There’s no place like home, and there are no better homes than the ones you’ll find in California. A robust real estate market, coupled with beautiful year-round weather, makes properties here among the most sought-after in the country. Case in point: while the national average for selling a house is 65 to 93 days, it only takes Californians 23 to 62 days to secure a buyer for their homes.
Here’s how you can secure a much-coveted California address:
Get your credit score in shape
Your credit score plays a huge role in your ability to buy a home. A high score means you’ll have better chances of getting approved for credit. You may also be able to borrow more for less interest. On the other hand, a low credit score could derail your dream of owning a home.
On average, a good credit score for a home loan would be around 684, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, you may encounter some lenders who have increased this score to 700 plus a full 20% down payment.
If your credit score needs some work, you need to fix it before you start shopping for a home. The earlier you attend to getting your credit report, the easier and faster it is to secure a loan.
Improve on your credit score by decreasing – if not eliminating – your debts, paying your bills promptly, increasing your savings, and avoiding other big purchases.
Know how much house you can afford
Even if you’ve finally found your dream home, if you can’t afford the monthly mortgage, then that dream could turn into a financial nightmare. This underscores the importance of knowing how much house you can afford before embarking on your home-buying journey.
Make sure your monthly mortgage will not exceed 25% of your take-home pay. For example, if you earn $50,000 a month, your monthly mortgage should be no more than $12,500.
Plot out your monthly expenses
Your mortgage isn’t the only monthly bill you have to plan for. You’ll also have to account for utilities, taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance costs, among other expenditures. If you plan to buy a condo, you’ll also have to factor in the association and parking fees. Online mortgage calculators are excellent tools for computing your spending every month, but for your peace of mind, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a financial expert who can sit down and work the numbers with you.
Partner with a reliable real estate agent
It helps to have a trustworthy real estate agent guiding you in the home-buying process. Try to meet with three to five agents and get a feel of their market knowledge, communication skills, personality, and approachability.
Once you’ve completed the four steps outlined above, you’ll be better equipped to move forward with the home buying process and make informed decisions for a more satisfying purchase.
If you need to talk to a real estate agent regarding properties in La Quinta, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and other surrounding areas, John Butler of Amazing Desert Homes is here for you. Contact him today at 760.989.2030 or email him at AmazingDesertHomes(at)gmail(dotted)com.