How to Buy a House in Seattle

Posted on: December 4, 2019

Are you moving to Seattle? Curious about the housing market here? Here are my 6 top tips when moving to Seattle.

Pre-approved loans

Getting pre-approved with a lender is an extremely good idea. It is popular these days to use an online lender or an online bank for pre-approval, and a lot of people are curious about what their rates and services would be like. My suggestion is to use someone local whom you can talk to on the phone. This is because time is of the essence in real estate. If you have any pressing questions or if something comes up and you need to submit a form quickly, you will be able to get in contact with a real person, rather than a computer or system that could glitch. Chances are the real estate agent you are working with will have a few preferred local lenders they work closely with whom they can recommend to you.

Realtors

Make sure you pick a high-quality real estate agent to work with. There are a lot of great real estate agents in Seattle, however, there are a few things to look for when interviewing a possible agent.

  • How many years of experience do they have? New agents can be fantastic and give you undivided attention, but more experienced agents have learned from every unique real estate deal they’ve done and may be able to navigate you through the process better.
  • How do they like to communicate? How much bandwidth an agent has is important. If they have a lot of other clients, how much of their time will you be getting? And if they have a team, will you be passed off to someone else? This can determine who you want to work with.

Make sure you choose an agent whom you ultimately feel good working with. If you don’t enjoy the initial meeting, you probably won’t have a good experience working with them.

Neighborhoods

Having the whole city to pick from can be overwhelming. All of the neighborhoods of Seattle have a different vibe and experience, so it is important that you pick one (or a few) to look at that fits you and your needs. Narrowing down your neighborhood can help you focus on what your options are and will make the entire home buying process more streamlined. Don’t rely solely on online research either. Go get a coffee or go for a walk in each neighborhood and take it all in!

Schools

If you have kids and schools are a consideration, you definitely need to add that into your research for where you want to buy a home. Seattle schools have a neighborhood school system, which means where you live will determine where your child goes to school. This is important to think about. If you buy an amazing home at a great price, but the school your home’s address is assigned to doesn’t fit your child or your family, you might regret your choice. The best way to research is by finding out what other parents have to say about their experiences at different schools. Read neighborhood blogs and look at neighborhood Facebook pages. Visit seattleschoolguide.com for another layer of information to add to your research.

Competition

Be prepared for competition! Even if right now the market isn’t that competitive, there will likely still be competition if you are looking to buy a single-family home in a popular neighborhood. If you are looking at a good home that is properly priced, there will almost definitely be multiple offers. Prepare yourself for the competition by talking with your agent about how you can structure an offer that is extremely competitive.

Location

If you are relocating to Seattle from another area, understand that you are “buying location.” You may have a bit of sticker shock when you come to buy a house here in the city! It is not uncommon to see a 100-year-old fixer up home cost upwards of $1 Million. Yes, it is an older home… but you can walk a block and get coffee, walk a block to your kid’s school, and walk a block to desirable restaurants and shops. These are the things you need to remember as you are relocating into a global city: that you are buying location. This is the place where people want to be. Buying in Seattle is an investment in location and in proximity to the many amazing companies that reside here.

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