7 Steps to Home Ownership
by Tricia Ebert, Realtor®, CSA®, ABR®, BPOR®, CDPE®
Last week we discussed how to get your pre-approval letter. Now we'll deal with actually finding you a house.
(3) Where to find your dream home: Once you have your financing in
place, it’s time to start looking for a house, townhouse or condo. But WHERE
should you look? This is primarily determined by what you can afford. If you
can buy a house priced up to $300,000 and you want to buy something in Beverly
Hills, you will most likely be disappointed. So please be realistic about what
you can afford and WHERE you can buy a house. Agents in California frequently
have clients who want to buy a completely remodeled 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house
in a really lovely neighborhood for less than $300,000 or $400,000. In Southern
California, this is nearly impossible. You may have to consider buying a condo or townhouse as your first home
because you will get a property that is larger,
newer and in better condition than a house for the same amount of money.
Frankly, condos and townhouses are a better value for the money.
So please be realistic about what you can afford and where
you can afford to buy a home. If Beverly Hills is out of your price range, what
other communities do you like? Be open to two or three areas to look for a
home. It will also help if you know which neighborhoods you like or don’t like
within the towns you’re searching.
For example, if you know you want to live in Burbank, CA, it’s
important to drive around and see which areas have the types of houses you like,
as well as “the feel” of the neighborhood, where the supermarkets, banks and
gas stations are located, how close it is to the freeway and which freeway it’s
close to, etc. Maybe you exit at Pass Avenue off the 134 freeway heading east,
and you start driving around that area of Burbank. You notice signs that say
“Media District.” You see that Warner Bros. and The Burbank Studios and Disney
Studios are all located in this part of the community.
Then you drive a little
south of there on Riverside Drive and discover “The Rancho” where people have
horses and horse stalls in their backyards. After exploring that area, you
drive north to Magnolia Blvd. and the neighboring areas and discover this is
called “Magnolia Park.” As you drive toward the hills, you see the Burbank Mall
and the condos, townhouses and houses in this area. Driving further north, you
realize you’re in the Burbank Hills north of Glenoaks Blvd., and this is
another completely different area.
You may like one neighborhood better than
another. This is important when searching for a home. Depending on your budget and what you can afford, you may find you
really like the area north of Glenoaks, but it’s not realistic to expect to
find a house for $400,000 there. So you decide to look for a condo or townhouse
that meets your needs instead. Or you realize you also like the Media District, and it might be easier to find a small house in the $495,000 range there.
It’s of utmost importance that
you be realistic about what you can afford and where you can afford to buy a
you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Please listen to your Realtor
when she tells you what prices you’ll find for properties in different areas
and respect her guidance. She is constantly looking at the inventory of homes
on the market and knows what’s available.
Next week: Once you've chosen the neighborhoods where you want to buy a home, you need to get clear about the type of home you want. We'll discuss this topic next week. Till then, happy house hunting! :-)