Thanks for all the helpful answers, we really appreciate them
Some great answers below. If I can add a couple of things. Take a look the values of homes over the past 5-8 years. You have an opportunity to purchase a home that maybe you couldn't have qualified for just a few short years ago. You have two factors working against you today. First the prices of homes are steadily going up as our CA housing market bounces back and throw in the lack of inventory as bonus. Second, the rates WILL be going up. You can see that the rates have taken a hit over the past 30-45 days, and unless the stock market takes a really tumble, I don't see rates coming back to the lowest point as earlier in the previous year. I always tell my borrowers when they are looking for a home. This may not be the exact dream home you've envisioned, but it's a foot in the door and in time you can fix up the home up the way you want it. But please don't let the band wagon pass you by. Find yourself a good Realtor, put your faith in their knowledge and listen to what they recommend.
Best of Luck!
For new home buyers looking to assure a successful outcome I recommend:
1) Find a professional RealtorÂ® to work with to protect you interests.
Simply put, your RealtorÂ® will be able to answer initial key questions and guide you through the process. One of the key advantages of involving your RealtorÂ® is access to seasoned Mortgage Broker/Bankers with a track record of getting the job done. You can check to make sure an Agent is a RealtorÂ® by going here: http://www.realtor.org/rofindrealtor.nsf/pages/FS_FREALTOR?O
The primary distinction of any RealtorÂ® is they have a real estate license by taking required classes and passing a written test - but most importantly - they must also subscribe to the Code of Ethics published by the National Association of RealtorsÂ® (NAR). Typically, RealtorsÂ® are also members of state and local association of RealtorsÂ® and further agree to abide by the bylaws, rules and regulations of those associations.
The full Code of Ethics can be found at http://www.Realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code
2) Obtain a "True Pre-Approval" (I'm sure your RealtorÂ® will recommend this as your first step).
You MAY need to improve your credit score, increase cash reserves, etc. before buying; however, at least you will have a roadmap to eventually purchasing if this is the case. Furthermore, this step can save you from wasting money on a purchase that does not close escrow!
"Retail Banks vs. Mortgage Broker/Bankers"
3) Make sure you obtain access to your local AND regional RealtorÂ® MLS data via an automated search your RealtorÂ® should most certainly create for you; here's why:
MLS Data Accuracy â€“ Where to search if youâ€™re â€œwithout RealtorÂ®â€
If I were you, if you haven't done so already, contract a mortgage professional and see what you are qualifed for. Remember, you may be qualify for more, but are not comfortable with that payment so stay within your means.
Work with an active Realtor and ask for referrences. Have the agent set up an email search so you can follow the market.
When you are looking for a home, you need a passive/ aggressive approach. Be approved for the loan and have your downpayment ready, but be patient. But, when the right property comes around, you need to have the ability to jump.
Right now the market conditions are not in your favor, but that can change just as quickly. Inventory is low and demand is great. There is a lot of cash in the market locally and over seas. That, coupled with low rates makes it very attractive to jump in right now.
If you have any questions or need any advice, feel free to call or write.
It is a tight real estate market right now, houses, especially in that price point are selling fast. But with a little flexibility and imagination you might be be able to create a home in the area,
If you want to discuss further. do not hesitate to call me. I would love to help!