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Getting to know Old Ellicott City

Ellicott City is located just outside the urban center of Columbia, MD. This suburb boasts a winning combination of both purpose-built entertainment sites and natural attractions: Take advantage of Ellicott City's five shopping centers, or go for a walk in one of its nine parks. Check out Earnest's easy-to-use calculator to get started on your home purchase.

Owning a slice of American history

Come live in a charming, historic city

Ellicott City is home to a huge amount of American history. With just under 66,000 residents, Ellicott City is the perfect size for families seeking comfort and security, as well as amusement and intrigue. Ellicott City is considered one of the most haunted towns on the East Coast; the Howard County Tourism Council even conducts "paranormal tours" of the Enchanted Forest--an old theme park that has since become a shopping center--along with local mansions, train stations, and parks. Featured in John Waters' Cry-Baby and The Goddess (the story of Marilyn Monroe), Ellicott City has been ranked as one of the Best Cities to Live In and one of the Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns.

Making a life in Ellicott City

Let Earnest help you find your dream home

Ellicott City has numerous historically-driven attractions that are bound to keep family members of all ages entertained. Old Ellicott City, the heart of downtown, is one of the most uniquely and aesthetically American neighborhoods. It offers a range of fine dining and casual fare options, historical museums, natural spaces like Patapsco State Park, annual music festivals, themed bar nights with promotional sales, and above all else, a taste of a truly American town. Come and enjoy American authenticity--permanently!

Common Questions About Buying a Home in Ellicott City

All The Answers You Need to Settle Down Sooner

Should I choose a fixed or adjustable rate?

It depends how long you expect to stay in the home. Adjustable rates are good for people who may not be in the home long, whereas fixed rates are ideal for people who are confident of settling in.

Do I need a home appraisal?

Probably—in most cases, the homebuyer must use an appraiser to evaluate the value of the home. Appraisal costs vary depending on the value of the property, as well as the state the house is in. Buyers cannot choose their own appraiser—the bank makes the decision.

What is PMI?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required when a homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 20%, or when a borrower refinances with less than 20% equity in the home. PMI fees vary according to your down payment and credit score, and adds a premium to your monthly mortgage payment. Please note, PMI is tax-deductible in 2015 and 2016 for certain income brackets.

What does Loan-to-Value mean?

Loan-to-Value (LTV) is the percentage of your home’s value that your loan represents. When refinancing, the calculation is simply the loan amount divided by the appraised value. When buying a home, the LTV is found by dividing by either the purchase price or appraised amount, whichever is lower. When the LTV is less than 80%, the lender generally requires PMI.

For example:

Purchase price: $100,000
Down payment: $15,000
Loan amount: $85,000
Appraised value: $110,000
LTV: $85,000/$100,000 = 85%

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are standard fees associated with a real estate transaction. You will typically pay about 2-5% of the purchase price in closing costs—the exact amount depends on where you are buying (or refinancing), as well as number of extra fees involved in your particular transaction. Earnest charges no lender fees, so the borrower is only responsible for 3rd-party fees.

What should I consider before refinancing my mortgage?

Refinancing your home loan is an attractive option when rates are low. A simple rate and term refinance can help you lower your monthly payment and potentially eliminate your PMI premium, as long as you have built up enough equity in the home. You might also use a cash-out refinance to access some of the equity you’ve built up in the home (which may result in a higher monthly payment on your new loan).

However, keep in mind that refinancing a mortgage does involve several fees (closing costs). Before refinancing, you should calculate the ‘break-even’ point at which your refinanced loan makes up for the closing costs. If you plan to leave your home before this time, it’s better to stay with your current mortgage.

Knowledge Is (Buying) Power

Further Resources from the Earnest Blog

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The intelligent home loan

When it comes to finding the right home loan, Earnest works hard to ensure that the process pain-free. We use an industry-leading and intuitive online-only application (meaning most times no scanner or fax machine required), a 5-star client service team, and a unique rolling pre-approval that stays current while you track down that perfect home. At Earnest, the home loan process is like no other.