CENTURY 21 ACTION
2679 Redondo Avenue
Long Beach, Ca. 90806
Ph: (562) 216-1406
Cell: (562) 754-1784
Learn about Buying
Buying a home is an important step toward financial security. And with the right help, home buying is easier than you think.
Get professional tips on buying a home including what you should look for - how to negotiate a great deal - how to protect yourself along the way, and more.
Register today for My CENTURY 21 to get access to home buying tools and information including:
- View recent home sale prices in areas where you're looking
- Research schools, demographics, and statistics for your dream neighborhood
- Save a personal collection of favorite properties and property searches
- Be the first to know when properties that match your criteria come on the market with automatic email alerts
- Find your nearest CENTURY 21® real estate agent or broker to help you
- Create and save virtual home plans to streamline your move-in and more!
Get ready to buy the home of your dreams!
Step 1: Defining What You Want
Start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that depending on your funding, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. CENTURY 21 Action's professionals are trained to help their clients narrow down their choices by sharing market trends and local information like neighborhood statistics and community links.
Step 2: Figuring Out What You Can Afford
Now that you know what you want, it's time to see what you can afford. You can start by crunching the numbers yourself using our selection of calculators. When you're ready to move to the next step, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process can often be performed in under an hour and it accomplishes two important goals. First, it will tell you how much house you can afford and what your monthly payments would be. Second, it tells the seller that you can afford to buy their home. By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Many times a buyer can use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.
Step 3: Shopping For Homes
Once you know what community you'd like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, its time to start checking out actual properties. Beginning this search online can help save you time since it can help you target homes that meet your search criteria. Our home notifier can even email you when properties come on the market that meet your search criteria.
Next, begin visiting homes in person. Ask your local real estate professional to arrange visits of homes that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Are both the houses in substantially the same condition? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? Does either house have any special easements?
Step 4: Making An Offer
Once you find the home you want, it's time to write an offer. Typically this is a very difficult and trying time since both parties have totally different goals. Your CENTURY 21 Action! agent can help you negotiate the offer. If you have any personal interaction with the homeowner, don't give out any information about your move, your current housing status, financial status or your feelings about their property - positive or negative. This could hurt you in future negotiations.
This might also be a good time to consider purchasing a home protection plan. These insurance policies can be purchased by the buyer or seller and help protect against unexpected costs or home repairs during the listing period or in the initial years after a home has been purchased.
Step 5: Inspection & Insurance
After your offer is accepted you will need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections, including insect, radon, building quality, title, etc. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage details.
This is a major step in the buying process and there are many potential problems that can be discovered during this period. These include a leaky roof, radon gas, termite damage, a foundation problem, and wall cracks, to name a few. These problems happen all the time. The difference between closing on your dream home and starting the process all over again is what occurs during the negotiations between you and the seller.
Your CENTURY 21 Action! professional can help make these discussions go more smoothly. You will also have the responsibility to do a "final walk through" before the closing of escrow to ensure that any repairs negotiated have been made, or that the property is in substantially the same condition as it was when your offer was accepted. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed to your satisfaction.
Step 6: The Final Closing
Before you arrive at the closing, make sure all the necessary paper work and deposits have been completed. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items necessary under local and state laws are not completed and brought to the closing table, the closing may not happen on time. And, depending on what the contract says, this could result in further action including financial penalties and even the loss of your rights to the home.
Once you close, it's official - you own the house! But there might be a few things you want to do before you lay out the welcome mat. These include turning on the electricity, subscribing to the local paper, cleaning or replacing the carpet, arranging for lawn services, etc. This could also be a good time to make some needed renovations.
Home Buying Tips
One of the most frequently asked questions about buying a home is related to negotiating a fair price. Buyers -- especially first-time home buyers -- want home buying tips, particularly about negotiating.
While some people feel uncomfortable bargaining even at a garage sale or farmer's market, in real estate, negotiating is part of the home buying process.
Here are proven tips for becoming a successful negotiator when it comes to buying a home:
Home Buying Tip #1: Know your seller's motivation. A seller who needs to move quickly because of a job transfer, divorce, or contract on another home is more likely to accept a lower price. In this case, the seller is motivated by closing the sale quickly.
Home Buying Tip #2: The "listing" or "asking" price is what the seller ideally would like to receive. However, it's not necessarily what he or she will settle for.
Home Buying Tip #3: Before you make an offer, know the market value of the home. Your CENTURY 21 agent can help you determine this by checking recent sales and listing prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood where you're looking.
Home Buying Tip #4: Be flexible. Never say, "Take it or leave it." An attitude like this can ruin the potential for making a deal.
Home Buying Tip #5: Each time you increase your offer price, ask for something in return such as repairs, appliances, even lawn furniture or the riding lawn mower.
Home Buying Tip #6: Take a tip from poker players and never show your hand -- or reveal your next step.
Home Buying Tip #7: If you plan to pay cash or have a tentative commitment for a mortgage loan, use your strong financial position as a bargaining tool.
Home Buying Tip #8: Don't let your emotions (or those of your spouse) get in the way of negotiating the best deal. Leave your pride, fear, anger, and emotional attachments at home.
CENTURY 21 Real Estate, LLC in 42 countries, 104 languages, 7,800 offices, we are 143,000 agents of change ready to help you negotiate a successful home purchase.
Question: What contingencies should appear in the offer?
Answer: When you look to purchase a home, anticipate potential problems. But protect against them so that if something does go wrong, you can cancel the contract without penalty. This is what contingencies allow you to do. They should be included in any offer you present to buy a home.
Most offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on your ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows you to have a professional inspect the property. Without contingencies, a buyer could forfeit his deposit under certain circumstances if he backs out of a deal. The purchase contract also should include the seller's responsibilities, such as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing, and making any agreed-upon repairs.
Question: Is it possible to buy a home below market price?
Answer: Certainly, but do not hold your breath. It takes a lot of determination and time to find a real bargain. But if you are adamant, here are some likely targets to pursue:
- foreclosed property
- a fixer-upper
- hard-to-sell new homes in a housing development
- tenant-in-common partnerships.
With the latter, you may be able to buy a partial interest in this form of title to property owned by two or more individuals because the partners often sell at a discount. However, bargains are easier to come by in a soft real estate market, when the economy is in a recession, and when homeowners, and builders and sponsors of condominium conversions, are desperate to move unsold units.