Buying a Home

There are a lot of formulas and guidelines for buying a new home along the coast in Huntington Beach. With home values climbing as they have been since early 2000, the opportunities for leveraging your real estate dollar are substantial throughout the southland and in particular along the coastal areas of Orange County, CA. Nonetheless, certain tried and true principles apply in any real estate transaction, just as they do anywhere else.

Know what you need. The size and makeup of your household, as well as your employment situation, are prime factors in determining interior area, floor plan, and the location of your new Huntington Beach home. Also, consider garage and yard needs, proximity to schools and shopping, as well as distance to work.

Know what you can afford. For the most part, Underwriters will play a role in determining how much home you can buy unless you have substantial "buy down" power for the mortgage. Numerous mortgage calculators also exist to help budget your mortgage payment in with your other financial obligations. It is always a good idea to discuss your financial situation candidly with your real estate agent. Your agent has a good feel for the cost of living in the Huntington Beach area and along the Orange County coast in general.

It is usually quite easy to get your mortgage approved in advance. Almost all home loan lending institutions will now approve a loan range for new home buyers without actually requiring an accepted offer in hand. The only contingencies that typically apply is that the final offer must provide a Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio that protects the bank within the guidelines of your credit profile.

Survey the area and find several neighborhoods that will suit your needs. Huntington Beach offers a rich assortment of home buying opportunities. In a beach area like Huntington Beach, there is little chance that you will make a bad buy. With rare exception, home values have increased steadily since the town was incorporated in 1906 as Pacific City. Work closely with your sales agent to define those areas that suit your needs.

Locate several homes for sale that appear to meet your needs and are priced within current market ranges. Consult with your real estate agent about arranging some walkthroughs for those homes that most closely match your requirements. Create a check- list of items you want to verify are functional and not in need of any anticipated major repairs. For instance:


    • Is there an abandoned oil well on the property? (Check with the City of Huntington Beach.)
    • If so, when was the well capped off? And what method was used?
    • Does the method meet today's requirements?
    • Is this a neighborhood where you will have to endure a lot of public parking in front of your new property?
    • Is there a significant number of campers and RV's parked along the curb and in out-front driveways?
    • What is the condition of the driveway?
    • How is the landscaping watered? What condition is the irrigation system in?
    • Are all faucets functional and not leaking?
    • Are there fences on the property that encroach on your neighbors' property lines?
    • Is the outside lighting functional and adequate?
    • Do all the outside electrical outlets work properly?
    • What is the condition of the exterior paint and/or stucco?
    • How old is the roof? Should I get a Roof Certification from a licensed roofing contractor?
    • In what condition are the exterior window frames, window glass, rubber or wood insulation, and screens?
    • In what condition are the sliding exterior glass doors and screen doors?
    • Is there water damage or dry rot under the eaves of the house?
    • In what condition are the cable TV connections, the satellite dishes, or TV antennas?
    • Does the garage door open quietly and easily? In what condition are the washer/dryer hookups?
    • How old is the water heater? What condition is it in?

    • Check walls and ceilings for leak stains, bubbled paint, mold, and other obvious deterioration.
    • In all rooms, check bare floors for cracks and separation and any wood rot at the wall junctures.
    • Check carpeting for mildew and obvious deterioration. Visit the corners and edges of the room. Sniff!!
    • Visually inspect every single electrical outlet and make sure that it works.
    • Open and close all doors to make sure they close and latch easily, and verify that the locks work. Listen for irritating squeaks.
    • Confirm kitchen appliance functionality and approximate age of all appliances that will remain. Ask about the behavior of the oven (i.e. "it always heats about 25 degrees low below 300 and about 30 degrees low above 300," etc.)
    • Check the kitchen sink and garbage disposal. Later, if you are serious, make sure it grinds effectively.
    • Bathrooms - Do the toilets flush cleanly? Do they stop running? Any exterior leaks? Vintage?
    • How is the bathroom shower? When the shower is on -- if a tub/shower - does the lower faucet flow?
    • Does the tub leak water? How badly?
    • Stairs and stairwells. Check for creaking and loose railings.
    • Will your furniture fit in this new home?
Once you've decided upon a home, work with your agent to develop an offer. Let your agent determine how to best negotiate with the seller or selling agent.

After the offer is accepted, finalize your financing. Just as with the pre-qualification, this can take some time and cause cumbersome and irritating delays. Make sure you did your homework earlier.

Make sure your home insurance plan is in place before title passes to you.

If you plan on utilizing a professional interior designer, now is the time to get them involved if you didn't have them along as part of the search for a home.

Make your moving arrangements. Don't forget to check with the local school district on enrollment requirements and deadlines.

Phone and utilities: Upon vacating the premises, the seller(s) must call the utility companies and have their names removed from the accounts for that address. The new owners must call the same utility companies and have new accounts opened under their names.