FAQs About Buying a Home in Charlottesville

If you have questions about the home buying process, you're not alone. Over our many years of guiding Charlottesville buyers through their transactions, we have answered thousands of questions about everything from obtaining financing to making an offer. There are a few questions, however, that we hear often from home buyers. Browse our FAQs to find the answers.

Choose a Question

  1. I'm Thinking About Purchasing a Home. Where Should I Start?
  2. How Do I Know What to Look For in a Home?
  3. Why Should I Use a Realtor?
  4. Where and How Can I Get a Loan?
  5. If I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment, Can I Still Buy a Home?
  6. Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?
  7. What Other Homeownership Costs Will I Pay?

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1. I'm Thinking About Purchasing a Home. Where Should I Start?

Answer: Talking with a Realtor first is never a bad idea; however, if you're unsure whether now is the right time to purchase a home, follow these tips:

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  • Organize and review your finances. Set a budget and figure out how much you are comfortable paying each month for your mortgage. Be sure to set aside money for a down payment, too! Use our handy mortgage payments calculator to see what a monthly payment might look like for you.
  • Research Charlottesville homes and communities. Start exploring the homes and neighborhoods in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, especially if you're new to the area, to determine your options.
  • Review the home buying process. If you're a first-time home buyer, understand what to expect during your transaction before making the leap into homeownership.

2. How Do I Know What to Look For in a Home?

Answer: This is up to you! Take some time to decide what's most important to you (e.g. proximity to amenities, local school district, yard sizes, your commute, highway access, scenery, etc.). This will help you know how to search for homes.

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It may help to make a list of the home features that you need and want. Prioritize the essentials, such as the number of bedrooms and location, before searching for homes with the features on your wish list. Once you're ready to find homes, you can search properties in the MLS with you ideal features or select your favorite home features from a list of the most popular searches.

3. Why Should I Use a Realtor?

Answer: An experienced local Realtor will guide you effortlessly through the financial and legal complexities of a Charlottesville home purchase. As you're interviewing Realtors, keep these considerations in mind:

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  • Market expertise: Does this real estate agent know whether it's a buyer's or seller's market? Can he or she give you insight about current tax rates in Charlottesville and Albemarle County?
  • Local area knowledge: Does this Realtor know which communities are appreciating in value and have the amenities you want?
  • Network of contacts: Can this agent connect you with a local lender or other service provider?
  • Negotiation skills: Can your Realtor expertly negotiate the best deal on your behalf?

We at The Chase Team have worked with home buyers in Charlottesville and Albemarle County for years. We understand the real estate market, the local communities, the school districts, and your housing options. Contact us today to learn how we can find you the perfect home.

4. Where and How Can I Get a Loan?

Answer: Mortgage loans are typically available through banks, credit unions, private mortgage companies, and government state lenders. Your Realtor can connect you with a reputable local lender or you can shop for loans on your own. Use our financing resources to learn about your mortgage options.

5. If I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment, Can I Still Buy a Home?

Answer: That depends on an number of factors, including your debt-to-income ratio, the mortgage you choose, and the assistance programs available to you. Here is a quick overview about the types of home buying assistance programs available to qualified Charlottesville buyers:

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  • FHA insured loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps people purchase homes by offering insured loans. This means that if the buyer defaults, the lender will still get their money. Insured loans encourage lenders to work with more buyers regardless of their credit or available down payment.
  • Down Payment Assistance Program: The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development allows first-time buyers to achieve homeownership by providing assistance with their down payment and closing costs. Call us at (434) 296-9860 for more information.
  • HUD assistance programs: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers many assistance programs to home buyers. Visit the HUD website or call us at (434) 296-9860 for more information.

6. Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?

Answer: You will pay earnest money, your down payment, and various other closing costs when you purchase your new home. Here's a breakdown of these three costs:

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  • Earnest money: This is the "security deposit" you pay when you submit your offer to prove to the seller that you are serious. After your offer is accepted, it is applied to your down payment or closing costs.
  • Down Payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home. The amount will depend on your loan; government programs can help you decrease this amount.
  • Closing Costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.

7. What Other Homeownership Costs Will I Pay?

Answer: Monthly costs in addition to your mortgage payments include utilities and HOA or condo fees (if applicable). Property taxes are typically included in your mortgage payment. Ask your Realtor about additional fees associated with your particular home, community, or neighborhood.

Still Have Questions?

We are here to provide you with all of the home buying resources you need. Contact us today and we can answer any of your questions about Charlottesville homes and communities, local property taxes, home buyer assistance programs, or the home purchase process in general.