Buying a home in Los Angeles can seem a little overwhelming, especially if you don't know what to expect. And even if you aren't a first-timer, you may have some questions about how the process has changed since you last moved. Take a look at the eight steps that go into buying a home, and let us know if you have any questions—we'd love to help you navigate your real estate journey from start to finish!
The Eight Steps to Buying a Home in LA
Step 1: Figure out what you can afford
Before you even start searching for a home, you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend, both overall and on your monthly mortgage payment. Most buyers put down at least 20% of their home's purchase price upfront, but there are many loans that offer more flexible down payment options. Additional expenses—such as closing costs, fees, homeowners insurance, and taxes—will add to the overall price.
Need some help crunching numbers? Check out our mortgage calculator to see what your payments could look like.
Step 2: Research loans and get preapproved
Mortgages are just as diverse as home buyers—each one comes with different terms, interest rates, credit and down payment requirements, and other intricacies. That means it's important to shop around for the best loan to suit your needs. Be sure to explore options from the federal and state governments, as well as mortgages from private lenders. Our team would be happy to offer recommendations, too!
Once you've settled on a reliable lender, you'll want to submit a preapproval application. In a nutshell, getting preapproved means that a lender has vetted your finances and approved you to borrow a certain amount of money for your home purchase. Sellers and agents will also view you as a more serious buyer once you've received your preapproval letter.
Step 3: Settle on your wants and needs
Once you've figured out how much you can spend on a home, it's time to narrow down specific locations, wants, and needs. Do some research on Los Angeles's diverse neighborhoods to see which one is right for you. From there, you can browse available listings in a certain area to see if they're within your budget.
It might be helpful to create a list of things that you need, want, and would like to have in your next home. Don't waste any time looking at a property that doesn't meet all of your needs. While it might be nice to have a gourmet kitchen, not having enough bedrooms should definitely be a dealbreaker!
Step 4: Find an agent
There's no law saying you have to work with a real estate agent, but they can make the buying process easier and stress-free. A top-rated local agent has the know-how to help you find the perfect home, answer all of your questions, and help you understand the complicated paperwork that comes with closing the transaction.
Be sure to interview a few agents before making a decision. You should get along on both a personal and professional level!
Step 5: Begin touring homes
Now it's time for the fun part—scheduling showings and tracking down the home of your dreams! As you tour available listings, it might be helpful to write notes or take photos to keep your memory fresh. You can even use our handy search tool to browse homes by location, price, features, and so much more!
Step 6: Make an offer
Once you've finally found a home that checks all the boxes, it's time to make an offer. You'll want to work with your agent to come up with a price that's both reasonable and competitive—but it's not uncommon for properties in the Los Angeles area to sell above asking price.
If you do find yourself in a bidding war, it's best to set your maximum price from the get-go if you want to stay within your budget. You'll also want to attach your preapproval letter to your offer to show sellers that you're serious!
Step 7: Get an inspection
After the seller accepts your offer, you'll enter into the contingency period. During this time, most buyers should request a home inspection to check for any major repairs or defects. Your agent can recommend an inspector who will perform a walkthrough of the home and make note of any problems. From there, you can ask the seller to take money off the price or make any necessary fixes before the closing.
Step 8: Navigate the closing
You're almost to the finish line! Before your closing date, you need to officially submit your mortgage application and complete any paperwork given to you by your agent or lender. And when the big day finally arrives, be prepared to sign even more documents—a typical closing will take around an hour. Once the title company registers the deed in your name, it's time to finally move into your new home!
Let's Get You Moving!
If you're ready to start your next chapter in Los Angeles, the Brad Korb Group is here to help. We have decades of experience helping buyers just like you, and we know a thing or two about navigating LA's competitive real estate market. Contact us today to get the ball rolling on your next move!
Need to sell your current home before you buy? We can help with that, too!