With record low mortgage interest rates, and low prices buying a home in Los Angeles right now should be a no-brainer for first-time home buyers.
However, here are some mistakes to avoid:
Selecting a Los Angeles Realtor®
Many Los Angeles first-time home buyers, and home buyers in general spend their time online checking out homes and relying on sites like Zillow to provide them with accurate comps.
Understand that working with a Los Angeles Realtor® does not cost you the buyer a penny. You have someone who will send you listings that meet your needs and budget and who will negotiate the best price and conditions for you when your decide to make an offer. Thinking you are going to get a better deal if you go though the listing agent is usually a huge mistake. Buyers think that they will get a better deal through the listing agent. This generally is not the case and even thought that agent is supposed to be neutral in negotiations when representing both sides, they are only human. The Seller pays their commission. Do the math.
Also, the information you get on listings and prices online is almost invariable not up-to-date or accurate. You have nothing to lose by having someone represent your interests and everything to gain.
Pre-qualifying yourself for a mortgage
Many Los Angeles home buyers think they know what they can afford. You use an online mortgage calculator, put in some figures and come out with a number. That no longer works. Lending requirements are so strict that you are going to need a professional to help through the process. Also, no offer will be accepted without a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender. Without this you will be wasting your time looking for a property.
Due diligence, due diligence, due diligence
Don’t fall for a house and overlook any possible faults. Make sure you understand all the present and possible future problems with the property and the cost involved in repairing it or maintaining it. Once you know you can make an informed decision whether or not to go ahead with the purchase.
You love the house but are blinded to the neighborhood. Spend a little time testing your commute, or the facilities in the area, restaurants, supermarkets, entertainment, commute to work, etc. You can change the house, but you can’t change the neighborhood.
Making an informed offer
It is only human nature to want a bargain. However, not every sale is a fire sale, and not every Los Angeles home seller is desperate. If you love a house, chances are so will 10 other people and you are going to get into a bidding war. Your agent will help you craft a good offer and be prepared to put your best foot forward or you will lose the house to someone else.
If the house has been sitting on the market awhile, then you have somewhat more negotiating power. Your agent will advise you of the best tactic here also.
Whether you are buying your first home, or are a seasoned pro, the real estate market is ever changing and you are going to be best served by working with a Realtor® who can guide you through a sometimes difficult and stressful process.
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