Washington State Housing Market: How to Get Your Dream Home Before Winter Sets In 

Homeowners Insurance
October 23, 2023
Young couple with home out in the country

You’ve begun house-hunting in the Evergreen State, and now you’re dealing with sticker shock! Yes, homes can be pretty expensive here. (More on that later.) But if you make savvy decisions to reduce your housing costs, including getting affordable homeowners insurance, you can make your dream of homeownership possible. 

First, let’s look closer at what you might be up against. 

Why Is House-hunting So Challenging in Washington State? 

You already know that housing costs are high, and that’s because Washington is the third most expensive state for home prices in the nation. The median cost of a home here is $668,400. Only residents of California and Hawaii pay more. 

The good news is that people do buy homes in big cities and small towns here all the time. Here are a few ways you can join that crowd. 

Broaden Your Search 

First, a brief math lesson. The term “median” represents the number at the center of a ranking. So, when we say that the median home price in Washington is $668,400, the good news is that exactly half of the housing stock here sells for less than that figure. 

Do you work from home? Does your current job have options for joining this ever-growing group? That doesn’t work for every type of employment, but if you can work remotely it will give you greater geographic flexibility. Maybe you can slip into the next city or county or live in a small town and pay much less for what a home would cost you in a more expensive area. 

What’s important to you? If you have children, it might be worth it to pay more to live in a community with good schools. But if you don’t plan on starting a family, you can consider a location where the schools aren’t great but housing costs are lower. 

Fixer Upper 

No matter where you live, the term “fixer-upper” refers to a home that will sell for less than similar listings because it needs work. Since the biggest expense for any home renovation is labor, consider if you have the experience or instincts to tackle most of the work yourself. 

If you don’t have experience with plumbing, roofing, or whatever you need, try watching YouTube tutorials and see if it looks like something you can realistically handle. 

DIY isn’t for everyone, but if you can do at least some of the work yourself—maybe activities as simple as painting or wallpapering—the savings could be dramatic. 

A woman doing home renovation and painting

Work by Moonlight If You Must 

Moonlighting is that second (or third?) job you take on when you should be dozing in front of the TV. It might not be the way you’d like to spend your after-work hours, but we all sometimes do what we have to do. 

Consider delivering food, turning your car into a rideshare vehicle, or otherwise taking advantage of the gig economy. This will also show your lender an income boost or more of a down payment on those hefty mortgage payments. 

Shop Wisely for Your Homeowners Insurance 

The largest component of your house payment is your mortgage, but your local property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums are likely also included in your mortgage payment. This is also referred to as your PITI (payment, interest, taxes, and insurance). 

Remember, it’s essential to consider the city and county taxes when deciding where to live in Washington. Just like housing costs, taxes vary greatly from one location to another. 

You can also contain your homeowners insurance rates. Start by contacting your insurance agent even before you sign the paperwork. You should be able to get an estimate of what you’ll pay at various deductible levels or with other factors worked in or out. 

Deal with an independent insurance agent for additional savings. An independent broker represents the product lines of many insurers. They can negotiate rates and bring you back the best coverage at the most affordable cost. 

The bottom line is that you can save on your monthly house payment even if you don’t have as much control as you’d like over the mortgage. The savings can be significant when you’re strategic about what you pay in taxes and insurance premiums. 

Find Affordable Home Insurance Today in Washington 

You have your work cut out for you in finding affordable housing in Washington. But your independent agent at Vern Fonk Insurance can help you find homeowners coverage at rates that can help offset a high mortgage and keep you financially protected. 

Just call (800) 455-8276. You can also meet with a Vern Fonk agent at a Washington office location near you or get a quick quote online