West Los Angeles Real Estate: 10 Key Secrets - 2017 Los Angeles Guide to Home Buying


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

10 Key Secrets - 2017 Los Angeles Guide to Home Buying

The housing market is still super tight in Los Angeles

The following 10 Key Secrets apply regardless of market conditions, but they are especially true in a seller’s market such as we are experiencing in Southern California 2017. Home sellers are generally receiving multiple offers from qualified homebuyers within days of putting their home on the market. How can you increase your chances of competing in such a market?

  1. Prove You Can Pay. Many buyers are showing up to open houses prepared to pay all cash. These are usually sophisticated buyers who may offer less than market, because they know that their all cash offer has leverage. There will be no need for contingencies or surprise extensions due to mortgage issues. If you are not paying all cash, be sure you have a letter from your mortgage company declaring that you are preapproved for $X amount.
  2. Have a well though-out plan. In this market it pays to be flexible about everything. When you go view a home, you’ll need to be ready to put in an offer if it will work for you. Know your acceptable ranges on neighborhood, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, home or condo/townhome, square feet, school district, etc
  3. Hire an amazing real estate agent, like Belle Tsai. There is no benefit in hiring a second tier agent. You want someone with experience in the area you are moving to, and with great skills in negotiation. You also want someone who knows how to manage all the moving pieces of the process and paperwork.
  4. Give your agent an exclusive, at least for 60 days or so. A great agent isn’t going to give you’re their best if you have other agents on the job. The best agents have plenty of clients who will give an exclusive, so you don’t want to be treated like second class. If they haven’t done a great job within 30 days, change agents. If you like them, but after 60 or 90 days the agent appears to be out of ideas, that may be the time to add a second agent. Be sure to tell your agent when you do this, and set up criteria for how you will decide which properties belong to which agent.
  5. Do your own research on potential properties. You agent will likely only “see” 80% of the places available at any given time. This is not due to any failing on the agent’s part, but rather due to the amount of activity on the Internet. You might even find a property by driving around that is for sale by owner, or not yet on the multiple listings.
  6. Eliminate any contingencies you can live without. Contingencies can be the deciding issue in a close contest for a great home.
  7. It is legitimate to want to come back a second time to any property you are considering. You may need to show it to a co-owner, contractor, or someone offering you direction in making the purchase. However, keep in mind that you may only have hours or a day or two to make the offer. Being nimble is important in a tight market. If you are in an area that is not so buyer friendly as LA or you are reading this later when things have cooled off, you may have much more flexibility on time than during April to July of 2017.
  8. If cash flow is an issue (and it almost always is), be sure to have your agent provide you with estimates of the cash you’ll need to close and move in. The down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, necessary repairs, window covers, utility and cable company deposits, can all start to add up.
  9. If the home or condo is part of an HOA (Home Owners Association), ask your agent what he/she might know about this HOA. Some of the rules can be really restrictive. Some HOA’s are not well run or have financial problems. You may even want to call the president of the HOA or talk to the management company for the HOA.
  10. There are many dozens of cities in LA County. Each of these cities has its own issues related to crime, regulations, transportation, local taxes, and so on. These issues are readily available to research online. You could find a lovely home, in a perfect neighborhood, in a city that is known to be in decline. Your agent is likely to be able to give you some direction, but do your own homework.

If you are ready to start your search or have questions that need answering before you do, or if you need to switch to a different agent, call Belle Tsai to set up an appointment. Call now at 310-738-7118.

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