Published On: Mon, Mar 30th, 2015

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Home in California

Buying a beautiful house in California seems like a dream, and to some people, they want to make this dream a reality. However, buying a home in California is much different than buying a home in another state, so if you’re moving across the country in order to live in sunny Cali, then you’ll want to have some basic understandings of the following.

Buying a Home in California

Make sure you can afford it.

The cost of housing in California is much higher than anywhere else in the United States, so before you decide to buy, make sure you can afford it first. The average home price in California is $500,000, which means you’ll need to ensure you have a decent income just to afford it. Because the home prices are so high, California has actually been named as one of the most unaffordable places to live, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Lawyers aren’t a part of the process.

In most states, you’ll usually hire a real estate lawyer to draw up contracts and be involved in the closing of the home purchase. However, this isn’t the case in California. Instead, escrow companies are used for this instead of lawyers, so you’ll want to find a good escrow company if you plan on moving.

Use a real estate agent.

Like purchasing a home anywhere, it’s a good idea to use a real estate agent to buy your California home. These individuals know more about the market and the available houses than the everyday person. Plus, work hand-in-hand with your escrow company to ensure that all the offers and documents are submitted correctly and on time.

It’s not called closing.

When the purchase of the home is finalized, most people know this process to be the closing. This is where documents are signed, and usually both the seller and the buyer are present. This isn’t the case in California. Instead, it’s referred to as closing escrow, and the face-to-face meetings between the buyer and seller don’t happen. The documents that need to be signed by the purchaser and seller are signed days before “closing escrow” occurs. Once all the documents have been finalized by the escrow company, the purchaser is able to move into their new home.

Have an inspection.

When you purchase a home, you should always have an inspection performed. This will ensure that there are no underlying issues with the home, which could cost you a fortune to fix. In California, an inspection is up to the purchaser, and the cost of the inspection is the purchaser’s responsibility. Make sure you hire a local inspector to perform the inspection, as they’ll be able to pay attention to items that are important for California homes. For example, a local Los Angeles plumber will be able to inspect the water pipes of the home to ensure they’re able to handle California issues, such as earthquakes. If you don’t use a local inspector for this, it could be overlooked, and you could end up with a costly problem down the road.