Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Due Diligence When Buying a Home – Part 1

Posted in Due Diligence by Jeff Dowler on October 13, 2006

When searching for a home, it is very important that YOU take responsibility as the buyer and do your own due diligence.

Even though your REALTOR can help in many ways, it is ultimately YOUR CHOICE where you live, so there is much that you need to learn so that you can make an informed decision. The more time you can spend researching the area and obtaining information, the more comfortable you will feel about settling into a particular neighborhood.

1. Use your agent’s website and access to the MLS to understand the housing as much as possible – type of homes, neighborhoods, size of homes, lot sizes, age, proximity to school and shopping, etc. Keep careful notes on areas that interest you so you can research these more. There is a wealth of information on the Internet.

2. Review the Chamber of Commerce websites for the towns that interest you. These typically have lots of information about the community – services, housing, shopping, parks, schools, events, etc. You will gain a good understanding and feel for the community. The URLs for these sites will vary, so a Google search will likely lead you to the  right URL. Here in North County San Diego you can search Carlsbad, Oceanside, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Vista, San Marcos, Encinitas, Cardiff, among others.

3. If schools are important, there are a number of resources on-line. You can link to my website where there is a national search site for school districts around the country. If there are particular school districts that interest you, research these on the Internet by doing a google search for that particular school district and review their site. I also suggest contacting school districts directly and perhaps getting more updated info, as well as the names of some parents to talk with. You should verify what school(s) are in you area so you know in advance, but check again once you have decided on some homes that are of interest – you might find that they are tied to different schools, and if that makes a difference to you knowing this will be important before you make an offer. While your agent may know, it is best for YOU to check this out. You will find that some information on the school district websites may be outdated, and boundaries for schools can change.

4. Crime may also be of concern, and if so you should check on this yourself. A REALTOR cannot guide you to or away from an area based on crime statistics. One source is the local police department for the town of interest (sometime the chamber website will have this information). You can also research this on the Internet. California and other states all provide information on registered sexual offenders – check the  database of sexual offenders (Megan’s Law) for your zip code.

I’ll talk some more about due diligence in a later post.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in your comments on this post , or please feel free to ask me directly if you wish.


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