If you've been living in Oakland for more than a few years, you are probably aware that there is something of a revolution going on in housing prices. Unfortunately for first time buyers, this revolution means that house prices are continually rising, with no end in sight for the near future.
This may seem like bad news if you are just trying to get a started in the real estate market, but if you are careful you can still get that foothold or even that perfect home without paying too much. Here are some strategies to employ so that you aren't paying too much for your Oakland home.
Give yourself time. Real estate is a very tricky business for the buyer, as often a person will be looking for a house to move into right away. This often leads to people paying more than they probably should for a house. Once you've made up your mind to get a house of your own it can be hard to continue to pay rent, but if you are just moving to Oakland this might be the route you want to take as you look for a suitably priced house. Feeling as if you have to buy right away will have you jumping at chances; if you are willing to shop for a few months, odds are you will be able to find a reasonable price.
Be flexible. Too many people go house shopping with the house they want to buy already in mind: how it looks, how many rooms, the yard. In order to get a good price and not pay too much, though, you need to be prepared to be flexible in your housing expectations. The perfect house, ready to move into, is going to come at a premium cost. If you are flexible and willing to make some changes to the house after you move in, you will be able to find a reasonable price. You should also be willing to examine different neighborhoods around Oakland, as house prices will vary from community to community.
Don't be pressured. Remember the house seller is interested in getting the highest price possible for his property. Don't be pressured by the seller or by the realtor into agreeing on a price that you feel is too high. There may be other viewers, there may be other offers, but if you feel the price is too high, don't buy the house.
Buying an Oakland home is an expensive proposition in any event, and you definitely don't want to pay too much for your home. Keep in mind during your hunt that house prices don't appear to be slowing down much, in Oakland or anywhere else; the odds are good that when you decide to sell your house and move up you will receive more money than you paid.