Is it worth it to buy in Lamorinda in 09 if we need to sell in approx. 5 yrs? What time horizon makes sense?

Asked by Jo, 94556 Thu Feb 26, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Buyer1, Home Buyer, Contra Costa County, CA
Thu Feb 26, 2009
1. No one knows what the market will be like in 5 years.

2. Lamorinda has not yet imploded like some of the other areas like San Ramon. Based on alt/a, etc and other factors, it will happen in late 2009 or much later. The market has not even begun to approach the bottom here.

3. if you are buying to sell in 5 years, you will immediately lose equity.

4. Plus you will have to pay 6% commission when you sell.

5. The only person who will win is your agent who will make $$$ when you buy and then sell, regardless if you lose money or not.

Best of luck!
1 vote
Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Fri Feb 27, 2009
Hi Jo,

As others mentioned, there are two ways to approach the question. It really boils down to what is your motivation for a purchase? If it's to have a place of your own and you are willing to either rent it out in the future or sell it without a gain, then it may be a good time. If you are approaching it from an investment perspective, I would hesitate to support the purchase.

Although Lamorinda is a fabulous place to live, the pool of possible buyers in 5 years may look very different than today. Prices may fall to a all time low, which will open the door to a new crop of buyers with higher expectations for low priced homes.

So, if you are happy renting for a few more years, take a look then and see if you life looks the same as it does today.

Good luck to you and I hope we have all been helpful in guiding you on a very important decision.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Plano, , Plano, TX
Thu Feb 26, 2009
Look at the other side of it. Say you rent for the next 5 years. If your rent is $1500 a month, thats 90k in 5 years. Meaning 90k of PURE loss. Not even the potential for equity, no tax deductions, etc.

Just something to think about.
0 votes
Bob Wegener, Agent, Moraga, CA
Thu Feb 26, 2009
Hi Jo,

3 great answers so far. There is not a whole lot more to add. You might ask yourself, "Is it worth it to buy anywhere in '09 if you need to sell in approximately 5 yrs?'

Take into consideration everything from the 3 previous answers and if you come up with a yes, then you can be sure that Lamorinda is about the best area you can buy. Your investment will do as well as possible for that time period if you choose Lamorinda.

So the question is not the area, it's more of a personal question for you about buying.

Best of luck to you!
Bob Wegener
Web Reference:
0 votes
Bernard Gibb…, Agent, Danville, CA
Thu Feb 26, 2009
Hello Jo:

This is very much a personal decision.

Are you just buying or are you also selling a home in the East Bay?

I think if you are moving up, it is a great time to buy. The market is less important when you are buying in the same market you are selling.

If you are presently renting and planning to buy, I believe that prices will probably fall a little more - how far is hard to say. Nevertheless, there are some great deals available and sellers are motivated now. Also, interest rates are very low so you can lock in a great rate for 5 years.

Note that historically, after a downturn, prices have come back stronger than ever. And when the market turns, it turns fast. Quality areas like Lamorinda are likely to recover first because they don't have the excess incentory problems of other locations.

I also believe that most people in Lamorinda are less likely to be affected by the decline in prices compared with much of the San Ramon Valley. They tend to have a stronger financial base with more equity in their homes so they less likely to get underwater. In a declining market, they are likely to sit tight, rather than to sell. That is why you are not seeing vast numbers of homes for sale there.

Conversely, the homeowners that are selling in Lamorinda mostly really do need to sell. So there is strong motivation. Add in the fact that there are a few REOs about at good prices and you could get yourself a deal.

If you want to let me know what price range you are considering, I would be delighted to let you have a report showing the price trend for that range in Lamorinda over the past 2 years. That should help you to see what is likely in the next year or so.

All The Best

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, Realtor, e-PRO Certified Internet Specialist
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585
0 votes
Herman Rod, Agent, Benicia, CA
Thu Feb 26, 2009
If you buy today, there's a good chance you'll see prices soften between now and the end of the year. No one, of course, has a crystal ball, but you would expect that in the next five years we will see the market improve. Our state real estate association's chief economist spoke at a recent luncheon I attended and she predicts that homes in the state's highest priced communities will drop by about 1-2% a month this year -- so about a drop of about 20-25% for the year.

If you're trying to catch things at the very bottom of the market, that's probably going to be an exercise in futility, as you probably won't know when the bottom occurred until perhaps six to eight months after it actually happens. That said, if you buy now and prices drop further, it will just take that much longer for you to ultimately get to an increased equity position.

I would expect that to happen at some point in the next five years, but we're obviously in uncharted economic waters right now, so there's no guarantee how soon nor how high prices will rebound. Just remember that what goes up usually comes down and what comes down usually goes back up.

Though that may not give you anything concrete, my recommendation would be to follow the market closely over the next 2-3 months and see if prices indeed do drop further, as the experts predict. If you'd like I'd be happy to set you up to receive automated listing notifications for the areas in Lamorinda that interest you. Just contact me either via my Trulia profile or at if you'd like me to do so.

At some point, though, you'll need probably need to "bite the bullet" and hope that you caught the market as close to the bottom as possible...and that the market rebounds within the next five years.

Good luck. Call or email me if I can assist you in your home search.

Rod Herman
Web Reference:
0 votes
Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Thu Feb 26, 2009
Hi Jo,
I wish I could give you a correct answer, but the way the economy is at this time, and nobody truly knows how all will work out in the future it is truly hard to predict.

But here are two thoughts for you!
a) are you buying because you need a home and will enjoy it for the next 5 - 6 years before deciding to sell and move one?
b) or are you buying now because prices are low, interest rates are low and you think about selling when the prices go up and make some money in the process?

These are two different decisions...

For the first one I think this should be a great time to buy, to negotiate a great price, low interest rates and lots of homes to select from.. And if a) is what you are doing, then you will enjoy the home and you will be able to watch the market and make your decision when changes occur....

For your general time horizon..... The general information I get from those who know a bit more about the economy and how things may progress we have to think about the real estate market still having areas where the prices will still go further down, then they will hopefully steady and stabilize throughout 2010 and thereafter - probably anybody's guess when and for how much the prices will start going up again at a more reasonable rate than in the recent hikes...

So if you are thinking 5 years +/- you may actually be able to create some appreciation and paid into some equity during the 5 years.... How much though nobody really knows. If a Realtor in your zip code of interest has a better feeling or prediction I hope they will share it with you.

My input is based on what is happening less locally but within the entire country, but there are some areas, pockets, subdivisions etc. that are quite different from the rest of the state, city or country even.

Good luck to you!
Are you a first time home buyer? Then you may also take advantage of the 8000 $ Tax credit!
Take care and hopefully it will all work out for you!
Edith YourRealtor4Life Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more