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We are pleased to launch our Los Angeles Network of Buyers Agents, which is dedicated to finding the same high-quality buyers’ agents that our New York City clientele has grown accustomed to receiving. In conjunction with our exciting opportunity to service clients out west, we provide a buyer’s guide for those seeking a home in Los Angeles.
A view of the Hollywood sign. (Shutterstock)
Are you ready?
You should ensure you are financially ready for this commitment. Then, you should prepare a budget. Next, organize your financial records, including tax returns, W-2 statements, and bank/brokerage statements. Now more than ever, it is important to check your credit score. Equifax recently disclosed that 143 million Americans had personal information exposed in a data breach. The Federal Trade Commission recommends monitoring your credit and checking your credit reports. The agency also states you could place a credit freeze on your account, although this will make it more inconvenient when you are ready to apply for a mortgage.
While purchasing a home seems the grown-up and responsible thing to do, and hopefully, builds you a nice nest egg, remember this also comes with responsibility. Sit down and figure out what you need to do for upkeep in order to budget your time.
Figure out what you want
There are a lot of different home styles in Los Angeles. Do you like an American Craftsman or is Art Deco a better fit? You may like the idea of a large property, but remember it needs mowing and care. Los Angeles has a bevy of attractive neighborhoods. There are familiar ones, such as Bel Air and Beverly Hills, but a lot of others, too. Try to narrow down your search to make it easier on yourself. If you are not familiar with an area, visit it. Then, if you like it, come back during a different time of the day in order to get a true taste. It may be quiet during the day and weekday evenings but could be vastly different on Saturday night.
Beyond that, you need to pin down a neighborhood and create a checklist, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want. Think about not only your current needs but also down the road.
Image by Jeff Gunn / Flickr
A buyer’s agent
Once you figure out what you want, it is time to find an agent that can help you get it. A buyer’s agent is in the unique position of solely looking after your interest. Our recently launched service can assist you in finding a reputable agent, and, in turn, your perfect home. Merely fill out our custom search form, and we do the work to find you a buyer’s agent tailored to your needs. You tell us what you want, and we analyze the information and conduct due diligence on the agents that can best help you.
Looking at LA properties
Your agent will take you to visit homes, based on what you told him/her. Looking online is a nice start, but you also need to personally visit. Remember, this a major commitment, so do not feel pressured. When you feel ready to pull the trigger, your agent can help formulate your offer. Your negotiations should not only include the price but other things, such as which appliances are included and or other contingencies.
Hopefully, your offer is accepted, and you can take the next steps towards closing. You are going to need to come up with the deposit, which is held by either the title company or attorney. Prior to closing, you should have the property inspected, which includes the outside structure, HVAC, and plumbing.
While this is going on, the property will be appraised. While you want to know that you are paying fair value, your lender insists on it since this is a secured loan backed by the property. Your lender will also require you to obtain property insurance.
At closing, you are given the keys, and you are a proud homeowner. Prior to signing, you should do a final walk-through. The Consumer Protection Finance Bureau (CPFB), created in the wake of the previous financial meltdown, provides protection, such as requiring lenders to send Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms, so you should be prepared ahead of time.