Aug 24, 2019
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What You Need to Know Before Buying a House in California

It’s no secret that the nation’s housing market has been less than accommodating to buyers over the past few years. This is especially true across several in-demand states including Colorado, New York, and California. The latter is infamous for particularly high prices across major metropolitan areas, but if the Pacific Ocean, wine country, and world-famous beaches are calling your name, here’s what you need to know before packing up the moving truck. 

Fixer uppers can be your friend

If you’ve been browsing prominent real estate websites, you’ve no doubt seen a plethora of newly constructed houses and condos that are stuffed to the brim with some of the nicest amenities that money can buy. While a good amount of California’s appeal comes from the possibility of living like a movie star, that doesn’t necessarily fit into everyone’s budget — unless, of course, you are an actual movie star. That’s why, while new construction can be appealing, so can a fixer upper that has a lower cost to entry. 

Keep in mind that you have to be ready for the “fixer” part before you commit. Are you willing to live in a construction zone? If you need to contact the local heating and cooling services, are you moving at a time of year where the weather won’t cause you to overheat? Have you budgeted to make sure you can not only afford your cost of living but also the repairs, renovations, and installations? If so, there are several services across California that can help pair you with the perfect home.

Say the Bay Area is calling your name. Finding a fixer upper or previously foreclosed home might be as simple as contacting local companies advertising that “we buy houses San Francisco.” Such companies will often have a large inventory that is bound to have the perfect home for you.

If you’re going through a local agent, make sure you’ve set proper parameters for your search or that you’ve selected an agent that specializes in homes that might need a bit of extra TLC. Otherwise, you might find yourself on a tour of luxury housing across the state which may not be what you intended. 

Research cost of living

Housing isn’t the only thing that’s more expensive in California. As is the case with any in-demand states and cities, you’re going to have to be prepared to handle the steeper cost of living. This means that groceries will be more expensive, monthly payments will likely increase, and tax rates may impact you differently. If you already have employment lined up in California, this may be as simple as comparing your income against your projected cost of living. However, if you’re saving up for a move, a good rule of thumb is that you should have around six months of expenses saved before you commit to a move. 

The more you can bank, the better, as it creates much less pressure to find a job right away and gives you some wiggle room when it comes to your expenses. Plenty of sites can offer estimates on the cost of living in numerous states and California is no exception. Take advantage of the resources you have on hand before you start packing up and heading west. 

California is a vibrant, picturesque state with no shortage of exciting activities and growth potential. Moving to be near the Pacific Ocean takes a lot of foresight and planning, so make sure you have all of your affairs in order. If you’re saving up properly and are willing to make some compromises when it comes to your first house in the state, you’ll be better positioned to have a successful move to California.

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