Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


Do You Give Up Easily?

Posted in Psychological Stuff,REOs,Short Sales by Jeff Dowler on January 13, 2010
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Are you the kind of person who gets frustrated quickly?

Do you give up easily?

I hope not, if you are a buyer, especially a first time buyer, in this market.

In our area there is a ton of competition, with multiple bids on most homes in the lower price ranges (e.g., under $500K), and in particular for short sales and REOs. What this can mean is that you may not get the house you want because you get outbid by someone else. There are more and more cash buyers out there, especially investors, and banks often prefer cash deals over financed ones.

  • Because of the nature of this market, many of you may have to make more than one offer in order to finally get a home, and this can be frustrating. Plus it takes time.
  • The other issue is that in many areas the inventory is not increasing, so there are not a lot of homes to choose from that fit the budget, and the ones on the market often need a lot of work or for other reasons are not very desirable.

However, with the low rates we currently have, and the opportunity to take advantage of the First Time Buyer Credit, buying a home now can be a terrific opportunity for many of you. But try not to let yourself get too frustrated, and BE PERSISTENT. A savvy local REALTOR can be your best defense.

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”

It’s Not Easy Buying a Condo These Days…Especially a “Cheap” One

Buying a home these days is not easy.

Showing homes that you are interested in is not easy either. You have to be prepared, despite our best intentions, to encounter problems with missing keys or lock boxes, limited showing schedules, and other factors.

READ MORE:  It Shouldn’t This Hard to Buy a Cheap Condo These Days

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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

Buyer’s Market? Hmmm

The media implies that it is a buyer’s market out there. In many areas, and many segments of the market, that IS, indeed, true.

People also seem to think that this is true for the REO/bank owned market.

Home for sale

That may be true in some areas but it is certainly not the case here in North San Diego County in Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, Oceanside and similar areas. Multiple offers on just about every REO (and short sale) and with these properties selling in many cases over asking suggests it is a BANKS’ market, NOT one favoring buyers.

Buyers are, in many cases submitting offers on multiple properties, and are losing out on several properties before they are successful. While this is not the case in mid- and high-range properties it is very much a part of the lower end market where many first time buyers need to start out.

dollar_signThe other shift we are seeing is many more cash buyers (often investors) who will often beat out regular buyers with loans since the REO banks (1) do not have to worry about an appraisal or a loan, and (2) they can get their money more quickly.

This is not to scare you away but just to paint a bit of a reality picture so you are not surprised. Given me a call if you have questions, or talk with YOUR agent to learn more about the reality of YOUR market. It may not be what you think it is.

READ MORE:

10 Buyer Challenges for Today’s Market

The Question Used to be – How Much Less Will the Sellers’ Take?

First Time Buyers – What Are You Missing in Your Home Search?

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting,Short Sales,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on July 21, 2009
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Believe it or not you may be missing some things in your home search.

This is especially true if your interest, or budget, puts you in front of a lot of short sale and REO (foreclosure or bank-owned) homes.

And it may not be what you think.

Read more about buying a short sale or REO – What Am I Missing?

Important San Diego MLS Information for Buyers

Many buyers in our area are looking at short sales, pre-foreclosures, and REOs as part of their home search. And there is LOTS of competition, so it is not really a “buyer’s market” for these kinds of homes. You will almost always find multiple offers on these properties, sometimes the day the new home is listed or within a day or so.

SANDICOR, the MLS for San Diego, has implemented a new status called CONTINGENT, which means there are offers awaiting approval of the short sale, or which have been submitted to the REO lender for approval. They are still ACTIVE but now there are multiple bids.

READ MORE HERE

My Buyer’s Short Sale Checklist

Posted in Short Sales,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on March 12, 2009
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Lots of buyers these days are considering short sales in their home search. And you should.

A short sale MAY not be the best deal for you, and they require a great deal of patience because of how long they can potentially take to close.

In some markets and budgets, you may not have a choice but to look at distress homes.

Here are some things you need to consider:

1.  Determine your patience level (know that getting a response on a short sale can take weeks or longer; how long are you willing or able to wait?)

2.  Hire a knowledgeable agent (always a smart idea but work with someone who has some experience with short sales – what they are, how they work, etc.)

3.  Get pre-approved (again, always a good idea, but know that some short sale listings will mandate you provide a pre-approval from a specific lender, namely the one who is the primary loan)

4.  Understand why you want to buy a short sale (sounds simple, but they are not necessarily great deals and there are many hurdles – are you truly serious about buying one?)

5.  Understand the basics of what a short sale is and how it works (there’s that requirement again to work with a knowledgeable agent who hopefully is not testing the short sale waters with YOU!)

6.  Understand what AS IS means and be prepared for it (short sales generally are sold AS IS, i.e., without any warranties or repairs)

7.  Plan to have a complete home inspection (you are foolhardy, in my opinion, if you are not VERY thorough in your due diligence; you can’t cry “I didn’t know” after the fact)

8.  Look at your budget carefully (do you have cash to take on repairs and other unexpected expenses, on top of the mortgage, interest, insurance, HOA fees, etc.?)

9.  Set expectations (but be realistic, and prepared. Some homes show well and others are, well, shocking)

10.  Be prepared for surprises and changes (real estate is fraught with surprises, and short sales are no exception)

11.  Don’t expect short sale transactions to act like other deals you may have been involved in – they have their own set of “rules”

12.  Be willing to move on (be prepared to make the decision to move after submitting a offer if you need to) or to at least continue looking at other homes

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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

Termites and Short Sales

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

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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

Condos under $100,000 in San Diego?

Posted in Short Sales,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on March 4, 2009
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Yes, it’s true. Despite all that you have heard over the year there ARE condos to be had in North County San Diego for under $100,000. Yep, many of these are short sales or bank owned but I just put one into escrow that is in terrific move-in condition. They don’t ALL need tons of work and some are 2 or even 3 bedroom.

READ MORE: Condos in North County San Diego for under $100,000.

You can do your own searching using the link below, too.

Let me know if you need any help or have questions.

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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

Before You Open That Refrigerator…

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting,Short Sales by Jeff Dowler on January 24, 2009
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If you are looking at distress sales – short sales, foreclosures, REOs – you may want to read this short article I wrote about my own experience with buyers and opening refrigerator doors. The clues may or may not be there.

WARNING – Don’t Open That Refrigerator

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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 Your Expectations Realistic?

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting,Short Sales by Jeff Dowler on December 15, 2008
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Given the buyer behavior I have observed in recent months, I have to wonder…are YOUR expectations realistic?

Primarily I am speaking about pricing, and what you can obtain for the price you would like in a particular area. It can be a challenge in this market, because we don’t have a good handle on what is actually happening with respect to prices. And what we hear and see in the media sometimes leads folks to think they can acquire properties for far less than what we see in reality in the market, despite the already depressed values.

Granted there are some pretty good deals, especially if you are willing to buy a short sale or foreclosure ( and compete with all the folks who are doing the same thing – it is not uncommon to see a dozen offers on a distress property) and have the patience to work through the many months it will likely take. Plus take on the needed repairs at your expense.

Despite the fact that prices have dropped in most markets, and here in the San Diego area we see prices that are similar to 2005 or earlier in some areas, it seems that some buyers are not being realistic in their expectations about what they may need to spend to get what they want. My best advice is to get to know the market by looking at listings and obtaining sold information from a qualified agent in your market area. Don’t waste your time looking for a $150K detached home in a market where nothing is selling for less than $400K.

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