As a potential real estate buyer, of course you want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. The media is quick to tell us that we should (and can) get a great price on real estate, but what exactly is a better price than fair market value? What is achievable and what isn’t? What is the best way to search online for a property? Tons of questions are bound to come up. That’s the nature of real estate. So I’d like to help you out by providing you with some concrete answers to help you get started.
First and foremost, you need to be sure that you’re working with a great real estate agent or Real Estate Team. They’ll be able to show you any property you want—from “listed properties” to “for sale by owner” listings. The best deals are always found with the help of an agent so you’ll want to be sure to interview possible candidates to find the right fit for you. Believe me, no one wants to overpay or accept a bad deal in this current economy, and an agent can help assure you that that doesn’t happen.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re searching for the perfect real estate agent:
1.) You always want to surround yourself with high performing individuals that are exercising good real estate practices on a regular basis. Your chances for success are significantly better when you are working with a team that is consistently enjoying success. They want you to help them keep their streak alive so you can be sure that they’ll be putting in the legwork to make it happen.
2.) If you already know what area you want to live in and what your price range is, then do some research and see if you can find an agent that has done multiple transactions in exactly those areas. Once you find someone that fits the bill then you’ll already be ahead of the curve.
3.) Take the few extra steps to call up an agent’s past clients, read testimonials or check out what people are saying about them on websites like LinkedIn.com or Yelp.com. Word of mouth is the best endorsement a real estate agent can have.
Speaking of useful websites, property browsing starts online. But what web sites should you be visiting? Here are some web sites that I find really useful when searching for property:
1.) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fed consumer sites - The multiple listing service is a forum in which participating real estate agents can list properties they have for sale. I like Estately.com but have also found luck on major brokerage sites like Windermere.com, JohnLScott.com, and KW.com. These sites have 100% of the MLS listed properties, so it’s just a matter of you selecting the site that fits you the best. They have 100% of the MLS Active Properties on their site.
2.) Syndicated Listing Sites - A prime example of this type of website is Zillow.com. Zillow is a really great resource for user generated listings that you cannot typically find on the MLS, especially listings that are “for sale by owners” with their Make Me Move prices. Keep in mind though that Zillow is not getting their data from the Northwest MLS so you cannot guarantee that you’re getting a comprehensive list of everything that is currently on the market with sites not getting an MLS feed – which is the case with Zillow.
So you’ve been looking into agents and surfing the web. Another avenue to consider when it comes to locking down a good deal are foreclosures. They may or may not be the best way to get the killer deal on Seattle real estate. Here are some things that everyone should know about the foreclosure process:
1.) Pre-foreclosure : Short Sales – To put it bluntly, short sales are not always a pleasant transaction. Quite often it will not afford you the best deal because the bank is usually very unwilling to go below fair market value. You need to make sure a short sale is an amazing deal to deal with the hassle. The key is to work with an agent and negotiators that have enough knowledge to get it closed for you at a price below market value. And keep in mind that short sales take time (normally 2 to 9 months). Things are improving and the market is seeing faster short sales. The important factor is to have someone on your side that has a lot of experience in short sales under their belt, and you’ll be in good hands.
2.) Foreclosure Auctions – If you’re so inclined to purchase a foreclosure at the courthouse steps, one thing to keep in mind is that you may never have the opportunity to inspect the property prior to bidding at the auction. This can be a bit scary, especially since properties may have structural defects that may go unnoticed until after you make your purchase or stripped clean for the cooper. The key to avoiding this misstep is a.) to focus your attention on “failed short sales” that have previously been on the market and/or b.) work with an agent who is aggressive enough to inspect the property on their own. And remember! At auction, you need to buy properties with cash, which most buyers simply do not have. But there is a solution–you can borrow hard money. Just make sure that the property you are buying is a.) a quality property b.) at a true discount and c.) that you can get out of your high interest, hard money loan via refinancing. And if you can manage it, buying at auction is best done when you can average it out over many purchases versus a single purchase. I view it as a professional investors track.
3.) Post Foreclosure : Bank Owned or “REO” Properties – Bank Owned Properties in Seattle often sell for 100% of listing price or over asking price but can be an amazing deal. Ask your Realtor to show you the past 180 days for the Zip Code you are looking in to get the full picture. Some listing agents love conducting bidding wars and other’s don’t. If you ask me, bidding wars result in a ton of wasted time and more often than not, they cause the price to shoot up past a desirable range. It is often the case that an emotional or obsessive buyer will find themselves bidding on properties at prices that are above and beyond market value. Don’t get caught up in the moment and over pay. You are here for a discount, not to see who wins. We know the REO Teams in Seattle and can help you navigate this often murky terrain.
Foreclosures are not the only way to get a great deal, here are some other great ways to get deals on Seattle real estate properties:
1.) Builder Closeouts – These are highly motivated sellers who are often undercutting the market by a sizeable amount. I also think it’s safe to say that there is a fair amount of inventory with builder closeouts right now. And remember: timing is everything. The last unit can be a great buy even compared to the auction process. It’s possible to obtain brand new units that can generate higher rental rates for non-owner occupied units, create years of low repair and maintenance costs, and allow below market purchase pricing as you squeeze the builder. Sometimes a negative can be that the subdivsion, complex or building has already been picked over.
2.) Highly motivated sellers – These people will heavily compete with foreclosures to get their house sold. It’s just a matter of knowing the market, or working with an agent that knows the market, so that you can get you the best deal from these highly motivated sellers.
As you can see, it’s not a matter of where you look for discounts on Seattle Real Estates For Sale but who is on your side. Who do you want on your winning team? Nowadays, homebuyers have as much access to property listing as the agents themselves thanks to the internet. But the big difference is that you probably don’t have enough experience to make sure that you are buying a quality property at a true discount that is bound to close.
I’m proud to say that Urban Abode Group understands how to overcome the above obstacles and can get you a more than fair deal on a real estate purchase. So when searching for Seattle Real Estate For Sale, make sure you’ve got an expert by your side. Because that is how you get yourself the deal of a decade or a lifetime.
Best of luck to all of you on getting the best deal Seattle Real Estate has to offer!