Reston is a great market for first time homebuyers, with condos, townhomes, and single-family homes available at a variety of price points. As you begin your search for the perfect first home in Reston, here are some tips to help you get ready to take the plunge into being a homeowner.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score will play a large part in making that first home purchase. A good credit score will help you quality for a loan and make you eligible for a lower mortgage rate, which translates to savings for you.
You can also sign up for Credit Karma, where you can check your credit score as often as you want. Scores available to view come directly from Equifax and TransUnion, offering insight into your overall credit health.
Know How Much You Can Afford
It is a good idea to know how much you can afford to spend before you start looking at properties. Your realtor can help you figure this out, but you can also get a general idea of how much you can afford with an online home affordability calculator. Just plug in your information to get an estimated price range.
You’ll need to have a reserve of cash for a down payment, which can range from 3.5% to 20% of the purchase price of the house. You’ll also need cash for other expenses related to the home buying process, including closing costs, prepaid expenses for things like real estate taxes and homeowners insurance, as well as utility adjustments and cash reserves.
Start collecting the documents you’ll need for your mortgages such as paystubs, W-2’s, and bank statements. If you’re self-employed, you will also need copies of your last two years of tax returns.
Go Mortgage Shopping
It’s never too early to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Keep in mind that mortgage rates are not all created equally. Compare rates from different lenders and shop around for the best rates. Check out online resources like Lending Tree and Bankrate.
Research First Time Homebuyer Programs
There are federal and state programs that aim to help first time homebuyers get a foot into the door of their first house. Know what programs you qualify for and what you need to do to take advantage of these options. The Virginia Housing Development Authority has programs including mortgage loans, down payment assistance, and closing costs assistance. For first time homebuyer education, they also offer a free homebuyer class which can be taken online or in person.