How To Buy Your Own Piece Of L.A.

Searching for a home in Highland Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock or Mt. Washington? You and everybody else.

Thanks to Forbes, the L.A. Times and Redfin, our sizzling Eastside hoods spent all of 2012 and 2013 under the national spotlight–making an already tough market, nearly impenetrable for buyers looking to plant roots and not flip.

With homes flying off the market, it’s imperative that you’re prepared because the gems (great locations, looks, price) will sell within 7-14 days. Below is all the info you need to buy a house in Eastside Los Angeles.

Buying a House, in Brief

  • Obtain a loan
  • Contact an awesome real estate agent
  • Determine what features you want in a house
  • Be clear with your agent about what you like/don’t like
  • Be realistic about what you want
  • Fall in love – make an offer


Buying a House, in Detail


Things to Consider When Buying

Buying a home isn’t just about a great kitchen or square footage. Though important, there are other factors to seriously consider. Like:


Can I Afford It?

It’s funny how many people don’t keep this in mind. While you might have a loan approval for $500k, that doesn’t mean you need to go that high and have a mortgage payment at the top of your budget.


The Neighborhood

Do you really want to be the biggest, nicest home on the block? Appraisers don’t think so. Do you really want to be the prettiest home in a questionable neighborhood? Probably not. These factors will definitely affect your resale.


Square Footage

I’ve seen 1000 sq. ft. homes that felt larger and had better floor plans than houses double that size. Don’t get fixated on a certain square footage. My tip: have a 200 sq. ft. buffer. If you want a 2000 sq. ft house, consider homes in the 1800 sq. ft. range and up and see them in person to determine whether it’s really too small for you. It may be turn out to be ‘just right.’


Blinded by Bling

The average cost of a new, gorgeous kitchen is about $15k. Do you really want to buy that house that’s asking $50k more than ever other house you’ve looked at simply because you’re blinded by the shine of granite and stainless steel? The same goes for most other “bells and whistles” like new flooring, an updated bath, etc. You can always do the upgrades yourself, choose what you really want and pay much less for it.


The Bones

This goes hand-in-hand with getting blinded by bling. The most important thing to consider when buying a home is the quality of the home itself. Are the bones good? If it’s in older home, chances are that the materials used to make that home are far superior and stronger than anything you can find today.


Doing an Open House Right

This goes along with tips on Bling & Bones. When walking through a house, don’t get blinded by professional staging and bling-y kitchens. Look at the big picture. Do you like the home’s presence from the curb? Do you like the natural light? Is the living room large enough to accommodate the 3 kids and the 2 dogs? While staging is nice, it’s unlikely you’ll ever replicate the great looks of professional staging if you were to buy the home. So think about how you really live–even while walking through a home designed to get you to buy.

For a great agent who can help you find beautiful homes that truly meet your needs and wants, contact Vanessa.



Preferred Lenders: Loans for New Buyers

Buying a home is one of the biggest things you’ll ever do — but it doesn’t have to be the most traumatic. This is where a great agent and fabulous loan officer come in. There are 3 steps to buying a house: 1) Figure out how much you can afford 2) Get a loan pre-approval and 3) Look for a house.

I have 2 preferred lenders who have all been tested, vetted and gone through trials by fire. They are the best in the business. If you’re buying a home in Los Angeles, you won’t find better. Since they’ll be at your side every step of the way, you should have a chat with one or both and determine who is the best fit. There is no cost or obligation to get a loan pre-approval.

Eddie Ajamian, NMLS #342821, Franklin Loan Center, Pasadena
O: 626-219-7192 | C: 626-826-5225 | F: 626-605-2500

Jinhee Hann, NMLS #450223, Wells Fargo, Los Angeles
O: 213-253-3419 | C: 213-300-0618 | F: 866-359-5987


How much home I can afford?
Start by using this home affordability calculator

Pre-qualification Checklist

Please put together the documentation below as it applies to your scenario.

  • Please allow 15-20 minutes to take an application over the phone
  • 2 years of W-2s for all applicants
  • 1 month of Pay Stubs for all applicants
  • 2 months Asset Statements for all accounts on your application (savings, 401k, etc.)
  • 2 years of Tax Returns or if you’re a business, 2 years of business returns
  • 2 years of Job History

It is a good idea to keep in mind that any new credit purchases, including co-signing for a family member, may impact your ability to qualify for your new home purchase. If you have the majority of the documents, please send them along and the rest can follow.

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