The community that you choose will depend on many personal factors. Laurel, Bowie and Silver Spring differ in what they may offer you. The Maryland suburbs offer many possiblilities. A preliminary discussion about your likes and dislikes along with your experience looking at DC condos along with previewing the communities and available townhomes will help you make the best choice as to what is your best fit.
Getting preapproved for a mortgage is an important first step, however, the lender, settlement company, home inspector, Realtor, etc all must work in concert to make your homebuying experience favorable. Since your buyer's agent is the main player in that homebuying team, interview and select a great buyer's agent first.
I'd like to interview for that position. I've been helping area homebuyers for more than 33 years now. The time we spend discussing the process and possibilities will be of great benefit to you, whether or not you decide to work with me and I decide to work for you. Of course, our initial consultation is without cost or obligation on your part.
If you'd like to talk, preview and evaluate, contact me at your convenience.