Buying a home is a BIG step, both financially and in how it will affect your lifestyle. You will, after all, more than likely be paying on that mortgage for the next 15 to 30 years. So you want to do everything you can – especially avoiding common buyer mistakes – to ensure you don’t regret your home-purchasing decision. And the best way to do that is to learn from others’ mistakes. To help you out, then, we offer these top 5 mistakes buyers make when buying a house in Los Angeles.
1. Not Getting Preapproved
A common mistake buyers make is to simply assume they’ll get a mortgage for a house. They often have a steady income, low debt, and a good payment history, and so they happily set out on their home search. But it sometimes turns out that after all that time and energy invested in home shopping, they find out that they can’t qualify for as much financing as they need to buy that dream home.
Also, they may indeed be able to qualify for the needed mortgage, but without getting preapproved, they lose a lot of negotiating leverage.“You might,” as top industry pros put it, “know that you’ll be approved for a mortgage loan based on your steady income, your low debt-to-income ratio, and your high credit score – but the seller probably doesn’t know that. The only way to prove to the seller that you’re a qualified buyer is to be [preapproved].”
Another of the related mistakes buyers make when buying a house in Los Angeles is that they only get prequalified for a mortgage, not preapproved. “Prequalification means that you simply told your lender your financial story. Preapproval involves submitting a mortgage application, complete with providing verifying documents. Preapproval from a reputable lender is key . . . Presenting this shows the seller that the buyer has already set the wheels in motion and is serious about making [the deal] a reality.”
2. Considering Only One Lender
When it comes to mistakes buyers make on the money end, considering only one lender is a big one. As with anything else, it pays to comparison shop.
Going with the first lender can wind up costing you a lot of money over the long haul or, at the very least, slow the whole purchasing process down. “First-time buyers,” experts say,“might get a mortgage from the first (and only) lender or bank they talk to, potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table. A good mortgage loan officer can look at your situation and diagnose any potential roadblocks ahead to give you a clear understanding of your home-buying options . . . The more you shop around, the better basis for comparison you’ll have to ensure you’re getting a good deal and the lowest rates possible.”
It’s best to talk to a minimum of three different lenders and possibly a mortgage broker. You’ll want to compare interest rates, as well as lender fees and loan terms. And don’t forget to consider customer service because that’s always an important consideration.
3. Buying Too Much House and Not Factoring in All Costs
It’s not at all uncommon for homebuyers to purchase more house than they can actually afford. This is one of the main mistakes Los Angelesbuyers make that end up resulting in buyer’s remorse. Or, even worse in this case, if you fall on hard financial times, you might lose the home altogether,
In calculating affordability you have to factor in a lot more than just the monthly mortgage payment. There are many “hidden” costs involved in buying a home, for example:
- Closing costs
- Private mortgage insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Property taxes
- HOA fees
- Maintenance and repairs
To get a good handle on what purchasing the home will really cost and whether you can actually afford it, talk to your local real estate agent. Your agent can help you run the numbers on such things as insurance, taxes, and utility bills. To find out more, just call 562-881-9811.
4. Concentrating on the House Over the Neighborhood
Buyers also often forget that they will be living not just in the house, but in the neighborhood as well. This mistake buyers make means that they wind up loving the home, but hating the neighborhood.
Here’s what real estate pros advise: “Being nitpicky about a home’s cosmetics, however, can be short-sighted if you wind up in a neighborhood you hate . . . Selecting the right [neighborhood] is critical to your life and family development . . .The goal is to find you and your brood a place where the culture and values of the (area) match yours. You can always trade up or down for a new home; add a third bathroom or renovate a basement.”
Again, this is where your local agent can be a valuable asset. She will know the personality of the neighborhood and can help you determine whether it will be a good fit.
5. Not Using the Right Agent
Perhaps the most disastrous of the mistakes buyers make when buying a house in Los Angeles is not using the right agent. Certainly, you don’t want an inexperienced or incompetent agent, but you need to consider a lot more than experience and ability. First, you need a local real estate agent, one who thoroughly understands the area where you want to buy. In addition, your agent should be accessible and always looking out for your best interests. We have the agents who can provide what you need. To discover more, send us a message or give us a call today at 562-881-9811.