Can you buy an affordable house in Yorba Linda? It's a valid question. CNN recently announced its top housing markets of 2015. While the list focused on city-level markets, they're projecting growth in Los Angeles and experts are anticipating that the growth will spill over into Orange County and other areas of Southern California. As the author highlights, this market's greatest challenge is affordability. Here are some tips to help you find the most affordable options on the market when you're looking.

Hire an experienced real estate agent

When you're on a tight budget, you may be tempted to try to handle the transaction on your own. But in competitive markets, access is everything. Knowing about affordable and promising listings that are right for you takes constant vigilance. Often, really promising properties may be open for showing before they hit the MLS site and being one of the first viewers can give you an advantage. A relationship with an experienced real estate agent that knows the area and has a network of other realtors to call on will pay for itself during the transaction.

Consider both financing and budget

Buyers tend to look at homebuying in one of two ways financially: either the monthly payment or the total price paid for the house. Both are valid measures of whether a property is right for you. Remember when you're looking around that while a specific property might give you sticker shock initially, the right financing package may make it affordable. A down payment that's high enough to forego private mortgage insurance (PMI) shaves potentially hundreds off your monthly payments. First time home buyer programs minimize buying costs and offer other incentives. Great credit is commanding very low interest rates currently. Talk to your real estate agent and a broker or lender to find out what you can really afford.

Be flexible about neighborhood and features

When you're on a budget, it may take longer to find the perfect property. One thing that can help you do that is being flexible. For example, a neighborhood that's a slightly longer drive to the downtown area or one that's on less land that you'd ideally desire may be the right fit for your budget. Don't settle for a property that you won't be happy with, but remember that making some tradeoffs can help you move into an ownership position to start building equity.

Consider the benefits of fixer uppers

Many buyers shy away from fixer uppers, even when they're on a tight budget. But if you're striking out on dream properties in your price range, they're worth considering. Some factors to bear in mind include whether the work needed is cosmetic and structural; how much you are able and willing to do on your own vs. professional repairs; the findings of the home inspection; and how much leverage the current state of the home gives you to negotiate the price.

If you're a buyer with a limited budget, you can still find properties in Yorba Linda and greater Orange County. Contact us today to arrange for a personalized consultation and learn more about affordable homes in our area.