Home Buying in Eckington>Question Details

Re, Home Buyer in Eckington, Washington,...

Eligible for a mortgage

Asked by Re, Eckington, Washington, DC Mon Apr 11, 2011

My son will be graduating in May from Columbia Univ graduate school and has gotten a job working in Arlington, Va. He will be relocating to the DC/VA/MD area sometime in August. We have begun a cursory search for homes. (2 bed /2 bath) He is 27 and I am wondering whether the search should be for a single family home / condo / or townhouse. In addition, he has little credit history and has a student loan. As a first time buyer with student debt would he be eligible to get a mortgage or would someone have to co-sign?

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Brent Mendelson’s answer
I gave John's answer a thumbs up for honesty. Renting is a an option that should be considered being new to the area. All three areas here have allot to offer but they are different in many many ways. From politics, to the teams we root for and the traffic and well just so many factors. If he knows the area really well and is sure on where he will be happy that is different. My only fear on waiting is higher interest rates which I do believe is coming.
That being said all we need is a two year history. College is fine as part of that history. FHA is probably the loan for your son for a few reasons. They are more lenient on credit scores and offer a low down payment. They are generally OK with a shallow credit history but do want to see certain minimum scores. As far as being eligible is all comes down to his debt to income ration. You take his gross monthly income and divide by his monthly debts. You add in anything on his credit report and of course the proposed housing payment. You can get two numbers, one will be the house payment or front end and the total or the back end. We want to make sure you can afford the house and bills and also won’t be house poor. If you would like to see some numbers please call or email and we can walk you thru what you need to know. I also have an excellent first time home buyer grant that can give your son up to $7,500 in closing help. Once he is ready I can also give him a few name of local realtors that know the market and specialize in first time home buyers. They can advise him of whether he should buy a condo or townhouse. I think it might depend on where he buys. I am no realtor but I also have my opinions, there should be alot of questions asked before answering that one. My last advice would be to talk to 2-3 lender and also 2-3 realtors and see how things go from there. Hope this helps please let me know if you need more.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Has he considered renting? Parts of the DC area market are stable others are not. No one can predict the future of this real estate market. There was an excellent article in last weeks Washington Post regarding the condo market, I am sure that it is available online.
If it were my child I would recommend that they rent for a year and become familiar with the area. DC is a great place to live with many diverse areas to chose from. Young people enjoy Metro access and areas with good nightlife within walking distance. There truly are a dozen good choices, it will depend on what is important to him.
Plus he needs time to make sure that he likes his job. A house would be pretty big anchor. Rent, knock down the student loans, see what area suits him best and go from there.
I am a sales agent and that is how I earn a living but I won't recommend that someone buy just to make a commission.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Hey there,

By your post, it appears that your son is interested in buying in Eckington, in DC. While buying or renting close to his work in Arlington may be more convenient, if he really wants to live in Eckington, I would suggest starting there. The home prices would be quite a bit less expensive and the District just recently renewed their first-time homebuyer's credit of up to $5000, which should be taken into consideration when obtaining a mortgage. Also, if he is working in Arlington, the commute from Eckington would be going against traffic, thus making for an easier commute both ways.

When getting your mortgage, I would advise going with a local lender, not a broker. Brokers will find you a lender for a fee, something you can do on your own for free, and that fee gets added into your costs. If your son's only real debt is his student loan, he has good credit and a decent salary, then, in my experience I would say he probably won't need a co-signer. It's also going to depend on the sales price. I have a list of local lenders I can recommend who can answer all of your questions.

The difference in rentals between the two places, Eckington and Arlington, is there are more condo rentals available in Arlington, whereas in Eckington you're looking at house rentals and there aren't nearly as many available. Studio and 1BR rentals in Arlington typically run $1300-$1500. I found a couple of houses in Eckington with 2-3BRs for around $2500 a month, so he'd probably need to get a roommate to help out with rent.

I would be happy to help your son decide which will be his best way to go, rental or purchase, and where he would like to be, DC, Virginia or even Maryland, as I am licensed in all three. We can go see some properties and see which neighborhood he likes best. Feel free to contact me anytime.


Kelly Putz
Keller Williams McLean
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
As an Arlington/DC real estate agent, I like nothing better than to sell someone the right home; and I work a lot with first-time buyers. That being said, I agree with John's answer: Unless your son already is very familiar with the DC Metro area and knows where he wants to live and where he will work, he may want to rent for a year. This is a huge area with infamous traffic issues. If the first job doesn't work out, or if he decides he really prefers a different part of the area, owning a home may be more burden than blessing. Silver Spring may have lots of good buys, but it would be a brutal commute to, say, the Dulles area. Once he knows he's sticking with that job location for the foreseeable future, and he knows what general area appeals to him, he can make a more informed home buying decision. In the meantime, he can knock down the student loan and any other outstanding debt.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Christopher Pagli said it best. Talk to a reputable local lender in your area. But I will talk to at least three of them. There are many programs out there for first time home buyers that people don't know about. Much luck to you.
Web Reference: http://www.GetDCSold.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Hi Re, We see these questions often on Trulia. I always suggest you contact a local, reputable mortgage lender to discuss your sons options. There is no cost to have this conversation and you will hear it directly from a lender. there may be some special programs he could qualify, etc.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Hi Re,

As the other agents have said, whether your son can qualify for a mortgage depends on his income, credit score, and ratio of debt to income. He should talk with a local lender as soon as possible to get an answer to your question and also to find out how much of a mortgage he can afford. Once he receives that info from a lender, the real fun (the home search!) can begin in earnest.

I have a number of great lenders that I work with and would be happy to pass on their information on to you.

Feel free to have him give me a call.


Djana Morris
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
4400 Jenifer St NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 309-0146
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Your son might have some great options in front of him! His ability to qualify for a loan will be determined by the price range he is looking for, and his debt to income ratio. You can always have him pre-qualified by a lender to establish how much he will have the ability to spend on his own. That way you can see whether you would need to co-sign. I have a great list of lenders that I trust, if you email me, I will send them to you!

There are MANY great neighborhoods in the DMV area for young professionals! Depending on what your son likes to do (wants to be close to restaurants, metro, bike paths, etc) there is a great neighborhood and style of home waiting for him. As a young professional, I love Arlington, and there are some great neighborhoods in DC as well! I live in Columbia Heights, where I can walk to the metro, grocery shopping, and restaurants in my reach.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss some more!

Hillary Nash
Lead Agent, Nash Holdings
Exit Elite Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Hi Re,

Congratulations! Columbia U is an awesome school.

This is a great question. I get this a lot from parents of recent or soon to be graduates. The first thing to consider is the income side of the equation. Before the student loans/debt is even assessed, the Lender will want to see a solid work history of at least 2 years. It doesn't usually have to be 2 consecutive years with the same employer, though that's helpful, but it at least has to have been long enough to produce 2 tax returns.

Now if that's good to go, then the Lender will consider the DTI (Debt to Income) ratio in determining if He's mortgage eligible.

There are a few details you would want to consider. Feel free to give me a call to further discuss. I'm happy to connect you with my Lender partner to answer your questions in detail.

Hope this is helpful!

Shawnn Fayson
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Hi Re

It really depends on his price point, his credit score, income and where he is looking to buy. Not all neighborhoods are priced the same for 2BR/2BAs, he has to think about what he wants/needs that fit into his price range. I would strongly recommend he talk to a lender, and I can recommend a few, so he has a sense of what he will qualify for.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
It will all depend on what he's looking to spend. I'd suggest talking to a lender ASAP to get a better idea of monthly payments so he'll have a comfort level before hitting the streets!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
The first stpe should be to contact and to meet with a local and trusted mortgage broker, they can prequailify you at no cost, they will look at your credit plus your financials and let you know if there are any programs that you may quailify for.

You need to do that before you start looking at a house so you know your price range, then you can comparte each so you know what you can get for your money.

Please click on my blog


To get a complete list of tips and advice for getting a mortgage in todays market
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
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