Our Northwest

Buying a home in a red-hot market

Thursday, July 7, 2016by  Derek Wing

Imagine playing a super-competitive game of musical chairs where there are 50 desperate players, but only one chair. If you’re a potential home buyer in the Northwest, this might be how you’re feeling these days.

Recent statistics show that Portland and Seattle are the top two fastest-growing real estate markets in the nation, meaning that if you live here, the scramble is on to try and buy a home before another person (or eight) beats you to it. Even decaying homes are selling for more than twice their asking price, as the hot housing market has led ordinarily level-headed people to take extraordinary steps for the ‘privilege’ of owning a home.

Take my friend Jonas*, for example. He and his wife Kim* had been looking for a home in the Bellevue, Wash. area for months. Every time they saw one on the market that piqued their interest, either it wasn’t the right home for them or they liked it but got quickly outbid. In one case, someone paid $80,000 over asking price; in another, the winning bidder was an all-cash buyer.

After looking at (and losing out on) more than 25 homes, they decided drastic times called for drastic measures. So they willingly made a choice to overlook some recommended tips for home buyers they would’ve followed in the past. When another home they liked went on the market, they sprang into action and put in an above-asking price offer the very same day it was listed, AND they waived a home inspection. This “combination of desperation” finally helped them land that ever-elusive Northwest home. “It was the only way we could get the house, as there were four other bidders willing to waive the inspection,” Jonas tells me. They needed to act quickly and decisively to ‘win’ their home.

From an insurance perspective, these kinds of stories make me shudder because of all the potential problems one may inherit with a home that hasn’t been inspected. But from a friend perspective, I totally get it. The market is hot and if you wait too long, you’ll miss out. That’s why potential home buyers in the Northwest feel they need to do whatever it takes to grab that chair before the music stops.

Have an interesting Northwest home buying story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Tell us about the unusual steps you took in order to land the perfect home.

*Not their real names        

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