Home Buying in 98117>Question Details

E Ellis, Other/Just Looking in 98117

I am a young professional earning around 45,000 a year in Seattle and renting in Ballard.

Asked by E Ellis, 98117 Wed Nov 28, 2007

I am hoping to eventually purchase a very small starter home or Condo, but I'm worried that the house prices will outpace my income growth. Currently, it seems that I would have difficulty qualifying for even the smallest Condos as I have student loans. Any advice?

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Your concern is valid. First of all, prices shouldn't be rocketing up like they have in the past few years. 2008 should be fairly flat, ... good in areas, not so good in other areas, but in general our region has good reasons to be padded from the national drops the media talks about all the time. Your best option right now is to sit down with a good loan officer (msg/email me and i can give you a few names to contact) and have them analyze your financial situation and see what kind of loan programs best fit you, your current situation, and your longer term goals. Never assume what you can or can't qualify for. Student loans may not be as detrimental as credit card debt, ...but the loan officer should be the one telling you what's what.

Once you have an idea of what you can qualify for, then you should contact a real estate agent (...I'm available) and start looking at options together.

also, ..I'm confused, ..your avatar says just looking in 98225 ...which is bellingham if i'm not mistaken, ..but you're renting in ballard / working in seattle? are you looking to buy in bellingham and commute to seattle? ...yet you posted in 98117 area code which is seattle.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 29, 2007
I recommend getting preapproved (or at least meeting with a Mortgage Professional) as soon as possible--even if you don't buy for a few months or ever. I recently wrote an article about people thinking about buying homes in our current market, which I've linked below.

Meeting with a Mortgage Professional now means that you can work together to create the best stragegy for your home purchase once you're ready. Maybe you need to up your credit score a point or two (many a-paper lenders now have risk based pricing) or perhaps you should focus on stashing some savings instead of paying down a debt. A Mortgage Professional can help guide you through this process.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2008
I was a renter in Ballard many years ago and actually ended up moving out of Seattle to be able to afford a purchase situation, so I have been there. I would check out Greenwood again if you get some time. You can still find some affordability there relative to Ballard and it is in a huge transitional period. There is so much going on in Greenwood as far as restaurants and shopping right now - it is really moving towards even more of an urban center than it has been in the past. One caution: the center of Greenwood is a bog, so look at places out of the bog area to avoid potential sinking problems....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
Buy a 2, 3, or 4 plex FHA or other programs add in the rental income so you qualify for the higher loan amount, still as little as 3% down and liberal debt/income ratios If you are still lookin, look north (Everett)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
Don't be in too much of a hurry to buy...but this is a good time. However, as James stated...you are probably fine holding out price wise for at least a while under the current market conditions. Make sure you have all of your finances in order and are comfortable adding a mortgage payment (and possibly home owners dues) to your current bills.

Most importantly....find a mortgage broker now and begin discussing what you can afford. Worst case is they can give you direction on what you have left to do to be able to afford that first place. Until you have talked to a mortgage broker you really can't focus your search as you should.

Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.agentsamuel.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
The best thing you can do right now is get with a trusted mortgage (home loan) advisor to get a snapshot of where you are financially. What do you qualify for and will there be any changes to your financial situation that may improve your ability to purchase. I personally think we will all be very surprised that house/condo prices will start to increase. I've seen Seller concessions go away in many areas. Inventory is low and the trend seems to be continuing, putting pressure on housing prices to increase. Since February of this year, the real estate market has taken a dramatic turn upward. In many cases, it can be hard to outpace prices by waiting. There are some good down payment assistance programs that may be available to you as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2012
Seattle has great down payment grant loans.... you need to make a little less than the $45 but sometimes people exagerate. Maybe a fixer condo, $150-230 in the easy to commute central area. Build equity, fix it up and in a few years you will have real dollars for a bigger place. Mark 801-860-7658
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2008

You may want to try shopping a little further out. Shoreline, Edmonds, Bothell. Another option are co-ops. There are a few restrictions, but they are generally considerably cheaper then condos. One other thought might be a duplex. rent out half and live in the other.

As far as the student loans are concerned, you may want to consider consolidating them. When I did it significantly reduced my monthly payments. Student loans are considered less harshly against your credit rating. Try saving up at least 3% of your estimated purchase price as well. That will significantly reduce both your private mortgage insurance and interest rate.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
You could currently buy a nice condo,or even a home if you are willing to commute a ways! I just sold a very nice 2 bedroom condo with garage in Puyallup for $170,000.There is also a first time buyers assistance program here in Pierce County and I was able to get her $20,000.from Pierce County to put down that she does not have to pay back,therefore making her loan only $150,000.And this was a brand new condo with stainless steele appliances! The income was only $2500.00 per month and her payment is going to be $1096.00 per month plus condo dues! If you want to buy in Pierce County,you can get a very nice place now! Why wait! If you would like more info.please give me a call anytime! Mark McFarland (Windermere Real Estate)253-230-7142....Thank You!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
E Ellis, if you do find that you are ready to buy a place, be sure to augment Trulia's home search with an MLS search. There are lots of sites offering MLS search and they all have the same properties. There are many homes and condos on other sites not available here.
Web Reference: http://estately.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 4, 2007
E Ellis,
Have you talked with a mortgage broker about finding out what you DO qualify for? -- They can give you an estimate without pulling your credit report-- as long as you know your score and know all your debts that would appear on the report. I would say start there--otherwise you will be spinning your wheels.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 2, 2007
I thought I would clarify my location. I have just completed my Masters degree and relocated to Seattle from Bellingham for a permanent position. I had not updated my avatar (updated now). I am interested in the North Seattle area and prefer pedestrian friendly neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Ballard, Phinney, Fremont, and Greenwood.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Also, having student loans shouldn't hurt you. In fact, it helps you gain credit history. Make sure you either pay them on time, or get the payment automated so you don't have to think about it. ----This of course is assuming you have an average student debt amount. (not private college fees)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
You have to make a choice of what is more important to you--Your' location, or home ownership.
You can get into a condo in North Seatlte or Shoreline--but would you be okay with that? If you see your income doubling in the nest 1-2 yeas, I would wait and buy then. But, if you see yourself only making 5% increases every year in your salary AND you really want to own....then I would look outside of Ballard--one of the most expensive neighborhoods. There are still condos at $200K, or a little lower. just expand your search to other neighborhoods.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
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