Ismael Koshy, Home Buyer in Lower Peters Canyon,...

I'm currently living overseas and am planning to move to Irvine after 2-3 years. I want to take advantage of the lower prices to buy a 2-3 bd

Asked by Ismael Koshy, Lower Peters Canyon, Irvine, CA Thu Mar 11, 2010

home and rent it out until I move back.I have children that will be 6 and 13 yrs old. Any recommendations?

Help the community by answering this question:


Keep in mind that if you live overseas and file overseas tax returns, few lenders will be able to do your mortgage.

However, I am with a direct lender and we specialize in overseas citizens and foreign national. If you maintained any sort of credit rating in the states, I can go as much as 30% down. If you have no US credit report or have a very limited credit rating, I would require 50% down. In addition, our portfolio programs offer flexibility if you're self employed (UNaudited business profit and loss statements is OK) or if your income is difficult to document. We also accept overseas verbal verifications of employment (I actually know of no lender in the states who will do this).

I suggest getting prequalified - it's not difficult - and let me say that I've yet had some prequalified who wasn't approved (basically if you prequal, you WILL get your loan).


Lou Wu
(949) 870-2882 CELL
Chinatrust Bank USA
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 26, 2010
Hi Ismael,

Bill is correct regarding his recoendations for a lender. Financing is the toughest piece of the reeal esate puzzle these days. Irvine is known for excellent schools and some areas like Woodbury do have high Mello-Roos, however Irvine is a large city and there are many areas with lovely homes that do not have Mello Roos, or have very low Mello Roos. If you are planning a vist to purchase your home, you will need an agent who is familiar with the market to help you make your visit efficient. You may want to start by registering on ListingBook, so you can familiarize yourself with the market. ListingBook will give you complete access to the MLS so you are able to see any active, pending and sold listings. Once you are ready to begin writing offers, you will need an agent who leverages digital technology so that you can easily conduct business while overseas. My husband and I use a digital signature application that will allow you to sign offers and other paperwork pertaining to your real estate transaction from anywhere. Finally you will want an agent who will represent your best interests and be present in your absence for anything that may arise throughout the transaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
I would recommend a 3 bedroom since you have two children. Irvine has many opportunities now however you might want to consider Tustin off of Jamboree it sits right with Irvine by Peters Canyon. The reason for this is that Irvine has high HOA & Mello Roos Taxes and when buying there you can wind up having two additional payments a monthly HOA fees to cover which get quit costly. If you would like to share a specific area in which you are considering I can give you an idea of the HOA/Mello Roos for the area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hello Ismael,

You have picked a great city, Irvine. It has all the facilities for children and adults; we are not too far from the famous beaches and mountains for skiing. The timing couldn’t be better as the interest rates are currently at historic low. You could wait for 2-3 years till you move here or another idea can be to acquire the property before that time and rent/lease it. You will have to do the ROI to see how that works for you financially. I have people on my team which can assist, but the decision will be yours. Engaging early a knowledgeable Realtor who is local and knows Irvine market can certainly be an asset. I have traveled, lived abroad and settled in Irvine and can share some prospectives which may help you.
Good luck on your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 29, 2012

I sincerely believe you should get going on your plans soon and don't wait too long. We are experiencing a shortage of inventory causing prices to increase. Also with record low interest rates more buyers are coming out of the wood work these days. And of course there is the intangible, more people feel confident today that the economy is slowing turning around compared to the last few years. Nothing is guaranteed but with low interest and bargain prices it's difficult to go wrong.

Please feel free to contact me if you need further information or help to find the right property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Irvine is an excellant choice. Great planned city with out standing schools. My only advise to you is make sure you hire a property management company to manage the property. This will be key since you will be an absantee landlord.

You will need someone who will go beyond just collecting rents. They will need to maintain the property, see to it that needed repairs are done in a timely manner and by licensed professionals.

You may also want to speak with an attorney regarding local eviction laws, and areas of the law that deal with landlord tenant disputes. You will need to know the protocal and your rights as a landlord, if for some reason you end up with a tenant who does not pay their rent or damages your property in some way.

Best of luck to you.

Kawain Payne, Realtor

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012

Your idea to buy a Irvine home during this time is a good one, because Irvine is an excellent place to live and raise children.

Please know that our Irvine market is moving quickly these days - especially for homes listed under $500k - where average market time to sell all homes in that range is fast at about 1.5 months and favors sellers.

If you want to purchase a home in range of up to $999k, that process would be easier. However, even homes in this range are getting multiple offers.

Bottom line is that you should contact an experienced Irvine Realtor agent now, and make contact with a mortgage broker and get your letter of purchase money loan preapproved, then move forward.

Harrison K. Long, Realtor and broker associate, Coldwell Banker, Quail Hill center, Irvine, CA.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012

Thanks for your email. We are brokers first and attorneys second at our company and we negotiate on the behalf of listing agents without a charge to the listing agent which strengths your position as a buyer and builds value in our business model which saves time and money for the listing broker. Most of our agents/buyers and investors are very happy because we close the waiting gaps for closure on property and fight for correct and accurate valuations utilizing HVCC appraisals, marketing reports, and our proprietary software and analytics system. We can structure a lease option to purchase, rentals agreements, and any other legal paperwork for a small fee. Drop me a line at 949-394-7438 or for a clear explanation to the question. Why not to use a traditional broker?. Have a good day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 10, 2010
As we approach the Fall and Winter prices tend to pulll back even more and can be an opportune time to purchase. With rates at historic lows and prices drastically rolled back it's not much of a risk to venture
buying a home these days, so long as the financing is in tact. A similar situation in the 90's turned to be very lucrative later.
If you need any more advice please feel free to contact me

Good luck Ismael!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 25, 2010
Depending on your situation, income and preference for living area. I am sure we can help you find the perfect home. Just drop me an email at, Have a great evening and God Bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 8, 2010
I also must add that my rates are in the low five ranges, ARMs drop below five. For VOE/foreign nationals, that's an excellent rate....

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 26, 2010
I think we should find you a three bedroom home in Irvine or the surrounding area. We have a unquie program at REAL Short Sale solutions. We will work with any REALtor that you want to work with and our expertise is closing the short sale quickly. We have multiple houses to chose from that are bank owned properties or short sales at below market prices. Are you pre-qualified by a bank?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
Hello, Ismael!

If you are going to be purchasing a home as an investment property, please be advised that you'll be asked to put down a 40-50% down payment should you be financing the purchase and that whoever is handling your property management in your absence will be required to take 30% off the top of your rental income as per FIRPTA regulations.

If I can be of any further assistance I am a member of FIABCI/International Real Estate federation and can be reached at
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 12, 2010
I would in fact if possible buy a 3 bd for several reasons. Due to the fact you 2 children, they rent for more, and they resale easier (making for a better investment). The issue is are you going to pay cash or arrange a loan. A loan is going to be difficult at best. Cash is very easy, just closed one from the UK but you could possibly run into issues in both countries for a mortgage. So, if you are going forward with a mortgage, you need to secure the financing and then move forward.

Kindest Regards
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
University Center is a great area, is this where you'd like to concentrate your home search efforts? I can email you the current listings for sale and for now at least you will be able to stay on top of the market and get a feel for the pricing. Do you have family in the area who will be helping you out with your home search? You can reach me directly at: I hope that I will be able to assist you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hi Ismael,

Since you are currently living overseas, there are several logistical problems in selecting a home to purchase. Do you have a representative currently in CA who will be able to act on your behalf- viewing the property, participating in the inspection process, making a selection, etc? Is you income from a US firm or verifible by a lender in this country? I would be more concerned about finding a lender who can accomadate your situation before spending any time looking for a home. Once you have a lender (or maybe two or three to have a back-up plan) then you are ready to find a home. The best deals are moving rapidly and need quick responses including providing a lender pre-approval letter. We use a electronic signing service to use when making an offer, but not all overseas countries allow such forms of internet transactions with the US. Plus, you loan documents will need to be signed in person, so arrangements will need to be made for an international notary.

I wish you much luck in your efforts. I think you are quiet wise to be so forward looking. Please be sure to select a buyer's agent to assist you with all aspects of your plan, including shepparding the transaction to a successful closing.


Bill Godwin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hi Ismael,

I think you should buy the home in a community which also has very good schools for 2 reasons. Firstly, when you move back you have the best schools for your children and secondly when you lease it you could get a better rent or in a slow market the home would rent out faster.

Typically in Irvine, condos tend to have higher HoAs. So I would suggest that you look to buy a single family home if your budget permits. New homes will have Mello-Roos which adds to your monthly expense for owning the property. Older homes will not have Mello-Roos.

I am not sure if you have any preference in terms of which part of Irvine you and your family would like to live in. I will be happy to give you any information you need. Please email me if you have any questions.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hello Ismael,

Your asked about buying a 2 to 3 bedroom home at Irvine after 2 to 3 years. I am unclear as to whether you are now living here in Orange County. If so, I recommend you spend some time prior to the 2 years and drive around the neighborhoods at Irvine and University Town Center. Walk some of the streets, so you can get an idea about best location for you and your family. If you want to be close to UCI, Town Center is the best place to live and buy a property. However, if you want to consider being close to good public schools, you might think about Turtle Rock, University Park, Oak Creek, or Westpark, Irvine.

Please contact me with your questions about neighborhoods and home buying opportunities at Irvine, CA. Thanks.

Harrison K. Long
Realtor and broker, Coldwell Banker Previews, Irvine, CA
CA Dre 01410855
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
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