I spoke with Michael, the finance guy, and he gave me some numbers. Looks like if I am more flexible about where we live and the price of the place, we can swing this house thing very well. I may have to go for a fixer upper and put some money into having it done up, since neither I nor R nor J can do anything to fix it, or go to neighboring communities to live, but this is more than possible, and we may end up paying less than we do now for rent.
We are helped by the fact that people with short sale and foreclosure houses are getting desperate and dropping their prices at an alarming rate. I am sorry to have to take advantage of someone else's misfortune, but I will do it because it's the only way for me to get into this market.
For example, the only house I have looked at so far was almost $400,000. It was damaged and there were lots of little things I didn't like about it. But now it is $250,000. For that much less, I can overlook some things, have them fixed. It wouldn't be hard to pay that off, in comparison. I ask myself whether there are other places of this ilk, and I am sure there are. In fact, I've seen a place listed that was from all appearances quite similar right down the street from that one.
So tomorrow I will have a chat with the real estate guy and see whether he is willing to help me find a place like this one. He seems set on putting us into a brand new place in West Irvine with Mello Roos and marble counters. I don't need marble counters (though the place I looked at has granite floors that are pretty fancy too). I don't need a brand new house. I just need one that is basically sound and not full of toxic mold, bedbugs, or something of that nature. If he's up for that, we can work together.