Of course it all depends on your situation and it is always good to base your decision upon facts.
Here's some information and some numbers to give a general idea.
1. If you want to invest in Mountain View, the best bet is to invest in a newer townhouse. When I say invest, I mean buy and then put it for rent. The reason is that tenants tend to like newer modern places to live.
2. To me, single family homes in mountain view don't make sense to buy or rent. If you really aren't getting a nice backyard, what's the point? Most of the single family homes in mountain view have relatively small backyards. When I lived there 5 years, I was completely fine NOT having a backyard. I knew my reasons to be in Mt View were being close to work, and that I just like Mt View feel. for info, I lived in the whisman area
1. Let's say you buy a condo in whisman that is about 1200-1400 sq ft. It will cost you closer to 850k. I am not kidding.
Look at the last townhome sold in that area for 819 last month
If you wait another month or two, it might be closer to 875k and will probably peak at 900k in my opinion.
Even if you buy at 850, lets play with the numbers assuming reasonable conditions
1. You need 170k down. Do you have that much?
2. The best rate you might get for a 3% (15 year loan). I don't believe in 30 year loans. To me those don't make sense. I am assuming you are mid 30s, you have an idea where you might be at 45, not at 60. That to me just doesn't make sense.
3. Your HOA will be about 250$ or so and property taxes about 8500$.
4. Total expenses, 4695.96 for mortgage, about 700$ for taxes, 250 for HOA =
5. You can easily rent that place for about 3400-3700 a month. Assuming the 3600 or so, you still need to put in 2000 a month.
Overall, you put in 170k cash and then on top put in 2k a month, for what?
Well, at the end of 15 years, the property is yours. Willing to make an investment for the next 15 years where total cost to you (530k which is 170k cash and 360k in keeping the property)
At 45 or so, you will now make 3500 or so every month.. GREAT
You still put in 170k, but get a 30 yrs loan, your payment is 2866.91, total cost is 2866.91 + 700 + 250 = 3816. You will make most of that from rent. In short, you put in 170k and another 100-200 a month to buy a property. This is the scenario where ppl say someone else is making your payments.
This might be great for some people. I don't really like this. Why?
because, the property really isn't mine until I am 60-65. Not sure what that means. I can't see that far out.
The only way this sort of thing makes sense for me is I understand fully that I am taking a chance.
I pay 20% down, I own the property, someone else pays the mortgage.
Somewhere along the line, when property is up 30-40%, I sell it.
Then there are other factors, maybe you just keep the property so it is a source of income when you retire and can pay for things like kids marriage, college, etc.
I am just throwing this info out there so you consider everything before you buy.
BTW, I own a property in mt view area and plan to keep it as a rental property until I get at least 10% compound rate of return. I am fine just thinking I bought this for my kids if I get less than that.
Also, 10% might sound low, but don't expend a much higher rate on properties in a long term cycle. A daly city house bought for 108k in 1978 sold for 600 or so recently, that is only 5% rate annually.
Whisman station houses are about 20-25% up from their value 7 yrs ago. (around 3% rate annually) from a long term perspective.
Only think of houses as a quick money making machine if you plan to sell within 1-2 yrs when it goes up and it (might be) at the peak
Hope this helps