"Luck is a matter of
So You Want to Buy A House...
Whether you are buying your first home or your 5th, there are a of factors to consider when purchasing a home...
What school district is it in?
What is the neighborhood like?
How many bedrooms/bathrooms do I need?
How big is the backyard? What kind of view will I have?
Below are some of the things you will need to consider during the home buying process. Please keep in mind that these are only some of the things that go into buying a home....if you have additional questions or would like more information, please contact me!
As tempting as it is to just go out and start searching for a house, there are things that you should think about first.
The First Step: Deciding to Buy
1. Can I afford to buy a house?
Many people think buying a house is as easy as getting a loan. Unfortunately, there are more factors to consider. The best thing to do is contact a lender to go over your options. Your lender will go over what kind of downpayment you will need to have, and what type of financing you may qualify for. They will pull your credit and help you clear up any issues that could delay you from purchasing a home. Click Here to see some of my preferred lenders.
2. What kind of house do I want/need?
How big is your family? Do you want a lot of up keep inside? How about outside? Are you willing to do repairs? Or do you want a "move in ready" kind of home? Maybe a condo would better suit you? The answers to these questions are important, and something that you will want to keep in mind when talking with a lender. Depending on what you are looking for, it could affect what you qualify for, or maybe a different type of loan would work better.
3. Do I need my own Realtor?
The short answer is, Yes. Having your own Realtor ensures that you have someone on your side, working for YOU. Your Realtor will work with you to determine and help you narrow down your choices... and perhaps point you to a house that you may not have considered otherwise. They will also have access to more properties through their Association, than what you may find online. If you jump from Realtor to Realtor, you miss out on the chance for you to get to know them, and them to know you and help you find your home...that's their job. I am ready to go to work for you to find your perfect home.
4. What is my timeframe?
Do you have a lease that is about to expire? Are you transferring jobs and have a specific start date? Buying a home can take time, so knowing your time frame for moving in is as important as finding the right lender or Realtor. And sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry, so think about some contingency plans in case it takes longer to find a home than you first thought, or in case escrow is delayed.
Step Two: Finding The Perfect House
Now that you know what you can afford and you have a Realtor who will work for you, you can start your search!
1. Where do I want to live? What kind of neighborhood?
Do you have kids? If so, you will want to know what the school district is like in each neighborhood. No kids? May you will want to live closer to shopping and amenties, not next door to a playground. My team and I have grown up and lived in the AV, let us help you learn about the area and what you can expect in each area. Although the Antelope Valley may seem small (it's only 2 cities, right?!), there are many different neighborhoods to choose from.
2. How do I get in to see this house?
Ask your Realtor! It is our job to schedule a viewing of the homes. Found something on Zillow? Send us the address. Driving around and see a home with a For Sale sign in the front yard? Write down the address or call us while you are in front of the home; we will look it up and let you know the most recent information regarding availability, showing, price...
3. Is the house that I want worth what they are asking?
What are other homes in the area selling for? What kind of upgrades, or repairs, does this house have? Once you've decided on a house that you would like to place an offer on, it is advisable for your Realtor to pull comparables (Active, Pending, and recently Sold listings) to see how the house you are interested in compares. Ultimately it is up to you and how much you think the house is worth. Your Realtor isn't the one buying the home, so you will need to be comfortable with the price.
4. How do I get my offer accepted?
Submitting, negotiating, and getting an offer accepted can seem impossible, especially with the market now on the upswing, mulitple buyers, and sometimes limited inventory (depending on where you want to live). The first step to getting your offer accepted is offering a fair price. Yes, some homes may be over priced, but putting in a low ball offer after only a day or two on the market may seem an insult to the Sellers. Working with your Realtor and looking at comparables will help you determine what is fair. And keep in mind each situation may be different - you don't know why the Sellers have their house on the market. Also keep in mind that contingencies (Do you need to sell your house first?), asking for closing costs, and sale inclusions (Do you really need their washer and dryer?), can affect a Sellers decision. Sometimes, less is more.
1. What is an appraisal?
In short, the appraisal is the method lenders and banks use to determine the value of your new home. Similar to getting comparables, an appraisers inspection is meant to be an unbiased valuation of what the home is worth. They take into consideration the condition, age, location, size, and any upgrades the home may have had recently. The appraised value is the official, updated value of your new home. In most cases, the appraised value and the offered sale price will be the same. However, in some instances the appraised value may come in under the sales price - if that is the case, you should discuss your options with your Realtor. And yes, you will receive a copy of the appraisal report once it has been turned in to your lender.
2. Should I get a Home Inspection?
A Home Inspection is a great idea for anyone buying a home (and in case you were wondering, an appraisal is NOT a home inspection). Chances are, when you are walking through and looking at a new home, you're thinking about the cosmetics - paint, furniture placement, countertops. A Home Inspector will come in and do a visual/physical inspection of the home - visible plumbing (are there leaks?), roof (tiles or shingles missing?), appliances, visible electrical, the attic, sprinkler system - and let you know what kind of condition the home is in and if there are any recommended repairs that you may need to consider, or possible health and safety items. It's kind of like test driving a car; you wouldn't but a car without driving it, so why buy a home without making sure everything is safe and in working order?
3. Why is it taking so long??
There is a lot of paperwork and phone calls going on behind the scenes that you don't see about. As a Realtor, it is our job to make the process as stree-free as possible for you. However, sometimes things can be delayed. Whether it's a Holiday and offices are closed, or someone at some desk who is supposed to be reviewing things has 10 files ahead of yours, know that everyone is still working very hard on closing your transaction and you have not been forgotten! Keep in mind that it is imperitive that you respond quickly to any requests made by your lender or escrow. From house to house, county to county, and state to state - each transaction is different.
4. Can I start painting now? Can I move in early?
Until the loan has funded and the deed recorded, this is not your house yet. So the painting/repairs/moving will need to wait until you have officially closed. Sometimes, however, an early occupancy arrangement can be made.
Step Three: The Escrow Process
Your offer has been accepted, now what? A lot of the Escrow process is just a waiting game for the official paperwork to be generated, but there are things that you will need to be aware of.
Step Four: Moving In!
Congratulations! Escrow has closed and you are officially a home owner!
1. How do I turn on Utilities?
A very important step when moving in is turning on utilities. It is advisable to have turn on orders in once closing has been scheduled so there is not a lapse in services. Your Realtor can help you with this. Most homes will be serviced by one gas company and one electric company, but the water may be servicd by a different company based on where your new home is.
Check out my Local Resources page for a directory.
2. Can you recommend someone for painting/repairs/lawn maintenance?
Of course! My Local Resources page also includes referrals for different contractors and companies in the area. If you can't find what you are looking for, just give me a call!