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Buying Real Estate Step-by-Step Process

The Step-by-Step Process:
  1. Relocating from outside the United States (U.S.) to Maryland
  2. Relocating from outside the United States to Maryland: International Relocation to Maryland from another country poses some unique challenges that are outlined below. Skip this section if your relocation is within the United States.  Otherwise, consider the following:

    • Should We Rent or Buy?
    • What are the tax consequences specific to us?
    • Who do we consult with about taxes?
    • What are the legal considerations about owning property in the U.S?
    • Do we need to consult an attorney?
    • Which local attorney handles these matters?
    • What would be the cost of legal advice?
    • What about the cost of living in the U.S?
    • Should we ship your household goods or sell them and purchase new in the U.S?
    • What is the cost of purchasing a used automobile?
    • What are the costs associated with operating a vehicle in the U.S?
    • How does a grocery list from your home country, translated from kilos to pounds for example, compare in price and factoring in exchange rates?
    • What do appliances cost in U.S. dollars?
    • Will my family be happy in this community?
    • Look at schools within the community to see how the children would fit in with existing curriculum and school environment.
    • Visit schools and talk with faculty and administrators.
    • What about timing your move?  Do you need a short term rental?  Should you send your family ahead or will you precede them and they will follow?
    • How long will it take to process your work Visa and how will your relocation schedule would fit with that timetable.
    • Money Exchange. Current money exchange information is available at this website.


  3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    Relocating from within the Continental United States to Maryland and before you leave your State, consider the following:

    Address Change

    • Post Office: Give the Post Office Your Forwarding Address
    • Send a change of address to your Charge Accounts and Credit Cards
    • Subscription: Don't forget to provide forwarding information to for any subscription you want to continue receiving. This often requires several weeks notice in advance of your move.


    • Transfer funds and arrange check-cashing in your new city.
    • Arrange for credit references from your place of origin. Your mortgage company of choice will need the names, addresses and account information.


    • Notify your insurers of your new location so they can take the necessary steps to adjust your coverages: Life, Health, Fire & Auto

    Utility Companies

    • Gas, light, water, telephone, fuel, garbage. Check this link: Local Utility Companies, for the utility companies in the Maryland area.
    • Refunds on any deposits. You may be owed some refunds on your existing utility accounts, possibly with interest. Check it out.

    Delivery Companies

    • Stop deliveries. Arrange to stop the pick-up and/or delivery for laundry, newspaper, change over or termination of services.

    Medical, Dental, Prescription Histories

    • Ask your doctor or dentist for referrals; transfer prescriptions, eyeglasses, X-rays.  Obtain copies of your birth records, medical records, etc.


    • Ask about regulations for licenses, vaccinations, tags, quarantine, etc.

    And Don't Forget to ....

    • Empty freezer; plan use of foods
    • Defrost freezer and clean refrigerator. Place charcoal to dispel odors.
    • Have appliances serviced for moving.
    • Remember arrangements for TV and antenna. Don't forget to return your cable TV box and get your deposit back.
    • Clean rugs or clothing before moving; have them moving-wrapped
    • Check with your moving counselor; insurance coverage, packing and unpacking labor, arrival day, various shipping papers, method and time of expected payment.
    • Plan for special care needs of infants and pets.


  4. Compare the Cost of Living Between Old and New

    Compare the cost of living, estimated in U.S. currency, between U.S. geographic locations. Visit this website for a cost of living comparison program


  5. Your Moving Timeline

    Your Moving Timeframe - From 6 Weeks to Move-in Day.

    • Carry enough cash or traveler's checks to cover the cost of moving services and expenses until you make banking connections in the new city.
    • Carry jewelry and documents yourself; or use U.S. registered mail.
    • Plan for transportation of pets; they can be poor traveling companions if unhappy.
    • Let close friends or relatives know your route and schedule that you will travel including overnight stops; use them as message headquarters.
    • Double check closets, drawers, shelves to be sure they are empty.
    • Leave old keys needed by new tenant or owner with Realtor or owner.


  6. Put Your Buying Game Plan Into Action

    Engage a Regionally Capable Relocation Real Estate Agent and Look for These Services.

    • Relocation Package – Supply you with moving information.
    • Area/Local Orientation Tour - Becoming familiar with communities of interest and locate the following:
    Banks   Pharmacies   Veterinarians
    Clothing Stores   Repair Work   Sports Facilities
    Cinemas   Grocery Stores   Doctor/Dentist/Hospital
    Schools   Church Preferences   Specialty Stores
    Cultural/Art Facilities   Public Parks   Military Installations
    • Provide referrals for any language training or interpretation services.
    • Provide assistance with registering with home country embassy. (if relocating internationally).
    • Provide Referrals for local boarding facilities for pets or quarantine information if applicable.
    • Provide information on obtaining a driver’s license. Contact the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
    • Provide you with information on public transportation systems.
    • Provide information on purchasing or leasing a home.
    • Your Real Estate Answer Team real estate agent will also assist you with the following:

      1. Provide you with FREE internet access to the real estate agent’s multiple list system (MLS). This will give you access to all the available Homes for Sale in your geographic area of interest.
      2. Accompany you and your family on a tour of homes that interest you.
      3. Conduct negotiations for the purchase/lease of a home.
      4. Coordinate closing procedures.
      5. Assist with utility hook-ups, other move-in related matters.
      6. Assist with any school identification, registration, interview and enrollment administration matters.
      7. Remain available to you for advice and friendly support throughout your “settling-in” period.


  7. Going to the Negotiation Table

    Your Realtor delivers the Offer to Purchase to the Seller's real estate agent or the Seller in the case of HUD, VA or a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) and coordinates the negotiation with and on behalf of the Buyer.

    Counter-offers made by the Seller may be returned to you if your offer was not exactly what the Seller wanted. Remember, the Seller is probably a nice person but use your Realtor to do your negotiating. If you are not skilled innegotiating an offer to purchase, you may give away money and/or concessions that you might not have had to if only you had let your Buyer's Agent do the negotiating. If you get a counter-offer, review the counter-offer and accept it, counter their counter-offer or reject it and look for another home.

  8. Your offer has been Accepted!

    The Realtor will deliver copies of the ratified contract to the Home Buyer, the Buyer's lender and title company that had been selected earlier.

    The Home Buyer makes loan application with their selected lender, ensuring that the lender understands the financial game plan, the contingency(ies) used in the contract and pays the lender's fees for an appraisal and full mortgage credit report.

    The Realtor, if asked by the Buyer, will schedule all of the appointments on the Home Buyer's behalf with the selected home inspector, pest inspection vendors and any other inspectors desired by Buyer.

    The Buyer's Agent will meet with the Home Buyer at the property to conduct the inspections.

    The Home Buyer will coordinate with the selected insurance agent to obtain a home owner's home insurance policy for coverage required by the Home Buyer's lender no later than 10 days prior to closing.

  9. It's Settlement Day!

    The Realtor shall conduct a walkthrough of the home with the Buyer on the day before or the day of settlement ensuring that the home is in the same condition as when originally contracted. Unrepaired damage in the home sustained in the moving process by the Seller or from other causes can be an issue requiring further negotiation. Ensure that all the appliances are still working and that everything is in order as expected.

    The Home Buyer will be required to obtain a check for certified funds or cashier's check for the balance of funds required for closing. The personal check for any funds owed by the Home Buyer at settlement will not usually be accepted by the settlement agent.

    The Buyer's Agent, Buyer, Seller and Seller's Realtor shall attend Settlement: This is the final step. All fees are calculated, accounts adjusted and credit/debits documented on the Housing and Urban Development Settlement Sheet also known as the"HUD-1." All invoices from the different vendors, the lender and title company are signed and officially executed. The outstanding balance of funds as "Cash Due From Buyer" is to be paid by the Home Buyer at closing. The title company shall refund any monies due the Home Buyer should the Home Buyer provides an amount greater than that owed.

    Final Thought: Always remember that the Contract of Sale is the written document which expresses the "meeting of the minds" between the Home Buyer and the Seller. If you are not sure about any phase of the process ask your Realtor. Your Realtor is your guide, source of knowledge and expertise whose sole purpose is to make your home buying experience as comfortable, knowledgeable and enriching as possible as you progress through what should be a wonderful experience in your life. GOOD LUCK!!


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