On the Road to Homeownership: It’s Definitely a Bumpy One

This is the fourth in  a series of occasional articles as my wife and I confront the challenges of searching for a home in a real estate marketplace with a low inventory level in costly south Orange County, California, hoping  to finally transition from years as somebody else’s tenants, to becoming participants in the American Dream of homeownership.

As we continue our search, my wife and I are hitting a lot of speed bumps along the way. We’re finding there not a lot of foreclosure bargains to be had in Orange County, especially with such a low inventory level. REOs (bank-owned properties) are almost extinct with few exceptions, and while short sales do exist, the competition to acquire them is intense and in some cases hardly worth the effort since many of them require a costly rehab job.

After looking over a few properties and giving our Realtor a better idea of what we were looking for, we found a 55 and over community a little south of where we currently live (the first point of contention with my wife who wanted to move further north closer to work, not further away).

While the location was less than agreeable with her, the interior layout and the size of the rooms won her over so we submitted a low offer based on the amount of work we thought needed to be done. We were beat out by an investor, so we continued our search.

Scouring through the MLS pages my Realtor sent me every day, I came upon another 55 and over community closer to the beach and just down the street from where we live. The house needed a  lot of work, and the HOA fees were expensive and hardly seemed worth it since the complex had no amenities whatsoever — we’d be paying a high HOA dues every month just for the privilege of being closer to the beach (and without even a view no less)!

A further search found what we thought would be a perfect fit for us, and my wife was thrilled at the prospect. It was a mile or two down the street from us, much closer to the beach, and amid a developed community on a hill. One section of the development is 55 and over, while other parts of it are laid out for regular family living.

After losing out on a three-bedroom with a layout and décor we loved, we found a 1,500 square foot two-bedroom a few blocks away. All of these are attached single-level condos (although they look like a regular home) just attached on both sides. Little yard to take care of which was great for me, the usual amenities and a moderate HOA dues. The big sales point for this one, however, was going out the back door and seeing the ocean clear as day to the left, other homes across the valley on another hill straight ahead, and a wonderful mountain view to the right.

Not bad…or so we thought. Check out the next installment…coming soon!

Search foreclosures and for-sale homes in Orange County on RealtyTrac NOW!

Check out some recent articles from the RealtyTrac newsroom:
Anything But Foreclosure
On the Road to Homeownership: Another Chance
On the Road to Homeownership: Dealing With a Shortage of Supply
On the Road to Homeownership: The Search Begins in Earnest

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