Even if you’re not a first-time home buyer, it’s okay to admit that you still have questions about the process of buying a home. No transaction is ever the same and the mechanics can change drastically between transactions, especially if it’s been a few years since you purchased a home in San Diego. Below, I’ve answered six common questions I often receive from home buyers:
1) How Much Home Can I Afford?
Affordability is the question on everyone’s mind as home prices in San Diego continue to rise. It’s easy to feel discouraged and wonder if you can afford to buy anything. The truth is, you may not be able to afford the house you want. Yet. Or, you may be pleasantly surprised! The best way to determine how much you can afford is to meet with a lender to get you pre-qualified. You’ll still need to get pre-approved for a loan before you can buy, but getting pre-qualified will give you an idea of what you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment. Of course, you also need to consider the cost of HOA dues, Mello-Roos fees, and contributions to your emergency fund. Once you have these numbers in mind, you can compare them to home prices in the neighborhoods you’re considering.
But, if you realize you can’t buy the home you want in your dream neighborhood, don’t give up! Give me a call, I’d be happy to give you some other options to consider that might realistically fit your budget.
2) What Should I Offer For a Home?
Before you write an offer on a home, there are many things you should consider. What is the seller’s motivation for selling? How long has the home been on the market? What do the comps show? Is the home listed as-is?
I will help you evaluate each home you want to write on and help you craft a strong offer. But be prepared that as San Diego is in a seller’s market, you’re likely going to need to offer near full price or perhaps a little more to secure your home, especially if it’s turnkey and in a desirable area.
3) How (and When) Do I Set Up Home Inspections?
Once we have your home in escrow, I will help you schedule all necessary inspections and make sure we get the appointments set before we need to remove contingencies. The inspections are your chance to investigate what you’re buying so it is important that you be there for as many as you can so you can meet the inspectors and see what they see.
4) How Quickly Can I Close Escrow?
Most escrows can be closed in 30-45 days. If you’re paying all cash for your property or waiving contingencies, you may be able to close in less. However, you or the seller may need a longer escrow for a variety of reasons. We will negotiate the length of the escrow during the offer process and will find a timeframe that works for both you and the seller.
5) If I Want to Do the Repairs on My New Home Myself, Can I Ask For Concessions?
Yes, you can, though the seller may not be inclined to give them to you. A lot depends on their financial situation and the terms of your loan. The seller may be selling their home as-is because they truly cannot afford to pay for the repairs that are needed to fetch a higher price for the property. Certain repairs may also need to be completed prior to closing escrow in order to fund your loan. The lender will be able to advise on specifics, but most loans require the home to be habitable in order to fund.
6) How Much Should I Budget For Closing Costs?
Your actual closing costs will vary, but plan to budget 2% of the actual purchase price. So if the home you’re purchasing is $500,000 expect to pay around $10,000 and in closing costs. The escrow company will provide you with an estimate once you get into escrow, but in addition to your down payment, make sure you put aside money to pay closing costs – most buyers and sellers each pay their own closing costs so don’t expect the seller to cover this for you!
If you still have questions about the home buying process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I don’t believe in stupid questions – I’m here to help you in any way that I can!