Real estate experts in the house

Before buying that “Welcome Home” doormat, there are a few key concepts one should take into consideration, Evon Berg, Weidel real estate agent, and Mary Signoretta, Countrywide loan officer, said in a lecture hosted by Lambda Sigma Upsilon and Chi Upsilon Sigma on March 5 at the College.

Signoretta, who has five years of experience working as a loan officer with Countrywide Home Loans, shared with students how owning a house could be a possibility in their futures.

“Credit, Collateral and Cash,” Signoretta said. “Those are the three things that go into mortgage.”

Starting off with the most important topic, Signoretta explained smart ways to raise a credit score. Opening too many credit cards can harm one’s credit score and affect a student’s chance of ever owning a house.

“Getting one or two cards is fine,” she said, “but when you have five or eight and you’re maxed out, that makes your score go down.”

Maxing out credit cards, Signoretta said, puts up a red flag for loan companies because it suggests that the person who is applying for the loan cannot manage their money.

Being able to make the monthly mortgage payments is something a future homeowner has to consider as well. Going out to dinner or buying new clothes are expenditures that might need to be decreased.

“Don’t overextend yourself,” Signoretta said. “That’s where you get in trouble with the bankruptcies and foreclosures.”

With an insider’s view of home buying, Berg knows the housing market inside and out. With 10 years of experience working in the real estate business, Berg explained the steps a future buyer needs to complete before moving in.

“The first thing you need to do,” Berg said, “is to see Mary and get a pre-approval.”

A pre-approval is a letter saying that the borrower has completed a loan application and provided information like income, which a loan officer has reviewed and approved.

“First-time buyers, with your pre-approval, with nothing to sell,” Berg said. “You’re a golden child to real estate agents.”

Talking about closing costs, inspection fees and foreclosures, Berg reinforced that having good credit is a plus when buying a house.

“If your debt is too high,” Berg said, “you’re not going to be able to buy a house.”

Berg also said with houses dropping in price, considering buying a house in the near future might be a smart investment.

“It’s considered a buyer’s market right now,” Berg said. “Buying a house is a number-one big investment.”