There are about six homes that meet your search criteria in the Arden Fair area - most of them in the 95815 zip code (you see nobody searches 95815 for Arden Fair, but there is a tiny pocket of homes behind Arden Fair Mall in that Zip code in a subdivision known as Swanston Estates.) Then there are another couple of homes that are in your price range in the 95841 zip code that borders Carmichael That area is known as Cameron Ranch.
This approach might solve the problem of not finding want you need t in the "normal" zip codes of 95864 for Arden and 95608 for Carmichael. Jim and I literally think outside of the box to find houses to fit a buyers needs.
How about something in between?
For your own piece of mind, I wouldn't just beeline over to any single name a Realtor gives to you. Speak to more than one, and compare what each of them is offering. There are currently a number of loan products available to buyers, and what's right for one buyer may not be what's right for others. A good loan officer will match you up with the loan that's ideal for your circumstances. All loan officers are required by law to provide you with a "Good Faith Estimate", a common form that will actually allow you to compare apples to apples among your loan options. It makes choosing the best deal for you a lot easier.
Once you have your financing in line, you and your Realtor can develop a plan of attack and be ready to see all the properties that meet your personal and financial criteria. Once you find a home in which you're interested, you'll have a prequalification letter from your lender that your Realtor can submit with your offer. From that point on, it's up to the strength of your offer, the skill of your agent, and, sometimes, a little bit of luck thrown in. But it's a great time to buy right now--you're starting the game already in a good position.
I wish you all the best,
Congrats on making the decision to purchase your first home - this is a very exciting time! There are many programs that you might be able to leverage to purchase a home. Some are income and household size based, while others are not. Some programs are only compatible with certain types of loans. Are you working with a loan officer yet? I highly recommend Marlena Olson with the Vitek Mortgage Group at 916-486-6900. She can assist you to find out which programs you qualify for.
As Elizabeth stated, a 3/2 for $160k in the areas you indicated interest you will be very hard to come by. Find an agent you trust who can assist you to navigate through this process.
The first thing that any home buyer should do is contact a Realtor who specializes in your local market. This is especially imperative for any first time home buyers. You will be pleasantly surprised how much easier your outlook on buying a home will be. A Realtor will be able to create a buyer plan that meets your particular needs along with setting you up with a reputable lender to find out what kind of payment is best for you. It is all small steps from there all the way to closing. Good Luck!
First, speak to a loan officer. You will need to be pre-approved to make a competitve offer on bank owned homes or even homes listed for sale by the owner. I have a great loan officer who I work with continually because of his personal service. Call Eli at Custom Loans at (916) 487-8393. If you are patient, you will find the perfect home for you. I would interview the agent you want to work with. See if they are listening to you and your needs. Then I would have the agent you choose set you up with daily emails that meet your criteria. See what is available and happy searching. Your new home is waiting for you.
Before you waste any time with a pushy real estate agent, 1st thing to do is to contact a mortgage broker and find out how much money you can borrow.
Then ask your friends or coworkers who they used when they bought a home.
the process is not that difficult