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A comprehensive guide to the homebuying process

Are you interested in the outstanding selection of homes for sale in Los Angeles County? Do you have plans to put your hard-earned dollars into a lucrative real estate investment in Southern California?

This detailed guide is a comprehensive resource that I prepared to help you navigate your way toward your real estate goals.

I. Preparing your finances

Before you dive into any listings pages, get your finances in order. Know how much house you can afford to make sure that all options you consider fall within your capacity to pay. Even if you can afford a home with your savings, you need to have enough money in reserve to cover your living expenses for at least three to six months in case of an emergency.

If you are a luxury buyer who can pay cash for the purchase, you will need to prepare a valid proof of funds. This may come in the form of a bank printout of your current account balance, preferably dated on the same day you make your offer.

If you are taking out a loan to finance the purchase, you will need a mortgage pre-approval instead. This is proof of a lender’s assessment of your financial records like credit reports, pay slips, Form W-2 wage statements, and tax returns.

II. Deciding on what you want in your next home

Another important early step in the home buying process is deciding on the essential features and qualities that you want the property to have. A good way to figure this out is to gauge the lifestyle that you intend to lead when you move into your next home.

Do you want a condo unit in a downtown area so you can stay in the thick of all the exciting events and destinations in your area? Or do you prefer a more laid-back single-family home that offers privacy in a quiet neighborhood? Are you a retiree looking to downsize?

Your answers to these questions will help you zero in on the best kind of home that you should be looking for.

III. Hiring a dependable local real estate professional

One way to take a great deal of stress off your shoulders is to find the right real estate agent to work with. A knowledgeable, savvy, and dedicated agent will sit down with you and listen to your requirements, interests, and preferences. That conversation will anchor a home search that is tailor-fit for you.

In a high-profile market like Greater LA, a well-connected agent like yours truly can also give you an advantage through access to exclusive, off-market listings shared through our professional networks.

IV. Shopping for homes and attending open houses and viewings

Guided by your agent, you can begin identifying ideal neighborhoods and communities that meet all your living needs. Now you can begin to explore your options and, better yet, scrutinize them more closely.

Don’t depend simply on the abundance of listings online. The best way to tell whether a home is right for you is by seeing it up close and personal. Attend open houses or scheduled viewings to see what the housing market in your preferred area offers.

V. Making a compelling offer

When you’ve narrowed down your most preferred options, work with your agent to create an offer package that will catch the attention and interest of your seller.

A strong offer doesn’t depend on just a hefty offer price. Strategic conditions and contingency arrangements (such as shouldering any necessary repair or closing costs) are attractive to sellers. Your agent should be able to help you choose the best combination of terms that will work to your advantage.

VI. Negotiating with the seller

Unless the seller accepts your offer straight away, expect to enter a crucial negotiation to iron out the final terms of your deal. At this stage, leave it to your agent to represent your best interests. This process can be tedious and even heated at times, so having a level-headed, steadfast expert in your place at the negotiation table will work to your advantage.

VII. Completing all contingency measures

Once you and the seller agree on the terms of your transaction, enter the escrow process and work fast to complete the agreed contingency measures needed to finalize the sale. This includes essential steps like getting the property inspected and appraised.

While these processes are ongoing, look into a title review to make sure that the paperwork behind the property has no issues. Consider getting the property and title insured to protect your investment. If you are taking out a mortgage, now would be a good time to complete your application, as well.

After you complete all of the necessary contingency steps, schedule the closing date and finalize the transaction with your seller. You’ll be the proud new owner of the home soon enough.

Helpful tips to keep in mind when interviewing a real estate agent

The home buying/selling process can be quite overwhelming to many people, which is why it’s important to have an experienced agent who can guide you through all of the different steps involved.

Having a knowledgeable real estate agent at your side will help you get the best results in a timely manner, whether you’re in the market for a new home, or looking to get a top dollar offer for your current property.

The best way to find the right agent that will lead you towards your real estate goals is to know which questions to ask during the interview. In this page, we give you a few key questions to keep in mind when interviewing a real estate agent.

Choosing the right mortgage

Choosing the right mortgage lender means the difference between paying a rate you’re comfortable with and getting a deal that will leave you struggling. So before looking for lenders, it helps to know exactly what type of mortgage you need and how to look for one that’s right for you. In this article, we talk about the common basic and special loans you can apply for. These include fixed-rate mortgages, interest-only mortgages, and FHA loans. But there’s more to mortgage shopping than just finding the lowest rate. Here, we also go into some helpful tips on choosing the right mortgage lender.

If you have your eye on the finest luxury homes for sale in California, get in touch with me, Los Angeles County real estate specialist Toni Patillo. Call 310.482.2035 or email toni(at)tonipatillo(dotted)com to start your home search.