Types of Property
Type of Properties in Los Angeles
Houses tend to have the best appreciation. They provide the most privacy and typically have outdoor living space for you, pets, gardening, etc. On the down side, there is more maintenance than with a condo.
Condos, Town homes, Cooperatives -
This type of housing is typically less expensive than a comparable single-family homes. The home owner’s association handles the majority of the upkeep so there is much less maintenance than with a single family home. Many units provide some outdoor space with patios and balconies. You will give us some of your privacy and will usually be faced with more noise and shared walls with neighbors. Even so, a condo is a great way to get into the market and stop renting!
Small Lot Subdivision Homes - These are single family homes that may resemble town homes. They tend to be vertical and built on relatively small lots with only inches between homes. With a small lot home vs a condo, you own the land under the house and there is no home owner's association fee. Typically there is a minimal amount paid monthly for maintenance of common areas like driveways and landscaping. For more on this type of home, check out some of these pages:
Multiple Units/ Income Property - Tenants can be a great help in making your mortgage payments, plus income property has the added tax benefit of being depreciable. (Talk to your tax adviser for details). You don’t always have to share common walls either. Some properties are “two on a lot” or “three on a lot”, basically giving you and your tenants some degree of privacy. If the idea of being a landlord does not appeal to you, income properties can still be a great way to get into the market. You can buy with friends or relatives- typically much cheaper than each of you buying your own property separately. It’s worth considering, but always best to talk to an attorney before making such a move. Please note, if you plan to buy more than 4 units you will require a different type of financing. 2-4 units can typically be financed in the same way as a house or condo.
Number of levels - Single story homes are easier to navigate and easier to clean. You don’t have to drag the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs. (Of course, this problem can be solved by having TWO vacuums!) If you opt for more than one story, you may end up with more of a backyard since ½ or more of your living area is stacked. You’ll also have more privacy and less noise from one floor to the next. Of course, you’ll get your exercise carrying stuff to the upstairs bedrooms.
- Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms - Most people seem to want a 3 bedroom house. You will find many 2 bedroom homes in the area at lower prices than 3-bedroom homes. If you must have that extra room, don’t discount a 2 bedroom with a den or office. (A room can’t technically be described as a bedroom unless it has a closet in it.) The typical buyer is also looking for at least 2 bathrooms. Again, 1-bath homes are common and less expensive. Don't pass up a one bath home without taking a good look at it. If you like everything else about is and there is room to add a second bath it is worth considering. Sometimes it costs less to put in an extra bath than it does to buy a home that already has that second bath.
- Square Footage - Don’t limit yourself buy putting a mental minimum on the acceptable number of square feet of living space. Many times property listing information is incorrect. Square footage measurements are typically supplied from Tax Assessor records. If there have been additions to the property, they may not be noted. Also, the layout of the house makes a huge difference. A small house with a great floor plan feels much larger than its actual size. It’s best to see a property in person before discarding it based on square footage alone. Also be careful not to buy more space than you expect to need- those heating and cooling costs will add up!
- Special amenities such as fireplaces, pools or spas
- Architectural style- Spanish, modern, craftsman, etc.
- Distance from employment
- School districts
- Condition of plumbing, electrical, heating & cooling units.
- Available utilities such as cable or DSL, satellite.
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