2020 Home Buyer's Guide for Seattle, WA

Are you ready to buy a home in 2020?
This is a fantastic year to buy a home in Seattle. Interest rates are still low. Home prices have softened up a bit for buyers. A lot of the competition is distracted with the presidential election. Capital markets still have a lot of money to help finance home loan borrowers.
Equip yourself with this Seattle home buyers guide and get a great deal on a home you’re going to love.

House Shopping With Your Budget In Mind

‘Budget’ isn’t a trendy word in many of the Seattle home buyer guides offered out there. It is an important one. You don’t want to waste months looking at homes that aren’t in your budget range yet. You don’t want to stretch too much and then spending the rest of your life stressed out about your housing payments and finances.

Instead, get to know all the costs involved in buying a home upfront. Get pre-qualified for a comfortable mortgage with the best Seattle mortgage broker. Then you can truly enjoy your new home for years, and a more efficient house hunting experience.

In addition to the principal and interest mortgage payment, you may also have:

● Annual property taxes
● Insurance
● Association dues
● Utilities
If money isn’t a limitation, then you’ll find a fantastic dream home in Clyde Hill or on Mercer Island.

Those looking for something a little more affordable, or at least more home for the money than they can find downtown may want to check out Maple Valley or Duvall. Get more updates on Seattle’s best suburbs for buying a home for families here. For those needing even more affordable options there are South Park and Rainier View.

Fixer Upper or Model Home?

Are you in the market for a fixer upper project or a brand new construction model home?
You might be inspired to renovate a property just to your tastes. Or you may crave the ease of a new smart home that is move-in ready. There are a couple of things to remember here. There is a big difference between cosmetically distressed properties and those with structural issues. Lenders are going to see a home with major foundation, roof, or mold as a big risk. They may charge more interest and loan less. This, along with the cost of repairs over time may require more cash out of pocket, even if you are getting a better overall deal on the home.

At the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to overpay for a house either. Brand new homes can be great. They may offer lower maintenance for years. They give you the ability to often finance in many of the upgrades you want to do, including appliances. You may be borrowing a little more, but you can keep more cash in your bank account. Just be careful of actual model homes which may be sold complete with furniture. They can be highly priced.

Mortgage lenders only loan on the real estate and fixed items, not movable furnishings.

Your Credit

Knowing how to optimize your credit to get a mortgage can help you get the best interest rate and terms.

Lender credit score requirements can change over time. Beyond the credit score they will also look at the length of your credit history, payment shock, and payment history.

Being familiar with your credit score and what factors are influencing it is important. It will help you be a much better prepared borrower. One who gets the best rates and mortgage deals. One of the most impactful factors, if not the most important is how much debt you are carrying in relationship to your credit limits. Ideally you will be using under 15% of your credit card limits.

It is also vital to avoid applying for new credit in the lead up to applying for a mortgage, and until your mortgage has funded. New credit inquiries and debt can ding your credit score fast.

Down Payments

Sometimes the more money you can put down the better mortgage deal you can get, and the easier it may be to get through underwriting.

This doesn’t always have to be the case. There are actually a variety of no down payment and low down payment loan options.

This can include:
● FHA loans
● VA home loans
● USDA mortgages
● 203k loans

Some will provide 100% financing. Others will approve only a 10% down payment with credit scores in the 500 range. If you are still having challenges coming up with a down payment, get familiar with local down payment assistance programs.

Find the Best Seattle Mortgage Broker

Find the best Seattle mortgage broker to apply with. Get pre-approved for a home loan. Then go shopping for a home with confidence.

Check out these 5 Tip For Finding The Best Seattle Mortgage Broker.

Ask for Deals

Almost everything is negotiable in real estate. Some will give their very best quotes and offers upfront. With others, all it takes is to ask if there is room for a discount. It doesn’t hurt to ask. All they can say is no. At least you’ll know you are getting the best deal.

Even small breaks with the seller, the Realtors, title companies, and insurance agents can add up by the time you get to closing.

Pick the Best Fitting Mortgage

There’s more than one loan program out there. Have your mortgage broker explain your options and choices. Get the loan that best fits your needs now and your future goals.

Learn the Home Buying Process

The biggest frustrations in buying a home are usually born out of misaligned expectations. Many mortgage loan officers and Realtors are too scared to tell their clients the truth. They want to make everything sound like a dream. Sometimes it can be. Usually, there is more work to it. This is specifically true after the home purchase contract is signed. That’s when the real work starts. The home inspection and appraisal need to be coordinated. Insurance needs to be secured. The loan application has to pass through underwriting and conditions of funding must be cleared.
Check the Ultimate Seattle Mortgage Loan Documents Checklist to help you sail through this process.

Have any questions on this Seattle’s Home Buyers Guide? Give us a call today and let one of our loan officers walk you through to getting a great loan and home.

Joe Tafolla
Joe Tafolla
Branch Manager at Seattle's Mortgage Broker

About the Author

Helping Seattleites buy their dream homes for over 15 years. Founder of Seattle's Mortgage Broker and author of Homeownership Simplified: The Truth about ZERO Down.

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