Are you thinking about buying a condo in Seattle? Do you want to use an FHA-insured mortgage loan to finance your purchase? If so, keep reading. Below, we have compiled some helpful tips and strategies for buying a condo in Seattle, when using an FHA loan.
Seattle Condos Must Be Approved by FHA and HUD
The first thing you need to know about buying a condo in Seattle with an FHA loan is that the condominium project must be on the “approved” list.
This means that the condominium has been reviewed by officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and meets all of their minimum criteria. If the project appears on the approved list, you could use an FHA loan to buy one of the condo units.
Here’s how to get started:
- Do a Google search for “FHA-approved condos” to find the appropriate page of the HUD website.
- Then select Seattle, Washington, or whatever city you are interested in.
- You could also search by the name of the condominium project, if you have one in mind.
Get Pre-approved By a Mortgage Company
Before looking at condos or making any purchase offers, it’s wise to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This is true for all types of loans, including FHA and conventional.
The Seattle condo market is very competitive right now, mostly due to a lack of inventory. So you want to have your financing arranged ahead of time, to show sellers you are serious about purchasing a condo.
Being pre-approved for a loan also helps you narrow your search to the types of condos you can actually afford. All of these things will result in a more efficient search. And efficiency is important when buying a condo in the competitive Seattle real estate market.
Learn more about the mortgage application process in Washington.
Include Association Fees Within Your Housing Budget
Regardless of whether you are buying a condo or a detached single-family home in Seattle, you should have a basic budget on paper before you start house hunting.
It doesn’t have to be anything complex. Just take a look at the money you spend each month on your combined expenses (including savings and retirement contributions), and then subtract that total from your net income or take-home pay. This is a starting point for determining how much you can afford to spend each month toward your housing payments.
When it comes to buying a condo in Seattle with an FHA loan, you have an additional expense to consider as well. Most condominium units have additional costs, including association fees. Do some research ahead of time to find out what these fees might be within the condominium project you are considering, and include them within your budgeting process.
Make a Strong Offer Based on Recent Sales Data
Whether you are using an FHA or conventional loan to buy a condo in Seattle, you want to make your first offer is a strong one. Earlier, we talked about the highly competitive nature of the Seattle real estate market. This is especially true for condos, which are currently in short supply.
As a result of these market conditions, you’ll want to make a strong and realistic offer based on recent sales prices. Fortunately, you can find this kind of information online, using any of the major real estate listing websites. Pay particular attention to comparable sales, which are those that are similar to the condo unit you’re thinking of buying.
Check out our King County buying guide for even more useful information.