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From Saving to Buying: A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide in Southern California


moving into house, key in keyhole with keychain shaped like house

Buying your first home in Southern California can feel overwhelming with high prices and fierce competition. But don't worry—having a solid plan can make the process much smoother. Here are some tips to help you save for a down payment and find an affordable home. Homebuyer


Start Saving Early 

Start saving for your down payment as soon as you can. Open a special savings account just for your home fund and set up automatic transfers. Aim to save 20% of the home's price to avoid extra fees and get better loan terms.


Explore Homebuyer Programs

There are programs in Southern California to help first-time buyers. Look into options like the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) for down payment assistance and good loan terms. Some cities and counties have their own helpful programs too. SAFCU's Mortgage Center has everything you need to find the home loan that is just right for you. With our FHA/First-Time Home Buyers Program you can access several options that require minimal down payments and loan fees. Visit safcu.org/homeloans for more.


Be Realistic About Location

Trendy neighborhoods are nice but might be expensive. If the higher price tag is out of your budget, consider up-and-coming areas where you can get more for your money. Look for places with growth potential, good schools, and amenities.



Budget Wisely 

Make a budget that covers your current expenses and savings goals. Cut back on non-essential spending and consider ways to earn extra money, like a side job. Every bit saved gets you closer to your dream home.


Work with a Local Real Estate Agent 

A local real estate agent can be a big help. They know the market, can find you affordable homes, and negotiate the best deals. Their expertise can give you an advantage over other buyers.


With early saving, smart budgeting, helpful programs, realistic location choices, and a good real estate agent, you can find your first home in Southern California. Take it step by step, and soon you'll be enjoying your new home.

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