Los Angeles First-Time Home Buyers Beware of Hidden Costs

Find out the cost of buying a home in Los Angeles

If you are a Los Angeles first-time home buyers you need to be aware of costs for home ownership over and above the  Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (PITI), amount presented to you by your Lender. Some will be monthly, others may be a one-time initial cost. These are some points to consider: Utilities:  gas, water, electricity, cable, telephone. You may not be able to handle your landscaping and may need to employ the services of a gardener. If you are thinking of buying a … [Read more...]

Important Los Angeles Numbers

Important Los Angeles Information, Los Angeles Contact Numbers

If you are buying a home in Los Angeles the numbers below may come in handy, especially if this is your first home. L.A. City-wide Services Non-Emergency 311 Police, Non-Emergency (L.A.P.D.) 877-275-5273 Los Angeles Street Services 800-996-2489 Los Angeles Animal Regulation 888-452-7381 Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation 800-773-2489 L.A. Graffiti Removal - Operation Clean Sweep 866-452-2489 Los Angeles Parking … [Read more...]

Before You Search for Real Estate, Develop a Needs vs. Wants List

Wants and Needs When Buying a Los Angeles Home, Make a List When Buying a Los Angeles Home

Everyone has a picture in mind of their ideal home.  This picture includes all of the features you not only need, but have long desired. However, when it comes time to buying a home, the desires cost more.  While it’s nice to imagine having a beautifully landscaped backyard, or a sunroom, perhaps even some specialty appliances, these are usually considered luxury items, which can add considerably to the price of your real estate. That’s why it’s always a good idea to develop a needs vs. wants … [Read more...]

Understanding the Language of Real Estate Financing

Understanding the Languaage of Real Estate, Working with the Right Mortgage Lender

Gene Mundt is a mortgage banker with Chicago Bancorp in Chicago.  He writes extremely insightful articles on the mortgage industry.  Much of what Gene writes is universal and relates to the Los Angeles home buyer. Today, Gene talks about the language of real estate financing.  If you are buying a home in Los Angeles you should make sure you understand the mortgage process and feel sure that you are working with the right lender. Word: routine (rū-tēn') Definition: A prescribed, … [Read more...]

What are Seller Concessions?

Buying a Home in Los Angeles, Seller Concessions

Seller Concessions, also referred to as a Seller Contribution, is when a buyer asks the seller for a financial contribution towards their closing costs, escrows and/or pre-paids. Not all sellers will give a contribution and some lenders/loan programs may have restrictions on seller concessions, which may include not allowing them. Now there are a few things both buyers and sellers need to be aware of when it comes to seller concessions. 1. The buyer is basically financing their closing … [Read more...]

What Tax Benefits Can I Expect When Buying a Los Angeles Home?

Tax benefits of Los Angeles Homeownership, What Are the Tax Benefits of Buying a Los Angeles Home

If you are on the fence about buying a Los Angeles home, consider that the tax benefits of Los Angeles home ownership can be attractive. What are the tax benefits of buying a Los Angeles home? Mortgage interest reduction. A Los Angeles homeowner can deduct the interest on a mortgage up to $1 million on a principal residence and/or second home.  Depending on your income bracket this could reduce the cost of your payments by a third or more. Property taxes.  Local and state property taxes … [Read more...]

A Los Angeles Short Sale or Foreclosure, Which is Better?

Buying or Selling a Los Angeles Foreclosure, Buying a Los Angeles Short Sale, Los Angeles Short Sales

Should I buy a Los Angeles home in a short sale or foreclosure? Should I sell my home as a short sale or allow the bank to foreclose? These are questions faced by many Los Angeles home buyers and sellers in today's tough times. What is a short sale? A short sale is when a home owner opts to sell his home for less than he owes on the mortgage, rather than let the bank foreclose on him.  Technically the hit on his credit and future home buying power is supposed to be less with a short … [Read more...]

Buying or Selling Westwood Los Angeles Real Estate – Check Out the Market

Westwood Los Angeles Real Estate Market, How is the Westwood Los Angeles Real Estate Market Doing?

So you are thinking of buying or selling a Westwood Los Angeles home! How is the market doing? There is no right or wrong time for selling your Los Angeles home.  When you want or need to is the right time. Are you waiting out the market before buying a Los Angeles home?  If you are in a position to buy now, have the funds, are pre-approved for a loan, then don't wait.  Prices in the better parts of Los Angeles did not drop as much as the more depressed areas and they are unlikely to drop … [Read more...]

Federal Home Buyers Tax Credit is Ending – What Next?

So the Federal home buyers tax credit is ending.  The rush is dying down.  What should Los Angeles home buyers be doing now? Hopefully, those buyers who purchased their homes in a rush to get in under the wire before the expiration of the home buyers tax credit got the homes they wanted.  Those that have not yet purchased should not take their time. May 1, the California first-time home buyers tax credit kicks in and that is not going to last long.  This is a $10,000 tax credit given over … [Read more...]

California Homebuyers Tax Credits are Not Going to Last Long

As you may know the California first-time home buyer tax credit was extended, to commence on May 1, 2010 and end on December 31 2010. It is anticipated that the $100 million allocated is going to run out within the first few days.  There is also $100 million available for new homes that have never been occupied.  Both available on a first-come first-served basis. The California Association of Realtors economics team estimate that the funds may last only 10-20 days based on May sales … [Read more...]

Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended in California

The homebuyer tax credit has been extended in California.  Governor Schwazenegger signed the bill providing $200 million dollars in home buyer tax credits. The bill provides $100 million for first-time home buyer who buy existing homes and $100 million for home buyers who buy new or previously unoccupied homes. To qualify you must close escrow between May 1 and December 31, 2010.  Or, if you were under contract on or prior to December 31, 2010, you still qualify if it is your principal … [Read more...]

First Time Homebuyers – How to Buy a Home

I realize that many first-time home buyers don't know what is involved in the buying process, so I have itemized below the main points with which you may not be familiar: Are you aware that you do not pay your Buyer's agent a commission?  This is paid by the Seller.  All the more reason to use an exclusive buyer's agent who will be looking out for your interests and walking you through all the negotiations. Making your first offer can be scary.  However, the purchase contract is designed … [Read more...]

Buying a Home

Now is the time to buy a home.  There has never been a better one.  All the stars areas aligned: Interest rates are among the historically lowest. House prices are at the bottom Home buyer tax credits are in place until April 30.Are you worried that house prices are going to drop further? Are you going to live in your home for a while? If so, think of it like this:  when you buy are car, the minute you take it off the lot it loses value and continues to do so throughout its life. It … [Read more...]

Comparing the different LA area neighborhoods that are suitable for young adults to live in

The Los Angeles area provides many neighborhoods which are populated by all ages and types of young adults. Young people are attracted to the culture, diversity, night life and entertainment venues as well as the interaction with people in their age range. Los Angeles encompasses many miles of cities which are heavily populated by this age group. With some research and cost comparison, finding the perfect area can be a fun and rewarding experience for any young adult. Most young adults search … [Read more...]

Congress Approves the Expansion of the Home Buyers Tax Credit

The House of Representatives voted today to extend the home buyers tax credit, expanding it to include existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five a minimum of five years. The tax credit is extended until April 30, 2010 with an extension of 60 days if a binding contract is in place prior to that date. The $8000 remains in effect for first-time buyers, with existing homeowners receiving $6,500.  Income limits are also raised from $7,500 to $125,000 for single tax … [Read more...]

Now is a Good Time to Buy – How is Your Credit Score?

How is your Credit? Tougher lending laws are now are now leading Fannie Mae to require a minimum of 620 credit score as a qualification for some loans.  This includes FHA and VA loans.  However, in order to get the best rate, a credit score of 720 is required and verifiable income. In the past a mortgage broker was able to shop around for the best rates, but the new procedures and the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) have made this difficult.  Lenders will no longer take a … [Read more...]

Buying a Home in Los Angeles – The Most Important First Step

Buying a home in Los Angeles can be a daunting prospect. You start to look on line at areas you would like to live and estimate the amount of home you can afford. Well, this is not the way to start looking for a home.  You must get pre-approved by a lender! No ifs ands or buts. Many first-time buyers don't realize the upfront costs in involved in buying a home - loan fees, insurance, escrow fees, etc. and those can make a huge difference in deciding the price range of your home … [Read more...]

Ensuring a Smooth Buying and Selling Process – No Lawsuits!

When selling a home disclose, disclose, disclose. The most lawsuits arising after close of escrow would seem to be directed at agents who do not disclose known issues affecting the condition of the property in question. Water intrusion leading to mold are high on the list, followed by sewage systems, whether septic tanks or city sewer lines.  Also misstated square footage can lead to legal problems. Foreclosure sales, i.e. bank-owned properties, are frequently involved in these kinds of … [Read more...]

What if the Appraisal Comes in Lower than the Accepted Offer?

You have an accepted offer in on a house for $600,000. You have put down 25%. The appraisal comes in at $580,000. What do you do? Firstly, you do not have to pay more than the house is worth, unless your would like to. Meaning you don't want to risk losing it.  Of course this means you would have to come up with $20,000 out of pocket. You can walk away from the deal since Item 2 J of the California Residental Purchase Agreement makes the offer contingent upon the house appraising at … [Read more...]

Walk Areas Command High Prices

Especially applicable to Los Angeles, a recent study conducted by "CEOs for Cities", found that neighborhoods with the most walkable areas, with shopping, restaurants, entertainment, command higher prices. This can be broken down to a range of between $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just an average attraction level and the scale was measured from 0 to 100 - car dependent to most walkable. See full story. Buying or Selling Los Angeles Real Estate Buying or selling a Los Angeles home can … [Read more...]