Buying a home buyer in Seattle can be a daunting task. What other decision affects your credit rating, your health, lifestyle, comfort, relationships, and your future more than buying a home? It’s often an emotional roller coaster for the first time home buyer. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “€œfor sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history — good thing if these were before your time, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. This is easy to do in Seattle’s current market and it’s a trap many buyers find themselves in. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house and not waste time while the average Seattle home prices increase. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head. You can also strengthen your offer in a multiple offer situation by being able to close on a tighter timeline. You can expect to compete against people with more money than you so a pre-offer strategy is very important in this market. Cash offers have more weight and have a tendency to win for many reasons. Have your ducks in a row before diving in.

Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better for many to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. Always consult your mortgage professional with these questions. The service provider should have a broad overview of your financial standing and some personal information to let you know what kinds of special programs that might be available to you. Are you purchasing a “green home”? There are even special programs for those to save you money. I can help you find those lenders that specialize in rewarding you with your third party certified green home.

Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood. As your Realtor, I  can help you with this. In a city such as Seattle where subdivisions are uncommon, you will be comparing apples and oranges. Different styles, vintages, lots and condition all get thrown into the mix. You should compare sales of similar homes in the last three months to one year. Keep in mind, our prices haven’t been stagnant for a very long time, and what sold a year ago can be sold for about 9% more now in many areas of Seattle. It’s always a moving target. A home is worth what one person is willing to pay for it! 

It’s not an easy time to be a Seattle homebuyer. Which makes it a great time to be a seller. In many parts of the city a tidy, well presented home will bring in more than one offer. That is why it is important to have a clear plan and be ready to make an immediate decision in this current Seattle area market. The good news is interest rates are still low and the the growth for our region looks healthy. Seattle is on the map for many reasons and is a destination for many new employers and employees. I have successfully won bidding wars for my homebuyers when they haven’t been the highest bidder. If you want a local and knowledgeable Realtor who enjoys finding people their next home, give me a ring.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.