Wednesday, May 03, 2017

8 ways buying real estate in other places is different than buying in L.A.

I am about to close escrow on a residential income property in Milwaukee, of all places. I am also brokering some other residential properties in other states. I will do a tell-all post about this another time.  Sure, some things are the same; but some things are really different. Here goes:

Disclosures: here, we have about 100 disclosures for every single property sold.  Some are just boilerplate; some are specific.  Half the work here is getting disclosures to each party, getting them signed, and returning them.  In other places, not so much.  As a matter of fact, there were none in Milwaukee outside of the normal contractual ones. None.

Contract: here, we have four pages of mandated stuff to sign before we even get to the ten-page contract.  There, it's just the ten pages or less.

Doing business: here, most Realtors return your calls or texts or emails promptly; if not within the hour, at least within half a day.  In other parts of the country, they (ahem) take a little longer.  For example, in the south, you are lucky to get a call returned within 24 hours, even if it is time-sensitive.  I guess "time sensitive" really is a fluid concept, no? But they seem to do as much business, which leads me to wonder if we are all needlessly killing ourselves working here.

Termites: are bad, they're nationwide.

Septic tanks: far more common than we think, even if we don't want to think about them at all.

Loan charges and closing costs: are about the same across the country, with a few exceptions.  Appraisals cost about the same, as do title policies.  However, in most cases there are no escrow companies, so you do save some money there.  A title company and/or closing attorney (we don't have CAs here) does everything.

Biggest difference: properties in other parts of the country can be super-cheap.  Really cheap. Very, very cheap. Terrific cheap. So much cheap that you will get tired of cheap. Okay, I will knock off the presidential impersonation.  But try this on for size -- 50 houses in Georgia for a total of $1.3 million.  Here, that amount would get you about two dirt lots in the San Fernando Valley.

If you'd like more details on anything here, feel free to email me at

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Over the fall I had to deal with selling a property in Chicago and communicating with realtors and real estate attorneys (something foreign out here!) was a huge pain.