Bowie / Upper Marlboro home buyers: If you’ve been paying attention to the latest news in Real Estate, you’re probably hearing that it’s a seller’s market. Well it is, sort of. Homes in the more moderate price range – under $300K – are seeing a lot of activity and are moving fairly quickly. Whether you're looking at new construction or resales, as a buyer, you will need to be prepared to ensure you’re in the best possible position to get the home you’ve fallen in love with.
Below are my tips for being a strong buyer:
Before you begin looking for a new home, make sure your financial house is in order. Check your credit reports to make sure they are accurate and fix any incorrect information. Lenders love a high credit score (720+) but you can get financing with a score as low as 640. During this pre-buying period, do not open or close any credit accounts. Both of these could negatively affect your score. Save as much as possible. The larger your down payment, the less you will have to borrow. One last thing… Pay down as much debt as possible. It can positively impact your score as well as reduce your monthly expenses once you’ve begun to pay a mortgage.
Start looking into mortgages. Speak with several lenders to understand the programs they have that will be best suited for you. Play around with a mortgage calculator to get an understanding of your total monthly payments. I like the one on Zillow (http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-calculator/) which allows you to also include taxes, insurance, HOA fees and PMI. Once you’re ready to start actively looking, you must get pre-approved. This will let you know your buying power. And, you can’t make an offer without demonstrating that you will be able to secure financing.
Find a good REALTOR®. A good realtor can simplify the process for you. She will set up a listing email that will provide you with the most current listings (unlike some well known websites that often list properties that are no longer available). She will provide a sounding board and offer good perspective as you look at homes. A good realtor will help you to make a strong offer. And, most importantly, she will help you to manage all of the steps that must happen to get to the settlement table.
I hope these tips were helpful as you being looking for your next home. If you need any additional information, please feel free to reach out to me!
All the best! If you know someone who is planning to buy or sell a home, I appreciate the referral! Know that I will treat them with the same level of service that I would provide to you.