Home Buying Process

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The Home Buying Process Made Easy

StoneGate Realty prides itself on supporting those going through the home buying process. Below you will find helpful tips that will guide you on your journey. Buying your new home is a serious venture. It can be an absolute pleasure or a massive headache. Your house is not just your home, it is a serious investment in the dwelling, the area, and your future. Although renting may be convenient, there are drawbacks that can make it less desirable.

Why Buying Is Better Than Renting

  • Rent continues to rise
  • Having no economic security and not knowing how much rent may go up in the next two to three years
  • No tax benefits
  • No price appreciation
  • No return on the money you spend for rent
  • Increasing landlord’s wealth but not your own

Home Buying Process from Start to Finish

Every home buying experience is not the same. Each has its own twists and turns. Despite those differences, there are general guidelines as to how the home buying process works. Please keep these in mind before you buy a home.

Deciding to Be a Homeowner

Owning a home at some point in your life is a good decision. Mortgage payments help to increase the equity in your house as opposed to paying rent checks to a landlord. Additionally, rent usually increases with inflation while mortgage payments are generally more stable and will eventually go down toward the end of the loan’s life. Keep in mind, however, owning a home is also a long term commitment and there are several things you have to carefully consider before deciding whether you’re prepared to take the plunge.

  • Determine Motivation – Buy a house because it’s the right decision for you at this point in your life. It’s easy to get pressured into buying because it’s the next step in being an adult or because the market is hot. Make sure you’re doing this because you really want to and it’s the right time. Don’t let other people make the decision for you.
  • Be Prepared – Once you have decided that you are ready to begin the home buying process, one of the first considerations to keep in mind is that you will need to get pre-qualified for your home loan. This will provide you with the maximum loan amount that you qualify for and will prevent you from looking outside of your price range and wasting valuable time in this seller’s market.

First Time Home Buyer Programs in the District of Columbia

There are programs that can assist you with the costs of home ownership. Each program has income guidelines that must be met to qualify.

Tax Abatement Incentive

Buying a home for the first time in the District of Columbia qualifies you for the tax abatement program when certain criteria are met. What does it mean for you? Eligible homeowners, including non-profit organizations and shared equity investors, may receive a five-year tax abatement and be exempt from paying recordation and transfer taxes. The five-year period for the Lower Income Home Ownership Tax Abatement begins on October 1st, after your deed has been recorded and you have previously applied for the abatement. To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:

  • The property must be owner-occupied
  • The owner must meet the income level requirement
  • The property must be less than $356,000 in value

Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP)

The Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) enables lower-and moderate-income individuals and families to purchase affordable housing in Washington, D.C. Qualified HPAP applicants can receive up to $44,000 in financial assistance to purchase single-family houses, condominiums, and cooperative apartments. HPAP funds can be used for down-payment and/or closing costs. The HPAP Purchase Assistance is in the form of low interest 5-year deferred loan. Loan amounts are determined by a combination of factors, including income, household size, and the amount of assets that an applicant can commit toward the purchase price of a home. In addition, all loan recipients are required to maintain their properties in compliance with D.C. Housing Codes. To be eligible for HPAP assistance, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the head of the household and a first-time homebuyer
  • Be a low-to-moderate income resident, based on the Department’s standards
  • Cannot have had ownership interest in any residential real estate within the three years prior to application
  • The purchased home must be the borrower’s primary residence and must be located within the District of Columbia
  • Possess a good credit rating

Applications are prioritized based on the following:

    • Low-income, elderly, handicapped, disabled or displaced District residents
    • Other District residents
    • Non-residents who have been employed in the District for one year prior to application
    • Non-residents who have lived in the District for three years as an adult

To apply for HPAP assistance, please contact one of the following organizations:

Housing Counseling Services, Inc. 2410 17th St NW, Suite 100 Adams Alley Entrance Washington, DC 20009 (202) 667-7006
University Legal Services, SE 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE Washington, DC 20020 (202) 889-2196
University Legal Services, NE 220 I St NW, Suite 103 Washington, DC 20020 (202) 547-4747
University Legal Services,Far NE Lloyd E Smith Center 3939 Benning Rd NE Washington, DC 20019 (202) 396-1201
Lydia’s House 3939 S Captiol St SW Washington, DC 20032 (202) 373-1050
Latino Economic Development Corporation 2316 18th St NW Washington, DC 20009 (202) 588-5102

If you qualify, a Lower Income/Shared Equity Home Ownership Exemption Application and Claim for Exemption from Real Property Recordation and Transfer Tax must be submitted when your deed is recorded. It is important to note that not all title companies are familiar with this process. A StoneGate realtor can assist you in ensuring your application is submitted properly and that you receive this benefit should you qualify.


Waterstone Mortgage

10632 Little Patuxent Parkway, Ste. 454

Columbia, MD 21044

Office: (410) 788-9100

Contact: L’Tanya Jones, Senior Mortgage Consultant

Monarch Mortgage

6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 206

Greenbelt, MD 20770

Office: (301) 850-1093

Contact: Rod Moody, Branch Manager

(240) 304-1235

[email protected]

Title Company

Emkay Title Solutions

6309 Baltimore Ave, Suite 205

Riverdale, MD 20769


[email protected]