Rai, Home Buyer in Sunnyvale, CA

My husband and I are considering buying a SFH in Downtown San Jose [1st& Hedding] But we are very confused

Asked by Rai, Sunnyvale, CA Tue Mar 25, 2008

about the area in terms of safety and future potential, if we want to sell it in 3-4yrs. We have driven around the neighborhood and it looks like houses around that end of 2nd, 3rd and Burton St are very well maintained and beautiful. We don't have kids, so school dist is not a main concern unless it would create problems when we are trying to sell the property in the future. However, since its a 2bed home and the downtown location would probably mean we will be targeting a small family when we eventually sell. Please advice. Thanks a tonne!!

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David Blockhus’ answer

Don't buy in downtown San Jose. Your competition for the sale of this home in four years will be the thousands of condos that are currently being built. As far as the downtown development, I worked at San Jose State for several years in the late 1980's and looked at buying in downtown because the downtown was going to be a destination place. That was 20 years ago and downtown san jose still isn't a destination place. I would look to other areas that have the lifestyle that you want (campbell, west san jose, mountain view etc.)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
Lisa loves her neighborhood, that's fine for her. 1st and Hedding is absolutely not a desired place to live in, it's noisy, busy and unsafe, also, I personally don't consider that as part of downtown, not even Japantown (Please enlighten me if you see any Japanese living in Hedding and 1st st).
If you really have to buy there, try 5/6/7th, Hedding or Taylor, quieter and a little bit better neighborhood, but still, not recommend you to buy there now.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 24, 2008

The 1st/Hedding area is in the Japantown neighborhood of downtown San Jose. It's a lovely neighborhood with a lot of wonderful folks living near by and very active neighborhood associations in Japantown, the Hensley Historic District and Vendome.

There are a lot of real estate agents who will tell you that buying in downtown San Jose is a mistake, they are wrong. Many of us had to convince our agents to show us places downtown and those of us who were successful at this have very happily moved downtown. There are a lot of young families here and very active neighborhood associations which provide a lot of resources for activities, social networking and information about the area.

That area is lovely and if you find something there in your price range go for it. You are in walking distance to Japantown and light rail is a hop to the downtown center - biking is always an option as well. There is a lot to do with theatre, sporting events, concerts, live music, opera, movies and many fabulous restaurants.

You will not regret moving downtown, those of us who have adore our community.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 24, 2008

One question....Have you tried to sell your downtown home and how successful were you or any friends that you know who tried to sell? Also...How successful will you be in selling your home when all the highrise condos are built out (and remain 60% sold)?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 24, 2008
1st st. is too close to the airplane flght path so I wouldn't buy there.

I love downtwn San Jose and I believe that it's up and coming If you can get a SFH in the 400's I dont think prices will go much lower than that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 23, 2008
Gosh, I wouldn't! I'm a bitter would-be home buyer that despite a salary that's double the county median can't afford a 3/2 that will not draw huge guffaws from my the people I left behind in the midwest (i.e. You paid WHAT for THAT?) I would just rent until you start that family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
Location, location, location. As you know, a major factor when purchasing a home or selling is the school district. Most of the downtown area is located in the San Jose School District; I suggest you look up the school ranking. If schools are not important, you can purchase a home at an attractive price at this time period. With the tax benefits of owning a home and it being a buyers market you can't go wrong. Work with a Realtor who knows the area. Look at lots of houses in the market; I am sure you will be able to find a beautiful home at an excellent price. The perfect time is now, good luck....don't wait.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
I hope you have an intelligent agent who you can trust to bounce these concerns off of!!!

I could see the house being attractive to an investor in future years for rental income... but who knows? But I do agree that school scores (sadly) do affect the values (read:demand) of homes in a given area. Better schools is a better indicator of future resale value...

Make sure to exhaust all your other options, and put your wants and needs list in order so you don't end up with Buyer's Remorse. If you are this apprehensive about it, then maybe it's not the right home for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
Personally I think it's best to invest in a house in a good school district.When you sell your house you will have a larger pool of buyers.It's true that you will have to live in the house for at least 5 years if you want to see any returns.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008

If your holding period is only 4 years, now is not the time to buy. Any honest Realtorâ„¢ would tell you the same thing. Your equity would be better off in a high yield CD or demand account.

In an environment marked by falling prices, tight credit, soaring foreclosures and declining employment you’re better of renting. Every economic indicator and RE market index is pointing towards continued weakness in the housing sector.

Owning is better if you plan on staying long enough to ride out this storm. 4 years isn’t going to do it.

Don’t be swayed by emotional arguments like “renting is like throwing money away” or “buying is always better then renting.” These are true only when the market is going up and/or you can sit on your purchase for 10+ years.

Google “rent-buy decision.”

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Thanks for the input Caroline.We will be hanging on to the house for atleast 4yrs.We would love to own in a good school dist but price is a major constraint.The house in downtown was first listed at late 600's and rt now the price is in 400's.Its been on the market for more than 5 months now.So we figure its a good deal.
But our first priority is a good neighborhood and good resale value. We are considering this property because we've been told downtown is a up & coming area due to the Downtown Development project. Please let me know what you think.
Cheryl, its a 2bed/2bath deal with 2 garage spaces and yes,price is constraint but location is more imp. Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Raj, two bedroom homes are more difficult to sell, especially if they only have 1 bathroom. Are you looking only at price?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Hi Rai,

Buying in downtown San Jose is definitely more of a risky investment. One of the best ways to hedge against a volatile market is to buy in a good school district, even if you don't have children. However, the area that you are looking into is a very nice area with easy access to freeways and shopping. The best advice we can give you is to have your agent show you the property's history and the comparable sales for the neighborhood in the last three months. If the house is priced right and you are not planning on flipping this property, are in it for the long haul, you should be fine.

Take care,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
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