1. Meet with a Local Mortgage Banker to get prequalified for mortgage financing. The Mortgage Banker will review all facets of your loan request to answer your questions with regards to the types of loans and maximum loan amounts you could qualify for.
2. Get a referral to a good, local, real estate attorney. Call the attorney, retain the attorney so you have her information handy when you make an offer. Having that information at time of offer helps you demonstrate to the Seller how serious you are, and they will consider your offer with more interest.
3. Line up a Home Inspector. A good home inspector will scare the heck out of you: that's what you pay him for! But you'll concentrate on the fundamentals of the property: roof free of leaks, plumbing, heating and electrical up to code and in good working order. Again, when you make an offer and you have your Home Inspector ready to go, your offer will be considered with much more interest by a Seller because you truly have your "ducks in a row" and your preparation demonstrates your serious attitude about conducting the purchase transaction in a timely manner.
4. Find an experienced Local Realtor who works in your desired shopping area. A serious pro Realtor will refuse to show you homes until you are Prequalified for mortgage financing. Don't take offense! That Realtor doesn't want you to be disappointed and wants you to have a smooth experience as you shop for your new home.
Put together your Team of real estate professionals and shop 'til you drop!
Earlier, Ali Moein wisely mentioned Japan Town and Naglee Park. You might also look into the Vendome area (very tiny, just a couple of streets close to Japan Town - find Ayer and 1st Street on your map and you have the area).
What is really nice about the Vendome District of San Jose is that it's close to the light rail (convenient for commuting or just getting to the airport), close to Taylor Street and 87.
There are some other nice pockets in 95112 but many places that are either quasi industrial (like where I dropped by ballot off yesterday near Gish Road) or mixed commercial and residential (like where my daughter goes to school at Notre Dame High School - also in 95112). It's a very big zip code and much of it may indeed be plagued with crime. A GREAT way to check is to go to http://www.CrimeReports.com and enter the address.
As far as prices continuing to decline, you are probably right there. As long as the foreclosures keep coming, there will be downward pressure on pricing. On the flip side, though, interest rates might go up (I suspect that they will), which could erase any "gain" from waiting to buy. Truly, no one knows the bottom of either the housing market or the stock market until it's past.
Finally, if you want to consider other near-to-downtown areas, you might check out pockets of the 95126 zip code such as the Shasta Hanchett area or the Rosegarden. They are only a couple of miles from downtown, feature some beautiful architecture and probably less crime (do check it out online).
If you are looking for the best value based on past peaks - I would look in 95122. I got a couple for $250K!
If you are looking for a nice 3/2.5 ten year old home [I can't remember the builder name - KB? Pulte?] for less than $350K in 95116 - I got it. That one last sold for $628K!
The deals are out there and we're getting multiple offers on them!
That being said - tell me more about your outcome:
1) What attracted you to 95112? Is it close to work? food? kids?
2) Is this going to be your primary residence?
3) What is your budget? When's the last time you spoke with your lender? [ programs are changing daily ]
My goal is to get you a great value - if that's what you are looking for.
Or a great home to live in - if that's what you are looking for.
All the Best!
The right time to buy a house is when you are ready and can financially afford to do so. It is considered a buyers market right now due to sellers willing to negotiate, a copious amount of inventory, and homes priced competitively. Prices most likely will continue to go down further even though some economic forecasters think prices will stabilize by spring of 2009. Although no one knows for sure at this point in time. Even if you do not have kids, being in a good school district is important for resale. If you are worried about the neighborhood you can check http://www.crimereports.com for accurate information on the safety of the 95112 area.
Some parts of 95112 is very attractive and beautiful, the fact its close to downtown is always attractive for the active life style. On the south side, Naglee park (S 12th to 19th) homes are beautiful and charming. On the north side Japan town (N 2nd to 8th) is also very nice. You should drive through the neighborhood and look at a few homes, you'll know if this area is for you.
The North East sector of 95112 has a good proportion of pleasant, well valued neighborhoods. Be careful when you put little emphasis on schools. When you come to sell it is likely to be a negative for potential buyers. If you would like statistics re the recent and current market in that area drop me an e-mail or call. This info is in my profile.