As with the rest of the Bay Area and many markets around the country, inventory is down for San Jose condos and townhouses. This is how the conversation started when we sat down to talk with Sandy Jamison, Owner and Managing Broker at Tuscana Properties. She’s also a top producer with two decades of experience buying and selling condos in Santa Clara County. In talking to her about the challenges and opportunities facing local condo owners, we had no trouble believing that she’s closed over 500 home and condo transactions in the past 5 years alone.
Down Payments and The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
Apart from the generally short supply of condo units, there’s one other common challenge that San Jose condo buyers run into. “A lot of people have a hard time with the down payment,” Jamison explained. “They have a good amount of income, but it’s coming up with that down payment that’s the problem with getting financing.”
There are down payment assistant programs out there, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through with only a minimal chance of success. Often, your best bet is the FHA condo mortgage insurance program that works with 3.5% down, but even then there aren’t many San Jose condo units that are approved for this federal program.
Jamison knows all too well how common this challenge is. “The down payment takes so many people out of the pool of potential buyers that I can often sell an FHA-approved condo unit overnight.” Why are there so few FHA-approved condos? “The condos don’t want to deal with the application and renewals,” Jamison says, “The process is too complicated. It needs to be scaled back.”
Even if you don’t need the assistance when buying your unit, the advantage of an FHA-approved condo is also evident when it comes to sell. In other words, it may be worth cutting your San Jose condo association some slack on the small stuff if they’re doing their part to maintain your condo’s FHA-approved status. This is especially true if you’re a first-time buyer who may be looking to upgrade in a few years. The likelihood of being able to sell the unit essentially overnight is going to save you a lot of headaches, and make your next home buying decision that much easier.
San Jose Condo and Storage Resources
Jamison didn’t hesitate when telling us there isn’t enough storage for San Jose condos. Women in particular tend to look more at the available closet space and somewhere in general to put their stuff. Jamison tells us that “some condos have really small closets. Some are 4’x2’x10’ tall. So storage is huge.” Many condos provide underground parking, but garages are even more highly valued. More than just extra privacy and convenience, many owners use their garage for the extra overhead and wall storage they provide.
Big-picture, everybody benefits from a clutter-free condo space. If you’re a seller, you’re going to want to stage the condo to show how seemingly awkward spaces can be used as a personal workspace or small dining area. And if you’re a buyer, you don’t want that fresh paint, fresh carpet, move-in ready condition to be immediately sabotaged by overflow belongings.
Affordability is already a big enough challenge for buyers throughout the Bay Area. A condo that checks all the boxes except ample storage space may be the answer. Closetbox can make the decision even easier. Check out our full-service San Jose storage at prices that compete with traditional self-storage. Likewise, whether you’re looking to get a solid return on investment, make a quick sale, or pounce on a condo unit that’s about to become available, contact Sandy Jamison and her team at Tuscana Properties.