You’ve probably heard the experiences of others buying a home in Seattle – some good stories and some nightmares. Truth is, the process can be different from one homebuyer to another, and some paths are longer than others. Ideally, the process should go smoothly, particularly if you are prepared, knowledgeable about the market and have an experienced buyer’s agent guiding you.
I think a really important starting point is to answer the question of if you are ready to purchase a home. It’s OK if that answer is not obvious and I would be happy to talk you through the pro’s and con’s in a consultation if you wish.
If you’ve decided that buying a home in Seattle is right for you, the best place to start is to assess the financial feasibility and consider all of the cost ramifications to put you in the best position to make decisions once you are searching for your home. Completing this step diligently will place you in a strong position to define budgets and ensure mortgage approval.
Working with a reliable mortgage broker is so valuable in this stage. They can help you assess your credit score, income and debts and shop around to find financial products that suit your needs. They can also provide valuable insight on what to expect for closing costs, provide you with a pre-approval letter and provide guidance on what tweaking a mortgage payment could do for the budget.
You need an agent. In the competitive Seattle real estate market, having someone on your side that advocates for you throughout the process can make a huge difference. You want an agent that goes above and beyond, that calls listing brokers to discuss the needs of the seller to see if there is anything you can add to an offer to sweeten the deal.
I work hard for my buyers and leverage my experiences in home renovation to give them a sense of what a home could become. I then collaborate with your lender to provide guidance on what it takes to create a winning offer in this market and verbally present your offer to the listing agent as opposed to just sending an email. It’s the little things that make a big difference and ultimately I believe listing agents want to work with buyers that are competitive and have representation that will make the deal go through without a hitch – competency matters. I truly believe that in real estate success in the market comes from diligence in the preparation.
Start big and then narrow your criteria. I think it takes experience walking through homes to get a better sense of what you are looking for – particularly if there are multiple buyers in your party with varying priorities. In light of this it’s beneficial to set initial search criteria to include different neighborhoods, price points, architectural styles etc. I will curate searches for you and forward listings as they hit the market and start to hone in on what it is you are truly looking for.
After you find the right property you will need to place an offer that puts your best foot forward. In the current market, it is vital to be diligent and present an offer that is as strong as it possibly can be, while staying within your comfort level. This is where the guidance of an experienced agent is extremely valuable as I can help you assess which contingencies are potentially waivable and what a competitive price point is likely to win the offer.
I will also explain all of the forms that you will need to sign and show you how they can be written in a way to show your serious intent to a seller. All of the details in an offer including the earnest money amount, the closing date, financing and inspection contingencies are scrutinized by the listing agents before they advise their sellers and by connecting with the listing agent to discuss what is important to them and assisting you in maximizing the terms of your offer, I help you write an offer that is capable of landing the home you want to purchase.
You’ve won the bidding process! As soon as a purchase and sales agreement is signed you have every reason to celebrate and that doesn’t mean the process is over!
If you have any contingencies in your contract, then performing them within the stated timeframes of the agreement is imperative as defaulting on the agreement outside the timeline will jeopardize your earnest money. This again is where the experience of an agent will help you from slipping on a timeline.
A lot of what happens next will occur in the background as your lender connects with the title company to get all paperwork in on time to complete the sale on the proposed date. This can include asking you for additional documentation and so it is important to promptly respond to any requests that you receive. It is also vital not to make any major purchases during this time that could impact your credit score.
The escrow company at the same time compiles all the information they need to be able to close on the sale and preps all the paperwork (deed, mortgage documents etc.) that will be signed on the big day.
The escrow company dictates if everything is on course for a timely close and once they have all the documents they need they will schedule you to come in and sign all the required papers. They will also guide you on what final monetary transfers you need to complete to finalize the sale.
Once all the documents are signed they are released to the county courthouse for recording and once they have been officially recorded the keys are released to you and you finally have your new home!