Dear Mr. Gisriel: My husband and I hope to buy our first home this year. My husband says that as first-time homebuyers without much money, it would be impossible to qualify for a mortgage. What do you think?
Christine Bennett Columbia
Dear Ms. Bennett: Maryland's Community Development Administration (CDA) and other private and public lenders run mortgage programs for first-time homebuyers -- generally defined as anyone who has not owned a home in three years.
For example, some lenders offer the following package:
* Maximum purchase price, $150,000; 3 percent down payment from homebuyers, another 2 percent borrowed from lender. The closing costs are also borrowed from the lender, except for "pre-paids" -- money needed for the escrow account, upfront tax and insurance.
* Maximum purchase price, $85,000; 3 percent down payment from homebuyer and 2 percent borrowed as personal loan from lender. The closing costs, including pre-paids, are also financed by the lender.
There are more programs than ever that help first-time buyers get into a house.
Dear Mr. Gisriel: My daughter and I own the house where I live as tenants-in-common. My daughter is now married and would like to have her name and responsibility removed from my property. Will I have to pay closing costs and transfer taxes again? How much will retitling the property in my name only cost?
Alice Bruno Parkville
Dear Ms. Bruno: Under Maryland law, when real property is transferred between certain relatives without consideration, the transfer is exempt from transfer and recordation tax. This exemption ap plies to all transfers without consideration or when the property is transferred subject to a mortgage if the property is transferred to the following relatives:
* Spouse or former spouse.
* Son or daughter.
* Son-in-law, daughter-in-law.
The cost of preparing and recording the deed in the land records should be about $295.