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Helen is a quaint town between two rivers

Along Maryland's southern border is Helen, an unincorporated town in St. Mary's County. Tucked between the Potomac and the Patuxent Rivers, this town has unrivaled access to the water, making it the perfect getaway from city life. Though an hour south of Washington, D.C, Helen residents also have the ability to easily visit our nation's capital.

Nature and wildlife abound in Helen

A nearby state park and proximity to the water make this a rural haven

Tucked away near Maryland's southern tip is Helen, a small town situated between two rivers. The town's location near most of the state's major waterways makes it perfect for those who love the outdoors, but also ideal for those who enjoy the city life. A mere hour away is Washington, D.C., where residents can take advantage of all the renowned attractions like the monuments, schools, and thriving restaurant scene. Visit Helen for a secluded and low-key experience. The town is a short drive away from the nearby St. Mary’s River State Park, home to over 250 acres of wildlife, wooded areas, and small streams. The state park also boasts a large lake with a 7.5-mile trail encircling it where visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride. The lake is also available for fishing either from land or by boat.

Your dream home in Helen

Find the perfect place for you in this scenic town

As in most neighborhoods, the process of buying a home in Helen can be a daunting one. But don't let the possibilities and the process overwhelm you. Start by letting Earnest help determine the perfect budget for you. Using their proprietary system, they will analyze your financial history, looking at countless factors like income, credit history, and market rates to suggest the best price range for you. Look into and weigh all of the town’s amenities and decide what factors are important to you and your family, like walkability, attractions, and any other factors and then combine all of these findings to find your dream home. Though it may not be there immediately, by using Earnest’s system and your priorities, you will find the perfect home for what you need and for what you want in Helen, Maryland.

Common Questions About Buying a Home in Helen

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.