Buying a home is an exciting adventure. but it can also be time-consuming and costly if a buyer is not familiar with the process. This is part 1 of home buyer’s guide. We are going to be discussing the following topics, let’s take a look
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The first thing we want to be looking at is location. Location, in my option, is the single most important factor. What factors are important to homebuyers when deciding location? For example, one of the things to look at is perhaps the distance between home and work. Los Angeles traffic can be very bad during traffic hour. The commuting distance can be a major concern when deciding the location of the future home. Another thing to look at could be, school district, which we will be looking at in just a little bit. School may or may not be a priority when home buyers are shopping for a home. But if it is, then researching school district is quite important before deciding location. Another example, could be convenience, what is convenient to you as a home buyer. People have different opinions about what convenience is. So do spend time to think about what are more important to you as a home buyer.
Before setting a budget, it is important for home buyers to check the current financial position. Once the financial analysis is completed, then set a budget accordingly. There are a lot things involved when analyzing financial position especially when a home buyer needs to finance. For example, in the state of California, many major lenders require borrowers to have reserves. What is a reserve? Simply put, it is cash on hand that is required to set aside, after making down pay. That extra cash is to cover a home buyer’s mortgage payment in the event of emergency, such as loss of income. Every lender has different requirements. So one of the things to look at during financial analysis is to determine if there will be enough reserve that meets lender’s requirement.
Setting a budget goes hand to hand with understanding the current market activities. Meaning that a home buyer needs to understand what is happening on the market. Any home buyers can conduct market research on their own; however, market data, if not analyzed properly, can become misleading. And part of realtor’s responsibilities is to help clients, understand the market better and to see what is happening on the market.
If school district is important to you as a home buyer, then your target location will be of course within a good school district of your choice. How good of a school district, in addition to public record you can research for, really comes down to personal opinion and preference. This is because school quality depends on many different characteristics. Someone else’s opinion about what’s a good school… may be very different from yours. So it is up to the home buyers to conduct research and decide on school district. There is something important to keep in mind. Address residence does not guarantee school enrollment. This is because certain elite schools have entrance requirements beyond residence eligibility. So it is important that home buyers conduct research.
HOA stands for home owner association. Simply put, it is a corporate entity, an organization that is responsible for taking care of the community and enforce the rules and regulations of the community guideline known as CC&R. CC&R stands for conditions, covenants, and restrictions. It outlines the rules, regulations, and restrictions regarding what homeowners can or cannot do. And HOA’s responsibility is to enforce these rules.
If you are buying a property that has HOA, make sure that you read the CC&R carefully so that you understand all the terms and conditions, and to see if there is anything you disagree. In an HOA community, all residents have to pay monthly due, known as monthly HOA fee, the fees are collected to establish funding in order to keep up with maintenance and various community related expenses. HOA fees vary from community to community. Every association charges different amount. If you are considering a property that is governed by HOA, be sure to find out how much it is before submitting an offer. Fees can go from just a few hundred dollars to well over thousands in upper scaled communities. This cost can be quite significant, especially if you are financing.
What kind of home
If you prefer a home that is free standing, fully detached that sits on the land you own, then you may like traditional single house better. By the way, detached means you do not share any common wall with your neighbor. Your home is by itself that sits on your own land. With traditional single family house, you usually have better privacy. You also have better freedom if it has no HOA. But single house a lot of times can be more expensive comparing to other types of homes in the same area, such as comparing to condos or townhouse. And also, single house may have larger maintenance cost, since you are fully responsible for any repair.
On the other hand, if budget is a concern, or if you prefer not to deal with the amount of yard work or maintenance like in a single house, then you might want to consider other high density housing such as HOA governed condominiums. HOA governed properties can be either attached or detached. Again attached means you property shares common walls with your neighbor’s property. Detached means, a property does not share common wall. Within an HOA community, the maintenance cost is likely to be lower, because if common area requires repair, the HOA usually takes care of it from the community’s funding. The common area repair cost usually is shared among residents. But there may be exceptions, so be sure to read the CC&R. The downside may include, less privacy, since your property may share common wall with your neighbors. Or your neighbors might live very close to you. Another downside is the CC&R that tells you what you can or cannot do. That is why if you are considering HOA governed properties, be sure to read the CC&R.