If you’ve decided it’s time to buy your first home, you’ll probably want to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips that can help.
Do plenty of research
First, determine what type of property you want, specifying your criteria for the location, type of dwelling, and year of construction. You should also get a sense of what’s out there by searching real estate websites and walking around the area where you want to buy.
Learn how credit works
It’s important to be aware of the things that can have a positive or negative impact on your credit rating. By being careful about your financial decisions, you can maximize your score and make the most of it when the time comes to secure a mortgage.
Look into homeownership programs
From financial assistance to tax credits and rebates, there are a number of programs designed to make buying your first home easier. Find out which ones are available in your area and whether you’re eligible.
Familiarize yourself with the process
If you understand what’s required to purchase a home, you’ll likely be more at ease and better prepared for each step of the transaction.
Consider all the costs
In addition to the price of the home, there are several other expenses that come with buying a property. These may include mortgage insurance, sales tax, closing costs, and moving fees.
Set aside money for contingencies
Even if you have a home inspected before you buy it (which is strongly encouraged), unpleasant surprises can still occur. Working these expenses into your budget beforehand can save you a lot of worries.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to borrow for a home and help you narrow your search. Keep in mind that getting pre-approved doesn’t guarantee you the loan, and you’ll need to take further steps to obtain it.
Shop around for a mortgage
Different lenders may offer varying interest rates for the same mortgage. Ask them directly or, to save time and gain access to exclusive products, enlist the help of a mortgage broker.
Finally, keep in mind that any time you’re looking to buy a property, a real estate agent is your best ally.
Buying an older home: points to keep in mind
Have you fallen in love with an older home? You may be tempted to seize the opportunity and skip an inspection, especially if there are several interested parties. Before taking on a mortgage, here are a few essential points to keep in mind.
Some materials that were popular in the past are now undesirable or even prohibited. For example, old paint is laden with asbestos and lead, which can infiltrate your drinking water. Therefore, you must find out if your dream home hides any unpleasant surprises.
Additionally, you may be saddled with inadequate electrical circuits or an insufficient number of power outlets. Moreover, energy efficiency wasn’t a priority in the past. Therefore, single-paned windows and poorly insulated walls are sure to drive up your heating bill.
Cost of renovations
Even if the home’s foundations and frame have survived well over the years, you may still be faced with costly renovations. For example, if you decide to knock down a wall and upgrade the insulation, you probably don’t want to close it off with bare drywall. Consequently, you must think through the additional expenses you may incur to preserve the home’s character.
Among the many aspects to consider is the insurability of the building. Before taking the plunge, take time to consult a broker and call a qualified inspector.
Virginia’s median home price jumps $100k in four years
According to the April 2022 Virginia Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, the statewide median home sales price was $390,000 in April. This is $100,000 higher than April of 2018, just four years ago. Compared to last year at this time, Virginia’s median sales price is up just over 9%, a gain of $32,500.
In Virginia, the steady upward trajectory of home prices has not been hindered by the slowdown in sales activity or the recent spike in mortgage rates. In April, homes sold for 3.4% higher than list price, on average. In all price segments, the average sold-to-list price ratio was at least 100%.
In total, there were 11,991 home sales in Virginia in April 2022, down 11.6% from a year ago. Sales have been down year-over-year for five consecutive months. This slowdown reflects the very busy 2021 market but is also indicative of buyers pulling back due to high home prices, elevated inflation, and rising mortgage rates.
In the coming months, Virginia could see a change in the speed of price growth. “As the Federal Reserve continues targeting inflation by raising rates, it is likely that mortgage rates will keep increasing over the coming months,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2022 President Denise Ramey. “In turn, housing demand will cool in the year ahead, slowing down price growth. However, higher mortgage rates and home prices will continue posing a challenge to buyers.”
Regarding the stability of Virginia’s housing market, Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Ryan Price says, “While higher mortgage rates and prices will have a dampening effect on housing demand in the months to come, underlying economic and demographic fundamentals—such as strong job growth and low unemployment rates—will support a stable housing market here in the commonwealth.”
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full April 2022 Virginia Home Sales Report.
How to spot hidden defects
When you buy a house, you naturally expect the seller to tell you the truth about the quality of the construction. However, you also have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions before signing the contract. Otherwise, you could face unpleasant surprises and have no legal recourse to remedy the situation.
A visual examination of the property is crucial to ensure a seamless transaction and protect you from possible hidden defects. Be on the lookout for any clues that arouse suspicion. Rather than relying on your own judgment, trust a building expert to conduct a thorough inspection to confirm your suspicions and alleviate your concerns.
Hidden flaws may become apparent only after the purchase. In this case, the seller could refuse to take responsibility. If the matter goes to court, you’ll have a better chance of winning your case if you’ve shown that you practiced due diligence before the sale. Therefore, it’s essential to find out about the consumer laws in place to know your duties and legal recourse.
Warren County Market Report for April 2022 with Jen Avery
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for April 2022. Is the market starting to balance back out again as interest rates begin to climb? I can share an observation or example from a listing perspective: The buyers who are offering are asking to please lock in their rates ASAP vs. previously buyers who would allow a 60-day close if it were the seller’s preference.
Buyers were willing to do anything to win the bid. Buyer desperation is not as severe now, in my opinion. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
1. New Listings are DOWN -15.9%.
2. New Pending DOWN -15.7%.
3. Closed sales are DOWN -26%
4. Average Median Sold $350,500
5. Average Days on Market 25
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send a request to email@example.com.
Resource: April 2022 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated May 2022.
Now some Community News
House of Hope
Empty Bowl Supper 2022 – Was a success!
Thank you to all of the businesses and supporters who sponsored the Empty Bowl Supper this year. You helped make it a great success bringing in about $13,000 for the House of Hope.
Click here to view video from event.
We See You, Warren County – sign up (free) online to join this “movement” to help bring our community together. Follow on Facebook! You are going to love it! #WeCUWC
Sign up here.
Rock & Stroll Event – May 10
Warren Coalition organized the Rock N Stroll
Healthy living for kids 4-13. Drug prevention week.
Rock & Stroll helps to address that by educating children about how to handle their emotions and about healthy choices regarding food and exercise.
Click here for full album.
Chamber of Commerce – May 21
34th Annual Wine & Craft Festival 2022
Watch this video with locals who became movie stars for a day!
Get your tickets here today!
Humane Society of Warren County
Rough Tough & Scruffy – DATE RESCHEDULED June 18
Grab a friend and sign up for a canoe race!!! Vendors, music, and food for all to enjoy. $10.00 entry fee. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Warren County. Enjoy the gorgeous venue at Hazard Mill Farms, Bentonville.
Yard Sale & Bake Sale – June 2 & 3
Stop out at the Humane Society of Warren County for a two-day yard sale! Pay by donation! Proceeds from the yard sale go to the Humane Society of Warren County.
Looking for BAKERS!! The Humane Society is pairing up with the House of Hope and has invited them to run the bake sale this year at the yard sale. Let’s donate some delicious goods for the sale!!
As mortgage rates spike, Virginia’s housing market shifts
According to the March 2022 Virginia Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, while the spring market is off to a strong start, there are some indications of changing market conditions.
Statewide, there were 11,446 home sales in March 2022, down 6% from a year ago. This decline is due to last year being an exceptionally busy market and also to the very low inventory which has provided buyers with very few options.
In March, Virginia’s median home sales price was $375,000—nearly 12% higher than in March of last year. While year-over-year sales slowed, Virginia did see a significant jump of more than 40% in sales between February and March 2022. This uptick reflects typical seasonal housing market patterns; however, this year, it was also likely fueled by the recent spike in mortgage rates.
Over the past few weeks, rates have risen faster than they have in nearly 30 years. In the second week of April, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 5% for the first time in 11 years.
“Mortgage rates are rising more quickly than anticipated and will likely rise further during the year,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Ryan Price. “Many buyers are eager to purchase a home before rates increase further.”
In Virginia, supply remains historically low; inventory is now less than a third of what it was five years ago. Intense competition resulted in homes selling for 2.6% higher than list price, on average, in March. This is the highest monthly average sold-to-list price ratio in at least a decade.
While these numbers may be daunting to potential buyers, there is some indication that supply is expanding. In March, Virginia’s inventory expanded with an uptick in new listings and a slight slowdown in buyer activity. At the end of March, there were about 1,500 more active listings statewide across Virginia, a 12.1% increase from the end of February.
“It is likely that Virginia’s inventory of homes for sale will expand over the coming months,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2022 President Denise Ramey. “Many sellers are feeling pressure from increasing mortgage rates, which will lead some to list their home for property now, before higher rates lead to less buyer interest.”
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full March 2022 Virginia Home Sales Report.
How to decide if you should buy a home in the city or suburbs
The location where you choose to live will impact your lifestyle and financial situation. Here are six things to consider before deciding if you should buy your new home in the city or the suburbs.
Homes are generally more affordable in the suburbs. However, you’ll likely spend extra money on transportation. Make sure you do the math before making a decision.
Libraries, restaurants, stores, and hospitals are often within walking distance in the city. However, this typically isn’t the case in the suburbs. Nevertheless, some municipalities have small shops.
If you live in the suburbs and work in the city, you may spend a lot of time driving back and forth. If you live close to where you work, however, your commute will likely be shorter.
Homes and yards are generally larger in the suburbs. This can be a major advantage if you have children. However, a big home requires considerable maintenance.
Unless there’s a large factory nearby, air quality tends to be better in the suburbs. There’s also considerably less noise.
If you like the hustle and bustle of the city and frequently go out, you may not be happy living in the suburbs.
Do you know where you want to live? If so, contact a real estate agent to help you find the perfect home.