WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — If you've been renting in the DC area for a while, you know how incredibly expensive it is. Rents tend to go up every year, but interest rates fluctuate; making homeowning a more viable option. Our Real Estate Top Performers have tips to make the move from renter to owner without fear.

Pay attention to interest rates. The Federal Reserve lowered rates in July. This affects short term rates which can influence mortgage rates. Lowering rates is a way for the Fed to stimulate the economy in a slump. Take advantage of this time and strike while the iron's hot. If you're looking to buy, the time is now.

Grant money is available for first-time homebuyers. Every jurisdiction has its own qualifications for this, but a mortgage broker will have information on what's available in your area. There are other resources available as well. If you're a veteran or currently active duty, you may qualify for a VA loan.

Take advantage of programs that offer a low down payment. The idea of a mortgage doesn't scare most people in this area because it's comparable to high rents. But the thought of a hefty down payment is what stops most from signing on the dotted line. There are programs that allow a down payment as low as 3 percent. Your mortgage payments will be higher since you're putting down less, but with current low-interest rates, the difference is nominal.

Consider home appreciation. If your rent's been going up consistently for years, you're likely not seeing the benefit of the property appreciation. If you buy, your home will increase in value over time. There may be periodic lulls in the economy that affect the real estate market, but you'll likely come out ahead. 

This article is sponsored by The Real Estate Top Performers

Additional information provided by Student Loan Hero

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