The most important decision a buyer can make before they step foot onto a city sidewalk is to get their financing in order. This is paramount in starting the process and is one of the biggest pitfalls for buyers in the early stages of the buying process. When this step is not taken seriously, you may view something you can’t afford and will spend weeks, months or even years comparing the unit you “wanted” versus the price point you are pre-approved for. Finding the right lender is an important step. Make this a priority. Having someone you can trust with your money is just important as picking the right real estate broker for your search.
Finding the perfect condo is what you have in mind – make sure you choose the right broker. Someone that really knows the city in-side & out. There are a number of mistakes that are made when purchasing a condo. Many can be avoided by having a licensed expert help you in your search. Commit to finding a condo expert. Everyone has a family member, a friend or a referral for a real estate agent. You need an expert. Someone that really understands the neighborhoods, the buildings and even the floor plans you are considering.
Neighborhood Macro To Micro
One of the most important philosophies we believe in is starting your search from a macro or large scale view and slowly narrowing the process to a micro or finite level of focus. In our experience, there are so many incredible neighborhoods to choose from in Seattle. We like to tour or focus on the entire city for just a glance but then prefer to narrow the search to a maximum of 3 neighborhoods. This is imperative. It works the same with Seattle condo projects. Each project has its own separate community. We might start with a list of 10 buildings and slowly narrow that search to 3. This allows us to focus on view, floor plan and amenities that we know our clients will love. This saves an enormous amount of time that we would have spent running around the city trying to find the perfect unit. Macro —> Micro
Find Your Community
“The American Dream starts with the neighborhoods” HM For most of us, we are not just looking at condos to purchase. We are looking at the opportunity to move into and become part of a community. It could be your love for food, wine, coffee, fitness, commute to work or many other factors that go into purchasing not just the building or the unit but the neighborhood and the community. Seattle has become much more like NY. We have boroughs that help define our city. Each neighborhood has unique differences that make it special and differentiated
Most Important – Location
We have all heard the saying – location, location, location right? Well, for a condo, it is important to trust this real estate adage and make it a priority for your upcoming purchase. Finding the right location for a condo doesn’t have to be hard – with a little time and attention to detail, you’ll find the perfect unit before you know it. We like to break it down by neighborhood and then focus on the characteristics that are important to you – like parks, coffee shops, public transportation, museums, commute and so on. It is important to remember that buying a condo is an investment during a moment in time. Eventually, you will need to rent or sell your unit to the next steward of your space. Prioritize location – it will pay off in the long run
Build Your Wish List – What You Want Versus What You Need
One important element of building your “Wish List” is understanding the difference between want and what you need. As an example. When starting your search, you may be convinced that you have to have a 2 bedroom unit. What you may find is that a 1 bedroom plus a den in a much better building or community could out-weigh the need of having a two bedroom space in the wrong building. This can be the difference of wanting something you think you must have – instead of finding something that is a MUCH better fit for what you need. Confused? Don’t worry, your broker can help you go through the pros and cons – especially if they are an expert.
Focus On Lighting
This tip takes on multiple meanings. During the dark days of December, lighting in your home/condo is imperative. It is often a focus for condo buyers in Seattle and it should be! Big floor to ceiling windows allow ample natural light during all times of the day – we really try to encourage our clients to focus on this particular characteristic when searching for a condo. We help our clients understand how other projects being built around condo buildings can have a shadow effect and a long term impact on their investment. It is important to know who your future neighbors are and how that can effect your condo’s natural light.
Street Views – Long Term Results
One of the most impactful decisions you can make when buying a condo is focusing on a street view. This is something we encourage all of our clients to consider. Street views are your best asset when protecting your view in an ever-changing city-scape like Seattle. Corner units often help you achieve this goal. Think about it – you get an extra wall of windows and a sight-line right down a street which creates physical space and extra natural light. Primarily, it also reduces the effects of neighboring buildings that may be constructed on adjacent lots – in some cases right out side your window. Don’t just find a good view, find a street view. You’ll thank us later!
Pet Limits and Rental Restriction
One tip that will help you avoid a bad investment is to ensure that you are paying attention to the rules and regulations of a condo project. Some projects limit, restrict or even do not allow certain pets. When you live in a dog-friendly city like Seattle, imagine selling your unit after you decide to move out and many of the prospective buyers pass on the unit because they can’t bring their furry friend. This is one of many reasons to pay attention to the details. This goes with rental caps as well. It is nearly impossible to attract an condo investor when you sell your unit if it is restricted by rental caps or severe limitations on the use of the condo. You are making an important investment – don’t forget to review pet and rental restrictions.
Buying Now, Buying For Your Future
The most important tip we can share in our 10 Tips For Buying A Seattle Condo is simply paying attention to the little details. They can make or break a purchase. The buying process should be fun. Don’t let the process get in the way of enjoying your search for the right condo. Do your research, find a great broker & focus on what we have shared with you here. You’ll be happy that you did. Feel free to contact us anytime with questions of if we can help you in your search.
Thinking about buying a Seattle condo this year? We have provided 10 Tips for Buying A Seattle Condo. Have questions? We have answers – contact us!