Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


First Time Buyer Counseling

A good portion of my real estate business is working with first time buyers. And as someone new to the complex process of buying a home, particularly in this market, having all the information about what to do and not to do, having a good sense of what you are looking for (AND can afford to buy), and other matters is incredibly important.

I try to sit down with all new buyers before getting started in order to get to know each other, but more importantly to answer all the questions and set some expectations about the market. And a part of that “getting to know each other” is to decide if working together makes sense.

Since short sales and REOs (a.k.a. foreclosures and bank sales) are a big part of the market, especially at the lower price points (here in San Diego, under $500K), it is essential to know about buying a short sale (much of what you will read in that article applies to REOs, too). [Note that the reader comments on the short sale article have been disabled for the time being by ActiveRain due to the volume – too bad, there are some helpful stories shared by buyers]

Can you jump through all the buyer hoops?

Here’s an overview of the information I like to cover with buyers (first timers and not).

READ – First Time Buyer Counseling

You can download some helpful forms on my website, too:

I also have an extensive Buyer’s Handbook I will share with you (via Google Docs, or hard copy if you prefer) if we start working together.

If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude” Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

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Check Out the Agent Before You Buy

My feeling is it is important to check out any agent before you go ahead and hire them to help you find your first home.

The article (link below) was written to assist both buyers and sellers, and is equally important whether you are a first time buyer or a more experienced one. The more you know BEFORE you buy, the better. And there are ways on-line to get the information you need.

Buyers and Sellers: Check Out That Agent Before You Hire

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

Are You Willing to Ask for Help?

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on January 13, 2009
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Many first time buyers start out their home search looking on-line and perhaps driving around and stopping in at open houses. Some have an idea about what buying a home entails, from friends or family, but some have little or no clue about what a home purchase actually entails.

It seems that many first time home buyers want to be in control of their search and go about it in their own way. And that’s fine. But at some point it really makes sense to ask for assistance. Are YOU willing to ask for help?

Having a knowledgeable REALTOR to represent YOUR interests, as we do sellers’, is of tremendous value to you.  Working with the agent who is listing the property you like will not accomplish that since that agent represents the seller. And if you don’t know what you are doing, can you really risk not having qualified help?

You also need to have the guidance of a qualified and trusting mortgage professional. Getting a loan these days is much more complicated because of stricter requirements, and a seeming reluctance of some banks to loan money. As a first time buyer, you likely don’t have a large down-payment and this makes getting a loan tougher. The good news is that the interest rates are some of the lowest in many decades.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by not asking for help. A team effort to get you into your first home IS the way to go. Going it alone will lead to frustrations, and fear about making mistakes.

It’s still all about you and your first home purchase even when using the help available to you.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

What You Can Learn from Reading Blogs

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,House Hunting by Jeff Dowler on May 5, 2008
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Your link to the InternetAs a first time buyer you are likely spending a great deal of time on the Internet. If not, you are in the small minority who aren’t.

In all likelihood you are searching for homes on-line in the areas that interest you. As you are probably discovering, this is great way to get to know more about the housing market since there are lots of listings on-line.

The other focus may be on finding a real estate agent to help you with your home search when you are ready. Again, the Internet is a terrific place to gather the information you need so you can make an informed decision.

I wrote an article just the other day about the importance, and value, to consumers of reading blogs by agents, and the advantages of working with an agent who is blogging.

To learn more, read 9 Advantages of Working with a Real Estate Professional Who Blogs.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360
or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

Giving Buyers What They Want

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,General Information,House Hunting by Jeff Dowler on December 3, 2007

This is NOT about sellers giving buyers what they want…although that is certainly one way to make a deal happen.

This is about blogging, and the value to consumers such as yourself – the first time buyer.

Presumably you are reading this and other real estate blogs because you WANT and NEED information as part of your home search process. And that’s precisely what you should receive, when you want and need it most.

It’s not about convincing you to use a certain agent (well, it shouldn’t be).

It’s not about SELLING to you, either.

The Internet, and blogs in particular, are there to provide you with what you need to know in your home search. Yes, you will likely want to use an agent, and blogs can help you decide WHO you would like to work with.

But first and foremost you are reading to gather information to help make important real estate decisions as a  first time buyer, and this should be available to you without any strings attached (like in the “old” days when the consumer HAD to use an agent in order to get the details on the homes that were for sale).

If you have been researching on-line for a while you have probably figured this out. If you are just getting started, there is a wealth of real estate information out there for you…on this blog for first time buyers and elsewhere. Take advantage of what is there for you to use.

And DON’T let yourself be sold.

If you have any questions you need answered, let me know and I will post a response for all to read.

Do You Feel Stupid?

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,House Hunting by Jeff Dowler on October 6, 2007
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You’re a first time buyer and you know you have a lot to learn. You are still trying to figure out what it is that you want to buy, and where. It’s a huge decision, and you have never done it before so you have no experience. So you may feel that you don’t know what you are doing.

As you come in contact with real estate agents, and perhaps mortgage brokers, during this process you will likely get asked lots of questions.

  • Do you feel stupid because you don’t know the answer?
  • Do you feel that you should know?
  • Are you embarassed because you DON’T know?

There’s a good chance that you will feel this way from time to time. I don’t think that people necessarily are tying to make you feel dumb, or that you don’t know anything, but in their quest to be helpful, or to try and get YOUR business (agents, of course, want to SELL you a home), they may ask questions that really make you feel stupid, or wrong in your thinking.

Some of it is just plain salesmanship and it can be pretty annoying. You might feel that you are getting pushed in a direction you don’t want to go, or don’t feel ready for. Plus you might get the feeling that they don’t REALLY want to help YOU, or have YOUR best interests at heart but are focused more on just making a sale…and a commission.

Listening carefully to a buyer, especially a first time buyer, is critical in order to really understand what they want and need, and to help them make some decisions. Asking good questions to help you sort through all the confusion, and to find out what things you don’t know so you can become better educated, is essential. As is recognizing your feelings and concerns and allowing you to feel the way you do rather than imply that it is wrong.

Listen to your feelings. And steer clear of folks that make you feel uncomfortable. There are plenty of good agents, and mortgage brokers, that ARE there to help – to make you feel comfortable, to educate you, to assist you in your quest for a home and NOT only be concerned about a sale. They DO have your best interests at heart, and won’t push you to make a decision you are not ready to make.

Keep an eye out for these people – when you find them you will feel comfortable and want their help. And you won’t feel stupid.

READ: Do I need to use an agent?

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What is MOST Important When Selecting Your REALTOR?

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,Psychological Stuff by Jeff Dowler on September 20, 2007

As a first time buyer you have a critical job – making a decision as to which REALTOR you are going to work with to help you buy your first home. Although deciding WHICH home to buy is probably the other critical decision that you will need to make.

Selecting your agent is a huge decision and you shouldn’t take it lightly. But what is MOST important when selecting your REALTOR?

A big part of the answer to that question depends on you.  So I suggest you think about what is MOST important to you, as you talk with possible team members.

  • Is it the person who has the most experience?
  • The person who has sold the most homes?
  • The agent who has every credential in the book?
  • That person who is a techie and has all the bells and whistles?
  • Is it the agent that makes you feel comfortable? The one who genuinely seems to want to help YOU make a crucial decision, and NOT just earn a paycheck?
  • The individual who seems to be the most competent and knowledgeable?
  • The person who knows that area(s) you are interested in?

My point here is that all of these are issues for you to consider, among others I’m sure you will think of. Some things may be more important to you than others.

I believe that the relationship between agents and their clients is really the key to success. There has to be a sense of trust, and honesty; integrity and loyalty; and a real concern for you, the buyer. YOU are the one who is most important in the relationship.

There are lots of folks out there who have the knowledge, know the technology, and have helped people buy and sell homes. But you have to decide based on what is most important, and comfortable, for you. Don’t make a hasty decision on this…trust me. But I think you will also know when you have found the right person to help you in the most important, and expensive, purchase of your life.

Good luck!

Why You Should Not Use Multiple Agents

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,Realtor's Job,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on August 2, 2007

triplets.jpg 

I’m sorry for being somewhat absent in the last week. Between a very heavy work schedule, several days away in the desert for a quick (and short) vacation), a business trip to San Francisco on blogging, and other personal stuff, it has been really busy.

I suppose those are not good excuses, but I feel badly nonetheless.

Anyhow, one of the issues that I have seen recently is the situation where buyers (new AND experienced) are using the services of multiple agents without commiting to any particular one.

 As a consumer, and a REALTOR(R), I don’t understand this approach. Sure, you have the right to handle your search this way, but I don’t see what advantages you are gaining by doing so. I’m sure you must have your reasons.

If you perceive there are some good reasons to not commit to an agent and solicit assistance from multiple people, I would love to know – honestly, I would, ‘cos I just don’t understand. Perhaps there are things that we agents need to better understand.

I just wrote a longer blog about this and wanted to share it with you. I welcome your comments.

Read the blog here >>>

Still Looking for a Real Estate Agent?

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,House Hunting by Jeff Dowler on June 27, 2007

I am not sure if I mentioned this before, but even if I did it is worth sharing again. There are a couple of websites you may want to check out regarding real estate, both of which I write on.

One is ACTIVERAIN. The neat thing about this site is you can search in all 50 states and find people in the real estate industry who provide information in their respective areas. But you can also search for an agent in your community. This is not like looking on Google, or in one of the zillion sites that purports to provide you with the best agents to choose from. Each community (at least fairly major ones) will have multiple agents that you can read about, and by reading their blogs you will learn about THEM personally. Great way to find someone to help you outside the Southern California area.

Another good site, associated with Activerain but focussed more on consumer information is Localism. Once again, this is a site where you can seach in your respective geographies and read about communities, market reports, news, events, see photos and much more. Great sources of information. To see the information that I have written about Carlsbad, CA and local areas, click here. At the bottom of my profile page are the links to all the articles on Localism.

You can follow the same process with any other city in the US.

Good luck. These are both terrific sources of information for first time buyers.

To Look or Not to Look

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,House Hunting,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on June 13, 2007

expensive-house.gifexpensive-house.gifI have met several first time buyers recently who are out looking at homes on their own. No agent to help them screen properties or neighborhoods, or give them guidance on how to go about the process.

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily. Looking at homes and neighborhoods to decide what type of house you wish to buy and where IS an essential part of the process. The more you look, the more you will learn about areas that interest you, or don’t. You will learn about value, and what your money can buy (assuming you KNOW how much you can afford – you DID get pre-approved, didn’t you?). I encourage buyers to look at areas even before they go to see actual home interiors to be sure they like the neighborhood, or not, for whatever reason. Otherwise it’s a waste of time.

I do believe that working with an agent during this time has its advantages.

  • First, based on knowledge about your budget, an agent can help you not waste time by screening out areas where there are no homes in your price range.
  • Second, you will have access to more homes, since you will need to tour a home with an agent (either your Buyer Agent OR the Listing Agent) unless it is an Open House.
  • You can gain access to gated communities (if they are common in your area and homes there are priced for your budget).
  • An agent can provide more information about homes that interest you that will be useful to you in your decision making – details about the neighborhood that may not be obvious, fees, pricing relative to market conditions, and so on.

Should you stop looking around on your own? Nope. It’s a smart thing to do.  But at some point having the knowledge and experience of a REALTOR to help you sort through the homes for sale in your area(s) can be fruitful.

Furthermore, if you DO find a home you like and want to purchase, having a REALTOR already in place will make it that much easier. You will have already discussed the purchase process and will know what to do next in the process. And you won’t have to quickly find someone to help you that you don’t know and feel comfortable with [read more on interviewing and selecting an agent to help you].

The choice is yours. You will probably know when you need to hook up with someone. Just don’t wait too long.

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