Buying in Seattle can be discouraging. It’s a hot seller’s market, and buyers are buying homes quickly and aggressively. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still tons of great homes out there! You just have to be willing to dig a little deeper and be prepared to make multiple offers—and possibly a few sacrifices. Is it a bad time to buy in Seattle then? We don’t think so.
Ready to started looking at houses and putting in offers? Here are our five tips for buying in Seattle.
Be pre-approved for a home loan
If you start looking to buy without being pre-approved for a mortgage, you’re going to have a hard time being taken seriously. Sellers and agents will assume you’re a window shopper with no real intent to buy.
Most homes in Seattle are sold quickly and receive multiple offers as soon as they’re listed. If you find a home you love and aren’t pre-approved yet, it’s highly unlikely you’ll win the house. Pre-approval can take 1-2 weeks, and, by then, someone else will have closed on your perfect home.
To buy a home in Seattle, you need to be prepared to move quickly. You can’t take weeks to mull it over and go back and forth on the pros and cons of each home forever. That being said, don’t make an impulsive decision on your future home. Be prepared to ask the right questions, and don’t put off important discussions with your partner or co-borrower.
Getting a good deal in Seattle doesn’t mean offering 5% under the asking price and getting the home. Nearly every house is a multi-offer listing, and your offers will need to be highly competitive to outbid the others. Follow your agent’s lead on this one: if they tell you that your offer is too low, trust them.
You may not be able to buy in your dream neighborhood, and that’s okay. You have to be willing to look in areas that aren’t necessarily neighborhoods you were initially interested in. There are always tradeoffs in every neighborhood: more expensive, further commute, older homes, less walkable—which ones are negotiable for you? You’ll likely be surprised by what you can find!
Do your research
Seattle is a competitive market, and even if you have a fantastic real estate agent, it still pays to do your own homework. Buying in a hot market like Seattle means you need to be savvy. What do you need to know while looking for a new home? Recent sale prices in the neighborhoods you’re looking in is a great start to knowing what kind of offers get accepted in the area.
When you’re ready to put in offers, you may also want to try to learn some information about your seller and write them a personal letter along with your offer. Don’t be creepy, but a personal note about why you love their home can go a long way and might be the extra push needed to accept your offer over others.
Seattle isn’t the easiest city to buy in right now, but it’s absolutely worth it. Homes appreciated 14.8% last year in the city, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Be prepared, don’t give up, and happy house-hunting!