Making informed, educated decisions, and knowing the risks and benefits, are important when buying real estate in Malibu.
The Malibu housing market can get competitive at times, but with help from a good real estate agent, you’re sure to find the house you desire at the right price point.
This article will guide you through the process of buying real estate in Malibu, and how to get the most for your money in this stunning coastal city.
Here’s our 7-step guide to buying real estate in Malibu:
1. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
Whether this is your first Malibu home or a vacation home, being familiar with the home buying process can make things go much more smoothly. Real estate professionals, like your Realtor, lender, and others are ready to help you when you need it, and will answer any questions you might have about buying real estate.
Be ready to learn what needs to happen in order to find and buy your ideal home in Malibu. You should get in contact with a Realtor you can trust—ask for referrals from others who have bought real estate in Malibu and had a positive experience. A good Malibu real estate agent will be able to find a house that matches your criteria.
2. Get Pre-approved for the Malibu Market
Getting pre-approved is always a good idea—it helps you know how much you can spend, and lets sellers know that you’re serious about buying. In fact, may agents representing the seller won’t let a potential buyer even look at a home until financials are in place. The process doesn’t take long, and will also help you get acquainted with your lender.
Most times you will qualify for much more than you’ll actually want to spend on a house, so calculate how much you’d like to pay for your mortgage and decide on an adequate price range.
3. Make a List of Must-Have Items
Before you start searching for your ideal home, you should have an idea of what you want, and what you need in your home.
Decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms are necessary, and then create a wish list of items that you’d love to see inside and outside your Malibu home.
Some buyers want high-end upgrades, and brand-new appliances. Others like to see an exotic pool, or spacious outdoor lounging areas. Do you want to be near the beach, or does a mountain with canyons views suit your desires? If you have a family, being near to good schools may be important.
Whatever your wants and needs are, make a list and let it guide you once you start looking at homes in your desired Malibu neighborhood.
4. Search for Your Ideal Malibu Home
The best way to find your new Malibu home is by keeping all your “must have” items in mind, and filtering out any homes that don’t meet your needs in terms of size, location, or price.
There are many ways to start searching for homes in Malibu—you can use a real estate app, look through homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), or attend open houses. A list of Malibu open houses can be obtained at the Malibu Association of Realtors website. Make sure you set aside time to go to showings with your Malibu real estate agent.
Finding the right house in Malibu can take some time. But, don’t give up. You will find the perfect home for you eventually, and once you do, be meticulous as you go through the home more than once. Spend time in the neighborhood, and visit the home during different times of the day.
Now you’re ready to let your agent know you want to make an offer on your choice of home. Your agent can help come up with an amount that’s neither too high nor too low.
The seller may reject your offer or counter with another price. You can counter their offer, and eventually both parties will come to an agreement in price.
5. Get Your Home Inspected and Negotiate the Final Price
Once the seller accepts your offer, get the home inspected by a professional. An inspection will help you to find any potential problems with the house, so you can ask the seller to fix the problem, or reduce the price to compensate for it. You can also have the home appraised again, to determine it’s true value, and make sure you aren’t paying too much.
After both parties agree on the final offer price, you will get ready for closing. Escrow can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. At this point, you will put down a deposit on the house (the amount can vary). The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about purchasing the home.
6. Find a Real Estate Lawyer and Meet Conditions
At this point, you might want to think about hiring a real estate lawyer to handle the transaction of your new Malibu home, and to help you understand all the documents and contracts that come with it. Your real estate lawyer will work to get you through closing and on to home ownership.
The real estate lawyer will help you take your title and will work with your lender to ensure your loan comes through in time. The lawyer will also review any adjustments you may need to pay, and will prepare any legal documents that are needed. You’ll need to have all your important financial information turned in to the lawyer well in advance of closing.
7. Closing and Receiving the Keys
This is the final major step in home ownership, and you’ll leave with the keys to your new Malibu home. Shortly before closing, you will have another chance to walk through the home to make sure things are as they were when you first viewed it, and there are no additional damages.
Your real estate agent and your real estate lawyer will accompany you to closing, where the lawyer will make sure you understand every document that you sign. After signing all the documents and showing that you have title insurance, you will receive the keys to your house.
Remember, educating and preparing yourself are the best things you can do when buying real estate. Knowing what to look for, and how to deal with transactions is important. Most importantly, work with a knowledgable real estate professional to avoid any potential problems, and to get the right home at the right price.
This is a simple step-by-step guide on buying real estate in Malibu, California. Your real estate professional is your best source for the home buying process, who will be ready and available to answer any of your questions during the buying process.