Is there a particular reason you are specifically looking only in Kirkland? If you are being re-located for business reasons you may want to consider a corporate housing option until you have time to better analyze the market. Kirkland is one of and close to some of the nicest Seattle suburbs. Unless there is a particular school for your children or some other reason you must be in Kirkland, you should study the market a bit to confirm 100% that another area may suit your needs even better. There are many comparable areas within a short driving distance if you don't have to be in Kirkland.
Now is the time to buy for numerous reasons. You have the capital to move swiftly, rates are low, prices are low, and many Seller's/developers are over-extended. Regardless, even in a good market, it is never a good idea to buy unless you are willing to hold for a minimum of five years. That is typically the amount of time it will take for you to cover your commissions and closing costs. You definately need to interview local agents, find one you feel comfortable with, and make sure you engage one who is a seasoned Buyer's agent who has a handle on the market. A strong agent can make short work out of the available properties in the current market.
You will find a dramatic difference in per square foot pricing compared to what you are used to coming out of a Co-op in Manhattan. Don't move too quickly because you are used to values in the 1,000's of dollars per square foot, but be prepared to move when the right deal presents itself. Don't be afraid to present multiple offers far below the asking prices with aggressive terms or a lease with rights to purchase. If you go with a lease, a two year minimun with one or two additional year extensions will be important. Make sure you have provisions that the property can not be listed for sale or be shown during the lease term, no for sale/available sign, and try to lock in a favorable purchase price in advance.
A local agent who is well established will not mind handling a transaction that has a good likelyhood to turn into a purchase as opposed to pushing for a purchase only to get paid quickly.
We can provide a good agent referral if you need one.
Musikantow & Associates
Keller Williams Beverly Hills
439 N. Canon Drive Suite 300
Beverly Hills, California 90210
Russ Lyon Realty Scottsdale
7150 East Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85253
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