Yeah, he may have been exaggerating that California thing quite a bit, haha. I'm in Central California and while our economy has certainly suffered, people are not without their luxuries. Houses are being built pretty steadily and houses are selling quickly. They're not selling for what people are asking but they are certainly selling.
The home we are buying only appraised for $275K (we are paying $256K) and the owner first listed it in 2008 at $435K and last listed it in 2011 at $299K. So yeah, people still have their heads in the clouds but it doesn't take a lot to bring them back down.
My biggest shock was how quickly I had to use my emergency fund. I immediately had to put on gutters. And the floor was crazy cold, and I ended up spending 8500 on insulation stuff. That included the attic, but the part that cost a lot was spray-in foam (the kind without formaldehyde) in the basement and the crawlspace. It took my heating bills from $600 for the peak (previous owner's bills) to $300 for the peak. BIG difference.
Then there was the 29% increase in my property taxes. Here in Michigan, your taxable value can only go up by a maximum amount of inflation or 5%*, whichever is lower, every year. Previous owner was 30k lower on her taxable value than on the state equalized value, which is the equivalent of the state thinking that the house is worth 60k more. So after the first year, the state re-set the taxable value to the state equalized value and my taxes shot up.
Now I'm looking to refi, only 2 years after buying, because the rates dropped. Oh, and because my FHA 203(k) loan has me paying PMI for the next 15 years. Oh, and at the amount I'm paying now, I could refi into a 15 year conventional loan. That's assuming I can appraise for enough.
*(If I remember right)
We are also closing on May 15th and I am a big ball of stress!!
We received conditional approval and today I just sent the necessary documentaion back to my lender for their review. I must check my email 15 times in a 10 minute span. I have never been so stressed in my life...ever!!
MovingForward- We signed our pruchase agreement on our home back in September of last year. When we signed, our base price without upgrades was $289,900. Currently for the 3rd phase, the base price of our home went up to $315,000. So we also will have instant equity when we move in! I am so used to losing money in regards to a house. This will be the first time we will actually be in the black instead of red!