Real Estate Education, Real Estate Experience, and Real Estate Intelligence

March 10, 2022

How To Choose a Mortgage

Where Do You Start?


When you're looking for a mortgage loan, where do you start? A number of different entities can provide you with the money you need to buy a home. Here are some lenders to consider when you're looking for the best mortgage rate:

  • Most banks also provide mortgages. You'll be assigned a loan officer and get personal service. If you borrow from a bank where you're already a customer, it may offer special rates and fees.
  • Credit unions are another option. You need to become a member to take out a mortgage, but then you get members-only deals.
  • Look into nonbank mortgage lenders. These online services provide a quick loan turnaround. If you want a Federal Housing Administration loan, nonbank lenders may be more eager to work with you than conventional banks would be.
  • Mortgage brokers work with many lenders, searching multiple companies to come up with the best loan option. They act as intermediaries, gathering your documents and providing them to the underwriter. However, brokers earn a fee or commission that you'll have to pay at closing.
  • Mortgage marketplaces allow you to review interest rate quotes from multiple lenders. You may find a great rate and a terrific deal on closing fees.

Get all the info

So where do you start? Most lenders advertise their rates, so look up a rate aggregation website that collects and compares rates from lenders in your area. Then talk to friends and real estate professionals for references and recommendations.

Once you get in touch with a lender, make sure you come with a list of questions, including:

  • How long do you expect the process to take?
  • Will you be my main contact through the processor will someone else take over? How will we keep in touch?
  • Will appraisal and closing take place online or in-person?
  • How long of an interest rate lock should I commit to? (Many lenders recommend locking your interest rate at the time you file an application so that it doesn't change before closing.) If closing doesn't take place before then, will I have to pay for an extension?

If you decide to work with a mortgage broker, ask these questions as well:

  • How many lender quotes did you review, and why did you select this lender and rate as the best?
  • What fees and commissions will you charge, and who will pay for them — me, the lender, or both of us?

Compare the interest rates and fees of at least three lenders or brokers. But don't only think about the sticker price. Consider these other criteria:

  • Ask about points — fees that may allow you to get a lower interest rate. How much do they cost, and do you need them at all?
  • Ask about application fees, underwriting costs, and any fees charged at closing.
  • Make sure you get the details on private mortgage insurance. If you put down less than 20%, you may need to pay it, but ask whether there are any ways to avoid it.

The annual percentage rate, or total cost you pay for credit as a yearly interest rate, includes costs like points and mortgage insurance. This will help in considering mortgage offers. You can ask whether a particular lender can beat another's offer, perhaps by waiving or lowering one or more fees or by agreeing to a lower rate or fewer points. Be sure you don't have an agreement to lower one fee while points are being added. Ask your lender whether there are any discrepancies and question any costs or terms.

We can connect you with our lenders!

Your real estate agent or financial professional may have additional suggestions. R.E. Shilow can connect you with the best mortgage professionals available call us today by clicking the phone in the top right corner! 

Posted in Blogs
Nov. 16, 2021

Hottest Howard County Listing On The Market!

Newest HOT Howard County Listing on The Market

3040 Hobbs Rd, Glenwood, MD 21738


3040 Hobbs Rd

In the lovely Green Meadows community built-in, 2001 in Howard County Hobbs Road is a beautiful single-family home with 9/10 schools in the Howard County school district. Seconds away from Glenelg High School that is ranked the 3rd best high school in Maryland!    

  • List Price: $824,900
  • Style: Colonial 
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Full Bath: 3
  • Half Baths: 1
  • Living Area: 3,004
  • Lot Size: 1.04

Are you interested?

Are interested in this listing? Click here to find out more information about this property. Do you have a house that you've been thinking about selling? We will get your house in front of buyers with our marketing strategies to ensure you have many offers from motivated buyers to choose from. Click here to learn more about listing your house!

Posted in Blogs
Oct. 8, 2021

The Numbers That Really Matter When Selling Your House

When selling real estate these are the numbers that truly matter!

After going on thousands of listing appointments the one thing people worry about the most is what is the brokerage going to charge? As soon as I walk in the door at a listing appointment that is the first question asked. Of course, the seller should know what the brokerage is charging but the main focus should be can I sell my house quickly and get the best ROI (return on investment). This is a sure sign they have not talked with a true real estate professional. The commissions for real estate transactions are the last thing to affect the seller's ROI. That’s right, the last thing! Let’s first talk about what numbers are important and will affect the ROI of the seller.

Pricing the house!

Real estate professionals have access to data to show what homes are selling for in any square mile radius. Pricing a house correctly is super important to the seller. If homes sit on the market past the average days on market for that area, it will send a message to the home buying market that something is amiss. Overpricing is a very important thing to keep in mind. You want to price your house just right. You may be able to price your $550k house at $580k but will it sell in the right amount of time? Remember this if your house is priced right most of the time a buyer will offer more to secure the deal.

DOM (Days on Market)

Every market area has a certain number of days that statistically homes will sell. For example, some luxury homes take 1 year of being on the market to sell. Some houses in Ellicott City Maryland priced in the $300K to $500K often sell in less than 30 days on average. That's also why pricing your house appropriately for the market it's in is so important so your house is not sitting on the market longer than expected making buyers wonder why. 

Net proceeds!

This is truly the most important piece of information every seller needs to understand. If the house is priced properly and presents well how much will you (the seller) put in your pocket

Fancy flyers don't sell!

If you work with an agent that understands these three numbers and how they all work together to maximize the seller's ROI the commissions paid to execute this will make sense and be worth every penny. When Real estate agents are concerned with fancy fliers, open houses, signing listing agreements, etc... They don't know what really sells a house. Not saying that they won't be able to sell your house just the important information you should be getting to the bottom of first is what is really going to make the house sell at the best price and the right time. Not all that fluff, actually not focusing on these numbers could make you lose more in the long run of the home selling process. 

Call today to get a more detailed explanation of how the numbers matter! 

Posted in Blogs
July 16, 2021

Make Sure Your Remodeling Pays off When It’s Time to Sell

The Right Upgrades Will Pay Off

Now that good weather is here, a lot of homeowners are looking to start a project. And homebuyers check out homes with eyes to remodel after purchase or review existing remodeled spaces and choose how much extra—if any—they’re worth. Others are deciding whether spending money to remodel is a good use of funds, or if it’s better to just save your money.

Cost vs Value

Remodeling magazine and the National Association of Realtors® completes a study each year on cost vs. value. The latest report from 2021 can offer you some insight as you review remodeling plans. Something as simple as a front entrance replacement will recoup much of the expense, but not all. The study found the national cost on average for a fiberglass entry door replacement to be $10,044 with an average resale value of $6,116 making that a 60.9% return. The report also found that a steel entry door replacement costs $2,082 nationally, with a resale value average of $1,353, showing a 65% return. So, if you would like a new front entrance, go for it. Don’t expect buyers to repay you for each cent of the change though. Instead, enjoy the new addition and the way it makes your home look nicer!

Remodel Your Bathroom and Kitchen

Other popular projects that provide a good return include a bathroom remodel and major and minor kitchen remodels. Again, though, don’t expect a full return on cost. If your home needs updating, roll in the hay to enjoy the update before you will be selling your home.

A bathroom remodels costs on the average nationally $24,424 with a median return of 60.1% or $14,671. Similarly, with an average return of 58.6%, a significant kitchen remodel (new cabinets, appliances, countertops, paint room/trim, etc.) costs $75,571, and also the resale value is $43,364. However, if you choose a minor kitchen to remodel (re-facing kitchen cabinets being the most difference between a major and minor kitchen remodel), on average you’ll spend $26,214 according to the national average, but resale will return you $18,927 or 72.2%. So, if money and time are tight, you would possibly consider a minor kitchen remodel for the best return in comparison with a major kitchen remodel.

Other Great Projects With Good Returns

A deck addition made with wood would cost on average $16,766 with resale value of $11,038 or 65.8%. A Garage Door Replacement will cost you on average $3,907 with a resale value of $3,663 or 93.8%. A window replacement is $23,219 resale value being $15,644 or 67.4%. That is just a few upgrades with good returns, check out the full updated list from remodeling magazine here

For more information about what remodeling projects can pay off when it is time to sell your home, give us a call today.

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'Making a down payment? How much should you put down?' here

Posted in Blogs
June 9, 2021

Making a down payment? How much should you put down?

How much should I put down on a house?

If you’re buying a mortgage immediately, chances are you’ve heard tons of opinions about how much you ought to spend on a down payment. Many of us think that the more you'll spend on a down payment the better, but there are some factors at play that could dissuade you from making a huge down payment. Keep reading to learn what it means to put down a small or large down payment on a home. 

Don’t put down 20 percent or more if it'll obliterate your savings.

It’s not the best idea to put an enormous down payment (20 percent or more) if this may cause you to go broke. Don’t withdraw everything to make that down payment. Lenders want to check that you have savings. You should have an emergency fund should there be a change in your life, like the loss of employment. 

Large down payments traffic jam your money

If you make a big down payment, know that an enormous chunk of change is now traffic jammed in this house. If an emergency occurs, it'll be hard to get that cashback. Also, many new homeowners forget all the extras that come alongside ownership: a boiler or furnace that needs replacing, a sudden roof leak, or maybe a replacement refrigerator. Getting money out is not as easy as putting it in! So don't think that more is better. This is something you want to talk about with your bank and your financial advisors.

A small down payment means also paying for PMI

If you would like small monthly payments, however, putting less money down won't assist you do this . Lenders append PMI (private mortgage insurance) if your deposit is a smaller amount than 20 percent. This is an added monthly cost that you must factor in if you decide to put down a small amount of money on your home.

A small down payment means higher mortgage payments

If you put, a smaller down payment on a house it means you'll have to pay a higher mortgage payment monthly. If you take out a huge loan, the rate of interest on that loan will be higher than that on a small loan. If you are thinking about making a smaller down payment, know that things like PMI and higher interest rates are going to be a part of your future.

Look into loans that allow small down payments with no PMI

Government-backed loans just like the VA loan, FHA loan, and USDA loan all allow you to put little or no down, but don’t require PMI. (However, there could also be other forms of insurance.) check out the qualifications before applying for one of these loans – there are income and location restrictions to keep in mind. Deciding how much to put on your down payment isn't straightforward; it depends on the person and therefore the situation. And bank and government policies can change quickly. 

For help deciding how much you ought to pay on a down payment, give us a call today.

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'Virtual Tour of The Hottest Property in Sykesville' here

Posted in Blogs
June 4, 2021

Virtual Tour of The Hottest Property in Sykesville

Meticulously Cared For

Built in 1993 7292 Norris Ave, Sykesville is a masterpiece. In the Shannon Run neighborhood this beautiful home sits on the corner of Norris Ave and Kalorama Rd with 1,956 square feet of living space.

Shannon Run

Shannon Run is a beautiful neighborhood consisting of houses ranging anywhere from $250,000 to $850,000+ and is one of the safest places to live in already secure Carroll County area. With 3 different parks, Including a baseball field,  2 basketball courts, and numerous  trails leading to the nearby train tracks which will take you too Main street Sykesville. This is the perfect spot for a family.

Fulton, MD Real Estate Market

The median listing price of a home in Fulton is $752k. The average price per square foot is $216. Houses in Fulton sell for around $22k above the average listing price ($774k). It is somewhat of a balanced market between buyers and sellers but their are slightly more buyers than sellers currently. On average houses in Fulton sell after 57 days on the market. R.E. Shilow Realty can cut that time in half with the strategies we put in place and team of professionals executing said strategies. Contact us for more information

7292 Norris Ave Description

This house has a new roof, new heating/cooling systems, new windows, new carpet, and so many more upgrades. The owners put a lot of care into this home and it shows through. Shows like a model home yet warm and full of love! Kitchen including granite countertops, hardwood floors, high-end cabinets so many upgrades we can't list them all here.

Interested In Norris Ave or the Fulton Market?

Please stop by Sykesville's top-rated neighborhoods. Walking paths, parks, walking distance from downtown Sykesville. 

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'A Little Inspiration For That Unused Formal Dining Space' here

Posted in Blogs
June 4, 2021

A Little Inspiration For That Unused Formal Dining Space

Inspiration For That Unused Space!

A formal dining room can feel like a waste of space. Many homes have this formal space but not every modern family hosts large sit-down dinners or holiday gatherings. There's no rule that your dining room has to be used for that singular purpose. If you’re considering turning your dining room space into a useful space for you and your family, the following are some ideas to inspire you to get started.

Media Room

Perhaps your dining room is that the perfect place to create a media center. this might be an area where you'll watch YouTube, play video games, or music. You could even use it as a studio space to practice live music.


If you have young children, this might be the right room to convert into a playroom. Creating an inside play area that keeps the toys and childhood clutter far away from other rooms within the home is a smart move for several families. Let your imagination run wild to style a fun space where your children can play.

Home Office/Schoolwork Station

If you would like a headquarters, your dining room could fill that role perfectly. Convert the space to incorporate a desk and all your organizational furniture. Most people work better in a set location, many children also work better in a set location for schoolwork. Although you might sit at the table or a desk in your bedroom, having an area that's solely used for your children's schoolwork or your business can get you both in the right mindset for learning and help to be more productive.

Family/Friends Game Night Room 

Game nights are awesome activities for family and friends. Whether you host a daily game night for role-playing games or poker or simply just play board games together with your family, a dining room may be a great space to set up a gaming table.

Contact us today for other creative ways to re-purpose the dining room in your new home.

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'Buying a New Home Before Selling Your Current One' here

Posted in Blogs
June 4, 2021

Buying a New Home Before Selling Your Current One?

Is It Risky to Buy a Home Before Selling My Current One?

Which comes first, the chicken (buying a home) or the egg (selling your current home)? There's no simple answer. Knowing and understanding your options can assist you in making the choice that’s right for you. There are often several advantages to purchasing a home before selling your current one, so we've listed several things you should consider.


If you continue to owe money on your current home, then you’ll need to be ready to afford two mortgages until your current home sells. How quickly that happens depends on the housing market in your area. Having two house payments will limit your purchasing power for a replacement home.

Selling before you purchase gives you the advantage of knowing the precise amount you'll be able to put toward your new home purchase. While this might provide you with more peace of mind and buying power, it could mean missing out on homes you see searching during the period of trying to get yours to sell.


You can take it slow with the buying and moving process. You’ll have longer to buy a replacement home that has the features and is in a nice area that you simply want to live in. Then once you purchase your new home you'll move in at your own pace, and put your current home on the market when ready.

On the opposite hand, if you sell your current home before buying, you face the likelihood of not having a place to live and having to rent until you buy. Including possibly renting your current home from the new owners depending on their situation. Or, once you've got an offer, you can begin buying your new home and do your best to coordinate closing dates. While not impossible, this would take a touch of finagling and tons of luck. The best route, if you are trying to avoid renting, would be to buy first then sell.

Ask the Professionals

R.E. Shilow Realty real estate agents can estimate the worth of your current home and how fast it'll sell on average depending on the market and how it's moving near you. They will also assist you in finding information about neighborhoods you're curious about moving to and the amount of buying power you’ll need for the house you would like.

A mortgage lender can assist you in finding out if you'll afford to possess two mortgages. They will also inform you about the way to use the equity in your current home to assist with the down payment on your brand new home.

Have more questions on buying a home before selling your current one? Contact me with the information below for more information.

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'Home Staging Cost' here

Posted in Blogs
June 2, 2021

Home Staging Cost

Staging your home?

Home staging has been a standard practice for several years and has become a strong sales tool to rework homes into desirable products. While it's not an accredited field, it does require a keen eye and knowledge to make the proper look. If you’ve decided to hire or DIY, here’s how much it'll cost to stage your home.


Should you plan to hire a knowledgeable home stager, the prices can vary from $150 for a consultation to many thousands after the work is performed. Most home stagers charge by the hour others charge a consultation fee then a further flat fee.

Preliminary consultation is typically required and therefore the professional will make suggestions regarding the removal or relocation of things, what must be cleaned or repaired, and if anything needs repainting. Have a plan before hiring a professional, additional services usually include:

Rearranging furniture

Redecorating windows

Displaying accessories and collectibles

Adding elements that draw the eye to appealing areas like fireplaces, patios, and porches

Bringing in a sizable amount of "props" or furniture pieces that help enhance the space. This might mean adding plants, pillows, artwork, lighting, and more.

It’s extremely important to make sure you sit down together with your home stager and determine your budget well beforehand to make sure that there are not any unexpected costs. it's a good idea to talk with and interview 2-3 home stager candidates before choosing one. These meetings should include a discussion of the budget, goals, and references.

Do it Yourself

Should you plan to stage your home yourself, consider meeting with a home stager for a consultation ($150-$250 fee) and implement the changes yourself. you'll save thousands of dollars by purchasing any suggested props, furniture pieces, minor repairs, or paint.

Another way to save lots of money if you’re staging your house is to target a couple of rooms, versus the whole house. Consider making changes to the entryway, main living area, the kitchen, and therefore the main bedroom, as these are the rooms that potential buyers target the most.

While the worth to hire a knowledgeable home stager will presumably be above a DIY project, they need the experience to decide on what is going to attract buyers and the way to stage your home accordingly so finding the right professional for the job is very important. It also offers convenience to you, especially if you are busy not having overtime to frolic learning about items or fixing minor repairs.

Whatever you opt to try home staging, the value to stage your home can vary counting on the space, your budget, and more. For help staging your home and determining the general cost, give me a call today.

Do you want to learn more about home staging or stage your home? Contact us today!

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'The Basics of Fence Installing' here


Posted in Blogs
June 2, 2021

The Basics of Fence Installing

The Basics  

Do you want to install a fence in your yard? Whether it’s to keep animals and little ones in or keep other animals and other people out, choosing the proper fence will go an extended way toward ensuring that your home and yard work for you. The subsequent short guide will assist you to pick the proper fence materials and understand other basic tips you would like to know about installing a fence.

Fence Materials 

For the foremost part, any fence you install in your yard is going to be made from either wood or metal or some combination of the two. Some walls are made out of stone or brick, but that’s another category. Chain-link fencing is the cheapest choice to install, but it's not the foremost aesthetically pleasing. Privacy fences are made up of tall wood planks. 

Fence Height

You need to work out what height fence you would like. If you’re just looking to keep pets or your kids in your yard, a fence height over which you'll easily be able to look over could be sufficient. If you would like to take care of privacy in your yard, you'll need a tall fence that is made from wood planks generally speaking. Most people will differentiate what they do base on the placement of their house. If you live near busy roads you might prefer taller fences all around. But in a front yard, 3 feet is that the average height. In a backyard, fences often are between 6- and 8-feet high.

Property Lines

Before you put in a fence, it’s imperative that you fully understand the location of the property lines. Accidentally installing a fence on your neighbor’s property can trigger a cascade of problems between households. To put in a fence, you likely have to obtain a work permit. You'll check out the property maps to work out the proper dimensions of your yard. Check regulations to make sure that your fence isn't too on the brink of your neighbors and doesn't otherwise violate local rules. You'll need to get permission and file plans with an area authority.


You also should consider access to your yard employing a gate. A gate generally is integrated into the fence so you only have to determine the simplest placement for access to your yard from outside your home. You furthermore may make sure that your gate is secure and may be locked to stop others from accessing your yard when uninvited.

If you're able to move forward with a fence for your property, contact us today.

Ryan Shilow

Phone: 443.602.9900


Find our last blog about 'The Importance of Bathroom Lighting' here


Posted in Blogs