This article contains 5 tips for buying a home in Seattle that can make or break your home shopping adventure. 2018 started with a hot Seattle real estate market and that held true through mid-summer when things shifted some. A lot of the panic buying dropped off as builders flooded the market with new homes. Many of the old rules changed, but some still have remained the same. If you are home hunting from out of town you may want to additionally look at my tips for moving to Seattle from out of state.
Put these tips into practice and you have a good shot at getting a home that you love!
Tip #1 – Get you mortgage pre-approval
Regardless of what the market is doing, getting pre-approved for a home loan is essential. This will show sellers that you are ready, willing and able to purchase, on top of giving us an idea of what you can afford in your next home.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan isn’t a difficult process and it is something I or your preferred lender can assist you with.
Tip #2 – Make buying decisions quickly
Of all the tips for buying a home in Seattle, this is the most heartbreaking.
While much of the panic buying has dissipated, good deals are still moving quickly. There are few things sadder as a real estate broker than having client find the perfect house, fall in love with it and then lose out on it because they had to think about it. Often times while they are “thinking about it” someone else comes in and scoops it up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it happen.
My suggestion is to make a list of your top must-have requirements and if a home meets enough of them and is at the right price, make an offer.
Tip #3 – Make reasonable offers
In the beginning of the year, it was common to have buyers coming in $10,000 or more above asking price. I’ve seen homes sell for ridiculous amounts over list because they got in bidding wars. Luckily for buyers, that is currently not the case. That being said if you are buying a home in Seattle, you still have to make reasonable offers.
What counts as reasonable is going to vary from area to area as well as the type and condition of the property. This is something I work closely with my clients on, as coming in too low risks getting our offer shot down, and coming in too high leaves money on the table.
Tip #4 – Keep your options open
While you may initially have only one specific type of home and area in mind, you may need to keep your options open and be flexible. One great thing about buying a home in Seattle is that the surrounding areas offer a good deal of variety in prices, types of home and commuting time.
If after your initial searching, you aren’t finding a home that is a good fit, it is time to consider other areas or price points to shop at. Many of my clients that have started out dead set on one area have found that they are actually much happier in another after they start shopping.
Tip #5 – Be prepared for the down payment
The days of 0% down payments are gone, at least for the time being. This, coupled with the Seattle area’s significant home prices mean that when you are buying a home in Seattle, you must have your down payment all ready to go. With good credit there are loan programs that will go down as low as 3%, but that still means easily $25,000 with closing costs for an average home in the Seattle area.
Whether you are using the proceeds of another home sale, getting money from a relative or by some other means, it is important to have that lined up and in the bank before it is time to start making offers. This is something I always discuss with my buyers at the start of the home shopping process.
Buying a home in the Seattle area isn’t impossible
Hopefully these 5 tips for buying a home in Seattle will make your home shopping a bit easier. As a real estate broker that has been in the Seattle market for 20 years, I’ve seen all the cycles and dealt with most of the issues that come up in home hunting.
Seattle isn’t the easiest city to buy in right now, but it’s absolutely worth it. Homes appreciated 14.8% last year and the market is still very strong. Be prepared, don’t give up, and happy house-hunting!