8 Common Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid in San Diego

San Diego is a fast-paced city, and it's safe to say our changing real estate market is going just as fast.

If you're a buyer, you're in luck with some of the recent changes. Research backs what we've been noticing with our clients recently: the market is shifting in favor of buyers. Despite rising mortgage rates, the median home prices have dropped, which can set buyers up for a great deal.

Of course, if this is your first time shopping for a home, you'll have to avoid common home-buying mistakes as you hunt for that great deal. Before you launch your search, here are a few key mistakes to steer clear of.

Not Choosing the Right Agent

Not all San Diego real estate agents are created equal. When you're looking for the right home, it's important to take your time and find an agent who has experience selling homes in your desired area and price range. You're looking for an expert who understands the local market, will help you preview homes and can negotiate the final contract on your behalf.

In other words, don't hire the first real estate agent you meet! Interview a few agents with local experience, and hire one that you feel is a great match for your needs.

Not Taking Advantage of Programs for First-Time Buyers

For some first-time home buyers, finding the right affordable property can be tough. Beyond your new house's purchase price, you'll also have to cover a down payment, the cost of your mortgage, and closing fees.

That's where local programs for first-time buyers come in.

The San Diego Housing Commission has a homebuyer program that can help with the purchase of specific properties. This includes single-family homes, townhomes, or condos. Low- to moderate-income families can get deferred loans and homeownership grants to help cover the costs.

In addition, the California Housing Finance Agency offers various special programs of its own. Its FHA loan programs, for example, offer low 30-year interest rates on first mortgages. It also offers conventional fixed loan programs with slightly higher rates.

Not Considering Your Commute

If you've been living in San Diego for a while, you'll already know that traffic can be a bit of an issue here in the city. 

This means that finding your dream home far from where you work can lengthen your commute by a significant amount. In some cases, homeowners are surprised to find that they'll be spending three hours sitting in a car to get to and from work every day!

When you're looking for homes, we recommend checking your commute with Google Maps. Once you've added your work address and your potential new home, you can toggle the time of departure by clicking the dropdown menu under "Leave Now." This allows you to set a departure time, which means you'll get to see how long your 8 a.m. weekday commutes might really take.

Not Getting Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved before your house hunting is always a smart move, even if you think you know what your budget is already. In the world of real estate, pre-approval shows you mean business, which is why sellers are more likely to take your offer seriously if they know you have a lender's backing.

Any reputable real estate agent will also tell you that pre-approval is the key to avoiding unexpected surprises down the line. Low credit scores, poor debt-to-income ratios, and other unfortunate issues can force you to jump through hurdles to get the home of your dreams.

Even better, pre-approval can save you valuable time during the home search, as you won't start looking at expensive homes you can't afford. Instead, you can worry less about comparing home prices and more about what each home in your price range has to offer.

Last, but not least, pre-approval often means you'll have a shorter closing period, which can be great for buyers hoping to move in fast.

Being Indecisive 

The home market in San Diego is hot, which means that new homes aren't often available for long. Some homes will sometimes sit on the market for only a week, and the best homes can come off the market even faster!

As a result, hesitating over a home you're interested in can give other buyers the chance to pull the rug from under your feet. 

Moving fast when you're ready to buy is the only way to get the home of your dreams. If you've taken the time to preview several San Diego homes, you're comfortable with your chosen home's price tag, and you like what it has to offer, take the plunge as soon as you can!

Skipping the Neighborhood Tour

If you're new to the area, it's important to keep in mind that San Diego has a network of diverse neighborhoods, each with unique styles and easy access to different parts of the city. 

No home exists in a void. When you fail to check out the neighborhood where you're buying, you fail to make sure your environment will fit your lifestyle! 

Whether you want to live in a walkable area, you're looking for beach access, or you want a quiet and family-friendly community, make sure to tour the neighborhood around your home to be sure it matches. Once you're set on an area, make sure to check our community guide and sign up for email alerts for new listings!

Not Weighing the Pros and Cons 

We get it: when you think you've found the right home, it's easy to look at it through rose-colored glasses.

However, we always advise our clients to pay attention to the pros and cons as part of their home shopping strategy. Creating a quick list of likes and dislikes after you've seen a home can help you understand at a glance whether or not it's a good match. Make sure you're considering the entire house as a whole before you make an offer!

Let Us Help You Avoid These Home Buying Mistakes

At Mogul Real Estate, we've worked with countless buyers seeking homes throughout San Diego county. When it comes to avoiding common home-buying mistakes, our skilled team is here to help!

From the initial search to the final contract, we'll ensure that your search goes smoothly. Contact us today and let us help you find the right home for you.

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