California real estate is notoriously expensive, and in today’s hot housing market, prices are skyrocketing and homes are selling fast. Future homeowners need to budget carefully to avoid excessively high mortgage payments – and it’s important to do this before you start looking for a home and fall in love with a home you can’t afford.

It can be helpful to have a realistic idea of ​​what your budget is likely to bring you if you are looking for a home in California. Of course, this can vary depending on what part of the state you plan to move to.

With that in mind, here’s what $ 500,000 can buy in several popular neighborhoods in California.

For $ 511,000, you can purchase a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo measuring 944 square feet. The condo is a top floor unit that has been completely remodeled. It has a pretty kitchen with a tiled backsplash, hardwood floors and a small fireplace.

The condo unit also offers access to a shared swimming pool, and the community itself is gated for added security. There is even a private garden as well as two private garages for the new owners.

2. A studio in San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the most expensive real estate in the country, so it’s no surprise that $ 500,000 only buys you a studio in most areas of the city.

The cost of the studio was actually $ 550,000 despite being only 544 square feet. It does, however, offer stunning views of the San Francisco skyline from a shared rooftop terrace, and it’s conveniently located along Market Street, where the owner can walk to local restaurants, shops, and theaters.

There is designated bicycle parking at this facility, and the owner will have access to a rooftop terrace with a barbecue as well as fire pits. And inside the unit, new appliances and insulated double-glazed windows give the space a modern and attractive look.

3. A ground floor condo in San Diego

For $ 519,000, you can purchase a ground floor condo in San Diego with private parking in a separate underground space. The 1,033 square foot space includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms and features a two-bedroom floor plan.

The condo was built in 1975, and it is clear that the interior space will need a lot of updating by the new owner. This will likely include renovating the kitchen and bathroom, as well as new flooring throughout most of the property.

However, owners will enjoy great community amenities, including:

  • Library
  • billiard room
  • Movie room
  • Large bridges overlooking a small lagoon

Homeowners’ Association (HOA) dues to access these amenities are $ 456 per month.

4. A lovely detached house in Fresno

Your home buying budget may stretch further in Fresno. For $ 501,000, you can purchase a 2,029 square foot single family home that includes four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The property was built in 2008 and sits on 6,840 square feet of land.

Inside, the home’s open floor plan includes a relatively modern kitchen and tile work in most common areas. There is also a fireplace and fitted wardrobes. A minimal update would likely be required, although the new owner may wish to replace some old carpets in the bedrooms.

As you can see, even in the state of California, location plays a big role in what you get for your money. Make sure you start buying your home with realistic expectations and a mortgage payment that you are comfortable making over the long term.

A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage

There is a good chance that interest rates will not stay at multi-decade lows any longer. That’s why it’s crucial to act today, whether you want to refinance and lower your mortgage payments or are ready to pull the trigger to buy a new home.

Our expert recommends this company to find a low rate – and in fact he used it himself for refi (twice!). Click here to find out more and see your price.

We strongly believe in the Golden Rule, which is why the editorial opinions are our own and have not been previously reviewed, endorsed or endorsed by the advertisers included. The Ascent does not cover all the offers on the market. Editorial content for The Ascent is separate from editorial content for The Motley Fool and is created by a different team of analysts. Ally is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Christy Bieber has no position in the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.