Here are some helpful hints for home buyers who are considering entering the highly competitive Thurston County home buying market. With inventories at record lows, the best properties will go quickly. With so much pressure on the home buyers, it is important to get a jump on the process. Now more than ever… the need for a well thought out plan can relieve stress and prepare you to act confidently and quickly.
As a part of making a decision to buy residential real estate, near the top of the list would be meeting with a lender. They can assist you to discover what you are qualified to buy based on income and debt ratios. A local lender can also help you choose a loan program best suited for your unique needs. Be sure you get pre-approved and not just pre-qualified. The difference will carry weight with sellers when you present offers particularly in a multiple offer situation.
Equipped with your pre-approval, the second thing on your list is to seek out a local, qualified, experienced, full time real estate agent. Remember… in the state of Washington, the seller pays the real estate fees for the buyers’ agent. In effect you get full, exclusive and personal representation throughout the real estate transaction.
Your agent will play a key role, acting as your local expert guide, to successfully lead and to achieve your best outcome. Take the time to interview them to be sure they are a fit. There is simply no substitution for meeting them face to face. As a result of your meeting, you should feel informed, confident, safe and understood.
Understanding the process
Once you have made your decision concerning an agent, you should set aside time to discuss the home buying process in detail. You should be prepared to know what to expect. They will help you set your search perimeters, explain the offer/purchase acceptance process, understand what is and how much earnest money required will be. In addition, you should understand how the contract obligates each party to actions and the timelines to do them in. You will need to rely on your agent’s suggestions for strategy in the composition and execution of the offer, and possible recommendation for inspections. You should feel completely comfortable with HOW this all happens.
In the state of Washington, buyers are expected to” beware,” in other words, the burden of discovery is on you. With the help from your agent you will need to put your “detective’s hats” on throughout the process.
With the help of your agent, be sure to collect and review a completed NWMLS Form 17 Property disclosure form. It serves as record of knowledge concerning the specific of the property from the current homeowner’s perspective. Be sure you understand what it says. Ask clarifying questions.
With the assistance of your agent, you should receive and review the Title Report. Look for liens & assessments (unpaid or unresolved debt recorded against the property), easements of record such as septic, ingress/egress, utility, or encroachments that may affect your use and enjoyment of the property.
Be familiar with the Inspections addendum that you should have incorporated into your offer. With your agents assistance understand how it works and what your options will be as a buyer.
I believe it would be advisable to have a copy of a blank NWMLS purchase and sales agreement and usual addendum to read prior to looking at a single home and certainly before you present an offer to purchase.
While some of these items of discover will be specific to an individual property, many important factors can be explored even before you begin looking at homes. Issues like schools, proximity to work, medical facilities, emergency services such as fire departments, shopping and personal interest can help you narrow down your search perimeters.
Below I have listed some research tools that you may find valuable (It is not meant to be comprehensive in scope).
Sexual predator locations http://www.nsopw.gov They have a mobile app that you can download on your mobile devises that you can access from the field.
http://www.countyoffice.org/wa-thurston-county-public-scho…/ local school information, this site will map out for you each school and its location.
https://www.publicschoolreview.com/washingt…/thurston-county This site is set up to help assist you in evaluation of each school of interest. There are many other sites that can/will be helpful in this process.
Police and crime information regionally:
Emergency Medical facilities:
If you want a map of locations and website links for Emergency Medical facilities in Thurston County, simply highlight the words in red, copy and paste them in your google browser address bar and enter. A map with locations and individual website information will populate for your consideration.
With the burden of discovery resting on you as the buyer, there are other resources you should be familiar with. Things like local zoning codes, environmental concerns, traffic issues, freeway access and much more you can research via the internet. Many of the regional answers can be found at http://www.geodata.org This is the Thurston County Planning department site with links to many other departments including the accessors office for property tax information and valuations. It also has maps for urban growth areas, wetland, critical areas (including pocket gopher issues) and adjacent property owners’ information. You will find this to be a valuable resource. If the perspective property falls within a specific municipality like city of Olympia, lacey, Tumwater or Yelm, please visit each of their specific websites for answers to your questions.
As you can see, there is much to do in advance to prepare you to make the best possible decisions. In condensed time frames, it could be likely that many of these important issues may be missed.
Again… if you have additional questions or would simply like more information, I am happy to offer a “no cost, no obligation” opportunity to visit about your specific needs. I can be reached in any of the following ways listed below.
I am wishing you the very best in all of your real estate endeavors in 2018.