First-time home buyers usually find the whole process more than a little intimidating and daunting and so have tons of questions they need answers to. There is indeed a lot to understand and many pieces that have to be in place. Otherwise, you run the risk of making an enormously costly mistake in the largest financial transaction of your life. Really, though, it’s not all that difficult if you’re forearmed with some knowledge. And that’s why we’ve created this beginner’s guide to home buying in Los Angeles.
A Beginners Guide To Home Buying In Los Angeles
Determine What You Can Really Afford
The first admonishment in any beginner’s guide to home buying in Los Angeles should be to determine how much home you can actually afford. And that means looking at much more than just the sale price.
Typically, you should try to put 20% down, the home should cost no more than three to five times your annual household income, and you should not have a great amount of other debt. There are, however, other financial considerations that go into determining what you can really afford. You’ll also have to factor in property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, possibly HOA fees, repair and maintenance costs, and all your other recurring monthly expenses.
Get Prequalified and Preapproved
Once you’ve determined how much home you can afford, it’s time to get prequalified and preapproved for the mortgage. Your lender will review your financial information and then let you know how much they will lend you. Then you need to get your pre-approval letter. This will show sellers that they won’t have to wait for you to get approved for a loan and that you are a serious buyer. The upshot is that you’ll have more negotiating leverage.
Start Shopping and Then Make an Offer
This may seem like an overly obvious step in a guide to home buying in Los Angeles, but the trick is getting it in the right place – after you’ve figured out what you can afford and after you’ve been preapproved. And you will want to lean on the expertise of your agent during the offer and negotiations process. With her experience and expertise, your agent can help you get a better deal. Find out more by calling 562-881-9811.
Have an Inspection Done
Your lender will likely require an inspection, but you should insist on one as well for your protection. Sellers aren’t always as forthcoming in the disclosure process as they should be. That’s why this is an important element of our guide to home buying in Los Angeles.
An inspection will ensure that the home doesn’t have any structural damage or major flaws and so us typically a contingency of the purchase. Your agent can help you set up the inspection soon after your offer has been accepted. If, however, the inspection turns up any problems, then you’ll have to go back to the negotiating table to get the sale price lowered, the repairs made, or a combination of both.
Choose the Best Mortgage for You and Get an Appraisal
You may already be pre-approved for a mortgage, but you still have to choose the mortgage that best fits your needs and financial situation. You can, for example, choose between a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage. Both your lender and your agent can advise you here.
Then you’ll have to get a third-party appraisal done. Both you and your lender will need to know if the home is actually worth what you will be paying for it. And, again, if the appraisal comes in lower than expected, you’ll likely have to renegotiate or reconsider.
Get the Paperwork in Order and Close
Buying a home involves a mountain of paperwork. So before you actually close, you need to gather all the pertinent documents and make sure everything is in order. You do want to make sure that the seller is the actual owner of the home, don’t you? Many people choose to use the services of a real estate attorney at this point.
Then it’s time to close – to sign the dotted lines, hand over the check, and get the keys to your new home. Typically, it from a couple to a few days for your loan to be funded after your lender receives the signed paperwork. But once the seller gets the check, you can start moving.
Find a Good, Local Agent
No guide to buying a home in Los Angeles helps you find the home you have been dreaming of! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you! 562-881-9811