So, who determines what is "affordable"? And how do you know if You can afford to buy?
Generally, the lowest pricing tier of all homes in any given market get the tag "affordable" meaning lowest price. There will always be individuals who will never buy a home. That's a fact. Either income and/or credit is not up to a qualifying level, or they are very mobile and don't want to put down roots.
If you are the mobile type, find an acceptable rental, enjoy the Huntington Beach lifestyle and don't worry about "jumping into the fray" of trying to buy a first home.
However, if you want something to make your own, the lure of buying a home is a powerful force! You won't have to put up with apartment living, crowded conditions, or an indifferent landlord. And you get to paint the living room wall chartreuse if that's your favorite color. You can get a pet and turn them loose in the backyard, host private barbeque parties at your place, and settle in knowing you are the king or queen of your own palace!
So, if the desire to own your own home is strong, where do you start?
- Step one: Get prequalified! You can pick a lender and start the process. It sounds painful, but you will survive, and one of the sweetest emails you'll ever get is the one from your lender saying"You are pre-approved!" Here's a place to search for a lender.
- Step two: Now that you know how much you can afford, begin your search. There's so much online that you will begin to narrow down your search, probably before you pick the Realtor who will be key to getting you the deal you want and need. To check out the "affordable homes" (all under $500,000) now selling in the Huntington Beach market: See Current Listings .
- Step three: Do some "drive-bys". No-o-o Not shootings! Drive by the affordable listings and have a look at the neighborhoods. Do the areas look safe and inviting? Could you see yourself in this community? Are there neighborhood shops and services nearby that you recognize and would use?
- Step four: Begin your search for a Realtor. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, or trust your own instincts when you happen to meet agents online or at Open Houses. Does the Realtor seem interested in what you want in a home and ask questions that reflect this? Or, is there a 'rush' to put you into a buying mode? If you have done your self-education on the market, you will recognize the right home for you and a good deal when you see it. Your Realtor should be a facilitator and negotiator for you, not a pushy salesperson.
So, now that you have the steps in mind, and if you are ready, begin the process. It will likely be one of the most memorable life experiences you'll have...buying your first home! Then, you will be able to brag to your family and friends 30 years from now about how you bought your first home and it was only $475,000 and a mile from the beach, and the interest rate was only 4.6%!