Buying a house in Los Angeles? Setting out on the search for your new home can be both exciting and overwhelming if you’re unaware of some incredibly useful tools. To help take the overwhelm out of the equation, check out these 6 resources to help you when buying a house in Los Angeles.
Check Your Credit
It’s certainly not what most of us would consider a fun place to start, but getting your free annual credit report from the major credit rating agencies is always a great first stop on any home-buying venture.
Comb through the reports for any inaccuracies or errors, and go through the proper channels to remedy them as soon as possible. You may discover you still have some old debt floating around out there, and paying it off will make a big difference in the future.
Define Your Goals
With your financial history sorted out, it’s time to brainstorm what you want and need to get out of your new home when buying a house in Los Angeles.
Buyers have a tendency to get wrapped up in the search too early on, and only slowly start to spell out their true domestic needs as the home search goes on. Taking the time to put together a list of requirements you have for your next home will narrow down your search at the very beginning.
Then, check to see which of the remaining potential properties can meet your wants as well.
These days it’s extremely common for the average buyer to immediately go look through online listings to begin the house search.
While we do encourage buyers to use these online listing databases, it’s important to keep in mind that financial data and estimated prices for homes on these sites are often pulled from whatever tax data the site can get their hands on.
This means the data can be rather out of date, you should take any estimate data with a grain of salt, and do not heavily rely on it when narrowing down your favorite properties.
Down Payment Assistance Grants
An opportunity that is underutilized by qualifying buyers, down payment assistance grants come in many shapes and forms, but often act as a low- or interest-free second mortgage.
These grants vary wildly based on their individual terms, but you’ll find that some are forgiven or deferred if you make a certain number of payments on your first mortgage on time. Searching online for the grants offered in your state could be a boon, especially if you’re buying a house in Los Angeles for the first time.
Not all mortgages are alike, and you want to look to see if you qualify for any specialized programs that could save you money.
The two biggest government programs in the United States are USDA loans and VA loans.
USDA loans are designed to provide low-interest loans for rural development, and you can find more details – including if you would qualify – through your local Federal Housing Administration. A VA loan is a zero down payment, no Private Mortgage Insurance loan awarded to qualifying United States military veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Be sure to go straight through the applicable government agency when pursuing either of these loans.
The classic resource to turn to when you’re planning on buying a house in Los Angeles remains your local qualified and experienced real estate professional.
Agents come equipped with the knowledge and networking contacts to not only find you what you’re looking for in a home, but make the deal a success from beginning to end with a lot of input, and little intervention, from the client.
We do recommend shopping around for the agent that’s right for you by meeting with multiple agents and checking their references. Always remember to read through any contracts prior to signing, and do not forget that commission is negotiable.