How to Buy a House in Maine

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 6, 2020

When it comes to natural beauty, there aren’t many states that can compete with Maine. Known as the Pine Tree State, about 90% of the state is forested. 

Ready to find your retreat? Here’s how to buy a house in Maine. 

Step 1: Consider Current Maine Mortgage Rates

While you might be tempted to start by finding the perfect home, consider getting pre-approved 1st. Pre-approval can give you a sense of how much you can borrow so you can shop for homes that fit your budget. It also makes your offers more appealing to sellers. 

Which lender should you choose? Consider each lender’s mortgage rates. Lenders change mortgage rates frequently to reflect what’s happening in the economy. If the economy isn’t doing well, lenders tend to lower rates to appeal to consumers. If the economy is performing well, lenders tend to raise rates since there’s more competition for funds. 

At Benzinga, we update our rates frequently so you have the most relevant information. Here are the current mortgage rates in Maine. 

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed N/A N/A
15-year fixed N/A N/A
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in Maine 

Ready to find the best mortgage lender? Here are 3 of the best options in Maine. 

Quicken Loans
Best For
  • Online Service

Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

With award-winning customer service and a variety of loan options, Quicken Loans is a top lender for first-time buyers as well as more experienced ones. 

It offers an easy-to-navigate website where you can review mortgage options and take a peek at its rates. It has extensive educational materials and calculators so you can learn more about the mortgage process. 

You can start your quote by phone, online or by chat. Quicken Loans offers a variety of loan types, including conventional, FHA, VA and USDA,

Veterans United
securely through Veterans United's website

Best for Veterans: Veterans United

Veterans United offers excellent service and a variety of loan options for current service members and veterans. It knows the VA loan process inside and out and can help you determine your loan eligibility and navigate the process. 

Its customer service representatives are available around the clock to meet the needs of those serving overseas. Its website is intuitive and has extensive educational materials to ensure you’re fully-informed about the loan process. 

Veterans United offers conventional and FHA loans as well as VA home loans. 

CrossCountry Mortgage
Best For
  • Self-employed Borrowers
securely through CrossCountry Mortgage's website

Best for Self-Employed Professionals: Luxury Mortgage

Self-employed professionals can have a tough time finding a mortgage. Lenders often use your tax returns to determine your income, which may be lower than your actual income due to tax deductions. 

Luxury Mortgage offers a bank statement qualifier mortgage. That means it uses your actual income, as shown on your bank statements, to determine your income. You may qualify for a higher loan amount than you would with a traditional mortgage. 

Luxury Mortgage also has other home loan options, including FHA, conventional, jumbo and super jumbo home loans. If you’re self-employed or unsure of the right mortgage for your needs, Luxury Mortgage can help you find the perfect fit. 

Step 3: Find a House

Once you’re pre-approved, it’s time to find the perfect home. Here are the steps to consider:

  • Determine your budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend on a home each month. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to pay for taxes and homeowners insurance, so there needs to be a little wiggle room in your budget. You can use a mortgage calculator to learn how much house you can buy based on your monthly payments. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the loan amount offered by your lender — you can opt for a less expensive home. 
  • Determine your priorities. What do you need in a home? What do you want in a home? Make a list of what’s important to you, and compare potential homes to your list. 
  • Find a great real estate agent. Experienced real estate agents can simplify your home search. Look for an agent that knows the local area and has excellent reviews. 
  • Look at multiple homes. Even if you fall in love with the 1st home you see, consider looking at a few more. It gives you a sense of what’s available and other options if your 1st home falls through. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

Once you find your ideal home, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent can help you decide how much to offer. Several factors go into this decision, including:

  • The asking price
  • The local real estate market
  • The age and condition of the home

Your offer should also include any contingencies. Many offers are contingent on securing financing and on a home inspection. This gives you options for withdrawing from the sale if your financing falls through or if you uncover a disaster during the home inspection. 

In most cases, you’ll also include an earnest money deposit with your offer. This is a relatively small deposit that shows sellers you’re serious about the home purchase. It’s held by a third party and may be refundable if the sale falls through. These details are typically spelled out in your purchase offer, so review it carefully. 

Once your agent sends the offer, the seller will either accept it, reject it or make a counteroffer. If you get a counteroffer, you can accept it, reject it or make another counteroffer. The process continues until your offer is accepted or rejected. 

Step 5: Closing Time

Once your offer is accepted, it’s time for the next stage — closing. You’ll submit your formal application to your lender. In most cases, your lender will request an appraisal, which is an evaluation of how much your home is worth. 

Your lender may come back with questions or requests for additional documents. Pay close attention to lender communications so you can respond promptly. 

You’ll also order a home inspection. A home inspector looks at your home from top to bottom and lets you know of any issues or needed repairs. If your home inspector finds something serious, you may be able to renegotiate or withdraw from the purchase, depending on the terms of your purchase offer. You’ll also need to buy a homeowners insurance policy. 

Once your lender approves your home loan, you’ll set a time to sign your loan documents. You’ll get these a few days in advance. Review the documents carefully and ask your lender about any unexpected changes. 

At your closing meeting, you’ll sign your loan documents and pay the balance of your down payment and closing costs. After that, you’ll get your keys and it’s time to move in. 

Move In Day in Maine

Moving day can be stressful. Take time to relax when you can. Make sure you know when your 1st mortgage payment is due and where to send it. 

Maine is a great place to call home. If you’re a first-time home buyer, consider working with Maine’s First Home Loan program, which offers down payment and closing cost assistance to those who qualify. Take your time, explore your property and funding options, and you’ll find the perfect home. 

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.