Exciting news! Court Buddy is renaming to LawChamps. Stay tuned for more information.

What You Need To Know About Buying A Home In California

Cassidy Chansirik
Cassidy Chansirik Student at U.C. Berkeley
Hi! I'm Cassidy, a rising junior majoring in Legal Studies at U.C. Berkeley who is passionate about the law, helping others, and all things coffee!
california buying a home
Buying a home is a life milestone that comes with many responsibilities, and it can seem daunting. This is especially true if you’re a first-time home buyer. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, first-time home buyers made up 33% of all home-buyers in 2019, 88% of whom were 29 years old and younger. 

If you’re a California native looking for a place of your own or just someone looking to relocate to the sunny state, here’s what you need to know about buying a home in California. 

The cost of living for each California city greatly affects the prices of homes.

Before you buy a home, research the cost of living for different cities and make sure they’re within your budget. In California, the city you choose to live in will heavily influence how much your home will cost. For example, in San Francisco, the median family home value is $1.1 million, whereas in Los Angeles, the median family home value is $680,000

Real estate agents can represent a buyer and seller at the same time. 

Unlike other states, it is not illegal for a real estate agent to be a dual agent. This means that a real estate agent can represent a buyer and a seller for the same home. However, under Assembly Bill 1289, dual agents cannot “reveal to either party facts relating to the financial position, motivations, bargaining position, or other personal information that may impact price.” 

When you are searching for an agent to represent you as a home buyer, think about your needs and whether or not a dual agent will protect your best interests. 

Inspections are not required before home purchases, but it’s something you should still look into. 

Even if you’ve found an impeccable home with no signs of exterior damage, there may be issues inside the home. Before finalizing your home purchase, the California Department of Real Estate recommends having a professional inspector check out the home. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, an inspector will look at the home’s heating system, central air-conditioning system, plumbing and electrical systems, insulation, and any visible structures of the home. Once the inspector has finished, you will be provided with a report about any damages or things to look out for. 

If the home is in a natural hazard zone, the seller must provide you with a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement.
California is prone to natural hazards. Depending on where you choose to live, some areas are more prone to natural hazards than others. For example, Northern California has more earthquake fault lines than Southern California. 

If the home you decide to purchase is in a natural hazard zone, the seller is legally obligated to provide you with a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement. In the disclosure, you will learn if the home falls into any of the following natural hazard zones: 
  • Flood hazard zone
  • Potential flooding zone
  • Severe fire hazard zone
  • Forest fire risk zone
  • Earthquake fault zone 
  • Seismic hazard zone (for example, landslides)

A good disclosure will also inform you if you’re within a quarter mile of a natural hazard zone. In 2005, homes in Ventura County were destroyed by a massive landslide and none of them were in a state-designated natural hazard zone. 

You may have to pay a Mello Roos tax. 

If the home you’re looking to purchase is designated a Community Facilities District, also known as a Mello Roos district, you will have to pay an additional tax. 

The Mello Roos tax is a special tax that goes towards paying for services and facilities in your community. This can include police and fire protection, recreation program services, and flood and storm protection. The tax is collected yearly with your general property tax bill, and the amount you pay varies depending on the district you live in. 

Buying a home is a complex process that involves lots of paperwork and legal terms. If you are in the process of buying a home and would like a lawyer to read over your paperwork, Court Buddy can match you with an experienced real estate attorney. 

Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.

Ready to get started? We’re here to help.

Related Blogs

  • Stephanie Cortes
  • |
  • 24 September, 2020
What You Need To Know About Selling A House Or Condo In New York

According to The Balance, the average American homeowner moves every five to seven years. Putting your house, condo or apartment on the market fo...

  • Cassidy Chansirik
  • |
  • 21 September, 2020
What You Need To Know About Buying A Home In New York

Despite the havoc COVID-19 is causing around the world, it hasn't destroyed the real estate market in this country - especially in New York S...

  • Patty Lamberti
  • |
  • 08 September, 2020
The New Federal Eviction Moratorium: It's Not As Simple As It Seems

On September 4, President Trump issued a federal moratorium on residential evictions. The Executive Order stops all landlords from evicting most ...

  • Carlee Sutera
  • |
  • 07 September, 2020
Top Five Things To Never Say To A Landlord

If you’re a renter, you know how hard it can be to find the perfect apartment. Once you do, meeting the landlord and touring the place is s...

  • Victoria Pappas
  • |
  • 03 September, 2020
Can You Be Charged Late Fees Or Evicted In A Mobile Home Park?

This week, President Trump signed an executive order halting evictions in residential properties. While this order will seemingly protect renters...

  • Court Buddy
  • |
  • 01 September, 2020
Eviction And Renting In New York During The Coronavirus Pandemic: What Rights Do Renters Have?

Around five million people rent housing units in New York City.  That's  two-thirds of the population of the state, according to re...

Hablamos Español

Hablamos Español

Still have questions?

Call us toll-free at (866) 653-3017 to speak with a Client Success Specialist today.

Hablamos Español

Hablamos Español

Overall great experience from beginning to end! On the plus, I won my case!"

Overall great experience from beginning to end! On the plus, I won my case!"

Jonathan R, California

Court Buddy made it easy for me to handle my tough court case. I feel like I'm not alone."

Court Buddy made it easy for me to handle my tough court case. I feel like I'm not alone."

Silvia S, California