Can I Afford to Buy a Home in the Bay Area?

Dated: March 30 2022

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So you want to buy a home in the Bay Area but you have no idea if you can, or how to really find out?

I’m not going to lie, there is “sticker shock” when you buy a home in the bay area. But on the flip side, historically Bay area real estate has been an incredible investment, especially if you plan on owning for a few years. So yes it’s expensive, but over the long run you are going to be really happy you bought here.

Tip 1:

Here’s what you don’t want to be doing: looking at home prices on Zillow (I know most of you have done this!) to see what you can get. What a home is listed at and what it actually sells for can be miles apart. Think of the price like a teaser…Zillow cannot predict the sales price (there is no way to create an algorithm for this) because there are so many favorable factors:

-is the home priced low or high for market conditions?

-how many school districts are in that area and how does that affect price?

-the condition of the home.

-are there neighborhood nuisances?

-and more

 

Tip 2:

Work with a local Realtor/agent who knows the town or neighborhood and can tell based on what you’re looking for, what it actually costs.

 

Tip 3:

Talk with a local lender who can help you understand how much you can qualify for based on your income, credit score, debts, taking into account things like local property taxes. You can get a better financial picture and then figure out your home buying budget.

 

Tip 4:

Location determines affordability- the Bay Area is a big place and homes can sell anywhere from $400,000 to $40M. Where you need to live, based on your commute, budget, or any other lifestyle decision, leads to how much an area costs. We will look at median sold home prices for each Bay Area County. Within counties, there can be a big price difference as well. For example, I’m in Contra Costa County and the median home price in Concord is less than half of the median home price in Lafayette, just a few miles away.

 

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Jen Cogen

Hi, I'm Jen. Finding the right person to help you navigate buying or selling a home is an important decision. Buying a home is a big deal, especially in the super competitive East Bay. Expect my unwa....

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