Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

What YOU Should Know About Home Inspections

I’ve written about home inspections in the past, in particular about the importance of having one. I ALWAYS recommend a buyer have one, and this is most important when considering short sales and REOs (foreclosures) since they are sold AS IS and often have a myriad of defects and repair issues.

Here is a link to a terrific article on Home Inspections by a colleague of mine, Lenn Harley, in the MD/VA area (by the way, if you are a buyer in that area Lenn is THE Buyer’s Agent to call at

There is No Such Thing as a “Bad Home Inspection”


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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

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


Some Homes are Not All They Are Cracked Up to Be – Some Are, Literally!!

Buyers – you may find in your home search that some homes are not all they are cracked up to be. But others will be.

However, I’m not talking about what you think I am.

I’m talking about REAL cracks.

There are homes, unfortunately here in North County San Diego (and no doubt elsewhere in the country), that have cracks in their slabs, which can be a serious problem.

  • Lenders will not provide a loan on a home with a cracked slab
  • A cracked slab can be very expensive to fix (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars or more depending on the problem based on what I was told by a guy who does this sort of work). It’s also expensive to have an inspection completed to determine the nature of the problem and the remedy.

These issues may or may not be obvious, which is one more good reason to have a home inspection. If there is suspicion of a problem then a further more detailed inspection is definitely warranted.

And certainly if a slab crack is a known issue the seller should be disclosing this (as was the case in a rather charming older home I toured the other day with my buyers  – the seller was there and freely shared the issue).

Needless to say, a HOME INSPECTION is essential so you know what you are getting, or can decide that the home is more than you are willing, or can, take on.

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”

Termites and Short Sales

Posted in Financial,Inspections,Short Sales by Jeff Dowler on March 6, 2009
Tags: ,

This post is about termites and short sales.  And pre-foreclosures and REOs, too.

This is NOT to imply there are more problems with these homes than the typical sales. Termites don’t discriminate – they like wood no matter what type of home it is.

The issue for buyers, however, arises out of the fact that (1) the home is being sold AS IS, and (2) the homeowner is financially strapped and owes the bank more money than the home is worth on the market.

In the typical sale here in Southern California, buyers negotiate for the seller to do a pest inspection AND to take care of remediating termites as well as repairing the damage. Sellers don’t always agree, but it’s pretty common. A major reason this is done is because the buyer’s lender does not want to lend more on a home (their collateral) that is termite infested. Makes sense that they want a clearance on the property before closing.

Buyers – be aware that the bank may not be willing to do (pay for) the termite inspection. But more costly is the fact they may not be willing to pay for the remediation and repairs. The seller can request the bank pay this in order to get the short sale completed. But if they refuse the buyer will have to agree to the additional cost, or back out of the transaction.

Of course you will have access to the report so you will know the costs of remediation. But it is a monkey wrench that can thrown into the mix. Just thought I’d warn ya.


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

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 Should Know About Termite Inspections

Posted in Due Diligence,Inspections by Jeff Dowler on February 13, 2008
Tags: ,

100_4003.jpgIf you are buying a new home, it is pretty likely the seller of the home you are buying will have a termite inspection done.

This is negotiated as part of your purchase offer, the reason being that MOST lenders will require a certificate of clearance that your home does not have a propblem with termite infestation. Termites are common here in Carlsbad and other areas of Southern California, so this is pretty common and you should not be overly concerned.
But it’s important to know about termites and what is being done to eradicate them. And since you may see a circus-like tent around in a neighborhood, you might be wondering what this is about.

Read more about termite inspections here

My Carlsbad Home Offer Has Been Accepted – Now What?

Do you have any idea of what to expect after your offer has been accepted on your Carlsbad home?

Read Part 1 on How to Make an Offer

Read Part 2 on After the Offer Comes the Negotiations

Here in California you will have agreed upon a specific DUE DILIGENCE period (typically 17 days – the default) in your contract (Form RPA). This could be more or less depending on what the seller would agree to. This process may vary somewhat in other states – see your contract.

The DUE DILIGENCE period is critical for you, the buyer. During this time period you must do all your investigations and review all the available documentation about the Carlsbad home you are buying to make sure you are comfortable with it and willing to proceed with the sale. Carlsbad real estate is too expensive to make a mistake – it’s not like buying the wrong size shirt that you can return.

Possible the MOST important thing you should do (I’d say MUST but it’s not required, only strongly advised IMO) is have a thorough home inspection. You really need to know about any defects in the home, repairs that are needed, and so on, before moving ahead. This is especially true if you are buying a Carlsbad home “as is” and when buying a SHORT SALE or FORECLOSURE property.

There will be a host of DISCLOSURES from the seller and from the escrow company (the neutral third party that manages the transaction process for both buyer and seller) that you must review and approve by signing. This is valuable information about the home — you can’t change it but need to know about it and be willing to buy the home knowing what you know — including natural hazards, mold, lead paint, past insurance claims (if any), wood boring insects (e.g., termites), and information from the seller (form TDS) about the home’s systems and condition, among other things.

The other critical event that must happen is you need to obtain your LOAN COMMITMENT so you can remove the loan contingency. The bank must obtain all the financial information from you and conduct an appraisal of the home before they will approve your loan. Failure to obtain loan approval could mean you lose the house.

The DUE DILIGENCE period is a critical one, and you must take responsibility for doing a thorough investigation (including reviewing all MLS data, and perhaps even measuring the rooms) to satisfy yourself. Once this period has passed IT IS TOO LATE.

What Repairs Should I Request to Taken Care Of?

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting,Inspections,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on August 23, 2007

Buyers have often asked me about what repairs they should request a seller to take care of.

Some of them? All of them? None of them?

It really is a personal choice, but for me, I always suggest requesting that safety issues be taken care of (electrical, plumbing, heating). These can be serious hazards, and often the repair is not costly. There may be other things you can overlook, or that you would prefer to fix yourself.

The major repairs should also be considered – rotted steps, cracked plumbing, leak in the roof – since these can end up causing more costly damage.  If the seller is not willing, then perhaps a negotiation on price is in order to compensate.

It is a good idea with more extensive repairs to have a professional examine the issues so you know what they mean, and what the costs might be to fix them. This can help in your negotiations with the seller, but you will also know what you are up against if the seller is unwilling to take on the repairs.

As I said previously, you can always walk away if you and the seller cannot reach a reasonable agreement. No house is perfect, but you DON’T want to take on “the money pit” unless you really enjoy that sort of thing.

Read my previous post on What if Problems Arise in an Inspection.

Start your SAN DIEGO HOME SEARCH here.

Request Free BUYER and SELLER REPORTS here.

Do You Know What a Mold Inspection Is?

Posted in Due Diligence,Inspections,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on July 16, 2007

As you have probably read, either here or in the media, mold has become a huge issue in the real estate business. And it CAN be a significant problem.

You may run across it in a home inspection and wonder what to do. And curious if you should be concerned or not.

In my continuing series on mold, written by Guest Blogger Andy Konapacki, President of VM3 Environmental, Inc. we learn more about the mold inspection itself.

Read more here >>>>

What is Mold (Guest blogger series – Part 1)

Posted in FAQs,General Information,Inspections by Jeff Dowler on June 13, 2007


Here’s the link to the first in this series on MOLD,

posted on my Relocation A to Z blog.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them, visit their website, or call Andy directly at (760) 273-9728.

I know it’s a pain to click to go to another site to read an article. Since I write several blogs, however, it’s sometimes hard to know where to put certain articles (like this) that are relevant to readers of more than one blog. Since the search engines don’t like duplicate content (no cutting and pasting for me), this is the only way to do it…and make sure you get to read thngs that I think will be useful to you. I don’t do it often, coz I don’t like it myself particularly. So I hope you don’t mind too much. Andy’s article really are worth reading if MOLD is a concern.

So What’s the Big Deal About Mold?

Posted in Due Diligence,General Information,Inspections by Jeff Dowler on June 7, 2007

Mold is a pretty weighty topic these days, and having the necessary information to understand what mold is, how to determine if it is present in the home you are buying, and what to do about it, is essential for buyers to make informed decisions.I am pleased to announce that we will have a GUEST BLOGGER, Andy Konopacki, President of VM3 Environmental in Carlsbad over the next several months. Andy will be sharing lots of information for consumers about mold and what to do about it if it exists. He will also be able to answer any questions you wish to post.

Stay tuned for this very informative series (we hope to have an article every 2-3 weeks but the frequency MAY vary).

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions NOW that you would like answered, please let me know in your comment.


Looking for a Defect-Free Home?

Posted in House Hunting,Inspections,Psychological Stuff by Jeff Dowler on June 6, 2007

As a new buyer you are undoubtedly learning lots of things about the process as you conduct your home search, visit homes for sale and open houses, ask questions, and so on.

I hope that you are not one of the buyers that is looking for a defect-free home. They are out there, trust me. But if that is your attitude, I suspect you will be sorely disappointed. They just don’t exist. You shouldn’t expect that you will find such a home, nor be disappointed that the home you are trying to buy ends up having problems during your home inspection. This is true even if you buy brand new construction. And having such an attitude will set up some negative dynamics in your negotiations with the seller, especially when it comes time to discuss possible repairs.

Being realistic in your expectations is a big part of buying your first home. And being prepared to buy a home youlove even though it has some issues is pretty normal. And you might actually enjoy the opportunity to fix up your new place.

Obiouvsly you don’t want something that has more problems than you can take on, or can afford to fix (unless you want a “handyman” special), but be realistic in your expectations and in your attitude about what you want. If you go about looking for a defect-free home, you will likely never buy. Hmmm, is that perhaps your excuse to not make a decision?

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