The Homebuying Process
Tips for a rewarding buying experience
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, looking to move up to your dream home, seeking a home that better fits your lifestyle or searching for a second home, Brad Kappel has the knowledge, experience and perseverance it takes to guide you on the path to the right property.
Brad’s in-depth understanding of the real estate market in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and other locations across Maryland is instrumental in locating properties that best match your specific requirements. Throughout the process -- from previewing and showing properties that meet your needs, to negotiating offers and contingencies, to the inspection and closing – Brad is by your side, every step of the way. He knows that buying a home can be both exciting and stressful. Through careful planning, communication and preparation, he helps buyers reduce the anxieties that are often associated with this life-changing event.
Knowing what to expect at each stage of the process is an important ingredient for buyers. Because real estate is an industry where ever-changing economic conditions; market fluctuations; local, state and federal regulations; and geographic factors all come into play, having the expertise of a licensed REALTOR® like Brad is crucial.
Here are some of Brad’s tips for first-time or seasoned homebuyers:
- Determine what you’re looking for. What are your must-have deal breakers vs. nice-to-have features? Take into consideration:
- Budget range
- Location / Commute (time/distance)
- Home and lot size
- Home features and layout
- Neighborhood/community amenities, covenants and/or zoning restrictions
- Age of home
- Tolerance for remodeling
- Waterfront vs. waterview or water privileged neighborhood
- Schedule an appointment with Brad and his team to discuss what you’re looking for, your timeline, your availability for showings and any other requirements you may have as you begin your search.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Knowing how much you can borrow before you begin your house hunt saves time and alleviates surprises down the road. Brad can help introduce you to reputable lenders that can provide assistance throughout the financing process – from pre-approval to funding.
Beginning the House Hunt
- Narrow your search. Brad previews each home before you visit – saving you time and showing you the ones that best meet your needs.
- See what’s possible. Drawing on his years in the industry, Brad is happy to help advise on a home’s potential to meet various criteria on a homebuyer’s wish list.
- Determining value. Brad will share actual sales prices of similar homes in the neighborhood and other factors that may have influenced the final price. Using this knowledge allows you to determine if the asking price on a home you are interested in is on par with comparable properties.
Making an Offer
- Make a realistic offer. Brad can help you determine a fair opening offer for the home you would like to purchase, and will help negotiate with the seller on price, contingencies, closing dates and other factors.
- Select a lender and submit a mortgage application. You will want to review your available options with three to four trusted lenders, carefully comparing rates, points, terms, etc. The lenders you select will provide a preliminary projections on closing costs to expect, including attorney fees, title insurance, appraisal fees, recordation fees, taxes, and private mortgage insurance (PMI) if required.
- Schedule a home inspection. If your offer is accepted, schedule a home inspection as quickly as possible, especially if your offer includes an inspection contingency. Brad can advise on licensed professionals you can engage for your inspection and negotiate with the seller to address issues that may be identified.
- Coordinate the appraisal with your lender. This is a critical step in determining if your mortgage will be approved for the amount you have requested. Appraisals are conducted by a licensed appraiser approved by the lender and may require access to the home’s interior. Brad can assist in helping coordinate an appraisal and advise you on options if an appraisal falls below expectations. If you are purchasing a home with cash, an appraisal is not required. However, you may wish have a cash appraisal performed to validate your offer.
Closing the Sale
- Schedule a pre-closing walk-through. Typically, weeks or months pass between making an offer and the closing date. Just prior to the closing, make time to take a final inspection of the home, its exterior and the property to ensure it is being delivered in the condition you expect. Brad will be with you during the walk-through and advise if you have any concerns.
- Set up utility billing transfers. Contact the appropriate utility companies to alert them of the date you wish to have the accounts transferred to your name.
- Ensure all paperwork and disbursements are ready. Brad will carefully review all the documentation that you are required to sign at settlement, advise you of any out-of-pocket expenses that are due at closing, and coordinate arrangements with the lender or financial institution to disburse funds to the seller at settlement.
- Sign the paperwork. Brad will accompany you to the closing and answer any questions you may have as you sign the necessary paperwork and take possession of your new home.
Typical Real Estate Expenses
While every real estate transaction is unique, there are a number of common expenses that buyers and sellers will encounter during the transaction. The chart below shows which party is usually responsible for these expenses. Brad Kappel, a licensed REALTOR® with years of experience representing both buyers and sellers, advises his clients on what services will be required, when additional professionals should be retained, and where negotiation is possible.
Home, Septic, Termite, Well, Pool, Radon, Lead Inspection(s)
Location or Boundary Survey
Mortgage Insurance (if buyer obtains a loan)
Title Company Admin. Fees
Real Estate Brokerage Admin. Fee
Appraisal (for cash buyers if desired); usually part of mortgage-related fees for buyers seeking financing
Real Estate Commission Typically: 6% of sales price: (3% buyer’s agent/ 3% seller’s agent)
Attorney Fees (if required)
(when retained by buyer)
(when retained by seller)
Transfer Taxes: Typically, split 50/50 between buyer & seller (2.2% of sales price)