How to Buy a House in Maryland

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
December 28, 2021

Buying a home can be an exciting journey — but the process can also be stressful. 

Start with our guide on how to buy a house in Maryland to help you find the perfect property without worry. 

Step 1: Consider Current Maryland Mortgage Rates

In exchange for issuing you a mortgage loan, every lender will charge you interest on the amount you borrow. Your annual percentage rate (APR) determines what percentage of interest you’ll pay on your loan. 

Mortgage interest rates can change on a daily basis depending on where you live, your local housing supply, the overall state of the economy and many more factors.

Here’s a chart of what you can expect to pay for a mortgage loan in Maryland today. We update this table regularly as mortgage rates change.  

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed 6.308% 6.399%
15-year fixed 6% 6.157%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 6.042% 7.488%
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 Maryland

A decision you’ll need to make when you decide to buy a home is which type of mortgage loan you want and which lender you want to work with. The best mortgage lender for you will depend on your needs as a buyer. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider a few of our favorite lenders below. 

1. Best for Fast Service: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans is a great lender for first-time buyers. Start and complete the application on your phone or tablet.

Quicken Loans’ preapproval process is intuitive and simple and you can receive a decision instantly. 

Quicken Loans offers every type of government-backed mortgage and a wide range of jumbo and conventional loan solutions.

Not sure which loan type is right for you? Check out Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage® platform. It’s packed with useful calculators and articles to help you choose. 

2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United

A VA loan is a special type of government-backed mortgage loan for veterans and current military service members and their families. Veterans United is the country’s top VA loan provider and has been for the past 4 consecutive years. Buyers who have purchased a home with Veterans United rate the company 4.7 out of 5.0 stars on average.

Veterans United employs a team of former service members from every branch of the armed forces. These team members can help you determine if you qualify for a VA loan and assist you in your proof of service paperwork.

If you don’t qualify for a VA loan, Veterans United can also help you explore conventional loan options. 

3. Best for Self-Employed Buyers: CrossCountry Mortgage

When mortgage lenders decide to offer a loan to a buyer, there’s the chance that the buyer can default. This means most mortgage lenders need to see a well-documented history of consistent income to lend you money to buy a home. If you’re self-employed, you might be surprised by just how much trouble you might run into getting a loan.  

CrossCountry Mortgage is a great mortgage lender for business owners and independent contractors in Maryland. Its Asset Qualifier loan provides you with more flexible qualification standards and asset inclusions if you don’t receive a W-2 every year. You can borrow up to $6 million with an Asset Qualifier loan. You can also finance up to 80% of your home’s value.

Step 3: Find a House

After you’re approved for a mortgage loan, it’s time to find your new home! Many buyers choose to enlist the help of a real estate agent at this stage, but it’s also a good idea to start shopping to know what you’re looking for before you select an agent.

Your mortgage preapproval gives you a great jumping-off point for your budget, but you should also consider home characteristics as well. Some of the factors you might to consider include:

  • Location: Which neighborhoods would you like to live in? Are there any towns or cities that are too far away from your job to be feasible?
  • Size: What’s your ideal home size? Are you looking to downsize? Or do you need more space for a growing family?
  • Type of home: Which type of home would you like to own? A single-family house, duplex, condo or townhouse?
  • Condition: Do you need a home in turnkey condition? Or do you have the budget or DIY skills to repair a property that’s less expensive?

Unless you’re willing to move anywhere and you have unlimited money to spend on a home, you probably won’t be able to get absolutely everything you want in a home. Decide which home qualities are most important to you. For example, if you have 2 children, is it absolutely crucial that each child has his or her own bedroom? Or is it more important that your home is in a great school district — even if it means the little ones will need to share a room?

Step 4: Make an Offer

Once you find a property you want to buy, you’ll submit an offer letter to the seller. An offer letter is a letter of intent that tells the seller who you are, how much you’re willing to spend on the home and when you’d like to buy the property. 

If you have a real estate agent, he or she will handle drafting the letter on your behalf. It’s usually a good idea to let your agent handle this. An agent knows how to ask for concessions and write a legally-binding offer.

After your agent submits your offer, you must wait for a response from the seller or the seller’s agent. The seller might accept your offer, reject it outright or offer you a counteroffer. If you receive a rejection, don’t panic — you can always submit a new offer if you really love the home. 

Your agent can assist you in navigating any counteroffers you receive. An agent can also advise you on when it’s better to accept an offer or walk away. 

Step 5: Closing Time

When you and the seller reach an agreement, it’s finally time to move onto closing. Most mortgage companies’ closing processes involve 3 steps:

  • Appraisal: During a home appraisal, a home value expert will visit your home and assign an official value estimate to the property. Mortgage companies require appraisals before they issue a loan because you can’t take a loan for more money than your property is worth.
  • Inspection: You don’t typically need to get an inspection before you can buy a home. However, an inspection will reveal the true condition of your home, so it’s highly recommended you get one before you purchase any property. An inspector will walk through your home and write down the conditions of systems and major appliances. This will help you budget better for any needed repairs after closing.
  • Underwriting: While you’re getting your appraisal and inspection, your lender will work on underwriting your loan. During underwriting, your lender prepares your loan paperwork and double-checks your financial and asset information.

After all 3 steps are completed, you’ll attend a closing meeting. During the closing meeting, you’ll sign on your new loan. You should bring a few things along to closing:

  • A government-issued photo ID
  • A cashier’s check equal to your closing costs and down payment or proof of an electronic transfer of funds
  • The closing disclosure your lender will send you after underwriting closes
  • The contact information for your real estate agent and lender

Once you leave the closing table, you’re officially a homeowner!

Make Your Home in Maryland

Your responsibilities as a homeowner don’t end once you have the keys to your property. Each month, you’ll pay a mortgage payment to your lender that includes a payment toward the money you borrowed (usually called your “principal balance”) plus interest. 

You’ll continue making payments each month until your loan reaches the end of its term. After this point, you’ll own your home in full. The only payments you’ll need to worry about are your property taxes, insurance and utilities. 

Start with our recommended lenders and make your home in Maryland.

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.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.