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”

Advertisements

How to Protect Your Home From Fires

Someone kindly sent along a link to a really useful article about protecting your home from fires. So I thought I would, and should, share it.

There are links to 10 different GUIDES, some interactive, as well as a list of ACTIONS TO CONTAIN FIRES and suggestions on FIRE PREVENTION TOOLS homeowners should have. Good reading and worth sharing with friends, neighbors and family.

25 Tips to Protect Your Home From Fires

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”

The Obvious, and Hidden, Costs of Buying a Home

No doubt buying a home these days is expensive. Particularly in some parts of the country such as Southern California.

Many of the costs are obvious, but some are expenses buyers don’t necessarily think about, or are somewhat hidden.

In this first article of 3, the focus is on the costs you may incur during the home search, as well as after you get an offer acceptance. Because some folks are backing out of deals, or having them fall apart (especially the short sales and foreclosures [REOs]), there may be fees you are paying even though you don’t end up with the home you want.

Read more about some of the home buying costs you may not think about (Part 1 of 3)


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”

Are YOU Interested in Buying an REO?

I just wrote an article that may interest you IF you are interested in buying an REO…or perhaps have little choice because of price range.

There are some important questions that I like to ask, so these might be useful for you to consider so you can decide IF buying an REO is right for you.

If nothing else, it will help you be prepared for the issues you need to confront during the search.

SO YOU WANNA BUY AN REO? ARE YOU REALLY READY?

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”

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 HomeFinders.com).

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

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

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

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”

Are Those Occupants Residents or Tenants?

A critical question buyers need to consider when buying a condo in Carlsbad, or anywhere else in San Diego, is  “are those occupants residents or tenants?

I don’t mean that we fundamentally care who is living there.

The issue has to do with the mortgage requirements that a minimum of 51% of the units in a condominium complex must be owner occupants (i.e., not second homes or investor-owned properties).

If you can find this out before  getting too far along in the offer process (your REALTOR will help with this) you can save yourself some possible disappointment.

During the due diligence process here in CA we investigate the status of the HOA, review HOA docs and budget and other matters, which includes the percentage of owner occupancy. But finding out before you get that far along will save time and heartache. It MAY be stated in the MLS but in my experience it usually isn’t.

While many condos do meet that requirement easily, there are some complexes that are popular with investors so it is an important detail to add to your due diligence as a buyer.

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”

Should I Arbitrate or Not?

Posted in FAQs,Offers by Jeff Dowler on June 26, 2009
Tags: , , ,

GAVEL3S

One of the issues you need to think about when comleting an offer to purchase in California is whether to use arbitration to resolve any conflicts that arise as the result of the transaction (this may not apply to other states).

I am not an attorney and cannot advise you on whether you should or should not, as it is a personal choice. That said, I have been told by legal advisors in our state that arbitration often can be a faster way to resolve issues, if any, adn less expensive than going to court. And most people tend to choose this option.

If you do not elect to use arbitration, the seller will also have to agree, since both parties must agree on which way to go.

Know that there are some issues that fall under the jurisdiction of small claims court (e.g., deposit issues) that can get resolved in court even if you elect the arbitration route first. Our Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA – CA) explains this in more detail.

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

Your MOST Important Mortgage Question

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on June 24, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,

As a new buyer you will have a zillion questions. You should. And you should ask them. Don’t ever feel badly about asking questions, even if you think you know the answer. You won’t learn otherwise, and you might make some serious mistakes. EVERYONE is a first time buyer some time. EVERYONE.

As far as financing is concerned, this is one area that confuses many buyers, who often have little clue about what questions to ask, who to talk to, who best to get their mortgage from, and on and on. Perfectly normal.

I submit that perhaps THE most important question you should ask is WHAT IS MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT (i.e., how much is whatever mortgage I qualify for going to cost me per month).

Many feel that the most important thing to know about is interest rate. This is not to say that is not important, but you can’t make your buying decision based on interest rate. Working with a reputable lender and selecting the type of mortgage, and terms, are also important. Lenders will tell you all about their great programs, the terrific rates, fees (be careful about these – sometimes you DON’T get the full skinny on all the fees that can add up, so ASK for this in writing – you NEED the Good faith Estimate so you have a break down of everything the loan entails).

The most important you need to know so you can make the decision that is right for your financial situation is what the monthly payment will be. Don’t get excited that you qualify for $X, which is more than you thought and which will enable you to buy one of those brand new ultra-cool condos you visited over the weekend. So what if the bank says you can borrow a half million.

I would encourage you to START with the issue of what you can afford in your monthly budget, and find out WHAT THAT MONTHLY $ AMOUNT translates to in terms of a mortgage (plus the other fees…like home owner’s insurance, HOA and condo fees, utilities). If you can afford $2000 tops, it won’t do you much good to learn from the lender that you (lucky you) are qualified, based on all the financials (loans and credit card debts, assets, income), to borrow a half million, since that amount will FAR exceed $2000 per month.

Think about this for a moment. Doesn’t this just make cents to you (pun intended!!)?

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

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 »