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Northern Nevada Home Buying

Home Buying Tips for Northern Nevadans

Offering natural beauty, favorable tax climate, and a growing arts and culture scene, Northern Nevada is steadily becoming home to increasing numbers of businesses and residents.  This growth brings benefits and challenges, especially when it comes to the real estate market.  Residential construction has not been able to keep pace, and it’s getting increasingly more expensive to rent or own a home.

According to Zillow, the median home value in the Reno area is $370,600. Reno home values have gone up 5.1% over the past year and their Reno real estate market prediction is that prices will rise 1.7% by June 2020. 

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Biggest Little City or anywhere in northern Nevada, it may be challenging, but it’s certainly possible.  Read on to learn how to say HELLO to your new home.

The successful navigation of purchasing your first home involves hiring someone savvy to represent you as a buyer, deciding on a realistic purchase budget, and securing financing that meets your needs.

Consider these tips that can increase your chances of landing a home and monthly payments you can comfortably manage.

Determine your budget.

Start with a home loan calculator  to determine how much you can afford.  According to CNN Money, the rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two and a half times your gross annual salary.  If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations, like spousal support or an expensive hobby, then you may need to adjust down.  In general, all your monthly home payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.  Lenders look for a debt-to-income ratio (future mortgage and any other debts such as a car loan or revolving credit cards) of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income.

Check your credit score and address any errors.

Your credit score is a key factor in determining whether you are approved and at what interest rate.  The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once per year. A Federal Trade Commission study found that 25% of Americans identified errors on their credit report and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans.

Research various neighborhoods. 

Become a neighborhood detective.  How far are you willing to commute for your job?  Do you want to stay within a certain school district for any school-age children? Do you anticipate kids returning home from college or perhaps needing extra space for an elderly loved one in the near future? How long do you anticipate staying in this home?  These factors may influence your choices or options.  Take an online neighborhood tour to see which communities in Northern Nevada might be right for you.

Select the right real-estate professional.

First find a great buyer’s agent who knows the market and who has a solid track record of closing deals.  Great agents go beyond MLS listings or steering you toward properties they represent.  They’ll do their best to seek out houses that may not be on the market yet but are coming soon, and they’ll network via social media or direct mail to find what you need.  They will work as your advocate and partner to help you get a home that meets as many of your wants and needs as possible.  A REALTOR® and a real estate agent are not the same.  Learn the differenceSearch for a REALTOR® who serves the Northern Nevada area.

Financing Your Mortgage

Unless you are a cash buyer, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage. There are several home loan options such as a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage, a FHA loan, or a Veteran’s Assistance (VA) loan.  There are also down payment assistance programs designed to help first-time home buyers.

Finding the right mortgage lender and loan can make a tremendous difference in what you pay over the lifespan of your loan. For instance, Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM) has a team of experienced loan consultants who know the northern Nevada market.  GNM’s local experts can advise and guide you through the process from start to finish. GNM is also a Nevada Housing Division’s Home is Possible (HIP) qualified lender.  The HIP program helps qualified homebuyers get up to 5% of the home loan value. 

Another good thing to do is obtain a loan pre-approval from your lender before shopping.  Having one may increase your chances of having an offer accepted since the seller will see that your financing qualifications have been verified.  Plus, knowing what you can spend before you shop will help keep your focus on realistic properties that are within your price range. (GNM offers no-cost, no-obligation consultations for home buyers looking to purchase or refinance.)

Once you have your financing and property identified, it’s time to make an offer.  Your real estate agent, REALTOR®, or representative will be key in helping you negotiate the best terms and deal.  Plus, they can advise you on any potential repairs or pitfalls you might not have considered.

Your offer is accepted!  Now what?

Once the offer is accepted, the process begins and it can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly with all of the paper work involved.  You can ask your lender about  tools such as GNM’s digital closing platform, which reduces the time needed for processing the mortgage and signing loan documents.  You won’t need to drive to an office, and you can finish closing your transaction quicker, which means you get the keys to your new dream home that much faster.

Once your loan closes, it’s time to pack up, move in, and say HELLO home!