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Old 08-13-2009, 09:46 PM
 
9 posts, read 12,782 times
Reputation: 13

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Hi everybody, thanks for all the advice. I've found this website very useful so far.

Here's my story:

I'm 25 years old, have 40 K in the bank, have been pre-approved for a 3-400,000 dollar mortgage, and I'm moving to L.A. next month. Absurdly, I'm moving from Detroit, where I can buy a mansion for 80 grand. Frusterating. Either way, I'm looking to move to a neighborhood where I will be able to afford to buy a 3 bdrm (I'm moving with a couple friends) as well as be in a cool area. When I visited last, I spoke with a Realtor who pointed me in the direction of a few areas like Valley Village, Atwater Village, Cerritos, and a couple others. I really didn't feel like there was a click with any of those spots though - I'm looking to be in an area where there's a sense of community and a significant amount of young people...my favorite that I saw was Silver Lake, but it seems like houses start around 5-600 K there. I don't want to buy a condo because of HOAs.

Does anyone have any suggestions for neighborhoods I should check out? Or even streets? Any advice is appreciated. A somewhat central location is very preferred - I'm a musician, and will likely be working all over the L.A. area. But I'd like to be able to buy a somewhat nice place for my money, yet also be in an exciting area.

Thank you!
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:30 PM
 
Location: South Bay
7,141 posts, read 19,556,706 times
Reputation: 3402
maybe check out eagle rock, mt washington, and north hollywood. the areas that are already considered cool are well beyond your price range. trust me i know. my wife and i are in a very similar situation financially and have no interested in buying way out in the burbs. we just continue to rent waiting for prices to come down and our incomes to go up.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,368 posts, read 2,993,717 times
Reputation: 1476
Please, rent for a year before buying if you move to LA. Neighborhoods are very different and you should figure out which vibe you want before deciding to buy. Plus prices will almost certainly drop in the nicer parts of LA during that time. Even if prices weren't dropping you should rent for a year to figure out what areas you like the best.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:30 PM
 
164 posts, read 551,057 times
Reputation: 368
I would also suggest waiting a year before buying. Get a feel for Los Angeles as a resident -- you may be surprised what neighborhoods you dig, and what you don't dig -- and how your perceptions change over time.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:57 AM
 
9 posts, read 12,782 times
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I know - others have recommended the same, that I wait a year before deciding. And I hate to rush it. But right now, I have the capital for a down payment, and they're only offering the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers until this November 30th, and it'd be a shame to miss out on that. I'm planning on staying out there for at least a month before putting in any offers, maybe even longer.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:58 AM
 
Location: H-town, TX.
3,494 posts, read 6,033,006 times
Reputation: 2190
Quote:
Originally Posted by meyia View Post
I know - others have recommended the same, that I wait a year before deciding. And I hate to rush it. But right now, I have the capital for a down payment, and they're only offering the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers until this November 30th, and it'd be a shame to miss out on that. I'm planning on staying out there for at least a month before putting in any offers, maybe even longer.
What good is that credit if buying a home puts you in the financial toilet or thereabouts?

Think about that one.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,368 posts, read 2,993,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfredB1979 View Post
What good is that credit if buying a home puts you in the financial toilet or thereabouts?

Think about that one.
Yep, if a 400k property drops even 5%, that's almost triple the tax credit. Plus if the housing market really is in the dumps they might extend the tax credit or add something else that's just as good if not better.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:39 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,368 posts, read 2,993,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meyia View Post
I know - others have recommended the same, that I wait a year before deciding. And I hate to rush it. But right now, I have the capital for a down payment, and they're only offering the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers until this November 30th, and it'd be a shame to miss out on that. I'm planning on staying out there for at least a month before putting in any offers, maybe even longer.
Meyia,

LA is a monster city. A month is not enough to get a feel for all the neighborhoods. It's really hard to explain. I came from the east coast and a smaller city and you really need 1-2 years to honestly get a feel for all that the city has to offer. What seems good when you first get here can change and will change.

I'll be honest...400k won't get you much in any decent, hip part of LA. You are priced out of Atwater for sure. Even Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington are out of your range unless you want to be in the worst parts of the neighborhood for a 3br, or in a house that's 900 sq ft and 2br 1 bath. Echo Park is also out of your range and that is considered transitional. Basically for 400k you're looking at some marginal neighborhoods in the SF Valley or a place like Highland Park if you want a SFH...or you are looking at a total fixer that will need a lot of work to be livable.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:47 AM
 
164 posts, read 551,057 times
Reputation: 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by meyia View Post
I know - others have recommended the same, that I wait a year before deciding. And I hate to rush it. But right now, I have the capital for a down payment, and they're only offering the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers until this November 30th, and it'd be a shame to miss out on that. I'm planning on staying out there for at least a month before putting in any offers, maybe even longer.
The real estate market is likely going to stay flat for the next year or so at a minimum. It's not going anywhere. If you have the capital now, you will have the capital a year from now, and there will still be houses available next year. And the prices a year from now won't be that much different from today.

You may believe that you can get a feel for the neighborhoods in a month, but I can tell you that your opinions of certain neighborhoods evolve over time.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:53 AM
 
9 posts, read 12,782 times
Reputation: 13
It seems as if in the rest of the country, the media is saying that the housing market is stabilizing somewhat. However I have a friend who's a broker in Riverside, and his contention was that there were about 50,000 homes in the LA area that are in the midst of the foreclosure process now, and that they will be foreclosing over the next few months, bringing housing prices even lower. Seems you guys are painting the same picture - should I heed that warning? Also, he mentioned that the best move you can pull with all the regulation nowadays, and the only true way to get a great deal is to get 70 - 75,000 in cash, call a bank to obtain a list of REO properties, drive to each and check them out, and walk in to the bank with a cashier's check and offer to take one off their hands. Any thoughts on this? Sounds easy - if only I had 75 grand in cash...
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