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Home Buying in East Palo Alto : Real Estate Advice

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  • Local Info3
  • Home Buying9
  • Home Selling0
  • Market Conditions3

Activity 9
Fri Mar 11, 2016
Eplyomail asked:
If I own a condo in East Palo Alto and want to rent it out, do I need to register it with the city under their rent control rules or am I free to list the condo and rent it?
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Tue Sep 16, 2014
Email me the address you are talking about. I would be more than happy to help you.

I do not check replies, so if you have a comment or question email me here:

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Sun Sep 15, 2013 answered:
I'm looking for a house on Illinois st in palo alto do you have some listing
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Sat Dec 15, 2012
ThePrietohomes answered:
I hear that...I have a Commercial Listing on University Avenue- I try to show a home down the street and I had not answer.
In my listing I never advertise an open House since this is a Commercial Listing it require that buyers know the investment opportunity here.
This home-office is 2 years old and is highly recommend for Dental or medical office.
It has tree car garages on the back.... Listing Price is $600K now.
If you have any buyers/investors for this commercial place let me know.
Thank you,

Maria De Prieto
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Sat Oct 27, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
Hi Bay_area_II

Realtors are prohibited from steering to or from. is one resource for you. What you will find are prices are directly affected by desirability. Drive around the areas at different times of day, night, weekends and get a feel for the neighborhood and whether it fits with what you are looking for.

The beauty of where we live is that our county is diverse.

All the best to you in your search of a place to call home.
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Sat Oct 27, 2012
Grace Hanamoto answered:

Unfortunately, none of here can provide you with an accurate answer on this question since a great deal depends on your credit history, FICO score, debt ratio and income. We can give you "general costs" but to really determine how much this will cost you, please contact a qualified FHA mortgage specialist for assistance.

FHA requires all homeowners to have a down payment equal to at least 3.5% of the sale price of the home. So, for example, at $250,000, you'd be required to have a down payment of at least $8,750. However, that's not the only amount that you'll need to purchase a home.

Since East Palo Alto is located in San Mateo County, as the buyer, you will also be required to pay for:

1. Title Charges for you as the buyer, and a second title policy for your mortgage company
2. Escrow Fees
3. Recording Costs
4. Inspections (Home Inspection and Termite Inspection)
5. 1/2 of the City Transfer Tax
6. Insurance for the home
7. Property Taxes from the date you take possession
8. Costs related to loan origination fees, points and charges

Title and insurance fees vary based on the company that is being used and the amount of insurance required by the mortgage company. Documentary and notary charges are about $150 per transaction. Inspections for a smaller home can range from $500-700. The insurance cost will vary, but plan on about $800 per year for a fire and liability policy. Loan fees will vary based on your credit history. The better your credit score, the less fees you'll incur, but, again, the only way to determine the cost is to talk with a qualified mortgage broker for assistance.

On the average, however, you're looking at another $6000-8000 in loan and closing costs, so you'll need as much as $16000 to purchase a home worth $250,000 in East Palo Alto.

Again, before you do anything, talk with a mortgage broker or FHA loan representative who can review your financials, tax returns and your credit history and give you the best and most accurate estimate of the money you'll need to purchase a home.

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
Tel (408) 426-1616
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Sat Oct 27, 2012
Hassan Sabbagh answered:
You need to read your contract and see a real estate attorney. You could call Santa Clara Association of Realtors and get some information regarding real estate attorneys who regularly have some education classes for Realtors. ... more
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Tue Dec 14, 2010
Raymond Garcia answered:
Hi Zrick,

Not knowing anything of your particulars, Let me assume that you do not owe anything for your land, if you build a "stick built" home VS. a Modular home.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the standard house, built on site, mostly by hand, from basic materials. Called "stick built" to differentiate it from other building methods, this is the default housing that everyone is familiar with. Once emplaced upon that property, there is no real way of getting it off the property intact, and therefore it is appurtenant to the land. This might come as a shock to people who concentrate on the house, but when you buy a property, you are buying the land upon which it sits - the lot - and the structure comes along because it is appurtenant - attached and cannot be moved off easily. It is this type of property which has been at the forefront of liberalization of lenders loan policies, precisely because it is both universally desirable and non-portable. That land is defined by its boundaries. It isn't going anywhere. The structure isn't going anywhere that the land isn't, because in order to remove it, you pretty much have to destroy it. It's built on a several ton concrete foundation, which, if you nonetheless manage to pick it up, is still overwhelmingly likely to crack if not disintegrate, not to mention ripping out plumbing, electrical, and other connections.

Now because the land isn't movable and the structure isn't either, lenders have gotten comfortable that you're not going anywhere with that structure. Because the combination is so universally desired among consumers of housing, they have gotten comfortable with giving loans for almost the full purchase cost of the property (and I will bet you money 100% financing will be available again on some terms within 5 years), knowing that it takes a special set of circumstances for them to take a loss on the property, and they can charge higher interest rates in order to insure against that. (I am using insure in the statistical, law of large numbers sense that is the essence of insurance.)

The next step away is manufactured housing on land owned by the home owner. Now technically speaking, modular housing is a subset of manufactured housing, but when most lenders are talking about manufactured housing, they are talking about homes built at the factory in entire sections, and assembled with only a few total joins at the home site. True manufactured housing is portable, where modular really is not. If you're in Idaho and decide to move that house to your property in Georgia, it's doable.

Now because it is portable, as you might guess from things I've said here about the prevalence of attempted scams that lenders have had issues with people dragging them off. You'd be right. Lenders file foreclosure papers on the land, and the homeowner metaphorically backs up the pick-up truck and takes that residence somewhere else, leaving the lenders with a piece of land and no residence. Because there is no longer a residence on it, it's not worth anything like what it was when there was a residence on it. Lenders have lost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars on individual properties around here. You get burned enough times, you start getting wise. Those real estate lenders who will lend on manufactured homes require a laundry list of conditions, and even if they are all met, they won't loan 100 percent of the value, or anything like it, and there will be an additional charge of at least one full point of cost on their regular loan quotes. Cash out loans are typically limited to sixty-five percent of value, making it hard to tap equity. Furthermore, due to accounting standards and depreciation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made a rule that manufactured homes were limited to twenty year loans, which drastically limits not only the type of loans available to their owners, but also has the effect of restricting what they can afford to borrow, because the payments principal has to be paid back over a shorter period, and the difference between a twenty and thirty year repayment is much greater than the difference between thirty and forty.

Lest anyone think that this is in any way shape or form due to inferior construction, it is not. Because these buildings are manufactured on assembly lines which are largely robotic, there are many fewer problems with things like forgetting to nail at appropriate intervals, workers getting distracted, not getting corners square, and all those sorts of problems. I'd bet that a manufactured dwelling is probably of superior construction to a site built dwelling, all other things being equal. It is purely lender policy, as influenced by the history of their experiences with these kinds of properties, which is driving these differences.

All that being said, don't rule this option out as i myself am very happywith it. AND, NO, My house does not look like a MOBILE HOME!

Ray Garcia
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Sat Nov 13, 2010
Arn Cenedella answered:

Prices have increased in East Palo Alto over the past year but still offer good investment opportunities.
If you can find a house under $200,000, it will need more than "some fixing". It will require a major remodel.
You can find houses in the $225,000 to $250,000 range that could be rentable with "some fixing".
I recently sold a fixed up 2/1 to an investor client for $265,000 and I have rented it for $1,795.
I just sold a "fix and flip" for a client. Purchased at $255,000 and sold for $309,000.
The profit margin on the fix and flips have gotten smaller over the past year so I think the "buy, hold, rent" approach is a good one.
At one point average price in East Palo Alto was over $600,000. Current average price is about $300,000.
So even if prices do not return to the peak (which I believe they won't) they are still good investments.
Let me know how I can help.
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