Are you willing to move to Detroit? I can get you a killer deal! Less than a Honda!
The houses that have been sitting for a while are the way to go. Here is my reasoning -
1. No buyer emotional bidding - You won't have 27 emotional buyers throwing numbers way over list hoping to be the lucky one.
2. Banks work by the numbers - The longer it sits, the more upkeep $ it takes out of their pocket.
3. They are ugly, really ugly - Many of them are structurally better. Plus you save the cash to customize it to what YOU want, not pay for the previous owners tastes.
4.Renovation Financing is catching on - Now you can buy a house and remodel it with one loan and only 3.5% down! This type of financing used to be taboo because of the longer escrow but is now becoming accepted. I have a team of contractors and lenders that specialize in this.
Owning is now cheaper in some areas than renting and you get a tax break! I have calculators that figure all that stuff out for you but it really is a lifestyle choice more than anything.
I have a great short read for you about buying your first house. It was entertaining enough even I made it through. Email me and I'll send it over. I also have all kinds of handouts on Renovation Financing and guidelines for buying Bank Owned if you want.
Watch the inventory in Pittsburg, Antioch rise a bit to ease buyer demand for investment property. Then watch the inventory stagnate after the tax credit drops isn't extended (again). In places like high end Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, REO's are being fixed up and sold for 95% of FMV, not much of a deal either there.
You're best option (if you really have to buy now) is get in a short sale if REO's are being outbidded. The numbers can be in your favor if you understand the market area. Repaired or not, it's a viable option for alot of buyers but the waiting game for lender approval can make a buyer impatient. Good Luck
There are opportunites vailable but the three areas you are inquiring about has been slowly moving down in price for the last 3 years. (As opposed to quickly like east county homes.) The high demand and historical lack of inventory, even in the bubble, has allowed pend up demand to catch up. This slow decline in price has opened doors for buyers who had owned before and were waiting out the market and down movers who had equity and sold larger homes hereand nearby. Top schools have also made these areas first choice for first time homebuyers with children.
The affluence of the typical existing owners has more options has slowed the rate of inventory. There have been fewer short sales and foreclosures as owners have reserves to weather the storm and many have solid high paying jobs. They are the ones doing the hiring and firing.
That said, there have been some "deals" out there. There was a Northgate home that sold at 600's, forclosure and cosmetic fixer. That home lasted 1 day on the MLS. There Woodlands has seen comfortable reductions due to bubble buyers who were prices out of Northgate proper, went there and bid prices up as a percentage higher than marketwide Walnut Creek. Then there is the occasional steal in Burton Valley, Lafayette and by the College in Pleasant Hill.
My last point is, I do agree with you. Many sellers in these areas are starting too high. Alamo over 1.25 million have fallen 20% in the 4th quarter of 2009. Prices have not moved in Walnut Creek. As buyers get informed on the maket this there will be increasing downward price pressure on sellers in Walnut Creek.
Find an agent you trust to KNOW the deals, get in his pipleine, keep an eye out and get ready!
What I don't recommend is getting preapproved by online lenders (like Quicken Loans, Ditech, eLoans) where you are just a number. There's no personal touch -- and this is critically important in one of the most significant purchases you'll make. The problem with those online lenders is that many of them are in different states and different time zones, they don't have any concept of local communities and market values, and they are not personally invested with you and the realtor you choose.
A good working relationship among you, your agent and your lender is very important to make sure your transaction goes smoothly.
Prices are creeping back up due to low inventory all through the 680 corridor. Here's a link to the most recent market dynamics report for Walnut Creek http://vickiesellshomes.com/category/walnut-creek-ca/market- but know that properties are sold in price bands, so you might want to request a customized dynamics report.
At http://www.VickieSellsHomes.com you will find a complete archive of market reports showing what's sold, what's for sale, median prices and more. You don't have to register, it's just all out there for you. If, hoewever, at any time you are considering seeking skilled buyer representation, please give me a call.
Realtor, Certified Distressed Property Expert, Pre-Foreclosure Specialist Certified
Keller Williams Realty
This is a tough question because it depends on what you consider to be a deal. There is a buying surge for places under $500k so you will find the market to be quite competitive. Above that we are still seeing prices adjust. I agree with Suzanne, talk to some Realtors and find one you can work with. The key to finding deals are patience, persistence, flexibility, having a good Realtor, and being preapproved. And by the way not all the good deals are foreclosures. I've seen some screaming' deals on private sales and short sales too. Love to help.
Erica Jones Starkey
JSCA Real Estate Group
Providing Superior Solutions for Your Individual Real Estate Needs
That is the $20 million dollar question... The best way to answer is 3-fold;
1- Get pre approved, so that once you see what you really want, you can make an offer quickly, (well priced properties in the areas you menitoned are going quickly)
2 - Choose an aggressive and hardworking realtor that understands your priorities and needs ,and start your search by seeing many properties and identifying the features that really matter
3 - Once you indentify a property you would like, get the most recent analysis of prices, so that you can justify your offer price, then utilize the knowlege of your realtor to negotiate the best possible price.
Regardless of what we hear about recovery, it is still a buyer's market and most sellers have their listings on the market this time of year because they need to, or due to a foreclosure or short sale, all of which give you a very good negotiating position.
Interview a couple of realtors to see if they match up with your style and then let them work for you. We are trained to be your advocate and that means getting the very best price and terms for our clients. Just in case you haven't chosen a realtor yet, I work in all of the country and in particular Martinez down to Danville and out to Lamorinda.
Where do you work --- and is commuting of importance? Stockton may be cheap, but if you have to spend more than 3 hours a day commuting, that's not a life!
How much are you preapproved to buy based on your income, your credit score?
How much are you paying for rent? Can you buy a home that will result in similar monthly outgo for housing?
Although many cities in the East Bay have seen their share of short sales and foreclosures, we are also seeing many competitive scenarios where homes sell for over list price. Granted that the list prices are down by 20% or more from their peak, the competition for homes in a certain price bracket (under $300K, especially) are stimulating a different kind of buying frenzy. I can't believe it myself that we're back to listings with offer dates!
Since you favor statistics and graphical information, go to http://www.DQNews.com as well as a view of the interest rates at http://mortgage-x.com/general/indexes/prime.asp
Then go to the Mortgage Center, answer questions that pertain to your situation.....http://loan.yahoo.com/m/mistakes.html
You'll have your answer.
Good luck, whatever you decide.