Jake - even not being from CA I can say that none of us have a crystal ball. I think you should evaluate your decision based on today's needs. If you think the property is leasable and the rent would cover your mortage then that may not be a bad idea. Keep in mind you will have some vacancy and is that something you can afford. Also, regarding sale or lease, CA , FL, AZ, & NV have some of the highest levels of foreclosures with over 10 years of inventory. It may be a very, very long time before recovery in these states gets to a level that you need to be in to sell for what you think it is worth. My recommendation is to call real estate agent that specializes in foreclosures in your area to see what the market really looks like. I'm just saying he/she would have a good idea about how many distressed properties are there in your market since he/she gets first wind.
Hi, Thinh. There is only one way to get a "true" estimate of the value of a home, and that is to have a realtor or licensed appraiser do a market analysis. There are lots of online programs out there such as Zillow that can "estimate" the value of a home, but these programs use the last sale i the neighborhood. If you're in a new housing area where all the homes are similar and sold recently, you can get a fairly decent range. If, however, there have been few recent sales. you live in an area where there are lots of custom homes, or an older neighborhood where some homes have been updated and others have not, then the numbers can skew wildly. Values will also be impacted by the area zoning (in areas with mixed density, such as apartments and single family homes, the apartments can reduce the value of the single family homes).
The good news? Getting an accurate market assessment is easy! Any reputable realtor will be happy to do it for you at no charge and with no obligation. If you chose a licensed appraiser, costs can vary widely from about $250 - $500, depending on the appraiser.