First-Time Home Buyers - San Diego CA

If you are buying a home for the first time, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in San Diego, CA.

The most important question that a first time buyer needs to address: 

"Is this home a short term real estate purchase less than 5 years, 5-10 years or 10 years or more?"

Why?  Real estate is an investment and it's an asset class.  It's also a bag of commodaties that have real costs and replacement costs!  It's value is based upon real estate economics, "supply and demand."  If everyone wants it price/value goes up, if no one wants it price/value goes down.  Wealth can be destroyed or created with your first property you purchase. 

As a Realtor/real estate agent adviser we don't want to sell you a house, we are committed to advising you to the best of our ablity to increase the quality of your life/lifestyle and help you build long term wealth with this first pruchase.

Learn more about Our Buyer Consultations that are designed to either start you 12 months out or if you are ready to find the one now!

Below are some basic questions and answers to get you started.

  • What does Pre-Qualification mean?  NOTHING!!!  What you are looking for is pre-approval.  First recommendation is to figure out who is the best lender specfically for your senario that you can partner with and will be your fiduciary on the path to secruing the cheapest possible loan with the best rate.  We can review with you the best way in our buyer consultation, DON'T ENTER ANY OF YOUR INFO ONTO A WEBSITE!!!! 
  • What does Pre-Approval mean?  Once you have established a advisory relationship with a respected lender, the next milestone is they will give you a Pre-Approval for the amount of loan they can give you.  This is beyond an estimation, it's actually what they will give you to buy a home.  While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • How to start searching for the right area/city? In our buyer consultation we can site in-front of a computer and discuss all the pros and cons of every city in San Diego so that you can begin to narrow down which cities will best serve your lifestyle priorities based upon your purchasing power.  Yes you want to start learning all the areas and seeing houses, but trust us that gets old quick when you can only see a couple houses at a time and it takes a couple hours.  Real quickly it can be experienced as a big waste of time. 
  • How to determine your list of Needs, Wants & Lifestyle Priorities: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time home buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Find a Professional Realtor: Make the decision to hire your own real estate agent advisor, one who is working for you as a fiduciary as early as possible that way you can casully do all your research and due diligence. 
  • How much does it cost to hire a real estate agent adviser: It's FREE!  The way it works in California is the seller pays for the buyers agent
  • How to start researching neighborhoods? Utilize open houses as a way to explore all the different neighborhoods and cities in San Diego as you are researching what you like and want.  To avoid all the sale people at the open house, bring a stack of business cards of the Realtor that you choose, and just hand it to them.  The secret to learning a lot at an open house is to share with the real estate agent that you have a Realtor and then ask them what do they like about they neighborhood?  They are so much more friendly once they know you have a Realtor and you are exploring new neighborhoods!
  • How to research online and communicate with your Realtor? This website is perfect for researching and created what's called a "Saved Search."  You can create your first one by clicking here and filling out a basic form with what you want.  Once you do that or Register on any listing you look at with your information then we will reach out and start to build your online research portal.  At the same time we can establish how to communicate with us on any questions you have about how to buy a home or how to get prepared to do it!
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

How long does it take to buy a house?  If you went from start to finish relatively quickly it takes on average 54 days.  The reason why we recommend to do a buyer consultation as early as possible in the search is to that you are set up for success.  We don't want any buyer to ever feel the pressure therefore the sooner we cover everything needed the easier the process will be.

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

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Listing information last updated on September 28, 2020 11:30 AM PST.