Washington is one of the most popular states in the country at the moment, and for many good reasons. Aside from its strong agricultural industry, it’s also a leader in the following industries: telecommunications, aircraft, and computer software. Locals and visitors alike enjoy numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, sailing, boating, and whale watching among many others. All these, plus the fact that the state doesn’t implement personal tax laws, give its residents many reasons not to leave while also attracting new home buyers.

Just to name a few of the best-rated cities in the state are Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma. It’s also worthy to note that about 60% of the entire population of the state resides in Seattle. (Source: Livability.com)

Home ownership facts

Despite the fact that The Evergreen State has a cost of living higher than other states in the country, it still boasts of quite the impressive home ownership rating. 62.6% of all residential dwellings here are owned and occupied. (Source: U. S. Bureau of Census)

To give home buyers an idea on how much they can expect to spend towards their purchase, here are some of facts about real estate pricing in this state:

  • Median home value of $322,700, as opposed to the national home value median of $195,300
  • Average value of single-family homes: $210,908.95
  • Average value of condominiums: $176,236.53
  • Average value of PUD homes: $208,931.51
  • Average value of townhomes: $217,646.82
  • Median list price per square foot: $177
  • Median price of listed homes: $309,000

Securing a mortgage in the state

A mortgage is the most common way to finance the purchase of a house. In WA, home buyers can choose from a number of housing loans, the two most popular of which are the fixed-rate and the adjustable-rate mortgages. Most lenders follow a similar list of qualification factors, including credit score rating, as well as the historical and current financial standing of the applicant.

It’s important for borrowers to understand when a fixed-rate mortgage is a better option and when an adjustable-rate mortgage makes for a more financially-sound choice.

Choosing between the two major mortgage types

Because mortgages are huge long-term loans, consumers planning to secure one should take as much time in considering the following factors:

  • How much of a home they can afford, and how big of a down payment they can make using their own savings
  • How long they intend to stay in the same residence – for long-term occupancy, a fixed-rate mortgage is a better choice; for short-term occupancy, a variable-rate mortgage may offer a bigger money-saving option
  • Whether they prefer the security of non-changing rates that comes with a fixed-rate housing loan or the much lower initial interest rate offered with an adjustable-rate loan

Refinancing 101 for existing home owners

One of the primary reasons existing home owners refinance their mortgage is because this process provides them a way to obtain a much lower interest rate. Experts recommend refinancing to consumers who can reduce their rate by not lower than one percent. Borrowers can also opt to refinance if they can trim their expenses when switching from a fixed-rate to a variable-rate loan.

It is also worthy to note that through proper refinancing, one can shorten the span of time he/she is in debt, while also helping hasten the accumulation of home equity.

Availability of mortgage assistance programs in the state

Home buyers experiencing hardships securing a mortgage should know that help from various organizations are available.

For instance, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission offers programs designed to provide low-cost housing loans as well as down payment assistance and tax credits. The Washington Homeownership Resource Center, on the other hand, is a great place to become more knowledgeable about the workings of housing loans. Down payment assistance is also available through the USDA Rural Development, while help with refinancing is offered by the Home Affordable Refinance Program.

References:

Washington State Housing Finance Commission

Washington Homeownership Resource Center

USDA Rural Development

Home Affordable Refinance Program