Kevin Lam’s Complete Homebuying Guide for Kirkland

Kevin Lam has one goal with his real estate practice: to transform lives one home at a time. For many people, buying a home can be a stressful process filled with many unknowns. However, Kevin has learned several tips and tricks through his many years of experience handling countless real estate transactions in Kirkland and other areas near the Seattle housing market. This article reflects several of his most helpful pieces of advice that can save you time, energy, and stress on your next home purchase.

1. Prepare for the process

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Buckle up — you’re about to start searching for a Seattle home to buy! This is a major milestone in your life, and it’s something you should be excited about. However, you also don’t want to enter into the process without a clear plan of what’s about to happen. While this article is a great start, you’ll still want to do further research to ensure that all of your questions are answered before you start talking to lenders and looking at specific houses.

It’s also good to consider the timeline that you desire. Finding a home that you like, going under contract, and closing on the house is a process that can take several months in total.

2. Know your credit score

If it’s been a while since you checked on your credit score, you may want to get an updated report before you start applying for a home loan. Your credit score can impact the specific type of loan you will qualify for, as well as the interest rate that you may have on your loan.

In most cases, you’ll need a score of at least 620, and some lenders prefer first-time home buyers to have a score of at least 700. If your credit score is not as high as you would like it to be, there are several things you can do to raise your credit score.

3. Talk with a lender

There are various websites that can quickly tell you, after you provide some personal information, what type (and amount) of loan you can expect to qualify for. However, for the best information, it’s wise to speak with an individual lender over the phone. They can look into your specific circumstances, and they know the right questions to ask to adequately assess your situation. However, if you’re only beginning the process and you aren’t ready to speak to anyone yet, an online mortgage calculator can provide a better idea of what your monthly obligation might be.

4. Look at homes for sale

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This may be the most fun part of the entire home buying guide. Search the web for homes currently for sale in your area. Read the write-ups, look at pictures, and think about what features or amenities are important to you.

Think about what part of town you would like to live in, whether you’re looking for Kirkland, Bothell, or downtown Seattle luxury homes. Would you rather live in Yarrow Point close to the water, or do you prefer to be closer to Cougar Mountain Park? If you aren’t sure what part of town may be the best choice for you, Kevin Lam can help you think through your options. Also, many websites allow you to search for a specific area in addition to filtering your search based on price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and several other factors.

5. Save for a down payment

Almost everyone borrows money to purchase a home. In addition, you should prepare to put down some sort of down payment.

While a conventional loan requires a sizable down payment, many first-time home buyers opt for an FHA loan. This allows them to put down a smaller amount (3.5% of the cost of the home) as long as they have a credit score of at least 580. Also, keep in mind that you’ll have to bring some cash to the table for closing costs. The exact amount depends on your unique home purchase, but usually, this is around 2-5% of the total cost of the home.

6. Get ready to negotiate

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Once you find a house you like, you will make the seller an offer. Depending on the specific house and how long it’s been on the market, the home may receive multiple offers that the seller can choose from. In some cases, the seller will make a counteroffer. The seller’s offer may reflect a higher price, or there may be various “concessions” added to the deal. For example, a seller may offer to pay a buyer’s closing costs or include various items (such as appliances) with the home sale if the buyer purchases the home at a higher price. Your agent has a wealth of negotiating experience and can make suggestions on what you should ask for in order to construct a strong offer.

7. Get an inspection

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It’s essential that you hire a professional home inspector to assess the home before you sign a contract or during the option period included in many home contracts. This inspection will tell you if there is anything structurally wrong with the house or if there are any mechanical or electrical issues you will need to address in the future.

If the inspection comes back clean, you can move forward with your purchase with confidence and peace of mind. At the same time, if the inspection shows that something is wrong with the house, you can work with your agent to address the issue according to your inspection contingency.

8. Seek a real estate professional

If you’re looking for an agent with all the insider knowledge into the Seattle scene, from Kirkland luxury homes to Kirkland condos, reach out to Kevin Lam at Caliber Group. Kevin is incredibly passionate about all things Seattle, and he has extensive knowledge of local areas and neighborhoods that will be immensely valuable for you as you shop. He would love the opportunity to help you find your ideal home here.

*Header photo courtesy of Kevin Lam

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