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”

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”

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

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”

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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 Should Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

Posted in Due Diligence,Financial,Insurance by Jeff Dowler on December 18, 2009
Tags: , , ,

There are several things you need to know about with regard to home owner’s insurance for a home or condo that you are buying, especially if you are buying in a high risk area (e.g., fires, floods, earthquakes, ocean front).

Read more on Insurance Tips for Buyers and Sellers.

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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”

Use Your Common Sense, and Others Too

I realized that I wrote this article some time ago that I didn’t share here.

I think it’s an important one.

Buyers, especially folks going at it for the first time, sometimes just don’t use their common sense. It’s easy to get swayed by a beautiful home, or turned off by an ugly one, without using your common sense about what really is important and what your ultimate goal is.

But in this market of short sales, REOs and sellers who just may not give a hoot about how their home looks, using ALL YOUR SENSES makes, well, sense (cents??).

Read on to learn more how and why YOU better come to your senses while house hunting.

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?

Do You Have A Buying Strategy? You Should for 2009

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting by Jeff Dowler on December 30, 2008
Tags: , , ,

If you are considering buying a home in 2009, or perhaps have been working on it but it hasn’t happened, you might want to do some planning.

What IS your real estate buying strategy?

Do you HAVE a strategy or are you going to just go about it haphazardly?

Consider the following:

DON’T IGNORE THE INTEREST RATES

Interest rates are historically low and there are predictions of 4.5%. It’s worthwhile checking into what programs you can qualify for and what this means financially for your monthly budget. Be aware that loan qualification requirements remain very tight and a good number of folks may simply not qualify for the lowest rates, or at all.

UNDERSTAND NEW LOAN LIMITS AND CHANGES AND GET PRE-APPROVED…

You can read the rest of this article on my ActiveRain blog.

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 © 2008 Jeff Dowler First Time Home Buyer Central

New Search Technology for Buyers

Posted in Housing Market,technology,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on October 18, 2007
Tags: ,

I am always tweaking my website, and my blogs, trying to provide the best information I can for buyers and sellers. It’s a challenge because it takes time, and there is so much out there.

You’re on the Internet every day and you already know this…it can be overwhelming.

For those of you who are actively involved in searching for a home, or who are thinking about it, I just added some new search technology to my website that is really topnotch – in my opinion (and that of many others), the BEST there is out there.

One of the best aspects is the ability to search using dozens of different search terms, not just square footage, town, number of bedrooms and baths as in the typical agent website. There’s some other good stuff, too, but why not just test it out yourself.

Just click on the Carlsbad Home Search link below and you will see. Why not sign up to be a VIP Buyer while you’re at it? It’s FREE and there is no obligation, and you get the best searching around for home buyers. Good luck and have fun.

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