Preparation is Key to Buying a New Home in a Hot Housing Market

What do you really want in a new home? You’ve already determined your price range and what neighborhoods are most convenient in terms of proximity to work and social activities but in this market where inventory levels are at an all-time low, be sure you have an exact plan before embarking on your search.

Make a List:

Make a list of amenities that are must haves and stick to them. And remember, even if you don’t plan on children, the quality of new-home-washingtonthe school district can affect resale values. Be sure and have your 2 to 3 “must haves” on your list and 2 to 3 “deal breakers” so you can have a clear mind when searching for your new home.

Time on Market:

If you do find your perfect house, work with your agent to ensure your offer price is right now. Factors to consider:

Time on market. If this home is new to the market or new within 30 days, be sure and put forth a strong offer to ensure you are not bumped.

Evaluate the comps. Is the price in-line with comparable houses that just sold? If the comp is of a house that has sold more than 60-days, the comparable should account for a price increase. To calculate this, use an average percentage that the market has increases.

How Old Is the Home:

What is the age of the home and are the most important areas of the home up to par?  Evaluate the plumbing and electrical and ensure they are in reasonable shape. You should also find out the age of the water heater (they typically only last about 10 years) and the furnace. If the appliances are being sold with the home, their age could be a factor as well.

Assessments Due:

If the new home you are considering buying is in a community with a homeowners association, be sure and do your research to ensure there are no outstanding fees due.


When searching for a home, many homebuyers tend to think of their “current” needs and wants as opposed to their “future” needs and wants. You may not have children and don’t plan on having children, but for re-sell consider the school district in your search. Never say never to re-sale as all of our situations can change. This map provides information on school districts:


In this market, you will need to the best guidance possible in ensuring you get the new home that you want. Using a real estate agent is more important than ever to ensure you get the advice and recommendations that give you the advantage over other buyers.



Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.