My lease will be up on the 1st of May. When is the best time for me to start looking for a home as a first?

Asked by Kyle, 94521 Sun Jan 11, 2009

time home buyer?

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Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Thu Apr 2, 2009
Hi Kyle,
I suggest you start your search now. I generally tell my clients to allow about 3 months from when you begin your search to the actual close of escrow.
Good luck to you!
Suzanne Looker
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Terry Osburn, Agent, Pleasant Hill, CA
Thu Apr 2, 2009
Hi Kyle, So that you are not in a pinch, check with your present landlord to see if you can do month to month.
Due to the variances of time associated with short sales, bank owned and/or non distressed homes you want the peace of mind you can look freely and not be rushed.

Further , until I know all contingencies are removed and your loan officer gives me confidence that your loan will fund successfully and close I counsel my clients to not give notice until all contingencies have been removed.
I have to tell you there has been times when we actually waited until the loan was funded.

I say that due to the fact the lenders sometimes will change their requirements that could affect your funding and/or could delay your closing by a few weeks .
I do not want to be a naysayer but we have had clients who lost their jobs on the day of closing and/or funding and could not proceed with the sale.

There is a lot at stake here for you. To relieve some of that pressure would be to NOT back yourself in a corner to where you have to move by a certain time and compromise your decision process on choosing a home.

I am confident you will do well in locating and procuring a home.

If you have not chosen a Realtor to represent you please give me a call and /or email me.
I assist buyers in regular housing, condos, townhomes, bank owned, and short sales.
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Barbara Wils…, Agent, Danville, CA
Fri Mar 6, 2009
Kyle, it takes about 21-30 days for ytour lender to do what they need to do, and however long you think it will take for you to find the right house - negotiations can take 1 - 7 days, generally, depending upon how many counter offers you and they do. So, at least 35 days before you want to move, you need to make an offer. How long do you think it will take to find a home? In some of my relocations, I have only had 3-5 days to find a home. So, you need to start looking at least 35-40 days before you want to move. Call me when you are ready to go!
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Johnny Huang,…, Agent, Walnut Creek, CA
Thu Mar 5, 2009

Have you started to get familiar with the local area and where you want to live? You do know about the tax credit of $8000 if you haven't owned a home in the past 3 years as well as California's $10,000 tax credit for new home purchases (never been lived in homes). That's a total of $18,000 potentially.

Start digging and get with a real estate pro... :-)
Good Luck!
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Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Hi Kyle, please do yourself a huge favor and align with a professional Realtor. Since the Seller pays the commission to the Buyer's Agent there really is no reason not to get professional guidance when purchasing a home.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t be in any rush to buy right now. Now’s a great time to find a Realtor to work with and have them available to answer all your questions and help you get Pre-Approved (not pre-qualified, see dif here: ).

Trulia is a fantastic source for getting fundamental questions answered and identifying agents with “professional depth.” However, Trulia's format is not the best source for advice when it comes time to put your hard-earned money on the table. For Realtors to meaningfully provide advice we need specific details about the target property sought and the true timeline for purchasing.

I think you will find that when May 1st rolls around it will still makes sense for you to continue to lease. Right now, I'm suggesting that my buyers hold their cash at least until the end of Q109 and then reassess the direction of the economy. I don’t see anything yet that indicates Q2 will be better. The resulting reduction in jobs will lead to less demand for purchase housing (and will also lead to more distressed supply).

While the predominate amount of foreclosures tied to “subprime” loan products has passed, we're not in the clear. This chart shows scheduled reset loan volumes for different loan categories:

As the chart shows, Subprime loans have pretty much run their course; however, Option/Alt-A/Unsecuritized ARMs are the next phase to provide an unstablizing affect. We have already taken on some of the projected Option ARM pain. This is because Option ARMs have valuation based "triggers" that can cause resetting to occur sooner than originally planned (due to property devaluation and the owner's payment selection). The following chart shows how the resetting of these loans has shifted and I have also provided an explanation.

Local net jobs growth rate (local jobs growth rate – local unemployment rate) is THE early predictor for housing recovery in any area. The larger this number, the greater the "velocity" of the recovery. With jobs creation comes a heightened demand for housing, allowing prices to stabilize. Eventually, housing appreciation will develop. My sincere hope is housing appreciation occurs well before 2011 and with enough zest to allow some homeowners to refinance into more affordable loans prior to the currently projected reset schedule.

In the News…
There’s been quite a bit of attention concerning the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) approved by Congress. That certainly is a large amount of money; however, what most people do not realize is that the “maximum commitment” of programs targeting an economic recovery currently amounts to 8.5 trillion!

Adding to the above, President-elect Obama will most likely fund public infrastructure projects to immediately help create jobs and spur local economies; however, the localities that will receive this funding is unidentified at the moment.

When it comes to timing a purchase, it important to work with a licensed Realtor who has their eye on the economy and their finger on the specific area you are thinking of purchasing in. Once you are Pre-Approved, have your Realtor set up a targeted and specific automated MLS search agent for you. This way, when any property that meets your search criteria comes active on the MLS both you and your agent will automatically be notified. You will also be able to see price changes as the Listing Agent makes them. Take the time now to find a professional you would like to work with, you won’t be disappointed that you did.

Best Regards, Steve
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Dave Sutton, Agent, Portland, OR
Sun Jan 11, 2009
The previous answers are all good, but let me add two thoughts. 1) How familiar are you with what's for sale at what price today in Concord? 2) How many homes will you want to see before you're confident in your decision to write an offer on one? Some buyers can be comfortable deciding after seeing 4-5. I am working with one buyer who has now seen 41 homes and has written one offer (on a short sale - no answer after 73 days, just to underscore what others said about time frames).

So first get a loan application (or two) in and see what price home you can buy for a payment you're comfortable with. Then go see 5-6 homes in different price ranges and neighborhoods. It'll make you a much better buyer whenever you decide to start the process.

Finally, consider this scenario. Let's guess today you're paying $1,500/month rent. Suppose you do as I've suggested and you decide one we preview is just the absolutely perfect house for you and $10,000 below market. If you had to throw away three months rent to do the deal "today", you're still $5,500 ahead
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Tony Abad, Agent, El Cajon, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Starting early gets you a fell for what is out there and also helps you decide what it is exactly that you would like for your first home. Also, it gets you time to set up the loan. Let me know if I can help.

Read my profile
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Bernard Gibb…, Agent, Danville, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Hello Kyle:

You really should be looking closely at the market now, just to start gettinga a meaningful idea of what is good vaue and what isn't.. A good approach is to sign up for email alerts on the type of home you want to buy. If you go to me web site at you will see a "San Ramon Valley Homes For Sale By Email" link where you can sign up.

The next think is to make sure you appreciate the difference between "Normal" sales, Short Sales and Foreclosure Sales (Bank Owned / REO Homes). Short Sales can be very frustrating and take forever to come together - if they ever do! REOs offer some of the best value today but there can be some frustration there and you may not get a home in tip-top condition. You certainly won't get much in the way of Disclosures but you may get a good bargain.

The normal time period from having your offer accepted used to be 30 days on regular sales, a little longer for bank owned homes. Recently, many lenders are taking longer to process loan aapplications and I would advise allowing 40-45 days for a regular sale or 45-60 days for a bank owned home, depending on the bank. It is very possible to do it in less but it is far less stressful if you build in a buffer.

Please contact me if I can be of any help.

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, Realtor, e-PRO Certified Internet Specialist
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585
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Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Hi Kyle,
It's a perfect time to start your search, since it will take a while to get preapproved and find the right one for you. It's always better to feel relaxed about your search, than to feel rushed into finding a home. A realtor can help you decide what criteria is best for you and to take you to see many homes to get an idea of the types of choices you will have. It's really a process that is very exciting and should be as stress free as possible. Naturally any one of us is available to meet with you and to help assist you in your adventure.
Suzanne Looker
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Vickie Nagy, , San Ramon, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Hello Kyle,

An expectation of a 1-4 month timeline to close is correct…depending on the type of transaction. A traditional sale generally is a 30-day close. A bank owned property (foreclosure) in generally a 30-day close. Builders are generally 30 days to close unless the unit is not yet complete. A short sale generally takes 90 to 150 days to close. You really should begin to understand the differences between types of transactions. Foreclosures have limited disclosures. Short sales are inconsistent , but we could discuss the broad parameters based on past epxerience. I have some information printed out that we could discuss and then take home with you.

Please contact me directly to request my business portfolio to review my references, testimonials and how I work. I'd also like to send you a first time home-buyer's brochure and a flyer about the home buying process.

Kindest Regards,
Vickie Nagy
Realtor® - ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SRES
(925) 407-7987 cell
Empire Realty Associates, 380 Diablo Rd, Danville, CA 94526
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