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!

Finding the perfect Seattle home can be a long and painstaking process. And once you find the home that seems right for you, a smaller or a bigger one, a house inspection might seem like an unnecessary expense. After all, you want to save as much money as possible and use it for repairs and relocation preparations. However, an inspection can reveal if the home is actually worth your investment. For this reason, we have compiled the ultimate home inspection checklist for buyers in Seattle. It should help you grasp what a home inspection entails to assess whether the Seattle home is worth buying or not.

Home inspections are vital if you buy a pre-owned home

Many homebuyers looking for a home in Seattle are apprehensive about purchasing a pre-owned home. And sure, buying a new construction has its fair share of benefits. However, a home that goes through a home inspection is also worth considering.

Most older Seattle homes tend to have solid and durable mechanical, electrical, and structural properties. Of course, you can never be too sure – what looks good on the outside might not function so well on the inside. Hence the home inspection to determine potential problems and the extent of repairs.

As a home buyer in Seattle, you have the right to add a home inspection contingency to the purchase agreement. In other words, if the home inspection shows that the home will involve too many comprehensive repairs, you can back out of the purchase or negotiate repairs based on the home inspection findings.

Do I need a professional home inspection?

In principle, you do not need a professional home inspection if you know what you need to check. However, you will have to rely on a professional home inspector for some elements and areas in the house. These include inspections that look for dangerous, toxic substances such as asbestos or radon. In addition, mold and pest problems are also better assessed by certified personnel.

In general, it is better to rely on an expert as they are trained to spot issues in the household. You will also hold more negotiating power during the purchasing process if you have confirmation from a certified professional. With that said, let’s look at the home inspection checklist for homebuyers in Seattle.

So, just as you want a professional moving company to deal with such delicate matters as the safety of your belongings, you want to have a professional inspector determining if your future home is safe to live in. Of course, with regards to moving, you probably know what to look for in a moving company, what traits they need to have so you know they are reliable. Yet, with home inspections, you may not be quite sure what it should cover. This list is here to help you out with that.

Home inspection checklist for Seattle buyers

Roof and chimney

  • If the home has a roof, a home inspection should determine the condition of its shingles.
  • Any cracks or breakages need to be mended as they could inflict severe damage to your home over time.
  • If you have a roof deck, a home inspector will check if the wood is rotten or if the laminate shows signs of decay.
  • When it comes to the chimney, you need to check if it is leaning.
  • Also, examine the masonry cap for potential breaks and cracks.


  • The bathroom plumbing is in good condition, with no water damage.
  • Don’t forget to check below the sink.
  • The water pressure is satisfactory for both hot and cold water. Swirl the tap to check this.
  • The bathtub, shower, toilets, and sinks drain well.
  • The toilet is stable when you sit on it.
  • There should be no leaking around the base of the shower.

Kitchen area

  • The plumbing under the sink that is visible shows no sign of decay or water damage.
  • The exhaust fan vents suck the air in and release it outside.
  • The water pressure and water flow are satisfactory.
  • The appliances function well.
  • Check the garbage disposal.

The interior part of the home

  • The inside walls and floors are straight and leveled.
  • There are no stains, cracks, or water damage on the walls.
  • Check if the light fixtures operate well.
  • The doors should open and close easily and latch perfectly.
  • There are enough outlets in the rooms.
  • The smoke detectors are positioned well and work properly.

Wooden structures

  • Examine the wooden structures for signs of damage, missing or sagging sections.
  • Note the condition of the paint and the top protective layer.

Windows and doors

  • Check the insulation of the windows and doors.
  • The windows and doors should be perfectly square.
  • What is the condition of the plastic and the rubber insulation part?
  • Is the wood rotten?
  • Is there air coming into the room?

Grounds and Exterior Walls

  • The foundation and flooring are in good condition with no cracks.
  • There are no traces of leaks from the septic tank.
  • The drainage system does not keep water standing.
  • Gutters are in good condition and drain properly.
  • The side walls also do not exhibit cracks or damage.
  • Brick and mortar show no signs of decay in the joints.
  • The paint on the exterior walls is not flaking or stained.


Also, make sure you check the garage, shed, fences, and deck if the home has these components.


  • Look for signs of moisture, water, or water damage.
  • Also, check the ground floor for signs of water damage.
  • The HVAC system should also be evaluated for efficiency.


  • No evidence of stains coming from the roof structure
  • The roof structure shows no signs of leaks, damage, or decay
  • Ventilation through soffit vents works well
  • The insulation is installed correctly and in good condition.

So, there you have it – this is our ultimate home inspection checklist for buyers in Seattle!

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!

Husband and wife moving away

So, you have decided to take the plunge and downsize to a smaller Seattle home. Maybe it’s your kids, flying from the coop. Perhaps it’s the need to boost your financial health. Or, maybe you found yourself drowning in clutter and decided that the time is ripe for embracing your inner minimalist. Whatever your reasons, before you make your big move to smallness, have a look at how you can make moving to a smaller home in Seattle work.

Get into the right mindset

An important rule of thumb to stick to is to always move into a home and not out of one. Allow us to elaborate.

You’ve likely already thought about the money downsizing will free up, but that shouldn’t be the only reason for thinking small. Consider how moving to a smaller home in Seattle could be profoundly life-enhancing. This way, when you step into your new dwelling for the first time, instead of feeling like the walls are closing in on you, you’ll see your new home for all the positive changes it can inspire and experiences it can offer that you’ve always dreamed of but never had in the previous home.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to find a way to channel your inner minimalist, and downsizing might just be your chance to finally give up the excess. In other words, you won’t feel that you have to be there but that you actually want to be there.


Parents sitting on a bench with a child holding a balloon

Bigger isn’t always better, is it?

Have a reality check

Yes, it’s good to turn your attention to the positives of downsizing. But it is also important to be realistic about the sacrifices you will have to make in the process. The biggest and the most obvious downside is that you’ll have less space to work with, which, in turn, means having to part with some of your stuff. Not to mention there’s a possibility that it may not be as monetarily beneficial to you as you initially thought. For instance, although downsizing will help you save on your mortgage and utility bills, it is not always so simple. The dirty (little) secret about downsizing? It costs money, too.

For example, house selling expenses can be a heavy lift, especially if you want to get the most value for your house. So, make sure to account for Seattle’s top real estate agent, as well as home inspections, necessary home repairs, and taxes. Then, there’s the relocation part and furnishing your new locale.

We’re not trying to be a “Debbie Downer,” it’s just how it is: downsizing isn’t all fun and games. Yet, it is being aware of all the hurdles and roadblocks that downsizing may bring that will help you plan ahead and make your new living situation work.

Scout out the neighborhoods

Most downsizers are so focused on finding more manageable properties that they forget all about the rewarding intangibles of living in the right neighborhood, with all the right amenities and a close-knit community. But if there’s something you can be absolutely sure of, it’s that the well-known phrase ‘location, location, location’ isn’t thrown around by agents very lightly.

It’s the golden rule in the real estate world, and it should be yours too if you’re moving to a home that is a lot smaller than what you’re used to. That kind of thing may take time to get used to, and until that happens, it’s inevitable to feel overwhelmed by the small space from time to time. When that happens, it’s nice to have a yard to drink your morning coffee, a park to go for a relaxing stroll or any other outdoor space where you can go and reset.

Besides green spaces, when choosing the perfect neighborhood, make sure it has the sporting and social clubs you need, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops you like, that you’re satisfied with transportation options, and the time of your commute, and that it has top-notch schools if you are moving with your kids. Finally, it can be challenging to establish a new social circle when you move. So, you may like to find a neighborhood offering communal facilities such as outdoor barbecue areas or rooftop gardens that allow you to meet your new neighbors.


Seattle at night

Seattle has a lot to offer, including a plethora of amazing neighborhoods for people looking to settle in this city to choose from

Luckily, Seattle boasts plenty of wonderful neighborhoods to choose from. For instance, Ballard and Capitol Hill are only some of the great neighborhoods in Seattle with a nice collection of quality smaller family homes and a sense of community.


One tried-and-true trick to make your small home feel cozy rather than cramped is getting rid of excess things. Make sure to plan a decluttering session before you start packing for your move. Set clear decluttering rules, and only keep things you need, use frequently, and like. The rest of your items you can donate, sell, toss, pass down or digitize (through a photo).

Think about storage space

But, a lot of things may be hard to let go of. We’re talking souvenirs, memorabilia, old family albums, and probably most of your kids’ stuff, although they moved out a long time ago. So, your “maybe” pile may quickly start to stack up and, if that happens, you must find a good solution for your belongings. Renting a storage unit is great for downsizers, as it’ll take those extra things off your back and keep them safe until you decide what to do with them.

But if you’re moving into a really small home, even the “keep” pile may be an issue. In that case, make sure to carefully choose a home with plenty of well-planned built-in storage, or consider increasing storage in your home by installing wall-mounted storage or shopping for multifunctional furniture.


Woman using laptop on the floor

Decluttering and getting rid of the excess things is a crucial step of downsizing in Seattle.

Make a small room look bigger

For many downsizers, it is the decorating stage that makes moving into a smaller home in Seattle exciting. This is because, nowadays, the Internet is swarming with sneaky decorating tricks and ideas that make the smallest of spaces feel larger and more open. If you take the time to go through such articles, you’ll likely find interior design experts suggesting that you avoid decorating with dark colors and overly busy patterns. Instead, you should stick to light colors, specifically neutrals, because they tend to make a room seem brighter and more open.

Another tip is always to dress your windows minimally. Heavy, dark curtains and window treatments will give you the opposite of the desired effect. Also, hanging them higher gives the illusion of extra height. You can also get creative with mirrors, see-through materials, and shiny surfaces that bounce light around the room, thus visually expanding its footprint.

Have you noticed that simply being by the water induces a sense of calm and well-being over you? Is this all placebo or is there actually some science going on here? People say living next to a lake, river, sea or ocean actually improves their happiness – and according to Dr. W. Christopher Winter, author of The Sleep Solution, living by water can increase creativity and help you sleep more soundly which is intriguing – but not enough evidence to pick up everything and move towards the water!

However, biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols actually decided to explore this phenomena even further, and wrote a book called Blue Mind discussing the effects a body of water can have on a person’s overall mental health. In his studies, Nichols states water actually “lowers stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism and more.” And if the research leading Nichols to this conclusion isn’t convincing enough, Hawaii is ranked the #1 happiest and healthiest state in America according to the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Coincidence? I think not!

So, this calming aura, or the “water effect”, does seem to be real, but does it sound like it could help you? Well it certainly sounds like the perfect cure for the chaos of today – with people constantly driven towards technology, working more hours, working more hours from home, and forgoing that vacation you planned 6 months ago… I mean no wonder we’re feeling a bit more stressed and anxious! So maybe it’s time to change your mentality, bring the water to you, and have that new vacation-like lifestyle you’ve been day dreaming about for years!

What are some of the lifestyle changes that specifically come with living near water?

  1. Walk or bike along the lake whenever you want for safer, more beautiful trips, with better places to stop along the way – especially in Seattle which offers a plethora of walking/biking paths stretching for miles. What better way to spend an afternoon and get some exercise?
  2. Sailing, boating and other water sports are now at your fingertips. If walking and biking aren’t enough to keep us entertained well now you have the opportunity for boating, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. Even if you don’t your own boat many shops along the lake offer paddle boats or canoe rentals for a small fee! Plus, if you buy a home now, you get a $2,000 credit to Urban Surf (electric surfboard anyone?).
  3. If nothing else, you can’t beat the natural beauty. This may be dipping back into the mental health benefits, but water truly is one of the most beautiful natural features on earth bringing along with it aquatic plants, birds, fish and water dwelling mammals, which for nature lovers, is quite a picturesque scene. Can you imagine working a few hours on your rooftop deck with your laptop out and this as your backdrop? Feel more relaxed just thinking about it? Well stop thinking about it and do something!

Still have some reservations about living one the water? Let me guess… is it the price? Well that’s why living by the water is key – you get basically all the added benefits, without all the extra upkeep, and for a much better price!

Take for example our Baymont project with Isola Homes. These beauties are located just off the shores of lake Washington with great access to all the lake amenities including the giant Montlake Community Center (which is great for land activities but is also a favorite launch point for kayakers and paddle boarders). Plus are aren’t multi-million-dollar homes like all other water-front properties in Seattle! Even better – they are brand new!

Want to tour these homes or are looking for something similar? Contact us now!

Seattle Real Estate During Covid-19

In Seattle, it feels as though life has begun to inch back to normalcy, or at the very least, we are adapting. However, the road to recovery follows a different timeline from city to city, so we’re still looking for that nation-wide trend of “moving in the right direction”. Until then, the future is slightly uncertain, even for cities like ours who may be fairing better as an individual, because as a country, we are only as strong as our weakest link – especially during a health crisis of this magnitude. But for right now, let’s take a look as to why Seattle has been so resilient and how this has impacted the real estate market.

In the early months of the pandemic, impacts of COVID-19 were widespread, and the economic fallout was compounded by state-wide “stay-home” orders initiated by local governors. However, the drop in economic activity during this time was a surprise to no one, and economists predicted the initial stagnancy would give way to normal circulation towards the second half of the year. Fortunately, so far this has shown to be true in regards to Seattle’s real estate market.

The initial stages of COVID-19 did result in less pending sales. This was due to various operational difficulties, as well as a decrease in inventory as potential sellers became (understandably) hesitant to let strangers and possible carriers into their home. But, even just entering the summer months, these operational restrictions and “seller reservations” came to pass, and windermere’s chief economist Matthew Gardner anticipated the “usually robust spring market” simply transitioned towards July/August. However, that bustling spring activity may have actually shifted to June/July, as we’ve seen a relatively competitive market over the early summer months due to a mix of explanations, including bad weather and a serious case of cabin fever!

Continuing To Monitor The Market

Buyers are still out there! If anything, the momentary decrease in sellers has resulted in an even more competitive market (being that there were more homes available for sale this time last year). With inventory approaching less than a month’s worth supply and with historically low interest rates, competition among buyers has been intense – increasing the frequency of bidding wars and all-cash offers. In Laura Smith’s words (Co-Owner of Windermere) “right now buyers want in, and inventory numbers favor sellers. Prices, as a result, have stayed strong”, and pending sales continue to increase every week since April. So as long as the buyer demand continues to follow this upward trend, we shouldn’t see any major changes in price in the near future – but things are heating up in Seattle so we’ll see what the warm weather does to the buyer activity.

  • Interesting fact: The median sale price has gone down, but don’t let that fool you. This is just because smaller, lower priced homes have been selling more often, not that average home prices are dropping.

Why/how has the market remained so strong?

There are numerous theories out there, such as the psychological effects a shutdown can have on a creating potential buyer, or that home “window shoppers” simply had more time on their hands to look for product – but these remain mostly speculation. Other, more concrete reasons for the resilient housing market can be found in examples like the historically low mortgage rates rolled out by lenders in early April and Seattle’s predominantly tech-based economy (one of the few industries to be positively impacted by this health crisis). This means Seattle’s main buyer pool never really went away, and in addition, incentives were added to sweeten the deal making buying a home a very attractive investment during this time.

FINAL THOUGHTS: We are fortunate to have a tech-based economy that would respond strongly to COVID-19, as well as local elected officials who were willing to take the necessary precautions to mitigate the effects. This does not mean that Seattle was not impacted, we’ve seen our fair share of cases – but this pandemic hasn’t rocked us to our core like other cities in the country. And surprisingly, in the world of real estate, despite initial predictions, there’s evidence that although the total sales in the spring market were less robust than previous years, it may have been more competitive in general, with buyer demand greatly surpassing the available inventory. As more restrictions continue to be lifted and people’s guards continue to drop, more homes are bound to come onto the market and it doesn’t look like buyers are going anywhere. Although, the next test will be how we continue to respond to this health crisis as a country. Seattle has proven it’s own resilience, but all progress could be halted if other states don’t take proper precautions. Let’s see what things look like after the summer!

Are you ready for summer in Seattle?

Feeling a little drained after the past few months? Understandable considering all of the chaos that has ensued in the wake of COVID. Some sellers saw the uncertainty in what this chaos held for the future housing market and decided to wait for a safer economic climate before listing their home. The irony is most of those sellers are kicking themselves in the foot as the market has been more competitive than ever (at least in Seattle).

The general sentiment, even from expert economists, was that we would see a major slowdown in almost all activity across the board, and that this might give way to normal circulation throughout the second half of the year. But in real estate, that drop wasn’t quite as significant as predicted – and a result, right now it’s better to be a seller than a buyer, Why?

  1. Home buyer demand

Yes, the initial lockdowns did momentarily halt transactions as people transitioned into quarantine and agents adapted to the new process of real estate. However, this only made people more eager to return to the market as restrictions lifted – hoping to make up for lost time. This is especially true in tech heavy cities where the buyer pool was basically unaffected. As Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, says, “there’s very significant demand”, adding that suburbs and cheaper homes are also seeing a spike in sales as new buyers take advantage of the low interest rates and others look to escape inner-city living.

  1. Home Inventory Numbers

Despite the buyer frenzy amidst the real estate market, there is an all-time low shortage of inventory numbers.

According to NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, “there was insufficient supply last year [and] this year during the pandemic, the shortage has intensified.” But that more recent drop in inventory wasn’t the biggest surprise. For one, sellers are less likely to open their doors to the public during a health crisis, and two, new construction projects were on hold due to operational restrictions. But on top of all this, Matthew Gardner also says as a generation, people are just living in their homes longer than normal (up to 13 years), which results in less homes for sale.


  1. Stable Home Prices

Homes prices are determined by supply and demand. So, with demand at all-time highs and inventory at all-time lows, sellers are almost guaranteed top dollar for their homes.

In a recent NAR article, single-family homes have reported an increase in price in almost every market during the first quarter of 2020, with the national median price increasing 7.7%. Let’s just say sellers have been pleasantly surprised considering people were expecting the exact opposite to happen. In fact, the year over year growth rate is actually higher now than before the pandemic.

  1. Mortgage Interest Rates

This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone, but historically low mortgage interest rates are a great way to get more buyers onto the market. With mortgages typically following a 30-year timeline, buyers save a pretty penny as thousands of dollars are no longer accruing interest. For any type of buyer, owning a home just became a lot more attractive of an investment!

  1. Builders are hungry

This benefit is more dependent on the location of your home, however, if you are living in the right area, you may want to consider working with a builder or developer. What they offer that standard real estate agents don’t is a streamlined commission free process. That means you still get market value for your home but also have the potential of saving thousands of dollars in repairs, cleaning, photography, staging and any other upkeep required to list your home – let alone the 6% commission that goes to the buying and selling agent.

Plus, nowadays builders are usually environmentally conscious and build quality and healthy product that communities can be proud of. If you’re in cities like Seattle, selling your home to a developer also directly contributes to affordable housing. So, there are long-lasting positive impacts for you and those around you.

If you are curious to see what your options would be working with a developer, contact us here

  1. The economy’s road to recovery

To everyone’s dismay unemployment rates reached all-time highs in March, but recently, these rates have begun to decrease, which some hope is a sign that more buyers will continue to flood the market.

Moving forward, increased infection rates may once again cause unemployment numbers to rise – but for now, this is a state by state/city by city situation, and we’re hopeful national trends continue in the right direction.

  1. Standard of Living

“People are looking at their existing home and saying, ‘If I have to work from home, then maybe my house just doesn’t work,’” Gardner says.

In other words, working remotely has allowed (or forced) people spend more time at home – this, in turn, has created a brand-new fleet of buyers whose current homes just aren’t up to COVID standards. After doubling your dining table as a “work-desk” for three months, your short commute to the office suddenly seems expendable in exchange for some extra square feet. “Home offices, more privacy, outdoor spaces, and just more room are becoming more important to homeowners” says Jed Kliman (managing broker at Windermere Real Estate in Seattle).

This doesn’t seem to be something that will change in the near future, and more and more people are coming to the same realization every day – ‘my house just isn’t cutting it’.

But despite the influx in buyers, sellers shouldn’t be complacent. You’ll still want to make the transaction as easy and painless for buyers as possible. Due to social distancing, some of the closing processes have changed in order to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible. As a result, some things take longer than usual to finish, but there are things you can do as a seller to expedite the process (for example: doing your own pre-inspection so that information is ready to go for any interested parties).

This, in addition to states reopening, will hopefully speed up transactions and make for more seamless sales, but depending on how this also effects infection rates, we could see this change quickly. For now, it seems like a great time to sell in Seattle.