Now that the housing market is finally calming down after the pandemic, buyers are facing a new challenge: Soaring mortgage rates.
In Nevada, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 5.56% — up from 2021's historic lows. This raises the average monthly mortgage payment to $2,077 (assuming a 20% down payment at the median home value).
But buying a home in Nevada is still possible, even for first-time home buyers. Many markets are seeing frequent price drops and fewer offers, giving motivated buyers the upper hand in negotiating for the best price.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to buy a house in Nevada with confidence no matter what the market brings. Learn why you can trust our advice.
Whether you're actively house hunting or just starting to browse homes on Zillow, it's never too early to find a great local realtor to guide you on your search. An experienced agent can help you navigate a tricky housing market, explore your financial options, and negotiate the best deal possible.
Best of all, hiring a real estate agent comes at no extra cost to you — since the seller typically pays both their listing agent and your buyer's agent.
Ready to find a great local realtor, but not sure where to start? The best (and easiest!) option is to try a free agent matching service like Clever Real Estate. Answer a few simple questions about your home buying goals, and Clever will match you with hand-picked agents from Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and other top brokerages in your area. Find a top local agent and make your home buying dreams a reality today!
Step 1: Save for a down payment
Your down payment is the first part of your home's purchase price that you pay at closing. Your mortgage lender will pay the remaining balance.
Typically, mortgage lenders in Nevada want you to contribute 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. That would be $90,832 for a $454,158 home — the typical home value in Nevada.
However, you have options to lower your down payment amount.
Government backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, allow you to contribute 0% and 3.5% of your home's purchase price respectively. Even conventional loans allow for down payments as low as 3-5% (though the minimum varies by lender).
Minimum down payment (%)
Down payment ($)
Based on typical home values from Zillow (August 2022)
But making a down payment of less than 20% comes with some risks.
First, because you're borrowing more money, you'll have a higher monthly payment and pay more in interest over the life of your loan.
Based on home values from Zillow (August 2022) and a 5.56% interest rate for a 30-year loan.
Second, you may have to purchase mortgage insurance.
Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance (PMI) until your loan balance reaches 80% of the purchase price. FHA loans, on the other hand, require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of your loans.
Mortgage insurance costs around 1% of your mortgage balance annually. However, rates vary based on your down payment and credit score. Typically, your mortgage insurance payment is added to your mortgage payment each month.
VA loans don't charge mortgage insurance. Instead, you'll pay a VA loan funding fee at closing, which can range from 1.4% to 3.6% of the purchase price.
Nevada down payment assistance programs
The state of Nevada offers plenty of down payment assistance (DPA) programs that can give you the help you need to afford a home. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you could receive a government grant or second mortgage to cover closing costs or a down payment.
Here are just a few DPA programs that you can find in Nevada:
Nevada Housing Division Home is Possible Program
Nevada Housing Division’s Home is Possible DPA Program offers eligible borrowers a grant of up to 5% of their loan amount. The program is available for first-time and repeat homebuyers who earn less than $105,000 annually.
Eligible participants must have a credit score of at least 640, and the purchase price of the home must be under $548,250. Borrowers are also required to pay a one-time fee of $755 and take a homebuyer education course.
Nevada Rural Housing Authority Home at Last Program
The NRHA Home at Last Program offers up to $25,000 in down payment assistance as a 3-year second mortgage, which is forgiven after living in the home for three years.
To qualify, your household income must not exceed $116,000 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans, or $135,000 for conventional loans. A credit score of at least 640 is required, and you must complete a homebuyer education course.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
You can find additional programs in Nevada on the state's HUD page here.
Step 2: Find a great real estate agent in Nevada
Your real estate agent will be your main ally during the home buying process. Besides finding and showing you properties, your agent will help you make offers, negotiate contracts, and navigate the closing process. Plus, they can recommend other service providers like title companies and inspectors to help you buy your home in Nevada.
Don't rush into choosing an agent. Instead, take the time to research and interview multiple real estate agents who have experience in the neighborhoods you're interested in. You should pay attention to a realtor's:
- Years of experience
- Number of transactions in the last year (the more the better!)
- Experience in your price range
- Overall review score
- Individual reviews and complaints
Step 3: Get preapproved for a mortgage
A mortgage preapproval letter is an offer to lend you up to a certain amount of money to purchase a home. It shows sellers that you are a serious buyer who is financially qualified to make an offer on a home.
Most sellers in Nevada will require preapproval before showing you their home.
You don't have to decide on one lender right now. In fact, you should compare interest rates and preapproval amounts from several lenders to make sure you're getting the absolute best terms when you buy your Nevada home.
Step 4: Choose the right location
Currently, the typical home value in Nevada is $454,158, but don't worry if that doesn't perfectly match your budget. Home prices vary dramatically from city to city and even from neighborhood to neighborhood!
Also, look at past home value trends. This will give you an idea of how much your home's value could go up over the next few years.
To give you an idea of how appreciation could impact what your house is worth in the future, consider these examples from three neighborhoods in Las Vegas:
Home value appreciation in Las Vegas
Step 5: Start house hunting in Nevada
Searching for homes in Nevada is the fun part of the home buying process! You'll get to look at a variety of homes and discover what you really want in a home.
Make a list of everything you want in a home and prioritize them. At the top of the list should be the items that are most important to you. This will help you separate your "must-haves" from your "nice-to-haves."
Your agent can help you understand if your wants are realistic for your budget and favorite neighborhoods or if you need to rethink what you're looking for.
Look at current housing inventory
The timing of your house hunt in Nevada can have a big impact on your number of options. For example, in Nevada, June has historically seen the most homes for sale. Searching in this season could give you more options and a greater likelihood of finding your dream home.
On the other hand, December gives you the fewest choices in Nevada. Historically, there are 39.4% fewer homes for sale than during Nevada's peak season.
Housing inventory in Nevada by season
New listings per month
Based on data from Realtor.com (September 2022)
Step 6: Make an offer
Once you find a Nevada house you love, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you write a compelling offer that gives you the best shot of convincing the homeowner to sell to you.
Currently, in Nevada, homes stay on the market for 49 days before going under contract. However, every market goes through seasonal changes. During busier months, homes get snatched up more quickly than others.
Historically, Nevada homes sell fastest in April, where the average property is only on the market for 42 days. If your home search falls around this time, you should be prepared to move quickly and potentially make offers on several homes before yours is accepted.
On the other hand, if you buy in January, you have a bit more time to search. Homes typically stay on the market 16 days longer than Nevada's annual average.
Average time homes spend on market in Nevada
Based on data from Realtor.com (September 2022)
» LEARN MORE: What should an offer include?
Step 7: Inspections and appraisals
Inspections and appraisals are an opportunity for you to better evaluate the home's condition and value before officially purchasing it. You may have an opportunity after this step to renegotiate the terms of your contract with the seller if something unexpected pops up.
Home inspections in Nevada
Having your Nevada home inspected by a licensed inspector gives you peace of mind about the condition of the property before you commit thousands of dollars to purchase it.
Your inspector should check out the following parts of the property:
- Electrical system
- HVAC system
If the home has a septic system, you should also pay for a septic inspection to make sure it doesn't have any problems that wouldn't be covered in a typical home inspection.
Nevada sellers are required to complete a disclosure form to the best of their knowledge. However, it's still up to potential buyers to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date.
Although it's not required, homebuyers are recommended to have a few additional tests completed before closing on a home. Here are a few inspections to consider, aside from a general home inspection:
- Radon testing: If the seller hasn't had a radon test done in the past year, it's strongly recommended to do so to make sure the radon levels are within safe limits. Click here to find out how to obtain a radon test kit from your local county office.
- Termite inspection: Although sellers are supposed to alert buyers of pest infestations, termites and other unwelcome critters can often go unnoticed. As such, it’s best to have a professional inspection to catch and treat pests before they can cause structural damage to a property.
Appraisals determine the value of the property. If you're using a mortgage to buy your new home, your lender will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the money that it's loaning you.
Step 8: Close on your new home!
Closing on your home in Nevada requires you to finalize your loan, complete the title transfer, and pay your closing costs.
On closing day, your first task will be to review and sign several important legal documents. Read carefully to ensure that all of the information is correct and that you fully understand everything you're signing.
Expect to spend about an hour completing the paperwork, which will include:
- Your final loan application
- The deed
- The mortgage promissory note
- The disclosure statements
Once you finish this step, you'll need to pay the closing costs. Your title company will likely collect the total sum you owe and then distribute the funds to each recipient for you.
If you're curious about what your closing costs entail, they can usually be divided into four main categories:
- Lender fees: Fees paid to your mortgage lender for all costs related to your loan. This includes appraisal fees, survey fees, origination, and underwriting expenses.
- Title and escrow charges: Fees paid to the title company for conducting the closing process and completing the title search.
- Prepaid costs: Costs of homeownership that need to be paid in advance. Lenders often require borrowers to pay for certain recurring expenses up front, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.
- Other closing costs: Miscellaneous expenses that vary from buyer to buyer. Common costs may cover natural disaster certification fees or real estate attorney fees.
Buyers in Nevada typically pay 3–5% of the purchase price in closing costs. For a $454,200 home — the typical home value in Nevada — that's between $13,626 and $22,710!
Frequently asked questions
Nevada does not require you to hire a real estate attorney to buy a home. However, depending on your circumstances, you might consider hiring one anyways. If you do, treat the process similarly to hiring an agent. Interview multiple attorneys and proceed with the one that best meets your needs.
- Save for down payment
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage
- Choose your preferred Nevada neighborhoods
- Partner with the right real estate agent in Nevada
- Go house hunting
- Make a strong offer
- Inspections and appraisals
- Do a final walkthrough and close
Yes, the Nevada Housing Division offers down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers through its Home Is Possible program. Eligible buyers can receive up to 4% of their total loan amount to cover their down payment or closing costs. If the buyer stays in the home for at least 3 years, the loan will be forgiven.
To qualify, you must have a credit score of at least 660 and meet the income and purchase price limits set for your county. If you're accepted, you'll need to contribute $755 and complete a homebuyer education course.
Federal Reserve. "Housing Market Tightness During COVID-19: Increased Demand or Reduced Supply?." Accessed October 11, 2022. Updated July 08, 2021.
Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. "The Fed is raising interest rates. What does that mean for borrowers and savers?." Accessed October 11, 2022. Updated March 17, 2022.