Buying Your First Home

By: David Hitt

You have some important things to consider when searching for the perfect home to buy in the San Fernando Valley. It can be a distressing task to sort through all of the homes on the market as well as deciding on what neighborhoods in which to focus especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. Your Buyers Agent can be especially helpful with this because they can refer you to reliable resources to gather important information you will need to make the right decisions.

It is important to research neighborhoods thoroughly as well as drive through certain areas to get an idea of which ones might suit you best. Here are some important factors to consider are:

a)Homeowner statistics-average family income, family type, occupation and education levels.
b)Profile of the neighborhood-amount of commercial development, density. Type of area-suburban, rural, city or small town etc.
c)Schools-test scores, number of national merit scholars and college students, school performance and student spending.
d)Crime statistics-you can usually get this type of data by calling your local Police Department-Public Affairs or visit their website.
e)Conveniences and amenities-proximity to parks, nightlife, transportation, shopping, restaurants, employment, schools, recreation and places of worship etc.

There are many ways to analyze areas you might be interested in. One way to go about looking at a particular area is to determine the "supply and demand". How many "For Sale" signs are in the area? How many of these properties have sold? What is the ratio between listing prices to sales prices? Are homes selling with multiple offers?

In popular areas home values are usually higher than others. If affordability is an issue you may try to look in an area that has not been discovered yet or that is on the outskirts of a metropolitan area. You might also consider buying a townhome or condo in the beginning in order to live in a better area if finances are a concern.

NAR statistics show that 80% of consumers are going online to websites such as Realtor.com, real estate brokerage and individual agent's sites to gather information on homes before contacting a Realtor. This statistic is growing daily because the internet has made is ever so easy to access important information online such as buying a home, crime statistics, neighborhoods, schools, etc.

You will want to narrow your search as much as possible otherwise you can be "searching for the one" for a very long time. To start off you should write down all of the important facts about each area you are considering on paper side-by-side to make it easier to analyze. Once you have selected the homes you want to see it is time to make an appointment with your Buyer's Agent to show them to you. Take notes on each property you view to be able to analyze them in detail later.

Once you have compared each home and have selected the one you are most interested in it might be time to write an offer! If the property is a new listing and there is a lot of interest you might have to move fast otherwise you run the risk of possibly losing it.

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