With its pristine beaches, amazing weather, and an abundance of fun activities, it’s no wonder that San Diego, California calls itself “America’s Finest City”. Over 3.3 million call the San Diego area home, with 1.4 million living within the city limits. You won’t find a shortage of reasons to move to the city between the opportunities with innovative businesses, tasty food, small big city vibe, and more.
Whether you already call San Diego home or you’re moving here from out of town, REX Homes has everything you need to know about buying a house in San Diego in this nifty guide.
Figure Out Financing
It’s a good idea to have a plan or general idea of how you’ll pay for your new home before you start searching. There’s a whole host of financing options available to homebuyers, so it helps to do your research ahead of time to figure out which loans you’d qualify for and which work best for you and your unique financial situation.
You may find it helpful to get pre-approved for a loan during this period. If you get pre-approved with a lender like REX Home Loans, you will be ready to act fast when you come across the perfect home. In addition to this, having lender pre-approval can:
- Let you know how much you’ll be able to borrow: Nothing is more disappointing than finding your dream home only to find that you can’t get approved for the loan amount that you need. Avoid this by finding out just how much you are able to borrow before you start looking. This will allow you to cater your home search to what you can actually afford.
- Puts you ahead of any problems: Pre-approval can sometimes reveal problems with your credit report that you didn’t even realize you had. While this may seem like a bad thing, finding out early is good. This gives you some time to correct the issue before you actually start making offers on homes.
- Make your offers more competitive: Your offer may carry more weight if the seller knows you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage. Because deals can often get hung up in financing, sellers will hold more confidence knowing that you’ve already met the basic requirements for a loan.
Once you’ve got an idea of how you’d finance your future home, you can move on to the next step— neighborhoods!
Finding the Right Neighborhood in the San Diego Area
San Diego is home to a number of distinctive neighborhoods and suburbs that all come with a unique personality. Before finding a home, you’ll want to do a little research on areas you might want to plant your roots.
From the elegant houses of North County to the laid back feel of the coastal communities to the charming inland villages, you’re sure to find somewhere that fits what you’re looking for. Average real estate prices vary by area, but overall San Diego county median home prices reached $590,000 in June 2019.
Niche compiled a list of the best neighborhoods in San Diego based on local amenities, public schools, crime, cost of living, and real estate. Del Mar Mesa, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, Via de la Valle, and Carmel Valley topped the list of some of the area’s most desirable locations.
Of course, you’ll probably find residents in every neighborhood that swear up and down that, theirs is the best for any number of reasons. Oftentimes, it all comes down to personal preference. People consider factors like commute time to and from work, schools, general prices of homes, and neighborhood amenities when deciding on an area to live in.
Deciding on a Home
After you decide on some areas that you think are a good fit for you, it’s time to find a home. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if you aren’t already located in the area. This is where the help of a buyer’s agent really comes in handy. They can help narrow down your searches and find properties that are worthwhile instead of you having to go through pages of homes that you wouldn’t even consider or are way outside of your budget.
For instance, a buyer might be interested in a certain style of home. Others may not care about the style, but be more interested in homes that could use some TLC and a personal touch.
So no matter if you want a fixer-upper or would prefer to move into a newly remodeled iconic San Diego mission style home, an agent can help put houses that you want to see in front of you.
Making an Offer
Once you find your dream home, you’ll make an offer. Of course, an agent will be there to guide you through the process, but it may help to have some idea of what this may look like.
First, you’ll contact the seller’s agent to see if it’s possible to still make an offer. Sometimes you’ll find that multiple offers have already been placed on the property, which would put you in the middle of a bidding war.
Should you work with a company like REX, who deals with both buyers and sellers, you might be able to bypass these more frustrating aspects. For instance, REX allows you to place preliminaries offers easily on their website so you can get a head start on the homes you like and avoid any bidding wars.
Your official offer will include information like the amount you will pay, how you plan to finance the house, and a few other required provisions. The seller can handle the offer in one of three ways: accept it, reject it, or present a counteroffer. A counteroffer is a revised purchase price (or other provisions) that you can then choose to accept or reject.
If your offer is accepted, your earnest money will be placed in escrow.
You’ve probably heard the term before, but you might be wondering what exactly is escrow, and what is it used for?
Escrow is essentially when a third party holds onto something— in this case, the buyer’s cash— until the real estate transaction is complete. The third-party escrow agent will keep the earnest money until the sale is complete. In exchange for the money that the buyer places in escrow, the seller agrees to take the home off the market so that the buyer can perform due diligence.
Perform Due Diligence
During this period, you’ll perform what is known as due diligence. This time provides a homebuyer the opportunity to truly see if the property meets all of the expectations and promises. This means that buyers can order inspections, review environmental concerns, research permits or zoning laws, and more. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the buyer usually foots the bill for inspections and similar services.
If something comes up during the due diligence period, such as a pest issue, the buyer may negotiate repairs, ask for a reduction in sales price, back out of the sale, or accept the issues and fix them at a later date. The important thing is that buyers take this time to investigate anything and everything so they fully understand what they are purchasing. No one wants to deal with unexpected surprises down the road that could have been easily detected before buying the house.
Get Your Keys
Before you start moving boxes just yet, there are a few final things to do. During closing, you’ll get a final appraisal, do a final walkthrough of the property, and meet with the necessary parties to fill out the required paperwork. The title company, lender, and agents will help ensure that everything is in place.
Buyers will have to pay their share of closing costs. While some things can be negotiated with the seller, prepare to write a check for things such as prorated property taxes, transfer taxes, and certain mortgage fees.
After closing is the moment you’ve been waiting for— move-in. You did it! You finally have a new place to call home.
How can REX help me find a San Diego home?
If you don’t even know where to begin, REX is here to help with all of your San Diego real estate needs. You’ll find experienced professionals and dedicated agents ready to help you find your dream home.
Real estate is an old industry, and unfortunately, many real estate companies are still stuck in the past. However, at REX, we pride ourselves on using technology to our advantage to deliver results and exceed our clients’ expectations. As mentioned earlier, we work with buyers and sellers, effectively eliminating the need for games of phone tag and lengthy back and forth correspondence.
If you’ve found a home that isn’t listed with us, that’s okay. We offer a buyer rebate program, which allows you to work with one of our agents who will help you throughout the process. You’ll receive 50% of the buyer-agent commission before closing, which could mean thousands back in your pocket.
Let us help you find the house of your dreams in a city that you’re happy to call home.