What should I do before buying a house in California?

To make buying a house in California as straightforward as possible, Prepare a checklist for Getting Ready to Buy Real Estate in California: 

1. Calculate your monthly income and debt.

2. Check your FICO Score.

3. Figure Out What You Can Afford as a Down Payment and for a Mortgage (Price Range).

4. Get Pre-approved for a mortgage. Make sure to shop for the best interest rate by speaking to at least three lenders.

5. Determine What You Need.

  • Acceptable Locations
  • Type of Residence (Single Family, Loft, Condo, Townhome, Duplex, Etc.)
  • Square Feet
  • Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • Amenities

6. Research Your Preferred Locations (Schools, Crime Rate, Zoning, Neighbors, Etc.).

7. Find an Agent that intimately knows your preferred neighborhood.

  • Never rely on, or use, the seller's agent. Absolutely make sure you have your own agent
  • Consider having an attorney review your documents BEFORE you sign. Agents are interested in their commission, not ensuring you get the best deal

8. If you are buying a foreclosed home, or a bank owned home, check for property liens with both your county's property assessor's office and the county records.