So, you’re preparing to buy a home in Seattle? Congratulations! The Emerald City has lots to offer – it’s a perfect mix of the urban environment with beautiful nature and rich culture. Not to mention it boasts flourishing educational and job market opportunities, which make it an ideal city of choice for both young professionals and families. However, though exciting, the home buying process can be quite challenging and overwhelming. Especially if you’re buying real estate for the first time. Naturally, you want to find your dream home that will suit your needs and budget. But there are so many things to consider and do! The lack of experience, in combination with high emotions and excitement, can lead to making wrong choices. With that in mind, we’ve prepared this guide for buying real estate in Seattle that will help you avoid making mistakes and experiencing buyer’s remorse.
Find the right help for buying real estate in Seattle
Making a successful home purchase requires a team of experts on your side. From brokers to home inspectors or even contractors—there are many professionals who’ll ensure your purchase goes smoothly. On the other hand, going into it alone can lead to many rash decisions and regrets. Especially if you lack the necessary know-how and experience in the field.
The person you need the most is a reliable and trustworthy real estate agent who knows the Seattle market back and forth. They’ll help you find the property that fits your criteria and negotiate the best price for you. What’s more, they’ll ensure you avoid numerous pitfalls along the way.
Assess your finances
Many first home buyers make the mistake of overestimating their financial possibilities. We know that scrolling down the listings and looking at all those beautiful homes can be tempting. But it’s better to have a clear picture of your financial standing first.
So, resist the temptation and get the loan preapproval before you start house hunting. That way, you’ll gain more insight into your available budget and mortgages. Not only will this save your financial health, but it will also help you to narrow down your search. Knowing your budget ahead of time enables you to define clear search parameters. That way, you’ll avoid wasting time and effort looking into homes that you cannot afford.
Talk to several lenders
Some first-time home buyers know they should apply for a mortgage before they start looking for a home. However, what they neglect to do is to shop around. Check different lenders and possibilities. You’ll be surprised to see how conditions vary from lender to lender! So, explore different options and compare rates, fees, and terms before you make your choice.
Check for available loans
Buying real estate in Seattle is a challenging process. And it’s not only because of all the excitement, time, and effort it requires. Housing prices are rising as well as mortgage rates. As a result, many first-time buyers experience difficulties qualifying for conventional loans.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to consider some government-issued loans, too. For example, you may be able to qualify for FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan or VA (Veteran Affairs) loan, etc. While they come with their own advantages and disadvantages, they can enable you to speed up the process and buy your ideal home sooner than you’ve expected.
Factor in all the expenses
While we’re on the topic of finances, let’s not forget to account for all the other expenses. Buying a home will cost you more than just the price of the property. Instead, you need to factor in all the home purchasing costs – from the agent’s fee to house inspections. Closing costs and various fees are to be expected, so make sure you discuss all additional expenses with your agent.
Additionally, moving to a new home requires some planning, too. For example, you should plan your relocation in advance, especially if it’s a long-distance move within Washington state. Expert movers will ensure you reach Seattle care-free, with all your belongings safe and sound. Also, if you plan to do some remodeling or hire professional cleaners before you move in, add those expenses to your list.
Make a list of must-haves and dealbreakers
It’s time to narrow down your home searching process a bit further. Think about what you absolutely need in your new home, what features are desirable but not necessary, and what your dealbreakers are.
What are your priorities? Do you want to downsize in Seattle? Or are you looking for a larger home for your expanding family? Is work proximity the key factor for you?
Consider both interior and exterior of the home and consider features such as smart homes, garage, large kitchen, front yard, etc. Having a clear picture of what you truly want will enable you to focus on the homes that best suit your needs and desires.
Choose the right neighborhood
Some people fall in love with a property so much that they neglect the location. Don’t make that mistake! The location is the key factor that drives a property’s price both when selling and buying. You want your home to gain value over time and not lose it.
Apart from that reason, it’s also important to choose the neighborhood that suits your lifestyle. Check for the amenities you want as well as for transportation options. Luckily for you, there are a plethora of wonderful Seattle neighborhoods you can choose from.
For example, if you’re looking for a community-oriented neighborhood with a unique history and character, Capitol Hill is the right choice for you. If you love spending summer months by the water, Green Lake is a perfect solution. On the other hand, if you want a small-town feel but with a diversity of a metropolis, don’t look further than Columbia City. Seattle has something to offer to everyone who chooses to call it home.
Don’t skip the home inspection!
In a rush to buy the home they love, some buyers choose to skip the home inspection. And that’s the last thing you should do! Better to miss out on the property than to skip this step in the home buying process. A good home inspection checklist will reveal all the issues and potential problems with the property and thus save you money and time in the long run. Not to mention endless headaches and anxiety that come with expensive home repairs and other issues.
Take a breath and calm down
Last but not least, relax! It’s not an easy thing to do when buying real estate in Seattle. There’s so much stress, work, and things you need to do! However, buying a home in a hurry and letting others pressure you into making decisions is not a wise choice. Instead of your heart, use your head – stay calm and composed, and soon you’ll be moving to your dream home!