Is it possible to purchase a 1500 sq. ft.(min 3 bed, 2 Ba) home in Santa Clara County for less than $325K in a good neighborhood with good schools?

Asked by Asher Kilili, 95121 Thu Jan 5, 2012

I was recently qualified for $275K but I have $25K that I can put down bringing me to $300K. I would like to find a home ASAP( >2mos). I have been looking and have found a few homes on my own in my price range but not much, most are in the $350K-399K. Is it possible to offer less on these homes if they have been on the market long or should I find a fixer upper that needs a lot of work but is in a good neighborhood with great schools; is that even possible to find? What should I do and what are my options? Is it even possible to find a house with my specifications in my price range or am I up the creek without a paddle? Please advise, thanks!

***I don't wish to move outside of the Santa Clara County as my jobs are located in Palo Alto and San Jose, so I need to be close to these areas so that I can have a relatively short commute; should it be absolutely necessary to look outside of Santa Clara County, I would be open to San Mateo County, but only as a last resort****

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Shirley Cheng, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Aug 16, 2012
Hi Asher,

I know you posted this back in January, I hope you had luck and have found a home. However, if you are still looking then I hope you had time to save more money and able to get yourself into a conventional loan and gotten a higher loan. With that, you might be in a better place to make offers.
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Robert Lei, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Aug 13, 2012
You are going to have to compromise somewhere. Which is more important to you -- 1500 sq ft or good schools?
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Lang Lequang, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Aug 12, 2012
At this time, San Jose has very low low inventory and if you found a fixer upper in your desired location, your option is to try to apply for FHA 203K to help with the fixing cost. Depending on the type of fixer upper, sometimes you can live in the home while professionals are working on the house or even live at where you are while fixing the house. Some FHA lender that offer FHA 203K offers that option, and keep in mind that this type of loan takes time to be approved.
If you look at condo or town house, remember to add HOA, and PMI if you go for FHA even it adds to the loan amount.
Usually, it takes 4-5 months to close on foreclosures or short sales and with low inventory, the market value of the home will be higher and offering low there is a low chance that your offer is accepted even if the property is on the market for a while. Lender always go by the appraised value.
San Mateo County is not cheap either, have you consider East Bay? May be by winter time, there is more inventory in Santa Clara County.
Good luck,
Lang Lequang 408-313-1119
Certified Distressed Property Expert
NAR Short sale & Foreclosure Resources
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Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Mon Jan 9, 2012
Hi Asher

Yes, a town house is likely with $300K.

A home will be trite difficult.

Good luck.
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Andrea Wince…, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Fri Jan 6, 2012
I found a few single family homes in your price range but you might have to compromise with less square footage than 1500. Did the lender who qualified you explain the additional monthly payment for mortgage insurance? Also, I am assuming you are doing FHA financing which means that not all fixer uppers will qualify for that type of loan. Your situation is not impossible but will require more work on the part of the buyers agent you choose to represent you in your purchase. If you would like me to begin by emailing you a list of properties, please contact me through my Trulia profile. Kind regards.
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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Fri Jan 6, 2012
What do you consider GREAT schools? How long will you live in the home? Do you have children now? If so what grades need to be considered?

The Days on market can't be factored in as the prices could have dropped or the home could have come back on the market. They may be short sales or bank owned and other issues associated with them such as non permitted structures making financing next to impossible.

You may also want to talk to my lender about the possibility of a duplex where you live in one half and you rent out the other half to compensate for your mortgage. That might be a possibility.

All the best to you.
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Erica Glessi…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Jan 6, 2012
It's going to be difficult to find great schools and a great neighborhood at your price point. There is a pocket of homes that feed to OB Whaley elementary near AutoMall Parkway and 101 on the Silver Creek / Evergreen side. If you go to you can look at the crime in these areas and then see if it meets your expectations (if you are meaning less crime when you say great neighborhood!).

There is a corner of 95127 that feeds to Noble Elementary, Piedmont Hills High and Piedmont Middle, all relatively high performing schools over 800 API. This corner is off of Toyon between Penintencia and McKee. You can't easily get in at 325K but you can occasionally and it would need some work!

I believe at your price point you are going to need a fixer to get the schools and safety of neighborhood you are seeking, or open up to a condo or townhouse -- but then you have an HOA and this changes what you can afford downward.

Good luck!

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Ricky Ablaza, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Fri Jan 6, 2012
Take a look at this listing 2778 Scottsdale Drive (listing # 81200489). To check out the listing go to this website: ON the top left hand side where "Find A Home" is, click on "more options." IN the more options field, on the right hand side of the title "Find A Home"you will see a window where you can input the listing number above.
Let me know if that home is acceptable to you. When you have checked out this home, go to the tab "Market Leader." There you will find information about the neighborhood and the schools. Once you have gotten all that information email me ( or call me (408-316-0793) and let me know if that home is acceptable or not.
Once you have done all of the above, I will be able to tell you if you are up a creek without a paddle...or not.
By the name is Ricky. Talk to you later....
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Tina Lam, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Jan 5, 2012
Your would have better luck looking around Santa Clara than San Mateo where comparable homes are higher priced. It's possible to find something (3 bed, 1 bath) in your price range in the next month that offers ok neighborhoods with ok schools. If you have the time, like 6-10 months, it might be possible to find a fixer upper deal in your price range with great schools. However, if you're short on cash, I would not advise you to take on a major fixer upper. The trend going in your favor is that more listings are likely to come on the market at the end of this month.
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