Alan Harris


The Best Eight Steps to Buying Your San Diego Home

Step 1. Decide to Buy
Step 2. Hire Your Real Estate Agent
Step 3. Secure Financing
Step 4. Find Your Home
Step 5. Make an Offer
Step 6. Perform Due Diligence
Step 7. The Close
Step 8. Protect Your Investment

(Click on the Steps to get more information)

Step 1. Decide to Buy 

Among the many good reasons for you to buy a home in San Diego, “Wealth Building” is commonly a top priority. Several people view home ownership as the best “Accidental Investment” someone can make. If done right however, it can be an “Intentional Investment,” which is a solid foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are also important reasons to support your San Diego home buying decision such as equity buildup, value appreciation and tax benefits.

Facts Not Fears: Things to Support your Decision to buy a San Diego home
  • If you are paying rent, you can very likely afford to buy.
  • It’s always the right time to buy the right home. Simply make sure that you find a good buy and have the financial ability to keep it.
  • The lack of a substantial down payment doesn’t prevent you from making your first home purchase.
  • It’s still possible to buy a home with a less-than-perfect credit score.
  • You can get closer to your “Ultimate Dream Home” by buying your first home now.
  • Buying a home can be simple – Many Real Estate professionals will help you along the way.
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Step 2. Hire Your Real Estate Agent 

Do you know that there are at least at least two dozen individuals involved in a typical San Diego real estate transaction? Insurance assessors, mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers and a number of other people whose work have to be planned properly to get a home sale closed. Don’t worry though because coordinating expertly with these professionals is one of the top responsibilities of your real estate agent while maintaining your best interest throughout.

SUCCESS!  Main roles of Buyer’s Real Estate Agent in San Diego

Steers you to carefully selected homes that fit your preference.

Understand your wants and needs as a buyer.

Coordinates with other important Real Estate professionals.

Checks & double-checks paperwork as well as deadlines.

Educates you about the market of your chosen neighborhood.

Settle sales transactions on your behalf.

Solves any challenges that may arise.
Eight Important “What’s?” to ask your Buying Agent

Qualifications are important. Choosing an expert Real Estate Professional means going beyond the resume, understanding what he/she can offer you and determining if you can work together effectively. Use this set of questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed Buyer’s Agent.

  1. What motivated you to become a real estate agent?
  2. What are reasons why I should work with you?
  3. What do you do better than other real estate agents?
  4. What process will you use to help me find the home that fits my wants and needs?
  5. What are the most common challenges in a transaction and how would you handle them?
  6. What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
  7. What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
  8. What are your testimonials from past clients or references?
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Step 3. Secure Financing 

While you may find that home ownership of a San Diego Real Estate Property is thrilling, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers start out confused about the process or nervous about making such a large financial commitment. That is why, from start to finish, you should follow six easy-to-understand steps to secure financing for your first or next home.

RICHGO: Six steps to Financing a Home

Rightfully pick a loan officer or mortgage specialist.
Initiate making a loan application and get preapproved.

Choose what you want to pay and select a loan option.

Hand to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.

Get an appraisal and title commitment.

Obtain funding at closing.

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Step 4. Find Your Home 

Jumping in the car and driving all over town sounds like a fun way to begin shopping for a San Diego Home. If weeks go by without finding what you’re looking for however, the excitement can run out pretty fast just like your gas! A more practical start to your home-buying process is to know exactly what you want. Carefully assess your values, wants and needs for both short and long-term goals.

The Home Buyer’s Self Interview: 10 Questions to ask Yourself
  1. What do I want my home to be close to?
  2. How much space do I need and why?
  3. Which is more critical: location or size?
  4. What features and amenities do I want?
  5. Which features and amenities do I really need?
  6. Would I be interested in a condo?
  7. Would I be interested in new home construction?
  8. Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
  9. How important is home value appreciation?
  10. Is neighborhood stability a priority?
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Step 5. Make an Offer 
When searching for your San Diego dream home, you were just that – a dreamer. Now that you’re writing an offer, you need to transform yourself into a businessperson. You need to approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your market. The three basic components of an offer are the PTC – Price, Terms, and Contingencies (or “Conditions” in Canada).

Easy as 1-2-3! Knowing Your PTC

What does the right price to offer mean? It must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your buying agent’s expert market research will guide this decision.

This component deals with other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer. Terms fall under six basic categories in a real estate offer:

  • Schedule – A schedule of events that needs to happen before closing.
  • Home Warranty – This covers repairs or replacement of appliances and major systems. Take note that you may ask the seller to pay for this.
  • Earnest Money – This protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling of the deal and proves how serious you are with your offer.
  • Conveyances – The items that stay with the house and you get to keep when the sellers leave.
  • Commission – The real estate fee, for the buyer and seller agents who made the transaction possible.
  • Closing Costs – The standard is for buyers to pay their closing costs. If you want to roll the costs into the loan, make sure to write that into the contract.

Contingencies or Conditions
Acting as a Plan B, Contingencies protects the interest of the buyer, seller or both in case of any unforeseen events that may cause problems to the sales transaction.


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Step 6. Perform Due Diligence 

Buying a home in San Diego is unlike most major purchases such as buying a car. Once you buy a home, you can’t return it if something breaks or doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to. That’s why home owner’s insurance and property inspections are very important. These two protects you from financial problems, inconveniences and even potential issues concerning the law.

Home owner’s insurance policy protects you from:
  • Loss or Damage to the property itself
  • Liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property

Property inspections expose the “secret issues” a home might hide so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign your closing papers.

  • One of the concerns commonly uncovered in a home is structural damage.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things that can be fixed easily should be overlooked.
  • If a major problem shows up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist. If the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you might want to walk away from the purchase.
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Step 7. The Close 

The ending stages of the home buying process involves the lender’s confirmation of the San Diego home’s value and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit & finance. Your agent will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done. As long as you have clear expectations and follow directions, closing should be a momentous conclusion to your home-searching process and commencement of your home-owning experience. Congratulations!

You just have a few pre-closing responsibilities: SOCCER!

Stay in control of your finances.
Obtain certified funds for closing.

Communicate with your agent at least once a week.

Confirm with your agent that all your documentations are in place and order, several days before closing.

Evaluate the property by conducting a final walk-through.

Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.

On closing day, with the guidance of a settlement agent and your agent, you’ll sign documents that do the following:

  1. Finalize your mortgage.
  2. Pay the seller.
  3. Pay your closing costs.
  4. Transfer the title from the seller to you.
  5. Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.

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Step 8. Protect Your Investment 

Throughout the course of your San Diego home-buying experience, you’ve probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent and you’ve gotten to know each other fairly well. There’s no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed! In fact, your agent wants you to keep in touch to help you maintain your investment – your new home.

Here are some types of assistance you can expect from your agent:

  • Handle your first tax return as a homeowner.
  • Help your friends find homes.
  • Keep track of your home’s current market value.
  • Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.

Attention to you home’s maintenance is essential to protecting the long-term value of your investment and falls into two categories:


1.       Keeping it Clean
Perform routine maintenance on your home’s systems (i.e. plumbing, HVAC) depending on their age and style.

2.       Keeping an Eye on it
Watch for signs of leaks, damage, and wear. Fixing small problems early on can save you big money later.


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