If you’re purchasing your first home in the greater Seattle & Eastside real estate market there’s plenty to know. Here are just a few things I would make sure you’ve understood before you go start thinking this process is going to be easy and foolproof. Some of the following things to know are easier to work with than others and some of these will be a reality check but they are definitely all a reality.
1) You’re not the only one looking for a great deal
So many times I’m talking with clients who are ‘waiting for that great deal’ or ‘a real bargain’, or even ‘the right home’. Seriously, ‘waiting’ isn’t the smart way to go many times. Especially if the market is going through a seasonal progressive uptick, there’s pent-up demand or similarly. Several times I’ve met with people who waited so long that they literally ‘priced themselves’ out of the Seattle market and couldn’t afford to purchase what they wanted. In a matter of months sometimes the affordability index could shift.
2) Price and Terms win the home, not just the Price
Many first-time homebuyers pay attention to the price only, not knowing that it turns out the winning offer was actually not the highest offer in terms of price, but that the offer was the best overall offer of Price and Terms. As an example, the situation could be that the second-highest offer in terms of price could close in 28 days with a trusted local lender, they had a pre-inspection done and found no issues, the buyer is ‘fully underwritten’, and maybe a couple of other terms were met. I’ve beat out many higher offers similarly and it takes careful crafting when situations get close. Another reason to work with a seasoned negotiator like Seattle’s Tech Agent.
3) Buying a home isn’t a DIY (do it yourself) project like on TV
Purchasing a home is a ‘process’, not a ‘project’. Definitely keep this in mind if anything else as a first-time home buyer in this competitive Seattle real estate market. Sometimes it will be fun, sometimes it will be less fun, but rest assured a quality team will be holding your project in their best interests as you would. You’ll want to establish a good relationship with your preferred lender and real estate agent for starters.
Would you show up to defend your own lawsuit? Would you fix your own spleen in a medical surgery procedure? Would you work on your intricate fuel injection system in your car? Not unless you’re an expert in the field would you even consider taking on these projects most likely. Yet time and time again because of the internet and access to the information we are meeting dozens of people wanting to do almost everything themselves in the real estate process to save a few dollars. To be frank, it’s just not a smart decision. You might save a thousand dollars let’s say. With my clients I’m trying to save them tens of thousands if possible, making sure to keep them out of any issues and look for good opportunities.
4) Plan for 90-100 days prior to your ideal move-in date from when you start the process
Waiting until you’re ready to move to get started on the process is already too late! The number-one phrase I hear from new potential homebuyers I meet is, “we’re not ready to buy yet, we’re a couple of months out.” However, most of these people haven’t met with a lender yet, don’t know their credit score many times, haven’t figured out their living situation if they need a 1-2 month buffer, and don’t know a thing about the home buying process, and so on. They may think they’re a couple of months away, but they’re actually more like 4-5 months away at best and they don’t even know it because they’re trying to do it all themselves.
5) Honesty and Clarity Go a Very Long Way
Open book policy is usually a good way to go as there should be nothing to hide through this process. Being 100% candid with your team from the beginning about any specific issues, goals, situations, and such should be discussed prior to searching for homes. The quicker everyone is in full disclosure and they know what you know about your financial picture, goals and past, the quicker you’ll get on the same page and get your next home under contract. Be a proactive first-time home buyer and conduct a personal assessment of anything you feel you’d.