What we learned from our experience today:
- We don't like the houses we can afford in Orange County
- We really like one specific area of Corona called "Sierra del Oro"
- Bank owned homes are in major need of being fixed-up; when people lose their homes they become wild animals and do horrible things to the property. Smashed windows, torn up carpet, holes in walls, etc...
- If you love the house, the backyard is too small, or it is in a bad area
- If you love the location and the yard, the house looks like it came straight out of 1983
- It looks like we may have to buy a "fixer-upper"; we just need to decide how much fixing up we are willing to do.
We found one home we loved, but the entire backyard was taken up by a pool -- a long narrow pool that if you weren't careful you would walk right into. Not a good place for a family.
We found another one we loved (actually it is just about my perfect house), but it is in a community where the houses are almost touching, there is no parking on the street, and trying to get out of the gated community in the morning would be a nightmare (we might go look at it again).
So... now our agent knows what we like and we will spend every moment we get looking for the perfect house. We are not in a hurry, the market is on our side, and we are pre-approved so we will be patient until we find "the one".