Ready for some Seattle housing market hacks that will get you in the market and a new home?

It’s been a very interesting year in the Seattle real estate market. It is no probably the most attractive time to buy a house in Seattle, WA than it has been in a long time. If you buy smart there are many benefits of moving to a new place in the Emerald City and surrounding neighborhoods. Even though you may fear there could be some challenges in the process, it is worth it.

Whether you are taking advantage of current house prices to move up and upgrade your lifestyle, are looking to downsize and improve your financial situation, or are just embracing a change of scenery with a new location, or are even wanting to invest in property, there are lots of opportunities for you.

Check out these Seattle housing market hacks to navigate changes in the market, new lending guidelines, and the costs, so you can claim all the advantages of buying that new home this year.

Finding A Good Deal On A Home

The first step is to ensure you are not overpaying. This will not just put you in a good equity position, but will make the whole loan process easier. You won’t have to worry about appraisal issues, and Seattle mortgage lenders will be eager to make your loan.

So, have a good basic understanding of what home prices are in the Seattle neighborhoods you are interested in. Pay attention to whether those home prices are going up or down. Don’t rely on asking prices. What really matters is how much homes are actually selling for. This can often be much lower.

Look for trends in price cuts and more homes being listed on the market. This means the market is more competitive for sellers, and you have more power to negotiate lower prices.

New construction properties are typically priced right at the top, if not at the top of the market. Definitely avoid the builder’s model if you want to get the lowest deal.

You can save a lot by buying a fixer upper. It can mean work, or delaying some improvements until you have the cash, though you might get a lot more home for the money and in the neighborhood you really want to be in.

When it comes to getting a mortgage, you want to avoid homes that need too much work. Especially those with structural repair needs. These include problems with the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical or pest infestations. However, if it is a little dated or could use some freshening up and minor repairs, there are special loan programs that will even give you the money you want to make these improvements or add energy efficient upgrades, like solar.

Be Creative In What & How You Buy A Home

One of the best Seattle housing market hacks is to buy a two to four family home. Like a duplex, triplex or fourplex. You live in one unit, and can rent the others out. If you get a good price, those other rental units can pay for your mortgage. You can live for free, and your tenants pay for the place for you.

If down payment is an issue, and you have a relative selling a property, you may be able to write the offer with a gift of equity, so that you don’t have to make a cash down payment.

Be sure you are using all of the benefits and special programs available to you. Stay in touch with Seattle’s best mortgage broker to keep on top of these special deals. This can include down payment assistance programs and grants and first time home buyer programs. The VA also recently removed the loan limits for VA home loans. Meaning some have been able to buy fourplexes in Seattle worth $1M, at 100% financing.

Where You Buy A Home

Keep an open mind and be curious about what else is out there. There is a lot more to Seattle housing options than just downtown. No matter what your price range and lifestyle preferences there are options for you.

Be sure to check out our lists of the best Seattle suburbs and cheapest places to live in Seattle. You might be surprised at just how much home you can get.

Find A Good Deal On A Home Loan

Hacking the Seattle housing market is just as much about how you finance your home as the home and how much it costs.

Aside from making sure you are choosing to work with Seattle’s Best Mortgage Broker, this is also about being prepared to sail through the loan application and underwriting.

Watch your credit score. Talk to your mortgage broker about balancing low utilization of credit cards and liquidity. Be sure you have all the loan documents ready that your lender might ask for.

Refinancing Or Selling Your Current Home

There may be more low down payment loan programs than you are aware of. Don’t assume you’ll need 20%, 10% or even 5% down until you ask what you qualify for.

If you already own another property, you may be able to do a cash out refinance to get a better deal on this new home loan. Or there may be home equity loan options. Just be sure you explore these options before listing a property for sale, as that may derail your chances of refinancing.

Multigenerational Homes

If you and other family members are rethinking your housing situation, you may find a multigenerational home a good fit. This may be a larger home in the suburbs, with room for your parents, in-laws, kids or adult kids too. As co-signers together you may qualify for a bigger loan or better interest rate.


Almost everything is negotiable in real estate. The worst they can say is no. Ask the seller to pay your closing costs. Ask your Realtors, insurance agents and others if they can provide any discounts and rebates. It can add up fast.

About the Author

Helping Seattleites buy their dream homes for over 15 years. Founder of Seattle's Mortgage Broker and author of Homeownership Simplified: The Truth about ZERO Down.