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5 Mistakes To Avoid As A First-Time Homebuyer In LA

Photo of a house, the ocean behind, three cars on the street, a palm tree on the right, beneath an orange sky of sunset.
(Photo by Angie Pham on Unsplash)
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Many folks dream of the day they can purchase a Los Angeles home and turn the key in their door for the first time. But buying a house isn’t always smooth sailing, and mistakes made by first-time buyers can sink a deal.

L.A. locals have to surround themselves with qualified real estate experts, all while saving as much as possible to cover closing costs and purchase furnishings.

To help aspiring homeowners begin their journey, the team at Prevu Real Estate prepared a list of common mistakes that first-time buyers should be sure to avoid.

Mistake 1: Not saving soon enough

Scrolling through available listings is a breeze, as home shoppers can be out doing errands and learning about the latest real estate hitting the market. But while scrolling is easy, saving is not. Buyers can easily get disheartened if they find their ideal Culver City home, only to learn they do not have enough for both a down payment and other closing costs.

Before beginning your search, create a realistic budget to recognize your income and cash outflows every month. Adventurers at heart will need to hang up their backpacks for a year or two, just as foodies will need to start cooking at home if they want to save up faster.

But passively saving for a down payment is a breeze if Angelenos plan for it through automated savings deposits. First-time buyers can also ask family members for help with a gift, but make sure you speak with a home buying expert to figure out what financing works for you.

Mistake 2: Not hiring a local expert

Navigating the many steps of the home buying process can be daunting, which is why having an expert buyer's agent at your side helps navigate the deal process.

So once you are following a budget and set up a savings plan, it is time to start meeting agents. Diligent buyers should speak to a pool of agents to see how well they know your target L.A. neighborhoods. Ask them questions about how many deals they have done in your target regions and what types of properties they have sold.

Mistake 3: Not asking for a rebate

Buyers who jump the gun on searching may find a beachside home in Santa Monica, only to hire the first agent they can find and miss out on a commission rebate.

After budgeting for a down payment, buyers should meet with local brokers and ask about their commission rebate programs. These powerful tools put money back in the pocket of a first-time buyer once a deal closes.

L.A. buyers can partner with firms like Prevu Real Estate to receive the firm’s Smart Buyer Rebate totaling up to 2% of the home’s purchase price.

Mistake 4: Not shopping for a mortgage

New entrants to the real estate market are happy to accept guidance but usually work with lenders recommended by friends or family. And newcomers to the market should meet with these folks, but first-time buyers should meet various lenders.

L.A. residents short-change themselves if they work with the first lender they meet, as they lose out on an opportunity to learn about financing options and which ones are right for your long-term goals. Meeting with multiple lenders helps you negotiate better interest rates, as you can compare and contrast lender terms.

Plus, when sellers see an offer with a pre-approval letter, they know you are ready to go.

Mistake 5: Not getting an inspection

The Los Angeles real estate market is swinging towards normalcy, but it is still a seller's market. It is common to see buyers placing offers well over the asking price and even conceding inspections to woo sellers.

A strong desire to save a few hundred bucks while quickly moving into a new home makes skipping inspections sound appealing to first-time buyers. But buyer beware, as waiving this step of the home buying process can lead to many issues down the line. Unless you come from a background in home contracting work, first-time buyers should always get a home inspection from a licensed professional.

While a storied Victorian-style house in Pasadena exudes charm, older homes like this can conceal a host of issues. A qualified property inspector gives you an unbiased report of the state of the floors, HVAC, roofing, and water drainage.

Interested in buying in LA? Browse listings and see how much you can save with Prevu’s Smart Buyer Rebate.

Prevu Real Estate, Inc. is a licensed real estate broker in California, license number 02134758.