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Rent vs Buy in Marin County : Real Estate Advice

  • All68
  • Local Info13
  • Home Buying27
  • Home Selling3
  • Market Conditions2

Activity 6
Mon Jan 30, 2017
Meena Gujral answered:
Hello Janet,

Yes, you can search multiple locations at once. I would suggest that you find a good Realtor in your area and tell them what you are looking for; price and criteria. Let the agent set up the search from the local MLS and you can get properties as they come on the market

Meena Gujral
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Mon Jan 30, 2017
Hello Janet, sorry that no one answered you quickly. Is Fairfax the only city of interest or are you considering any other cities? It may not be easy to find many choices to consider.

The rentals in Fairfax start from $1,750 for 1bd 1ba and from $2,050 for 2bd 1ba apartment and they don't mention pet policies. The inventory is quite low. You should check with the local rental management companies.

The purchase in Fairfield start from 775k for 2bd 1ba single family home as the inventory is quite low currently.

You should study RENT vs BUY options as you may qualify to buy and pay less than rent in many local cities. You may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent.

Beware of the many rental scams out there these days on all sites. The scams are on all of the rental listing sites except one that us agents/broker use such as mls, multiple listing service.

You should not give anyone any funds or personal information without confirming with a licensed agent/broker or management company to find out whom you should be dealing with and the status of any address of interest.

If you decide you want to buy you will need to be pre-approved to be able to meet an agent to view and submit offers on any homes of your choice. You will need to gather some documentation for each applicant.

Your qualifications will be determined by your credit profile, debt to income ratios, fico scores, loan program and how much you want to invest into the down payment and closing costs. Your fico scores can be raised within 3-4 days in most cases to qualify for programs, rates and terms as necessary.

You could consider a down payment assistance program such as CalHFA or Sapphire Grant which can cover your down payment and closing costs. You may close with minimal out of pocket expenses. You may consider the CalHFA from a minimum 640 fico score and the Sapphire Grant from a minimum 620 fico score up to 424k.

You may qualify FHA from fico scores between 500-579 with 10% down or minimum 580 fico score may qualify FHA 3.5% down up to 424k. You may consider 3% down conventional from a minimum 620 fico score or even 5% down conventional with NO Mortgage insurance (Lender paid MI) up to 424k.

If you figure out what cities/zip codes you are considering, minimum number of bedrooms and the maximum payment/price you are looking to achieve any agent can email listings to fit your search criteria. Your email address is needed to set you up for the automatic daily updates.

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 answered:
Hi Ferrisr001:

I may know of the perfect 3 bedroom 2&1/2 bath Novato home with large fenced in yard, and a great dog door so the dogs can just let themselves out to sit on the deck and play in the yard on a sunny day.

How can I contact you to discuss? And when do you need the property? Furnished or Unfurnished?

I am not experienced on answering questions on Trulia so I do not want to give out my contact information in a public forum.
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Thu May 2, 2013
Keith Keller answered:
Hi Ferrisr001, Of course it is! I will take it that you are looking to rent in the way you question is worded. So here's the deal. As a long time landlord I can attest to the difficulty of renting to a tenant with a large dog so here's what you do. Offer a dog damage deposit! It should be brought up as soon as you ask if the landlord will take a large dog. Second ask that the landlord come meet your big (hopefully) sweet and lovable dog and be prepaired to show that your dog will follow simple commands like "out " or "sit". You need to demonstrate that you have your dog under control at all times and his or her behavior is not destructive! Finally be ready to do a simple demonstration of you control of the dog so the landlord can be put at ease. And don't for get the old "the dog stays in the garage pitch"... ... more
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Tue Apr 23, 2013
Maryann Pearson answered:
Your best bet is to check on Craigslist, Trulia Rents, and with local property managers.
Put in a search on Trulia and you will be notified when something new that matches comes up.

It's very tough right now to find this type of rental in Marin. You might think about doing a house share. You can find opportunities on Craigslist and also by sending your needs to all your friends; and checking in the areas you like at the grocery stores, cafe's etc. on their bulletin boards.

Rentals used to be listed on MLS but not so much anymore, especially something small and reasonably priced. Get the word out everyway you can. Best of luck. Maryann
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Wed Apr 28, 2010
Scott Wilmore answered:
In the short run it may make sense for you to rent. However, in the long run it will nearly always pay to buy. Between the potential price appreciation (as long as you don't overpay), the tax write-offs, and the latest $8000 write-off for first time homebuyers it is hard to lose. The latter would require you to make a decision by the end of this month as it is not likely to be extended.

There are also loads of new tax incentives for energy savings, upgraded appliances, windows, may be able to help someone out of a bad situation and pick up a bargain that needs some upgrading anyway. I made far more money buying and upgrading fixers than I ever saved working for a salary.

A condo is also a good possibility in Mill Valley, and there are some beauties on the sunny side near Richardson Bay. Be careful to see what is included in the Condominium Association Fees.

I've been here for over 25 years, and as much as I like to visit Fairfax for the music scene, and Sausalito for the artists and waterfront, Mill Valley is a gem (especially the unincorporated west side, Almonte, and Homestead Valley)
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