Virginia is a state that’s rich in both history and culture and it can be the perfect place to settle down. Our guide to homes, mortgages and the best lenders for first-time buyers will make the process a little simpler. Here’s how to buy a house in Virginia.
Step 1: Consider Current Virginia Mortgage Rates
Every mortgage interest rate includes 2 parts: a principal payment and an interest payment. Your principal is the amount of money you borrow and later pay back. For example, if you borrow $150,000 from your lender to buy your home, your principal balance is equal to $150,000 before you make any payments. As you make your monthly payments, your principal balance will slowly dwindle.
Mortgage interest is a payment that goes to your lender in exchange for giving you your loan. Most lenders calculate interest rate in terms of an annual percentage rate (APR). Though the specific interest rate you’ll pay will be determined by your credit score, the amount you’re borrowing and the type of loan you’re taking, average market interest rates change on a sometimes daily basis. Current bond market interest rates, your local housing supply and the current state of the economy can all influence how market rates change in your area.
The table below will give you a good idea of what you might expect to pay for a mortgage loan in Virginia today. We update this information regularly to reflect current market rates.
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Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in Virginia
The best mortgage lender for you will vary depending on your needs. Browse a few of our favorite lenders offering mortgages in Virginia below.
1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans®
Quicken Loans is a prominent online mortgage lender in the United States. It offers a simple and intuitive pre-approval process. You can apply for your loan from a phone or tablet, and most buyers receive a decision instantly after submitting an application.
Quicken Loans is also one of the most popular lenders in the country because it offers a wide selection of mortgage loans, including government-backed mortgage loans, and conventional loans. If you aren’t sure which type of loan is the best fit for your financial situation, we recommend checking out Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage® platform. Rocket Mortgage® contains a variety of calculators and articles to learn more about your loan options.
2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United
Veterans United is the United States’ top-rated VA loan provider. VA loans are a special type of government-backed mortgage loan that allows you to buy a home with $0 down if you meet military service requirements. Veterans United employs a full team of veterans from each branch of the military so you’ll receive personalized advice from someone who has served in the military.
Veterans United is consistently highly rated by veterans and active-duty service members because it provides a higher level of assistance getting proof of service and filing your loan application. If you don’t currently qualify for a VA loan, Veterans United can also assist you in exploring conventional loan solutions.
3. Best for Business Owners: Luxury Mortgage
If you own a business or you’re self-employed, you might have a harder time getting a mortgage loan. One of the first questions that lenders ask you when you apply for a mortgage loan is how much income you have on a monthly and annual basis — they’ll expect you to have documentation to back it up. If you’re self-employed, your income may vary from one month to the next, which can make you a riskier candidate for a mortgage.
Luxury Mortgage’s Asset Qualifier loan is the ideal choice for business owners who have variable incomes or who have a large amount of money tied up in investments and commercial assets. The Asset Qualifier loan doesn’t have any income documentation requirements and you may qualify for up to $6 million in a loan.
Step 3: Find a House
After you apply for a mortgage preapproval, you’ll receive a document called a Loan Estimate from your lender. Your Loan Estimate will give you a few details about your mortgage loan and how much money you’re approved to borrow. Your Loan Estimate details will provide you with a great place to begin your home search.
There are many factors beyond price to consider when you start shopping for a home. It’s a good idea to create a list of wants and needs to make shopping for a property less overwhelming. Some factors you might want to consider include:
- Price per square foot
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Appliances included in the sale
- Access to parking/public transportation
- Home condition and number and cost of needed repairs
- Neighborhood and local amenities
- Property tax rates
- School districts
You may hire a real estate agent to assist you in shopping for a home at this stage. Real estate agents are local property experts — your agent may have access to additional listings that aren’t available on public real estate databases. Your agent can also help you narrow down your home search, decide how much to offer for your home and write your eventual offer letter.
Step 4: Make an Offer
Once you find a property that you’re interested in purchasing, you’ll submit an offer letter to the seller or the seller’s agent. An offer letter is a formal written request to purchase a home. Your offer letter will include details on who you are, the price you’re offering for the home and the conditions the home must meet before you’ll purchase it.
Though you can write your own offer letter, it’s a good idea to let your agent handle this on your behalf. Some of the reasons why you should let your real estate agent write your offer letter include:
- A legally binding offer: Real estate agents understand how to write an offer letter that’s legally binding. Your agent can write a letter that both appeals to your seller and protects your financial interests.
- Assistance deciding what to ask for: Your real estate agent is a local property expert who understands what is and isn’t reasonable to ask for. From contingencies to closing cost assistance, your agent can help you create a set of conditions for your home purchase.
- An easier submission process: Real estate agents understand how to submit an offer letter correctly. When you let your agent handle the offer letter submission, you won’t risk submitting it incorrectly and missing out on the home of your dreams.
After you submit your offer letter, your seller will read it and respond. If your seller accepts the offer, you can move onto the closing process. If the seller rejects your offer or creates a counteroffer, you’ll need to decide how to proceed. Your agent can help you decide how to proceed through the negotiation process.
Step 5: Closing Time
When you and the home’s seller reach an agreement, you can move to close on your mortgage loan. Most lenders’ closing processes include 3 parts:
- Appraisal: During an appraisal, a home value expert will visit your property and assign an official estimated value. Mortgage lenders require appraisals before they issue loans because they cannot give you more money in a home loan than the property is worth.
- Inspection: An inspection isn’t the same thing as an appraisal. During a home inspection, an inspector will take a walk through your property and make notes of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced. Most lenders don’t require that you get an inspection before you buy a home and an inspection will ensure that you aren’t unknowingly buying a home with major structural issues.
- Underwriting: Your lender will work on underwriting your loan while you’re getting your inspection and appraisal completed. During underwriting, your lender will go over your financial information, run a credit check and prepare your loan paperwork.
After underwriting closes, your lender will send you a document called a Closing Disclosure. Your Closing Disclosure will contain all the final details of your loan and what you owe in closing costs. Your Closing Disclosure should be very similar to your Loan Estimate. Review both documents and acknowledge that you’ve received them with your lender.
Finally, your lender will schedule a closing meeting to finish the buying process. Be sure to bring the following items to your closing meeting:
- A government-issued photo ID
- Your Closing Disclosure
- A cashier’s check or proof of funds transfer for your down payment and closing costs
- The contact information of your real estate agent and attorney, if you have one
At closing, you’ll sign on your new loan, get the keys to your property and walk away from the table as Virginia’s newest homeowner.
Buy a House in Virginia
Buying a home doesn’t need to be a long, confusing process. When broken down into its most simple steps, the process of buying a home is easy enough for anyone to do. The key to a stress-free buying process is to give yourself plenty of time to compare all of your lender and loan options. Don’t be afraid to reach out to multiple agents and lenders to ask for opinions on the right loan for you. The last thing you want is to be trapped in a loan that doesn’t work for you!
Get Ready for Take Off
Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.
You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.