San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
8 years later it happened: we bought a home
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Submitted by LongTimeListener on March 23, 2012 - 9:47pm
Perhaps the all too familiar story - been lurking for a long time, finally signed escrow papers this week!
Our experience: We first started looking in 2004. Back then, it was a matter of "going with the flow" since we were getting constantly bombarded with news from our friends, neighbors, and relatives, about purchasing a home with little or zero down-payment, and the accompanying encouragement to not be left behind renting when we could be living the American dream. A couple of visits to two lender's offices, for financing products available to us, quickly convinced us that the market conditions were not right for us. We were getting insane financing pre-qualifications for amounts many times what we were earning; also, homes in our now inflated price range were being literally snapped up by the competing buyers. So, we decided to wait.
A couple of years later, in late 2006, with better jobs and nothing but "good news" from the RE market, we decided to have a go at it again. This time, the lenders were not holding back at all - basically, it was a "don't worry, we'll qualify you, we'll get docs later" environment from the major banks and Countrywide. Again, the idea was that we would be missing out if we didn't buy and this time, it really was the right time to buy...we should've known better. Anyway, looking for the right home at the right price, the ratio of "impending doom" vs the NRA news began to change in favor of not buying a home (this is near September 2006) and, by the time we had declared a winner loan provider, we decide to once again, wait for the right time.
Fast forward to 2008, I still have a job, and RE prices are plummeting, we begin to look for an opportunity. After a few months looking for the right home, and finding it, the layoffs begin at my place of employment - oh, oh...time to hit the brakes again.
Now, in late 2011, with employment feeling a bit more solid, with the available economic indicators pointing North, with the record low interest rates, and the fact that in our price range, the mortgage payment would be similar to our current rental rate, we got serious about looking for a home. One thing became apparent immediately after we started looking: it may be a "buyer's market" officially, but competition is just as heavy as it was in 2006. Many of the property showings that we went to, had offers being presented basically on the spot. Many of our offers became "back up offers" on short sales because we were too late to in at the front of the line. The properties that were sitting for relatively longer periods of time had definite issues with them - illegal additions, unpermitted work, etc. Also, the pickings were slim. Inventory would dry up every other week (no new listings in our area of interest).
We finally got an offer accepted on a short-sale which had its previous accepted offer fall through from another buyer.
We want to thank Rich Toscano and all the knowledgeable people who make this site such a relevant source of information. The information gathered from here over the years, coupled with our "on the field" experiences definitely made us more robust/prepared buyers. Whether this is the right time to buy - time will tell, but we won't be looking back too much.
Thank you all!
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