First-Time Buyers: “Redfin Made Our First Purchase Stress-Free”

As Seattle first-time home buyers enter the market this season, we decided to check in with recent first-time customers to get their advice on the whole process.

Meet Katie and Bryan

Katie and Bryan's new home

We both just got jobs in Seattle and started looking for homes in November 2008 on Redfin. We knew we wanted to buy this year to start building equity and researched homes in Lynnwood, Edmonds and West Seattle. We loved getting Redfin’s listing alert emails so we could keep track of price changes for our favorite homes.

After touring a few homes, we contacted Redfin agent Loren Ellingson to talk about making an offer on a home in West Seattle. We were a little nervous about starting the process and had a couple concerns:

  • Earnest Money: We didn’t want to lose our earnest money deposit if we needed to pull out of the deal. Loren explained to us that we’d have contingency periods for inspections and financing that would allow us to back out of the offer and get our deposit back.
  • Addendums: We worried about all the addendums to the negotiation contracts, but Loren answered all of our questions. He responded to our emails within minutes and would even call later in the evening. We closed on our home on May 8th and couldn’t be happier with Redfin’s service. Loren went above and beyond what we ever expected in an agent.”

Katie & Bryan’s Tips for Future Buyers:

1. Start searching early: spend a lot of time looking at homes, monitoring price changes and make a list of everything you want in a home.
2. Don’t get your hopes up: buying a home can be an emotional and stressful process, especially in this market. Be realistic about what you can afford.
3. Learn about mortgages: do research on the different types of loans available. Take a lending class so you know exactly what’s involved in the application process and what you’re getting into. We shopped around a bit and ended up getting the best rates at BECU.
4. Communication is key: make sure you stay in close contact with both your lender and agent. Redfin did a fantastic job of keeping us informed at each step and letting us know what we needed to do.

Katie also filed the 1040X amendment form for her 2008 tax return to claim the first-time home buyers credit on the day her deal closed. “The form was easy to fill out and I mailed it in, but I still haven’t received the refund,” she said. It usually takes around 8 – 10 weeks to receive your check after you file the amendment.

Any other first-time buyers out there with advice? Just let us know!