Buying a Home In Southern California
Owning a home is a dream come true for many people. However, the real challenge lies in the home buying process. Landing the ideal home requires patience and a good understanding of the prevailing real estate market. The California real estate market has experienced significant changes in the recent past with more and more players trying to have a share of the thriving market. This makes buying a home in Southern California be both an exciting and intimidating process. For first time buyers, terms like escrow, counter offer and mortgage insurance may seem quite confusing. However, with professionals at your side and a little preparation, buying a home in Southern California can be a walk in the park.
Prepare yourself for a positive home buying process by starting with listing all the things you need in your new home. Such include any amenities, the kind of neighborhood you want to live in, and the size of the home. Do some research from the internet or local newspaper to find out the average price of homes, and estimate the mortgage payment. The mortgage you settle for should not exceed a third of your monthly net income. Adjust your goals if the price exceeds your financial reality to avoid going into a financial crisis in the future.
Consult a professional
Consulting with a real estate professional provides you with much needed insight into this process that will save you time and frustration. A knowledgeable real estate professional will provide first-hand information into the Southern California’s real estate market. They will also answer any questions you may have as well as help you get prequalified for a mortgage.
At the same time, you will need to consult with a mortgage professional to get pre-qualified for a home loan. This is one of the most crucial steps as it will tell you have much you can afford and what your payments will be. There are several different mortgages out there and a licensed mortgage professional will help guide your through this process. The worst thing that can happen is that you fall in love with a home only to find out that you can not purchase that home so having a pre-qualification letter in hand in quite valuable.
Check out homes for sale
With your checklist and newly gained knowledge from the consultation with a real estate agent, you can now start house hunting. It’s important to keep in mind that you may not get everything you want and so you may have to compromise. Keep your checklist and budget in mind during your search. Once you have found something you like, you can make an offer. Be sure to ask about the market prices and if the asking price is fair.
Review the contract and perform inspections
The contract sets terms of the home purchase and is legally binding for both buyer and seller. This explains why reviewing it and ensuring that you understand it is extremely important. Have your lawyer look at the contract and ensure that it covers everything. The seller is legally obligated to reveal any issues such as termites, mold and problems the title deed of the house to the buyer. However, it’s not wise to just trust the disclosure documents. Having a professional inspector look at the house will provide a sure answer as to whether there are any issues to worry about. In case of any issues, you can either renegotiate or cancel the purchase and move on to find another house.
You will have to buy homeowner’s insurance before you officially close on the mortgage and take ownership of the house. A home insurance is meant to protect against liability, fire and theft. Your realtor or agent should be able to refer you to a reputable insurance provider if you don’t already have one.
Close the deal
This is often known as escrow in California and the typical period for escrow is thirty days. You however have room to negotiate for a shorter or longer escrow period. The transaction process is finalized during the escrow period. Any claims such as tax are settled, title deeds checked for errors, loan and title documents signed and new owner allowed to make a final walkthrough in the new home. Once everything has been finalized and the escrow closed, you are given the keys to your new home and you can now move in.
There you have it; the home buying process in Southern California.