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Good time sell to or buy Perseverance, Government help could get you a Great deal on a home

Good time Sell to or Buy Perseverance, Government help could get you a Great deal on a Home

Home Sold San Diego VA Military Homes Foreclosures
Navy Times Interview of Gary Giffin Keller Williams La Jolla Realty By Rick Maze rmaze@militarytimes.com and Michelle Tan mtan@militarytimes.com


T
he depressed housing mar­ket of recent years has an upside for military families: Home prices have dropped to levels within reach of many first-time buyers, who have the advantage of being eligible for veterans home loans with low or no down payments.

It just requires lots of patience on the part of buyers — as well as sellers and real-estate agents will­ing to accept the veterans home loans that, many complain, can slow down the homebuying process.

Marine Master Sgt. Dave Thorne is an example of how per­severance can pay off in today’s market. He made offers on 28 homes before he finally had one accepted, on a home in Lake Elsi­nore, Calif., near San Diego, that he bought sight unseen while based in Japan.

Thorne, who is married and has two children, knew that if he did not buy a home, he faced an 18-month wait for on-base housing.

“I was worried about having a place to live. The pressure was on,” he said. “We started making offers in mid-May, using a real estate agency recommended by a fellow Marine. I never owned a home, so I was really putting my trust in him.” The agent was Frank Delzompo of Sand to Sea Properties Inc., of Temecula, Calif., a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who specializes in military clients.

“Good deals are out there,” Del­zompo said. “You just have to be patient.” He is advising clients that now is a good time to buy — and if you already own a home and are moving to a new duty station, it’s a good time to rent out the home.“Right now, rent will cover the full mortgage,” he said.

40 offers and counting

Thorne isn’t even Delzompo’s most patient client. A Marine cou­ple, Sgt. Jason Kulinski and Lance Cpl. Lisa Kulinski, have made more than 40 offers on homes and still don’t have one.

Jason has deployed to Afghan­istan while Lisa continues to make offers in the $210,000 to $215,000 range, but they keep get­ting outbid in a market where many buyers — some armed with enough cash for a quick full-price sale — are trying for a deal.

“There have been a couple of times when I wanted to give up, but I know that we should own a house,” Lisa said.

Median home prices in the San Diego area range from $320,000 to $464,000, according to Data Quick, a company that special­izes in California real estate information.

“The market is hot for homes below $500,000,” said Gary Giffin, a San Diego-area real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in La Jolla , Calif., who has many Navy clients. “In the San Diego area, that’s a home for a first-time buyer. That includes a lot of mili­tary people who may have thought
they would never be able to buy a home.” Prices are “pretty much at the bottom of their market in the range” for most first-time mili­tary buyers, and competition can be fierce as “people who left San Diego because of high hous­ing prices are coming back,” he said.

Giffin, whose father was in the Air Force, said there are cheaper homes on the market, espe­cially foreclosures, but buy­ers need to tread carefully in that area.

“Most bank-owned fore­closures have a lot of prob­lems, the kind of problems that a first-time buyer may not want to face,” he said.

Short sales on homes being sold for less than what is owed on the current mortgage may look like a bargain but can be more trouble than they’re worth. “I steer people away,” Giffin said.Cash investors also can make it hard for first-time buyers to have a shot at foreclosed homes.

“Buyers need to be patient and pick out several homes they like and be ready to put [out] offers until an offer is accepted,” he said — the very experience Delzompo’s clients, the Thornes and Kulin­skis, have faced.

Getting the down payment

Army Maj. Diogo Tavares, who moved a year ago to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., from Fort Stewart, Ga., said he thinks this is a great time for service members to think about buying.

“We in the military have been fortunate,” he said. “Even though the economy is hurting, we haven’t lost our jobs, we haven’t really noticed a difference in our daily lives. Economically speak­ing, we haven’t hurt.” Tavares, a licensed real estate agent who tries to buy a home any time he is stationed in one place for two years or longer, said the biggest hurdle facing ser­vice members trying to buy a home is the down pay­ment — and there are ways to work with that.

Troops back from deploy­ment may have extra cash, and most can use the veterans home loan guarantee program, which does not require a down payment. Tavares, who is married and has two young children, owns his house in Missouri but has not sold his house in Georgia. He rented the latter for a year and was hop­ing to sell, but now wants to wait out the down market.

“We’re kind of hoping to hang on to the house, and if we get sta­tioned at Fort Stewart again we can move in and maybe the mar­ket will get better,” he said.

Proceed with caution

Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rudy Andabaker, a broker for Global Realty Group in Schertz, Texas, agreed on the need for military homebuyers to exercise caution.

“Two years ago, in the San Anto­nio market, all the military was buying” Andabaker said Now they want to rent because they could not sell their home someplace else.He said service members looking at Real Estate must be wary if they expect to be in one area for only two or three years.

Army Maj Carol McLelland knows firsthand about how the market can be. Her four bedroom home just outside San Antoinio has been listed since May and has not sold despite a $10,000 drop in price.”I would have preferred to purchase but now I’m beginning to think that the next home we buy wont be until I can retire in six more years”.

-More San Diego Real Estate articles & tips; at Gary Giffin web www.GaryGiffin.com or search for San Diego Real Estate and foreclosure homes at Gary Giffin MLS search www.SanDiegoHomeSold.com

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