Buying a home is a central part of the American dream, and with interest rates so low right now, many first-time homebuyers are hoping this is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. However, buying a home can still be very expensive, especially in Fairfax County, Virginia. Trying to save up a down payment alone may seem impossible if you’re living on a moderate income.
The Fairfax County First Time Home Buyer Program helps to make this process more affordable for families purchasing their first homes. Read on to learn more about this program and if you qualify for a discounted home price.
Home Prices in Fairfax County
Before we dive into the specifics of the Fairfax County First-Time Homebuyers Program (FCFTHP), let’s talk some about housing prices in Fairfax County. As of this writing, homes in Fairfax County, Virginia, sell for an average of $600,000. However, home prices range widely, from $21,000 all the way up to $45 million.
The FCFTHP offers first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase at significantly lower prices than the open market offers. Home prices in this program can be as low as $108,000 for a 961-square-foot condo – almost a third of what that home would go for on the open market. Many of these homes are apartments or condos, but the steeply discounted prices make them a great option for buyers with a limited budget.
Who Is Eligible?
As you might expect, the FCFTHP is open only to a first time homebuyer in Fairfax County. But you might be surprised to learn that you can qualify as a first-time homebuyer even if you have owned a home before. In fact, the program allows any residents who have not owned a home in the last three years to apply.
In order to qualify for Fairfax County Home Buyers Programs, you have to have a household income of at least $25,000 a year. You also have to be within maximum income limits, which vary depending on the size of your household. You must have a credit score of 620 or higher, be able to qualify for a home loan, and have a down payment of at least 2 percent, plus closing costs and one month’s mortgage payment in savings.
The maximum income limit for your household will vary depending on how many people are in it. The income limit will be based on the gross income of all wage-earning adults over the age of 17 living in the household. However, dependents will be counted in the number of residents, even if they don’t earn wages.
The limits are as follows:
- Households of one: $63,200
- Households of two: $72,250
- Households of three: $81,250
- Households of four: $90,300
- Households of five: $97,500
- Households of six: $104,750
- Households of seven: $111,950
- Households of eight or more: $119,200
Although the FCFTHP offers residents access to very affordable home prices, it does come with some caveats. First of all, you must be using this home as your primary residence; it can’t be a commute apartment or a second home. You also can’t rent the home out for some extra income or as an investment property.
If you plan to refinance your mortgage during the time you live in this home, you have to contact the program staff to let them know ahead of time. If you decide to sell the home within thirty years of purchase, you have to offer it back to Fairfax County first. And if you do wind up selling in that thirty-year period, you have to sell it at a price determined by the FCFTHP.
How to Apply
If you think you may be interested in applying for the FCFTHP, the first thing you’ll need to do is attend a program orientation session. These are recorded presentations that you can watch at your convenience. After you finish the presentation, you’ll need to take an online survey and then print off and complete your application packet.
In addition to the orientation session, you’ll also have to complete a Homebuyer Education Course as part of your application. This class is free, and you can attend it online; your certificate of completion must be submitted with your application. You’ll also need to meet with a lender and get them to complete your pre-approval form before you send in your application.
After you submit your application to the Department of Housing and Community Development, you’ll need to attend an information session. Staff will teach you how to search for available properties and enter drawings, as well as giving you the passport you’ll need during this process.
How are Homeowners Selected?
Once your application is accepted, you’ll be allowed to participate in drawings for the program and participate in the selection process. Applicants are selected at random based on their household size and preference points. In general, applicants with the highest preference points will be considered first for drawings.
You can earn preference points through the following conditions:
- You live or work in Fairfax County (5 points)
- You have at least one child under the age of 18 or a dependent with disabilities (1 point)
- You’ve participated in the program for multiple consecutive years (1 point each year for a maximum of 3 points)
Learn More About the Fairfax County First Time Home Buyer Program
The Fairfax County First Time Home Buyer Program can be a great way for you and your family to buy a home without breaking the bank. Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements, including credit scores and savings amounts. It’s also important to complete all courses and orientations the program requires as part of your application process.
If you’d like to learn more about living in Fairfax County, check out the rest of our site at Nomadic Real Estate. We provide leasing, management, sales, and, most of all, peace of mind.
Contact us today and start making your home ownership dreams a reality.