Virginia is a beautiful state with unique history and opportunities. From the bustling city life in Richmond, to the waves of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, there’s something for everyone in the Commonwealth. Of course, if you are looking to move to the “Old Dominion,” you’ll most likely need a mortgage to help finance your home purchase.
So here are some important facts on real estate in this beautiful state, as well as tips to get a mortgage in Virginia.
Real Estate in Virginia
Currently, the median home price in Virginia is significantly higher than the national average, signifying a more expensive than average real estate market overall. National medians currently hover around $188,900, but the median home price in Virginia currently sits at $230,800. Of course, that’s a statewide average only, and some cities in Virginia are less expensive than the national average. However, very high home prices in wealthy areas like Fairfax, and in bustling metro areas like the D.C. suburbs, drive statewide prices up.
While prices are currently high in Virginia, they aren’t projected to rise quickly over the next year, at least on a statewide level. Last year, real estate prices in Virginia rose only .4%, and this year they are projected by Zillow to rise another .7%. While any growth is better than none, recent statewide home prices in Virginia have risen slower than national home prices.
Why High Home Prices in Virginia
If the median home price in Virginia seems surprisingly high, there are a few things to consider that help explain the high median. For one, the area around Arlington, in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area, is one of the hottest economies in the country, and a lot of investors have been purchasing real estate there. Plus, older communities like Virginia Beach are beautiful and offer amazing history, but there are very few homes available to purchase in light of the high demand.
The busier areas of Virginia currently provide a lot of job opportunities, and of course that access to opportunity comes at a price. There are certainly places to live in Virginia that are affordable, but the statewide average is drawn up none the less by high priced areas like Fairfax and the D.C. suburb area. If you are hoping to move to Virginia, know that there are less expensive places to live, but any of the hot spots will come with a higher price tag.
Getting a Mortgage in Virginia
Even with high property prices, many people choose to move to Virginia for its natural beauty and interesting history. And if you are one of the many who are ready to make Virginia your home, you may need a mortgage to move in. So, here are some tips for getting a mortgage in Virginia.
#1 Choose a Mortgage Loan Officer
When selecting a mortgage loan officer, search NMLS Consumer Access to make sure the loan officer and mortgage company are licensed. Here is the license information for Mary Catchur and Marimark Mortgage.
Also check online reviews to see how well the mortgage company and loan officer have performed.
Also understand the difference between getting a mortgage from a bank and a mortgage broker.
- Always ask for a fee estimate, because banks and brokers have different requirements for how they disclose fees. On the surface, a bank may appear to have a lower fee than a broker unless you compare the fee estimates.
- Always inquire about the experience and licensing of the loan officer. Loan officers who are bank employees are not required to be licensed by the state, but mortgage brokers are required to be licensed and adhere to continuing education guidelines.
- Ask your lender what their typical days to close are, and whether they foresee any issues in making your closing date. Some banks may take longer to close if they are large institutions with a backlog of loans, and some mortgage brokers may also take longer than other brokers.
- If you are refinancing an existing loan, know who holds your current home mortgage. In many cases, it is better to refinance with a different institution than the one holding the current loan, especially if you refinance using Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or another government mortgage program.
#2 Get Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved
Realtors and homeowners work with homebuyers who are pre-qualified for a mortgage, because they want to have confidence in your ability to buy a home. Therefore, the first step in looking for a home is to be pre-qualified, which will also enable you to know the amount you can afford to spend on a home as a qualified buyer.
After you are pre-qualified, and while you shop for a home, you will begin the mortgage pre-approval process, which is a more detailed process that gets you ready to quickly close on a home.
#3 Finalize Your Mortgage Application
Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage, the lender submits your application to underwriting, along with all of the supporting documentation. Upon completion of the review, the underwriter will usually issue an “approval with conditions.” This means that the file continues to meet the guidelines for approval, but there are still some documents that must be reviewed – in other words – still some “conditions” to be met before final approval.
Once all of the documents have been received and approved by underwriting, they will issue a “clear to close”, and the lender will send a complete loan package to the title company/closing agent to prepare for closing.
#4 Close On Your Mortgage
The last step is to close on your home. The closing of your mortgage and the closing of your home purchase usually occur at the same time. You will pay the closing costs, and receive and/or sign several documents.
Marimark Mortgage serves the mortgage needs of borrowers in all of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida, and has its corporate office in Tampa, Florida.
Because of our streamlined mortgage process, and our highly qualified team, we usually close on mortgages in 30 days or less from the time borrowers place a contract on a home.