First-Time Home Buyer in Point Dume: Four Things to Know

Damon Skelton Group

Point Dume is arguably the best location in Malibu to live and holds some of the most sought-after luxury real estate in all of California. The coastline juts out into pristine waters, providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Bay, and Santa Catalina Island. The scenic bluffs exhibit incredible natural rock formations with secluded coves and magical white sand beaches.  The picturesque landscape is quite literally something only found in movies, as it has been the backdrop of many, such as Wedding Crashers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Point Break.

If the excitement surrounding Point Dume wasn't enough, it's also the ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. Rock climbers, swimmers, surfers, and beachgoers are completely in their element here. While location is one of the primary factors for deciding where to live, there are many other aspects to consider, especially for first-time home buyers in Point Dume.

Stand out from other buyers

The California housing market is one of the most competitive in the country. With such demand for real estate and multiple offers coming in, it can be challenging to have your offer stand out from the rest. Here are a few ways to remain proactive and catch a seller's eye.

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage. You may be able to submit a letter from your lender stating that you are pre-approved for a mortgage. This will notify the seller that you are qualified and ready to take on the monthly payment, indicating a smooth and quick transaction. Additionally, getting pre-approved will outline what you can afford by factoring in items such as interest rate and homeowner's insurance.
  • Think twice about contingencies and negotiations. Because there are unforeseen issues that could potentially arise after the purchase of the home, buyers often add contingencies to the contract. Whether it be a home inspection, title, or appraisal contingency, it may be in your best interest to modify or waive them. A real estate professional will help you evaluate your options, such as foregoing an inspection and obtaining a pre-offer inspection instead.
  • Act quickly. A serious buyer will have all their ducks in a row and be motivated to move forward seamlessly. Time is of the essence, especially when multiple people are touring and submitting offers. You may also want to consider shortening your offer period, which is the number of days a buyer has to finalize their decision and still get their earnest money back.

Find a qualified real estate agent

It's important to remember that your real estate agent always has your best interest in mind. They have expert knowledge of the market and will know when a house is priced too high, too low, or just right. Working with someone who is experienced will also mean understanding complex transactions and receiving advice on how to navigate complicated scenarios. An agent will also have a large network of industry professionals, making it easier for you to connect with mortgage officers, title companies, and other resources that are critical when it comes to purchasing a home. Their expertise doesn't just lie in the home buying process but also in the city in which you are looking to purchase. They can provide insight on commute times, schools, and pending commercial development. All in all, working with a real estate agent will save you time, money, and stress.

You don't always need a large down payment

A common misconception about purchasing a home, particularly your first home, is that you have to put 20% down. First-time home buyers in Point Dume may qualify for certain mortgage and down payment assistance programs that provide subordinate loans. Your real estate agent will be able to connect you with a mortgage officer to go over your options, which are usually determined by income. There are also homeowner education courses that may need to be completed before qualifying for loan assistance. Regardless, these courses will help you become more informed on the home-buying process.

There are pros and cons of a smaller down payment. For starters, a smaller down payment won't drain your bank account. These funds can now be used for other housing expenses that accrue over time or act as a financial cushion for life's unexpected events. Adversely, having a smaller down payment will prevent you from having immediate equity in the home. In this case, it's advised to remain in the home for at least five years.

Be aware of property taxes and other monthly costs

Purchasing a home is a great investment, and loan assistance programs give individuals a higher chance of being able to own. With that said, it's imperative to factor in other monthly costs along with your mortgage before you make such a big decision. Your real estate agent and loan officer will be able to estimate your mortgage payment along with the following monthly costs.

  • Property taxes. Much like sales tax, property tax is a fee paid to county bodies. The amount paid depends on the cost of the home as well as state and local government policies.
  • Insurance. Most mortgage companies require the homeowner to purchase homeowner's insurance. If you put down less than 20%, private mortgage insurance (PMI) is also required. PMI can be canceled after 20% equity is reached.
  • Utilities. If you have rented before, then you are familiar with paying for electricity, gas, water, and internet/cable. There may be additional utilities that you opt to receive, so factoring in everything will help you get a better idea of what you will be paying monthly.
  • HOA fees. These usually only occur if there is a homeowner's association in your subdivision or condo building. You will be made aware of these early on in the process.

More tips on becoming a Point Dume homeowner with the Damon Skelton Group

There is a lot of value in seeking guidance from a real estate professional. While they can make the home-buying process much easier, there are a few steps you can take in the beginning stages. These include determining a budget, writing down certain features that you are willing and not willing to give up, and, most importantly, remaining patient throughout this exciting journey.

It seems as if the real estate market is fluctuating more than ever these days, which is why it's important to work with someone who stays on top of current trends. Having a successful home-buying experience is due in large part to the real estate agent you choose. Working with an accredited real estate agent from the Damon Skelton Group will ensure you are informed throughout the entire home-buying process.

Damon Skelton

Meet the Author


Damon's Business experience and interest in Architecture led him into a career in Real Estate nearly 20 years ago. Whether working with successful investors to find, develop and sell some of Malibu's most luxurious properties or helping a family find their dream home, his passion to see clients achieve their goals is the same.

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