Buying a home can seem fairly intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Yes, there are some complex financial issues involved and some even more confusing legal matters. Still, the process of buying a home in Los Angeles can be quite manageable if you understand the process beforehand and if you tackle it step by step. So here’s a brief explanation of the standard home-buying process. 28% of your monthly gross income will go toward your house… But there’s more.
You also have to make sure you have enough cash reserves left over after making the down payment to cover any unexpected expenses or repairs. Then you still have to figure in property taxes and insurance. And don’t forget that you have utility bills to be paid monthly.
Determine the Best Mortgage and Get Pre-Approved
After you’ve figured out what you can really afford, the next step in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles is to determine the best kind of mortgage for your situation. Generally, this means choosing between a fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage. After that, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage so that you will know exactly how much your lender will finance and that they will, in fact, do it. That way, you don’t waste your time or the seller’s time when you approach the phase of making an offer.
Determine Your Must-Have Features
You’ve talked about it and thought about it, and you have a clear idea of what you want in a home. But the reality is you seldom find exactly what you want – a home with everything you had in mind. Then the next part of the process of buying a home in Los Angeles involves determining your must-have features.
Before you begin the actual house hunting, then, need to know what features you have to have in a home – for example, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, proximity to shopping, fenced-in yard, triple-pane windows, in-ground pool, and so on. Once you’ve determined your must-have features, then you’ll know what features fall into the nice-to-have category. Doing this will streamline your house hunting significantly.
Now it’s time to start shopping and house hunting, which is the fun part. Most people these days begin the search for a home online, using resources like Trulia. Then, after discovering several possibilities, you can hop in your car and start viewing the homes you’re interested in. An agent can be a great asset at this stage – helping you find homes with your must-have features and helping you avoid wasting time and effort in your search.
Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home that meets all your criteria, especially price and features, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and make an offer. This is where you need some negotiating skill so you don’t come out on the short end of the stick.
You should have a good idea, from both your own and your agent’s research, of what similar homes in the immediate area have recently sold for. This will let you know the reasonable price range for making an offer. Then, obviously, you don’t want to make too high an offer and wind up paying more than you have to, but neither do you want to lowball and insult the seller who may then retract the offer to sell to you. Knowing how long the house has been on the market works to your advantage as well. If it has sat on the market unsold for a long period, then a lower offer is more likely to be accepted.
Go Over the Contract and Submit Mortgage Application
Next in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles is going over the contract, especially the contingency clauses, to make sure everything is satisfactory. If everything in the contract meets your approval and the home has passed inspection, then you move on to submitting the mortgage application. And then all you have to do is close.
The final step in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles is, of course, closing. But before you sign those papers, be sure to do a walk-through to make sure nothing has changed since the inspection. Also, it’s a good idea to review copies of the paperwork beforehand. After that, if everything is satisfactory, you can sign the dotted line and get the keys to your new home.