Three To-Do List Items for First-Time Condo/Townhouse/Townhome Buyers Before Contacting a Real Estate Agent

Buying a home – any home – for the first time can be both exciting and harrowing at the same time. If you’ve set your sights on a condo or townhouse/townhome in Seattle, there are four must-dos before you reach out to a real estate agent (whom you’ve also hopefully pre-screened):

First, narrow down where exactly it is that you want to live to roughly 2-3 neighborhoods. (If you are wondering how to accomplish that if you haven’t already, read more on that here [insert link to neighborhood narrow-down blog post]).

Second, determine what are your “must-haves” for your future home. For example, is enclosed parking a must, will covered parking do, or is street parking just fine? Are you insisting on having a fireplace, a view of the city or sound, and/or a jetted bathtub? Do you seek a modern kitchen with all of the works, or do you consider a somewhat dated kitchen quaint? Must the building in which you call home be LEED-certified? Knowing what you want and being able to communicate this to your realtor will save time and reduce any potential frustration or disappointment on your part as a buyer.

Third, get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified in advance ensures that, in this extremely fast-moving market, knowing you can pull the trigger almost instantly may make the difference between purchasing your first choice of a home and … not. Also, be aware that, just because you qualify for a certain dollar amount, that amount does not necessarily mean that that is the amount you should shoot to pay for your home. Know your respective budget and plan accordingly – and that may mean spending less than your pre-approval amount in order to avoid being “mortgage poor” and still being able to support your lifestyle, whether that involves travel, wining and dining, a love of vehicles, art, or outdoor adventure.

In summary, the three to-dos before contacting a real estate agent to help you find your first condo or townhouse/townhome are as follows:

  1. Be flexible in terms of the neighborhood, and select 2-3 top choices, being aware that your first choice may not be available due to current inventory and/or budget;
  2. Know what you want your future home to have (both in terms of the property itself as well as its surrounding environment) and what you don’t.
  3. Know your financial limits and avoid being “mortgage poor.”


Happy Hunting!


Condo/Househouse Specialist



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