7 Best Tips For Buying a Townhouse in WA State

February 18, 2020
Last updated:
March 23, 2022
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If you’re considering buying a townhouse in Washington state, there are few things you should know first before getting into a deal. In this article, we’ll go over some tips that all townhouse buyers in WA should be aware of.

Buying a house is a huge financial commitment, and it’s likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life. But when you’re ready to buy a property, you’ll have a variety of choices in the types of homes to choose from, including townhouses. Whether you’re looking for something more affordable than a conventional detached home or you like the idea of less space to have to take care of, there are perks to buying and living in a townhome.

But before you take the leap, be sure to go into the home buying process prepared.

Here are the top tips for buying a townhouse in WA state:

1. Find Out How Much Townhouses Cost in the Area You’re Looking in

Before you settle on a townhouse as your next abode to purchase, make sure you do a little homework to understand exactly how much you will be paying per square foot for this type of dwelling compared to another, such as a condo or detached home. This price will obviously vary from one center to another throughout the state of Washington, so you’ll want to find out exactly what that price is for the specific area you’re considering buying in.

Prices in Seattle, for instance, will likely be higher for townhomes on a square foot basis compared to Lakewood. Your real estate agent will be able to fill you in on these specifics in the area you’re looking to buy in, so be sure to inquire.

2. Get-Preapproved For a Mortgage in WA

Before you even start the house-hunting process, be sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage. There are several reasons why you should take the time out to do this. For starters, getting pre-approved will tell you how much you can get approved for. There’s no sense in looking around at homes that are well out of your price range.

This will only set you up for disappointment. Instead, knowing how much you can get approved for will help you narrow down your search and allow you to focus solely on townhouses in Kirkland that you are able to get a mortgage for.

Another good reason to get-pre approved in Washington is to help sellers see you as a serious buyer. This is especially important in a competitive market where there is plenty of demand among buyers. In a case like this, you want to be able to stand out among other buyers and show sellers that you are a qualified buyer that’s not wasting their time.

One last reason to get pre-approved is to help move the final mortgage approval process along faster once you put in an offer that’s accepted by the seller. Once all parties agree to the terms of the offer, the final mortgage approval can begin. And by already being pre-approved, the process can move along faster.

3. Get a Home Inspection

Like any other type of home in Washington, you’ll want to make sure that you have the place inspected by a professional before the deal is sealed. Any number of issues with the property may have been missed when you first looked around it before putting in an offer. A home inspector will be able to uncover other issues that you may not be trained to pick up on.

While not all issues may necessarily be found, you’ll still have a much better chance of finding problems with a professional pair of eyes than on your own. When you’re drafting up your offer, be sure to include a clause that allows you to bring in a home inspector to look at the home in great detail.

If the inspector discovers any major issues, you have grounds to renegotiate with the seller in terms of price or making repairs. In the worst-case scenario, you may even exercise your right to walk away from the deal.

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4. Determine How Much Privacy You’ll Get

Since townhouses are abutted next to each other and share walls, they’re much closer together compared to detached homes. As such, your level of privacy might not be as high with a townhouse.

That said, certain complexes in Seattle, Bellevue, or Kirkland may be better than others in terms of privacy. Pay attention to the fencing between neighbors, as well as the level of soundproofing in the walls, especially those that separate the unit you’re interested in with adjacent properties.

Also, find out about any encroachments that may be present in your yard, and whether you have any privacy in your own yard when it comes to things such as hanging clothes out to dry or allowing pets to roam free and bark (occasionally).

5. Be Ready For a Bidding War

Some real estate markets across Washington state are cool right now, such as Seattle. But others are very hot, including Tacoma and Federal Way, which means you could be finding yourself competing against other buyers. If that’s the case, be prepared for multiple offer situations where other buyers are putting in offers on the same property that you are.

If this happens, make sure you go into the process with a firm understanding of the maximum amount you’re willing to pay from the get-go and don’t budge from that number. Even if you get outbid, sticking to that number will help you make sure to stick to your budget and don’t end up being ‘house poor’ because you paid far more than you initially wanted to.

6. Work With a Seasoned Real Estate Agent

There are plenty of great real estate agents available to work within Washington state, and you should certainly be represented by one when you buy a townhouse. But some agents are more experienced than others when it comes to the nuances of townhouses, so you may want to consider choosing a real estate agent who is well-versed in this specific type of real estate.

Further, you’ll want to choose a real estate agent who is familiar with your specific market. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a townhouse in Kirkland, then you’ll want to work with a Kirkland-based agent who knows all the ins and outs of real estate in this particular market. That way you can have a leg up on the competition and be able to find the right place that best suits your needs at a price point you can afford.

7. Team Up With a Seasoned Mortgage Specialist in WA

Much like you should be represented by a seasoned real estate agent, so should you be working with an experienced mortgage specialist. These experts will work on your behalf to find you the right mortgage product that best suits your particular needs. Whether you’re looking to obtain a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, an adjustable-rate mortgage, FHA loan, or any other type of loan, a mortgage specialist like Sammamish Mortgage can help.

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Sammamish Mortgage offers FHA loans for home buyers across Washington State. We’re a local mortgage company serving the broader Pacific Northwest region, including Washington state, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon. We are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan.

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