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Your No-Frills Guide to Buying a Seattle Home

lakefront seattle home

Seattle real estate is one of the most coveted property markets in the country. Buying real estate in Seattle, however, requires the assistance of knowledgeable, experienced representation to be successful in this competitive market.

To help you out, we tailored this home buying guide specifically to the unique needs and characteristics of Seattle’s housing market. Let’s get started.

Starting Out

Before you start shopping for a home, here are a couple of things you will need to do.

  1. Save up.
  2. Make sure your financially ready, especially having adequate savings for the down payment, good credit rating, etc.

    In Seattle and the rest of King County, it’s normal for a home buyer to put down about 18 percent or more of the list price. This can be a challenge as home prices in the Seattle market are steadily increasing.

    According to this report, the median down payment in Seattle increased from $50,000 in 2013 to $100,000 in 2018. Have enough cash to make a down payment, then let your mortgage loan take care of the rest.

  3. Get pre-qualified for a loan.
  4. In the greater Seattle area, it’s not enough to just be pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-qualified is almost required to be successful as a buyer here. By doing so, your offer will have far more credibility with home sellers. Additionally, getting pre-qualified also helps your offer compete in a multiple offer situation or against a cash buyer.

    Instead of heading to a big bank for your mortgage, we suggest considering local lenders. Mary Pong can also offer you some lending recommendations. Financial resources who are available to you evenings, weekends, etc., to offer support when it is needed to be competitive in this market. The bureaucratic processes involved with many banks or internet lending sources can often be frustrating & inefficient and can be costly to your success in competing during time-sensitive offer situations.

  5. Work with a local real estate agent.
  6. A knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent is one of your keys to a successful home purchase.

    I would be pleased to offer you assistance in helping you achieve your real estate goals or dreams.Get in touch with me today at mary(at)marypong(dotted)com or 425-829-3417 for a no-obligation consultation.

Shopping for a Home

With enough savings, a pre-qualified loan in your hand, and a good real estate agent, it’s time to start shopping for a home.

  1. Look at homes priced within your budget.
  2. While it can be tempting to become enamored with homes above your price range, a good agent will encourage you to be realistic. Finding a home often involves a significant amount of time, so you want to focus your efforts in searching for realistic priced homes in desirable neighborhoods.

  3. Don’t wait around.
  4. Once you identify a home that checks off your list of “must-haves,” you will want to move forward promptly in this competitive market. Excessive delays can often result in leaving the door open for another buyer.

    At this point, it’s important to have representation with strong negotiation skills. Being a skilled negotiator involves more than just focusing on price or being hard-nosed. It requires excellent behind the scenes communication skills with other parties involved and your agent will also protect you with a variety of contingencies in most offer situations.

  5. Make your offer sweeter.
  6. There are times when you may have to compete with another offer. There are a variety of strategies that your agent may recommend during a multiple offer scenario, depending on the circumstances involved at the time.

    For example, your agent may suggest using an escalation clause in your offer with incremental increases up to your maximum offer price.

    You also have the option to waive the appraisal contingency, which can ease a seller’s worries. Sometimes, buyers may choose to even waive the inspection contingency to compete for their dream home.

    Some buyers also waive the financing and title contingencies, but you don’t have to do all. Only waive what you’re comfortable with or based on how you gauge your competition.

    You can also make a non-refundable earnest money deposit or give your seller more time to find their next home, etc., as ways to make your offer more appealing to the seller.

Closing the Sale

Once your offer has been accepted, you can let Mary and her team of professionals do most of the remaining work for you.

As with other housing markets, it usually takes four to six weeks to close a sale, assuming everything goes according to plan. You will then be able to celebrate, as you are handed the keys to your new home!

To learn more about buying a home in Seattle, Bellevue or other areas, talk to me today at mary(at)marypong(dotted)com or 425-829-3417. My Buyers Resource page is also regularly updated with more home buying tips. Bookmark the page in your preferred browser so you won’t miss anything new.