California is the third-largest state in the US, and it has a population of over 39 million, spanning an area of 163,696 square miles. The Golden State’s diverse landscape includes mountains, deserts, and awe-inspiring forests.
That makes California a very desirable location and a nice place to live, work, and raise a family.
The Golden State’s hot real estate market is one of the many factors to consider before buying a house. Whether you’re moving to the state to relocate for a job, be closer to your family, or look for a second home, knowing what you’re getting into before buying is essential.
This checklist will help you decide if California is the right place for you and make the home-buying process much more manageable.
Top 5 Things You Need To Know Today
Below are the top five things you need to know before buying a house in California. It doesn’t matter your age or current location; everything listed will help you make an informed decision before diving into the Golden State’s real estate market!
#1 You Will Have a Hard Time Closing Escrow in 30 Days
Gone are the days when it was easy to close escrow in 30 days only. California has recently experienced a lending crisis, making lending regulations more difficult in this state.
As a result, the lending process now takes more time, so written disclosures from sellers are quite lengthy today, making it more difficult for first-time buyers to finish the escrow closing process in less than a month.
The real estate escrow process includes the following steps:
- Step 1: Designating an escrow holder.
- Step 2: Placing the deposit before opening escrow.
- Step 3: Checking for the sale conditions and determining whether or not they are met.
- Step 4: The escrow holder should review the whole file before confirming the loan validity and material verification.
- Step 5: The title company and escrow holder will review the title insurance policy. If the requirements are satisfied, the escrow holder will receive money from the lender.
Since a 30-day escrow is hard to achieve, we recommend that you close escrow in 45 or more days, making the process less stressful when buying a home in California.
#2 Final Approval Isn’t the Same as Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Like in other states, getting a mortgage pre-approval before beginning house shopping is necessary for most buyers. You can confidently move forward with your home search with a pre-approval knowing you already have a mortgage commitment.
The key benefit of getting pre-approved is knowing exactly how much money you can borrow from the lender once the process is complete. This allows you to shop for a home with more confidence and focus on finding the best property for your needs.
Another advantage of getting pre-approved is that it can help speed up your home purchase process. When a buyer is pre-approved, they can make an offer on the house without delay, meaning less time will be spent negotiating with sellers and waiting for mortgage approval.
But keep in mind that pre-approval doesn’t guarantee you’ll get approved for the loan in the end. Your mortgage lender will send the pre-approval letter first, and once your offer has been accepted, the real paperwork process will begin.
#3 Don’t Compete with All-Cash Offers
In a world where mortgage rates are low, and home prices are high, an all-cash offer is an attractive option for buyers. It allows them to buy their dream house without wasting their time applying for home loans and dealing with the interest rates.
Most people believe that all-cash offers are better than mortgage offers because they do not have to go through obtaining a loan. They also argue that they can negotiate better prices because lenders will be willing to offer more favorable terms for an all-cash purchase.
However, there are also some downfalls to this type of purchase. For instance, if the buyer needs to sell their current home to buy another one with cash, they will need to live somewhere else while their existing home is on the market.
If you don’t have an all-cash offer, we advise you to avoid competition with buyers who have this ability because your offer will be beaten in most cases. To avoid the additional stress of dealing with this type of competition— partner with a real estate expert.
#4 Don’t Purchase New Items Before Closing
Not every sale closes accordingly, which typically happens when a loan doesn’t go through for various reasons. In fact, one of the main reasons some deals don’t close is because the homeowner’s association has issues with the buyer or the seller cancels escrow improperly.
Sellers are required by California law to inform potential homebuyers about the property’s environmental concerns, pest problems, material defects, and physical condition.
Unfortunately, not all issues are caught during inspections, and you may need to wait until something is resolved.
Nevertheless, there might be difficulties in closing a sale, so you should hold off on buying new furniture or home appliances before the close of escrow.
#5 Get a Home Inspection Before Purchase
When looking to buy a home in California, it is vital to know as much about the property as possible. You should always get a home inspection before purchasing a property so that you know the true value.
One of the most important things to consider is how well the home is maintained. A home inspection will help identify any potential problems with the property, such as broken windows and leaking roofs.
This will also help you avoid costly repairs after you move in. Remember that the law will not protect you if later you find out the property has problems that weren’t discovered during the inspections.
There are many benefits to living in California, from the mild winters to the beautiful beaches. While this is one of the most popular places to live in the US, it also comes with a lot of work to find the perfect home. Buying a home can be a stressful and confusing process.
Reach out to our team of experts to help you navigate the California real estate market.
Whether you’re interested in buying a house in Sacramento or elsewhere, you should be prepared for several things before jumping into the real estate market. Now that you know the top five things to consider before buying a house in California, you will be able to decide whether it’s the right place for you and your family.