Are you trying to buy a house in the popular neighborhoods in today’s Seattle real estate market? Here are some tips from the area’s leading exclusive buyer’s agent that might help you gain an advantage in the multiple offer situation you will probably find yourself in.
King county overall has 1.8 months of housing inventory. A balanced market is regarded as 5-6 months, so we are deep into a seller’s market. Desirable and trendy neighborhoods in Seattle like Green Lake, Fremont and Queen Anne have around 0.8 months of housing supply. It is not uncommon for homes in these neighborhoods to be listed mid-week, with offers being reviewed after the following weekend. How do you compete in this fast moving Seattle real estate market?
1. Your financing needs to be watertight!
Many of our clients have been competing against all cash offers or 50% down payments, so a pre-qualification letter is just not going to cut it. A pre-approval letter is slightly better, but to stand the best chance you need to actually be approved, and by that I mean your loan application should have already gone through underwriting so that the seller knows that your financing is solid.
2. Get out and see the house!
You cannot afford to wait for the weekend to look at these homes. By then the serious buyers will have already done their inspections and formulated their bidding strategy. A good exclusive buyer’s agent will get you in to view a home the day it hits the market.
3. Get the house inspected!
Just about all offers received in a multiple offer situation have waived their inspection contingencies. You will need to have the home pre-inspected so that you know the underlying condition of the home that you are trying to buy. This is going to cost you about $450-500 for a structural and pest inspection. A recent Fremont home had four different inspectors crawling over the house at the same time. Visit we buy houses Seattle
4. Don’t forget to sewer scope!
Many of Seattle’s older neighborhoods date from the early 1900’s and have older sewer lines and you need to check that the side sewer from your house to the main sewer line is in good shape. It will cost you about $300 but the alternative option of replacing a sewer line can be a $10,000 to $20,000 costly surprise after you have just bought your dream home.
5. Be prepared to escalate!
Many Seattle homes are listed below their market value in order to generate interest and a viewing frenzy, which the seller hopes will then turn into a bidding war. For example, recent homes in Green Lake have sold for up to 20% higher than their list price. That $500,000 traditional remodeled craftsman home you thought was great value is now a $600,000 dogfight to get to own it.
6. Be prepared for disappointment!
With the low inventory and high demand from buyers, it is not a stretch to see anywhere from 5 -12 offers on a house. Unfortunately, this means that 4 -11 buyers are going to be disappointed that they did not get the house of their dreams. They will also be your competitors on the next house that pops onto the market in the neighborhood you want to live in. Remember, there will always be another house.
The current Seattle real estate market is tough for a home buyer and you need every bit of help you can get. Waiting for open houses and thinking that you are going to have the time to think things over are a luxury that is not available to you. You should get an exclusive buyer’s agent on your side who can guide you through this competitive home buying process.