Hello My husband and I have been renting a home in San Rafael for about 1 year and have been told the home is going on the market. We would love to

Asked by Aksmusic, San Rafael, CA Mon Mar 1, 2010

be able to buy a home of our own, but find the downpayment the biggest obstacle. We have ended up paying a lot for taxes every year b/c we do not own a home or have children. Our combined income is around $176,000, both with steady jobs. Credit scores around 720 and 745. What would be our options?

thank you

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Mary Kay and…, Agent, San Rafael, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010

If there is a way for you to figure out a way to buy, we would certainly suggest that you explore it!! You will get tax benefits as well as be eligible for a tax credit if you can get an offer accepted by April 30th. If you would like us to refer you to a mortgage broker that will tell you honestly whether you qualify for a loan, we have a very "down to earth" person that we can recommend.

We think that you should explore the possibility of buying. PLUS, is there a clause in your rental agreement regarding the purchase of the property by the tenant OR are you not interested inb the property that you are renting?

let us know if we can be of any further assistance!!
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Tristan Cela…, , Marin County, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
Speak with your mortgage broker, http://bit.ly/b1bTKt, determine how much you want to spend. Then decide where you want to live. Keep the geographic area as large as you're comfortable with so that you increase your prospective inventory, you'll want the best value. Don't be impetuous about buying, you may need to have an extra move in there to assure you know you're getting as nice a property as possible. It looks as though the market is continuing to work for you.

A useful tool for a cursory review of rentals, for sale, street views, air photos, street and terrain maps and more check out http://maps.google.com - a wondrous tool.

http://homebuying.about.com is an excellent reference all about real estate - bookmark it, you'll come back over and over.
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John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
I think that your best move is to align yourself with an experiences local Realtor who can help you find an qualified lender. With that working with you, you will be able to position yourself to buy a home. You should move quickly before the first time buyer credit expires. The $8,000 credit for which you may qualify is a great antidote for procrastination.

I know some great Realtors in Marin County. If you would like a referral to one or two of them, drop me a note.

John Juarez, REALTOR
The Medford Team
DRE# 01223788
Windermere Welcome Home
Direct: 510-673-0686
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Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
Dear Aksmusic:

From what you have described, you are now at the starting point of exploring the real estate market hear in Marin county. You have great income, steady jobs and wonderful credit scores. You probably should check with a mortgage broker and find out about your options. FHA loan requires a 3.5% downpayment, but you can ask for credit bacck to cover your closing costs. Wellfargo just came up with a program for buyers with great credit score and good income - they require 5% loan for 30 year conventional loan.

And believe or not, my nephew who works in DC told me just last night that one of his young colleagues got a loan for 0 % down. I asked him to double check and report back to me - that's the first I have heard recently and I sure would like to know about those options for my clients. .

In the mean time, you should be talking to a Realtor and find out about the market in the areas that you are interested in and/or find out from the Realtor where might be the best place for your family.

Your Realtor, of course, can recommend mortgage brokers to you.

I am not sure if you will be ready, but if you get into contract by 04/30 and close escrow by 06/30, you can still enjoy the up-to $8,000 credit back from the government (you can even claim that on your 2009 tax return).

Sometimes the situation helps us decide where / how we are to proceed in life, and this might be one of those for you.

I would love to be able to help you, so please do give me a call – you will not lose anything by start finding out your options. (BTW, there is a free MLS search on my site)

Sylvia Barry, MAS, ePRO
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
(415) 717-0293
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David Corbin, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010

Now that you have had three great answers to your question I would suggest that you contact Gina Kemsley at Terra Mortgage Banking in Greenbrae. Gina specializes in FHA loans and is very pleasant to work with. I highly recommend her. Gina can be reached at 415-464-3144. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Dave Corbin, Coldwell Banker
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Steve Ragghi…, Agent, San Rafael, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010

As Anna mentioned below, FHA's loans give you the ability to put less down. There is the first time buyer's tax credit in effect too. I would be happy to talk with you further about these topics. Feel free to call me anytime!

Your income and credit should not be an issue.

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Greg Corvi, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
Anna's suggestion regarding an FHA loan is a good option. However, not all homes are FHA approved so your selection will be limited. Your income is more than substantial to purchase in the San Rafael area. Depending on whether a condominium will work for you or the size of a detached home and in what area. Your first step is to get a loan approval either from where you bank or possibly a mortgage broker from a trusted referral source or a Real Estate agent who you choose to work with. I have a couple names of lenders if you like. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions, I live in Marin county and have over 9 years experience. Good luck, it's a great time to be a buyer!
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Mar 1, 2010
Have you considered an FHA loan--it requires a minimum credit score of 620 and 3.5% down--if you haven't done so yet, do visit with any qualified loan officer(s) and explore all your credit options--he/she will be your best source of advice.
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