A shift to a seller’s market is becoming more apparent within many of Seattle’s more popular in-city neighborhoods, which often have low inventory.
Here are some helpful tips to help buyers successfully navigate more competitive real estate market areas:
1) Be vigilant - Watch the market like a hawk. If you have a pro-active agent, they’ll likely send you new listings just as they hit the market.
2) Be realistic - Many first time buyers intend to find their dream home with all the extras they could ever hope for. The reality is most people these days live in their homes for five to seven years on average. Also, there’s a reason a first home is often referred to as a “starter.” Hence a starting point to build equity with the intention of buying up into a better home at a future date.
While any home should suit its buyer, most first-timers are typically only able to afford well below the median home price point. In Seattle today, a buyer can find a modest two bedroom, one bathroom home in a good neighborhood for below $350,000. If a buyer is shopping for at least a three bedroom, two bathroom home with covered parking in a good neighborhood, their chances of finding the right home will greatly increase above $450,000. Be careful not to have eyes bigger than your wallet. Look for homes priced below your maximum purchase amount.
3) Be ready - A loan pre-approval is an absolute essential in this market prior to beginning the home search process. Listing brokers are very keen at scrutinizing the verbiage of a loan approval letter. If there is any indication your lender has not reviewed all supporting income and asset verification documents, don’t expect a seller to entertain your offer. You should also have ample funds available for earnest money, inspections and appraisal at the time you make an offer.
4) Be flexible – If a great home suddenly emerges, have the flexibility to see the home that same day, even if it means getting away from work for 30-45 minutes.
5) Be patient - Perhaps a seemingly “hot” home came onto the market pushing the upper limits of your price range. Maybe it’s a hair over priced. Wait and see what the week brings. If a home sits in a more competitive market for a week or longer, chances are there may be some room for bargaining and negotiations (provided no other offers come in). In real estate, timing is everything!
For more tips or a complimentary consultation on how to be a successful home buyer, give us a call (866) 766.7325.