Get California dreamin’ in your forever home. Here are our top tips for first-time buyers.
Are you thinking about buying a home in Southern California? It’s a good time to do it. Interest rates and house prices are as low as they’ve been for a while. If you’re ready to take the plunge, there’s a home out there just waiting for you to buy it.
Here are our top tips for first-time so cal home buyers:
If you have friends and family members who are homeowners, ask them about their experience. Hearing first-hand anecdotes can offer insight into parts of the process you’re yet to consider. That doesn’t mean you should only go to your family and leave out the professionals. Make sure you’re also talking to realtors, mortgage experts, etc. so you have a full picture of what you need to do and when.
It might seem a strange thing to say in an article about buying a house, but in some cities, it actually makes more financial sense to continue renting. Make sure you know for sure which option is best for you and your finances before you proceed.
Get a good realtor.
Even if you’ve been mostly looking for houses online and arranging viewings yourself, you should still, at least, talk to a realtor. They have knowledge and expertise that first-time buyers simply don’t, no matter how many articles they read online. You don’t need to worry about huge costs, either. Sellers give commission to real estate agents.
Visit an open house.
Get a sense of what’s out there before you dive in with both feet by visiting an open house. This is when people who are looking to sell their home open it up for a day, and potential buyers can visit to look around. Open houses are a really good way to figure out what you want and don’t want, and to see what you might get for your price range. You never know, you might even find your dream home this way!
Before you start shopping for a home, you need to know how much home you can actually afford. Make an appointment to see the mortgage specialist at your bank. They’ll take an overview of your finances and let you know how much money you can ask for. Once you have this, you can also shop for a mortgage online, or ask your realtor to make a recommendation. If you want to take this a step further, you can get pre-approved. This guarantees you’ll be able to borrow a certain amount, rather than just providing a guideline, and is very attractive to sellers.
Beware of short sales.
Short sales and foreclosed homes are usually a bargain, but be careful. Get expert advice before progressing as these deals can be tricky. You might find yourself waiting months, and then having the deal fall through anyway, or find other conditions in the contract that you hadn’t noticed before but it’s already too late. Ask an expert. That’s what they’re there for.
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