Over the last several years I've personally helped many buyers purchase a home in the Seattle Real Estate market. I quickly learned how important it is for Seattle home buyers to be market ready. This is a level of preparation and mental readiness that puts you in a position to be successful. I thought I would share the highlights to help you understand how to be prepared to buy in a competitive market:
Financing: First and foremost whether you're buying a Seattle home, townhouse or condo, you must have a solid financial plan. This means a clear understanding of what you can afford, your amount of down payment, and getting a fully underwritten mortgage approval. A simple pre-approval is nice, but a fully underwritten approval makes you much stronger as a buyer and assures you that you will qualify for the mortgage for the home you want to purchase. When you talk with your mortgage broker, ask about getting fully underwritten.
Searching for homes: If you are searching homes for sale at a very competitive price point (anything under $1 million) you must consider that the homes you are looking at might sell for more than they are listed for, and sometimes significantly more. So be conservative to give yourself some room to escalate your offer if necessary.
Due Diligence: The more due diligence you can do prior to writing an offer the better. Do a pre-inspection on the home prior to writing your offer so that you can waive an inspection contingency. Review all condo association documents prior as well so that you can waive this contingency. Review the title report so that you can waive a title contingency. The cleaner your offer is, the better chance you have of success.
The Offer Review Date: Most homes will be listed with an offer review date. This is generally 7-10 days after the home is listed. This will give you the time to do all your due diligence beforehand. You can then submit the cleanest offer possible.
Will the highest offer win? NO! Or I should say not always. The best offer is not always the highest. A smart seller will consider more than just the price, they will also consider terms. Terms are things like contingencies, earnest money, closing date, and commitment to the purchase. If you are loading up an offer with unreasonable terms, the seller will likely gravitate towards cleaner offers with good terms. A seller can accept any offer for any reason. They do not have to accept the highest offer.
If you would like more in-depth information on this, please email me and I will be glad to send you my complete "Market Ready" plan.