When is a Good Time to Buy Your First Home?


So, you've got the stable job and feel like finally settling into a place that feels more like your own. You probably have an idea of how purchasing real estate might work but maybe aren't sure this is the right time for you to buy. Here are a few indicators that you're ready to take the next step.

1. You're in good financial shape. As a first-time buyer, you might be surprised at all the additional costs that pop up. Appraisal and inspection costs, repairs and renovations, and not to mention closing costs, taxes, and homeowner association fees... these add up quickly and you'll want to make sure you've calculated these costs into your overall budget. We recommend speaking with a lending agent early in your house hunting process to determine your loan eligibility. Home-buying can teach you a lot about investing, budgeting, credit, and ideally, wealth-building. 

2. You've been paying attention to the market. The Seattle area home values have been at a rapid incline for over a year and a half. However, buying in this market is still feasible and can still be attainable for first-time homebuyers. Buying property as a first time homebuyer should be done with an experienced and local agent. If you're flexible on neighborhood locations, amount of space, or are willing to do some renovations, the right agent will help you narrow down your search to find a home in your budget - even in Seattle's scorching market. 

3. You have a clear idea of what you're looking for. Taking our last bit of advice into account, you do want to have a clear list of "must-haves" when looking for a home. You'll want to be realistic about taking on a fixer-upper and the challenges (and money) that come along with a home in need of repair. The Sotheby's Realty blog says it best: "Have high expectations and a clear idea of what you want -- but don't be lured into overpaying once you find it." 

4. Your lifestyle needs a leg up. Are you using hallway closets as overflow from your bedroom? Are you dying for a second bathroom? Are you finding yourself looking to put down roots near friends or family? The right home amenities can greatly enhance your quality of life. It's important to clarify your expectations and how you want to live. Many realtors and buyers will say location is the top priority; but with Seattle's anemic inventory you might consider good schools and close proximity to parks, shops, restaurants as a higher priority, in regards to your location, rather than a short commute. 

5. You're ready to do the work. If you're feeling ready then take the next steps and do your research: "know what local rates and prices look like, study the market, research bylaws and board rules. Leveraging your intel at the time of purchase will help you feel confident during negotiations and eliminate the risks of hasty or hesitant decision-making" states the Sotheby's realty blog. 

6. You've consulted a real estate expert. A key component of being ready to purchase is consulting with a seasoned real estate professional. Don't be afraid to interview several realtors as the right fit will help you feel more comfortable and confident throughout this very stressful transition in your life. Partner with a professional who understands how your goals and concerns may differ from other clients. Many realtors find immeasurable joy in helping first-time homebuyers, as it is a chance to help ease initial fears and revel in the joy of finding the perfect match. 

Our team at WinninghamKing has been in the real estate business for a combined experience of over four decades. We know the Seattle and Eastside communities like the back of our hands and we are dedicated to putting your needs and concerns first. Contact us today (with no obligation!) to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about the buying process.