Real Estate: A Guide for Homebuyers
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Whether you are buying a home for the first time, relocating to Maryland, or looking for rental property, navigating the world of real estate can sometimes be challenging, which is why planning ahead is a very important step to take before you proceed.
The good news is that there are many resources to help you find that home, get that loan, or relocate more easily and successfully. The following information is designed to get you started.
The following resources provide very useful tools to keep handy when beginning the process of making the decision to buy or rent a home.
- Buying A Home Tutorial (HUD)
This is a step-by-step tutorial for potential homebuyers produced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Home Buyer's Information
This site is particularly useful for its "House Buying Checklists" and "To Do" lists. It also includes directories of real estate agents, home building contractors, and much more.
- Fannie Mae Homepath
Fannie Mae is a private corporation originally founded by the government to help homebuyers find the right lending opportunities. This site also includes resources that may benefit current homeowners interested in home improvement loans.
- eHow - Real Estate Guide
eHow is an excellent Web site that provides its users with "How-To" guides on many subjects. In this guide you will find a broad scope of information pertaining to the many aspects of real estate, such as "Buying a Home," "Financing," and "Moving and Storage."
Relocating to Maryland?
If you are considering relocating to Maryland from another state, you may want to look at some of these resources:
- Live Baltimore
Live Baltimore is a local non-profit organization dedicated to attracting people to live in Baltimore City. There is a generous array of programs and incentives provided by the City of Baltimore designed to encourage people to live within the city limits. Along with information pertaining to incentive programs, useful features on this site include descriptions of city neighborhoods, information for renters, and referrals to real estate agents.
- Baltimore City's Guide to Its Neighborhoods
This informative site is maintained by the City of Baltimore as a useful guide to understanding the character of its myriad neighborhoods.
For a moderate subscription cost, this site provides exhaustive information on any of the locations you may be thinking of relocating to. Topics include school ratings, crime statistics, real estate markets, hottest cities ratings, cost of living scales, and more.
Finding the Finances
Below, you will find a list of organizations and other financial institutions dedicated to matching your economic situation with the right loan arrangement.
- HUD in Maryland
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Maryland (HUD) maintains this Web site. For those who qualify, HUD is a clearinghouse of information on how to obtain grants for purchasing homes.
- Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
Like HUD, this state agency's mission is to introduce individuals of every economic situation to home purchasing and community development initiatives based on real estate opportunities. For example, you can find information on affordable housing for seniors or on purchasing state-owned homes.
- Freddie Mac
Part of this government-supported corporation's mission is to assist low- to moderate-income potential homeowners with gaining affordable loans. They also provide their services to those seeking rental properties. Freddie Mac provides a host of educational material that not only assists the consumer in obtaining a loan, but also provides valuable information on managing the responsibility of owning a home successfully.
- Ginnie Mae
Ginnie Mae is a government corporation associated with the Department of Urban Housing and Development (HUD). Its mission is to help match low- to moderate-income potential homeowners with loans. It also provides a variety of educational and analytic resources.
- Fannie Mae Homepath
Fannie Mae is a private corporation originally founded by the government. Its mission is to help all potential homebuyers find the right lending opportunities. This site also includes resources that may benefit current homeowners interested in home improvement loans.
- Baltimore Housing
Baltimore Housing is an agency established in 1937 to help manage public housing and match low-income families with affordable housing in Baltimore. This agency administers such programs as Public Housing, Baltimore's Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher Program and many other programs.
Shopping for Loans
Bankrate.com is a first-rate online Web site of financial information for the consumer looking to shop for mortgage loans or home equity loans, includes mortgage and equity loan calculators.
eloan.com is similar to bankrate.com; this site is a comprehensive guide to finding and comparing mortgages, home refinancing, and home equity loans.
- HSH Associates
HSH Associates is a well-established publisher of consumer loan information on mortgage loans and construction loans as well as educational articles and tutorials to help you be a smart shopper.
Once you've found a home and you begin the process of investigating the feasibility of owning it, there still remains quite a bit of work to be done. For example, getting the home inspected is an important step and The American Society of Home Inspectors can help you locate an inspector in your area.
When you are building a home or need information on the different permits and licenses that may pertain to you, the Maryland Manual - Permits and Licenses is a helpful directory. It lists the different agencies and their contacts for Maryland residents looking for licenses, permits, and inspection services.
Taxes and Real Property
Do you want to know who owns a certain property? Or, what the tax rates are in the area where you are thinking about buying a home or other property? The state of Maryland's Department of Assessments and Taxation has a Web site devoted to answering such questions along with many other helpful links, such as a glossary of real property terms for your convenience.
This guide should help you with many resources you will need for issues pertaining to real estate. If you are interested in more help or have questions, please e-mail us, call (410) 396-5317, or contact us by mail:
Business, Science, and Technology Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Central LIbrary/State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore MD 21201