Making informed, educated decisions, and knowing the risks and benefits, are important when you prepare to buy a home 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 of you seek at the right price.
This guide will help you through the process of buying a home in Malibu and how to get the most for your money in this stunning coastal city.
Whether this is your first home in Malibu or a vacation home, being prepared for the home buying process can make things go much more smoothly.
Real estate professionals, like your Malibu Realtor, lender, and lawyer are ready to help you when you need it and will answer any questions you might have.
You should get in contact with a Malibu Realtor you can trust–ask for referrals from others who have bought a home in Malibu and had a positive experience.
Do you research online—there are plenty of online real estate sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and other sites like Yelp, Google Business, and social media accounts, where you can read reviews on Malibu real estate agents.
A good Malibu real estate agent will be able to find the right home in Malibu for you, and negotiate the best price to fit your budget.
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 you’re serious about buying.
This will also help you in a hot market–sometimes things move fast, and if you’re ready, you won’t miss out on the home of your dreams because you didn’t have your financials in order.
Different lenders have different requirements, but the basic documents you will need to get pre-approved are:
- 2 years Federal tax returns
- 2 years W2s
- Quarterly statements showing all assets, including checking, savings, and investment accounts
- 30 days of pay stubs
- Bank letter or statement showing proof of liquid assets, or semi-liquid funds for down payment or purchase
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.
Make a List of Must-Have Items
Before you start searching for your ideal home in Malibu, 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 wishlist 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 exotic pools or spacious outdoor lounging areas. Do you want to be near the beach, or does a mountain with canyons views suit your desires? Being close to schools will be important if you have a family.
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.
Search for Your Ideal Malibu Home
The best way to find your new home in Malibu 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.
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 once again after deciding this is the one.
Make Your Offer; Stick to What You Want
Now you’re ready to let your agent know you want to make an offer on your choice of home. Your agent can help you come up with an amount that’s neither too high nor too low.
Be prepared to stick to your guns on what you want as far as features and price.
If the home does not have everything you need as far as your ideal home, keep looking–you will eventually find the right home in Malibu.
Once you do make an offer, the seller may reject it or make a counter offer, which you can counter again. Eventually both parties will come to an agreement in price.
Remember: don’t extend yourself beyond your price point. If the home is priced too high, and the seller won’t compromise, it might be best to pass.
Get Your Home Inspected, 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 to see exactly how much the home is worth to make sure you aren’t paying too much.
Remember: You can always rescind your offer if you find something wrong, or the home’s appreciated value comes in lower than what you offered.
As long as you haven’t signed on the dotted line, you are not bound contractually to buy the home.
You might lose out on paying for an appraisal and home inspection, but that’s far better than buying a home with serious problems, or one that is overpriced.
After both parties agree on the final offer price, you are ready for closing.
At this point, you will put down a deposit on the house. The amount can vary but 20% is the norm, which should be figured before you begin searching for a home in Malibu.
Escrow can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about purchasing the home.
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 the home, and there are no additional damages.
Your Malibu 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.
Congratulations– you’re the newest owner of a home in Malibu!
This is a simple guide to buying a home in Malibu, California. If you would like to know more about buying a home in Malibu, feel free to contact Russell Grether at 310.994.4247 or send a message.