The Truth About Buying a Home in San Jose: Debunking Common Myths

The 4 Biggest Myths That Are Holding Back Home Buyers


Buying a home for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. There are many myths and misconceptions that can hinder you from taking the first step towards homeownership. In this article, we will debunk common myths surrounding buying a home in San Jose, providing you with the right mindset and strategies to navigate the housing market with confidence.

Myth 1: “I need a 20 percent down payment.”

Saving for a down payment is often seen as a significant challenge for homebuyers. Many first-time buyers believe that they need to have a 20% down payment before they can get approved for a mortgage. However, this is no longer the case in today’s real estate market. In fact, the median down payment for first-time buyers in San Jose has remained steady at 6 percent in recent years. Various government programs also allow buyers to put as little as 3.5% down to achieve their dream of homeownership.

While putting less than 20% down may result in higher monthly mortgage payments, including Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), it can also free up more funds for other financial goals and provide a cushion for emergencies.

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Myth 2: “I can’t get a mortgage if I don’t have a perfect credit score!”

Another common myth is the belief that you need a perfect credit score to qualify for a mortgage. In reality, your credit score doesn’t have to be flawless. The median credit score range for approved mortgages in San Jose is typically between 670 and 739. Lenders also consider other factors such as employment history, debt-to-income ratio, and the amount you can put towards a down payment when assessing your mortgage eligibility.

The required credit score can vary depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. Conventional loans have stricter standards and typically require a minimum credit score of 620, while FHA loans may accept a credit score as low as 580. If you have a lower credit score, there are steps you can take to improve it before applying for a mortgage.

Myth 3: “I’ll skip hiring a real estate agent to save money.”

Some homebuyers choose to forgo hiring a real estate agent, thinking they can save money in the process. However, working with a skilled realtor can provide numerous advantages and ultimately save you time and money. In San Jose, buyer’s agents are typically compensated by the seller, so there is no additional cost to the buyer.

Realtors bring expertise, negotiation skills, and access to valuable market data. They can help you find the best deals, navigate complex real estate contracts, and guide you through important stages such as home appraisals, inspections, and contingency clauses. Their professional assistance can significantly streamline the buying process and ensure you make informed decisions.

Myth 4: “I’ll wait until spring to start my home search.”

Many people believe that spring is the best time to buy a home in San Jose. While it’s true that the housing inventory tends to be greater in spring and there is heightened market activity, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only optimal time to make a purchase. Each real estate market is unique, and your decision should be based on your personal circumstances and local market conditions.

Starting your home search in fall or winter can have its advantages. There may be fewer homes available, but sellers motivated to relocate quickly may be more inclined to negotiate and offer better deals. Additionally, competition from other buyers might be less intense, giving you more opportunities to find your dream home at a favorable price.

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Myth 5: “I can’t afford to buy a home in San Jose.”

San Jose’s reputation as a high-cost housing market often leads potential buyers to believe that homeownership is out of their reach. While it’s true that San Jose has a higher median home price compared to other cities, it doesn’t mean that every property is unaffordable.

There are various housing programs, down payment assistance options, and mortgage products designed to help first-time buyers enter the San Jose housing market. Researching and exploring these resources can uncover opportunities that make homeownership more accessible than you might think. Working with a knowledgeable lender can also help you navigate the financial aspects of buying a home and identify the best loan options for your situation.

Myth 6: “I should focus solely on the price of the house.”

When searching for a home, it’s essential to look beyond the price tag. While the purchase price is a significant consideration, there are other factors that should be taken into account. Consider the location, neighborhood amenities, school districts, commute times, and future development plans in the area.

A real estate agent can provide valuable insights into these factors and help you evaluate the overall value of a property. They can also assist in negotiating the best price based on the property’s condition, market trends, and comparable sales in the area.

Myth 7: “I should max out my budget to get the home of my dreams.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a home and be tempted to stretch your budget to secure your dream property. However, it’s crucial to consider your long-term financial well-being and avoid becoming “house poor.”

Take a thoughtful and realistic approach when determining your budget. Consider all the costs associated with homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and potential future expenses. Set a budget that allows you to comfortably afford your mortgage payments while still having room for other financial goals and unexpected expenses.

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Myth 8: “I don’t need a home inspection.”

Some buyers may be tempted to skip the home inspection to save money or expedite the buying process. However, this is a risky decision that can lead to unforeseen issues and financial burdens down the line.

A professional home inspection is crucial to uncover any hidden defects or potential problems with the property. It provides an opportunity to negotiate repairs or a lower purchase price based on the inspection findings. Investing in a thorough home inspection can save you from costly surprises and ensure that you’re making an informed decision.

Myth 9: “I should make a lowball offer to get a better deal.”

While it’s understandable to want to negotiate and get the best possible price, making a lowball offer can backfire. In a competitive market like San Jose, a significantly low offer may be disregarded or even offend the seller, potentially putting you at a disadvantage.

Instead, work with your real estate agent to analyze comparable sales and determine a fair and competitive offer based on market conditions. A strategic and well-informed offer is more likely to be taken seriously and can lead to successful negotiations.

Myth 10: “I can handle the home buying process on my own.”

The home buying process can be complex and overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. While it may seem tempting to tackle it alone, it’s important to recognize the value of professional guidance.

Working with a team of experts, including a real estate agent, lender, and home inspector, can help ensure a smooth and successful transaction. These professionals bring specialized knowledge and experience to navigate the intricacies of the process, provide valuable advice, and protect your interests.


Don’t let myths and misconceptions hold you back from buying a home in San Jose. By debunking these common misconceptions and arming yourself with the right knowledge, you can approach the home buying process with confidence and make informed decisions. Remember to work with professionals, understand the local market conditions, and consider your long-term financial goals. With the right mindset and strategies, homeownership in San Jose can become a reality for you.

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About the Author
Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.