Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Elizabeth C.…,  in Los Feliz, Los Angeles...

Recent Homebuyers : What made you buy in this current market? Any advice to buyers who are still on the fence?

Asked by Elizabeth C. Watts-Russell, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA Mon May 5, 2008

What complications did you encounter in the process, if any? Did you have an exclusive buyer's representation with a real estate agent? Were you satisfied with your real estate agent's performance?

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We just bought - closed last month. It was for a family member so think of me as the silent partner. It was very difficult to find a decent property - foreclosed and short sales are not that desirable, to say the least. Interest rates were a motivation - we got an extremely low rate 4.85 and have a great loan broker. We used a regular agent - not happy - I found more listings and properties using various internet resources than the agents (it was a team) found for us. We lost out on several properties - yes actually some bidding wars in 2008! The agents kept telling us what we could not do - they went overboard to keep the seller happy, in retrospect I think they just did everything possible to finalize a sale, not really caring if it benefited us, they buyer. The property we bought has probably already declined in value but we are still happy . If I had it to do over I would have been more patient and more agressive with negotiating the price. There is no reason to pay today's price - pay what you think it will be in six months.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
I've been waiting for 5 years to buy a house, ever since I graduated college. Each year I would be able to save more money, but each year the amount needed for a downpayment continued to go up up and up. I knew getting an exotic loan made no sense. I'm an engineer. Eventually I was tired of waiting. I just said "F* it" and bought a couple homes in the midwest to rent out, since they are positive cash flow. Then, we hit the peak here in California. Prices started to go down again, so rather than buy another rental back in Indiana, I saved and started looking for a place out here again. The only place I found I could afford that had decent shopping/bars/restaurants/stuff to do was in Long Beach. I found a foreclosure on ziprealty, got preapproved, and close at the end of this month. This was the only foreclosure that I've seen that was competitively priced, and it had 4 offers within the first week.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
That's funny I bought in 1984 as well - and yes, paid a huge mortgage rate - perhaps even more than 14% . I never thought of it as a great buying opportunity but now that I look back I guess it was. However, we have been buying since the early 1950s, even before that if you want to count my parents - mostly in Ca - so there have been even better times. We are getting ready to now put together another purchase - one motivation is that interest rates are so low in money market accts etc that putting the cash in the house is not such a bad idea - and it is not taxed - eventually the properties will go up - we are looking long term here - buying for twenty somethings so they have years to let it grow. I think though we might now look at foreclosures (at least the ones that are not trashed) and be patient and just see how low the prices will go. Haven't selected an agent yet for this one, but whoever it is will have to be patient along with us. Glad to know there are ones out there that are good at foreclosures.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
For me it was pretty simple. We got priced out of the market fast here in Southern California. Just as my twin boys were born, the market started going up. I also refused to do one of those "funky loans". I wasn't interested in an investment, per se, but looking for a place to raise my boys for the next 15 years. When looking at it from that angle, it made perfect sense that now is the time to buy.

We 'followed the rules'. Didn't get attatched to one single home, got good comps and CMAs, etc. Just because it's not primarily an investment doesn't mean you can ignore the fact that it is one. I found a very nice 1/2 acre, bank owned homestead. Even though it sold for over 1/2 million dollars a year earlier, it was still overpriced at a listing price of $375,000. We are in escrow @$330,000.

We signed a buyers agreement for each home seperately. Each home we offered on we signed an agreement that only covered that particular property. My Realtor has his heart in the right place and worked very hard for us. I was kind of dissapointed in that he didn't find many listings for us. We found the overwhelming majority ourselves and forwarded them to him to show us them.

Once we started working in earnest on the home we are currently in escrow with, the communication with that particular listing agent and bank was terrible. To our Realtors credit he never stopped trying and always kept us informed of what was going on. Even if that was simply "They won't return my calls and emails".

Overall, it's been a great experience. We are completly happy with the way things turned out, but it HAS been a long, windy and bumpy road. I repeat, in my case, getting info out of the Seller/bank and the listing agent was almost painful. The home may lose some more value in the short term. But, considering that it was mainly a residence and secondly an investment and the fact that this home should be one of the first to 'bounce back' in the area, I'm not of a mind to worry over any possible 'lost equity'.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
I like to tell my clients that there are two schools of thought and niether is right or wrong because no-one holds a crystal ball. Some people think the market many still come down some and the other people who are buyers in this market have the attitude that you can negotiate "now."
Web Reference: http://www.dougbirnbaum.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008

Thanks for the great questions. I enjoyed reading the current answers & look forward to reading the rest.

Karen Miller
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
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