Spring is in the air here in Los Angeles… and that means spring homebuying season is right around the corner, too! If you’re thinking of buying a home in LA this coming season, you’ll want to start preparing now.
How to Get Ready for Spring Homebuying
Finding the perfect home in the perfect spot at the perfect price takes time, planning, and yes, a little saving, too. Here’s what you should start doing now if you plan on buying a home in the spring or summer.
Sort through your finances
Before undertaking any large financial endeavor, it’s always a good idea to take an in-depth look at your finances—what you make, what you spend, and what you save. Know how much goes to regular costs like housing, utilities, and groceries. Know what portion of your income goes towards paying off debts. And keep an eye on your extraneous spending, too—is there anything you might be able to cut out?
While sorting through your finances, consider how much you might be able to spend, per month, on your mortgage, as well as on other regular expenses like utilities and maintenance.
Think about where you want to be
Next, you’ll want to think about where you want your home to be located. Consider how far you want to be from locations or amenities you visit often—like work, schools, or stores. If you are new to the LA area, you might need to do a little area research, or better yet, ask an expert.
Even if you’re an LA local, it’s good to do a little research to see what the real estate market is like in your preferred areas. What are prices like? How about the styles and quality of homes? What are the schools like? What amenities are close by? How will you get to work?
Define your dream home
This is probably the most exciting part of the process for many buyers—turning your dream home into reality. However, it’s important to be realistic when defining the things you need, want, and would like to have in a home; unless you have an unlimited budget, you’re probably not going to get everything you’d like to have!
When defining your ideal home, think about the features you absolutely need—bottom-line dealbreakers. For many buyers, these are larger, hard-to-change features, like a certain number of bedrooms, a garage or parking, or a certain number of bathrooms. If a home does not fit all of your needs right off the bat, you know it’s the wrong home and shouldn’t even be considered!
Next, consider features you’d strongly prefer to have. These aren’t dealbreakers, per se, but are of a high importance to you. If a home doesn’t have all your wants, that’s okay; but it should probably have at least some.
Once you’ve got your finances, your wants and needs, and your preferred locations sorted out, it’s time to start talking to some lenders—yes, before you even start searching homes for sale. Meeting with lenders is actually a pretty important first step as it can help you determine how much you might actually be able to afford—as well as whether or not you can qualify for a loan at all.
“Preapproval” might seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty straightforward and simple. Typically, all that’s required from you is a bit of paperwork (an application, some paystubs and bank statements, etc.), and a lender will run your credit and let you know exactly how much they’d be willing to lend you. They’ll even break down your monthly costs at various home prices, which is incredibly useful for budgeting.
Getting preapproved also has some big benefits later on down the line, once you actually start searching homes for sale. In a highly competitive and fast-paced market like LA’s, having an edge over the competition is crucial—and preapproval gives you that edge. It shows sellers that you’re serious, motivated, AND able to back your offer with finances.
Find a top-notch local agent
It’s never too early to start looking for the Los Angeles real estate agent who’s going to guide you through the homebuying process, from here to dream home! It’s important to talk to a few agents before you sign on with any one to make sure you’re getting someone with the experience, the local knowledge, and even the personality to get you where you need to go.
Need an LA Agent for Spring Homebuying?
Buying a home in LA this spring? It’s never too early to find your agent! Contact Brad Korb Real Estate Group today to learn more about how you should be preparing for spring homebuying… and to find out how we can help you find the perfect home in just the right spot.