Finding an affordable home can seem like a lost cause, especially in a strong seller's market like we have today. In fact, many potential buyers may delay purchasing a new home because they fear overpaying. The real estate crisis of 2007 and 2008 left many homeowners with excessive mortgages and diminished vales, conditions which have been resolved only recently. If you would like to purchase a home in Southern California but you fear today's strong market and rising values, take heart. Armed with the right knowledge and information, you can find the home of your dreams at an affordable price.

Consider the "Drive 'til You Qualify" Principle

The time-tested way to afford a home in a strong market involves commuting. The further you travel from a city's central area, the less expensive homes tend to be. This principal alone gave rise to the quintessential American suburb. Today, suburbs and exurbs (farther out than suburbs) offer all the amenities found closer in. In fact, most shops, restaurants, schools and roads are newer and better than those found in older areas. The air is clearer, the neighborhoods are safe and many buyers find the true meaning of community by heading out of town. All of these benefits, especially when combined with affordable real estate, enhance the suburban appeal.

Older Homes versus New Builder Communities

The perception that older homes are more affordable does not always apply. In truth, cost and value depend on a variety of factors. On a per-square-foot basis, an older house may indeed cost less. Repairs, maintenance and upkeep costs must be considered, however, as well as the cost of borrowing. If you plan to finance your purchase with a mortgage, the costs can differ greatly based on the terms of your purchase. For example, a seller may be able to offer sales concessions or pay your closing costs. On the other hand, a builder may work with a preferred lender that offers favorable rates. Builder incentives may also help reduce costs. Don't expect builders to negotiate much, however, although resellers are typically willing to do so.

Keep Calm and Know Where (and How) to Look

No matter how strong the market, deals can always be found if you know where to look. All you need is a dose of patience and a knowledgeable local RealtorĀ®. Finding the perfect home is a little like ordering the perfect pizza, except in a strong seller's market, you may have to wait a little longer for delivery.

Local real estate professionals know the area better than anyone else possibly could. They also have access to information that is not publicly available. Even if you are a highly proficient Internet researcher, only licensed agents have access to the local multiple listing service (MLS) data as soon as it's entered. You simply specify your desires, and your agent will create a custom search that notifies you when something new meets your criteria. If you can be available to go see a new property within a few hours of listing, and if you're prepared to submit a reasonable offer immediately, you will have an advantage over most potential buyers. If the seller is amenable to your offer, you'll avoid a bidding war and hopefully save some money too.

In the Yorba Linda area, the Edie Israel Team is your go-to RealtorĀ®. Their experienced home buyer representation services are the best solution for finding a house in this competitive market. Contact the Edie Israel Team today for help in finding the perfect affordable home.