Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Home in Skagit County
Thursday, June 30, 2022
June is National Homeowners Month
Skagit is a great place to live, work, and own a home. June is National Homeowners Month and we are sharing some tips for purchasing a home here in Skagit County. Before buying a home, you’ll need to figure out what you can afford, know your rights and shop for a loan.
With the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country, Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) knows how important it is to have available housing. Skagit County is working toward increasing the available residences, both as a key to a healthy and stable local economy, and to prevent housing prices from escalating out of reach, which is a current issue for Skagit County and the surrounding region.
In 2021, EDASC started facilitating a concerted countywide effort to address this complex issue through the Skagit Housing Consortium, which was formed through a collaborative effort among government, nonprofit and business leaders as well as a broad base of Skagit residents interested in constructively working on the housing dilemma. The purpose of the consortium is to help the Skagit community to address both housing availability and affordability.
This consortium is one aspect of many actions EDASC is taking to support community housing initiatives to create a stronger and more prosperous Skagit community. EDASC takes a holistic approach to capacity building – a nontraditional approach for an economic development organization. This holistic approach means that EDASC also looks at education systems, government, childcare, transportation, inclusion, equity and more when addressing the housing situation and looking for solutions that will benefit all of Skagit County.
When beginning the search for your dream home, here is important information about the financing that makes homeownership possible:
USDA Rural Development Loans
Did you know that the Rural Development arm of the USDA offers financing solutions? This loan program is designed to help people in less developed communities purchase a home, often without a down payment or using a down payment assistance program.
This loan program is primarily designed for people who do not own another residence. What makes it unique is that the interest rate is low and it is designed for people who do not make a large income. In other words, this is a loan program for the working and middle-class. Anyone who makes over the income limits will not qualify. Because of that, families who thought they did not make enough money to purchase a home often find that they are approved for financing.
FHA Home Loans
FHA loans are ideal for anyone who wants to purchase a home but does not have the funds available to make a substantial down payment. Typically, the buyer will only need to put down 3% of the purchase price to secure the loan. The interest rates are affordable and sometimes there are down payment assistance programs to help buyers. Since the down payment requirement is low, a monthly mortgage insurance premium also must be paid as part of the total loan payment.
VA Home Loans
For veterans and their families, it is worthwhile to explore the VA home loan program and what it offers. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not issue this loan, which comes from local banks. The VA guarantees repayment on a portion of the loan, which lowers the risk for the bank lending the money. This makes it possible for veterans to purchase a home without having to make a down payment. Veterans receive additional savings because there is no private mortgage insurance on VA loans. This can account for significant savings, sometimes hundreds of dollars or more per month.
Loans from Local Banks and Credit Unions
Traditional mortgage programs are also available at affordable interest rates. Local lenders in Skagit County can provide home buying assistance to members of the community.
EDASC is always working on local housing initiatives to increase the opportunities for homeownership within our community. To find out about the latest programs or assistance, contact us. We look forward to helping you say welcome home!