Home Buying in Fremont>Question Details

Lisa, Home Buyer in Fremont, CA

should we buy a low price house at union city or buy a house with good school district?

Asked by Lisa, Fremont, CA Wed Feb 16, 2011

I want to buy a house recently. We only have two people. We can afford a house with good school district but I am wondering if it worth it right now since we don't have kids. Will mission san jose rise more in the good time?

Help the community by answering this question:


Slava Derugin’s answer
Hi Lisa,

I completely agree with the other repondants. If you can afford it, DEFINITELY go for the house in the better school district! One day you may want to sell it, and you will want a large buyer pool... including those with children. Even if the buyers don't have children, they will likely be thinking about resale value for when it's THEIR time to sell.

Bay Area market trends tend to rise in the long term. For the short term, no one can know for sure. BUT, you can check out Mission San Jose's price movement here: http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Mission_San_Jose-Fremont/6…

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

~ Slava
Realtor, Short Sale Specialist
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Lisa, you have many good answers and I just want to add this, when buying a home for investment, the homes in union city do not typically increase in value at the same rate as homes in fremont. When buying a home for the school be aware that school scores change. For example washington high has had higher scores than American high for years and now american has higher scores than washington for the last two years. Irvington high which is second to mission san jose for the past 8 years or more used to be the high school nobody wanted....... Also keep in mimd that while the school scores can change depending on how the students (and parents) apply themselves, all the schools in fremont follow the same curriculum. Last but not least buy a home you will enjoy living in for 5 to 10 years......congratulations on deciding to become a home owner.....Dawn
Web Reference: http://DawnRivera4Homes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Dawn Rivera
Fremont, CA
Hi Lisa, realestate is always a good investment. For some people it is the most important investment they have. So yes I think it is a good idea to buy a home live in it a while and when you have equity to buy another by all means, buy another you can never go wrong owning land especially in california where statistically property has doubled in value every ten years..... Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions
Dawn 510-909-0373
Web Reference: http://DawnRivera4Homes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 18, 2011
@ Lisa:

"I am considering if the following is a good option. Buy a house first. In the future, (3-5 years), rent it out, and buy a second house. If it's a good option, which area should I buy for the first one?"

Regarding the plan to rent-and-then-buy in 3-5 years, I'm not so sure this would work out for you. There are equity requirements that must be met for the exited property in order to use the rental income for qualifying on a new loan/purchase. I believe this currently ranges from 20% to 30% equity in the property being departed. Financing underwriting guidelines continue to move in a credit-restricting direction.

Personally, I would take a conservative position until the market turmoil eases by purchasing in the MSJ. School performance is a primary decision factor for families with children, MSJ can provide relative stability. Plus, eventually, the Irvington BART Station will be built, allowing convenient access down to San Jose, Santa Clara, Oakland, and San Francisco job centers further adding to the demand/benefits of the area.

Best, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Hello Lisa,

I would like to know what your financial plan is? Are you planning to buy for investment or you want to a nice and comfort house to live in? There are different options to choose from depending on what your real financial goal is. Mission San Jose area has been a good area for family with kids going to school from K1- to K12. Also a college has emerged in the neighborhood makes the area to be more attractive for concerned buyers. Therefore, the value of the properties in that area is likely going to a positive trend rather than to the opposite. Whenever an area with good school system and quiet neighborhood like Mission San Jose will most likely increase the value over the time. For that reason, you can look around the Fremont area you can locate several good area besides MSJ. We have Northgate, Forrest Park , Weibel, or Irwington areas that offer great properties with decent prices for you to invest in. Debbie has made a good point about Union City. With lots of improvement for Bart transportation, it will be a good place to live in for easier commute to the Bay Area for many resident in UC area. That will drive the new buyers who works across the Bay to come in and settle in Union City.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Thanks a lot for all your opinions. I am considering if the following is a good option.
Buy a house first. In the future,(3-5 years),rent it out, and buy a second house.

If it's a good option, which area should I buy for the first one? Thanks again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Dear Lisa: It's totally your personal choice. And part of your reasoning should be - are you buying it for rental purpose, prmary residence, or long term capital appreciation? Like most other parts of the bay area, houses in Union City have gone lower since their peaks in 2007, averaging about 25-30% lower. With current interest rates at historical lows and prices have rebounded from the March 2009 lows, it may be good idea to buy in a nice area of Union City with good schools such as Pioneer Elementary or Delaine Eastern Elementary. Since you don't have children yet, the elementary schools should be the main focus on your house search radar because you're looking at least 12 years out. On the other hand, Mission San Jose area is the highly desirable area with excellent schools, and prices haven't declined as much as other areas. It's about 5-10% lower than the peak. So it definitely makes sense if you want to make sure your home value is safe and steadily increase over time. But in the good times such as 2003-2005, the rate of increase (about 20% in 2004) was not as high as that of Union City (as much as 50% increase in some parts of Union City in 2004), but then it didn't decline as much either. In other words, Mission San Jose area has low volatility while Union City may have high volatiliyt in prices. Hope this helps you making an informative decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Hello Lisa, I'm often asked about which city or neighborhood is best in the east bay. You mentioned Mission San Jose area and if you can afford a home in this area I do not belive you can go wrong. The Mission San Jose real estate market almost always out performes other areas of Fremont due to the schools. I recently sold a home in the mission area that I thought would be difficult due to its condition and location but it sold pretty quick. If you have any other questions check us out at LEGACY Real Estate & Associates located in the Mission San Jose area of Fremont (41111 Mission Blvd. Fremont Ca.).
Web Reference: http://www.TeamPadilla.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Hi Lisa, I agree with John and Troy. I grew up right next to Hopkins/Mission and have never left. When it came time to buy my home my wife and I bought right in the MSJ attendance area. I can affirm that it was one of the best real estate purchases we have ever made.

I really do not see an issue with parents/environments that drive their children to succeed; after all, the world is certainly not becoming less competitive. If I had children, I would rather have them academically challenged even if they were not perfect “Straight A” students - sometimes defeat teaches better than victory!

Best, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Keeping in mind the true, time-tested adage "location, locaiton, location" as primary factors in determining value of property....but won't these depend on the use one has for the property?

Whether or not you have, or plan to have kids, think of the marketability of your property if/when you decide to re-sell. Of course, good schools are always a primary consideration not only for parents but for people who are cognizant of the effect of good school districts.But with all the talk of re-districting, what is a good school may change over the years as well.

But there are other things that will come into play: affordability is a biggie. For example, Piedmont is much in demand, but property values there are in the million plus/minus range. Not too far away is Alameda, also good schools, but not quite as high priced. Then there is Castro Valley -- somewhere between Piedmont and Alameda in terms of cost, but with more house for the money in terms of living space and lot size.

Then there's the commute--- as we get greener, the need for shorter and more efficient commuting increases.

As for whehter Mission San Jose will rise more than say Union City or Fremont...who's to know? You can certainly take a look at all the maps., graphs, statistics and trends, and be as informed as any one else.

When it comes down to it --- what can you afford to buy? A long time ago, Life's Little Instruction Book said "Buy the best house you can afford". That seems like conventional wisdom and maybe, conventional financing, too :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Hi Lisa,
Congratulations on wanting to buy a home, it's a great time to buy.

Since the schools are very good in the Tri-City area, you might start with finding your price range. Then see what area and city will get you the type of home you are looking for in your price range. If the Mission area is in your price range it would be a good investment due to the fact that prices are typically very stable in better school areas. If you plan to have childern in the future, you would want to have your kid(s) go to good schools. Since there are many good / great schools throughout the Fremont area, you should have many choices.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
There is more to be taken into consideration than good schools when buying a house. Real estate prices for homes in areas with higher performing schools are higher than prices for houses in areas with schools that are measured at average or lower performance. For the same dollar amount you can a buy a lesser house in a good school attendance area like Mission San Jose in Fremont or buy a house that is newer, or bigger, or on a larger lot, or has other attractive features in an area with schools that are not rated as highly.

So, what are you looking for? Good schools…A house that is your dream house…A starter house from which you plan to advance to a grander house in few years…A good commute location…a combination of the foregoing?

And, what can you afford?
Buying a house is a big decision. I congratulate you on making the decision to buy. Now you need to make another big decision and that is – what are you looking for in a house?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Union City has good above average school. Mission High in Fremont is not healthy for "average performing" kids. It has too many kids with "tiger mom" style. They do study days and nights.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
From a strictly investment stand point, even if you're not planning on having children then I would recommend the house in the better school district. It is something you can highlight when and if you sell your home and will also help the property retain value better than a home in a less than desirable school district.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011

For most, if you can buy the home in a good school district, it will provide two-fold benefits. The benefits to your children, to be sure, but also in resale value. Much as you are seeing now, homes in good school districts cost more. While you may pay this now, the future buyer for that same home will need to do likewise if they also preferred a good school for their family.

Great question!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer