Buying your first house in Los Angeles is a fun and exciting process. You get to decide where you want to live, how many bathrooms you want, and how much you’re willing to spend. But before you head out house-shopping, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re prepared for the process. Here are 6 things you should know about buying your first house in Los Angeles.
GET A REAL ESTATE AGENT
You may be tempted to go through the process on your own, hoping that saving on the additional agents’ fees may convince sellers to sign your contract. However, if you have no experience going house-hunting or negotiating contracts, not having a professional at your side can be dangerous.
Your real estate agent can help you find homes that meet your needs, schedule showings, and can help you determine if the price the sellers are asking is fair.
BUY FOR TOMORROW
While that small little starter home in a rural area may look great to a young couple, it may not look so fabulous after a few years, a couple of kids, and a job change.
You can’t completely anticipate all the life changes that will occur, but if you’ve got plans to get married, have kids, or even just adopt a gaggle of pets, make sure that you’re accounting for the needs of those plans when buying your first home in Los Angeles.
LOOK BEYOND COSMETICS
Paint, flooring, and even some smaller features about a home can be changed. But the overall layout of the home, its location, and many other factors cannot.
Consider the home as a whole when deciding whether or not to make the jump, and realize that you can change that horrible shag carpet, but you won’t be able to easily add a third bedroom.
BUY ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
Mortgage companies want you to take out a large mortgage, as they make more money when they lend you more money. However, if you’ll struggle to pay that mortgage each month, you’re putting yourself in a bad financial position.
Think long and hard about how much you truly can afford to spend and only buy a house up to that line, not over.
ADD THE EXTRAS
Buying your first house in Los Angeles isn’t purely about the cost of your monthly mortgage payments. You’ve still got to pay taxes, HOA fees, utilities, insurance, repairs, and more.
Try to get a ballpark idea of the total cost of ownership of the home using public records and the current owners’ utility bills, then add that amount onto the monthly mortgage payment. Make sure the total is a number you’re comfortable paying each month.
When it comes to buying a home, it’s not only about the price listed on the sign.
Many buyers, especially those desperate to sell, are willing to negotiate things such as appliances, swing sets, and even furniture in order to make the sale. Bartering for all the appliances in your purchase price may be worthwhile if it means you don’t have to turn right around after closing and buy a new washer, dryer, and refrigerator.
Also, if there’s something that you think really needs to be repaired or replaced, such as sketchy flooring or a slightly leaky window, don’t hesitate to ask either for that repair to be taken care of before closing or for a discount on the purchase price to account for the repair.