Nevada may be most famous for its glittery Las Vegas strip, but many people choose to live in this great high desert state for numerous reasons. This guide will provide you with key information on how to start making your own Nevada homebuying dreams a reality and break down the often overwhelming process into manageable steps. What follows is a step-by-step guide to getting a mortgage in Nevada.
Check Mortgage Rates in Nevada
Don't be confused by the variance in mortgage rates from state to state, by county to county and by the type of mortgage you choose. Market conditions can change depending on inventory and the number of buyers in the market. The median home price in Reno was $220,200, and the median household income in Reno was $55,857 as of July 2015, according to Forbes.com. Your rates are determined most by your personal finances, then your down payment amount, and credit history (though don't let bad credit history count you out — you may still be able to get a mortgage). For the definitive guide to mortgage rates, visit our mortgage rates guide.
First-Timer? Get Homebuying Help in Nevada
First-time homebuyer programs in Nevada are plentiful. Check out the WISH program, exclusively for first-time homebuyers. It offers a 3-to-1 match on funds, with the buyer contributing at least $1,500. Maximum is $5,000. Your income can't exceed 80 percent of the median income for your area.
There's also the Home Is Possible Program through HUD. Qualifying borrowers can obtain a grant that doesn't need to be repaid of up to 5 percent of the loan amount to go towards closing costs or a down payment. Better yet, the buyer does not need to be a first-time homeowner. However, you likely will need a minimum credit score of 640 for a government loan, and 680 for a conventional. There is also a one-time fee of $675 and a mandatory education program.
Another great program but available only to veterans is Home Is Possible for Heroes. It offers below market rates on a 30-year mortgage so long as your annual income is below $95,500, and your home's purchase price is under $400,000.
Home at Last Down Payment Assistance Grant offers numerous assistance programs, and it is not necessary to be a first-time home-buyer. Grants range from 2 percent to 5 percent, depending on the loan amount and type of loan (nvrural.org). Buyers looking to purchase in rural areas can possibly combine a DPA grant with USDA Rural Development (RD) guaranteed loan, and veterans with a VA loan. First-time homebuyers can also apply for the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), for long-term savings.
For an in-depth explanation of the homebuying process visit our first-time buyers guide.
Financial Assistance in Nevada for First-Time Buyers
Here you'll find a comprehensive list of financial help available to first-time buyers at the state and local level:
Find a Housing Counselor in Nevada
Understanding Home Affordability in Nevada
In 2015, Nevada had one of the fastest-growing private sectors in the country, with Northern and Southern Nevada in a race for fastest-growing region. Growth is good for many reasons, but it can affect inventory of available homes, raise home prices and increase cost of living. Fortunately, Nevada is still affordable for many who live within the average annual income range of $51,450 (as of 2014). The average home value today is $216,400, which is up 7.3 percent from last year, and the average sale price is $228,400, according to Zillow.
How Nevada Mortgage Rates and Home Prices Affect Monthly Payments
|Metro Area||Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment*||Q1 2016 (Change from Previous Year)||2015 Median Home Price||2014||2013|
|Las Vegas-Paradise||$1,044||$222,500 (+8.10%)||$216,800||$198,000||$173,800|
Source: National Association of Realtors Q1 2016 Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability report.
*Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment is based on median home prices for the metro area in Q1 2016 and a 30-year fixed mortgage with today's rates.
Determine How Much You Can Borrow in Nevada
Conventional loan limits are determined by the county where the home is located, and set using the highest median home price within the metropolitan area. But your income and down payment amounts will also be considered in determining your specific loan limit.
For a single family home in Carson City, you're looking at a cap of $286,350. In Clark County, $287,500. And in counties such as Elko, Esmerelda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lincoln, Pershing and White Pine, your cap is $271,050. The following table can be searched to find conventional and FHA loan limits in the area of Nevada where you wish to buy a home.
Buying a Home in Nevada: Experts Weigh In
Aaron Gordon is a branch manager and senior mortgage loan officer at Guild Mortgage Company in Henderson, Nevada.
Stephen Aichroth is a former chief of administration for Nevada's Housing Division.
Mark Fleming serves as the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation.
What do first-time homebuyers need to know about buying a home in Nevada?
Don't believe everything you have heard or read online. Getting a home loan is not that difficult. If you have steady income, and decent credit, you may be able to qualify for a new home loan with as little as $0 to 3% down payment. Don't ever pay to be pre-approved.
In Northern Nevada, the real estate market has rebounded, as prices have increased 9 percent this year and it is now a seller's market.
That being said, Nevada remains one of the top three states in the nation for homeowners who are underwater and the foreclosure rate continues to remain a problem in the state.
It is our belief new home construction will increase as the economy continues to improve. It is a great time to purchase in Nevada. Short sales and deals can still be found.
How has the housing market changed within the last few years?
There are many more loan options today for all buyers. This has opened up the pool of possible buyers and has made it so sellers can expect to sell quickly.
In the meantime, new home builders have been slower to build new homes, post-recession, so home buyers may face a lot of competition.
With more millennials beginning to enter the workforce, the barriers they face can be numerous. It is for these reasons the Housing Division has created solutions for home ownership [such as] The Home is Possible program, available to qualified Nevadans who are lacking the down payment to move into the market. And the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program provides qualified Nevadans who are either first-time homebuyers or veterans a federal tax credit of up to 20% of the interest paid on their mortgage loan. A qualified homeowner can potentially reduce their tax burden by tens of thousands of dollars.
How can someone with little to no equity refinance?
One program available to Nevada residents with little to no equity and an accompanying financial hardship is the Nevada Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). The Nevada Hardest Hit is a federally funded program to help Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages due to financial hardships.
Nevada State has a Foreclosure Mediation Program. This program allows all of the key stakeholders - property owners, lenders and their representatives to discuss solutions to resolve the foreclosure process. Information about this program can be found at http://foreclosure.nvcourts.gov/.
Now is a good time to buy or refinance simply because mortgage rates are so low. Median household income is up 25 percent since 2000 in Las Vegas, interest rates are rock bottom, so affordability remains strong. Low rates and affordable housing, on a buying power adjusted basis, won't last forever.
What About Closing Costs in Nevada?
Closing costs often come as a surprise to buyers who have forked out what feels like your very last dime to buy your dream home. Be sure to factor in you'll be paying these approximate fees: Average Origination Fee: $1,002. Average Third Party Fees: $848. Document Preparation: $80. Broker fees: $1,058. Appraisal: $436. Attorney: $495. Survey: $650. Nevada does not require attorneys, but you will need a title officer present at signing of escrow. For a fuller explanation of what closing costs consist of and what to expect, check out our Guide to Common Closing Costs.
Average Closing Costs in the Silver State
Source: Bankrate's 2015 survey of closing costs.
Refinancing a Mortgage in Nevada
Homeowners refinance for more than a few reasons: to lower monthly payments, to get a better interest rate, or to take out additional funds for home improvement. Although interest rates have risen slightly, they are still at historic lows. Home values also are rising, which means homeowners have a better chance of refinancing. In Reno, homes appreciated by as much as 17.6 percent from 2014-2015. For more comprehensive information, check out our guide on refinancing.
Other Nevada Mortgage Resources
Still haven't found what you're looking for? Check out this list of other helpful resources:
Nonprofit housing information resources for potential homebuyers and borrowers.
Helps borrowers who may be on the verge of foreclosure or who are underwater with their mortgages. Website also connects borrowers to home counseling locations and participating lenders for their programs.
A one-stop resource center, to assist and guide Nevada residents to housing resources.
Homebuyer programs with a focus on keeping and obtaining a home, with a large variety of down payment assistance outlets. Emergency solutions for those facing foreclosure or need who need urgent repairs.
Down payment assistance program that offers low-interest mortgage loans.
Regulates lenders, but also provides consumer information on mortgage lenders and a place to file complaints.
Housing partnerships to promote homeownership and create informed homebuyers.
Housing programs in the Carson City Area, such as financial counseling and other assistance programs.