William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

How to Become a Homeowner in Los Angeles

Becoming a homeowner is a dream that many people aspire to turn into reality. The freedom to personalize your space and most importantly, not pay rent is quite exciting!

For those looking to buy a house in California, Los Angeles is one of the cities that should definitely be on your radar. With its diverse neighborhoods and a unique blend of cultures, LA has been ranked by U.S. News among the best cities in California to live in 2023-2024.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

While the journey to home ownership in this vibrant city might seem a bit complicated and challenging, with the right help from a qualified real estate agent, the process can be broken down into manageable steps to help you achieve your goal.

If you're looking for the best tips on how to become a proud homeowner in the iconic City of Angels, then keep reading.

Key Takeaways
  • Los Angeles has been ranked by U.S. News among the best cities in California to live in between 2023-2024. LA is well known for its warm climate, stunning beaches and a unique blend of cultures.
  • If you're looking to become a homeowner in Los Angeles, working with a qualified real estate agent can ease the process of purchasing a home.
  • Some things to think about before you pack up and move to Los Angeles include: Your budget and how much you can afford, finding a good real estate agent to work with, financing options that are accessible to you and getting pre-approval for a mortgage loan.
  • Among the strategies that you can implement if you're looking to become a homeowner in Los Angeles include: House hacking, co-owning property with a family member and taking advantage of special programs and assistance.

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional real estate advice. You will find experts on real estate here.

Work with the best!


One of the key steps to a successful journey in homeownership is working with a good real estate agent.

Ila is a licensed Realtor and SVP of Real Estate Operations and Advisory services at Bay Street Capital Holdings. She started off her career in commercial real estate but later transitioned to residential real estate where she found her passion in helping individuals and families secure housing in the U.S.

She holds a Bachelor's degree, two minors from California State University Long Beach and a Real Estate License. If you're looking for the best real estate agent to work with in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area, Ila is the right agent for you!

As an aspiring homeowner, Ila will provide you with answers to crucial questions like:

  • What steps are involved in the home buying process from start to finish
  • How to raise downpayment for a home in Los Angeles
  • What are the closing costs associated with buying a home
  • The parties are involved in each step of the homebuying process
  • What type of mortgage loan is best for you and the eligibility requirements
  • What happens during the closing process

As an experienced and accomplished Realtor, Ila has managed to close more than $10.4M in real estate deals and secure $2.2M+ in assets under management (AUM) since joining the Bay Street team as a licensed investment advisor representative.

If you're in Los Angeles, Orange County and the greater Southern California region and are looking to work with the best Realtor in town, get in touch with Ila here.

Why should you buy a house in Los Angeles?

residential real estate

While data from Redfin indicates that 20% of local residents in Los Angeles are looking to move to other cities due to the high cost of living and rising state taxes, many Gen Z's and millennials are choosing to move to and settle in the city in search of better opportunities, especially in the thriving tech sector. From its diverse neighborhoods, investment potential and rich cultural scene, Los Angeles remains one of the vibrant cities with proper urban development and numerous job opportunities across various sectors.

If you're looking to live in the high end neighborhoods where you can wake up to the view of the beach, you can live in areas like Santa Monica, Marina del Rey and Venice. However, if you're looking for more affordable neighborhoods, you can opt to live in downtown LA in suburbs like Lancaster, Baldwin Park and Montebello.

Useful tips for buying a home in Los Angeles

Before you pack up your things and decide that you want to buy a property in Los Angeles, here are some useful tips to guide you.

Come up with a realistic budget to determine how much can you afford

According to a study by Redfin, the median price of a home in Los Angeles is roughly $975,000. That means that aspiring homeowners in LA need to make $221,000+ a year in order to afford a home. The rise in home prices has largely been caused by inflation and rising mortgage rates.

Therefore, if you're planning to buy a home in Los Angeles, whether it's a studio apartment or single family home, come up with a realistic budget that includes not just the purchase price, but also property taxes, homeowners' insurance, maintenance costs and potential homeowners association (HOA) fees. It would also be beneficial to get homeownership counseling before you get started on the homebuying process.

Find a qualified local agent who is based in Los Angeles to work with

The real estate market in Los Angeles can be challenging to navigate solo and so working with an experienced real estate agent who is very familiar with the Los Angeles housing market will save you a lot of trouble. This is because such agents understand the property values across different neighborhoods and have access to a comprehensive database of listings, including properties that may not be publicly available yet. This increases the chances of you finding a home that matches your criteria.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

The next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage by a reputable lender. This will give you a clear idea of how much you can borrow and will strengthen your offer when you find the right home.

To make the process easier for you:

Prepare your credit report in advance and ensure that you have a good credit score. With a score of 620 upwards, your chances of getting a conventional mortgage loan are much higher.

Save up enough for your down payment and closing costs. Once you know how much you want to spend on your house, save up enough money for the down payment and closing costs. Usually the down payment cost ranges anywhere between 10-20% while closing costs may come to 2-5% of the home value.

Prepare for a mortgage application. Ensure that you calculate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) ahead of time to help you select the best financing option for you.

Consider your different financing options

If you need financial assistance as a potential homeowner, there are various types of mortgages offered by banks and credit unions.

Some common financing options include:

Conventional Loan: Best for buyers who have a good credit score and are able to pay a significant down payment.

Jumbo Loan: Best for higher-priced homes that exceed the conforming loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

FHA Loan: Best for first-time homebuyers who have lower credit scores.

VA Loan: Best for veterans and active-duty service members.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage (FRM): Best for homebuyers who value stability and predictability in their monthly mortgage payments.

If you don't work from home, think about commute time and transportation

Los Angeles traffic is known to be very challenging. In fact, it is reported by the Southern California Association of Governments that the average driver in LA loses an average of 100+ hours stuck in traffic every year. So, if you'll be commuting to work daily or to other important locations, think about how you'll move to avoid spending too much time on the road as ways to save on gas.

Best strategies to become a homeowner in Los Angeles
couple at their new home in Los Angeles

Becoming a homeowner in Los Angeles is not an easy thing, but it is very achievable. Here are some effective strategies that you can implement to help you achieve your goal of homeownership in the vibrant city.

House hacking

House hacking is a strategy whereby you buy a house with multiple units such as a duplex or apartments; and live in one unit and then rent out the others. By doing so, you can offset your mortgage payments faster and enjoy reduced living expenses, considering Los Angeles is a very expensive city to live in. With the equity accumulated over time, you can even decide to take a secondary mortgage and acquire a second home.

Co-owning property with a family member

If you're open to the idea of teaming up with a trusted family member to buy a home in Los Angeles, such an arrangement can be beneficial to both parties. This is because, when you share the financial responsibilities of down payment for the home, mortgage payments and maintenance costs each party ends up spending less, thus saving some extra coins.

However, it is crucial that you have clear agreements and open communication to ensure a successful co-ownership arrangement.

Sourcing funding in your existing network

Explore potential funding sources within your personal and professional network. This could involve borrowing from family or friends, forming investment partnerships or tapping into connections that might be interested in real estate ventures in Los Angeles. Always remember to formalize agreements and terms to avoid misunderstandings.

Take advantage of special programs and assistance

If you're planning to buy a home in LA, you can take advantage of special programs like Low Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) and the Home Ownership Program (HOP). These programs can provide down payment assistance or reduced interest rates.

It is important for potential buyers to know their income limits so as to know which assistance programs are accessible to them.

As you look for your next home in Los Angeles, widen your search parameters to include slightly different neighborhoods or property types. Sometimes, you might have to compromise a good home for a short commute or settle in a different neighborhood than the one that you wanted.

Let's help you find the right home!

Owning a home in Los Angeles is a big decision. If you're looking to work with an experienced and reliable real estate agent who will make things happen, get in touch with Ila here. She will help you find a home that fits your needs and is within your price range.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is a distinguished Black-owned wealth management firm that specializes in financial planning, investment advisory and risk management. The firm was founded by William Huston, who has been recognized as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors between 2021-2023.

In addition, Bay Street was recognized as a finalist in the Asset Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category in 2021, standing out among more than 900 firms across the United States.

In 2023, Bay Street secured a spot as a finalist in the category of Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion during the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards. This recognition stemmed from their partnership with Resthaven Properties within the real estate sector.






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