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Thread summary:

California: real estate, buy a home, relocating, mortgage, great schools, housing.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:51 AM
 
5 posts, read 6,253 times
Reputation: 15
Default Advice about buying a home in Southern California

Hi, this is my inaugural post on this forum! I look forward to any advice people might have about my situation.

My family (me, wife, baby and big dog) will be relocating from the Northeast to the Thousand Oaks area in California. We currently own a home (which we will be selling) and have excellent credit. My company has a nice relocation package that also includes a company-sponsored secondary mortgage plan. We will be making ~300K per year and are looking for a home in the 700K range in a neighborhood with a great school district. We will have enough to put down 20% on the mortgage, and we like being homeowners.

First, given how labile the housing prices have been (I've heard down ~20-30% in the area), would it be more prudent to rent for awhile until the market settles (god knows when that will be)? Might good neighborhoods and nice homes be more protected from depreciation given the already reduced prices at this point? Are the nice areas around Thousand Oaks stabilized by now? On the web, I see a lot of inventory and foreclosed properties, I assume related to the massive layoffs from Amgen and Countrywide.

There are a few caveats to these questions. With the baby, I am not eager to move frequently. I am less optimistic about finding a nice rental with a huge dog. Also, should I use the company sponsored mortgage (I heard has a fantastic rate). While the company mortgage incentive sounds great on paper, it could be problematic if I need to move and my home price has depreciated significantly (let's say if the job doesn't work out or God forbid if I get laid off--can never be sure in this economy ya know).

Sorry about the long rambling post, but I hope you guys can help me. Thanks!

Last edited by DoggieLover; 08-17-2008 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:51 PM
HDL
 
Location: Seek Jesus while He can still be found!
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Okay, I follow real estate markets all over the country and although I am a seller, I normally advise friends and family to rent right now unless they find a great home (priced right) and plan on staying there for awhile. But each individuals' case is different and you have many things to consider financially. Personally, I believe that you would be better served by a Financial Advisor versus this forum, what with a salary of $300K! YOWZAA YOWZAA !!! Great for you ! But you MAY take a very big hit taxwise without a house to write off if you rent !

Anyways, it BEST to run the numbers for mortgage / property taxes / hoas / mello roos / upkeep etc. versus renting ! Check out Craigslist for BOTH rentals and homes for sale. Can you get a nice place for rent in a safe area that you and the family would like? Have you done several sites visit or spoken to HR or employees at the new company to see what areas to look at and which to avoid? What if you don't get let go (fired or laid off), but just can't stand the company, your new boss(es), or CA? These are all things to really consider, as CA is quite different than the rest of the US (imo) .

Normally on this forum, I see those in the biz pushing BUYING and bitter renters and HBBers pushing RENTING ! I personally like to see BUYING to keep the economy from tanking any further. I also like BUYING because I really love owning my home and the feeling of being settled down versus packing and moving again. Plus I have dogs too and I don't want to be relegated to the crappy rentals in the bad parts of town due to this fact .

The BEST of both worlds to me would be to find your PERFECT home / neighborhood and tell them you want to buy in a year after you have made certain that the job and the neighborhood are a FIT ! No commitment or option monies, just a year lease and the 1st right of refusal for this home at current market value in a year. I would think that there would be builders or sellers that would go for this offer from a well qualified party.

Obviously, the market 'could' go up as well as interest rates, though I don't believe either will. You would want to make certain that the home you are leasing or renting is NOT, nor will it be, going into foreclosure . I don't know HOW to find out this information myself , but definitely quite a few homeowners are collecting rent and not paying the mortgage company !

Best wishes to you on your upcoming move DoggieLover! As a dog lover myself, I could not help replying to your post !!! I'm sure another poster will be along shortly with some advice on areas that are nice to live in ! Good luck!
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:38 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDL View Post
Normally on this forum, I see those in the biz pushing BUYING and bitter renters and HBBers pushing RENTING ! I personally like to see BUYING to keep the economy from tanking any further. I also like BUYING because I really love owning my home and the feeling of being settled down versus packing and moving again. Plus I have dogs too and I don't want to be relegated to the crappy rentals in the bad parts of town due to this fact .
Thanks for the great advice HDL! The annual salary I quoted seems kinda high, but it's combined income from me and my wife. We will both be jumping into new jobs, so this represents a substantial increase for both of us. Since we don't know much about financial matters, we will definitely follow your recommendation about consulting a financial advisor.

My wife is definitely on the BUYING camp for the same reasons you stated. Though I am a little afraid of further depreciation of housing prices in the area. Also, I am not optimistic about finding a good rental that will accept a big shaggy dog.

As for Thousand Oaks, from what I have seen, I think we're gonna like it! I hope we can stay there for several years at least.

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:44 PM
 
3,415 posts, read 4,481,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoggieLover View Post
Thanks for the great advice HDL! The annual salary I quoted seems kinda high, but it's combined income from me and my wife. We will both be jumping into new jobs, so this represents a substantial increase for both of us. Since we don't know much about financial matters, we will definitely follow your recommendation about consulting a financial advisor.

My wife is definitely on the BUYING camp for the same reasons you stated. Though I am a little afraid of further depreciation of housing prices in the area. Also, I am not optimistic about finding a good rental that will accept a big shaggy dog.

As for Thousand Oaks, from what I have seen, I think we're gonna like it! I hope we can stay there for several years at least.

Thanks!
I think it would be more prudent to rent for awhile and get the lay of the land. You could rent a house as well as an apt. Thousand Oaks is great! Congratulations!
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Southern California
7,726 posts, read 1,246,444 times
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DoggieLover you should also check out the California forum here on City Data. You will be able to get a lot of information from people who live in Thousand Oaks. Good Luck on your move!
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:56 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,253 times
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Originally Posted by Judy P. View Post
DoggieLover you should also check out the California forum here on City Data. You will be able to get a lot of information from people who live in Thousand Oaks. Good Luck on your move!
What a fantastic idea! I hope they don't mind if I double post.

Thanks!
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