Starting Your Search | Buying a Home in Los Angeles
If you have been following along in my series ‘Buying A Home In Los Angeles’, then you know we are now ready to move onto Step 4, Starting your search. You have your financing in order, and know how much you can afford, and you’ve chosen your Los Angeles real estate agent. In my last article, we covered how to define your main criteria in terms of what your ideal home would look like. Now, we get to begin searching for it. This might seem like a strange topic to write an entire article about, but the idea is to prepare you for what lies ahead and give you a leg-up in this competitive marketplace while searching for your home.
How does the search process work?
Equipped with the search criteria you outlined earlier, your agent will send you listings that match that criteria from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which is the collection center for most of the homes on the market. The MLS does not include homes sold by owners themselves (FSBOs) or pocket listings (homes that a seller does not want on the open market so the agent sells by word-of-mouth) but a savvy agent will also send any of these listings that meet your criteria.
As your search progresses, you may find that the criteria for the type of home you are looking for changes. You may realize during the process that you need a walk-in closet or that you don’t really care so much about a garage. Your criteria may evolve through a process of elimination, some items on your list of ‘must-haves’ may become ‘would-like-to-haves’ after you have begun your search. That’s certainly o.k, and in fact, in my experience so change is to be expected. Many homebuyers come to find the home that they want by realizing and defining all of the things they don’t want, first. The important point here is that your agent is attentive to this process and the evolution of your criteria so that they can continue sending you listings that are potentially a good fit. Give them feedback about the listings they are sending to you so you can be on the same page about any changes in criteria.
Time is of the essence in this market. Review the listings promptly and let your agent know which ones you would like to view and provide them with your availability.
Your agent will make appointments and you will start going out and seeing suitable properties.
When buying a home in Los Angeles, you may find that the first home you see is perfect. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger and submit an offer. You don’t have to see 20 more. It is human nature to think there might be something better. Most often, there isn’t. And again, in this market time is of the essence. If you hesitate another buyer may snap it up and you could lose out on your dream home.
If you are a first-time buyer making that first offer can be a nerve-wracking experience, but once you make your first offer you won’t look back.
More from the ‘Buying a Home in Los Angeles’ series:
Step 1: Getting ready to buy
Step 2: Finding a Realtor
Step 3: Define your criteria