Working with first-time home buyers is rewarding for me as a REALTOR®. Buyers who have never gone through the process of purchasing a home often start out like a deer in headlights. The sale of real property has a lot of moving parts, and many first-time home buyers don’t know where to begin or what to expect.
My primary goal for my clients is to be an information resource. Searching for homes is a lot easier now that the search process starts online, but there is a lot more to buying a home than looking at the pretty pictures on the listing.
My client, Lainie, and I began looking for her property about a year ago. She was a first-time buyer, she knew her budget and had a long-term idea of the kind of investment she wanted to make. She had a general idea of her target neighborhood, but her price range was really driving her potential prospects.
As you may know, the Los Angeles market has been saturated with buyers since the end of last year with not enough inventory to go around, especially in the median-range or entry-level markets. To add further frustration, investors are gobbling up as many available properties as possible and “flipping” them with subpar construction and remodeling. Many of the “remodeled” homes we saw would need additional capital investment to fix shoddy work, or for repairs that had been neglected entirely.
Lainie has an excellent strategy and one I recommend for any newbies hoping to grow a real estate portfolio. She targeted multifamily properties to live in one and rent out the other. Not only will the renters be helping to pay off her mortgage, but she was also able to qualify for a higher loan amount because the lender ads the rental income into the mortgage equation.
After a while, we had seen so many duplexes and triplexes, it was hard to keep them all straight! We put out dozens of offers, but properties were being overbid like crazy. I never recommend to extend your budget because of market pressure. Lainie knew what she could afford and we were determined to find the right property for her.
Patience usually pays off in real estate and one day a listing popped up that seemed too good to be true. It was exactly her target price and looked to be nicely remodeled and move-in ready. Knowing we needed to move quickly, we were the first to make an offer and it was promptly accepted!
The inspection was the deciding factor, you never know what to expect. But the sellers had done a great job updating the Craftsman home that was built in 1915. They did most of the work themselves, and their attention to detail resulted in a quality home.
Negotiations were made for a few minor repairs and details in the contract, and both parties were pleased with the final agreement. From there, escrow went smoothly and the transaction closed in 46 days.
Congratulations again to Lainie for her first real estate investment! Here’s to many more to come!!