Buying Maryland Real Estate
Buying a home can be a daunting process if you´re not working with the right broker. At Spectrum Enterprises, our boutique service is here to take all of the hassle out of purchasing, whether you´re buying a family home or a multi-unit investment property. Our website is packed with up-to-date technology to help make buying a property faster, easier, and more efficient.
The cutting edge tools on our website will help you find the perfect property whether searching from your computer or mobile device. The Spectrum mobile app powered by Smarter Agent is compatible with all types of smartphones, and the GPS location-based search is great for property seekers on the move. We´ll also keep you notified with new listing alerts direct to your email or phone, and our online mortgage calculator will help you quickly determine your eligibility and monthly repayments.
Take full advantage of the resources on our website to save you time, money, and effort. That said, despite all of the useful tools available to you, sometimes it´s nice to speak to a real person, so feel free to ring us on (888) 902 – 6070. Want to meet face-to-face? Join us for a complimentary consultation, we´ll answer all of your questions and give you the peace of mind you need before you begin your property search.
Understanding Buyer / Agency Relationships
Our principle partners began as investors and as such have invaluable insight into the industry, setting us apart from our competitors. Our professional and knowledgeable team knows the real estate market in Baltimore, Maryland and surrounding areas, because we live and work here, and we love it. We understand the importance of building strong relationships with our clients; giving them the support they need through the buying, selling, and investing processes.
The Spectrum Enterprises boutique real estate experience is unique, stress-free, and tailored to meet your individual expectations. We are committed to providing a specialized service to discerning clients, and we take our commitment seriously.
Spectrum Enterprise Agents are:
- Professional and knowledgeable.
- Honest and lawful.
- Skillful and experienced.
- Timely and efficient.
Spectrum Enterprise Agents must:
- Protect your interests and confidences.
- Handle the purchase or sale of your property as if it were his or her own.
- Be accountable at every stage of the process.
- Act capably on behalf of your instruction, while also professionally representing Spectrum Enterprises.
Understanding The Buying Process
There are many steps to buying a property, but it doesn´t have to be complicated. Take advantage of our agent´s in-depth, and always up-to-date local knowledge combined with the tools and technology at your disposal to make your search easier. When that perfect property comes along, you´ll be ready to move quickly to secure it. With Spectrum Enterprises on your side you´re already one step ahead.
Step 1: Mortgages & Financing
It´s a common misconception among buyers that finding the home comes before securing the finances for the sale. We recommend that you pre-qualify for a loan to determine your borrowing position and streamline the property search. Pre-qualify for a loan is fast and easy.
Finding Your Property
Finding your property is easy with all the tools available to you on the Spectrum Enterprises website. Using criteria you set out we will keep you notified of all the new listings that could be perfect for you.
Our interactive online property search allows you to identify properties by city, neighbourhood, county, zip code, or via map.
If you´re always on the go, there´s no need to worry about missing that perfect property – the Spectrum Mobile App is compatible with all smartphones including iPhone, Blackberry, Android and more. With GPS-based location search, local points of interest, and social networking, finding your property doesn´t get much easier, or more mobile.
While on the hunt for your property, be sure to check out our award-winning blog to keep up-to-date with the latest news, trends, tips and tricks for buying a property in Baltimore, Maryland and the surrounding areas.
Making An Offer
When it comes time to make an offer, your Spectrum Enterprises agent will be there to support you every step of the way. After we receive your pre-approval letter, we then evaluate the market, the cost of the property, the condition of the property, discuss all options and other aspects of the property, at which point your agent will prepare an agreement and submit it with an aggressive offer to the seller´s agent.
In some cases, you should expect to receive a counter offer. If countered, your Spectrum Enterprises agent will receive this offer on your behalf and together you will discuss the next stage, which is either acceptance of the counter offer, or an additional offer from you to the seller.
Once you´ve settled on a decision and accepted the offer, the contract will be taken to the title company to open up escrow. The term escrow generally refers to the arrangement between two parties whereby an independent third party (the title company) handles the documentation for both parties until the settlement or closing date. At this time the contract is also presented to the mortgage lender to make final preparations.
Before settling, we ask the lender to verify the value of the property with an appraisal, and you will also receive the home inspectors report. The report will review the condition of the property´s heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical, the roof and attic, and the property´s visible structures including the walls, ceilings, flooring, windows and doors, foundation, basement, and any visible insulation. Depending on the contract terms, if the appraisal or inspection raises any issue with the property, this is a great time to re-negotiate.
Settlement / Closing
Once ready to settle, the title company (acting as a third party) will prepare the deed and finalized documentation. Once all documents have been prepared the buyer and seller are deemed “clear to close” and can schedule a closing appointment. We advise that you organize homeowners insurance before closing.
Often, the title company is of the buyer´s choice, but the seller may also request that you use their preferred title company. At the closing appointment, the buyer and seller will meet to sign the prepared documentation and close the sale. Once complete, the mortgage lender will transfer the funds to the title company who disperses the money on behalf of the seller to the appropriate parties. Upon the completion of all transfers, the buyer receives the keys to the new property and the sale is closed.
Congratulations on your property purchase! At Spectrum Enterprises our service doesn´t stop with the completion of your purchase. To make your move easy and environmentally friendly, you will have access to our complimentary moving truck which comes supplied with “green” packing supplies courtesy of Repax.
Home Buying Tips
Buying a house isn’t just about finding the right look with the right number of rooms in the right location; it’s also about finding a safe and sturdy home that is a good investment. The last thing you want is a home that looks great on the outside but is actually a real money pit! The more you can learn about the homes you are looking at before you buy, the better position you are in to negotiate the asking price. Knowledge truly is power, so go into your home purchase with enough information to make the right decision!
Home Buying Tip: Heating & Cooling
The heating and cooling systems in your home are a vital part of living comfortably, and they are one of the most important investments you’ll ever make in your home. It is also very important to consider the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling systems as together they account for 45% of the energy you use within the home!
While purchase price is of initial consideration, the cost of repair, maintenance, and operating cost are also of concern. The more energy efficient a system is, the less it costs to run, ultimately lowering your overall utility bills! Factor in this knowledge when evaluating the asking price of any home and you will save yourself a bundle in the long run.
Home Buying Tip: Asbestos
Just mention of the word “asbestos” is enough to make any homebuyer want to run a mile. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and can be very dangerous when inhaled.
For many years asbestos was used as a home insulator, it has also been used in siding, ceiling construction, and many other areas of home construction. The presence of asbestos does not necessarily present a danger if the material is in good condition. Asbestos generally presents a danger if it is disturbed or damaged and begins to release fibers into the air.
There are several asbestos remedies available, and your home inspector can tell you if there is asbestos present in your property and what measures to take to remedy it. Remember…asbestos removal is best left to the professionals!
Home Buying Tip: Insulation
Home insulation is measured by something called the “R-value”, which is the insulation’s ability to resist the flow of heat. In many cases a higher R-value means you will save more energy and ultimately more money. It is important to talk to your home inspector to find out the R-value of the insulation in any home you are buying.
Insulation in newly built homes generally has much higher R-values than that of older homes. Some gas and power companies do offer financial assistance to homeowners who want to improve their insulation. While adding insulation can certainly improve the R-value of your home, meaning you will save money on your utility bills; it can be very costly and often takes many years to recoup the cost.
Home Buying Tip: Wiring
Home wiring techniques have changed dramatically over the years, and the type of wiring in your prospective home generally depends on the age of the home, the location of the home, and whether any updates or improvements have been made to the wiring since the home was built.
Many older homes use knob and tube wiring, which was later replaced with encased plastic-sheathed wiring. Newly built homes are often wired with plastic-sheathed copper wires, wrapped with insulation, and finished with another layer of plastic for better protection. It is advisable to check with home with your home inspector and a licensed electrician to determine what type of wiring has been used before you purchase. Knowing the electrical health of your home can save you a lot of money down the road should the wiring or breaker box need to be repaired or replaced.
Home Buying Tip: Lead Paint
Lead contamination is a major concern for buyers, especially when considering a home that was built prior to 1978. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used in many construction products, including plumbing and paint. Lead poisoning is very dangerous and has been linked a plethora of health problems including behavioural issues, learning disabilities, seizures, and in extreme cases, death. Young children are generally at a higher risk than adults.
If you are considering purchasing a house that was built pre-1978, be sure that the seller files a lead-based paint disclosure form and provides you with a lead-based paint educational booklet upon sale. Spectrum Enterprises can recommend a lead inspection company and ensure any removal is safe and certified.
Home Buying Tip: Plumbing
There are many different types of plumbing systems used in home construction, and each is type is prone to individual problems. Commonly used plumbing materials are: rigid plastic, copper, galvanized pipes, polybutylene, and soft plastic, among many others.
Each system is not without it’s own problems but copper has proven to be the most reliable overall. As with all other tips we recommend you know what type of plumbing used in any prospective home, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you know what you’re dealing with, should any problems arise.
Home Buying Tip: Windows
Like many other aspects of home construction, there are several types of windows that may have been used in your prospective home. From plain glass, single-pane, double-pane, triple-pane, thermo-pane, tempered glass, leaded glass, wired glass, and low “e” glass, and the list goes on.
Knowing what type of windows you are working with will help you prevent heat loss and air leakage, while minimizing condensation, and improving your overall comfort. It’s also important to check the quality and seal of the windows, as poor air leakage can add a considerable amount to your utility bill!
Home Buying Tip: Lap Siding
When you are looking at homes to buy, it’s definitely worth taking note of what type of siding has been used on the houses you are considering. Man-made siding has had a lot of bad press; in particular Louisiana Pacific (L.P.) and Oriented Strand Board (OSB) have gotten a particularly bad rep.
There have also been reported issues with other brands, so it’s important for you to know the brand and condition of the siding on any houses you are looking at. There are reputable siding companies available, and always remember what you know now will save you money in the future!
Home Buying Tip: Stucco
In the past several years, artificial stucco siding has become a popular alternative to traditional stucco. Artificial stucco, also known as Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems (EIFS) is essentially several layers of polystyrene foam combined with mesh reinforcements and a layer of stucco over the top.
There is a strong argument for using artificial stucco products given their ability to add insulation, but it is essential that artificial stucco products are installed correctly to ensure that there is no water damage. If the product is installed while wet, or is exposed to water damage from rain the wood frame underneath the stucco begins to rot, and is a major expense to repair (or replace).
Home Buying Tip: Roofing
The roof is arguably one of the most important structural elements of a solidly built home. There are four areas to consider when checking the health and stability of the roof on your prospective home; the flashing, the gutters, the condition of the shingles, and the attic.
Flashing keeps water from seeping into the roof and is found around the chimneys and vents. Check that the flashing is solid and there are no leaks.
Ensure that the gutters are properly attached, and have good drainage. Check that there are no gutters that are pulling away from the building, and that there are no loose seams.
Inspect the condition of the shingles; curling or blistering shingles indicate there may be a problem. Individual shingles are relatively easy to replace, but be sure to do it before the problem becomes widespread, as it is a big job to replace all of the shingles!
Lastly, have a look around the attic for signs of leaks, as they will show up there first. Dark colored water stains and soft spots are a good indication of a leak. You should also take a close look at the rafters for sagging and water damage. Any of the above problems indicate that the roof might need an update!
Home Buying Tip: Home Insurance
You must have home insurance to buy a property, and it is absolutely essential that the home insurance policy is in place prior to completion of the sale. There are several home insurance policies available, so be sure to shop around. If you need a bit of assistance, we can put you in touch with several reputable companies.
Don’t be afraid to ask your insurance agent a lot of questions…you need to know the details of your policy before you sign on the dotted line. Ensure that you have enough coverage, and it’s important to prepare for any and every eventuality. As with many other types of insurance, a deductible on your policy often lowers your yearly insurance cost. Finding a comprehensive home insurance policy is essential to making your home buying experience safe and secure.
We’ve put together a complimentary home buying checklist to keep all of the details of your move simple and organized in one place. Please click here to download the home buying checklist.