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If you're hoping to buy a home in California, you'll need to research the best mortgage rates statewide. Shopping around with multiple mortgage lenders will increase your chances of landing a great deal and a lower monthly payment on your loan for what could be many years.
California is known for its fabulous climate, national parks, amazing beaches, and generally laid-back lifestyle. But it's also known as a fairly expensive state to move to, especially if you're buying rather than renting. Here are five affordable cities you might consider calling home in California.
Located between Fresno and Bakersfield, Visalia is known for its dry, sunshine-filled climate and agriculture-driven economy. The city is also known for its impressive network of parks. The median home value in Visalia is $236,400, according to Niche. By comparison, Zillow reports that the median home value in California is $758,360. Meanwhile, the average property tax rate in Tulare County, where Visalia is located, is 0.63% of a home's assessed value. That's a good deal compared to the average property tax rate of 0.74% statewide.
Located about two hours north of Los Angeles, Bakersfield is known for its horse shows, Basque Festival, and the famed Kern County Fair. The median home value in Bakersfield is $247,000, and the average property tax rate in Kern County, where Bakersfield is located, is 0.8% of a home's assessed value. That's a touch high for California, but not terribly so.
Not far from Visalia is Fresno, an outdoor enthusiast's dream. The city offers access to a number of notable national parks, including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia. It also has a number of theaters, and residents enjoy a vibrant performing arts scene. The median home value in Fresno is $242,000, reports Niche. Meanwhile, the average property tax rate in Fresno County is 0.65% of a home's assessed value, which is lower than the average tax rate on a statewide level.
Located about 90 minutes east of San Jose, Modesto is known for its annual Architectural Festival. It's also the home of Gallo Family Winery, the largest privately owned winery worldwide. The median home value in Modesto is $283,800, according to Niche, while the average property tax rate in Stanislaus County, where Modesto is located, is 0.66% of a home's assessed value.
Located within 90 minutes of San Francisco, Stockton has seen its share of hard times. In 2012, it was the largest U.S. city in history to file for bankruptcy (though Detroit gained that distinction a year later). Thankfully, the city has since recovered and is now known for its diversity, music scene, galleries, and museums. It also holds a number of annual festivals. The median home value in Stockton is $273,400, according to Niche, while the average property tax rate in San Joaquin County, where Stockton is located, is 0.73% of a home's assessed value, which is right in line with the average property tax rate statewide.
To land the best deal on a mortgage in California, you'll need to present yourself as a solid loan candidate. That means improving your credit score to the point where you're ideally in the mid-700s or higher, all the while lowering your debt-to-income ratio. Taking these steps will make owning a home far more affordable, and enjoyable, for years to come.
If you want to uncover more about the best mortgage lenders for low rates and fees, our experts have created a shortlist of the top mortgage companies. Some of our experts have even used these lenders themselves to cut their costs.
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