Questions to Ask a Realtor When Buying a House in Los Angeles

If you've been dreaming of trading your rental home for a place to call your own in Los Angeles, you might have questions about where to begin and who to turn to for help. A qualified Los Angeles Realtor is your go-to person for all the questions and concerns you may have about buying a home.

Whether it's your first time buying a house or you've done it before, purchasing a home in Los Angeles can be quite a challenge. The real estate market in LA is competitive, and there are many steps to go through.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

If you're wondering about where to find a good Realtor to work with in Los Angeles and what kind of questions to ask them before, during and after the home-buying process, worry not. This guide covers all the questions you should ask a Realtor during the home buying process.

Key Takeaways
  • When buying a house in Los Angeles, having a clear understanding on the type of questions to ask a Realtor before, during and after a home purchase is important to ensure that you share a common vision.
  • Some of the questions that you should ask a Realtor as you consider buying a house in Los Angeles are: The type of homes that they mostly deal with, whether they work full-time or part time and the typical timeline for buying a house in Los Angeles.
  • Ultimately, as a potential homebuyer in Los Angeles, choose to work with a Realtor who prioritizes your needs and is willing to work within your budget to help you find a house that fits your needs.

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 investing here.

Partner with a qualified LA based Realtor

Ila Corcoran

Ila Corcoran is a licensed Realtor and the SVP of Real Estate Operations and Advisory services at Bay Street Capital Holdings. Her real estate journey started off in apartment management and leasing and then later transitioned to residential real estate. Ila has experience in both commercial and residential real estate, but her specialty is in residential real estate.

Having grown up and spent most of her life in Los Angeles, Ila is the best Realtor to work with if you're looking to buy a house in Los Angeles. In the home search process, Ila can help you:

  • Find homes that fit your needs and are within your budget.
  • Arrange property viewings to allow you to see the different properties.
  • Negotiate with the seller to get you the best deal in the market.
  • Connect with trusted real estate professionals during the home buying process, to help you with things like home inspection and legal advice.
  • During the closing process by providing the necessary guidance and ensuring that all necessary paperwork is signed properly.

Ila is a licensed Realtor with a Bachelor's degree and 2 minors from California State University Long Beach, and an active Real Estate License. As a top producer, she has managed to close $10.4+ million in real estate deals and secured more than $2.2M in AUM during her first 6 months as a licensed investment advisor at Bay Street Capital Holdings.

If you're a first time home buyer or are looking to buy an additional property in Los Angeles, get in touch with Ila today. She will help you find a suitable home that is within your price range.

Definition of a Realtor

potential homebuyers and real estate agent

A Realtor is a licensed real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and adheres to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct. The term "Realtor" is a registered trademark of NAR and is often used to distinguish real estate agents who are members of NAR from those who aren't.

Roles of a Realtor

Realtor and clients inspecting a property

Before you speak to any prospective agent in Los Angeles, it is important to first understand what a Realtor does. The major roles of a Realtor include:

  • To assist buyers in finding suitable properties that match their criteria, preferences and budget.
  • Negotiating on behalf of their clients to help them make competitive offers and secure the most favorable terms and sales price.
  • To manage the logistics of the transaction, ensuring that all necessary documents and paperwork are completed accurately and in a timely manner. They coordinate with other parties involved, such as the mortgage lender and title company.
  • Providing guidance and advice throughout the home buying process. A good real estate agent will share with you insights on property values and the best financing options in Los Angeles, so as to enable you to make an informed decision.
  • To recommend trusted real estate professionals within their networks, such as real estate attorneys and home inspectors during the real estate transaction.
  • To offer information about neighborhoods, schools and surrounding amenities to help buyers assess whether a property is the right fit for their lifestyle.
  • To act as an advocate for their client, representing their best interests throughout the home buying process.
  • Guiding clients through the closing process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is signed and that the property is transferred legally and smoothly.

Questions to ask a Realtor before hiring them

Buying a house in Los Angeles is a huge financial commitment, and as such it is important to work with the best real estate agent in this competitive market. Before hiring a Realtor, here are the important questions to ask.

What type of homes do you mostly deal with and what are the price points?
couple checking out a property for sale

For someone purchasing their first home in Los Angeles, a starter home as opposed to a luxury property would make the most sense. Therefore, as you search for the right real estate agent to work with, look for one who specializes in starter homes to increase your chances of getting a home that suits your needs and fits your budget.

In your conversations with the potential Realtor, be sure to find out the price points of houses they usually sell. That way, you'll understand if they deal with houses within or above your price range.

Can you share your work experience and credentials?

The Los Angeles real estate market is a very diverse one and working with a qualified Realtor who has hands-on experience in this market would help ease the home search process. Make sure to find out important facts such as how long the Realtor has been in the industry, how many clients they've served and their track record of successful transactions.

In a market like LA, you need to work with the best because an average real estate agent could compromise the outcome of a complex real estate transaction like buying a house.

Are you a full-time or part-time agent?
Satisfied couple listening to their Realtor

Depending on how fast you want to move in your home hunting, it is essential that you find out whether a Realtor is a full-time or part-time agent. Full-time agents usually allocate more time to show their clients different properties, respond to inquiries promptly and stay updated on current market trends.

This doesn't imply that part-time agents won't give you adequate attention. Some are very capable and experienced, but your schedules might clash and this can affect the home search process.

Can you provide references from some of your past clients?

As with any other job, asking for references from past clients will enable you to understand the Realtor's track record and the kind of experiences that past clients had.

From the feedback you get, you can better gauge their level of professionalism, responsiveness and ability to successfully close real estate transactions. A Realtor who is confident in their abilities and reputation should be willing and able to share these references with you.

Questions to ask a Realtor when you find a potential house

Once you have chosen a Realtor to work with, looked at several houses together and found one that you'd be interested in buying, here are some of the questions that you should ask.

Is the house I want worth the price?

In a housing market like LA where the demand is high, some sellers can overprice their houses so as to make maximum profit from a sale. Having a good Realtor in your corner will save you the mistake of buying an overpriced house as they have data on similar houses in the area for comparison.

Now, if the asking price is slightly above your budget, that's not necessarily a red flag. Your agent can simply speak to the seller and come up with the best strategy to help buy the house at a reasonable cost.

Do you have access to the property's history and any known issues?
property inspection

Many houses being put up for sale are usually prepped to appear nice and chic on the inside and out. While viewing the house, you might miss major defects that are not obvious to the naked eye.

As you look through houses that you're potentially interested in, ask your Realtor if they have access to the property's history and if they can thoroughly look through the house to identify any potential problems that you might encounter.

It would be disappointing for you to sign the sale agreement only to find that your new house has major plumbing issues.

What are the additional costs associated with buying a home?

Some home buyers assume that the price they pay for the house covers all expenses. This is usually not the case as there are other costs associated with buying a home, beyond the the purchase price. These additional costs may include closing costs, property taxes and homeowners' association fees, depending on where you choose to live.

Utility bills and maintenance and repair costs are some additional costs that you should also factor in your budget. Your Realtor can provide you with a clear breakdown of the various expenses so that you have a clear understanding of how much it would cost to maintain that house.

What to ask your Realtor when making an offer

Once you are ready to close on the purchase of the house, here are important questions that you need to ask your Realtor.

What is the process of making an offer and what are the elements of a purchase contract?

As you approach the final stages of the transaction, find out from your Realtor what happens during the process of making an offer and what terms are indicated in a purchase contract.

Some important clauses that should be included are the ability for you to negotiate the price of the house if any repair work is done as well as the option to walk away from the deal in case you experience issues with accessing financing for the house.

What is the typical timeline for buying a house in this area?
property seller carrying a sale-pending board

In Los Angeles, the process of buying a house can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. As an experienced buyer's agent, your Realtor should be aware of how long it takes to buy a house in different parts of LA so as to enable you to adequately plan your finances for the home purchase.

Another important thing to find out from your Realtor is if the seller of the house will move out as soon as the transaction is done, or if they plan to stay in the house as they look for another house to move into. Having this information will help you plan the best way forward.

Can you share your negotiation strategy?

Finally, ask your Realtor to share with you their negotiation strategy as the end goal is to reach an agreement with the seller that aligns with your best interests. Understanding how they plan to go about the negotiation can help you feel more confident about the offer you're making.

In Conclusion

Asking the right questions can help you develop a great working relationship with your Realtor for a smooth home buying process.

If you're in Los Angeles and are looking to buy your first house or an additional property, schedule a session with Ila today and she will help you find a home that not only fits your needs but also your budget.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Headquartered in Palo Alto, Bay Street Capital Holdings is an established wealth management company that deals with financial planning, investment advisory and risk management. The firm was founded by William Huston who was recognized as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors from 2021-2023

In 2023, Bay Street was selected as a finalist in the Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion category during the 2023 Industry Awards, thanks to their partnership with Resthaven Properties in the real estate sector.

The firm was founded to advocate for diverse and emerging founders, and the firm's leadership remains a testament to its DEI commitment.



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