One of the first questions to ask yourself when searching for a new home is: How much can I afford? “I always have my clients get preapproved [for a loan] before we start looking for houses. We do that first before I start sending them properties that might be out of their price range,” says Allison Jung, Realtor with Elite Realty.

While the average Las Vegas home costs nearly $230,000, you can still find the home of your dreams on a smaller budget. To help you make the most of your money, U.S. News asked some of Las Vegas' top real estate agents for their top tips for finding an affordable home.

Expand your options.

If you’re working with a tight budget, living in a different part of town or opting for a smaller property can save you money.

[Read: 4 Tips for Buying a Home in Downtown Las Vegas.]

“Buyers should open their eyes to other areas of town,” Jung says. Farther north and south of the city center, homes are typically cheaper. Jung recently had clients who wanted to live in Silverado Ranch, but they soon realized the houses they could afford there were smaller than they wanted. She encouraged them to consider homes in and around North Las Vegas. After visiting the area, the clients decided they would be happier in the North Las Vegas area because they were getting a bigger house for the same amount of money.

But, “if the area is more important than having a whole house with a backyard and garage, then buyers should look for a condo in that area,” says "Big Mike" Tchobanian, broker and owner of Vegas Capital Realty. Ultimately, you may have to choose between your ideal location and your ideal square footage.

Be financially savvy.

Jung suggests taking advantage of Nevada's Home Is Possible down payment assistance program. The program is designed for buyers who can afford a monthly mortgage payment but who don't have the cash for a down payment and closing costs. If you qualify and take a homebuyer education course, you can receive a grant for up to 5 percent of the loan amount, and you don’t have to pay the grant back. To find out more, ask potential lenders about the program during the prequalification process.

[Read: 4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Las Vegas Condo.]

Las Vegas buyers should also consider multiple lenders. “Shop around for different [mortgage] companies. One may offer you a better rate or a better payment; therefore, you can buy more,” Tchobanian says.

Sweeten your offer.

Although agents say the market has become more competitive since the announcement of the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise moving to Las Vegas, there are ways to make your offer more appealing to sellers. Jung highly recommends writing a seller’s letter that explains to the owner why you want to buy the home. “It’s been especially effective if [my clients and I] go into a home and the homeowner happens to be there, and my clients make a connection,” Jung says.

Also, in a less competitive market, it is not uncommon for a buyer to ask a seller to cover closing costs, but in the current environment, paying closing costs can make the difference between having your offer accepted or not. “When you are coming in with a loan versus a cash offer, you are already at a slight disadvantage because an appraisal has to be done, so you want to have enough money to pay your own closing costs, if at all possible,” Jung says. It may even be worth waiting until you can save up the additional money.

Get creative.

An experienced agent will help you take creative approaches to minding your budget and getting a great home. For example, Tchobanian suggests looking specifically for homes that are occupied by a tenant, not an owner, because typically those homes are harder to show. If the home is harder to show, fewer potential buyers may see it, which means there will be fewer offers to compete with.

[Read: 4 Things to Know Before Buying a Midcentury Modern Las Vegas Home.]

Additionally, Tchobanian continuously looks for new listings in the hope that his clients could be the first to submit an offer and thereby increase their chances of having the offer accepted. “Part of what I do is actively look for new listings so that I can help my buyers. I am calling potential sellers directly instead of just waiting on MLS [a catalog of homes on the market],” Tchobanian says.

Be patient.

When you’re trying to save money on a house, taking a little extra time can be important. “When I have clients on a smaller budget, I tell them to have a lot of patience, and I explain to them that in this price range, we’re going to have a lot of competition,” Jung says. So, don’t get discouraged if you have to make offers on multiple properties. Good homes come to those who wait.

Looking for a real estate agent in Las Vegas? U.S. News' Find an Agent tool can match you with the person who's most qualified for the job.

Tags: Las Vegas, real estate, housing market, home prices, existing home sales


Misti Yang is a freelance writer in Las Vegas. Yang writes for several local publications and previously wrote the city's weekly Yelp newsletter. While she most often pens stories about food and travel, Yang also covers real estate and the tech economy. You can visit her website and connect with her on Twitter.

Recommended Articles

Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Devon Thorsby | April 19, 2019

These metro areas offer the best education, access to health services and crime rates.

Why Spring Is the Perfect Time to Sell

Devon Thorsby | April 17, 2019

Spring is here and interest rates are low – it's a great time to make the most of eager buyers.

Home Selling: Real Estate Team vs. Agent

Dima Williams | April 17, 2019

Solo agents are an industry standard, but teams offer a novel alternative. Here's what sets the two arrangements apart.  

The Priciest Repairs for Homebuyers

Lisa Larson | April 16, 2019

Avoid the repairs that will cost you the most before you move in with a sharp eye and the right inspections.

The Best Places to Live in New York

Devon Thorsby | April 12, 2019

Find out where in the Empire State you'll find the best opportunities.

What’s Dragging Down Your Home's Value?

Devon Thorsby | April 10, 2019

Find out why your home isn't worth as much as you think.

Do Home Value Estimate Tools Work?

Teresa Mears, Devon Thorsby | April 10, 2019

Homeowners now have more control over how home value estimates are calculated.

DIY Projects That Add Value to Your Home

Mady Dahlstrom | April 10, 2019

These are the home improvement projects that will add value to your home when selling.

Are These New Hot Spots Too Expensive?

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

In places where net migration is highest, housing costs are rising fast.

The Best Affordable Places to Live 2019

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

When it comes to housing costs, these metro areas allow your paycheck to go further.

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

These metro areas offer the best combination of jobs, desirability, cost of living, quality of life and more.

Why a Real Estate Agent's Advice Works

Steven Gottlieb | April 8, 2019

The advice your real estate agent offers can help you close the right deal to buy or sell your home.

Selling Your House in a Buyer's Market

Wendy Arriz | April 2, 2019

Five steps to ensure the right buyer sees your home.

Climate Change May Impact Home Values

Geoff Williams | March 29, 2019

With sea level rise accelerating, waterfront real estate values could be revalued sooner than you think.

How to Make Your Open House Memorable

Sally Forster Jones | March 28, 2019

How to prepare your home for a day of showings that will make buyers want to put in an offer.

What Is a BPO in Real Estate?

Devon Thorsby | March 20, 2019

Here's what to know about a broker price opinion, how it's calculated and if you should get one.

Are You Ready To Buy a Home?

Wendy Arriz | March 19, 2019

For the millennial generation, homeownership can still be intimidating. Here's what you should consider before making an offer.

Decorate Your Apartment on the Cheap

Devon Thorsby | March 15, 2019

A short lease doesn't mean you can't make your apartment feel like home.

What Data Points Tell You About Housing

Dima Williams | March 14, 2019

From home prices and sales to construction and mortgage rates, these are the real estate gauges to watch.

The Best Places to Live in California

Devon Thorsby | March 13, 2019

See how 12 metro areas in California compare to each other.