Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, SW Washington Mortgage Loans

Need a mortgage loan to buy a house in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, or any other area in SW Washington? There are a few mortgage options you may qualify for. Although home sellers often prefer cash offers or conventional loan financing, FHA, VA, USDA, 203K rehab, or Washington bond loans may also be accepted. A lot of people put off buying their first home, thinking they can never save enough for a large downpayment. While conventional mortgage loans require a large downpayment, there are other financing options in Washington, some of which don’t require a downpayment at all. Since pre-approval is one of the first steps in buying a house, lets look at some of the mortgage options available in SW Washington.

Conventional Loan:

If you can afford to put at least 20 percent down on a home purchase, you may be able to get a conventional loan with no mortgage insurance. The minimum credit score required for a conventional loan is around 650. If you can’t save enough for 20 percent down you can apply for a loan with 10 percent or more downpayment, although this requires paying for private mortgage insurance. Private mortage insurance, or PMI, is insurance to protect the lender in the case of a default on the loan. It can be removed from the loan by paying down the mortgage until you only owe 80 percent of the purchase price or the appraisal price, whichever is lower. There are other ways to remove PMI before you have more of the mortgage paid down, but depending on the interest rate when you close on your house you might not save on your monthly mortgage payments.

If you already own a home you likely have some equity built up that can help with your downpayment. You can write an offer with a contingency to sell your house, or you can sell your house with a longer than normal closing time and write an offer on your new home with a contingency on your house sale closing. The second is more likely to be accepted by the seller of your new home, as it means you already have an offer accepted on your house sale and the deal is more likely to close on time. There are some tricks and negotiation techniques a good local realtor can use to help you get an offer accepted, even in a seller’s market.

Conventional loans have less strict requirements than other types of mortgages when it comes to the condition of the house. As far as home sellers are concerned, cash offers and conventional offers are usually more desireable. With some other loans there are requirements for brush being cut back from the foundation of the house, or bushes being cut back from the siding of the house, among other requirements. What might seem like minor things to most people may cause issues with getting an appraisal for some types of loans. The more expensive houses become in an area, the harder it is for many locals to save enough to be able to get a conventional loan. Thankfully, there are other mortgage options available.

FHA Loan:

FHA loans only require a 3.5 percent downpayment, and have a minimum credit score requirement of 580. Don’t have enough of a downpayment saved for a conventional loan, and less than stellar credit? An FHA loan might be the best option for you. FHA loans require mortgage insurance for the life of the loan, although you may be able to refinance into a conventional loan down the road to get rid of the mortgage insurance. In addition to requiring mortgage insurance, FHA loans have more strict guidelines for the conidition of the home being purchased. If there are too many issues for an FHA appraisal, you might consider a rehab loan.

Rehab loan, FHA 203(K):

Although it is a form of an FHA loan, an FHA 203K rehab loan is designed to allow remodeling to be financed into the same loan as the house purchase. It requires an approved contractor, inspector, or architect to provide quotes to determine the home value before and after the repairs. There is a limited 203K option that has a cap of $35,000 for renovations, but can’t include a major remodel, structural repairs, or additions. There is also a full 203K option that doesn’t have the same cap, but the interest rates are a little higher. If you are pre-approved for an FHA but find a home that needs some updating an FHA 203K rehab loan might be the answer you are looking for.

VA Loan:

If you have served in any branch of the military you may be eligible for a VA loan. The Department of Veterans Affairs sets requirements and you will need a certificate of eligibility before closing, although you can apply through a VA approved lender. The mortgage loan doesn’t require any money down or mortgage insurance, unlike an FHA loan. VA loans do have stricter requirements for the condition of the home than conventional loans, as they don’t want any unexpected repairs after the house closes. VA loans for single family homes have no maximum income requirements, and you can use one to buy a house in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, or anywhere else in SW Washington.

USDA Loan:

Need a zero down mortgage loan in SW Washington? You may qualify for a USDA loan, also referred to as a USDA rural development loan. Although the guidelines are set by the United States Department of Agriculture, these loans are actually meant for purchasing a single family home in rural areas. The maps are periodically updated, but as of 2018 Washougal and some other areas near Vancouver, WA are regions that qualify for USDA loans. There are maximum income requirements, based on percentage of the median income for the region. It’s one of the few loans available to buyers who don’t have enough money saved for other types of mortgage loans.

Washington Bond Loan:

Washington Bond loans offer downpayment assistance of up to 4 percent of the mortgage. Similar to an FHA loan, but Washington state pays for your downpayment. Washington Bond loans require a 5 hour home buyers class, and have maximum income requirements. Although USDA loans only work in certain areas deemed rural, Washington Bond loans don’t have the same restriction. You can get a mortgage loan to buy a house in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, or any other area in SW Washington.

How much home can you afford to buy? I can refer you to some great mortgage lenders in my area to help you purchase a home in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, or anywhere else in SW Washington. Why not get pre-approved this week to start seeing houses near you?

Call, text, or email your local Camas Washougal realtor to start looking at real estate now! If you’re not quite ready to buy a house, I recommend bookmarking this website or or copying my information for future use. Help me help you!

What is a buyers agent?

When you see marketing from a realty group, you will sometimes see them refer to a buyers agent, or sellers agent. The state of Washington issues a Real Estate brokers license, and a managing brokers license. The general real estate agent you run into in SW Washington is probably a real estate broker. They have a license allowing them to act as an agent for buyers or sellers in a real estate transaction. One of the things most highly stressed by the National Association of Realtors is fiduciary duty. A realtor is supposed to have their client’s best financial interest in mind during a real estate deal.

The concept of a buyers agent is a relatively new thing in the field of real estate. It was created out of a necessity to protect home buyers in the purchase of a house. When a realtor is acting as an agent for a home buyer they are required to put the buyer’s financial well being ahead of the seller’s, even if their commission is paid from the sale of the house. Previously, most home buyers used the realtor that listed the house for the sellers to conduct the entire real estate transaction for both parties. Understandably, this created quite the conflict of interest as the buyer often felt that they had nobody watching out for them in the transaction.

Behold the buyers agent. They generally don’t get paid until you own a house that they helped you write an offer on. They should have some preferred lenders that they can recommend based on past experience, as well as home inspectors, septic companies, roofers, general contractors and the local handiman (or handiwoman). They sometimes show you many houses before you have an offer accepted, co-ordinating with the schedules of the owners, and pointing things out that may be a cause for concern in getting the loan approved. Once an offer has been accepted, they co-ordinate the inspection (assuming you write an offer with an inspection contingency), help you evaluate and negotiate after the inspection, coordinate the appraisal, help negotiate after a low appraisal, co-ordinate with the title company, and generally look out for your well being.

Some home builders have their own agents and have a buyers agent scheduled for open houses on new units they are trying to sell. Sometimes the unit they show is a model home, and they are using it to sell houses before they are built. If they have a realty license they are supposed to have fiduciary duty to the buyers, but buyers can find themselves being talked into upgrades to a new house based on the model home the builders agent is showing. If you have a buyers agent you have been working with showing you houses it’s a good idea to bring them along to a model home showing. Or at the very least, consult with them before signing a purchase and sale agreement with a builder listing an unbuilt house. If you have them write the offer for you the builder might not get paid as much, but you will have a buyers agent with no conflict of interest to help you negotiate.

Some realtors require their buyers to sign a contract for exclusive agency representing them as a buyers agent, even stipulating that they get paid by the buyer in the event that a buyer wants to write an offer on a for sale by owner property. Typically a buyers agent gets paid when the house closes, splitting the comission with the sellers agent. Listing a house on the local multiple listing service ensures a lot of agents and buyers know about it, but also ensures that both the sellers agent and the buyers agent get paid when the house closes. At the very least a realtor will probably want you to go through the process of getting a pre-approval letter from a lender or mortgage broker before showing you houses on the market. It’s the fastest way to find out how much house you can afford, as well as learn of anything that might prevent you from getting a mortgage.

Before even showing you houses, a realtor can look at houses that are listed and answer some questions that might not show up in your online searches. If you have a question or some interest in a listing, I recommend using your buyers agent as another filter. There are some houses listed that need enough work you would have a hard time getting a mortgage approved.

A good realtor can spot potential issues and do research to find any issues with a listing before you get too far along in the process. They can help you find a local home inspector, but can also help you avoid writing an offer on a house that may have too many issues. Every time you have a home inspection done as part of a purchase and sale agreement, you pay the home inspector for the inspection. This is only after an offer has been accepted and only if you have an inspection contingency as part of the purchase and sale agreement, but it is an expense that the buyer generally pays for. A buyers agent should be able to filter out some of the potential problem houses before even showing them, saving you time and expense.

A local buyers agent is a relatively new, but important, concept. The idea that a listing (sellers) agent splits the commission with an agent whose job involves fiduciary (financial) duty to the buyers gives the home buyer a much more level playing field than they had before. They do research, set up showings, prepare legal purchase and sale agreements, help negotiate on the buyers behalf, and provide their expertise to people looking to buy a home. They are also licensed to list houses, acting as an agent for the sellers. A good agent will have insight into negotiation techniques used by the sellers agent, having sold houses as a listing agent as well. Considering a buyers agent usually works for free until you own a house, why wouldn’t you use a realtor to help you in your house purchase?

Have any questions about Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, or any other SW Washington house listings? Please call, text, or email your local realtor so I can help you buy your home!

How to buy your first house

Buying your first house can be stressful. Working with a good local realtor and establishing regular communication with them can help make the home buying process easier. You don’t want to be playing phone tag with a realtor when trying to write an offer on your first house. Understanding some of the steps involved will also help. Every house purchase is unique, but there are some common steps in most real estate deals.

Before you start looking at real estate listings its a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage. Your realtor may recommend some lenders or mortgage brokers they have worked with successfully in the past. A mortgage broker will tell you how much home you can afford. In a sellers market most listing agents won’t take an offer seriously unless it is accompanied by a preapproval letter. A mortgage broker will look at your income, as well as any student loans, car loans, credit card debts, and collections. Once you are pre-approved, you have a price range to search for houses in your area.

When you are preapproved for a mortgage, you can start looking at houses in your price range. Find a website you are comfortable with searching for realty on, whether its the local multiple listing service (RMLS in the SW Washington area), Zillow, Redfin,, or some other website. Once a house gets listed for sale on the local MLS, it usually shows up on all of the national websites within 24 hours. Once you find some listings you are interested in, text or email your realtor with questions about them. Your buyer’s agent can look the property up in their MLS and find more details about the listing. It’s possible the house needs a new roof, or has a crack in the foundation, or some other fault that doesn’t show up in your online search.

Based off of feedback from your realtor, figure out which homes you want to see and have your buyers agent arrange showings. Vacant houses are usually easy to see on short notice, but owner occupied homes involve scheduling showings around the owners schecule. This process can take a while. Try to take notes or record video or photos of the house and property on your phone. After you have looked at a few houses it can be hard to keep track of which listing goes with which house. Try to narrow down your likes and dislikes. Your realtor can help with some recommendations, based on the condition of the house vs what type of loan you are pre-approved for. Some homes need enough work that they won’t easily qualify for a certain type of loan. Let your buyers agent know what you liked and what you disliked about the properties. Repeat this process until you find a house you want to write an offer on.

Once you find a house you want to write an offer on, your realtor can help you determine how much to offer, as well as any addendums to include in the offer. One of the most common addendums is the inspection addendum. This allows you to hire a home inspector to find any issues that aren’t apparent when walking through the house during a showing. If your first offer is not accepted, keep searching until an offer is accepted. Once an offer is accepted, co-ordinate with the realtor to get a home inspector scheduled within the window allowed by the purchase and sale agreement.

The home inspector will look in the attic and crawl space, as well as looking at plumbing, electrical, roofing, flooring, drywall, windows, and more. Their job is to find any issues the house currently has, as well as find any issues you might have shortly after buying. A good home inspector can also recommend further inspection by a specialist if there is a chimney, roof, or other issue that requires a specialist. The inspection may turn up issues that allow you to negotiate for the seller to lower the price or fix some of the issues prior to closing. It’s also possible the inspector finds something like a cracked foundation, mold, or something else that makes you want to walk away from the deal. If you walk away from the deal you still have to pay the home inspector, but it is far better to pay for multiple inspections than to find a costly repair after buying your first house.

An inspection addendum allows you to hire a home inspector and write an inspection response based on the inspection. The default time window for Washington State home inspections is 10 days on the purchase and sale agreement, although that timeframe can be changed when writing a purchase and sale agreement. An inspection response might request the seller to lower the price to help cover some of the necessary repairs an inspection found. It might also request the home sellers to repair or rectify specific issues found by the inspection.

If the inspection response has been agreed upon and signed by both the sellers and buyers, the next step is usually the appraisal. Appraisers are used by the mortgage lender to verify the house value independently of the sale price. They look at recent house sales in the area to determine the value for the originator of the loan. If the house appraises for less than the sale price, not all hope is lost. The buyers can ask for the sellers to lower the purchase price to the appraised value, or the buyers can bring more money to the closing. It may be possible to have a family member gift the amount to the buyers, as long as it is documented properly.

At some point between your accepted offer and the title transferring to your name, its a good idea to notify the utility companies that you will be purchasing the property. Find out when their billing cycle is, and what their fees are. Learn what day the garbage pickup is on, when recycling gets picked up, and ensure the best first time home buyer experience.

Assuming the house has appraised at full value, or any response to a low appraisal has been signed by both the sellers and buyers, the next major step is scheduling signing with the title company. The title company has been working in the background so far, checking the status of the title, HOAs, CC&Rs, liens, taxes, and utilities associated with the real estate you are buying. The title company is involved with making sure all of the legal documents are signed by both buyers and sellers. They also make sure there are no mechanical (contractors) or tax liens against the house that would transfer with the purchase. You don’t want to be stuck with a lien against the house that you end up paying because the previous owners didn’t. The title company will make sure the legal documents are recorded with the county to transfer the title to your new home.

The title company will have a lot of paperwork for you to sign. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on how thoroughly you want to read through all of the documents they put in front of you. If you know you will be out of town the week leading up to closing, the title company can arrange for a mobile notary to meet you to legally sign the closing paperwork. The title for your new house should transfer on the day the purchase and sale agreement has set to record. Once the title has transferred your buyers agent can get the keys for you and either deliver them to you, or arrange for you to pick them up at a realty office.

Enjoy your new house! Consider replacing all of the locks on your new house. Double-check with the utility companies (water, sewer, electricity, garbage, recycling). Double-check with your local broadband and DSL companies. Relax, you no longer have to worry about having your rent raised.