by Rebekah Bell
Few things are more exhilarating (and nerve-racking!) than buying a home. From getting approved for a loan to making a final offer, there are so many steps that it can feel a little daunting at first glance. As long-time realtors in the Los Angeles area, we’ve helped hundreds of first-time buyers find their dream homes, and along the way, we’ve accumulated some helpful tips to guide others. Here are five of our best tips for buying a home.
Don’t Shop Before Speaking With a Lender
Good homes go fast, so you should be fully prepared before you begin. Start by speaking with a lender to determine what kind of loan you qualify for. Bonus points: The lender will be able to paint a more accurate picture of how much you can expect to pay in fees and closing costs (which can be as much as 6 percent of the loan amount). Letting real estate agents and potential sellers know you have a pre-approved loan offer shows that you are a serious buyer rather than someone who is casually searching.
Don’t Max Out Your Budget
Your pre-approval amount is not necessarily the right amount you should spend on a home (nor is it the price range you should be exclusively considering). After receiving your pre-approval amount from the lender, sit down and calculate exactly how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a mortgage each month. Don’t forget to factor in unexpected costs, like money for repairs or new furnishings for the home.
By planning ahead and figuring out exactly how much you can comfortably spend, you can enjoy all the excitement of purchasing a property without the stress and anxiety of figuring out how to afford it. Here are additional tips for an easy and budget-friendly home buying process.
Be Ready to Go All In
The housing market is hot right now, so it’s important to act decisively. Once you find a house that you’re head over heels for, don’t be afraid to go all-in with a strong offer. A word to the wise: You might experience a bit of heartbreak along the way—it’s not uncommon for someone else with a better offer to come along and snap up the house you had your eye on. But with fortitude, resilience and willingness to go all-in once you’re ready to make an offer, you’ll find a house that is right for you.
See the Potential
When house hunting, it’s easy to fixate on minor issues that don’t truly matter — like the color of a certain room or the aesthetic of the kitchen cabinets. Instead of searching for the best-looking house, be willing to see the potential in a home that needs some work in a great area. You can easily fix minor cosmetic issues, repaint rooms, or give a fresh facelift kitchen or bathroom. Forgo the flashiest house on the block in favor of one in a great area that you can easily customize to suit your preferences.
When it comes to buying a house, there’s no time like the present. If you can afford to buy a house and believe it would improve your quality of life, don’t be afraid to act when you see something you like. (One caveat: You might want to consider waiting for a bit if you’re looking at income property, as there might be a dip happening.)
If you’re looking for a house in the Los Angeles area, contact our team today. We can help guide you through the process and find a new home that checks off every item on your list.
Rebekah Bell is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.