Top 10 Tips to Buying a House in Hampton Roads

Hello Hampton Roads,

In speaking with many home buyers, I've found that most people share similar questions and concerns especially if they've never bought a home before and want to know what they can do to make the process smoother and easier.  If you or someone you know is thinking of buying, I've put together a list of the top 10 tips to buying a house in Hampton Roads that will save you time, money, and help you avoid frustration.

Top 10 Home Buying Tips in Hampton Roads

On to the tips!

Tip 10  Build Your Savings 
Save as much as you can upfront not only for the down payment but also for closing costs. In a buyer's market we can usually negotiate some closing costs to be paid by the seller but in the current seller's market, this is not the case. Closing costs in our area typically range between 3.5%-5.0% of the purchase price. 

Tip 9  Know Your Credit Score
Find out where you stand credit-wise so you can address any credit issues early. If you wait to have your credit checked a month before you are ready to buy, credit problems could delay your home buying plans. Many lenders require a minimum credit score between 620-640. If you are worried about credit check hurting your scores, ask your lender about doing a soft credit pull. Please note that it is possible to get a loan with a lower score, but that usually requires a higher down payment.

Tip 8  Get Qualified for Financing & Special Programs
Once you know that your credit is in good shape, get qualified for financing so you know how much home you can buy.  Find out which loan product will work best for you and if you are a first time buyer, find out about special programs for down payment assistance and home buyer grants. There are a number of programs available in Hampton Roads that offer 100% financing options including some that offer closing costs assistance. ( 

Tip 7  Understand the Local Market
The best kind of home buyer is the well-educated home buyer. Have a good understanding of what the local market is like so you know what to expect. How quickly are homes selling? How close to the asking price are they selling?  Knowing these things will put you way ahead of the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted!  You can see the latest numbers on my website in the "Market Update" section.

Tip 6  Location, Location, Location
If you have the choice between 2 houses that fit your needs, go for the one in the better location. It will hold value better and will be easier to sell when you are ready to move on to your next place.
Not sure about the neighborhoods? Drive by the houses at different times and different days, including weekends, and talk to the neighbors! 

Tip 5 Make Your Best "No Regrets" Offer
Finally found a house? That's great! In today's sellers' market you will more than likely be competing with other offers and have one opportunity to bi--so bid wisely. Consider making your best "no regrets" offer--this is the best offer you are able to make so you won't have to second guess yourself or wonder if you would have gotten the house if you bid a little more. You don't want to stretch yourself thin, but you do want to make the best offer that you can still afford; current low interest rates can help with this! For example, if your interest rate is 3.5% you are paying $4.50 in prinicipal and interest for every $1,000 in purchase price. If you increase your price by $5K,  then you are increasing your mortgage payment by $22.50 per month which is less than the cost of a tank of gas.

Tip 4  Do Your Home Inspection
Don't waive your home inspection to make your offer more appealing to the seller! Even if the house is "as is" you can still make the offer contingent on a home inspection--the seller won't do any repairs but you can still back out of the purchase if the home inspection results are unsatisfactory to you.

Tip 3  Do Your Walk-Through
The walk-through is your final opportunity to see the home before you own it. You want to make sure that the house is in the same condition as it was when you last saw it, that all the appliances you negotiated for are present, and that any repairs you asked to be done have been completed.  

Tip 2  Shop for Home Owner's Insurance and Title Insurance
You want to make sure you get the best pricing so get quotes for home owner's insurance. One of the best places to start is with the company that has your car insurance as they typically offer home owner's insurance and may give you a discount since they already have your car insurance. 
Regarding title insurance, your settlement company will order title insurance for you, but you can ask the seller where they got their title insurance and see if your settlement company can give you the re-issue rate. 

Tip 1  Close Towards the End of the Month
The last week of the month is a popular time to close! Many buyers choose to close at the end of the month because it lowers the amount they need to pay at closing.  The amount of pre-paid interest accrues from the closing day through the end of the month so if you close 2 days before the end of the month, then you owe 2 days of pre-paid interest.  Additionally as mortgage payments are paid in arrears, your first monthly mortgage will be due the first of the month -30 days after your closing date. For example if you close  example if you close 12/29/21, you will skip January's payment and your first mortgage payment will be due in February.

Thanks for Reading,


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