So youre thinking about buying a home in San Diego, but you have no idea what to do next… good! Now this blog isnt going to be about why right now is a great time to buy, or how interest rates keep going up (making buyers pay thousands more on their mortgage), or how renting is a waste of money “ rather, Im just going to outline and define the buying process so that when the time comes and you say, Denny, find me a house, youll be prepared for whats to come.
Buying a home in San Diego doesnt have to be difficult or scary, but since most people buy homes about as often as they stick to their New Years resolutions, it can be overwhelming. Here are some of the basic steps:
Thats right.dont do anything.out of the norm. Dont quit your job, dont move, dont buy a car. You dont want to do anything that will, or might, negatively affect your FICO. Ok, so step ones easy. Keep going!
Why should you talk to a lender when youre not even sure you want to buy a home? You should because 9 out of 10 times, financing is the most difficult part of a transaction. Consulting with a mortgage broker will provide you with a few things. For one, youll get your credit score(also know as your FICO) checked. This way you will find out if anyone aside from you has credit cards in your name and has been buying fishing rods in Idaho on eBay. In addition to this, youll be able to work on fixing your credit if your FICO isnt where you want it (usually a FICO of 700 or higher is ideal). Talking to a lender will also help you and your realtor (Me) search for houses that are in your price range. You dont want to start looking at penthouses if youre only comfortable buying a studio. This will also let you review your finances in general and help you decide whether or not you should buy that new car now, or after you buy your house. The last part of step two, is to get a pre-approval letter from your lender. This basically states that youve spoken to a lender and based on your current FICO and financial situation, youre capable of buying a home within a specified price. This does not mean you have a loan “ it just shows that youre doing what a potential home buyer should be doing and in the event you decide to go forward, I can present this to the seller, making your offer even stronger.
Now that you have an idea of what you can/want to afford, figure out whats important to you in a home. Is it the view? Do you need a yard? Do you have to have a single story home? What about school districts? Also, be sure to differentiate between the NEEDS and the WANTS. The more you know about the home you want, the better I can do my job and only show you the homes that fit what youre looking for. This way, you wont have to wander into 20 open houses, hoping that this one has the right number of bedrooms and doesnt backup into a main road.
Also, if youre buying a house with someone else, or other people will be living with you, make sure you get their input and figure out how to all be on the same page. And, if youre going in on the house with your girlfriend, or best friend, make sure youve thought this out and have an agreement, in writing, that covers EVERYTHING possible. What happens if you decide one of you wants to move? What if your job relocates you? What if one of you wants to sell? Are you just splitting costs, or are you basing payments off of the room size? My point is, you never know whats for sure and what might happen. By signing a contract, this will save you a lot of stress down the road, if anything changes.
At this point, you should have an idea of whether or not youre looking to purchase a home. If you are, you need to consider what your current living situation is. Do you already own a home? Do you need, or want, to sell it before you buy another? The good news is that if the answer is yes, I can take care of everything for you. The bad news is that this will take sometime. Either way, we can discuss what the best plan is for you and your specific needs.
If you dont need to sell, or are renting, what are your lease terms? Do you pay rent month-to-month? When is your lease up? What will it cost you to break it? Often times, landlords will waive the penalty, assuming you can find a replacement, or give them ample notice. Again, I can help you with this.
Now that youve come this far, the next step is to figure out where you want to buy your home. For some of you, this will be the easiest step and for others, you might not know the difference between Downtown and El Cajon. Luckily for you, I do and based on the work you did in Steps 2 and 3, Ill be able to guide you to the appropriate areas.
Here are a few more things to consider when deciding where you want to live:
Keep in mind, you dont have to have everything figured out, but at least have an idea of what youre looking for.
Youve done all the work so far, so now its my turn. After having spoken to you, I should have a good idea of what youre looking for. Since I have access to every home for sale in San Diego county, I can show you anything and everything you want. Once youre ready to move forward, Ill follow your specific market on a daily basis, checking on new listings, price changes and upcoming listings. I do this via the Multiple Listing Service(MLS), caravan(essentially open houses for realtors), talking to other agents in the area and when appropriate, I contact the home owners directly to see if theyre thinking about moving.
Once Ive found some homes that I think youd like, Ill email them to you so you can look at the pictures, the virtual tour and map out where the house is. As you filter through the homes, well decide on which ones you want to go and see and then go check them out. It usually takes a few outings before we find 2 or 3 homes you really like, but it depends on how well youve prepared your want and needs list.
The next step is to get an offer accepted and go to escrow. You can read more about this by clicking here.