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A first-timer’s guide to buying a home in Williamsburg, Virginia

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One of America’s oldest cities, Williamsburg, VA is surrounded by historical buildings and countless stories, making it an alluring place to live for first-time home buyers like you. But attractive as it may be, you will still need to plan and stay on a budget: Real estate typically costs $ 332,063.

If you’re worried about your savings, our home buying tips will help you get your dream home without breaking the bank.

Let’s get started:

Check out newly renovated homes

The Acquire, Renovate, Sell or ARS program is open to first-time homebuyers and low- to middle-income buyers. Run by Virginia Housing and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), ARS provides affordable housing in the state by allowing private or public organizations to buy an undervalued property, make improvements using a grant from the DHCD, and list the upgraded house on the market. Usually, these improved properties are single-family detached homes, townhouses, condos, or foreclosed properties. You also get to help the community because when you buy a home through ARS, a part of the sales goes back to the program to fund future renovations.
Learn more about the ARS program

Get help with your down payment

Also known as DAP, the Homeownership Down Payment Assistance Program helps you fund your down payments and closing costs. This help comes in the form of a grant that covers 10 to 1 % of a house’s selling price and $2,500 in closing costs like attorney’s fees, title insurance, and taxes. You can qualify for DAP if you:

  • Have never owned a house before or haven’t owned a house in the last 3 years
  • Have finished homeownership counseling
  • Have taken home buyer’s classes
  • Earn at most 80% of James City County’s median household income of $87,678
  • Meet your insurance and credit providers’ requirements
  • Pay 1 % of your future house’s selling price using your own savings

Learn more about the Homeownership Down Payment Assistance Program

Consider a prefabricated home

Also known as manufactured housing or HUD code homes after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, prefabricated homes are factory-made single-family houses assembled on site. Note: These aren’t houses built by just anyone. People who sell or build manufactured homes must be licensed by the DHCD. Learn about HUD Guidelines for Manufactured Housing

Start saving for a down payment

If you are still saving up for a house, the Virginia Individual Development Account is for you. Also known as VIDA, this home buying program adds $8 to every dollar you save for a down payment on a house. That means you would have an additional $4,000 after saving $500 in your account. Not only does the program help with your down payment but it can also be combined with DAP and ARS, making buying your first house a little lighter on the wallet. To qualify for VIDA, you will need:

  • To be a legal resident or US citizen
  • To be resident of Virginia
  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To meet the states income requirements
  • To earn income from employment or self-employment
  • To be ready to buy a house in 6 months to 2 years

Learn more about the VIDA home buying program here

Research on national housing programs

There are three federal programs you can look into for affordable housing:

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Loan. You can use this loan to buy a house in a rural or suburban area without a down payment.
  2. Federal Housing Administration Loan. You can get a mortgage on your first house with insurance premiums between 1.75 to 0.85%, lower than regular premiums on the market.
  3. US Department of Veteran Affairs Home Loans. You can get a house without having to pay a down payment or mortgage insurance premiums if you are actively serving or have served in the military.

Work with a real estate agent

With all these options available, a real estate professional from our team at Coldwell Banker Traditions can help you choose the best program that fits your budget, needs, and wants. Do you want a waterfront home in Williamsburg? We can look into that. We can also help with all the paperwork and taxes that come with buying a house, making your first home purchase as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 100 years of experience, Coldwell Banker Traditions knows the market. Get in touch with us at 757.229.9595, info(at)cbtraditions(dotted)com, or leave us a message here.