Other than agreeing to have a kid, is there anything more daunting than figuring out how to buy a house in Los Angeles? Honestly, it’s not that hard and most of the intimidation comes from real estate jargon like–cue the scary music–“ESCROW!” “CONTINGENCIES!” and “TDS!!”
To keep things in perspective, it’s very similar to buying a car…that just costs a lot more and won’t depreciate 10 seconds after you buy it. Here’s a little house buying cheat sheet for when you’re ready to take the plunge.
Step 1: Determine that you’re ready
It’s impossible to buy a house unless you’re hell-bent on buying one. If you’re on the fence, too nervous or wishy-washy, you won’t get a house.
Step 2: Get your ducks in a row–otherwise they won’t quack
Do you have savings, down payment, decent credit, 2 years of rental/employment history? If yes, proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Determine how much you can afford
Can you afford $1500 or $5500 a month? This handy dandy calculator will help you estimate a loan amount.
Step 4: Contact a lender
Try any of my tested and vetted lender referrals. They will ask for Step 2 items and issue a “pre-approval letter” outlining the terms of your loan.
Step 5: Contact an awesome real estate agent
I promise to make it as fun and memorable as possible
Step 6: Be realistic–especially in this market
It’s a sellers market. You can’t have all 10 things on your list, so whittle it down to your top 3 non-negotiables
Step 7: Go shopping–wear comfy shoes
This will probably be the biggest shopping spree of your life
Step 8: Make an offer and have nerves of steel!
Stay tuned for Home Buying 101: They Accepted, Now What?