Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


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”

When Do I Move into My New Home?

Posted in FAQs,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on January 29, 2010
Tags: , ,

When do I get to move into my new home?

A seemingly simple question with what you would think has a simple answer.

Not necessarily.

It depends on what is negotiated in the contract  in your particular area, what is standard practice, what you want versus what the seller wants, and so much more.

I wrote an article this morning to generate some thoughts from other agents around the country on this matter, since it can get rather complex. While you normally can take possession of your home upon closing, so much can happen. And there are lots of situations that may necessitate some other arrangement, either for the seller or the buyer.

So check out the article over the next few days to see what folks have to say. It will give you some things to think about.

CLOSE OF ESCROW or SETTLEMENT = MOVE IN DAY. MAYBE (a debate)

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”

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.

********************************

Follow Jeff Dowler on Twitter Subscribe in a reader

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

What You Need to Know about the Recorder’s Office in San Diego

Posted in The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on June 24, 2009
Tags: ,

Recording the deed to your new home is a final stage in the process of closing. Often you cannot gain access until escrow has closed and recording has occurred.

Recent changes in how recording occurs and when will have a significant impact for new home buyers. It will no longer be possible for a loan to be funded AND to record on the same day (with two exceptions).

READ MORE about these important changes

Why is the Contingency Period Important?

Posted in Due Diligence,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on February 28, 2009
Tags: , , ,

Views of Calavera Hills in east Carlsbad, a master planned community

Views of the master planned community of Calavera Hills in east Carlsbad

As a buyer of a condo or a detached home in California, the standard contract provides for a CONTINGENCY PERIOD during which you have the opportunity to perform your due diligence. The reason this is important is that you want to make sure you learn as much as you can about the property you are buying so you can make an informed decision.

The default time period is 17 days (starting the day after contract acceptance) but this can be negotiated up or down. Since buyers normally make their offers contingent on a number of things (e.g., inspection, bank appraisal, obtaining a loan commitment) the contingency period allows you to investigate the property and all available reports, and provides you with ample time to satisfy all the terms and conditions of your contingencies.

At the end of the contigency period you are required to either remove the contingencies and move ahead with the deal or withdraw. In this market some buyers wish to leave the loan contingecy in place until it is actually funded given the problems we have seen with some banks failing to fund at the last minute, this should be part of your negotiations up front. Failure to follow the terms and conditions of the written contract can put your deposit in jeopardy.

***********************************

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
Tags: , , ,

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.

***********************************

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

More on Negotiating Repairs After Your Home Inspection

Posted in Due Diligence,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on December 10, 2008
Tags: , ,

It is truly rare, and perhaps impossible, to find a home that does not require some sort of repairs…even a brand new home. Often these things are minor, or deferred maintenance issues, but sometimes they are more significant.

A plumbing problem needing a repair

A plumbing problem needing a repair

As a buyer you DO NOT have a to buy home that needs repairs or has many defects if you don’t want (but be SURE to check on your offer contract in your area to be sure of this, and how and when you are able to back out of any offer contract). But in most cases it seems that buyers DO want to move ahead but would like to have some or all of the repairs taken care of by the seller, or to receive a credit or price reduction.

Repairs are always negotiable, which means you can ask for them to be taken care of, but that the seller can also respond by taking care of some, all, or none. And depending on the amount of your offer you may be in a better position to negotiate (a strong offer) or not.

Some states, like California, have a specific form that is to be used to request that repairs be taken care of. It is OK to submit a list with the form to outline the repairs and how you wish them to be handled (e.g., the receptacles to be repaired by a licensed electrician).

In other states you might simply provide the seller with a politely written request to take care of certain repairs, or propose a price reduction or credit.

As with an offer, requests for repairs are negotiated until both parties agree on how they are to be handled. Or you decide to walk away.

Be sure to talk with your REALTOR to understand the process in your area and what makes sense for your particular offer contract.

************************

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

When Do I get the Keys to My New Home?

Posted in FAQs,The purchase process by Jeff Dowler on September 2, 2008
Tags: , , ,

The most exciting thing about buying your new home is having closing, obtaining the keys, and walking through the front door. So when does this happen?

Keep in mind that closing occurs in different ways in different states. In some locales you may sit down with your agent and an attorney, or some other professional, to sign paperwork and then receive your keys right there.

Here in California you normally receive the keys once the escrow company has received all the paperwork, your loan has been funded (i.e., the money is in escrow’s account), and the recording of the deed and other documents has occurred). You might meet your agent at the house, or be able to pick up the keys somewhere else once closing has occurred and you receive a call to that effect. Check with your agent as closing gets close so you know what to expect.

Sometimes folks want to get the keys early so they can start moving in, especially if they have movers bringing things. You will have to obtain permission from the sellers in order to do this, and often they are unwilling to do so becuase of liability issues. But there are exceptions

When making your offer, make sure you specify in the offer when possession is to take place. It could be, say, 5 PM on the date of closing. But sometimes sellers want it to be later so they can move out. You will have to come to an agreement on this.

WARNING!I recommend that you do not make specific plans with movers, arranging for vendors to do work, etc. on the day or closing, adn perhaps not even the day after, unless they can be changed. Sometimes things get delayed, through no fault of your own. If you do get possession when expected you could be in a bind.

************************

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

California Buyers and Natural Hazards Reports

As part of your due diligence when buying Carlsbad real estate (and throughout San Diego County) you have the opportunity to review a natural hazards report that is typically paid for by the seller and provided to you by companies like Property ID.

The Mandatory Residential Disclosure Report is a weighty document that provides information about the Carlsbad home you are trying to buy with regard to the presence of any natural hazards and other conditions that might impact the property, and possibly your decision to buy it. These include (among other things):

Flood hazard zones

Dam Failure Inundation

Fire Hazard

Earthquake fault Zones

Landslide Inventory

Tsunami Hazard

Radon Gas Potential

Naturally Occurring Asbestos

There are also government environmental hazard reports/information guides and the earthquake safety report that are part of this disclosure. You can view (and download) these reports if you are interested:

Residential Environmental Hazards Report and Information Guide

Earthquake Safety Guide

************************

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

Next Page »