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:
- 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;
- 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.
- Know your financial limits and avoid being “mortgage poor.”