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”

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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?

The 10 Buyer Challenges YOU Must Be Aware of

There are plenty of challenges to buying a home in today’s market. Here is a list of the 10 I think are the most relevant to buyers.

First time buyers have some challenges because for many the price range limits them, in large part, to homes that are distress sales and REOs (at least here in Southern California. And that means lots of competition.

And lots of patience.

Take a look at this list so you will be prepared. If I can help, just let me know.

10 Buyer Challenges for Today’s Market

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

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.

Homebuying Disappointments

Buying a new home is very rewarding – the pride of ownership, and building wealth through real estate (e.g., equity), are two excellent reasons to buy. But there can be disappointments too, especially in this market.

As a first time home buyer, you should at least prepare yourself for the possibility of some of these issues, particularly if you are pursuing short sales, foreclosures and bank-owned properties (which may be most of what you are seeing in your price range).

Read also: Short sales, Foreclosures and Bank-owned Properties

1. The shattered dream – reality hits when you find that you cannot find, nor afford your dream home. And most, if not all, of the distressed properties are in really rough shape

2. Making what you believe to be a good offer and having it rejected. Just because it is a buyer market in many areas does not mean all offers will get accepted.

3. Making an offer on a short sale, foreclosure or REO and having to wait a long time for a response…or getting no response at all. Or getting beat out in the multiple offer bidding.

4. Learning about lots of problems in the home you want to buy during the home inspection – this is pretty common, and if you are buying a distressed home you can be sure there will be deferred maintenance and other issues to deal with.

5. Not qualifying for as much of a loan as you would like, or for a loan that will severely limit what you can buy. The financial realities of home buying can be a big source of frustration, especially with more stringent mortgage requirements, fees (PMI, HOA) and when living in expensive areas like Southern California.

Obviously other disappointments can occur, but these are pretty common, so don’t have unrealistic expectations. Many things can be overcome, and if you are realistic you will be less likely to feel so disappointed when the process does not go how you would like.

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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 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

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