Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


First Time Buyer Central has a NEW LOCATION

Posted in General Information by Jeff Dowler on August 10, 2012
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JUST A REMINDER!!

I have upgraded my First Time Buyer Central blog with new features at a new site – I hope you will visit often.

No more posts will be add to this site after today, July 10, 2010.

FIRST TIME BUYER CENTRAL

A blog for ALL BUYERS, information, tips and news about buying a home

Want to Become a Prepared Buyer? Here’s How

Posted in General Information by Jeff Dowler on September 30, 2010
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If you want to be a prepared buyer…and who doesn’t…check out this recent article on my NEW First Time Buyer Central Blog (new look, new location)

What Does a Prepared Buyer Look Like?

Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego

First time home buyers can no longer take advantage of the Federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, but if you are in California you CAN take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit of up to $10K that California has over a 3-year period.

Read more about the California 2010 First-Time Buyer Tax Credit

A number of first time home buyers in Southern California may also qualify for one of the down payment assistance programs in San Diego.

These programs have income (maximum) guidelines based on total household size, but they offer a pretty decent amount of money for down payments (and in some programs for closing costs). The cool thing is there are no payments until you sell the home.

Want to learn more?

Read the article I just posted on Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego.

Are You Really Ready to Buy a Home?

I decided to re-post this article that I wrote quite some time ago. Given the difficulties in this market, with short sales and foreclosures (REOs or bank-owned properties), knowing if you are really ready to buy is critical. Not everyone is prepared for what they have to deal with when buying a home.


And certainly being financially able is essential or you are wasting your time.


One question to ask yourself is if you are REALLY ready to buy or are you just looking right now? While you may be thinking you are ready, your behavior may suggest the time is not quite right.


The questions below will help you determine if you are truly prepared to buy…emotionally, psychologically and financially.

  • Will you be paying cash or have you arranged for financing?
  • Do you have a house or condo to sell?
  • Do you have a lease you can break or are you tick for an extended period of time?
  • If you went out today and found your dream home, what would you do?
  • Do you have a good idea of what you are looking for and what you are willing to trade off?
  • Why do you want to buy a new house? Do you have some good reasons (space, financial psychological) for wanting to buy?
  • You know yourself better than anyone. Can you HONESTLY say (and look yourself in the face in a mirror!) that you are emotionally, psychologically and financially ready to go? This is a tough one for the first time buyer, and an “unsure answer” or “I’m scared” is perfectly alright since it’s a bit step and being nervous about it is to be expected.
  • How well informed are you about the market in terms of inventory, pricing, marketing time, interest rates, etc.? It’s hard to get started on the process if you know nothing about it or the local market.

You can download some helpful forms and checklists about short sales and REOs on the home page of my website.

Visit my Savvy Buyers Page to download the “Buyer’s Lifestyle Questionnaireand  my What’s Important to You in Your Home Search Questionnaire.

Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

What You Should Know about Buyer’s Closing Costs

This article is specifically written for buyers in  California where we use escrow companies, as opposed to attorneys, to complete the transaction. But lots of this information may still apply, and it’s worthwhile to consider the overall concept – thinking ahead about your CLOSING COSTS.

Closing Costs can really add up - be prepared

Folks who have bought before will have some idea of this already, but first time buyers are often surprised at the fees they have to pay, on top of the mortgage, during their purchase. A savvy agent can, and should, share information with you about the fees you can expect, some of which depend on the price of the home.

If you aren’t being told, or the topic has not yet come up, ASK. You don’t want any big surprises.

The other thing to keep in mind is that in the case of SHORT SALES and REOs (foreclosures) the fees may be higher because the bank will not approve paying some of the normal seller-paid fees.

READ MORE: Some Home Buying Costs You ay Not Think About (Part 2 of 3) – Escrow and Closing Costs


Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

How to Protect Your Home From Fires

Someone kindly sent along a link to a really useful article about protecting your home from fires. So I thought I would, and should, share it.

There are links to 10 different GUIDES, some interactive, as well as a list of ACTIONS TO CONTAIN FIRES and suggestions on FIRE PREVENTION TOOLS homeowners should have. Good reading and worth sharing with friends, neighbors and family.

25 Tips to Protect Your Home From Fires

Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

The Obvious, and Hidden, Costs of Buying a Home

No doubt buying a home these days is expensive. Particularly in some parts of the country such as Southern California.

Many of the costs are obvious, but some are expenses buyers don’t necessarily think about, or are somewhat hidden.

In this first article of 3, the focus is on the costs you may incur during the home search, as well as after you get an offer acceptance. Because some folks are backing out of deals, or having them fall apart (especially the short sales and foreclosures [REOs]), there may be fees you are paying even though you don’t end up with the home you want.

Read more about some of the home buying costs you may not think about (Part 1 of 3)


Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Do You Have Proof of Funds?

Posted in Financial,Offers by Jeff Dowler on April 27, 2010
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Proof of funds (POF) can be an important component of your offer.

If you are a buyer with a down payment, it may be in your best interest to submit an offer with proof of funds. While this may only be required in the case of REOs and short sales as we see here in Southern California, I think it may be in your best interest, and make your offer more competitive, if you include a copy of a bank statement or other record (black out those account numbers) to prove you have the funds for the down payment.

If you are a cash buyer this is pretty much a MUST DO part of your offer.

Your state contract may require this, as ours does, after offer acceptance, but why not show your interest and your financial capability to the seller up front.

Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Summary of FEDERAL and CALIFORNIA Tax Credits

Posted in Financial,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on April 12, 2010
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Time is running out to get in on the Federal tax credits.

But if you are able to put a California home under contract BY APRIL 30, 2010 and CLOSE after MAY 1, you could get both the Federal and California state tax credit (up to a total of $18,000!!).

Here’s a handy dandy summary of what you need to know to take advantage of these tax credits.

Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

The Importance of Your Credit Score – What it Is, and What You Can Do to Improve It

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on April 4, 2010
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Having a strong credit history and score is critical in this buying market, especially since the banks are getting stricter with their lending requirements and the scores that are acceptable.

Many folks are not really even aware of their credit score and history until they start looking into buying a home. And sometimes there are errors that buyers are not aware of.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your credit score, as well as things you should not do because they will lower your score.

This article by a friend of mine back East is an excellent overview of what the FICO (credit score) is, what impacts it, and how you can improve it. A VERY worthwhile read.

Increasing FICO Scores to Purchase a Home


Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

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