Do you plan to buy your first home in Seattle in 2017? If so, you probably have a lot of questions about the real estate market, the home buying process, and related topics. You’ve come to the right place. Our Seattle first-time home buyer’s guide for 2017 will bring you up to speed and help you achieve your real estate goals.
5 Tips for Seattle First-Time Home Buyers in 2017
An entire book could be written on buying a first home in Seattle. In fact, we’ve written one. Today, however, we will keep it short and sweet. This guide delivers five of the most important tips for Seattle first-time home buyers in 2017. These are things you should know and do before you start shopping for a home.
1. Download Our Seattle Buyer’s Guide
If you only follow one of the five steps in this survival guide, make it this one. Download our 2017 Seattle Home Buying Guide, and read it closely.
This informative e-book starts with an updated look at the Seattle real estate market, followed by 60+ pages of home buying and mortgage information.
It was written specifically for Seattle first-time home buyers in 2017. You won’t find another guide like it anywhere else.
2. Get Ready for Some Competition
The Seattle real estate market is very competitive right now, as we head into 2017. Multiple offers are common, and homes are selling faster than the national average. Seattle first-time buyers should be prepared for a high level of competition.
In December, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service wrote:
“The seemingly inexhaustible supply of ready, willing and able [home] buyers continues to purchase available inventory. This imbalance in supply and demand continues to fuel multiple offers and drive prices upward.”
There’s a lot of demand for housing, but a limited supply of homes by comparison. This is forcing home buyers to compete fiercely, especially for desirable properties in popular areas.
This is why market research is so important. By researching the Seattle real estate market and home price trends ahead of time, you’ll be able to move quickly when the time comes to make an offer. More importantly, you’ll avoid the kind of “low-ball” offer that could cost you the home. And that brings us to tip #3 in the Seattle first-time home buyer survival guide…
3. Analyze Home Prices in Your Target Area
How much are homes selling for in the neighborhood(s) you’re considering? What’s the most you’re able to spend for a home? If you can’t answer these questions, you have some homework to do.
Seattle first-time home buyers should have a pretty good sense of how much house they can buy within their budgets, before entering the market. This is the key to efficient house hunting. And efficiency is vital in a competitive real estate market like Seattle.
As of December 2016, the median home price within Seattle was just over $600,000. The median for the broader metro area was around $410,000. So there’s a lot of variance, in terms of prices. If you buy a home within the city limits, you’ll likely pay a premium for it. Expanding your search to outlying areas could increase your buying power dramatically.
Start by looking at recent sale prices on listing websites like Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow. Zero in on the particular area(s) where you’d like to buy a house.
Next, create a basic home-buying budget to determine how much you can afford to pay each month in housing costs. This kind of research will save you time and energy, by allowing you to focus on the homes and locations you can actually afford.
4. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan
If you’re planning to pay cash for a home, you can skip this part. But if you’re like most first-time home buyers in Seattle — and you need a mortgage loan to finance your purchase — you should consider getting pre-approved for a loan.
Pre-approval is when you work with a mortgage company before finding a home, to determine how much you’re able to borrow. This helps you in several ways. Once you’ve been pre-approved for a certain amount, you’ll be able to focus your house-hunting efforts on that price range.
There’s another benefit to pre-approval, as it applies to first-time home buyers in Seattle. Sellers will be more inclined to accept your offer if you have a pre-approval letter in hand, because it shows you have your financing arranged.
5. Be Realistic With Your Expectations
Seattle first-time home buyers often enter the market with a long wish list of property features and amenities. That’s fine, if you have the budget to be picky. But more often than not, compromise is necessary.
In a competitive real estate market like Seattle, where inventory is tight, you might not get everything you want. So it’s important to be realistic, flexible and open-minded. If a particular home meets most of your needs, and it falls within your budget, it’s a candidate!