Home buyer: Darren Gennuso, 29
Occupation: California Highway Patrol officer
Gross monthly income: $5,550 with overtime; $4,600 without overtime
Goal: To buy a home in the South Bay as an investment
The problem: Gennuso invests too much of his income, overspends, lacks a down payment and wants to live near the beach, which will be expensive.
* Buy a home now, as analysts predict real estate prices will go up later this year.
* Temporarily eliminate any current heavy investments, such as a 401(k), to help bridge the gap between paying rent and a higher mortgage amount.