Whether it's a good time to buy should be based more on your personal situation than market conditions. The financial benefits of home ownership usually withstand shifts in market conditions, making your job stability, net income, savings and other spending requirements the most important factors. I agree with Leo, speak with a broker who serves your area to get a sense of what might be available in your potential price range, then speak with a financial planner to see how home ownership fits into your overall financial plan.
The best way to find the right broker is by asking to see examples of deals that they've done that are similar to what you want to do in the area where you want to do it.Be open to what the broker says once they've backed up their claim of expertise. They may have suggestions that will cause you to re-evaluate your plan, hopefully for the better.
Commissions can be paid by the seller or buyer - depends on the contracts between the buyer, seller and their brokers.Some buyers prefer to pay their broker based not only on a percentage of the sale price, but also with incentives that are laid out in a separate agreement. Here is an example - let's say you're a buyer and you want to bid on a home in a neighborhood where there aren't a lot of multiple offers. As your broker I'm confident that I can get you the property at a price that is lower than what the seller is asking. For this situation, I'd take a lower base commission and enter into a separate agreement with the buyer that allows me to earn a larger commission if I can negotiate a significant price reduction, but a lower commission if I fail to do so. The buyer wins both ways - they will get either a lower purchase price or pay a lower commission.Another common scenario when the buyer pays their broker's commission is when the price of the home is very high. Normally the seller will determine their asking price based upon the market value of the property, with consideration for all their selling expenses, which includes commissions paid to both brokers. Let's say the home is worth $1M and both brokers receive a 3% commission, which means they split $60,000. That $60,000 artificially increases the price. If the buyer can pay the commission separately, at least his own broker's commission, he can reduce the purchase price by that amount - thus LOWERING the value that his property taxes are based on.
Having lived in San Diego for many years and now in Silicon Valley, I think you'll find that $300k doesn't buy much in terms of a property that provides good income and appreciation. Median homes prices IN AREAS WITH GOOD RENTS AND IMPROVING VALUES are closer to the $450k to $600k range. There are 192 properties on the market in San Jose this morning priced $300k and under, most are condos (seldom good rental investments in this area) and the majority of the rest are in neighborhoods that aren't appreciating. My suggestion is to research the target areas where you would invest within San Jose or San Diego and then make a decision based upon what's available in those areas that you could afford. You may find you need to adjust your expectations, though you may get lucky and find a gem in your original price range.
Most parts of Palo Alto provide best rents and appreciation in Silicon Valley, but the buy-in price is relatively high. Your ability to cover mortgage and operating costs will be a dependent upon the size your down payment, regardless of where you buy.
I agree with ConnieK. It's a great tool, but long ago someone told me "never accept a numbers-only report." Smart clients are likely to feel the same way. They don't want to know just how many views their property has received, they want to know what has been done to market their property.
Screen your calls.I have a little trick I do to know quickly if a call is one I should take or let go to voicemail. As an iPhone user, I can link a photo to a contact record in my phone so that when a person calls their photo is displayed. To make it easier and faster to know if I should take a call, I edit the photo to add a label that might say "buyer's agent for Homestead" or "escrow officer for Main St." If I don't have a photo of the person, I'll create just the label so that it displays when these people call. This visual aid helps me to make quick decisions so I know which calls to take and which can wait.Some people simply change a contact's ring tone to one they use just for business. Like the photos that I edit to remove a label after a transaction is completed, the ring tone can also be changed back to normal in just a few seconds.
Hi - I publish a weekly list of 1 - 4 unit multi-family properties for sale each week. If you'd like a list, tell me which areas and I'd be happy to send current listings to you.
Qualification for owner financing is often the same as qualifying for a standard mortgage, so don't expect owner/sellers to approve you if a bank won't approve you.If your credit needs improvement, stay away from lenders and real estate agents until you meet with a credit counselor or personal finance advisor.
Since agents are typically paid through commissions, what compensation do you offer for the agent you would get help from?