Believe it or not, this is a perfect time to start planning for a home purchase in the spring, especially if you’re a first time buyer. The reason I say that is that I find it takes most of my first time buyer clients at least 3 months from the time they first speak to a lender until the time they move in. If someone has special financing restrictions, or isn’t quite sure yet what they’re looking for in a home or neighborhood, then it takes more in the range of 4-6 moths!
Financing in particular takes some very advance preparation–saving for downpayments and closing costs, sticking to a budget, and fixing any credit issues can take quite a long time. With the cost of housing (still) being what it is in this area, it’s especially difficult for first-timers.
If you’re thinking of buying in DC, though, there’s a special program that may help you out. Like many special programs, there’s a bit of paperwork involved, so it’s best to get started far in advance. HPAP enables lower and moderate income buyers (that is, making less than $70K per year) to receive up to $70K in funds in the form of a low-interest loan. In addition, buyers can receive up to $7000 in closing costs free! Closing costs average 3% of a transaction, so on a $300K condo, that covers almost all of them! Tough to find a better deal, but there is paperwork and classes involved so get started now if you’re thinking of buying in the spring. Get more info here, and contact me to discuss how best to coordinate your search using HPAP and other programs.
There are lots of other programs too; here is a link to some other area programs.
Confused about how to start your search? Attend a free first time home buyer class in Arlington, VA.