Whether you want to move out of your parents’ home for the first time, own a home after renting for years or buy a place with a spouse or partner, purchasing your first property is a big step. It takes a lot of preparation when you’re in this stage of your life, and a little luck never hurts.
It’s not difficult to get bogged down in all of the details and turn your first home shopping experience into more of a stressful nightmare. In order to make finding the right home for you as simple as possible, here are 5 things you should know before buying your first home in Seattle:
What Are Your Needs?
Before you get over-excited and start scouring the listings, you should make a list of what you want and need to get out of your home.
Doing this upfront will help you immediately narrow things down once you’re ready to start seeing what’s out there, and it will assist your agent in finding the right properties for you to examine with a fine-toothed comb.
For instance, a couple expecting a child will likely have different needs than someone uninterested in kids and searching for their fortress of solitude. Determine what available bedrooms and bathrooms will fulfill your needs, what available living space seems adequate, and take into consideration any additional features you would like to see in your prospective home.
This is also the point where figuring out your realistic financial means will help dictate where things go from the beginning.
Assemble Your Team
With a basic idea of what you’re looking for when buying your first home, you will want to get the ball rolling with your chosen qualified and experienced real estate professional and mortgage lender.
Start this process by meeting with a few of each in order to get a feel for how they operate and how comfortable you are in discussing your first home buying venture with them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either, as this helps indicate which agent and lender will work best for you.
As an extra, try seeing if your chosen agent would be willing to negotiate their commission.
The Lay of the Land
Many first-time buyers tend to be young professionals or young families who want convenient access to arts, culture, good food, shopping, nightlife, and recreational activities but if you are a first-time buyer on a budget, you may need to make some compromises when it comes to your first place. You may not be able to afford your ideal neighborhood or dream home, but you can get as close as you can to them. Looking through listings and creating an inventory of possible homes gets you started, but thoroughly researching their surrounding neighborhoods will give you a leg up.
This is a critical step because it helps you to learn what’s available, how your daily commute and life will work from that home, and see if the price is right. The last part will be handled in part by your agent, but it’s always a good idea for you to see how much similar houses in the neighborhood sold over the last few years.
This information – known as a neighborhood comp – will help you decide if you’re getting a deal, or the seller isn’t taking the current local market into consideration.
In today’s housing market, we’re seeing monthly mortgage payments rival monthly rents in some cities. While this may be the case in your area, keep in mind that securing the “start-up” costs of homeownership is the biggest challenge.
As things get underway, it can become easy to view your home purchase costs based solely on the asking price of a home and let everything else fall by the wayside.
Some of these additional costs include earnest money, down payment, closing costs, and moving costs. Do keep in mind that your down payment could be wildly different depending on your type of loan, and moving costs could be negated if you’re handling everything yourself.
Have a budget put together that allows you to save as much as possible every month to provide you with some financial padding beyond these other costs. You want to prepare for plans going sideways because something is likely to not work out the way you thought it would.
Effort and Patience Pay off
As your push onward in your search, you want to maintain a positive outlook and not allow yourself to get discouraged.
Always approach every property with the possibility that you may need to walk away if things don’t turn out the way you hoped. The next step is to get back out there to find a seller and property that will work for you.
Resilience is the name of the game when looking for a home, and it will serve you well to listen to your agent.
Professional Help Buying Your First Home in Seattle, WA.
If your future plans include buying your first home in Seattle, contact us today at (206) 578-3438 for help!