Things Every Home Buyer Should Look at if Moving to LA

Moving to the City of Angels is a dream for a lot of people.  There are so many opportunities to grab a hold of that it is an incredibly exciting adventure.  The trick is not to be caught up in the whirlwind of everything that is going on around you and ensure you plan your move well.  

If you are making your big move to LA for a new job role, or for another reason – we have put a list of things you will need to take into account when getting your home.

Do your Research on the Available Areas

There are lots of coveted areas to stay at n LA.  For people looking to live centrally – Beverly Hills is a go to spot. This is where you will find lots of high-end stores and restaurants, and it’s also great for people watching.  Downtown LA is great for nightlife.  It is packed with high-rises and a great street culture.  Malibu and Santa Monica are popular for people who are looking for more of a beach type location – and there is lots to do there.  Look at the local amenities, the activities and everything else they have to offer before going to view any houses there.  

You also need to think carefully about the commute when taking into consideration your location.  There are nearly $4 million people that live there – so you can imagine the congestion coming in and out of the roads when people are driving in working hours.  On top of this, there are lots of people who work irregular hours in LA to think about.  Alternatively, the commute might suit you – it can give you time to listen to podcasts or audio books – or else you might be a gym bunny who wants to get to the centre of LA super early.  Location is key when you move to LA. 

Understand that it Will be a Challenge

Finding a house or renting an apartment in LA is no easy task, so bear that in mind. Even when you have chosen your desired location, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to get there straight away. It’s incredibly competitive so houses sell very quickly.

The key is to find an experienced real estate agent in LA that will be able to help you out as much as possible.  You also need to build a rapport with your realtor so they can instantly tell if a house that’s on the market is right for you.  You can usually find lots of info about them online.  As well as testimonials on their website, there are 3rdparty sites that you can check where you will be confronted with unbiased and objective reviews on how they have done with other clients. It’s important that you trust them, and that they have your best interests at heart.  

Do your Own Research on the Homes Nearby

Once you have selected your location and have a good idea as to where you want to stay – do your own research as to what’s gone on in the street that you are looking into. You will typically be able to find information online as to how recently the houses have been sold and how much for.  

There will also be stuff going on in local communities that you may not have come across when researching LA overall.  Is there a good school nearby?  It is a safe place for kids? 

Speak to Numerous Mortgage brokers and get Pre-approved

There are many benefits to having a mortgage that’s pre-approved before you start properly house hunting.  Firstly, it gives you a clear indication as to what’s affordable to you and what isn’t. This could save you a lot of time looking for houses that aren’t in your price range or budget.  

The other advantage is that it could end up speeding up the purchase process for you. If you are competing with someone else to get the home of your dreams, and your mortgage is pre-approved and theirs isn’t – it puts you in the driving seat. 

You should compare the rates and shop around when it comes to mortgage lenders. You should also be aware that there are some mortgage companies that specialise in certain types of house purchase. For example, you may find a mortgage company that is more lenient to first time buyers than others – and use that to your advantage if it’s your first home purchase.  Don’t just go with the first one that accepts you – that’s a big mistake.  You also need to make sure you are choosing the right mortgage for you.  Is it a longer-term fixed mortgage, or a shorter term one?  Don’t take the decision lightly and speak to an expert.  

Decide on your Deal Breakers Before you Visit

You should already have the deal breakers decided before you even visit a house. Is there something that you can’t live without?  It could be that you want a private back garden, or a driveway.  It’s always a good idea to have a checklist prepared so you don’t forget anything when you get there.  Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when going to visit a new house, let’s face it, it’s exciting – so understandable you might miss a few things out.

It also could be a good idea to bring someone you trust with you or your partner – that way you won’t get too carried away with what’s going on.  A 2ndopinion never hurt, and it will give you the reassurance that you need.  

Think about Its Potential

If there are no major issues with a home that you have viewed, but some minor issues – make sure you think about what you could turn it into rather than what it is now.  There are things that can be easily changed when moving in such as paint colour for example, or small touch ups.  

Also remember not to focus too much on the décor.  This will all change when you move in and put your own stamp on things. Be open minded when you go to view a house, and look at it as your very own blank canvas.  

Invest in a House Location Survey

A common mistake is that people make a house purchase without investing in a home location survey and can be caught out.  There are various reasons why you may want to get a house location survey. The main one being is it will map out the exact location of the property and it will also let you know what the relationship is between your house and the properties that are adjacent to it. It will also pull up any previous discrepancies that have occurred prior to the existing ownership.  Getting a house location survey is really the only sure-fire way to get basic information about your home.  This can help to resolve any issues further down the line. 

Make Sure the House is Energy Efficient

Having a home that is energy efficient is the best way to ensure your monthly outgoings are as low as possible and of course, you are reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.  There are a few things that you should be looking for or asking to find this information out.

Do they have solar panels installed? This is something that’s becoming increasingly popular – particularly in areas such as Burbank LA.  If they don’t – this doesn’t need to be a deal breaker as solar panel costs in Burbank LA aren’t as high as you may think.  In fact, there are financing options available too.  As solar energy is a renewable energy source – you will never run out.  It will be available as long as we have the sun.  As your solar panels will be meeting energy needs – it does mean that you will find a drop in your electricity bills.  If this is something that you want to look into – this provider may be able to help

A question you should ask is how long they have had their boiler.   The reality is – if the existing boiler is fairly old – it won’t be as energy efficient as you need.  The newer models are much more efficient – and use up much more energy than they should.  As such, it means there could be a fairly hefty cost coming your way in a few years, and your bills will be higher.

You should also check the statues of the windows, as they should be incredibly well insulated.  This means that it will be more difficult for cold air or warm air to leave your house – and making it easier for you to maintain the optimum temperature. 

Programable thermostats are also a benefit.  This allows you to set your thermostat to a specific temperature, and only use energy when you need to.  You can also set it to go on and off at dedicated times.  

Don’t Feel Pressured to Make a Purchase

Although in LA the market is competitive and homes do go quickly – don’t feel pressured into making a purchase you aren’t sure of just because you know it is beneficial to act fast.  Take time to carefully consider your options, this is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make. 

This is also where your real estate agent will come into play.  They will be able to guide you on how long you have to make the decision.  They will also be able to give you an idea as to whether or not there is any wiggle room on the asking price or not.  Make sure you speak to the experts before you push ahead with this big decision. 

A common mistake is that people think with their heart a little too much and this can cause you to react too quickly and jump the gun.  This in turn, could land you with a deal that’s not as good as you would like.  

Ask about the Neighbours

A big part of your community is your neighbours.  After all, you may need to borrow a cup of sugar one day!  Don’t be afraid to ask questions on who they are and get a little more info.  It could be great to have families or people around the same age to associate with.  

The existing owners also be best placed to let you know what’s nearby in terms of neighbourhood activity. 

Make Sure there is Enough Cash in Hand when you Move

Remember that it’s not just the cost of the house you need to take into consideration when creating your budget.  You also need to cost up removal companies, potential storage costs etc.  All of this will of course be more expensive if you are moving cross-state and internationally.  With removal companies – you need to do your research here too.  They will be in charge of your most prized possessions – so have a look round their testimonials and ensure they have the adequate insurance should something get damaged.  

You will also no doubt want to upgrade a few things or buy some new furnishings to make your home your own.  Once you have decided on your dream home, put a budget in place for your move – and the things that you need to purchase.  That way you are far less likely to overspend and find yourself in financial trouble which could be an even bigger issue if you are increasing your monthly outgoings to pay for your mortgage.  

This is where you will want to shop around online for items too.  When it comes to furnishings, and fixtures and fittings – the likelihood is you will get better deals if you go from site to site hunting down some good bargains.  

If you are getting ready for a big move – then make sure you take a look at some of these top tips before you get started. It’s a great way to make sure everything runs smoothly for you. 

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