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Tips to Make Homebuying Easier in a Seller’s Market

April 2, 2018

By: Peoples Bank for The Bellingham Herald | The Bellingham Herald

Last year, Washington state ranked second highest in the county in terms of annual appreciation of home prices. In Whatcom County, home values rose 12.2 percent compared to a year earlier, according the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Low inventory and strong demand creates challenges and opportunities for first time home-buyers. The experienced real estate lending team at Peoples Bank offers these tips to help you successfully navigate a sellers’ market and get the keys to your dream home.

Check Your Credit

The first thing we encourage prospective homebuyers to do is make sure their credit is in order. Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Transunion, to ensure that the information is correct and up to date. Go to and request your free credit report online, by phone or via mail. It does not affect your credit score to use this site.

You have the option to view each credit bureau report online and can submit requests to correct any errors or discrepancies you find. You will have to pay a fee to see your credit score, if desired. You may already have a credit card that offers free credit score monitoring, which you can use to track how you’re doing throughout the year.

Begin saving and create a budget

Along with getting your credit in order, you’ll need to save up enough money for a down payment and closing costs. You will also need to have funds set aside to pay for a Home Inspection, the Earnest Money Deposit and the Loan Application Deposit, plus one to two months of payment reserves.

Don’t forget to consider the additional expenses associated with owning your own home, such as property taxes, insurance, homeowner association dues, water, sewer and garbage fees. You will also be responsible for maintaining the property itself. As a homeowner, you can’t just call your landlord when something needs to be fixed.

Budgeting for a payment you are comfortable with and can afford, along with setting aside funds for regular maintenance and repairs, is an essential part of planning for your purchase. Read more...