For a family with small children looking for a family friendly place to call home,

Asked by Caroline, Simi Valley, CA Sun Jan 18, 2009

what would be a better move, to buy a (cosmetic)fixer upper 2 bdr, 1 bath SFR in irvine for $385,000 or newer 3bdr, 3bath townhome/condo in Tustin for 344,000? We're planninmg to live in OC for the next 5-8 years.

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Harrison K.…, Agent, Irvine, CA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Caroline ... I agree with another person here it's best to try and buy the low end home in the best neighborhood. That way your home will benefit by the way other nice homes in the neighborhood are caref for.

Best wishes on your search to find and buy a home for family with small children and friendly place to live.

Harrison K. Long, Coldwell Banker Previews.
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Karen Parsons…, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Tue Jan 20, 2009
Hi Caroline,

Jacqueline below has some great points....and I completely agree with planning to buy a home with at least 2 bathrooms, or adding one.

As far as cash to fix things up.....Your price range would allow you to use FHA financing which only requires a 3.5% down payment, they also have a FHA 203 loan which gives you the ability to finance some of the rehab as well.

Dollar for dollar, you will always make more money on a single family home than a condo and the taxes will be less since older homes in Tustin won't have Mello Roos or association dues.

If you don't have a lender you like...I have a great one who can help you with your FHA options..let me know!

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Jacqueline W…, Agent, Irvine, CA
Sun Jan 18, 2009
Generally, it's best to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. However, in this market that might be difficult unless you have good cash reserves because lenders are not being as flexible as they used to be. If you are thinking about resale, you might want to consider something with more than 1 bathroom....most people like to have a minimum of 1.5 to 2. Have you considered Lake Forest and/or Mission Viejo....both great family oriented cities with more choices in the range you are looking.

Let me know if you need help, I can set you up on a web-based service that will enable you to search the mls just like I do. It will also enable you to look at market activity in specific neighborhoods, map open houses and schedule appointments.
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