Stephanie Payab - Encino, CA Real Estate, Tarzana, CA Real Estate, Sherman Oaks, CA Real Estate


Looking to relocate to California? Exploring the Golden State housing market usually represents a great first step for those who want to move to California soon.

Homebuyers who understand the ins and outs of the California real estate market may be better equipped than others to find a high-quality house at a budget-friendly price. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the California housing market and what to expect before you buy a Golden State residence.

Here are three things you need to know before you buy a house in California.

1. The housing market fluctuates constantly.

The California housing market varies. As such, a seller's market can morph into a buyer's market quickly.

For California homebuyers, it is important to dedicate the necessary time and resources to understand the differences between a seller's market and a buyer's one. By doing so, a homebuyer can boost his or her chances of acquiring a first-rate residence.

If you want to buy a California home, check out the prices of houses that meet your criteria. Also, examine the prices of California residences that recently sold. With this housing market data at your disposal, you'll be able to establish a realistic price range for your home search.

2. If you find a house that you want to purchase, you should submit an offer immediately.

Homebuyers likely will need to act quickly to acquire a California residence, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

A top-notch California house is valuable, and as such, may sell only days after it becomes available. Thus, a California homebuyer will need to be ready to submit a competitive offer on a home that he or she wishes to purchase – or risks losing this residence to a rival homebuyer.

If you find a Golden State home that you want to buy, submit an offer as soon as possible. Because if you wait too long, you may miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

3. Hiring a real estate agent can make it simple for you to navigate the homebuying process.

A real estate agent can make it easy for you to transition from homebuyer to homeowner. This real estate professional can serve as your guide throughout the homebuying process, enabling you to find the perfect California home without delay.

If you hire a real estate agent, you can eliminate potential roadblocks that could slow you down along the homebuying journey. For example, your real estate agent will keep you up to date about new California homes as they become available. He or she also will offer homebuying tips, set up home showings and negotiate with a home seller to help you get the best price possible.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will offer honest, unbiased recommendations. That way, you can make an informed homebuying decision and purchase a Golden State residence that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

Take the guesswork out of purchasing a California house. Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble buying a terrific Golden State residence.


Let's face it – even though many great homes are available, securing your dream house at the best price can be extremely difficult due to the sheer volume of homebuyers. Lucky for you, we're here to help you stand out from the competition so you can purchase your ideal home at a price that matches your budget.

What does it take to differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition? Here are three tips to help homebuyers gain a competitive edge over rivals:

1. Submit a Competitive Offer

There is no time for hesitation in a highly competitive real estate market. Thus, if you see a home that you like, be ready to submit a competitive offer immediately.

With a competitive offer, you can improve your chances of securing your dream home in no time at all. This offer shows that you are serious about purchasing a residence – something that may help your proposal stand out from others. Plus, a competitive offer will be based on housing market data and research, ensuring that your proposal will meet your needs as well as a home seller's.

Furthermore, if a home seller counters your initial offer, be ready to negotiate. Keep an open mind, and ultimately, you may be able to land your dream house quickly and effortlessly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to establish realistic expectations before you begin your search for your perfect home.

Check out what various credit unions and banks have to offer prior to agreeing to mortgage terms. By doing so, you can find a mortgage that will correspond with your finances.

With a mortgage in hand, you can start your home search. Be sure to explore lots of houses that fall within your price range. And when you're ready to submit an offer, a home seller may be more likely to accept your proposal thanks in part to the fact that you have already secured financing.

3. Employ an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents possess plenty of housing marketing knowledge and expertise. Therefore, they can help you streamline the process of securing the perfect residence.

Finding a real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of the housing market is paramount. This real estate professional will keep you informed about new houses in your area as they become available, set up home showings and even help you submit competitive offers on residences. In addition, if you're ever uncertain about how to proceed, your real estate agent can offer guidance and tips throughout the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. He or she is happy to help you in any way possible and will ensure that you can differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition.

Hire an experienced real estate agent, and you can gain a competitive edge that is sure to serve you well in any housing market, at any time.


The real estate market is filled with many high-quality residences, and after a comprehensive search, you've found a residence that fits your personal needs and budget perfectly. However, you may need to think twice before you submit an offer on this residence. There are many factors that homebuyers should consider before they make an offer on a house, including: 1. Neighborhood Ideally, you'll want to find a home in a community filled with friendly neighbors. But in many cases, homebuyers may focus exclusively on a residence and ignore the neighborhood entirely. Taking a walk around a neighborhood often allows you to get a better feel about what it is like to live in a neighborhood and may give you a chance to meet some of the neighbors as well. Also, a simple walk around the block will provide you with a better idea about whether a house's value may rise or fall in the foreseeable future. For instance, a neighborhood filled with houses with well-maintained front lawns, nearby parks and schools and other local amenities may prosper for years to come, and home values may rise in this neighborhood over the next few years. 2. Crime No one wants to live in an unsafe area, and you can learn about crime near a prospective home before you submit an offer on a residence. Contacting a local police station usually is a great idea for homebuyers who want to find out about crime statistics in a particular area. Furthermore, your real estate agent can provide insights into crime in a specific area and help you determine whether a particular house is the best option. 3. Traffic Although your dream home features all of the amenities you want, it might fail to provide you with quick, easy access to your office day after day. For example, traffic can be a problem if your house is located in or near a major city. And if you need to travel to work every day, it is important to understand how traffic could affect your daily commute. To better understand traffic patterns in a particular area, try driving to a residence at different times during the day. By doing so, you can learn about traffic patterns near a house and be better equipped to make a more informed decision about whether to submit an offer on a residence. 4. Taxes You've been pre-approved for a mortgage and have established a monthly budget for a new home, but taxes may vary depending on where you move. Thus, you'll want to learn as much as possible about potential taxes that you could face at a new residence before you submit an offer. Taxes may add up quickly, but homebuyers who budget accordingly can minimize the risk that they'll fall behind on tax bills. And with support from your real estate agent, you can learn about taxes that you may encounter if you purchase a particular residence. If you're fully satisfied with a residence after you consider the aforementioned factors, you'll be ready to submit an offer and move one step closer to moving into your dream house.

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.


Purchasing a home is a large investment and not one that anyone should make on a whim. It’s important to understand your maximum budget but also what you are comfortable spending, which may not be the same number as your maximum budget. But it’s also important to fully understand the hidden costs that come with owning a home. Your mortgage payment is not the only payment you will be making each month and it’s certainly not the only cost associated with owning a home. Let’s take a look at some hidden costs listed below: Home Insurance: Insurance is something that you may know you need, but not a cost you are thinking about when house hunting. Therefore, the cost can sneak up on you. Be sure to factor in this cost, as it will be associated with your home’s location, age and value. For example, you are going to pay more if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes.  Home furnishings: Is this your first home or, at least, your first home that you would like to furnish with new furniture not hand-me-downs or a couch from craigslist? There also may be items that you need for this home that you did not need in your apartment such as a dining room table or spare bedroom bed frame and mattress. Furnishing your home can be a large expense and one that you should be saving up for. You don’t need to go out and spend thousands on each item and you may want to spread out your purchases, but this is a very important cost to consider when purchasing a home. Appearance: When you purchase a home there may be things about the house that you want to change or update. This is something that not many factor in when buying the home as they are so wrapped up in the process of purchasing. However, even small updates cost money and if you spend all of your money on the down payment, you will not have any leftover to make those updates to make the home truly yours. Maintenance: If you previously rented, then maintenance is not something that you had to handle, as that is what your landlord was for. However, when you buy a home all maintenance and repairs fall on you. If you are purchasing an older home it’s extremely important to understand what needs to be updated or replaced now or in the near future, such as the water heater, furnace or roof. It’s possible that you may get the previous homeowner to take care of this if it’s in need at the time of selling, but if these updates/replacements take place a couple years down the road then it’s up to you to take care of it. There is also the general maintenance of your home such as landscaping and snow removal. Will you purchase your own equipment or hire a service? Either way, this is an additional expense. Utilities: Often times many utilities are included in your rent. Well, this is not the case when owning a home. If the home does not have a septic system then you will need to pay for water and sewerage. You will have to pay for your own cable, Internet, and phone, and let’s not forget about electricity. It’s important to understand all of the utilities that you will have to pay when you purchase a home. Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by town, but will always be an additional cost when owning a home. And, this cost will increase if you make additions or significant updates to your home. More desirable/expensive locations will have higher property taxes. This is often a cost that catches many off guard so be sure to research the locations where you are house hunting to see if you can afford the property taxes on top of all of the other associated costs. This is not meant to discourage anyone but shed light on the costs that many do not consider when they are house hunting. Make sure your budget allows for your mortgage payment and the expenses listed above that are tailored to your situation and you will have no problem becoming and staying a homeowner.



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