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!

A couple holding the key to their home

It’s never easy to decide whether you should keep renting a place or take the plunge and make that colossal investment in your property. If you keep renting, you pay a lot of money to live someplace, and in the end, there is no equity. You just move out and look for a new place to stay. You had been paying for someone else’s mortgage. On the other hand, if you decide to buy your own home, you will be paying for your mortgage and, thus, building equity. That’s great, but it’s not only the mortgage payment you will have to cover. There are other expenses. Many, many expenses you didn’t have to think about as a renter. Still, having your piece of property, a part of this world to call your own, is priceless. So, how does one decide? Should you rent or buy in Seattle?

The dilemma persists. There are many factors to consider, so that question will not be straightforward. What is more, there is no way to offer a universal solution. A lot will depend on your situation.

However, this article will break down the advantages of both options. So, you should be able to figure out what the best solution for your particular situation is.

Should You Rent in Seattle?

Owning a home is fantastic, but the fact is – many people rent their homes. And there are several excellent reasons for it. So, let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent advantages of renting in Seattle.


As a renter, don’t feel tied to a place. If you decide you don’t like a city or a state or need a smaller home (or a bigger one), you can quickly move out and look for a better setting. Also, if you are young and don’t have a family yet, you can easily find a place that will suit your needs and relocate without much hassle. In case of any sudden lifestyle changes, you can quickly pick up and move to a home that will satisfy your new needs.

If you need to relocate quickly, renting allows you more flexibility.

If you owned a home, you would first have to go through the sometimes lengthy ordeal of selling your home first and then buying a new one. When you rent, handling whatever life throws at you is much easier.

Cost Saving

Although you pay the rent to live in a place and don’t build equity, it is a much more affordable option than owning a home. There are two main reasons why this is so. Consider the act of buying a home. Besides the price of the property itself, you would have to cover:

  • Down payment
  • Closing costs
  • Agent’s fees

All of these expenses demand you have considerable cash reserves to pay upfront.
Then, there are the costs of homeownership that you don’t need to worry about as a renter. These are:

  • Property taxes
  • Maintenance expenses
  • Repairs

All of that is your landlord’s responsibility.

More Liquidity

When you decide to buy a home, you will most likely invest a considerable portion of your savings (if not all of it). Most of your money has now been sunk into that piece of property. It means that if you need cash quickly, it will be challenging to get it.
Therefore, besides flexibility in terms of physical location, renting allows you more flexibility with your finances.

Should You Buy in Seattle?

Renting looks pretty favorable for a good reason, and for some people, it is an excellent option. However, you can make a case in favor of homeownership. And a persuasive one at that. When weighing out whether you should rent or buy in Seattle, buying could be a better option, and there are some great reasons why it is so.

You Are Making an Investment in Your Future

The fact that it has been mentioned a few times already implies that equity means something. So, let’s underline this once again – buying a home is an investment. You build equity in your property, and your wealth grows. With every mortgage payment, the house is more yours, and you create more equity. When you pay your rent, you build nothing.

When considering renting or buying in Seattle, remember that buying means investing in something concrete.

Moreover, any investment you make in that property only helps it grow in value. Any improvement in the condition of your property adds value. So, if you decide to sell, you will probably be able to afford an even nicer house.

Renting Is More and More Expensive

The price of rent has been increasing in Seattle. So has the price of homes for sale. Since every mortgage payment goes toward building equity, purchasing a property appears to be a wiser option.

Also, rents have consistently increased over the years, and you can expect your rent to be 5% higher next year. But mortgage payments are always the same. You will have the same monthly expense for years to come. While you can always expect your rent to go higher, the same can’t be said for your mortgage. So, even if renting seems more affordable now, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

Tax Breaks

Owning a home comes with some great tax benefits. For example, you can deduce any expenses on your property from your taxes. You can even deduct the mortgage interest from your taxes in some cases. That’s another portion of your money towards your investment instead of taxes or another person’s mortgage.

Given all the benefits of homeownership, start planning your relocation on time if you decide to move to Seattle and buy a home. Start by looking for a good moving company. There are many long-distance movers in Washington, but just like purchasing a house, you can’t hire anyone on a whim. You have to be careful and look for reputable experts who will help you move into your new Seattle home without much stress.

Should You Rent or Buy in Seattle?

The Verdict

Let’s answer a few questions first:

  1. Do you have enough savings?
  2. Do you plan on staying in one place for at least five years?
  3. Will there be any significant changes to your lifestyle soon?

Your life situation will dictate if you should rent or buy a home.

If you have lived in Seattle for a long time and know this is your home, and you have enough cash reserves to cover the down payment and other expenses, consider what your plans are in terms of growing your family, for example.

The bottom line is, buying a home is a financially more intelligent decision in the long run. Since the rent prices are rising, it is even more true.

Nevertheless, whether you should rent or buy in Seattle is a choice you will have to make yourself. Consider everything you have read here carefully and put everything on paper. Also, work with a real estate agent. They will help you reach the conclusion you need. Ultimately, don’t rush any decisions, and you will be just fine!