Buying a Home in Seattle

How Much Cash Do I Need to Buy a $1 Million House in Seattle?

If you want to buy a $1 million house in Seattle, how much cash do you need on hand? 

Now, you might be thinking that $1 million is a ton of money. And it is! But in Seattle at the moment, our median home price is right around $768,000 (as of writing this in April 2023). This means that *many* homes on the market are closer to that $1 million benchmark. 

So: What is the minimum amount of cash you need to buy a $1 million house in Seattle?

You guessed it: This answer is going to be different for everyone. However, here are a few big factors that will affect how much cash you will need to buy that $1 million home: 

You don’t have to have a 20% downpayment. 

Like my Get Happy at Home teammate Marta pointed out in her blog “Financing Options You Need to Know About As a First-Time Home Buyer in Seattle,” you don’t need to have 20% down. 

In fact, in 2023, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that first-time home buyers typically put down 6%. This number will be different for everyone, so talking with a lender is the best way to truly figure out how much of a downpayment you will need. (We have a few lenders we can recommend if you’d like to explore options!) 

There are many different interest rate options. 

The interest rate % you see on the news is not necessarily what you’ll be able to get. And there are a ton of ways to lower your interest rate, including an interest rate buy down. This means that when you close on your home, either you or the seller (the seller, if you negotiate it) pays money upfront that allows you to get a lower interest rate. 

Your interest rate will affect how much your monthly mortgage payment will be, which may affect how much cash you’ll need to buy that $1 million home. So you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of:

– How much of a downpayment you’ll make

– The interest rate you’ll be able to get

– How much of an interest buy down you want to do (if any) 

– How this will all affect your monthly payment

– How much of a monthly mortgage payment you can afford 

It can feel confusing and like a lot to juggle, but you don’t need to figure this out all by yourself. A lender will walk you through every step, and we’re happy to help you through this process, too! 

If you’d like to learn more about interest rates, my teammate Ryan wrote this awesome blog: Should I Wait for Interest Rates to Come Down Before I Buy a Home? (It’s a must-read if you’re really trying to understand this stuff.) 

Hot tip: If you’re out there shopping for interest rates, keep in mind that the lender with the lowest interest rate is NOT always the best choice—who your lender is will be key to actually reaching closing day and getting the deal done.

There are other costs associated with buying a home that you’ll need to factor in. 

Closing costs, moving costs, making updates to your new home, buying furniture, spending money to break a lease… These are all expenses you need to consider and factor into your budget. 

We’re happy to help you weigh all of your options. And if you’re planning to buy a home this year (or even next year), it’s really never too early to reach out to us. We can help you strategize and make a plan. Get in touch with us here! 

Want to know more?


Matt Miner

Real estate guru and Seattle know-it-all


In everything that I do as your REALTOR®, I have one guiding principle in mind: To make certain that your home-buying or selling experience is a happy, successful, wonderful life experience! We build trust and security with our clients using knowledge and transparency.