Buying A Home In Los Angeles County (10 Surprising Secrets!)

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Buying a home in Los Angeles County can be nerve-wrecking and honestly, one of the scariest things in your life.

It all starts with an idea: “I want to buy a house in Los Angeles“.

Who wouldn’t want to be in a mecca of entertainment, fashion, food and pretty much everything else, right?

However, when reality sinks in and you start to realize that:

  • It’s a competitive market and you are not the only one looking to buy a home in Los Angeles
  • You underestimated the amount of time needed to physically go out and browse homes with your agent
  • Plus all the paper work that is involved and needs to be reviewed and signed (multiple times) before you buy house in LA can be daunting, confusing and quite frankly – tiresome!

A first time home buyer in Los Angeles always says that they’re basically signing their life away. And when you stop and really think about it, half of what you are signing doesn’t even make sense!

As they say – hope for the best! 


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Key topics you’ll discover in this article include:

  • The various home loan programs that may be available to you
  • How long it takes when buying a home in Los Angeles County
  • Why you need money reserves
  • Closing costs for buyers to keep in mind
    • Down payment needed
  • Types of homes available in the city
  • How to buy a house in Los Angeles with the right real estate agent

Additional information you don’t want to miss:

  • View market reports for various neighborhoods in LA. You’ll be able to see average home price, number of homes sold, and more!
    • Want a custom market report for a specific neighborhood? Send us an email below!
  • Discover homes in LA using our advanced search feature
    • Plus you will be able to save the information for easy access later!

When buying a home in Southern California, an array of new responsibilities are heading your way as a first time home buyer (or even if you are already seasoned and buying additional properties).

Before you can kick off your shoes and sit back enjoying your new home or condo, you are sure to have numerous questions regarding how to buy a house in Los Angeles California. 

Below you’ll discover 10 Secrets For Buying a House in LA that are hardly ever talked about.

This information on how to buy a house in LA may surprise even the savviest of home buyers.

1: As a first time home buyer, make sure not to change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job when looking to buy a house in Los Angeles California

You have to show a minimum of two years of income from your job. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for the financial institutions to verify employment the day of (even hours before) closing on your Los Angeles home.

2: Don’t buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it!)

Adding an auto loan could clearly drop your score, resulting in: a) debt ratio being too high and you no longer qualify for your loan or b) your credit score will drop meaning you may end up paying more interest on your home in Los Angeles. As mentioned in tip #1, banks will pull your report before closing. So hold off on buying the new Cybertruck right before you buy a house in Los Angeles.

3: Do not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind before you buy house Los Angeles California

When charging on your charge card(s) your debt ratio will change causing one of the consequences to happen similar to Tip #2.

4: A major no-no to remember. Do not spend money you have set aside for closing

To clarify, this money is meant for closing when buying a condo in los angeles – not a weekend get away trip.

If you no longer have money to close on your Los Angeles home … how is the deal supposed to close …?

5: Please do not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application when looking to buy houses for cash Los Angeles

They will pop up throughout the home closing process while you’re looking to buy a house in Los Angeles area.

For example, most home buyers get pre-qualified first.

This process is typically done by having a loan officer call and ask you a series of questions about debt, income, credit card history, car payments, etc.

We are humans so of course there may be some income (or debt) that we forget to include while speaking with the loan officer.

Later when you go through the pre-approval process, the bank will actually verify all of your information and be able to find your true debt and income.

From here, if the information that you provided in your pre-qualification is wrong then your loan could be a) denied b) you may find yourself paying higher interest or c) may have to completely change the type of loan you have – which can include a larger down payment.

As of the day of this writing, I highly recommend home buyers in Los Angeles to get pre-approval vs pre-qualified.

Why is this?

Pre-approval means you’re serious.

When Craig, as your buyers agent, presents your offer to the home seller it is a much stronger offer and gets you that much closer to closing on LA real estate for sale.

As your real estate agent, these are all topics we would have a deeper conversation prior to helping you find a home in Los Angeles.



6: Do not go out and buy new furniture just yet

Here is a remarkable story …

A few years back I witnessed a client of mine open a new store credit card and start purchasing new furniture for their home a few weeks before closing.

When the bank pulled their credit report, their score had dropped significantly enough that the bank decided to decline the loan 2 hours before closing!

The client had to wait an additional 3 years to buy a home.

This can clearly ruin or slow down your chances to buy house Los Angeles.

Make sure you wait until after closing to buy any new furniture. 

7: Don’t open up any new credit or store cards. You do not want to originate any inquiries into your credit

Remember that your credit report is pulled the day of closing.

If your credit score has gone down or debt ratio has gone up, you could be left paying more interest or the loan being denied and closing not happening. 

8: Remember not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer when searching to buy luxury house in Los Angeles

If you make a large deposit you will have to explain to the loan officers/banks where it came from.

For instance, if it is from a job then it is more than likely ok.

However, if it’s a gift – there are limits depending on who it’s from.

This could alter numerous things like your debt ratio.

Which could lead the bank to deny your loan all together or make you pay more interest on the LA homes for sale you find.

9: Stay in place. Do not change bank accounts!

This goes back to your history. Loan officers and banks want to see a minimum of two years of records before you buy home Los Angeles CA.

10: Do not co-sign a loan for anyone before

When you co-sign for a loan this will effect your credit score and debt ratio. Leading you down the same road towards loan denial or higher interest when searching to buy a home in Los Angeles county.


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These Rules Are Important to Know When Home Buying

When looking for houses in LA, every single one of the tips mentioned above can certainly affect your chances of closing on your dream home.

So why risk it?

To make matters worse, some of these points are so simple that anyone can accidentally make them by mistake when searching for homes to buy in Los Angeles California!

For example, who would know that by going out and charging up all these purchases on your dream kitchen, living room and patio before you close on your home could have an adverse affect?


Use the quick search feature to start finding homes for sale in Los Angeles.

Updated daily, you will see the latest homes for sale in Los Angeles and be able to save your favorites.

Serious about your home search? Start searching for houses in LA California by using our advanced home search feature.


Find Houses for Sale in Los Angeles County


First time home buyer Los Angeles – as well as seasoned buyers – can expect to find the following types of homes for sale in Los Angeles CA.

Types of Houses for Sale in LA

Single Family Homes in LA

This is the classical idea of a family home that may come to mind. Single family homes in Los Angeles are situated in their own plot of land and usually feature front and backyards, fences or gates, and depending on your budget, even a pool or jacuzzi. Reach out to Craig if you need help finding some of the cheapest place to buy a house in Los Angeles.

Townhomes in Los Angeles CA

While looking to buy house in LA you may have come across townhomes. These properties are usually attached to neighboring units and act like condos in that the residents of the townhomes share the land and pay monthly H.O.A’s for upkeep and amenities. In general, townhouse tend to offer the space and overall vibe that single family homes do and may suite your needs when looking at buying a home in Los Angeles County.

Condos for Sale in LA

When you buy a condo, you are essentially buying an apartment instead of renting one. Buying a condo in Los Angeles could be a great idea if you’re looking to divide amenity and upkeep costs with the other condo owners in the building. This is done in the form of H.O.A (Home Owner Association) fees – which are monthly fees paid for by the condo residents.

Did You Know: The land the condo building sits on and the building itself are co-owned by the residents who have purchased a condo within the building? Let Craig help you locate flat Los Angeles sale.

Duplex and Triplexes in Los Angeles County

These types of properties could be great for those needing to buy home in Los Angeles for investing reasons. These types of homes feature more than one individual unit. However, each unit does come with its own bathroom and kitchen for its individual resident. Making it a prime option for individuals needing Los Angeles real estate for sale as possible investments. 


View More Homes


Most home buyers do not get up one morning and say: “I am going to buy a house today, I wonder what the average time it takes to buy a home is”.  The home buying process (or at least the idea of buying a home) is something that they have been planning/thinking about for months.

Remember that before you start looking at buying a home in Los Angeles County, you will need the following:

  • Down payment for the home
  • Money reserves in the bank
  • Deposit for your new home
  • Money for closing
  • Good credit score

Below is a comprehensive Buying A House Checklist where I will cover the above 5 topics so that you know what to expect when buying a house.

After all, no one likes surprises! So it is better to be well informed when buying a house than to not.

Money Reserves and Down Payment For A House

Both the down payment and the money reserves vary depending on credit and the type of loan you will get.

Firstly, you need to contact a loan officer and get all the paperwork in line. You can choose to work with any loan officer you’d like, however it is recommended that you work with the one your agent recommends.

Why? Remember your question “how long is the house buying process“?

When a real estate agents builds a relationship with a loan officer it helps move the home buying process along faster. Which means you get to close on your new home sooner!

When buying your new build homes, the realtor has specific people on their team they choose to work with because they are reliable. That real estate agent knows that if something if needed in a crunch, they can call the loan officer and get those items ASAP.

This process is built on having a great network and good relationship with all parties involved.

Down Payment for a House in Los Angeles

What is a down payment on a house?

A down payment is the amount of money that you are going to put down on your new house. This will reduce the amount of the loan that you will be getting. This amount starts around 3.5% but can go up to whatever you have saved for a down payment and wish to put down.

FHA loans are the least amount down at 3.5%. Conventional loans typically like home buyers to have on hand a 20% down payment for when looking to buy house in LA.

Though sometimes you can get them with 5%, 10% or 15% down.

However when buying a home in Los Angeles County the down payment may prove to be rather difficult depending on where the home is in LA due to high housing costs.

Luckily, there are a number of resources available for LA home buyers who don’t have the down payment money to buy a house in LA.

Money In Reserves For Home Buying

The bank will require you to have a certain amount of money in savings. Otherwise known as “money in reserves”. This number will (again) vary depending on they type of loan, credit score and what specific rules the bank(s) may have. The loan officer will discuss with you exactly how much you need. However, generally you will want to have 3 months of all living cost in the bank, including what ever your new loan payment may be.

Before jumping into the specific timeline it takes for buying a house in California, there are 3 major points you will need to look at.

These 3 points will vary by the individual looking at buying a home in California and either a) speed up, or b) slow down, the time it takes to buy a house.

Let’s jump in!

Deposit For Your New Home

When you’re looking at buying a house in Los Angeles, the deposit payment in California is normally 3% of the sales price. So if you are looking to buy a house in Los Angeles that is listed for $750,000, the down payment will be $22,500. This money will have to be delivered to escrow within 3 days after the contract is accepted by both sides.

To clarify, this means you will need to have this money in the bank.

As long as you do not breach the contract, this money comes back to you and is deducted off the sales price thus reducing your loan amount.

Closing Costs For Buyer

You may not be aware that when you are in the process of closing a house, there are numerous people involved. These people will range from lawyers, the title company, couriers, notaries, real estate agents, loan officers, escrow and more. None of these individuals are working for free. So they all want (and expect) to get paid for their services.

This broad group of moving parts is what makes up the “closing cost”. All of these cost will vary depending on the work that is involved in getting your home closed.

Below is a link for you to use. You can crunch numbers to see what your total cost may be for the price of home you are considering.

Credit Score

A good credit score is very important when buying your new home. Though you can get a home with a 620 credit score, you will pay more in interest with a lower credit score. It is best to get your score to at least 660. The higher the score the better interest rate you can get and it opens you up to different types of loans.

*Note that there are some variables to this. For example, if interest is low like at the time this article was written, it may be better to jump in with a lower credit score. As mentioned before, everyones situation is different. And if you are not sure, this is a great time to contact a good realtor near you to see what your options are. Agents for home buyers, like myself, will tell you the truth on whether or not you should buy now or wait.

RESOURCES

  1. Wondering “What house can I afford with my salary“? Use this free Monthly Affordability Calculator to see more details in what home you can afford.
  2. View the different types of home loans.
  3. How much do I need to close a home? Use this Calculator to see what you may need. Remember that in order to get the best numbers, you need a professional real estate agent. Call or text me at 817.584.7846 for the accurate numbers/information or send me an email below.

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Home Buying Process Timeline

So now that we have cleared up the confusion, we are back to square one. How long does it take to buy a house?

The home buying process can take anywhere from a day to several months. I know this seems like a wide range, but it really does all come down to you, the home buyer.

If one is serious about buying a house then get all your ducks lined up. The process will be smooth and buying a house could take 20-75 days. This is assuming your down payment, money reserves, the deposit, closing costs and your credit all check out.

However, if you’re not really that serious about buying a home and it’s more of a “want” than a need, then you won’t bother getting your home buying checklist in order.

This will result in the timeline to buy a home being farther out and taking longer.

I get asked frequently what is the best neighborhoods to buy a house in Los Angeles?

The answer is, there is no such thing as “the best” place to buy a home in Los Angeles.

There are many variables that determine where one will and can live when looking at houses for sale in LA California USA.

For example, you may be looking for Los Angeles homes for sale with a view in the Hollywood Hills so that you have a killer sunset or sunrise to look forward to every day.

Likewise, you may be searching for houses for sale near Los Angeles, but not in the actual city itself. Say your job has you in Glendale or Burbank, but you still want to live fairly close to LA for entertainment and events. 

Below I have put together some popular neighborhood searches on our website for Los Angeles property.

Consider these neighborhoods as a stepping stone for when you start your search to buy home in Los Angeles.

One of the first steps to buying a house in California is to search and save properties that meet your needs. 

Rest assured that by using the search tool on this website your information will never be sold or mined – unlike on every other major home search site. This means you will not get bombarded by countless real estate agents.

Giving you peace of mind knowing that only Craig Thomas is looking out for your best interest and is there to answer all questions.

Start your search for buying a home or condo in Los Angeles by clicking the green tab below.

FIND YOUR HOME

Create your free account below to discover,  store and access your preferred home searches in one easy-to-navigate page.

Search All Los Angeles Real Estate Listings


Not sure where to buy a house in LA?

With LA County being over 4,751 square miles and 88 incorporated cities, it can get tricky figuring out where you may want to buy a house. Below you’ll find map samples that provide a visual of neighborhoods that some consider the best places to buy in Los Angeles.

RESOURCES

You will also find the latest market reports for each neighborhood listed below.

This is a fantastic way for you to see real numbers on what is happening with homes in LA.

Do you want a custom home report for the neighborhood you’re looking at? Make sure to send us an email!

Buying a Home in Beverly Hills

If you’re looking to buy real estate Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is an iconic city bordered by LA where many movie stares, athletes and whos-who of the city call home. With its closeness to world dining and shopping, when you buy house in Los Angeles Beverly Hills you will be in one of the cities hottest neighborhoods. Additionally, Craig will help you locate and buy house Bel Air Los Angeles.

Condos and Homes for sale in Culver City

Want to know where and how to buy a condo in Los Angeles? Culver City is a booming neighborhood with new residential buildings starting to take form.

Echo Park Homes for Sale in LA

Relatively speaking, Echo Park has some cheap houses for sale in Los Angeles. This neighborhood is close to Downtown Los Angeles and Los Feliz. Want to buy house Silver Lake Los Angeles? Craig Thomas can help.

Homes for Sale in Brentwood

Let Craig help you find and buy house Brentwood Los Angeles with a large yard, pool or in gated communities.

Luxury Hollywood Hills Homes for Sale

You may want to buy a house in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills if you are looking for homes tucked in the hills and surrounded by sweeping city views.

DTLA Real Estate for Sale

Downtown LA may be a good option for those looking at houses for sale in Los Angeles California. With its walkability and access to entertainment, bars and dining, living in DTLA peeks the interest of many home buyers.


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You’ll Be More Confident When You Buy a House in LA

These home buying tips are hardly ever talked about yet they are crucial for buyers looking at buying a home for the first time in Los Angeles.

Craig Thomas is a highly knowledgeable realtor near you in Los Angeles for buyers.

Don’t be fooled by popular real estate listing sites. They lead you to believe that they are the best place to find a home near you but they get all of their information from real estate agents who put their listings up. What about the real estate agents who choose not to put their listings up on these sites?

Well those homes don’t make it on those websites, therefore the data is not 100% accurate.

Agents like myself get the latest home listings directly from the MLS and therefore having the most up-to-date information.

Additional Benefits Of Hiring A Real Estate Agents

I’ve seen plenty go wrong when looking to buy a home. For example:

  • Some agents and sellers tackle the numerous tips mentioned above in the wrong order. Effectively putting the cart before the horse and leading to disappointment from the home buyer. 
  • LA home buyers need to know the maximum they can afford when buying a house. Not what they “think” they can afford. As a realtor, I do not want to show you a home that you end up falling in love with, only to realize you can not afford it. So before we start looking at homes, you need to be pre-approved so you know how much money you need to buy your first home.

Remember that experience equals systems. The systems I have in place help steer you in the right path and find the perfect LA home. The suggestions I make are always in the best interest of my clients, not my bank account.

Additionally, another advantage of using a realtor to help you buy a home in LA is their ability to tap into their inner net work; something a website won’t be able to do.

Realtors talk amongst themselves and share listings even before they hit the market. This is a great opportunity for LA home buyers to have access to potential homes before others see them.

Ready to Buy a House in Los Angeles Area?

Regardless if you’re a first time home buyer Los Angeles or have already done this once before, these 10 Tips for Buying a House in LA apply to everyone.

There are always new rules, regulations and laws being brought forward which may cause old paperwork to be updated.

Therefore, if you’re a first time home buyer and go to buy a house in Los Angeles county and are not up-to-date on current rules, this can hurt or slow your chances of buying your ideal Los Angeles home.

Have questions on how to buy a home in Los Angeles?

Text or call Craig Thomas at 817.584.7846

When you’re looking to buy a house in Los Angeles, it should not be complicated.

I will make your home buying process fun, informative and streamlined. Home buyers should have a great experience and this is something I will make sure of.

Why Should I Buy a Home?

Appreciation Potential

This means how the value of your home or investment property will increase with time and a number of factors can play into this.

  • Firstly, your home investment will typically grow in value over time (appreciation potential). This is an effortless way of making money on your home and potentially getting a good ROI (return on investment) should you decide to sell your home.
  • Secondly, if you’re a real estate investor, you can do a “forced real estate appreciation”. This happens when the value of the investment property rises due to the repairs or renovations that have been completed.

Equity Buildup and Debt Pay Down

As a home owner, you will enjoy an average net worth of approximately $184,000 vs $4,000 for renters. It’s true, money that you pay for rent is gone forever.

However, money paid towards your mortgage payment is building equity ownership interest in your home.

Using Leverage

The definition of leveraging means to use “a quality or advantage” to obtain a desired effect or result. With an investment of this magnitude, where else can you get 3.5-10 percent down?

When buying a home with 3.5% down of your own money, you are using someone else’s money for the remaining amount (96.5%) to leverage your net worth because home statistically increase over time.

Tax Deduction Advantages

Property tax and mortgage interest write-offs. As a home owner, a percentage of the interest you pay on your loan and taxes may be illegible for tax deductions.

You would want to be sure to check with your accountant for more info.

Tax Exemption

When you go to sell your home, married couples can generally take up to $500,000 as a gain without owing any federal income tax. Single individuals can generally take up to $250,000.

Keep in mind before you go to sell your home, in order to qualify you need to have met the following:

  • Lived in the home as a principle residence and owned the residence for at least two years before you decide to sell

Make sure to check with your CPA or financial advisors for more information and clarity on these laws as they pertain to you.

Pride Of Home Ownership

Your home is your personal haven. You can do with it as you’d like. Decorate it. Shape it. It’s yours.

This sense of pride and freedom you can’t experience as a renter. You have no landlord to answer to or get approval from.

You are free to relax in your yard with your pet, if desired.

Historically Low Interest Rates

With low interest rates your purchasing power is more.

For example, when interest is at 4% you may qualify for a home loan around $490,000. When interest rate goes to 4.25% your home buying power now drops to $483,000. A full percent (from 4%-5%) your purchasing power drops to around $450,000.

A full percent increase in interest drops your buying power by around $40,000.

Use the calculator below for more accurate numbers.

RESOURCES

  • Planning to move to LA? Read The Guide!
  • Have questions on how to buy house Los Angeles?
  • Want further clarification on the tips mentioned? As you search houses for sale Los Angeles USA, Craig wants to you be confident knowing what you’re getting into. Ask him for help.
  • Ready to start the process of buying a home in Los Angeles County? There are nice houses for sale in Los Angeles that may fit all you are needing. Let’s start your search together!

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When looking to buy house in LA it’s crucial – and to your benefit – that you work with realtors nearby who listen, guide and exceed your expectations.

These professionals in real estate like Craig Thomas walk you through the entire process and are still around after the closing to help with any other situations that may come up.

As one of the top real estate agent in Los Angeles, Craig will help you figure out where to buy a house in LA and make the process enjoyable.

Contact Craig Thomas by using the contact form below.

Alternatively, text or call him at 817.584.7846 for a quicker response on assisting you on buying a home in Los Angeles County.



RESOURCES

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