Trulia Community - Advice from neighbors and local experts

Find Your Community
We couldn't find that location. Please try again.
Get Expert Advice

Home Buying in San Mateo : Real Estate Advice

  • All204
  • Local Info18
  • Home Buying80
  • Home Selling15
  • Market Conditions3

Activity 99
Sat Oct 7, 2017
Susie Kay answered:
Wed Sep 6, 2017
Eddy answered:
As a first time home buyer, the best way is to find a local expert that knows the area well and for the price that you want. One of the local experts is a top local Realtor in the area with the experience to show you homes that $950k and below, we can provide this for you free of charge and no obligation service at ... more
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 1, 2016
USMortgageRanger answered:
Hi Ann,

You would be able to use the income from the first job as you have establish 2 years or more of income from that job, but the income from the 2nd job could not be used to underwrite the file as you have not demonstrated any ability to work this job for any period of time and can quit anytime. The income however will be used a compensating factor in the underwriter decision.

I would be delighted to provide you with some mortgage options, this does not require us pulling your credit and will allow you to make the best decision for your family. I can be contacted for a FREE no obligation consultation.

Lowell Sterling
Mortgage Banker
NMLS 968898
Phone 469-347-3572
... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Fri Apr 22, 2016
Tinoresident answered:
If you are building a prefabricated house that meets California Building Code (CBC), it is considered as a site build home. You should not have issues with the local building departments. Below is a link to State of California Publication that you can refer to:

I built a prefabricated home in Cupertino back in 2009, the building permit process was quick and smooth.

I have seen prefabricated houses being built in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Cupertino, Santa Clara and San Mateo. As far as I know, these cities treat the building permit process just like regular construction.
... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Thu Nov 12, 2015
Bryan asked:
In my area (SF Bay Area), the school ratings do not match the data on When will this data be updated?
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 11, 2015
Arpad Racz answered:

Ask your auto insurance company if they have home insurance.

All the best,

0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Thu Dec 11, 2014
Sam Shueh answered:
Mon Sep 22, 2014
jeffdlinn answered:
The main service that real-estate agents provide is convenience. All of the services they offer, finding a real-estate attorney (which they are not), coordinating home viewings and so on can be done by any homeowner willing to put in the effort. The general requirements to be a REA is 1) 18 years of age, 2) Proof of Legal Presence in the US, and 3) Applicants must be honest and truthful (might as well leave the 3rd out, how do you prove or hold one accountable). A REA does have course requirements and must have successful completion of three college-level courses to qualify to the REA salesperson examination. So, after you meet the minimum requirements you take the test, hopefully pass it and then that person can be in charge of selling or buying a person's home, which is likely one of the largest financial assets you will ever purchase in your life.

Now that being said, I do believe those "low information" buyers/sellers who won't invest their time or do their home need to engage a licensed REA to assist with the purchase or sale of their home.

However, if you are of average intelligence and will invest the time and research you can handle this transaction on your own. I'm in the process of FSBO now and when I attend local open houses (doing my homework) I already have a better idea of what is for sale in my neighborhood then any real estate agent I've spoken with. I am also candid with the REA letting them know that I am paying a commission and so far I haven't had any issues. One last thing. Pay the $500 to $1,000 to have an attorney draft or review the purchase agreement and to complete the disclosure documents.
... more
1 vote 10 answers Share Flag
Sun Sep 21, 2014
There is a little known program in California for down payment assistance. This loan sounds like it might fit your loan scenario the way you've described it in your posting.

If you fit within certain financial peramaters you will qualify for a 2nd loan that does not have regular monthly payments. This loan will cover just about all of the 3.5% that an FHA loan will not cover.

Depeding on you income and if the funds are currently available this may be a good solution for you.

I'm not sure that this forum will allow me to post a link to the specifics of the program I am referring to. So if you email me directly I will send you everything you will need in order to see if you qualify and make a well informed decision if it will work for you and your family.

I hope this helps you.

- Jason Wheeler
... more
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Tue May 20, 2014
The first rule of BMR:

Borrower must be a First Time Homebuyer
Applicant(s) must be a First Time Homebuyer, defined as a purchaser who has not previously owned a home, condominium or mobile home, whether as sole owner, tenant-in-common, joint tenant or in other form of ownership within the past three (3) years. The City, at its discretion, may consider displaced persons or other hardship cases to be within this definition.
You will be required to proved three (3) years of tax returns to demonstrate that you have not had any mortgage interest deductions.

Second rule of BMR:Homebuyer Education Certificate
Homebuyer(s) must successfully complete a City approved BMR 8-hour Homebuyer Education Class prior to the close of escrow and must provide the City with evidence of completion.

Also, have you seen the conditions that the BMR notes stipulate? When you go to sell the property, you must sell it as a BMR. The city has the first right of refusal to buy property or allow your sale to move forward. You will limited as to how much profit you, personally, can make on the property.

Request a copy of all the loan documents that go along with a BMR. CAREFULLY review. You may find you do not want to get into this type of transaction. These are designed for buyers who intend to stay in the property for a long time (neighborhood integrity).
... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Thu Mar 20, 2014
Laura Bertolacci answered:
Hi Amy,

Congratulations on beginning your home search! I have worked with several short sales and have a great team that works with me to complete the process as smoothly as possible. I'd be happy to discuss with you your needs, as well as the current market conditions and my qualifications, if you'd like to setup a time. Please feel free to visit my website for additional information.

Take care,
Laura Bertolacci, Real Estate Broker
CA BRE # 00868180
... more
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Mon Mar 17, 2014
Phyllis McArthur answered:
Lindsey, the best bet for a rental is to go to a reputable property manager. Single family homes are much sought after rentals, and craigslist is not always the best way for you. I know a few property managers and if you need their info, call me. ... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Wed Jan 8, 2014
Ricardo Archila answered:
Hi Prash,

Welcome to the Bay Area. I'm sure you will love it here. San Mateo is a great city to live in, I have lived in San Mateo for the last 7 years. As your looking for potential homes I would recommend meeting with a Realtor so they can give you a general overview of areas and pricing. It would be a good Idea to visit Open Homes and drive around the different areas so you can get a feel for what you like.

To answer your questions:

1. How far are you willing to drive? Will you both be working near the 101 or 280? Are both your jobs accessible through public transportation?

2. Home prices have been going up, but it seems some areas are starting to level off. It really depends which city you ultimately want to end up in.

3. There are several nice areas in San Mateo, in order to find something that would fit your needs we would need to know what your price range is. That way we can deterimine which areas work best within your range.

4. You should be able to find a place to rent for $2500.

If you have more questions or want to go into more detail feel free to contact me at 650 438-1562.


Ricardo Archila
... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Sun Dec 22, 2013
David Gowans answered:
I find this post puzzling. Are you looking for help, or leaving?

I'm a Realtor in CA.... Ironically, I just moved up to the Seattle area myself. House up here are much more solid than down there, for sure. That part of CA has totally different construction standards.

I'm currently in a 3000 sqft home that is framed with a minimum of 2x6's, and it costs me a little over half what I paid for a 1200sqft home in San Mateo, and I have well over twice the space, and a MUCH better view. Yes, if your a buyer, that place is tough.

Anyway, if you're still looking, check out Humboldt Square in San Mateo. It's right on the corner of 3rd Ave and Humboldt (S. Humboldt?). Anyway, they are townhomes. I sold one of those about a year ago. It was an end unit, about 1400 sqft; 3 stories; 2 car garage at the bottom; living room with diningroom, kitchen and sitting room on the half and 2nd floor; two master suites upstairs.

Despite being on busy streets, these units were VERY quiet inside. In my opinion, construction was very good; firewalls between units, good insultation, etc. I stop paying attaention when I came up here, but prices are likely rising slowly there, but a place might be had for around $650k or so. Oh, they do have an HOA, and a pretty small and well managed one, as I remember. If think the fees for that unit where somewhere around $350/mo, if I remember right.

Anyway, that's one possibility. If none are on the market, just ask the residents if they want to sell. All they can say is "No."

... more
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Thu Dec 5, 2013
Walter 'Skip' Kersten answered:
It is additional liability insurance that covers you above your normal insurance policies.
Good luck,
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Mon Nov 25, 2013
colin mclaughlin answered:
Hello Tharuna,
There are 1 bedroom condos available throughout the peninsula available in South Sf, San Bruno , San Mateo and Redwood City. I would be happy to speak with you and help you with a property search.
Best Regards,

... more
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Tue Sep 3, 2013
Juliana Lee MBA LLB answered:
Perhaps you saw information about Bank of America's Mortgage Loan for Doctors which was announced towards the end of 2010:

Rather than looking for a loan marketed towards a profession I would recommend talking with several top lenders. Different lenders have different lending preferences with respect to down payment, income, debt and other factors.

A top experienced real estate agent can recommend lenders who have excellent reputations for delivering what they say they will. Besides the monetary costs of the mortgage your lender can affect whether your purchase offer will be accepted.

San Mateo home value information is at

San Mateo just sold home information is at

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County
... more
1 vote 3 answers Share Flag
Tue Aug 20, 2013
Robert Spinosa answered:

I do a fair amount of financing for physicians and would be happy to go over your options with you. We're here in Marin and you can certainly look up my references on Trulia, LinkedIn and Yelp. My contact information is below.

Rob Spinosa
... more
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 26, 2013
Adrian Rowe answered:
I feel for you and we were sort of in the postion.

We moved here a couple of years ago. I have my own software business and my wife is a personal trainer. We moved from Portland as my wife had been offered a position as she trained potential trainers. I work a lot from home so can sort of work anywhere.

We liked the San Mateo area so rented for a while. We then tried to buy. We were approved for a $900K loan and started searching. To be honest it was a big disapointment, homes we saw were old and needed a lot of upgrades, certainly nothing that was worth the asking price and the ensuing bidding wars that followed.

I've never liked condos or townhomes and those in the surrounding area were no different. Some had horrendous HOA fees, others like Arbor and Bay meadows were just way overpriced with horrendous views and will encounter terrible traffic problems in years to come. $900K for a 2br home with no view or garden did not make any sense.

After both our apt rent and my wifes studio rent was increased above market rates for no other reason than pure greed we too decided to move back to Portland at the end of the year.

If you are still looking and can move, have a look at Vancouver in WA state, just across the border from Portland it offers great value for homes

Good luck
... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
1 2 3 4 5
Search Advice