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Friendsville: friendly and cost effective

Located in Garrett County, Maryland, Friendsville is a walkable, community-oriented town with a low cost of living. The small town has a population under 500, so it's ideal for anyone, especially couples and small families, looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. However, employment opportunities are ample as it is only a 40-minute drive to several metropolitan areas. Low home prices mean that making a home purchase will be a painless endeavor.

Friendsville is a place for friends

A perfect town for couples seeking community

An ideal spot for hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking, Friendsville, Maryland is a perfect destination for people looking to enjoy nature in a small town where they can easily get to know their neighbors. Friendsville is named after John Friend, its first European settler, who came to Garrett County before the American Revolution. Many of Friend’s descendants still live in Garrett County, adding to the close-knit neighborhood appeal. Friendsville has a population of only 476 as of 2014, with a 56 percent homeownership rate. The cost of living is approximately nine percent lower than the national average, with the median home cost roughly $111,900. While the majority of the population are married couples in their forties, the scenic parks, community events, and a great elementary school also make it an excellent spot for families.

A low-cost, low-population destination

Friendsville fosters a small community feel

Buying a home in Friendsville couldn’t be a better choice. It’s a remarkably affordable town, with 86 percent of the homes costing less than $200,000. Despite the lower-than-average cost of living and small population, you’ll still want to make the best decision when it comes to buying a house. Earnest will help you to identify exactly what you want out of the town you live in (walkability, transportation, proximity to schools, etc.) and will then determine your perfect home price based on your individual financial profile. The townsfolk of Friendsville are largely married couples in their mid- to late-forties, but the walkability and proximity to schools make it a great spot for families as well. Adding to the family appeal is the fact that 62.5 percent of Friendsville's homes have three or more bedrooms.

Common Questions About Buying a Home in Friendsville

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.