I am a first time buyer just out of college looking to buy in westwood/brentwood. Do I have a change?

Asked by Tw0manri0t, Sherman Oaks, CA Mon Aug 25, 2008

Looking for a 1 and 1 or possibly a 2 and 1 in a decent area around UCLA. I really want to take advantage of the tanking market. Do I have a chance?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Anthony Vu, , Los Angeles, CA
Mon May 2, 2011
A chance indeed... but don't be hasty with your decision because you "want to take advantage of the tanking market" or because people are telling you it's the best time to buy right now because real estate is cheap, etc. But "cheap" relative to what? Yes, cheap relative to the 2006 price peak, but not to 2002, etc. Prices are reverting back to a "normal market." So before you take that "chance," just know what your goals are (ie, long/short term investment, pros & cons of renting/buying, etc.). Good luck.
1 vote
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun May 1, 2011
Dear tw0,
It depends on what your budget is for a property. I would recommend you look at condo's to start off with, they are a good first step for first time homebuyers. There are areas close to UCLA that might be a better price, such as WLA and a few other pocket areas.
Web Reference:  http://www.doreneslavitz.com
1 vote
David Solomon, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Apr 5, 2010
The first step is to speak with a lender. Once you have done this...you will know much more about what is available to you. The Solomon Team is happy to send you new upcoming listings that match your criteria, but first speak to a lender. If you need us to point you in the direction of some trusted lenders, please feel free to call the Solomon Team (310) 979-3798 , Thanks.
1 vote
NBW, Both Buyer And Seller, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Sep 2, 2008
This is not a good time to buy for first time buyers. Hold off for a couple more years...2010-11

To answer your question though, I'd say you need to be making 100K+ a year right now to afford a place in these areas at the moment, and you also need to have great credit score.
1 vote
David Krecker, Landlord, Whittier, CA
Tue Aug 26, 2008
Now is a good time to buy.... but I have many suggestions for you to protect what I call your largest, most single important financial decision in your lifetime. If you do it right you get off to a good start. Here is my first bit of advice .... don't buy a condo.... and I will explain more. Best thing is either give me a call or let me know the best time and how to reach you. Once we have a chance to talk I'm sure you will see my honestly and genuine interest in you making a sound financial decision. My second bit of advice is not to rust into foreclosures.... and I will explain more since I am also a State licensed real estate appraiser and work directly with lending institutions.
Web Reference:  http://www.centuryside.com
1 vote
Monique & Joe…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Aug 25, 2008
Hello Twomanriot,

I just opened escrow on a 1 bedroom in West LA for $300k. That's the lowest priced condo in WEST LA so far. I represented the buyer. West LA has gone down a bit. Areas like Brentwood are still strong. I think your best bet is West LA/Westwood and not Brentwood unless you are comfortable paying more. If you need any assitance or have any questions, just let me know.


Monique Carrabba
Keller Williams Wilshire
Eco Broker and Realtor
1 vote
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Thu Aug 23, 2012

Congrats on completing your college education!!

Now that you are a young professional, buying a home of your own is a great idea.

Here are some things you need to do:

1. Get pre approved for a loan. The process will inform you how much money you qualify for.
You will know how much you need for a down payment, closing cost, and what your monthly mortgage payment will be.

2. Think about what type of home you want, area, size,,schools ect

3. Select for yourself a buyer's agent. One who will be willing to take the time needed to guide you in this very important process.

4. Make sure you are focused and engaged in the process. Ask plenty of questions of your agent and lender. Make sure you are clear on EVERYTHING!!!

* now, the areas you listed are on the high end. Prices are actually on the rise overall. Too bad you are not interested in Orange County, we have some great middle class areas that offer great quality of life, low crime, great schools and entertainment.

Best of Success to You!!!!!
Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes
Kristina Irw…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Thu Aug 23, 2012

1. Have you been pre-approved by lender yet? That is the first step.

2. What are your areas of interest? Brentwood and Santa Monica will be quiet expensive, but what is your budget? Culver City, Mar Vista/Palms; WLA and Westwood are other good possibilities...

3. Condo's have certain loan requirements as well. Is this an all cash offer or will it be a loan or a co-sign with your parents?

One of my specialties is first time home buyers, so please give me a call - I would like to meet you at the office and go over a few listings I pulled up for you.

Many Thanks!
Kristina Irwin
0 votes
Loveyourthou…, , Costa Mesa, CA
Sat Jun 16, 2012
I am a Loan Officer who works for a bank that offers the WISH program for First Time Buyers of Mediun income. Depending on your income level having just recently graduated you may very well be eligible for a grant of up to $15,000 to help you towards closing costs and downpayment.

This is normally used in conjunction with an FHA loan of 96.5 LTV and allows the buyer to buy the home with these grant funds which are then forgiven at 20% per year with no payments required as long as you remain in the home for 5 years it is free and forgiven.

The income key is # of people in the household and if you made less than 80% of county mediun based on that # in the county, for Los Angeles in 2012 the number for 1 is $47250 for 2 it would be $54,000 . I saw a listing yesterday in Pacific Palisades that would fit for this program it was $179,000 and another in North Hollywood for about that price if I remember 2/1 but I have seen WISH buyers on properties from $50,000 to $500,000 most are $200-$375 range in LA County. Contact me if you would like more information and pre-approval for a purchase with or without WISH I am in Southern Ca in Costa Mesa I am able to offer WISH in the 19 states we do business. I just closed my sons WISH loan last month and I vowed to let others know they can help themselves or a family member with this grant that requires no payments or interest .It is a great program many do not even know exists it allows $3.00 for every 1 of buyer contribution even if the buyer contribution is all gifted funds! maxiumum is $15,000 if the buyer has $5,000 it becomes $20,000 my bank is 1 of the 28 member banks in 2012 offering the WISH program to mediun income buyers.
0 votes
Michael Abram, , Los Angeles, CA
Mon May 2, 2011
Hello Tw0manr0t,

You should definitely start by talking to a loan officer to find out what you can be pre-approved up to for a purchase. Given that pre-approval, that will help you determine the areas that fit your criteria. If you're looking to start the process, I"m more than happy to help, even if it's to compare available interest rates.

Michael Abram
First Capital Mortgage
NMLS #235060
Direct: (310) 434-1718
0 votes
Heather Paul, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Fri Apr 29, 2011
Absolutley, now is actually one of the best times to buy from the current prices and the low interest rates. Some of the previous advice is not actually right on, I wouldn't recommend waiting a couple of years, many areas are already increasing in prices and have for several months now, especially on the "Westside". It is very competitive right now, get a local realtor that specializes in this area. I live in this area and work here as well, feel free to contact me anytime.

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
(310)586-0364 or (424)625-1037
0 votes
Deborah Brem…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Dec 31, 2009
Hi Tw0manri0t;
Great question and very timely. You could not have chosen a better time; affordability is at an all time high, interest rates are at record lows, and the $8000 tax credit has been extended into the spring.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you want to understand the ins and outs of the financing end of purchasing your first home. Great question, because your financial pre- approval is the underpinning and first step to your home search. Yes, you have a very good chance, but there are several issues to be discussed before you know if now is the time for YOU to buy.
First, don't be dissuaded by the answer from NBW, who says you must be earning $100000 per year. Your situation is unique to you. What you need to earn is COMPLETELY dependent upon the price of the property you buy and your down payment.
As a college student, you may or may not have established good credit history. FICO score is all-important in qualifying. In addition, certain lenders like certain occupations more than others, based on the ability for future earnings to increase predictably. So obviously, job history will be important. When did you graduate, and how long have you been working?
One thing that hasn't been addressed so far is a discussion of student loans (if any) that you may have, and their impact on the home buying process.
My recommendations are as follows:
1. Get yourself a great, trustworthy mortgage broker. A mortgage broker differs from an institutional banker (such as Wells Fargo or B of A) in that they shop all lenders on your behalf to get the best rate and terms. Sit down with them for a confidential interview and discuss every aspect of your financial situation. A good mortgage broker will tell you what documents you need to have for your first meeting (including salaried or non-salaried income statements, pay stubs, miscellaneous income, assets, and debts) and during your initial interview, will be able to provide you with about five or six scenarios for your home purchase.
How do you find a great mortgage broker? It's a good idea to ask your Realtor for recommendations, and then interview to see who is the best fit. Find out how long they have been in the business, what their closed ratio is, etc., before you agree to give them any of your financial information.
2. Make sure you understand the options in loans out there, based on your purchase price. Your Realtor and mortgage broker should work hand in hand to help you find a loan program that fits both your financial situation and your home buying needs. Be sure you understand the current rates, what rates are doing (moving up or down) on a week to week basis (this affects affordability) and the overall costs of the loan involved. A great mortgage broker and Realtor will give you an up front good faith estimate of your closing costs. (what it will really cost you at the point of sale.)
What's the best loan for you? That depends on a number of factors, including:
How long you’ll stay in the home;
How much money you’ll put down;
How you’ll finance the closing costs.
3. Keep these tips in mind as you go through the process:
Establish good credit.
Raise your credit score
Save for a down payment & closing costs.
Keep detailed records of money spent and debts repaid.
Develop a financial plan.
Maintain a working relationship with a Realtor Buyer's Agent.
Learn your area's market values.
As I have often said before, Buyers often approach finding their Realtor based on the property they like. I'd like to respectfully suggest that your question should be, "how do I find a well qualified agent who will help me find the RIGHT property for me, at the RIGHT price, while protecting MY interests." Don't settle. Interview a few buyer's agents, and begin your home search that way. If you do that, you can be confident that your financial investment will be a successful one.
The normal sequence of events, for my clients, runs like this:
1. I invite them to my office, where they meet with me and a mortgage broker, who will review all financial documents. That meeting should take no more than 30 minutes. At the end of that meeting, my clients will have in hand a pre-approval for a loan, with a clear dollar amount of what they can afford to spend on a home, and what monthly payments, down payment, and closing costs will be.
2. We search and find a property to fit the desired parameters. Offer is written, and accepted.
3. The loan is locked and the appraisal is ordered. All documents are submitted to the lender of choice and formal approval is obtained.
Whether you choose to interview me or some other Realtor, I wish you the best of luck and my congratulations.
Deborah Bremner
Certified Short Sale Professional
Certified Home Retention Specialist
(D) 818.564.6591
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Aug 26, 2008
You have some great posts here. My suggestion is to:
1. Talk with a lender about the amount of money you could qualify for a loan
2. Talk with a Realtor about your options based on the amount for which you are qualified.

Prices have declined in most area in Southern California, so I encourage you to go through the process and see where it leads. We know that sooner or later the market will shift the other way. Especially if you are renting right now, you need to buy.
0 votes
Gregory Masi, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Aug 26, 2008
Hey Tw0manri0t,

Congrats on graduating! UCLA? Anyways, a couple years back, I began to help a friend and recent graduate of UCLA find a 1 bed and 1 bath. At that time, the mortgage market was "looser" but prices were higher. Based on the fact that she wanted a 1 bedroom somewhere close to the Westside that was within her budget, we were restricted to finding condos in Playa Del Rey, Westchester, and Culver City. As circumstances unfolded, she got a new job that required a TON of traveling that forced her to hold off on buying. Well, she is now back in the market and pleasantly surprised by how things have changed. Despite the fact that lenders are offering her less money because of the stricter lending guidelines, she is able to buy in areas of West LA, Westwood and even Brentwood.

I share my friends story to give you a real life example of how things have changed in the condo sector of our market. There is A LOT of opportunity and yes, you have a great chance of getting a place. In fact, if you compare rental rates on the Westside to your monthly payment for an entry level condo, you will see that these numbers are beginning to get close. Throw in the tax benefit of home ownership AND the fact that you are building equity, and it makes the buying option a no brainer.

Anyways, I hope my little story helped you reach a decision. As always, I am here to answer any other questions you might have!

All the best,

Gregory Masi
Gibson International in Brentwood
mobile: 310-488-4880
0 votes
Ray Calnan, , Los Angeles, CA
Mon Aug 25, 2008
The first thing you need to do, before you start looking for a home, is to speak to a lender. Many agents, like me, are more than happy to offer you our services, but it does you no good to see homes without knowing what you can afford.

Contact someone at the bank that you currently have accounts at and then consider speaking to an additional lender or mortgage broker. Make sure that the person understands your needs and adequately answers your questions. Don’t let them say that they have something that will work for you once you find a place. Find out what that something is and make sure that it fits with your lifestyle. Don’t be concerned with the maximum that you can qualify for; be more concerned with how much your monthly payment will be with taxes, insurance, and HOA. You may be able to afford a lot, but that doesn’t mean that you want to. However, don’t allow too many people to run your credit. Have one run it and then ask for a copy. This way you will be able to give your score to others and they can preliminarily give you an idea of what they can do for you. They can’t give you a final answer until they have run your credit, but they will give you a good idea without hurting your credit. I have used Daniel before for both myself and my client’s and he has done a great job. You may consider giving him a call to see if he can help you.

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Good luck,


Daniel Nicolau
Loan Officer
(949) 632-0299
3 Banting
Irvine, CA 92618
Daniel.Nicolau @ ProspectMtg.com
Web Reference:  http://www.charityar.com
0 votes
Yona Bello, , Studio City, CA
Mon Aug 25, 2008
Hello Tw0manri0t,

Sincere congratulations upon your graduation from college! This is a wonderful time to buy a property as there are so many great deals out there. There are many different programs for first time homebuyers available to you too. I can help you take advantage of a program that will be suitable for you and find you the right home as well.

Best Regards,
Yona Bello
Web Reference:  http://www.YonaBello.com
0 votes
Tisza Major-…, Agent, Upland, CA
Mon Aug 25, 2008
Hi Tw0manri0t,

You may depending upon what your credit is like, if you have any money set aside for a down and/or if you have someone who would be willing to cosign if necessary. If you are interested, I would be happy to sit down with you and take an in depth look at your situation and see what would work for you.

You are very right in wanting to start building your financial future by buying a home and right now there are more opportunities available for buyers than there have been for years.

Congratulations on graduating by the way, that alone is a great accomplishment!

Take care and have a great day!

Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, IVPG Realty (213) 392-4084 or (909) 837-8922 tisza@homesbytisza.com
Web Reference:  http://Route66Living.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more