How Do I Know if I am Ready to Buy a Home?

Are you ready to buy a home?

You want to buy a home. How do you know if you are ready? Ask yourself these questions: Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income steady? How is my bill payment record. That will be determined by your credit report? How many long-term debts to I have? Car payments, student loan, etc. How much money do I have saved for a downpayment? Do I have enough money to make payments every month … [Read more...]

How Does Buying a Home Compare With Renting?

Buying a home vs renting, the benefits

One can get very comfortable in a rental situation, but there is no comparison between owning your own home and renting. There are a couple of advantages to renting: one is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities, and the other is not having to worry about making your mortgage payments should your financial situation fluctuate. But by renting you are paying someone else's mortgage and you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits and protect yourself … [Read more...]

What is a Piggyback Loan and How Does it Work?

Definition of a Piggyback Loan

 Definition and Purpose of a Piggyback Loan:  To reduce the amount of the first loan amount, used in addition to a Borrower's own funds (Down Payment). Advantages of Using a Piggyback Loan:  The Piggyback is typically used to reduce the first loan amount to an 80% level, so as to eliminate the cost of Mortgage Insurance, or to conform to certain programs' requirements of a 20% Down Payment.    A Piggyback Loan can also reduce loan amounts of first mortgages down below a Jumbo … [Read more...]

The New Year is Coming. Get Your Real Estate Ducks in a Row

Get everything ready to sell or buy a home in Los Angeles in 2015

We are nearing the end of yet another year. 2015 is coming. So what are your real estate goals for next year? Are you thinking of buying a home in Los Angeles? Are you thinking of selling your Los Angeles home? If you find some spare time during the busy holiday season it would be a good time to set your goals for 2015. What is the situation with buying a home in Los Angeles right now? Mortgage interest rates are still low, under 4%. However prices are high. So you may be tempted to see … [Read more...]

What’s the Difference Between a Co-op and a Condominium?

Co-op ownership explained

If you live in New York you are going to know what co-op housing is since it makes up the majority of residential units in that city. Los Angeles is the direct opposite of New York. The majority of buildings are condominiums. In a co-op the resident does not own the unit. They have an interest in the building and a share in the stock which allows them to live in a unit in the building. There is usually a co-op association which is a corporation which owns the entire building, including all … [Read more...]

Google is Expanding in Los Angeles. How’s the Housing Market?

Playa Vista homes for sale

Google is expanding its presence in Los Angeles buying 12 acres in the Playa Vista development. It is estimated that this will bring in as many as 6,000 employees. This, coupled with the huge growth of the tech industry in the general area known as "Silicon Beach", is of course good news for the local economy in general and the real estate industry in particular. Where are all of these people going to live, especially in the sellers' market that is Los Angeles real estate at … [Read more...]

Looking For Foreclosures and Deals in L.A? Are You Sure?

Foreclosures are not all they are cracked up to be

It is human nature to want a deal, and there are times in the housing market you can find one, especially in a down market. But this is a case of be careful what you wish for. From around mid-2008 to late 2012 during the recession the housing market collapsed, but L.A. was not hit quite as hard as most markets in terms of foreclosures and short sales. We had our share but again nothing like really depressed communities. Foreclosures and short sales still seem to be on the radar for many … [Read more...]

Guide to Buying a Home in Los Angeles for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals buying a home in Los angeles

The purchase of properties in Los Angeles by foreign nationals has seen a healthy growth lately and many may not be familiar with the mechanics. Hopefully the summary below will help shed light on what is really not such an overwhelming process. Step 1 Most foreign buyers are going to be all cash as it is difficult to get a loan. Should getting a loan be an option then a pre-qualification/approval will be required from the lender before an offer can be made. For cash buyers proof of … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Homes for Sale. The Calm Before the Storm?

Renting a Home in Santa Monica, Santa Monica Rental Properties

Wouldn't it be lovely if we all had a crystal ball? We would know exactly the right time to buy and the right time to sell real estate. We would wait until the top of the market to sell our home or the bottom of the market to buy. Gauging the top or the bottom of the market is extremely difficult and we would all be millionaires if we had that skill. So when is the right time? Sorry, I don't have a crystal ball so I cannot tell you definitively. What I will tell you is, the right time is … [Read more...]

Buying a Home in Los Angeles With Resale in Mind

Do upgrades add value to your home?

You may not be buying a home in Los Angeles for an investment but having resale value in mind is a natural consideration. Barring any unforeseen calamities if you hold on to your property for at least five years then you should see a nice return. How can you maximize your return? Here are some factors to consider: Schools Buying in a good school district, or in an area served by a particularly good school is going to almost guarantee you an easy resale. If you have children this is … [Read more...]

5 Biggest Homebuyer Mistakes And What You Can Do About Them

Avoid these 5 mistakes when buying a home in Los Angeles

In today's sellers' market buying a home in Los Angeles is a competitive process, and a buyer cannot afford to make any mistakes if they truly want to become a homeowner. Prices are high but mortgage rates are low. Timing the market is difficult so if you are really motivated to find a home here are 5 major mistakes to avoid. Little knowledge of the market. Take time to understand the current conditions. Not doing so will lead you to make bad decisions in your buying process. A sellers' … [Read more...]

Will I Benefit by Using the Listing Agent to Buy a Home?

Are you ready to buy a home?

If you are in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles and come across a listing on my website you are actually looking at a feed from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provided by the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) to which I am subscribed. I am probably not the listing agent. I often get calls about "your listing" and proceed to tell the caller that I am not the listing agent but will certainly be able to help them. Sometimes they will ask me for the name of the listing agent, and this is … [Read more...]

Should I Sell my Home Before Buying?

Buying a home vs renting, the benefits

If you are thinking of selling your Los Angeles home you are going to be in one of the following situations: Looking to move up or downsize. Changing school districts Moving to a new city In any event, if you are selling your home you are going to have to live somewhere, and if you are buying another place then you will need to plan carefully, because with the shortage of inventory in many markets you are going to have to have all your ducks in a row. So, should you sell your … [Read more...]

Don’t Make the Mistakes I Made. Invest in Real Estate.

If you can afford it buying a home is the best investment you can make

O.K., I admit it. I am a Realtor® who does not own property. Had I started in this business earlier then I probably would have realized that one of the best investments you can make in your life is to buy real estate. I did own for a short period around 20 years ago, but it was a bad investment, and I sold it nine months after buying for reasons included below*. You only have to do the math to realize that if there is any way you can make it work buying is going to cost you less over the … [Read more...]

What You Need to Know About The Wilshire Corridor

Checking in on the Wilshire Corridor condo market

If you are thinking of buying or renting a condo on the Wilshire Corridor there are some facts to consider. Also known as The Golden Mile, the Corridor is an approximately 2-mile stretch of luxury high-rise condominium buildings which runs from just east of Westwood Village to the west side of the Los Angeles Country Club. There are 31 of these buildings but not all of them will provide what a buyer or renter is looking for. Often people new to the area are not familiar with the prices. … [Read more...]

A Guide to Finding a Home in Los Angeles. Don’t do it Alone!

Buying or Renting a home in L.A.? Don't go it alone

If you are unrepresented, when you first start looking for a home for sale or rent in Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter, you will be faced with so many choices. The search term "buying a home in Los Angeles" will bring you 77 million plus results. If you are more specific, for instance "buying a condo on the Wilshire Corridor", you will be faced with a "mere" 175,000 results. So what happens next?  You find yourself interested in a particular property you find on aggregator sites … [Read more...]

Calculating Your Monthly Payments When Buying a Home in L.A.

Calculating your mortgage when buying ahome in L.A.

You are thinking about buying a home in Los Angeles but are wondering how your monthly payments would change compared with what you are paying now for a rental. Of course your first step will be to talk to a lender who will give you a more accurate estimate and determine the amount of property you qualify for, but before you go that route here is a simple way to get an idea: Let's base our calculations on the purchase of a home at $750,000 and a mortgage interest rate around 4.5%. It is … [Read more...]

What Offer Should I Make When Buying a Home in Los Angeles?

Buying a home in L.A. What kind of offer should I make?

If you are buying a home in Los Angeles and have been in the market for a while, you may not have this question on your mind.  You may be giving it everything you've got to finally be able to call somewhere home. However it is human nature to try and get a "deal". No one wants to overpay.  It is important to keep one thing in mind. If you love the home, and you want it, if you end up with the home you did not overpay. Setting aside appraisals, comps, etc. a home is only worth what someone is … [Read more...]

To Buy to Sell to Rent? Is Your Head Spinning?

To buy, to rent, to sell. Is your head spinning?

It's a strange phase in the Los Angeles real estate cycle right now, and as in any economic cycle there are winners and losers.  So who are the biggest winners right now? Landlords/Investors After the recession homeowners who were forced to sell are still unable to get back into the housing market, either because of credit issues or because they are being priced out of the market by the competition. There is a shortage of inventory, and there are many cash buyers with deep pockets swooping … [Read more...]

L.A. Home Buyers and Renters, Appreciate Your Realtor@

Appreciate your Realtor®

There are good and bad eggs in every basket, so I wonder why the services of the real estate agent, especially when it comes to home buyers and renters, is often taken for granted and under-appreciated. Where else do you get the kind of services we offer and the results we provide at no cost to you? Yes of course agents get paid by the seller (or landlord) and quite well depending on the area we cover and properties we sell, but we often end up spending our time, gas and energy for no … [Read more...]