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A Guide to Buying a Home in Greater Los Angeles

Greater Los Angeles is a high-end real estate mecca. The region’s lovely weather, amazing landscapes, and unparalleled destinations make it a big lure for high net worth individuals. Some neighborhoods, such as Malibu and Beverly Hills, carry a median price tag of over $10 million. Generally, the median home value in the county is about three times the national average, accounting for smaller-sized homes and single-occupancy condos, as well.

Whether you’re looking to go big or small, buying a home is a process that’s full of opportunities and pitfalls. Caution and diligence are important to ensure you get the best value for your money.

We prepared this guideline to help you achieve success in your home buying journey.

Organize your finances

Many homebuyers in LA pay in cash. If you intend to borrow, however, do get pre-approved. Pre-approval not only assures you that you will most likely qualify for a mortgage, it also tells you how much you can afford. Combine this with the amount of down payment you have set aside and you will have a budget to work with.

Keep in mind that organizing your financing is not just about guiding your buying price. It also means factoring in future costs. If you are a first-time homeowner, you will also now have to become accustomed to paying for utilities and property taxes. Buying into an HOA, co-op, or a townhouse communityalso means paying monthly dues for maintenance of buildings and common areas, and other HOA services.

Another thing to consider is the down payment. The standard down payment rate is 20% but you can go higher or lower than this depending on your credit rating. While a low down payment may sound preferable, thepotential danger to this is that should the market prices fall too quickly, you may end up underwater, owing more money than the property is worth.

Time it right

Los Angeles has been a seller’s market for quite some time. This means that there has been consistently high demand for housing with an inadequate supply of listings. This has turned it into quite a competitive market for buyers who often find themselves in bidding wars.

The best time to make a play for an available property is in the late summer months of June to September. Historically, these months have offered the highest level of listings for the year. This is between the end and start of the school year when families find it most convenient to relocate. Having your finances in order early on can encourage a quick sale.

Be flexible

With more buyers in the market than sellers, there is often a need to compromise. Being flexible about what you want in a home can broaden the range of choices available to you. Try to narrow down to several prospective properties so that if your top pick falls through, you can move on fast to another.

Remember that with multiple bids on a single property it can take time to secure a deal. Consider choices that are below your maximum threshold. This will leave you some room to up the price if you enter into a bidding war.

Even with a must-have list, try to look at the potential of a property to be renovated into what you want. Also, consider outlying areas. Crossing county lines, but still being able to commute to work and school is worth considering.

Work with an experienced Realtor

I know real estate in the Greater Los Angeles area by heart, and I can help you in buying a home in this much coveted part of California. Get in touch with me at 818.667.5108 or 760.459.4130, or send an email to joseph@hklane.com