Need help deciding whether to buy a condo or rent.

Asked by Maria Nazari, San Jose, CA Thu Feb 27, 2014

I'm thinking about possibly buying a condo for myself, but I'm not sure if I am the perfect candidate right now. What should I expect to put down for a down payment of a condo in san jose. I want to live as close to SJSU as possible.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Juliana Lee…, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Sun Mar 23, 2014
If you are likely to move a considerable distance away in the next four years or so and want to sell your home, you would probably be better off renting than buying. If you will own the home for five years or more, buying would probably be better financially.

You could probably talk with a lender at your bank and get a good idea of your mortgage options. In general often a higher down payment can get you a lower interest rate but there are many things to consider.

San Jose home values

Juliana Lee
Top 3 agent for 3 years nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
Web Reference:
0 votes
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
You have to sit down with a lender and figure out which loans you will be eligible for. I would say that 20% down seems to be the rule of thumb.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Lee Jones, , San Jose, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
You should go FHA .. put down 3.5 % of the purchase price plus another 3,000 for closing fees.
Closer to the School the better your return but usually cost more.
0 votes
Lee Jones, , San Jose, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
Hi Maria,
Hard to find a good deal on a rental. Because most apartments are 98 % occupied.
So Landlord can charge the maximum.
I dont usually like Condo's .. but your payments wont go higher and you get the tax write offs
If you can find a small house .... that would give the best return on your money.

I am a Real Estate Broker ... good luck
0 votes
Bill Mccord, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
Hello Maria.
My simple answer is buy if you can. If you can't then find out what you need to do to get qualified to do so.
To help you decide you may wish to come to a free Home Buyers seminar at the Campbell Community Center this Saturday morning from 10 to 12. Locations is 1 West Campbell Ave, Campbell 95008.
You will learn about the multiple 1st time buyer programs available and get a full appreciation of the buying process.
0 votes
, ,
Thu Feb 27, 2014
Hello Maria,

First, here are the details from a lending perspective:

There are lending options with a 3.5% down payment, and with a 5% down payment. The first option is an FHA loan, and allows for lower credit scores as well.

The second option is conventional financing, and your credit scores need to be above 680.

How is your credit? What does your budget allow for a payment amount?

There are many other items to consider, but this is a very good starting point.

I am happy to talk with you in detail if you have the time.


Eric O. Nelson, III
Sr. Mortgage Planner
SVC Funding
NMLS # 120412
CA BRE # 01258488
0 votes
Mario Pinedo,…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014

I am a Realtor and Lender who grew up in San Jose and practiced there for 22+ years. Let's have a frank conversation about what you should do. Call me cell when you have a chance.

Mario Pinedo, CCIM
Real Estate Broker & Lender
Keller Williams & CS Financial
BRE Broker 01118365
NMLS 1029116
Cell 415-269-6249
Twitter @mariopinedo
Web Reference:  http://www.HomeLoans.LA
0 votes
Guru Toor, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
Hi Maria,
Not a big dilemma. I have worked with a whole lot of first time home buyers, buying condos, town homes and single family homes. Most start with the same question as you have.
Renting - affords you tremendous flexibility, to move and relocate at will. But, all the rent you pay to your landlord, you have not tax savings by way of tax discounts, there is no element of principal return that adds to your equity, and of course there is no appreciation. There is a huge loss in terms of lost unearned immediate returns, equity build up over the years. The loss is not proportionate to the rent paid, the loss is usually higher.
Buying - you strike roots, become a part of a community, a neighborhood, there is a sense of belonging, there is a huge sense of pride for your family, spouse and kids.
If you have a good employment history, a good credit report, and a reasonable down payment. There is no reason for you not to buy. The benefits of buying outweigh those of renting. it is more than financials. You begin to build your equity. Credit reports can be taken care of unless they are way down. Down payments, you could have even as little as 3.5 %, or 5 % or 10 %.
I could quantify the benefits, financial and not financial. Call me at (408) 781-0976 (Mobile) or
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
We can't answer that for you. Although we all believe buying is better than renting there is just too many variables that we don't know about in order to advise you.

I suggest you look at a buy vs rent scenario. You put in your rent, and factors for purchasing. You can use a 3% appreciation the purchase and 4.5% interest to get an idea.

Also, talk with my lender, he will run numbers for you based on your income, debt, credit, etc and help you to understand what loan program will be available to you. Also, if you have a trusted financial planner they too can help.

As for the actual real estate process once you have decided to go forward then you have a consultation with a Realtor, such as myself, then go from there.
0 votes
, ,
Thu Feb 27, 2014

It really depends on your overall situation, income, credit, assets, etc. You may be eligible for one of the down payment assistance programs.

Please feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss your options.

Best regards,

Elva A. Wormley
Mortgage Consultant
Office (408) 615-8500
C2 Financial Corporation
2845 Moorpark Avenue, Suite 209
San Jose, CA 95128
NMLS #331981 / BRE #01274093
0 votes
, ,
Thu Feb 27, 2014
If you can afford to buy you should. And in terms of downpayment, you can go as low as 0% down with some products. Email me if you need anything further.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079
0 votes
Keith Boswor…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
First thing you need to do is get approved. This way you can find out how much you qualify for. You will also find out the monthly payment that is comfortable for you. That's the most important thing. After that is done, I can show you the properties that fit your criteria. Being a Realtor and a broker, I can get you pre-approved for a No Cost Home Loan and give you up to $5000 credit towards your closing cost. Send me an email with you goals and I will contact you as soon as possible. My email address is

Warm Regards,

Keith Bosworth
Arise Realty
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
Hi Maria,

Tough decision and one folks deal with every day. It might be a good idea to meet with a local mortgage broker in San Jose. Go through the pre-approval process. This will give you a good idea about what you need to do to buy...then you can compare the numbers to renting...

Having this additional information will assist you in making your decision,

Take care,
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more