Category: First Time

Best First Time Home Buyer Areas in Los Angeles

When starting the search for your first home in Los Angeles, there is obviously a plethora of homes to choose from. However, what are the best first time home buyer areas in Los Angeles?

Which neighborhoods will allow you to find not only your perfect home but also have things to do while still falling within your price range?

The Average Home for First Time Home Buyers in Los Angeles (h1)

The term “first time home” doesn’t just speak to the purchase of your first home. It also references price, number of bedrooms, square feet, and style of home.

The average first-time home is:

  • $500,000 – $800,000
  • 2-3 Bedrooms
  • 1000 – 2000 Square Feet
  • Single Family

While building this list, I used the criteria above but I also made sure to list the neighborhoods that had a sense of community and access to activities and events. The 3 areas I want to focus on are; The Valley, Northeast Los Angeles, and South of the 10.

The Valley  (H1)

The San Fernando Valley, or simply “The Valley”, is known for its great restaurants, movie studios, hiking trails and more. Unfortunately, it’s also known for its high home costs. But don’t fret, there are some areas of the Valley that are great for first time home buyers. These areas are:

  • Burbank
  • North Hollywood
  • Valley Glen
  • Valley Village

Let’s get started.

Burbank  (h2)

First on the list of best first time home buyer areas in Los Angeles is Burbank. Burbank is home to California’s biggest movie studios including Warner Brothers and Walt Disney making it a very cool place to live. Hungry? There is a plethora of award-winning restaurants and cafes.

Because of its popularity, the median home price in Burbank has been going up, but the average price per home in Burbank still falls into our first time home buyer range at $789,000.

North Hollywood (h2)

Next up on my list for first time home buyers is North Hollywood. With the median home value coming in at $649,000, North Hollywood is one of the more affordable areas of the Valley.

Not only affordable, North Hollywood is also one of the more eclectic areas of Los Angeles housing the famous NoHo Arts District. With dozens of theatres, art galleries, cafes and shops, there is always something to do in the North Hollywood area.

Before moving on, if Burbank or North Hollywood are of interest to you, please click here and I will be in touch shortly.

Valley Village (h2)

North of Studio City, and West of North Hollywood, lies Valley Village. Nestled between the eclectic NoHo and the famous restaurants of Studio City, Valley Village is a great place for first time home buyers in Los Angeles.

The median home price is a little higher at $914,000 but being surrounded by so much to do, this is the perfect area for the more “social” first time home buyer.

Valley Glen (h2)

Valley Glen is one of the more diverse areas of San Fernando Valley, with roughly half of its residents being born outside of the US. Valley Glen is home to the Great Wall of Los Angeles which is a half-mile long mural which tells the history of California through the eyes of its minority residents. With a median listing price of $684,900, Valley Glen is slightly more affordable then Valley Village.

That brings our areas in this section to a close. If you are interested in the Valley please click the button below and I will put together a list of available homes that meet your needs! The next areas on the list of best first time home buyer areas in Los Angeles is NELA, or Northeast Los Angeles.

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Northeast Los Angeles (H1)

The second area on our list of best first time home buyer areas in Los Angeles is North of Chinatown and West of San Marino ; the neighborhood cluster known as Northeast LA or NELA.

Not only is Northeast Los Angeles riddled with hidden gems (https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/unlock-hidden-gems-northeast-la), but 5 of the 7 neighborhoods that make up NELA fall right into our criterion for first time home buyers. The 5 neighborhoods are:

  • Highland Park
  • Montecito Heights
  • Atwater Village
  • Mount Washington

Let’s discover Northeast Los Angeles.

Highland Park (h2)

Highland Park is one of the oldest settled areas in Los Angeles. While it has been through some transformations, today Highland Park is home to a large creative community. Whether it the beautifully crafted homes, the artsy shops, restaurants, or bars, Highland Park has become a very hot neighborhood for creatives and first time home buyers. Take a stroll down to Figueroa Street on a weekend and you will experience beautiful architecture, excellent coffee shops, and so much more. Definitely worth the look!

Besides the great community, the median listing price is $699,000 so it falls right into our first time home buyer price range! Come check out the area! Contact me here and we can go look at the NELA neighborhood and listings!

Montecito Heights

The cheapest place to live on our Northeast Los Angeles list, is Montecito Heights. The median listing price for homes in this neighborhood is $597,300. What’s nice about Montecito Heights is the fact it’s almost detached from the city life. The neighborhood is extremely green and trendy.

Like baseball? Montecito Heights is extremely close to the World Series Champion Dodgers. The Heights are also home to the Audubon Center. 

Atwater Village (h2)

Atwater Village is one of the more vibrant area of NELA, making it a great choice for our list! Atwater Village has a more expensive median home price; coming in at $789,200.

Not only is Atwater Village a vibrant place to live, but it is also a great neighborhood overall. Some of LA’s best restaurants and bars are right in walking distance from Atwater Village. Like the outdoors? Atwater Village is adjacent to Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory!

Known for the friendliness of its residents, Atwater Village is ready to welcome more first time home buyers into their neighborhood. So, while the home price is a little higher than the rest, for what is has to offer, Atwater Village is a top choice when it comes to areas for first time home buyers in LA.

Mount Washington (h2)

The neighborhood of Mount Washington is a peaceful neighborhood with incredible views. With just the hills separating downtown Los Angeles and this quiet residential community, Mount Washington offers a quaint, suburb experience while have all downtown has to offer just a few minutes away.

Similar to Atwater Village, the average listing price for a home in Mount Washington is $789,000. If you’re looking to start a family this could be a good area to look. Besides the windy roads and beautiful views, Mount Washington is home to one of the best elementary schools in all of Los Angeles.

This brings NELA to a close. I encourage you to finish the list to see what’s best, but if you have an area you would like further in to, please click the button below and I will be in touch soon.

Up next is our third and final area, the neighborhood “South of the 10”.

South of the 10 (h1)

Below the 10, or South LA, is another neighborhood that is great for first time home buyers in Los Angeles.  Home to USC and former host of the Summer Olympics, South LA is a diverse and exciting neighborhood to buy your first home.

The 3 areas that are best for first time home buyers are:

  • Leimert Park 
  • Crenshaw Manor
  • View Park – Windsor Hills 

Let’s begin with Crenshaw Manor.

Crenshaw Manor (h2)

The Crenshaw district has been a very hot area for first time home buyers as of late. According to Zillow, home prices in this area have gone up 18.7% over the last year.

Crenshaw Manor is a small neighborhood bordering Baldwin Hills. With the new, 2 billion dollar LAX / Crenshaw line now open, the community can expect to see new businesses and residential developments. The new project is certainly related to the spike in home prices, but the median listing price still falls in our range at $737,600.

Leimert Park (h2)

Another beneficiary of the LAX / Crenshaw Line, we have the historic Leimert Park. Staying in this price range the average listing price in Leimert Park comes in at $741,400. This area is an extremely family oriented neighborhood with a very strong sense of community. Leimert Park was Curbed’s Neighborhood of the Year in 2016 (https://la.curbed.com/2017/1/11/14206888/leimert-park-neighborhood-guide), so it is safe to say it has a lot to offer. If you take a moment to see what residents are saying in this interview, you will definitely want to take a look for yourself.

View Park – Windsor Hills (h2)

Last but certainly not least one our list of Best First Time Home Buyer Areas in Los Angeles is View Park – Windsor Hills. This area has a deep-rooted sense of culture and community; View Park – Windsor Hills is also known as one of the wealthiest, primarily African American communities. The median listing price in View Park Windsor Hill is slightly higher than the other 2 beneficiaries of the LAX / Crenshaw Line, with a median price of $829,000.

All 3 areas of South LA on this list are going to see an uptick in development and home price due to the new metro line previously mentioned. With all 3 neighborhoods being close to one another, it will be easy to show you all listings that meet your needs!

That brings out list to an end. I hope this was a good introduction to all my favorite areas for first time home buyers. If you have any questions or would like to explore any neighborhoods, please call (310) 388-7332 or click the button below. I look forward to speaking with you!

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7 Tips For First Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyer Tips

Firsttime buyer collage

 

Owning your own home is a smart investment. Prices go up. Over the long term, your home will increase in value. Meanwhile, you have to live somewhere, and why pay your landlord’s mortgage when you can pay your own? If you rent for 30 years, at the end of the 30 years you will have nothing. If you own a home for 30 years, at the end of the 30 years you will own the home free and clear and it will have doubled or tripled in value. That’s a retirement plan.

Home owners also enjoy favorable tax breaks like the mortgage interest deduction, and the capital gains exemption.

Here is my advice for Home owners to-be:

Are you ready to buy a home?

Owing a home is a big responsibility. When you are renting you can pick up and move at the drop of a hat. As a homeowner, your living situation is not as flexible. It’s a big hassle to sell and the transaction fees are costly. Before you purchase I recommend to be certain you are going to be staying in the area for at least 3 years. You will also be responsible for property maintenance.

Make sure your finances are in order. If you are carrying a lot of credit card debt or student loans, it may be better to pay off your debt before buying a house. Check your credit score, if its below 680 you will need to work with a credit repair company to raise your credit score in order qualify for a loan. How much money do you have in the bank? For most first time home buyers saving up the down payment is the biggest hurdle. Thankfully there are a lot of low down payment loan programs that make buying your first home easier. Some good loans to be aware of are 10% down, 5% down, and FHA 3.5% down loans– keep in mind that if you are putting less than the traditional 20% down you will have the extra cost for PMI

In Los Angeles, real estate prices are higher than other parts of the country. For the price you can buy a 1 bedroom condo in Los Angeles, you could buy a new construction two story house in the Midwest. Because prices are high, it is not uncommon for parents to give downpayment help to first time home buyers here. One trend I am seeing with Millennials, is Parents are giving their kids the inheritance early- so they can use it to buy a home. This makes a lot of financial sense, because you can put that money to good use working for you instead of laying dormant in a checking account for ten plus years. I always recommend for first time buyers to talk with their family and ask for help. 

Tips for First Time Home Buyers:

Patience

If you are like me you want everything right now and hate waiting. The last thing you want to hear when you are trying to buy your first house is that you need to be patient. From my experience, it takes on average three to five years to buy your first house in Los Angeles, from initial planning stages to final purchase. Los Angeles is a big city and has big city prices that are higher than the US national average. Higher prices make home purchase more difficult. Zillow says the average age of first time homebuyer is 31, but in LA I think it’s a little higher because the prices are higher. Another factor, is that in a big city prices fluctuate wildly. Depending on where the market is in the real estate cycle, prices can go up or down as much as 15%-20% in a year. Saving a down payment takes time.

Don’t be Afraid to ask questions

When it’s your first time everything is new. You will have a bazillion questions rolling around in your head. Don’t be afraid to ask, ask, ask. That’s the best way to learn. Don’t just ask your real estate agent or lender either. Ask your friends and family. Watch HGTV. This is an important decision. It’s a good idea to rally the wagons and confer with your trusted circle of advisers.

Courage

Buying a house can be SCARY! It is a big commitment and the biggest purchase you’ve ever made in your life. At least one meltdown when buying a home is not unheard of.  Even when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, stick with it, you won’t regret it. I hear way more often from people regret of not buying when they could, then working a little harder, or saving a little more. 

Compromise

first home dream home

Your first home is not your dream home, it’s a stepping stone. Your third or fourth home will be your dream home. Be ready to make some compromises with your first home in order to keep it within your budget. Maybe choose a condo instead of a single family house to keep cost down- if you do decided on a condo you can usually get a better location and security than comparably priced homes but lose privacy and yard. Or: pick a neighborhood that is in transition and up and coming, instead of a neighborhood that is well established. You will get more bang for your buck in a transition neighborhood. Remember you aren’t going to live in your first home forever. Most buyers are very excited to finally buy their first home they forget about all this stuff and just can’t wait to move in.

STTRRRREEEEETTTTCCCHHHHHHH

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Stretch Armstrong Toy 1976

Owning a home is always more expensive then renting. So your monthly living expenses will be going up if you are coming from a rental. Buying your first home can be a stretch sometimes. But trust me, it’s a good stretch! When you are young you can afford take more risks, and as you get established in your career you will make more money. It’s ok to be ‘mortgage poor’ when you are young because you are willing to rough it. You may feel like you are in college again, surviving on Ramen noodles and Peanut butter (ok maybe that’s stretching too tight!). LA is expensive, I usually recommend for first time buyers to ask a family member(s) for help with down payment when it comes time to buy. Saving up the down payment is usually first time buyer’s biggest challenge. Most of the time, but not always, family members are happy to help their children and nephews buy their first property if they have been responsible. Their Parents probably helped them when they were buying their first house! Another thing to keep in mind when you are stretching, if you feel like you are stretching too tight, you can always rent a room to a friend for some extra income. Many of my clients have done that.

First Time Home Buyer? Hire a Great Realtor

Final piece of advice: hire a great realtor. When you are buying your first home, you don’t necessarily need the biggest most successful realtor in your neighborhood either. As a first time buyer, you need a lot of time and attention, and very busy realtors may not have the time to devote to you. Look for someone who is hardworking, and does real estate full time, who you get along with.

First Time Home Buyer FAQs

Do I have to pay a realtor commission?

No, as the buyer in Los Angeles you do not pay any real estate commissions. The seller pays the real estate commissions. Check out this article you’d like to see a breakdown of your buyer closing costs.

Do I need a home inspection?

Emphatically YES. Always get a home inspection. The last thing you need as a first time home buyer when you are stretching is to have some large unexpected expense.

As a first time home buyer, should I get preapproved?

Yes, I recommend talking to a lender and getting preapproved right away. They will be able to talk with you about different loan programs as I mentioned earlier, and give you an idea of your monthly cost so you know how high you are comfortable looking.

What is the best way to get started?

Best way to get started is to just go out and look at some houses. Sunday open houses are great- you might meet a great realtor while you are out looking if your friends/family don’t have a referral.

As a first time home buyer, you can have a lot of questions. I am here to help. Just click the button below to get started! 

 

Speak to an Agent

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