Buying a home can be a complicated process. Concerns about getting the right price, finding the home that’s right for you and your family, and financing the purchase all help raise anxiety levels for home buyers.
But here’s a secret that can help alleviate the stress. You do not need to become an overnight expert in real estate to find your dream home at a price that fits your budget. A great local real estate agent can help guide you through the entire process of buying a home in Virginia.
A Clever Partner Agent can be your expert when it comes to market conditions in Virginia so that you can be confident you’ll find the perfect home to fit your lifestyle and budget.
How to find a Buyer’s Agent
There have never been more options to buy a home than right now. There are many online sites that allow home buyers to see listings, complete with prices and descriptions of homes for sale. Home buyers do not necessarily have to go through a realtor anymore, and some are choosing to go it alone.
But the fact is that in almost all cases, the best option for people looking to buy a home is to use a real estate agent. They know all the “ins and outs” of the home buying process, from the paperwork for putting in a bid to the legal documents involved in closing a sale.
They will be able to help you find the right home inspector so that you do not end up buying a property that could turn into a money pit. They will also know about what sellers need to disclose before the final sale. Working with a real estate agent can save you tens-of-thousands of dollars and help you avoid potential legal problems with a sale.
Clever can connect you with a top-rated buyer’s agent in Virginia who can offer you invaluable guidance and support. Clever Partner Agents have complete access to MLS listings and a wide range of networks of home for sales so that you can be sure that you are exposed to the most number of homes in your price range.
Professional local realtors also understand the pros and cons of Virginia neighborhoods. They can tell you about the quality of schools in any given community and they are familiar with current market trends.
They also have the most recent statistical data when it comes to home sales in the state, so they can guide you when you decide to make an offer. They will share their advice about counter offers. And, perhaps, the best reason to have a good local agent is to make sure a home buyer’s exuberance does not lead to overpaying for a property. They will represent your best financial interest so that your home purchase is a good long-term investment.
Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
Housing Market Forecast for 2019 and Beyond
Virginia’s Roanoke College recently completed a survey on the state’s real estate market. It found that Virginians are more optimistic about the housing market in 2019 than they were at the end of 2018.
The survey found that nearly 39% of residents in the state think the real estate market conditions will improve for the next year. It also notes that concerns about rising home prices are pushing more people to buy a home now rather than later. In fact, more than 30% of those surveyed said 2019 is a better time to buy a home than 2018 was.
Home buyer confidence may keep growing. A full 25% of respondents think home buyers will continue to see better opportunities as 2019 progresses.
Virginia saw 3.8% growth in 2018 over 2017. The housing market is expected to grow by another 2.9% this year. The Median home value in the state is $257,700. But these figures fluctuate greatly throughout the state. For example, the median home price in Alexandria, just outside Washington, D.C., is $480,000.
Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Virginia
About two years ago, the Huffington Post posted an article about the best time to buy a home. It noted that December usually favors home buyers. It makes sense if you live in Virginia. There’s less competition (fewer people looking for homes) in the cold and not many people want to venture out during the holidays.
If you want to get really specific about the best day of the year to buy a house, it’s Christmas. The second best day of the year is Easter Sunday.
While noting the best times of year to buy a house, the Huffington Post article has a good caveat. The best time is when he or she is ready. You need to make sure that you are informed about the home search process, how to work with a lender, and what your closing costs and monthly payments will be once you find your dream home.
Many real estate experts in Virginia note that spring is the most competitive time of the year for home buyers. That’s when the weather starts to clear and there are more of home buyers out looking at houses for sale. But more competition also comes with more inventory as spring is also the time many sellers decide to put up their “for sale” signs.
Learn More: When Is the Best Time to Buy a House?
Calculate Your Property Taxes in Virginia
Your monthly mortgage payment will not be your only expense once you find your ideal home and move in. There are a host of other expenses (homeowners insurance, costs for repairs, etc.) that you need to be aware of. One of the biggest expenses will be your property tax bill.
Property taxes are based on an assessment of your house or condo value, and they help fund such services as schools, fire departments, community centers, and libraries. In most jurisdictions, assessors determine the value of properties in a town or city every five years.
An assessor has three ways to calculate your property’s values. They can use a sales comparison. In this method, they compare your property to recently sold homes in your neighborhood.
An assessor can also use the cost method. He or she will calculate how much the replacement cost would be for your home with depreciation factored in, if it is not a new home. The third method is the income method, which is primarily used for commercial and business property assessments.
Home buyers will need to factor in the costs of property taxes into their monthly budgets. And they will need to remember that property tax bills may come just once or twice a year.
The average tax rate in Virginia is 0.8%. That’s quite a bit lower than the national average which is more than 1.2%. A home assessed at $250,000 in the state would pay about $1,993 a year in property taxes.
The average tax rate in Alexandria, Virginia, is closer to the national average than in other parts of the state. So, you need to be aware that your annual cost will be significantly higher. Alexandria’s average tax rate is 1.2%, meaning that you will pay about $2,875 in property taxes every year.
Learn More: How to Calculate Property Taxes
Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!
There are many costs associated with purchasing a home and closing the deal. Sometimes referred to as “completion” or “settlement,” the closing is the final part of your home purchase process. It’s also one of the most important steps because it is when the title of the property is officially transferred from the seller to you. It’s also when you will have to make the down payment to the lender.
Closing costs may include a realtor’s commission. But you should be aware that Virginia home buyers have access to what’s known as a home buyer rebate. It can save you more than $10,000 in some cases. A Clever Partner Agent can tell you all about it and how to use it to for a down payment or other closing costs.
Here’s how it works. Traditionally, a seller hires a real estate agent and offers between 4% and 6% to that agent to sell his or her property. That agent then offers about half of the commission to the buyer’s agent.
If the home buyer uses an agent that offers a commission rebate, the agent will give the home buyer a portion of the commission offered by the seller’s agent. If a home is listed for $400,000, a buyer receiving the rebate will save $1,000.
Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?
Clever partners with top-real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. They are all full-service and they can help you find additional cost saving opportunities. Most importantly, they are experts in their field and can help relieve the stress that too frequently comes along with buying a home.