There are a thousand decisions in the home buying process and it can be overwhelming. I wanted to simplify that so finding a great home can be more accessible to EVERYONE. Most I know looking to buy in competitive markets like Seattle lose out on their first few offers. In 2021, with our No-Nonsense 10 Step Home Buying Guide, my wife and I looked at 2 homes, bid on 1 against 7 competing offers, AND WE WON!
You deserve the same experience and I hope you’ll contact me to help you make it possible.
Before you get to the nitty-gritty of cost, it’s important to start having a more general conversation: What do I like? What is a deal breaker? How much of a renovation am I willing to tolerate? This will help narrow down your search as you enter the process.
Determine how much cash you have for a down payment and how much you can afford on monthly payments. Before engaging in discussions with lenders and starting to search for properties, it’s good to have an understanding of how much you have to work with, so conversations with lenders can be more informed and they can work within your parameters.
Contact at least 3 different institutions to determine how much you can afford and how much they will lend to you. I contacted a local credit union, a national bank and a small, local mortgage lender. each will provide you with how much home you could potentially buy. At this point, I do not recommend authorizing a credit check. We want to avoid requesting multiple credit checks until we are ready to buy.
Armed with the general parameters of what you can afford and what you are looking for, now is the time to see what is out there. To find the best home, you need an army. Our team does this for you with great processes and tools that deliver it in whatever medium (email, text, phone call, meeting) and frequency (immediately, daily, weekly) you wants it. We will then notify you when we find the best property matching your parameters.
While you may chose to search for your home without the guidance of an agent, it is best to certainly lean on them for a lot of other things: booking showings, communicating with sellers and provided knowledge about the market. Trust and fast communication were big factors when looking for an agent. In housing markets such as Seattle, you have to move fast and be aggressive. Look for those qualities, when you are searching for an agent. One that pulls over to answer your phone call at 9:30 pm when they’re driving to Seattle from Spokane in a snowstorm to help us book a showing is one that you want to keep 🙂
But don’t just “look”. Listen for loud traffic, or rowdy neighbors. check the water pressure of the showers. if it’s multi-story, jump on the second floor to see how loud it is for the 1st floor. Really examine the flooring to make sure everything is level, and if it’s not, make sure you are comfortable with paying for potential structure issues. When looking at the price, especially for an older home, factor in costs of renovation. It is inevitable.
In order to put an offer in on a home, you need to get the loan approved first. Now is the time to choose one of those lenders and ask them to pull your credit score so you can be pre-approved. Most pre-approval letters are valid for 90 days so make sure you are ready to take the dive and purchase before you obtain the pre-approval letter.
This is totally optional, but a good choice if you’re looking at an older home that you love and want to put an offer on. While inspections can’t (and don’t) catch everything, they offer some insight about what you may potentially have to fix when you move in. This will help you craft an offer that is in line with the reality of what you purchased. For myself, thanks to some quick thinking from our agent, we were able to split the cost of a pre-inspection with another potential buyer who had already ordered one.
Now that you know how much you’ll need to close, see what you can do to get the lowest interest rate, for the least amount of monthly payment. Don’t be afraid to ask lenders about the types of loans that there are and what would be best suited for you. Compare closing costs and days to close so you can keep what you might need for renovations! I chose 5% down so I could start renovations immediately.
You’ve found the house you love, you’ve had a pre-inspection, and you’re ready to buy. Ideally, your agent and your mortgage lender will work together and with you to submit the most competitive offer you can. This may include waiving certain contingencies, including an escalation clause, or submitting a compelling cover letter. Prepare to move quickly and be available for phone calls, filling out paperwork and collecting documents. When your lender asks you to start gathering required documents, do NOT wait until the last minute. This stuff always takes longer than you think and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you couldn’t download your W9 due to the system being down at the Nth hour.