Tag Archive for seattle housing market

Home Advantage Down Payment Assistance

How much Down Payment Assistance can I get with Home Advantage?  This depends on the price of the home and lending guidelines.  Home Advantage provides down payment assistance up to 4% of your loan amount.  So if your loan amount was $200,000, you would potentially be eligible for $8,000 in down payment assistance!

Do I have to pay the Down Payment Assistance back?  The money would have to be paid back eventually, but there is NO monthly payment and ZERO interest!  You would repay the down payment assistance when you either sell the home, rent it out, or pay off your 30 year mortgage.A or B?

What loan programs can be used with Home Advantage?  Almost any loan program can be paired with this down payment assistance program, including Conventional, FHA, USDA, and even VA loans.

Is Home Advantage any different than other Down Payment Assistance programs?  Yes.  The rates are much better than other programs that have been offered by Washington State in the past.  Also, for this down payment assistance program you DO NOT have to be a first time home buyer AND it can be paired with the MCC program!  This is unprecedented as in the past most programs have only been available to first time home buyers and could not be paired with the MCC.

Is Home Advantage right for everyone?  Everybody’s personal situation is different.  To find out more about Home Advantage guidelines, as well as other down payment assistance programs offered in Washington State, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.  Don’t make the biggest decision of your life without getting educated!


What if I Can’t Afford What I Want?

What if I can’t afford what I want?  As prices continue to rise, we hear this more and more from our first time home buyers.  You may want a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but your price range may make it tough to accomplish this in the neighborhood you want to be in.

So what are my alternatives?  The first and maybe easiest way to accomplish this it to look at other property types.  For instance, if you are looking for a single family home but feel like they’re out of your price range, you could start looking at townhouses or condos.Two lawn chairs

But I’ve always wanted a yard.  We realize for some first time home buyers, a single family home is all they’re willing to consider.  The next possibility is moving outside your specific geographic area to see if outlying areas are more affordable.

But we have to stay in our existing school district!  Sometimes first time home buyers are absolutely NOT willing to look outside a specific area due to school zoning or other reasons.  A third option is considering a property that needs some cosmetic updates.

As long as I get the number of bedrooms/bathrooms I want.  It may even make sense to look at a home with LESS bedrooms and baths, as long as it has the potential to add these things later.  Many of our first time home buyers are considering starting families but don’t have them yet.  So a strategy could be looking at homes with unfinished basements, where you could add bedrooms and baths later.  The point is, when buying your first home it may make sense to think outside the box.

Don’t make the biggest financial decision of your life without getting educated!  If you’d like to learn more about the home buying process, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.


I Want an Ugly House for Christmas

I want to buy an ugly house.  We hear this from a lot of first time home buyers.  It’s generally an approach for people that want to be in a particular neighborhood, but are constrained by price.  So they look for an ugly house so they can get a better deal and do repairs after closing.  This can be a fantastic idea as long as you know what you’re getting into.

What do I need to know?  Even if you’re a contractor or just very handy, banks generally won’t lend money against a house that has structural issues.  Because of this, first time home buyers may want to narrow their search to only include properties that need cosmetic repairs as opposed to structural repairs.  If you’re considering a rehab loan, they have a lot of other caveats so we’ll save that discussion for another blog.

So I’ll just target cosmetic fixers then.  Hold on now, it also depends on what type of financing you’re using.  FHA can be a great option for first time home buyers.  However, they are often more stringent in regards to property condition than conventional loans.  So if you’re using an FHA loan, you could be excluded from buying cosmetic fixers with minor issues like pealing paint, or even a broken window pain.  This is why it’s imperative to align yourself with a real estate professional that understands the different types of financing guidelines.

If the bank won’t loan me the money, then I’ll just find another house.  It’s usually true that if the bank won’t give you a loan (depending on how the contract’s written), you can exit the contract and retrieve your earnest money.  However, there are some upfront costs involved like paying for a home inspection and ordering the appraisal, that have to be paid regardless of whether or not the loan closes.  This amount is generally some where between $1200-1500!  You don’t want to have to pay this money up front unless you’re pretty confident you can get the loan.

Don’t make the biggest financial decision of your life without getting educated!  If you’d like more information on buying a fixer, or the home buying process in general, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.


When Will We See More Listings?


When will we see more listings in the Greater Seattle area?  This has been a major question on many first time home buyers minds.  In the housing market decline many home owners lost enough of their equity position that they ended up under water, or owing more on their mortgage than the house was worth.  This often prevents them from selling.

Is this still the case with many home owners?  This equation is definitely changing due to all the appreciation we have seen in the Greater Seattle area.  Depending on the demographic that you’re looking at, many areas values are about where they were in 2006.  If prices continue to rise we may get to 2007 levels at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Will this cause more home owners to list?  This definitely could be the case.  Many economists speculate that there are a lot of home owners that either bought or did a cash out refi in 2006-2007, that would really like to sell but won’t be able to until values reach these prior year levels.

Should first time home buyers wait until there’s more available inventory to buy?  That really depends on your specific situation.  If you wait for more inventory, it’s quite likely home values and interest rates will continue to rise.  However, if you currently have room to afford more house and aren’t concerned with being priced out of the market, waiting might help you find a home that better fits your needs.

Don’t make the biggest financial decision of your life without getting educated!  If you’d like to find out more about todays current housing market or the home buying process in general, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.


I Can’t Find My Shadow!

Where’s all the shadow inventory everyone keeps talking about?  Many economists speculate that we will continue to see depreciation in the housing market due to the fact that there are still millions of homes that have been foreclosed upon that the banks still need to liquidate.

Then why aren’t we seeing these homes come on the market?  Because some of the biggest banks with the most foreclosed inventory are considering selling these properties in large blocks to major financial investors.  Yup, that means these homes may NEVER come on the open market!  Good for housing values, bad for first time home buyers.

So what if these houses EVENTUALLY come on the market?  Seattle home values will continue to free fall, right?  Not necessarily.  The MILLIONS of homes that still need to be sold are on a NATIONAL level.  To figure out how this will affect the greater Seattle area, we need to look at LOCAL statistics.

So how many foreclosed Seattle homes are there?  Many media sources have been reporting that we still have around 4 years of foreclosed inventory to be sold!  But these numbers are a lot closer to 4 months on a local level.  This is a DRASTIC difference!  Six months of inventory is considered to be healthy housing market, where neither buyers nor sellers have leverage over one another.

So even if all this shadow inventory does come on the Seattle Market, it still probably WON’T swing things back to a buyer’s market.  And in any case, that’s still a big if.  In many Seattle neighborhoods we’ve seen a 50% decline in available inventory, and this may not get any better.

So are home prices going back up in the greater Seattle area?  Yup, and if inventory levels as well as other factors continue to swing in the sellers favor, this appreciation may continue.  But it’s not to late!  At the moment, many areas are still seeing values that we haven’t seen since 2001, and don’t forget rates are still at all time lows.

If you’re thinking about buying your first home in the greater Seattle area, don’t make a decision without getting educated!  Go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer Workshops.