Buying a house in San Diego? Local Realtors Share 15 Tips First-Time Homebuyers Need to Know

San Diego is one of the most desirable places to live in the United States, and for good reason. With its pristine beaches, year-round sunshine, and a thriving job market, it’s no wonder so many dream of owning a home in America’s greatest city. However, the San Diego home buying process can be overwhelming, especially for first-time homebuyers.

To help you get started, we turned to some of Redfin’s top agent partners in San Diego to help you navigate the process with confidence. if you are a local rent an apartment or a stranger hoping to have his first house in san diegothese tips will help you find the perfect place to call your own.

1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

My advice to first time homebuyers is to find a good loan officer and getting pre-approved and fully underwritten is best. Work with that loan officer and your agent to understand what terms they are comfortable with on an offer. Sellers want shorter contingency periods so they don’t waste time on failed escrows and feel more confident that the deal will close on time. By shortening these contingency periods, you are strengthening your offer and your offer will look better to a seller. – Roberto Cenzer | Redfin Agent

Don’t jump in and start looking for a home until you’ve been pre-approved by your local bank or lender. You’ll want to know what your monthly mortgage payment is so you can set your monthly household budget. This way, you’ll know exactly how much house you can afford. You can make a stronger offer when you find the house you really like. – gary giffin | Redfin Associate Agent, AARE

2. Learn about the costs associated with buying a home in San Diego

I cannot stress enough how important it is for a buyer to talk to a lender and really understand the costs of down payment, closing, and monthly payments. Once we have that in place, you can shop with confidence. Also, once we have a budget setup, I can help set up a saved search that will focus on what might work for them. With the Redfin app, you’ll be among the first to know when a new listing pops up in an area you want to be in. – John Copeland | Redfin Lead Agent

If you’re buying a home in San Diego, you’ll need to factor in additional costs such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, and potential homeowners association fees when calculating your budget. John Male | Redfin Associate Agent, Avaron Realty

3. Learn about the different neighborhoods in San Diego

When considering buying their first home in SD, I advise clients to start by speaking with a local realtor to get an idea of ​​which san diego neighborhood could be a good option. You’ll supplement that with online research to get a better idea of ​​each area and how much you can expect to pay monthly. – patrick cohen | Redfin Associate Agent, Coldwell Banker Realty

4. Make sure you have enough savings

Make sure you have enough savings in your bank account for a down payment and closing cost plus reserves.Joe Nichols | Redfin Associate Agent, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

saving for a mortgage

5. Consider talking to multiple lenders

Talking to different lenders when buying a home allows buyers to compare different loan options and interest rates. Each lender may offer different rates, fees, and terms, so it’s important to shop around to find the best deal. Different lenders may specialize in different types of loans, such as FHA loans, VA loans, or jumbo loans. Each lender may have different qualification requirements, such as credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio. By talking to multiple lenders, homebuyers can find the lender that best suits their unique situation and loan needs. – sez sezer | Redfin Associate Agent, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

6. Be prepared to navigate high prices and high interest rates

In some areas we have seen prices drop a bit and some of the properties stay on the market for a longer period of time. This can be a great opportunity to ask the seller for buyer credits to close and use those credits to buy down your interest rate, which in turn lowers your monthly payments. buying A high interest rate is a great way to lower your monthly payment to a number that is more affordable for first-time homebuyers. If the rate reduction makes the interest rate 1.5% lower than without the reduction, it can make a big difference in your monthly payment. – steve camel | Redfin Associate Agent, AARE

7. Get a home inspection

For those buying a home in San Diego, I always recommend one home inspection. Preferably by a licensed contractor with inspection certifications, such as CREIA and/or ASHI. The state of California does not license home inspectors, so being a member of one of these organizations that require certain standards helps provide a buyer with some additional criteria for choosing a home inspector. Spending hundreds of dollars on home inspections can save a homebuyer thousands of dollars. – Virginia Edwards | Redfin Associate Agent, AARE

8. Find your dream team of experts in San Diego

As a first-time homebuyer, there is nothing more important than having your “kit” in order from the start. This means finding a real estate agent and loan officer to have by your side to guide you through the process from start to finish and look out for your best interest. Some agents, myself included, will have a thorough consultation with each client to assess her wants, needs, and timeline to get a complete picture of her situation. This allows us to help homebuyers in the most effective way possible. – jon fields | Redfin Associate Agent, Keller Williams San Diego

Work with a Redfin agent

9. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Do not settle and be patient because finding the right house is very important. Try not to walk into each house struggling to find a way to make it fit, keep walking until the magic starts to happen. When the right house arrives, you will know and feel it. carol larosh | Redfin Partner Agent, Compass

10. The San Diego market is competitive, be persistent

He san diego real estate market It’s tough for first-time homebuyers right now with buyer competition, high prices, and rising rates, but there are still plenty of opportunities for buyers to take advantage of. Especially in markets like these, it’s vital to move quickly and be prepared ahead of time on the lending side. Focus on something that you can see yourself in for the next 2-7 years in an area that will appreciate the best of what your city has to offer. – sara swikard | Redfin Associate Agent, eXp Realty

11. Remember, your first home may not be your forever home.

Remember that your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home, but rather a springboard to start building capital and get your foot in the door. Investing in real estate is a long game, so the sooner you start, the better it will be in the long run. Also, keep in mind that inventory is limited here in San Diego. With homes selling quickly, it’s important to be decisive and have your want/need list ready once you start looking for a home. – seaberg brand | Redfin Associate Agent, Big Block Realty

Beige stucco house with green shutters

12. Be prepared to commit

Buying a home in San Diego can be very competitive. Be realistic and be prepared to make some compromises. When it’s time to make an offer on a home you love, talk to your real estate agent about bidding strategies that are working in today’s market. It is not always about the price of the house that receives the accepted offer. A good real estate agent will have experience in different markets and a good team of supporting professionals to make sure you are successful. – kevin endres | Redfin Partner Agent, Real Broker LLC

13. Take advantage of the positive aspects of the market

I know the crazy talk in today’s real estate market is about higher rates, but there is a silver lining. Buyers see less competition (for the most part), can negotiate more repairs and credit, and if you plan ahead, you can refinance later. – jeanne liebel | Redfin Partner Agent, Real Broker LLC

14. Remember that refinancing is always an option

It is best to focus on home ownership, even when rates have increased. If you can qualify to own a home in San Diego, then you are gold. You can always refinance when rates drop and enjoy not negotiating in highly competitive buyers markets while shopping for your home (just like we were in 2021). It’s almost always better to own than rent, especially with rental rates so high today. – Franchesca Meram | Redfin Associate Agent, Avenu Realty Group

15. Understand the current state of the San Diego market

As a first-time homebuyer in San Diego, it’s important to be aware of current market conditions, which are characterized by high demand and low inventory. It is also important to be flexible and prepared to act quickly when a desirable property becomes available. However, with the right strategy and support, it is still possible to find your dream home in the competitive San Diego market. – alex sidranski | Redfin Associate Agent, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

Associate Agents work for traditional stockbrokers, but have partnered with Redfin to help clients buy or sell a home. Customers connect with partner agents when Redfin agents experience exceptionally high customer demand or if a home is outside of our direct service area

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