Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


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”

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Summary of FEDERAL and CALIFORNIA Tax Credits

Posted in Financial,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on April 12, 2010
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Time is running out to get in on the Federal tax credits.

But if you are able to put a California home under contract BY APRIL 30, 2010 and CLOSE after MAY 1, you could get both the Federal and California state tax credit (up to a total of $18,000!!).

Here’s a handy dandy summary of what you need to know to take advantage of these tax credits.

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

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”

New Construction Homes in Carlsbad

These may not fit many budgets, especially those of you who are buying your first homes.

Model Homes at Rockledge in La Costa Oaks Carlsbad

Model Homes at Rockledge in La Costa Oaks Carlsbad

There are several communities of new construction homes in Carlsbad that may be of interest. What I find particularly impressive is that these homes are going QUICKLY – quite a change from a year ago when homes were languishing on the market and new home building sorta stopped.

Now there are 5 new communities that are building with another (53 Melrose) just starting in South Carlsbad.

Read more about COPPERWOOD and ROCKLEDGE in the La Costa Oaks master planned community in Carlsbad.  If you want new construction for under $250/SF here is your chance – but it’s going fast.

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.

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

Please Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

Posted in House Hunting,Realtor's Job by Jeff Dowler on November 14, 2007
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Do you like to be told what to do? Or to make your own decisions?

This is something to think about in your real estate transaction.

As a new buyers there is lots to learn and you will need a fair amount of direction. And sometimes that means being told what to do vs. making your own decisions.

But often you have choices, and your agent should let you know what they are so YOU can make the best decision for your personal situation. The choice, in the majority of situations, should be YOURS and not your agent’s, unless there are requirements by state law or other circumstances that warrant being told…you must do this! And you should understand the implications of NOT doing things that are in your best interest.

One critical area, in my opinion, where this is important is the home search itself. Should YOUR AGENT decide what homes you should see, or should YOU? I feel strongly that it is primarily YOUR choice, not mine. Perhaps you do too.

I would be clear up front with whoever you work with as to how the home search  should proceed to be most effective for YOU. After all, YOU are the one who has to live with the decision.

I prefer for clients to do their research and decide what things they want to see, or not. BUT there are times when I encourage them to see, or not see, certain properties one I know what they are really looking for. This way I can save them time and trouble, or direct them to properties that really can work well for them that they may have overlooked. And since I know the market well, I can often help them be more effective in their searching.

In cases where someone is brand new to the area and has no clue (a relocation, for example), I will provide them with a variety of homes in different areas to give them an overview so they are better able to make decisions going forward about areas they like, types of homes, and so on. But it really depends on what is best for them.

Think about it. What works best for you?