment assistance. That’s equivalent to getting paid $625/hour to take the class. Plus, that’s $5,000 less cash you need to come up with to close.
When you do find the house, the sole focus should be making a strong offer to get the property under contract. Often there is competition, and sending the right “buy” signals can include a great lender who is experienced in grants. This instills confidence in the sellers and can make or break the deal in a multiple offer scenario.
To begin the process, pick a guerilla agent, meet with a lender, take the course, and find your home. guerilla recommends Jon Wald with Primary Residential. He’s fluent in the current grant offerings and has secured grants and incentives for many of our clients in the past. Here is some advice from Jon for first time homebuyers taking the home ownership course:
“In order to be eligible for the grants provided to buyers in Baltimore City, you must complete the home buying education before writing a contract. Below you will find the steps and link to the Counseling Service I prefer to use.
– Complete the 8hr class. This can be done in person or online. The in-person class costs $50 and the online class costs $100. Once you complete the class you will need to set up a one on one appointment with a housing counselor.
– Service we typically recommend is South East CDC – http://www.southeastcdc.org/home-buying-counseling/
– Online class – https://app.ehomeamerica.org/secdc
– Meet with a housing counselor for a one on one meeting. During the meeting the counselor will go over a budget, and discussed grant programs. Depending the counseling service they will either print out the certificate or provide you a form for your lender to complete.
– Find a home with your realtor, and once your offer is accepted I will apply for the specific grant with the Baltimore Homeownership Incentive Program (B-HIP office).
*You want to work with a lender familiar with the programs and who has a good relationship with the B-HIP office.
*Some of the grants have some restrictions.
*Most grants have to be used with owner occupants.”
Getting serious about buying? Get in touch with Jon, and start the process informed.