Buying a home in California: 6 Questions
You Need to Ask

Navigating the homebuying journey is challenging, but buying a home in California comes with a few extra twists and turns.

Get a head start on the process by asking yourself these questions first.


Can I Afford a New Home?

First things first, gather your financial information. Bank statements. Tax returns. Check and check. And, of course, don’t forget to look at your credit score – it can drastically impact your interest rates. Meet with a mortgage lender (or a couple since each lender has its own programs, rates and closing costs) to get pre-approved. You’ll want to know what your house budget is before you start shopping.


Who is my Realtor®?

Time to bring in the professionals. Having an app or website at your fingertips is handy, but nothing beats the knowledge of a California Realtor®. Sit down with him or her and discuss your housing needs so they can start to guide you in the right direction. Working with a Realtor® will help speed up the process, especially in California, where homes don’t stay on the market for long.

Get started on your house hunt!
Find a California Realtor®


What Kind of House Do I Need?

Now, you need to figure out your housing must-haves. Think about you and your family’s immediate and long-term needs. A lot of homes in California were built around the turn of the century, so keep in mind whether you want a fixer upper or a home that’s already been updated.



  • Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • Single or Multiple Stories
  • Garage or Carport
  • Air Conditioning and Heating Needs



  • Fenced-In Yard
  • Deck or Patio
  • Area to Garden
  • Pool



  • Proximity to job
  • School district
  • Neighborhood

How Do I Make an Offer?

Your Realtor® will help you create an offer and negotiate on your behalf. Things move fast in California’s desirable housing market, so you’ll need to be ready to close quickly. Luckily, you’re ahead of the game because you got pre-approved before beginning your hunt.


What are the
Hidden Costs?

In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, there are a few other costs that can creep into your checking account.


Consider the property taxes and possibly a homeowners association fee.


You’ll need to pay for a full year of homeowner’s insurance up front.


Closing costs are typically two to five percent of the purchase price.


With less than 20% down, you’ll owe private mortgage insurance (PMI).


In California, ask about earthquake insurance since that’s a separate policy.


Why Buy a Home?

A home to call your own remains an important part of the American Dream. Not only does it give you and your family a sense of security, but it’s also one place in this world you get to tailor to your individual style and needs. And since most homes appreciate in value over time, you’re always investing in your future.

Whether you’re looking for a Bungalow overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a Cozy Cabin right on the doorstep of a national park or a Luxurious Apartment in the middle of a bustling city, there is a California home that’s just right for you.