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The news continues to confirm that Seattle is the hottest market in the nation. Seattle ended the calendar year in 2017 at a year-over-year 12.7 percent increase in home prices. Meanwhile, housing inventory remains extremely low. “The Seattle metropolitan area, which includes Tacoma, Bellevue, and Everett, ended [2017] with 20.1 percent fewer homes on the market than in December 2016,” states Seattle Curbed. So, how can you possibly expect to buy a home in this market? We have a few tips, pulled from a recent Forbes article, to help you get a leg up.

First, start your search early. Get online and start checking out the area’s prices in the neighborhoods you’re interested in and set up alerts so you can see new listings as soon as they’re on the market. Getting a base knowledge of what to expect can go a long way in your search, and potentially save you time. No one wants to waste time searching an area they simply cannot afford. Do your research and make note of which style of homes are listed at which prices; and if they’re consistently going for over asking price. This particular article even recommends starting your house hunting two or three months before you expect to actually start making offers.

Second, and we might argue most importantly, find yourself a good buyer’s agent. Find someone you can trust who is experienced in buying in the area. Our brokerage, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, has offices and experts in several areas around the Seattle metropolitan area and are the biggest Sotheby’s Realty affiliate in the entire Pacific Northwest. The Catherine Ferrera & Associates team focuses on the Kirkland area a lot, but we know the greater metro area well. Additionally, we pride ourselves on our referral network and often, if we aren’t an expert, we personally know someone who is and are willing to connect the dots for you.

Another big advantage you can give yourself is to get preapproved for a loan. Anyone who has been through the process will tell you that the waiting and paperwork process for the loan is often the most complicated and drawn-out bit. Mortgages involve a lot of background work and getting yourself preapproved with a mortgage broker will mean you can cut out a lot of time when you finally find that dream home. This process will also give you a real idea of how much home you can afford and help you narrow your search.

With that being said, a standard deposit with a home contract is often 1% of the home’s sale price; but if you can put down more than that, you might consider offering to do so. If you can offer 3% or 5%, the selling agent and homeowners will know you’re really serious. Plus, there may be other buyers who aren’t able to offer what you can; and this could put you over the edge.

Finally, the simplest thing we can suggest is to just be nice. Be sure to take off your muddy boots at the door and stay thoughtful and courteous in the homes you’re touring. Keep your negative and critical comments for the car ride home, in private, to avoid coming off as catty or rude. Being a polite buyer could make you stand out against another who may have rubbed the sellers the wrong way.

As always, we would love to meet over the phone or in person to discuss any questions or concerns you have about buying and selling in the current market. It is vital now, more than ever, to have someone knowledgeable in your corner. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

To read the full article from Forbes, click here: How to Buy A Home in a Tight Housing Market

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