Kimberly Maffia’s Complete Home Buying Guide for Santa Rosa, CA

Kimberly Maffia’s Complete Home Buying Guide for Santa Rosa, CA

  • Kimberly Maffia
  • 04/10/23

Santa Rosa is a stunning neighborhood in Sonoma County, California, with a peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty. Known as a top producer of craft beverages, it attracts visitors from all over the country to experience its unique lifestyle. It offers all the amenities of a big city while still possessing the tranquil vibe of a residential community. With delectable eateries, top-notch schools, an awesome entertainment scene, and a prime location, the California hotspot has much to offer its residents and draws high interest from prospective buyers looking to move in. Its property selection is also fabulous, ranging from chic condominiums to lavish estates for those eager to secure a home in the region.

To help you prepare for purchasing a property in the Santa Rosa housing market, this complete homebuying guide by Kimberly Maffia, a top Santa Rosa realtor with a long history of successfully closing deals in the county, covers everything you need to know.

Get your finances in order

As you gear up for a home purchase in Santa Rosa, your very first step should be getting your finances in order. Creating a comprehensive financial plan and figuring out your purchasing budget is essential for any buyer. Whether this will be your primary residence or an investment property in Santa Rosa, CA, the importance of this stage cannot be overlooked. There are many associated costs that come along with owning a home, and upon making your purchase, you will be solely responsible for covering all of them. Having an awareness of these costs in advance is the best way to ensure you can reasonably afford the property without putting a significant strain on your finances. Seeking a mortgage pre-approval before beginning your home search is highly recommended to avoid any surprises with your lender down the line.

For starters, you will have to make a down payment, which typically amounts to 20% of the property’s total value and needs to be paid before finalizing the deal. While it is possible to put less than 20% down in some cases, this usually results in a higher monthly cost by adding another ongoing payment in the form of private mortgage insurance. This insurance will need to be paid on a regular basis until you achieve 20% equity. Other upfront costs include hiring movers and furnishing the home, so think about these as well and estimate how much you’ll need to set aside to cover these areas.

After the down payment has been made, consider the continual costs you will encounter as a homeowner. Try to estimate how much the mortgage, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utility bills will amount to in a given month so you can plan for them accordingly. Home maintenance will need to be completed regularly to keep the property in good shape, and you’ll need to foot the bill for repairs as well if anything in the home breaks. A good rule of thumb when choosing a home to buy is to make sure your monthly costs will not exceed 25-30% of your gross monthly income.

Establish a safety net to fall back on

Even the most well-established financial plan can be thrown off-track if you encounter any unwanted surprises, so the next step you’ll want to take as a responsible buyer is establishing a financial safety net you can fall back on if needed. You’ll be spending a pretty penny on your upfront costs, but it is critical not to drain your bank account to close the deal. Life throws curve balls, and you’ll have to cover your ongoing bills no matter what happens. If a head of household loses their job and has to search for a new one, or if something in the home breaks that comes with a hefty bill, you’ll want to be certain you have enough money to stay afloat so that the surprise doesn’t land you in a financial crisis.

One of the greatest strategies to limit your risk of encountering a large and unwanted expense is getting a home inspection before purchasing. A home inspection will cover every inch of the property from top to bottom, identifying any potential issues with its foundation or systems. Including a home inspection contingency in your offer is a good way to protect your assets before closing the deal, as this will give you the legal right to back out of the purchase if substantial damage is found. However, even a home inspection can’t anticipate everything, such as a future storm hitting the neighborhood and causing a basement to flood. Financial experts encourage homebuyers to have six to eight months of expenses in the bank so they’re prepared for whatever events may come their way.

Determine your needs and desires

Now that you’ve figured out your financial situation, it’s time to determine your needs and desires for the property you plan to purchase. You’ll want to buy a home that’s a perfect fit for your household and your lifestyle, so think about what features it has to contain to be a good match and organize your home search around looking for these qualities. There are plenty of beautiful properties, including many Santa Rosa luxury homes, but not all of them will be a good match for you.

Start by thinking about the practical elements you’ll need in a property, such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has to have to fit your household comfortably. After that, consider your everyday lifestyle and which home features will complement it. For instance, you may need a property with a sizable home office space if you work from home frequently. If you enjoy cooking and making homemade meals with loved ones each night, an open kitchen layout with a good dining room could be a must-have. For families with young children or pets, finding outdoor space with a backyard to play in might be important to you.

Along with these elements, consider the responsibilities you’ll encounter as a homeowner and how much effort each property will require. Older homes or properties with features such as a pool will likely require more regular maintenance, which may or may not be a challenge you’re willing to deal with regularly. If overseeing the home maintenance yourself doesn’t sound appealing, opting for a condominium or a townhome could be a great option. By determining these aspects in advance and making a note of what you hope to find in your future home, you’ll be able to narrow your home search and only visit properties that contain your desired features.

Team up with a local real estate expert

The Santa Rosa housing market has a tendency to be quite competitive, and one of the best ways you can improve your chances of purchasing a perfect property for you is by teaming up with a local real estate expert. Real estate agents know all the ins and outs of the housing markets in the communities they serve. Upon providing them with the list of qualities you’re looking for in a home, they can sort through its selection and locate properties that suit you in every way. They can also provide you with incredible guidance, such as how to present your offer to make yourself appeal to sellers, and their negotiation skills come in handy for getting you the best deal possible at the closing table.

Ready to buy a Santa Rosa home?

If you’re planning to buy a home in Santa Rosa and would like assistance from an expert in the region, Kimberly Maffia can happily assist you. With years of experience helping prospective homebuyers find outstanding homes for sale in Santa Rosa, her professional insight and valuable resources will have you closing the deal on the property of your dreams in no time. Kimberly is your key to Sonoma County — contact her today to get started!

*Header photo courtesy of Kimberly Maffia

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Kimberly is available, open, honest most importantly fun to be around! If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, with Kimberly Maffia, you have a friend and trusted advisor in Real Estate.

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