First-Time Home Buyer in Santa Clara County: 3 Things to Know

Buyers

First-Time Home Buyer in Santa Clara County: 3 Things to Know

Santa Clara County is perfectly situated south of San Francisco, giving its residents a wonderful place to commute to and from the big city. The area is a perfect blend of urban vibes and unique residential neighborhoods, seen from atop the 3,400-foot summit of nearby Mount Umunhum. Whether you are new to the area or about to relocate from across the country to Santa Clara County, you’ll benefit from these bits of knowledge generated by experts in the real estate field. Read on for all you need to know about moving to this incredible area.

1. Before you begin your search for a new home, know your budget!

If you are a first-time home buyer in Santa Clara County, you might be enthusiastic about getting started on your homebuying journey. However, before you jump into your online search for the home of your dreams, you’ll need to figure out how much home you can actually afford.

This can be accomplished by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. During this process, your potential lender will pull your credit report and gather income verification from you. This will give them a solid idea of your financial standing and income-to-debt-ratio. This number is key to determining how much of a mortgage a lender believes that you can comfortably afford to pay each month. Ideally, most lenders want to keep that number below 36%. Some will approve you even if your ratio is a bit higher, but it’s normally in your own best interests to keep that number as low as possible.

With your pre-approval in hand, you’ll be able to narrow down your prospective homes by their price range. This will help guide your home search to properties that fit your budget and lifestyle.

2. A local real estate expert will make the buying process much easier

Now that you know how much home you can afford, you can begin searching for homes that align with both your budget and your “must-have” criteria. It's generally recommended to consult with an expert local agent for guidance and advice. A real estate agent will be able to gain access to all homes listed on the MLS. They will also be able to narrow down the parameters of your search more quickly, saving you a lot of time and effort along the way.

Just as importantly, an experienced agent will know the area inside and out. If you are a first-time home buyer in Santa Clara County, the information they have about the various communities and neighborhoods will be invaluable to you. Your agent has the skills and insight to match you to an area that best suits the quality of life you are looking for.

In addition, any agent worth their salt will also have access to the numerous other professionals necessary in the homebuying process. Whether it’s a reliable and trustworthy home inspector or a respected closing attorney, your agent will be able to point you in the right direction.

3. Santa Clara County is home to various popular cities

As a first-time home buyer in Santa Clara County, you will want to familiarize yourself with the various communities within the area. These communities range from lively urban cities like San Jose to the more quaint, semi-rural communities of Saratoga. Whether you are looking for a busy lifestyle in the heart of a city or wish to put down roots in a small town, there’s a perfect place for you in Santa Clara County. Which one is the best fit?

San Jose is the largest city in the county. Boasting just over 1 million residents, San Jose is a great place to live if you want to be in the heart of a growing and thriving city. San Jose is home to numerous distinct neighborhoods, each of which offers their own unique flair to its residents. Whether you are in the busy downtown area or settling in Japantown, you’ll find that life in San Jose is exciting and full of outstanding recreational and social opportunities.

Los Gatos, by contrast, is much smaller. At just under 50,000 residents, this suburb sits at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains and promises a slower pace of life. However, Los Gatos is also home to a spectacular arts scene, lovely restaurants, a historic downtown landscape, and stunning parks.

Saratoga is nestled in Silicon Valley. You’ll find numerous high-end restaurants in this small city of just over 38,000. Saratoga certainly has a small-town feel to it, and it is also home to one of the nation’s best school districts.

Campbell is another small city in Silicon Valley, just five miles from neighboring Saratoga. This community is the original home of the online auction giant eBay. While it’s not as much of a “tech city” as others in the Valley, Campbell offers its own flair for small-town California living.

Gilroy is the city furthest to the south in the San Francisco Bay area. At a population of just under 60,000, Gilroy serves as a quiet bedroom community for those who might commute to San Francisco or San Jose.

Finally, the county’s namesake of Santa Clara is a bustling small city on the move. Its population has grown to over 130,000, primarily due to the increasing number of jobs in the tech and financial services industries. Santa Clara serves as the home base for many high-wage earners in tech and offers its residents an atmosphere that lands somewhere between “small town” and “big city.”

The bottom line

Explore Santa Clara County real estate with an experienced real estate professional on your side. The trusted agents at GRO Real Estate will serve as your guide to this growing California county, matching you with the best home for your needs and budget in a community that exceeds all your expectations. Get started today!

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock




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