Hampton Virginia was established in the year 1610. Hampton is one of America’s oldest cities and with a proud and rich history including significant events that took place in the civil war. The city was actually burn to the ground during the war. Now, a couple of hundred years later, Hampton Va is now one of the fastest growing cities in the region.
Hampton is located along the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and graced with miles of shoreline and breathtaking water views. It has 52 square miles, and a population of 144,829. Hampton has a distinct small-town feel with little traffic and an abundance of amenities. Located about 30 mins from Colonial Williamsburg and in the other direction, it’s about 60 mins from the VA Beach oceanfront both of which people come from all over the country to visit.
If you are considering homes for sale in Hampton Va, it is understandable, and common, for the home buying process to feel overwhelming for first time home buyers. Despite the enormous amount of free real estate information, home buying advice, free home search sites, etc. available all over the internet… many home buyers still don’t know exactly where to start, or how to begin.
And this is in normal times!
If you add to it the non stop negative headlines about the economy, the national housing market, foreclosures, etc. that you constantly hear on CNN, and the Nightly News then it is no wonder that first time home buyers are just simply scared!
We do not want you to let this fear hold you back. If you are thinking about homes for sale in Hampton Va, or homes for sale in Newport News VA, there are two basic facts that you should know and take in to consideration.
1) Homes, and residential real estate is ALWAYS local! The national headlines, and statistics, may not apply to your local area, city, and the specific neighborhoods that you are interested in, at all!
Here in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (Hampton, Newport News, York County, Norfolk, Chesapeake, VA Beach, Portsmouth) we are very fortunate to be somewhat insulated from things getting not nearly as bad as other areas of the U.S. A big part of that is due to the significant presence we have from the Navy, Army, Air Force Marines, and Coast Guard. All of them have an installation here and are major employers of military and civilians. That is in addition to the shipyards, and even taking into consideration that Ft Monroe in Hampton has recently closed. It, no doubt, will be replaced with something else that will probably be a big employer.
So don’t get distracted by the headlines. Instead look at what’s going on in the specific city and neighborhoods that you are interested in. And then focus on your own personal circumstances. How good do you feel about your employment situation and your finances. Not the national news.
2) There is little debate that a big reason for the current problems with the national housing market, and increased home foreclosures, was due to sub prime mortgages. You may have heard this term in the news. The most simple explanation is that sub prime mortgages are home mortgages for people who can not get approved for a regular home mortgage. People who had significant credit issues, or did not have enough income, or both. Mortgage companies, enticed by big commissions, talked buyers with poor credit into accepting housing mortgages with little or no down payment and without proper tax documentation and credit checks. In other words they were home loans made to people who were not ready to be homeowners and should have been denied.
These loans could be very creative like adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) to loans where you only paid back the amount borrowed with no interest at all for the first year, or they have very low ‘teaser rates’ for the first couple of years, then the mortgage would reset to a higher interest. This rate increase frequently resulted in raising the borrower’s monthly payment by as much as 100% and thereby making it financially impossible for them to handle.
They were doom to fail from the very start! The mortgage company was only thinking about their commission and not those home buyers. And, if they were working with a real estate agent, then that agent also played a part in not looking out for the home buyer. But the biggest thing of all is that, before they signed anything at all, they are given estimates of their payments and that buyer definitely knew they could not afford loan! Maybe they thought they would get a raise before the payments increase and things would all work out in the end.
So our most important advice to first time home buyers is to purchase a home that you know you can afford!
Stay away from any kind of adjustable mortgage if you do not completely understand it. Get a fixed rate mortgage with a set monthly payment.
All banks, credit unions, mortgage finance companies, etc. are required by law to give you a written estimate of your total monthly payments before you commit to anything. So you will know everything upfront!
You want to be comfortable that the same way you make your rent payments each month will be the same way you make your mortgage payments each month.
This will go a long way to reduce, if not eliminate, any fear or apprehensions that you may have.