Buying

Home Inspection Types

Home inspections are an important contingency in Ocean City real estate contracts.  There are several different home inspection contingencies you can choose to include in your real estate contract, which you will find outlined below.  

As-Is without Inspections

Under this scenario you are purchasing the home or condo in its current condition without performing any type of property inspections.  Purchasing a property "As-Is" provides the least amount of protection and the highest risk for the Buyer, but is the most attractive scenario for the Seller.  Purchasing a property "As-Is" is only recommended as a last resort in markets with a lot of competition and for properties that are in relatively good condition.

As-Is with Inspections

When you purchase a home or condo “As-Is with Inspections” you are acknowledging that you will purchase the property in its current condition, however you reserve the right to perform property inspections.  Along with the right to perform property inspections comes the right to terminate the contract if the property inspections turn up issues that are unacceptable to you.  "As-Is with Inspections" provides good protection to the Buyer, while also being attractive to the Seller.  "As-Is with Inspections" can be utilized in a variety of scenarios where the property is in relatively good condition and you are ok with taking on some repairs.  

Contingent on Home Inspection

Making an offer “Contingent on Home Inspection” is the standard process and affords the Buyer the most protection.  The sale will be contingent on a Buyer having property inspections performed and the satisfactory negotiation of any deficient items that are uncovered during the property inspections.  “Contingent on Home Inspection” provides the most protection for...

Escalation Clauses

There is currently a considerable lack of inventory in the Ocean City real estate market, which is leading to multiple offer situations on most new homes and condos for sale in Ocean City.  Many of these offers are written over the listing price, which is necessary in most situations in order to succeed and get the deal.

There are several ways to structure deals in multiple offer situations, but the most effective way is with an escalation clause.  An escalation clause is a way to automatically increase your offer in a multiple offer situation without paying more for the Ocean City property than you have to.

There are two parts to an escalation clause.  The first part is the amount your offer will increase when a competing offer is at a higher price.  The second part is the cap that you put on how high you are willing to take your overall offer price via the escalation clause.  

The amount your offer will increase (escalator) will vary from situation to situation, however it is typically in the $500 to $1000 range.  As an example, let's say you were in a multiple offer situation where you offered $300,000 and the competing offer was at $305,000.  You put an escalation clause in your offer with a $500 escalator.  In this situation your offer would automatically increase to $305,500 and likely secure you the deal.

The second part of the escalation clause is the price cap that you put on the offer.  In the previous example, let's say you capped your escalation clause at $307,000.  In the $300,000 and $305,000 offer situation nothing would have changed.  Your offer would have increased to $305,500 and there would have been no reason to go higher.  The escalation...

Seasonality and the Ocean City Real Estate market

Ocean City, Maryland is a great place to consider purchasing a second home or investment property. There are many things to consider in this process, one of which is the best time to buy.  Each season presents different opportunities and challenges in the Ocean City real estate market.  Below are the pros and cons of buying in a particular season that will help you determine the best time to buy based on your particular situation.

Spring Season

The demand for Ocean City properties is at its highest during the Spring.  There will be a good amount of inventory to choose from, but there will also be a lot of competition.  As such, Sellers tend to not be terribly motivated with a steady stream of qualified Buyers walking through their front door. 

The keys to buying in the Spring are being proactive and being prepared.  Good properties will sell quickly and if you want in, you have to move quickly.  You will also want to ensure you have your finances in order and are pre-qualified if you will be getting a mortgage for the purchase.

Summer Season

Summer may seem like the busiest season for real estate sales in Ocean Cit, but that isn’t the case. The spring and fall actually beat the summer quite handily. There are limitations with showing property during the Summer months with all of the vacation rentals in town.  As such, inventory tends to be at its lowest level during the Summer months and Sellers that have rental income rolling in tend to not be as motivated.

The advantages to buying in the Summer are that you can use the property immediately during "prime time" and be situated for the best time of year in Ocean City (the fall but don't tell anybody!).  Additionally, if the property is a vacation rental you can step right into the rental income that transfers...

How To Navigate Multiple Offer Situations

The current lack of inventory in the Ocean City real estate market, coupled with high Buyer demand is leading to multiple offer situations within a couple of days on a majority of new real estate listings in Ocean City.  Multiple offer situations are tricky to navigate and you have to be prepared. 

I have successfully negotiated several contracts for clients in recent weeks that were in multiple offer situations, all of which had five to seven offers involved.  Taking the steps below will put you in a position to succeed.

Know the Numbers

If you are going into a multiple offer situation you have to know what the property’s market value is.  Research information on recent sales of similar properties ahead of time so you know the value of the property you are pursuing and can make informed decisions.

Stay Proactive

You have to stay proactive in the current market and be aware of new real estate listings in Ocean City as soon as they hit the market.  I can email you new listings that match your specifications as soon as they hit the market, which will ensure you do not miss out on a good opportunity.

Be Disciplined

It is easy to get caught up in the action and potentially overpay or concede protections in multiple offer scenarios.  A good Ocean City real estate agent that is looking out for your interests will advise you accordingly.  This is why knowing the numbers ahead of time and adjusting for condition, views, etc. is imperative....

Seven Step System for Buyers

Purchasing a home for sale in Ocean City or the surrounding areas is a large financial transaction that involves a lot of time, people and information to manage.  When improperly managed the process can be overwhelming and often results in undesirable outcomes.  You deserve to have an experienced, knowledgable advisor by your side to assist you in navigating through the home buying process.  Below you will find an overview of the Seven Step System I have in place to ensure my clients have seamless real estate transactions from start to finish.  

STEP 1 - Initial Consultation

The first step is to set-up a time to discuss what you are looking for in your new home. Things to consider during this process are:

  • Location
  • Property Size
  • Views
  • Property Type
  • Price Range
  • Features
  • Amenities
  • Intended Use

As you work through this list and other considerations you will identify the ideal home for your wants and needs. This process will help focus your search and enable us to create a plan to move forward with.

step 2 - New Listing Alerts

Once you determine the type of property you are looking for I will set-up your Listing Manager Account. I will email you new listings and price adjustments for Ocean City area properties that match your specifications as soon as they hit the market. This service will save you a lot of time and effort, while also ensuring you do not miss out on a good opportunity.

step 3 - Mortgage Pre-Qualification

If you are going to be financing your upcoming purchase I will get you in touch with my mortgage partners, whom can assist you in securing mortgage pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for the mortgage ahead of time provides several benefits:

  • Ensures the upcoming...

Monthly Costs

Monthly Expenses

Below are the monthly expenses you can expect when owning real estate in Ocean City or the surrounding areas.  These costs will vary depending based on the property type, size and location of the Ocean City real estate you purchase:

  • Electric
  • Cable and Wifi
  • Water and Sewer
  • Gas (where applicable)
  • Property Insurance
  • Condominium or Homeowners Association Fees (where applicable)
  • Trash Pick-Up (outside of Ocean City)
  • Property Taxes
  • Mortgage Principle and Interest (where applicable)

If you are buying a property that is part of a condominium association your water, gas, trash pick-up and master insurance policies are typically covered by the monthly condominium fees.  Additionally, some of the larger Ocean City condominium associations also cover cable and wifi.

When you are buying a single family home you will need to account for exterior and yard maintenance.

Once you identify some Ocean City properties that are of interest I can help you determine what the monthly expenses will be relative to the property type, size and location.

If you have any other questions or want to discuss this in greater detail feel free to contact me directly anytime at 443-614-9179 or via email below.

Contact Nicholas

...

Condominium Fees

As you are searching through real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas you likely have noticed the condo and/or HOA fees noted on the listing reports.  I get a lot of questions regarding these fees and thought it would be helpful to put together and article explaining them.  Condo and home owner association fees are the monthly maintenance costs associated with a particular building or community. Each respective building or community prepares a budget each year and these costs are then split amongst the properties that make up the community.  While they all have their subtle differences there are some commonalities among them, which are outlined below.  Condo fees are a bit more involved so we will examine them first and then review HOA fees at the end.  Keep in mind that anytime you buy into a condo or home owners association you are entitled to a review phase per MD law.  You will be given the opportunity to review and assess the respective community that you are buying into and in the event that you are not satisfied with it you have the option of being released from the contract.

Insurance

Most condo fees cover your fire, flood, hazard and general liability insurance through a master insurance policy for the building. In essence, if something happened to the building the master insurance policy that is paid for through your condo fee would rebuild the building to its original grade.  The only insurance your responsible for is contents insurance or an HO6 policy.  In the previous scenario your HO6 policy would replace your furnishings, personal belongings and any improvements you made to the property above the original building grade.

Utilities

The condo fee will cover your water usage and trash pick up. In most situations you will be responsible for your electric, sewer, gas and cable bills. Some condo associations include basic cable in the condo fee and in the event they do you will find it disclosed...

Association Review

Anytime you buy a property that is part of a condo or home owners association you are entitled to a review phase of the respective community per Maryland law.  For your protection an addendum will be included in the contract of sale for this review contingency.  When buying into a condo association you are entitled to a seven day right of rescission and for a home owners association your are entitle to a five day right of rescission.  Once you have a ratified contract to purchase a property you will get a resale package from the building or community that you are buying into seven to ten days after the contract is ratified.  The Seller and their agent are responsible for ordering, paying for and delivering the resale package to us. 

Below are the items that are required to be included.  Some of the associations will also include minutes from the most recent board meetings, reserve studies and other applicable items.  The most important document is the resale certificate, which outlines the status and amount of the yearly association fees, whether there are any pending special assessments, amount of money that is in the building reserve account and the presence of any judgements or civil actions against the association.

  • Copy of Community Declaration and Bylaws
  • Copy of the Rules and Regulations
  • Resale Certificate
  • Statement of Unit Conformity
  • Master Insurance Policy Summary
  • Community Operating Budget
  • Financial Statements

During this phase I will get any questions you have answered and gather any additional information you would like to see.  The settlement company handling your closing and myself will also review the documents to ensure everything is as it should be.  If there are any red flags we will bring them to your attention and gather additional information regarding them.  In the event that you are financing your purchase your lender will want items from...

Property Insurance

As a Realtor serving Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas I am often asked about property insurance. As with all real estate purchases, obtaining adequate property insurance will be a crucial step. Being in a coastal community we are susceptible to hurricanes, nor' easters and flooding in addition to all of the other potential hazards that come along with home ownership. Regardless of whether it is your primary home or second home real estate in Ocean City MD you want to ensure that you have adequate coverage. The type of property you purchase and your intended use of the property will ultimately dictate what type of coverage and policies that you will need to put in place.

Standard Home Owners Insurance

Standard Ocean City home owners insurance, also known as hazard insurance, combines various personal insurance protections including losses to ones home and its contents, liability coverage for any accidents that may occur, loss of use and subsequent living expenses and loss of personal possessions. Your standard home owners insurance policy requires that one of the named insured occupies the home as a primary residence. The cost of home owners insurance is typically determined by the costs that would be involved to rebuild the home in the event that a loss occurred and any additional insurance riders/protections that you have in place, such as flood insurance. A majority of insurance providers outside of our area, such as the one that has your primary residence policy, will not insure real estate in coastal areas. You will likely need to go with a local Ocean City MD insurance company and I would be glad to assist you with this. This is also beneficial in the event that there is a problem in that they are local and are familiar with claims that arise from storms, flooding, rental damage, etc. Standard home owners insurance policies would apply to Ocean City single family homes, Ocean Pines homes, West Ocean City homes and any other properties that are not a part of a condominium...

Property Inspections

One of the most important phases of buying real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas are the property inspections.  In most situations your are going to want to have inspections performed on the property you are pursuing to ensure it is sound structurally and that all of the mechanical systems and appliances are in working order.  The cost for inspections for most averaged sized Ocean City area properties will be around $300.  This is pretty inexpensive "peace of mind" insurance considering the overall cost of these homes, condos and town homes.  There are two types of home inspection contingencies that can be made part of the contract of sale.  The first is your standard home inspection contingency and the other is an "AS IS" inspection contingency.  Each of these provides a contingency and related protections for a home inspection, however each handles the results of the inspection differently.

Standard Home Inspection

Your standard home inspection contingency is included in the agreement of sale and is made part of the contract on a separate addendum.  The first part of the addendum determines the time frame for when the inspections on the property will be performed, based off of the date of contract acceptance.  Typically this time frame is 10 to 15 days from the point which both buyer and seller have signed the contract.  The inspections are done right away so that in the event there is a problem that can not be solved you as the Buyer are not wasting your time and the Seller's property is not off of the market for a prolonged period.  These time frames are negotiable and can be structured based on your schedule, contract time table and your comfort level.

The next part of the home inspection addendum outlines the specific inspections that you will be having performed.  In a majority of property transactions the only inspection that is performed is a mechanical and structural inspection.  This...

Financing Beach Homes

The mortgage process has undergone some changes over the past few years and if you haven’t been through it recently there are some things you should be aware of.  While the banks are eager to lend money (this is after all how they make a profit) they are performing considerably more due diligence, ensuring every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.  Additionally, there are a couple of additional steps when you are purchasing property “at the beach” that you need to ensure you and your agent are familiar with.  Below you will find an overview of the process and additional steps as they pertain to the purchase of real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas.

Pre-Approval

The first step as you consider purchasing real estate in Ocean City MD and the surrounding areas is to get pre-approved by a local lender.  This is a simple process that will ensure your potential purchase fits into your overall financial strategy.  Additionally, most Sellers will not formally respond to an offer contingent on financing without a pre-approval letter being submitted with the contract.  A strong pre-approval letter can also provide additional strength and leverage when negotiating a deal, especially if there are competing offers.

Loan Application

Once you find a property you are interested in and have an accepted offer we will initiate the loan process with your financial institution of choice.  They will start the process by gathering all of the required information from you, pulling credit reports and submitting a formal loan application.  The initial documentation required by most lenders is listed below:

  • Past 2 Years Tax Returns
  • Most Recent 2 Years W-2 Statements
  • Pay Stubs for Most Recent 30 Day Period
  • 2 Months Most Recent Bank Statements
  • 2 Months Most Recent Retirement Accounts (if applicable)
  • Most Recent Mortgage Statement for Primary Residence...

Closing Costs - Buyers

Closing costs are the fees and charges associated with buying a particular piece of real estate, which are in addition to the purchase price.  Closing costs will vary from deal to deal depending on the purchase price and overall deal structure, however there are some common similarities that I have outlined below.

Down Payment

The largest portion of your closing costs will be the down payment on your mortgage.  When buying primary residences, second homes and investment properties most people put down at least 20% to 25% in order to get the best interest rates and loan programs available.  You can put down 10% and possibly less depending on a variety of credit factors, however you will likely incur mortgage insurance which carries additional costs.  If you are buying a primary residence their are FHA loan programs with attractive interest rates and terms that require as little as 3.5% down.  

Real Estate Transfer and Recordation Charges

Outside of the down payment the largest portion of the closing costs when buying real estate are typically the property transfer and recordation fees charged by the state and county.  The state and county charge these fees on all transfers of real property throughout Maryland.  The total combined amount of these transfer charges in Worcester County is 1.66% of the purchase price or $1.66 per $100 of purchase price.  The total transfer charges break down as follows:

State Transfer Tax ... 0.50%

County Transfer Tax ... 0.50%

Recordation Tax ... 0.66%

As an example, a purchase of real estate in Ocean City with a purchase price of $500,000 will have $8,300 in property transfer charges associated with it.  Per the MD Residential Contract of Sale these charges are then split equally between the buyer and seller, however like most everything else in a real estate deal these charges are a negotiable item.

Adjustments and Prorations

Any items that are paid in advance...