Top Tips to Win in the Western Washington Housing Market in 2021 (From a Realtor!)

Buying a new home is an exciting time, but if you’re relocating, there’s also a lot to consider when choosing where to move. As a realtor, I know many people are looking for houses for sale in Kitsap County and Western Washington, and this market is competitive.

Since there is so much going on in the housing market right now, you need someone on your side to help you land the home you adore. In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know when choosing where to live in Kitsap, Washington. 

10 Tips You Must Know Before Buying in Western Washington in 2021

There’s already so much to think about when you’re considering moving but to win in Western Washington, you need my 10 top tips:

  1. Expect your desired properties to have received multiple offers. Some homes see viewing after viewing, and many receive offers of as much as $30,000 above the property’s listing price. Be prepared for this when budgeting and choosing homes to view. 
  2. Use a local lender when moving to Western Washington. Before you write an offer on a property, make sure you have a pre-approval from a reputable local lender. You’ll need to understand the numbers and how much money you’re putting down, and a local lender can help make these things clear. Local lenders do many things better than big-box banks and credit unions and tend to use better appraisal pools consistently. 
  3. Expect to lose out on a few homes. Buying a home requires some resilience, so it’s good to prepare yourself for some disappointment along the way. This may sound pessimistic, but it’s vital to manage your expectations. It’s such a difficult balance because you have to love a home enough to imagine your new life there, but hold back enough that you can make the right financial decisions and move on if you lose it.  
  4. Expect to overpay on your property. Unfortunately, it’s common for buyers to have to write offers tens of thousands of dollars above the listing price, given the housing market’s state right now. Kitsap County and other areas of Western Washington are hugely desirable, so you’ll be competing with all the other people who also want to call this beautiful area of the country home.
  5. Don’t be surprised if the list price doesn’t reflect the close price. If you’re looking online on Zillow, Trulia or any similar websites, the prices you see will likely be significantly different from the price it’ll close for. This might not happen every time or with all homes, but if you see a home that has been listed for 30 days and has no offers, you may be able to get a deal.
  6. Expect your property not to appraise. It’s helpful to have an appraiser look at the market trends so you can go into this situation knowing what to expect. For example, if you’re putting down an offer that’s $30,000 above the asking price, but the current trends dictate that that’s normal, then you’re less likely to run into trouble with appraisals. 
  7. With prices skyrocketing in Western Washington, expect not to end up in the neighborhood you may have expected to be in.Homes in popular areas go up in price every year, so you may have to move further out than you’d anticipated. While this sounds like an impossible feat, it’s helpful to remember that all price points are affected by this inflation – even homes in the million-dollar range. While Kitsap County is a beautiful area to live in, I can help you find homes in other counties if Kitsap is a little out of your price bracket. Find out more about the other areas you can consider here.
  8. If you’re passionate about a home, offer your highest and best offer. Typically, when you’re running an offer on a property, the listing agent will put in the MLS “All offers to be delivered by [a set date and time.]” You’ll get one shot in this instance, so give your offer some serious thought. 
  9. If you’re looking to buy a new build, expect to be on a waiting list. Sometimes, you’ll have to put down a deposit to be placed on this list, and builders may only release a few lots at a time. Staying on this list might mean you miss out on opportunities in other neighborhoods, all the while the price of this new build goes up, so tread carefully.
  10.  Keep in contact with your agent and make sure they know what the seller wants, whether that’s a quick close, a leaseback or the highest net. This will put you in good position when buying, as you’ll find it easier to cultivate good relationships with realtors and agents. 

How can I deal with a property I want having multiple offers?

There are several things buyers can do to “win” in a multiple-offer situation:

  • Have a pre-inspection done to waive the inspection contingency when putting in your offer or offering a pass/fail inspection.
  • Consider waiving your appraisal contingency. There are two types of appraisal waivers: one occurs when a lender tells a buyer they won’t need an appraisal based on how much money they’re putting down. The other occurs when a buyer tells the seller that they’ll pay regardless of the appraisal results as they’re using financing. So, if a home is listed at $350K and the buyer puts in an offer of $380K, they’re saying that if the appraisal doesn’t appraise for $380K, the buyer will make up the difference.  

Most home sales in 2020 fell between the $350K and $500K range. The second most common price range was between $250K and $350K. It’s worth noting here that, in a normal market, if a home didn’t make an appraisal, you could negotiate with the seller. But in this market, the offers that win are those that waive inspection contingencies or involve an additional down payment.  

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent your dream home, I’m here to stand in your corner and ensure you land a home you’ll adore. If you have any queries at all, you can reach me at (206) 940-4039 – I’m always happy to answer your questions. Alternatively, click here to see current listings.

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