I am not sure why you are asking the question here at Trulia, you should be working with an area, experienced Realtor as a buyer (the buyers agents services are free to you) why would you not want to take advantage of their expertise, experience and get the help for finding the right property, offering the right price in today's market and then get professional expertise in negotiating the right terms and price for YOU.....
If you need a Realtor recommendation for your area, get back to us and we will be glad to send some
recommendations your way.
YourRealtor4Life! Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, Buyers, Sellers and investors alike. Covering for @Properties the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs of N. Illinois, and the fine homes of the North Shore and with my partner agents I cover all states of the US and properties worldwide.
Good Luck to you.....and have a wonderful Day... more
Sam - I've been looking at buying real estate in San Francisco myself but decided to stay on the sidelines to get some clarity. Personally I think we might see a bottom in the next 12-24 months but it's foolish to try to catch a "falling knife". SF real estate is down 20% since May '06 according to the S&P/Case-Schiller index and there are no signs that the decline will reverse anytime soon.
A lot of real estate brokers on this site are arguing that real estate is always a good "investment". I think millions of people that lost their homes would disagree. The brokers fail to add their commissions, closing costs, maintenance, HOA, insurance, taxes and cost of interest in their P&L calculations. Plus the extra risk added by using leveraged debt. They also fail to add that just holding onto a property that is in the red (over 5-10 years?) when you have to move is very costly and added high risk.
Real estate should not be a gamble so therefor I've come up with the following: more then 20% down and less then 40% of the net yearly cash-flow in payments (i.e. if you or your wife lose your jobs you should still be able to keep the house). The interest deduction on the taxes only matters if you have an income, if you loose that your cost increases with 50% overnight. In addition to this, you should have a buffer of 25-50% of down payment for unexpected expenses.
I know that this is a very conservative approach but I prefer that than the recklessness that the real estate and mortgage industry have shown over the past decade. The last real estate broker I spoke to told me to max out my mortgage and get the biggest house I could find. That was in end of '05. I told her to go and... lol... more