If you’re thinking about buying a house in Seattle, WA 98155, and if you’re going to buy one with the help of a real estate broker, make sure you get the service you need. If you need help preparing to select a broker to give you information about buying a house, start by demanding these three things so you know you’re in good hands with your broker in Seattle…
When you first start thinking about buying a house, the tendency many people have is to start doing some research online. You can do some initial browsing of large syndicated real estate sites to get a feel for the prices are of condos, townhomes, and houses in the Seattle neighborhoods you are considering.
Once you think you can afford to buy your first (or next) property, it’s time to find a real estate broker you would enjoy working with, and who will have the acumen to guide you smoothly through the deal. A great real estate broker provides many different benefits and services and she should be focused on serving you and help you.
So, deep breath… are you really ready? Are you buying a house??? Let’s do it!
Remember to ask for these 3 important credentials and services from your real estate broker in Seattle. (And if you don’t get them, find a different agent who can help you).
#1. First, Ask for Your Real Estate Broker’s Track Record
How long has your real estate agent been in real estate? How well will she be able to negotiate on your behalf, help you lock-in the home you have your heart set on, and make sure funding, inspections and closing details go smoothly?
Not to brag, but I thought I would answer this question for you here, I, Emily Cressey of Seattle Neighborhood Realty, have 20 years of real estate industry experience and has bought and sold residential and commercial property, as well as renting it out and acting as a property manager. I have bought properties directly from owners by taking over payments and obtaining owner financing, as well as buying the “traditional” way with a mortgage and 20% down.
Remember, your real estate broker should be able to find you plenty of houses to look at, handle all the paperwork, set you up with a first time mortgage broker, if needed, and then negotiate well on your behalf.
#2. Learn The Market, Take Your Time and Don’t Feel Rushed When Looking At Houses
A word of caution: The longer you take to buy a house (assuming you don’t walk away and decide not to buy at all…) the less the buyer’s broker working with you earns on an hourly basis. (Gasp! I don’t know if I’m supposed to reveal that!)
So, the way the money works, the typical Seattle real estate broker wants to get you into a house as soon as he can. Although he wants you to be happy, he also wants to minimize the time he needs to spend with you before you decide on which property to make an offer on. At Seattle Neighborhood Realty, we put our relationship with you at the front of our list of priorities.
Why are we willing to spend so much time with our clients? Happy clients close their deals, write excellent testimonial letters or videos, and are eager to refer their friends to the place where they received such excellent service. We will let you take all the time you need to “shop” for real estate… we know it’s very important to fight the house that’s the “perfect fit.”
One way to employ a buyer’s broker is to start with a broad range of properties, and narrow down your search target. By driving neighborhoods, viewing homes online, and attending open houses, you’ll get a great feel of the type of home you can get for your money in the different areas you are considering. Then when you meet with your first time buyer’s broker to view homes in person, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for and everyone will be able to make good use of their time. This is especially important if you are locating to the Seattle area from out of state.
If you need to go back and see a home extra times, that’s okay. Some of the Ballard and Greenlake townhouses can have narrow stairways and tight garages. If you have an extra-big couch, you might not be able to get it up the stairs. If you drive a Ford F-150, you might not be able to park it in the garage.
On the other hand, if you see a home you like, don’t hesitate to write up an offer the first day you go out to see it. We will advise you, but often the house you liked best this week, is not still available a week later.
What if you look at ten houses and realize that you want to go back and look at the first house again? A good broker will comply with your wishes.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened with me when I bought my first Seattle-area home: A condominium town house in Lynnwood? It was the first property I looked at with my broker, but because I was new to the market (and the house was overpriced) I didn’t appreciate it at the time. After looking at a number of other houses all over the place – Northgate, Greenlake, Beacon Hill, etc. – we decided the excellent bus service, newer construction, and 2-level floor plan would make the best home for our future family, and we made an aggressive offer to get the price that was ultimately accepted by the seller after three rounds of negotiations. (Did I mention I LOVE to negotiate, as well as loving to shop for real estate!)– Emily’s Buyer Story
#3. Ask to Drive Around the Neighborhood
Obviously, you know that *I* feel getting to know your Seattle neighborhood or suburb is quite important. However some real estate brokers can be so focused on houses and they forget to see how the neighborhood you’re in will affect the lifestyle you’re able to enjoy while you live there.
Think about what you like to do on a regular basis – do you want to be able to step out the door and walk your dog, visit coffee shops and catch the bus? Or do you prefer a more secluded area with a greenbelt where you can see deer and hear birds out the window? If you lived in “that house,” where would you go for a quick bite to eat? Do you spend time in parks? Breweries? What would you do on the weekends and how would you get to work?
Be on lookout for shady business. I hate to say it, but some urban Seattle neighborhoods can have quite a significant pressure from the burgeoning homeless population. Look for car campers, vagrants, drug needs and litter, especially in local parks. On some blocks of Aurora Avenue north of Greenlake, there are streetwalkers on parade day and night. Talk to locals by knocking on the door of your potential neighbors or stopping in at the local watering hole and find out what the local atmosphere is like.
People with children are often concerned about the type and quality of schools nearby, so make sure you cruise by the local elementary, middle or high school so you can see where your kids would be spending their days. So, don’t be shy about asking your broker about the neighborhood, in addition to the house – both types of information are essential for you to make an informed decision.
Summary – Ask And Receive The Brokerage Services You Need
At the end of the day, just remember, all Seattle real estate brokers are not all the same. Some will do more for you and some will do less. But if you want a broker to serve you with information and expertise, make the process fun, and clarify ahead of time what you’d like your home buying process to look like, I’m a real estate broker who can get the job done.
Whoever you use, when you’re buying a house, demand these 3 things from your broker in Seattle… and you’ll love finding the house of your dreams!