Ok, so you’ve found a lender and gotten pre-qualified, and you’ve found yourself a licensed real estate agent to work with. What’s the next step in buying a home in Los Angeles?
Step 3 in our ‘Buying a home in Los Angeles’ series is defining your criteria. When you first meet with your agent, you’ll most likely sit down with them and together you will begin to define the criteria that you are looking for in a house. An area like Los Angeles gives you a large variety of options and you are going to have to decide what is most important to you and narrow them down. Your agent will use their expertise to help guide you through this process. Here are some of the more basic questions you will need to explore:
Commute: How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one? Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?
Schools: Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.
Make sure to look into the local public and private elementary, junior and high schools, as well as daycare programs. Areas close to good schools are among the most popular in Los Angeles, and your choice will be considerably narrowed if this is a consideration.
What style of house do you want?
Type of property: house, condo, duplex, etc. Each of them has its benefits. A condo you can just lock up and leave and with the full amenity buildings your hardly need to lift a finger. A house requires more upkeep. With income property, someone is helping you pay your mortgage.
Features: How many bedrooms, bathrooms? Do you need outside space? Do you entertain? Do you need space for a home office? Do you have to have a pool, or room for a pool, a view…….
Price: Determine the price. This will depend on the approval you have received from your lender and based on that, what you actually feel you would like your monthly payments to be. Just because you can afford a certain amount doesn’t mean you should spend that much.
I always tell my clients to remember that they will probably have to make compromises. A good exercise is to take a sheet of paper and put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would-like-to-haves” at the bottom. What do you have to have and what can you live without?
Together, once you are able to focus and define your main criteria, your Los Angeles realtor will have the information they need to narrow down potential properties in the right area, that match your criteria, within your budget.
More from the ‘Buying a Home in Los Angeles’ series:
Step 2: Finding A Realtor