In San Diego County, closed sales came in at 2,281 units – down 18.6% compared to the same time last year. The sales volume for the market was down 13% from 2017, tallying $1,588,992,000 for the month.

Despite these drops, the average closed sales price finished at $696,600 – a 6.9% increase from 2017. The price per square foot was up by 7.7% as well, finishing at $389.80.

Additionally, inventory nearly doubled to 7,285 available units, a 52.8% increase compared to last year. The average days on the market slowed to 33 days compared to 30 in 2017.

Listing discounts dipped slightly to 97.3%, compared to 97.9% in 2017. The months of inventory jumped to 3.2, an 88.2% increase over 2017.

Overall, the massive jumps in inventory levels, longer days on market and drops in listing discounts indicate that buyers still think the market is overvalued. As a result, we should soon see some price correction and more aggressively priced homes as sellers realize that they need to be realistic with valuing their homes in this market.



We’re back with the third installment of our Home Buying 101 Series, and this time, we’re tackling the topics of offer writing and negotiating! If you missed out on Part 1 and Part 2 – you can catch up first before reading on!

So, you’ve found a home you love and you’re ready to write an offer. Where do you begin?

First, look at market conditions with your agent. You’ll what to gauge whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market so you can structure your offer accordingly. In the simplest of terms, this is determined by the amount of housing that’s currently for sale. For a balanced market, there needs to be six months of inventory. If the amount of homes for sale is higher, then it’s a buyer’s market and if it’s lower, it’ a seller’s market.

This is also the time to determine how close the home’s asking price is to its actual market value. Your agent should sit down with you to look at similar homes in the neighborhood that have recently sold to make sure you’re not overpaying. It’s also important to learn about the seller’s needs. Do they require time in their home after escrow closes? Or perhaps they need a shorter escrow period? These are all crucial questions that your agent should ask.

Next, make sure you’re presenting a “clean” offer by dotting all of your I’s and crossing all of your T’s. It should be basic in its requests without asking for a bunch of things that may cause the seller to reject your offer. Additionally, the offer may need to be aggressive in regards to price (depending on what the market value is and whether closing costs are needed by the buyer.) Listen to your agent here! I know most buyers want a good “deal”, but sometimes the good deal is just getting the house.

One way to ensure that your offer stands out is to write a personal letter to the seller. I encourage my buyers to tell the sellers why they love their home and what makes it a perfect fit for them. I also include a photograph of the buyer and/or their family. Heartfelt letters like these can speak to a seller’s emotions – I cannot tell you how many times my buyers “won” the purchase of a home because of their letter.

Congratulations – now you’re ready! You’ve looked at comparable sales, determined the estimated market value and gained insight from the listing agent as to the seller’s “hot buttons”. You’ve structured your offer and your earnest deposit is at least one percent of the sales price. It’s time to negotiate.

Remember – one of the most important things is to make the seller feel comfortable with you as the buyer of their home. Not only do sellers feel emotionally attached to their home, but it’s likely that they also have requirements that need to be fulfilled so that they can move into their new home. A buyer can make great strides in establishing a sense of security with the seller by providing:

  • Documentation that shows proof of down payment (submitted with the offer)
  • A letter from your lender showing that you are fully approved
  • Cross-qualification paperwork for the listing agent’s preferred lender (if required)

These three easy steps will show the seller and their listing agent that they’re working with a team player. Negotiations shouldn’t be viewed as “us” versus “them”. Instead, they should be carefully structured conversations in which each participant feels that they’re getting their most important needs met. In my experience, price is where negotiating is most likely to fall apart. I’ve seen transactions fail over amounts as little as $5,000. For buyers, that’s a mere $24 per month over a 30-year period at 4 percent. For sellers, that’s extending the amount of time in paying carrying costs like the mortgage, taxes, insurance and more.

As you can imagine, staying level-headed can make a HUGE difference throughout the transaction. By putting your feet in the other person’s shoes and considering their perspective, you’ll be able to better focus on the big picture and bring success to both parties.

If you’re considering buying a home in 2019, it’s not too early to seek the advice of a real estate professional and lender. We’re here to help you determine if it’s a good time to purchase a home and achieve your homeownership dreams. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at 619.405.7673 or


2018 Holiday Light Guide

December 4, 2018

2434 Cypress Drive | Dec. 1-31 | 6:30-10pm | Weekends Only

Holidays at LEGOLAND California | Nov. 17-Dec.31 |

Carlsbad Christmas House | 7607 Romeria Street | Dec. 2-31 | 5-10pm

6646 Elegant Tern Place | Dec. 5-25 | 5-10pm

3520 Corte Ramon | Dusk-10pm

Holiday Magic | Fairway Village on Stoney Gate Place | Dec. 15-Jan.1 | 5:30-10:30pm

Christmas Circle | Whitney-Mankato Street | Dec. 8-26 | 5-10pm

Clairemont Christmas Park | Lana Drive and Jamar Court | Dec. 1-25

5404 Mt. Burnham Drive | Dec. 10-27 | 6-10pm

5348 Channing Street | Dec. 4-31 | Dusk-10pm

A Christmas Legend | Nov. 22-Jan. 1 | Hotel del Coronado |

Jingle Bell Hill | Solomon Avenue/Pegeen Place | Dec. 8-26 | Mon-Th: 6-9pm, Fri-Sun: 6-10pm

Nightmare Before Christmas | 11456 Pegeen Place | Dec. 1-Jan. 5 | Mon-Th: 6-9pm, Fri-Sun: 6-10pm

3001 Golf Crest Ridge Road | Dec. 1-31 | Dusk-10pm

1838 El Pico Drive off Hacienda Drive | Nov. 25-Dec. 31 | Dusk-10pm

9777 Valley Ranch Road | Nov. 24-Dec. 26 | 5-10:30pm

1552 Cajon Greens Place | Dec. 1-Jan. 2 | Sun-Th: Dusk-10pm, Fri-Sat: Dusk-12am

Garden of Lights | San Diego Botanic Garden | Dec. 1-23 & 26-30 | 5-8:30pm |

Sights and Sounds of Christmas | San Diego Temple | Nov. 23-Jan. 1 | 5-11pm

6266 De Camp Drive | Dec. 1- 25 | 5-9pm

7817 Quince Street | Dec. 6-31 | Dusk-10pm

Tinsel Town | 10248 Paseo Palmas Drive | Dec. 5-25 | 5:30-9pm

689 Meadowbrook Drive | Dec. 8-Jan. 1 | Dusk-10pm

2618 Sheri Lane | Dec. 1-25 | 6:30-9pm

8866 Cassioepia Way | Dec. 10-31 | Dusk-10pm

11505 Elbert Court | Dec. 10-31 | Dusk-10pm

Christmas Boat Parade of Lights | Dec. 8 | 6pm |

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration | Nov. 17-Jan. 6 |

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights | Dec. 8 | 7pm |

1615 Quiet Hills Drive |

2329 Snead Drive | Dec. 7-31 | 5:30-9pm

1562 Peacock Boulevard | Dec. 10-Jan. 5 | 5:30-10pm

2160 Reo Drive | Nov. 22-Dec. 31 | 6-10pm

Garrison Street Lights | Garrison Street and Chatsworth Boulevard | Dec. 1-31 | Dusk-10pm

The Griswolds | 12631 Stoutwood Street | Dec. 1-Jan. 1 | 5:30-10pm weekdays, 5:30-11pm weekends

Candy Cane Lane
Hickory Court, Hickory Street, Butterwood Court and Rockrose Court | Nov. 30- Dec. 24 | 6-9pm

Happy Lights Ramona
3542 Bassett Way | Dec. 1-Jan. 1 | Sun-Th: 5:30-10pm, Fri & Sat: 5:30-11pm

Christmas Card Lane | Oviedo Street off Black Mountain Road | Dec. 9-31 | Dusk-10pm

Parade of Lights
Shelter Island to Coronado Ferry Landing | Dec. 9 & 16 | 5pm |

The Forward House in Bankers Hill | 108 Ivy Street | Nov. 22-Dec. 31 | 5-10pm

South Park’s Luminaria Season
30th and Fern Street from Juniper to Grape to Beech | Nov. 19-Jan. 1 |

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo | Dec. 14-Jan. 6 | 9am-8pm |

1145 Barham Drive | Nov. 22-Dec. 24 | Sun-Th: 5:30-9pm, Fri & Sat: 5:30-10pm

1639 Knob Hill | Nov. 22-Dec. 30 | 5-9pm |

Starlight Circle | Tomel Court, off Magnolia Avenue | Dec. 1-31 | Dusk-10pm

9325 Pebble Beach Drive | Dec. 1-31 | Dusk-10pm

9435 Saint Andrews Drive | Nov. 24-Jan. 1 | Dusk-10pm

9773 Roe Drive | Dec. 1-31 | 6-10pm

Merry-tage Court | Stonebridge Parkway & Merritage Court | Dec. 1-31 | 5:30-9:30pm

2002 Ainsley Road | Dec. 1-31 | Dusk-9pm

4037 N. Bonita Street | Dec. 10-Jan. 5 | Dusk-11pm

5306 Belardo Drive | Nov. 24-Dec. 27 | 6-10pm |

10927 Baroque Lane | Dec. 7-30 | 6-10pm


Encinitas Tree Lighting & Holiday Parade | Dec. 1
Thousands of people will be on floats and in bands with tens of thousands more cheering them on. Tree lighting ceremony with a brief appearance by Santa at the Lumberyard at 5pm.

Time/Place: 5:30-7:30pm / Coast Highway 101

Winter Wonderland Festival | Dec. 1
Children will have the chance to frolic in real snow, create winter-themed arts and crafts, and even rendezvous with live reindeer! Food and drink will be available.

Time/Place: 3-8pm / California Center for the Arts

Chula Vista Children’s Faire | Dec. 1
Real Snow Hill, Pictures with Santa, Children’s Train, Elf Yourself, Games, Crafts, and more!

Time/Place: 2-5pm / Memorial Park

100 Years of Philippine Cinema | Dec. 1
We’ve invited two exceptional Filipino films created by two award winning filmmakers from the Philippines – Ang Larawan (The Portrait) by Loy Arcenas and Lorna by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo.

Time/Place: 4pm & 7pm / Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park

Fallbrook Christmas Parade | Dec. 1
Toyland Christmas The Christmas Parade marks a special day in early December when Fallbrook residents and visitors alike come to enjoy this gift to the community.
5pm / Main Avenue: Ammunition to Ivy

Chula Vista Starlight Parade | Dec. 1
A variety of colorful floats, caroling groups, marching bands, dance teams, classic cars, and other participants will usher in the holiday season as part of SD County’s largest nighttime parade.

Time/Place: 6-8pm / Third Avenue Village

North Park Toyland Parade & Festival | Dec. 1
Vintage cars, marching bands, dance groups, beauty queens, city officials and Santa Claus.

Time/Place: 10am-3pm / University Avenue

OB Holiday Parade | Dec. 1
See the Point Loma Marching Band strut their way down the street or the SD Roller Derby Dolls. VW Beetle club and classic Woodies. Motorcycles, bright-lit floats and countless bands that fill the beach with live music.

Time/Place: 5-7pm / Sunset Cliffs Blvd & Newport Ave
888-615-3518 /

Lions Tigers & Bears Christmas Festival | Dec. 1
Watch as lions, tigers, bears, mountain lions, leopards, bobcats and other sanctuary animals open their holiday gifts and enjoy their new Christmas trees. Silent auction, opportunity drawing, food trucks, a full bar, shopping at the LTB Gift Shop and Santa!

Time/Place: 1-4pm / 24402 Martin Wy, Alpine

Vista Chambers Candyland Parade | Dec. 1
The parade route starts at Civic Center parking lot, turns right on Eucalyptus, right on S. Santa Fe, right on Broadway, left on Citrus, left on Main Street and ends at the Wave Waterpark.

Time/Place: 1-3pm / Vista Civic Center
760-726-1340 /

Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village | Dec. 1
Families, friends and visitors will be able to experience a tree lighting, a Christmas Village with seasonal vendors, festive decor, live music and entertainment, holiday treats, Santa Claus and more.

Time/Place: 4-8pm / India St & W Fir St
Contact: 619-233-3898 /

Mission Hills Artists Holiday Art & Craft Sale | Dec. 1
A collective of local artists, dedicated to supporting and promoting creative people who live or work in Mission Hills. Free admission and free parking.

Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Mission Hills United Church of Christ: 4070 Jackdaw Street

Setting Sun Sake Fall Garden Party | Dec. 1
Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co. will be hosting a day of celebration and collaboration to showcase some of what America’s Finest City has to offer at one of its most iconic locations: the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
10am-8pm / 2215 Pan American Way E, San Diego, CA 92101

Garden of Lights | Dec. 1-23 & 26-30
Experience a dazzling winter wonderland with more than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminating the flora of this fantastic 37-acre urban oasis. The Garden has something for the whole family, including local food, treats, and warm beverages, live jazz and blues bands, marshmallow toasting, visits with Santa, sledding and much more!

Time/Place: 5-8:30pm / San Diego Botanic Garden

Holiday Lights Tour | Dec. 1 – 25
Discover the magic of the holidays on this tour of San Diego’s top Christmas Lights neighborhoods. Bring the family and enjoy a trip that is worth taking in December.
6pm – 8:30pm / 1050 Kettner Boulevard

Seas ‘n’ Greetings Holiday Celebration | Dec. 1-31
The magic of the holidays meets the underwater world at Birch Aquarium during Seas ‘n’ Greetings.
9am-5pm / Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Meet Santa at Julian Town Hall | Dec. 1-31
Join Santa at the town hall weekends In Julian. Come bring your cameras and snap photos with the man from the North Pole as he visits our little town.
12pm-4pm / Julian Chamber of Commerce

Hanukkah Happening | Dec. 2
Bring the whole family for a holiday extravaganza filled with games, crafts, raffles, and more at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center! You’ll find themed gift baskets for all ages at great prices. There will also be an inflatable jump house, arcade, and kosher treats.
11am-2pm / Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center

Storytime Breakfast with The La Jolla Library | Dec. 2
Delight in a breakfast buffet, variety of holiday-themed drinks, dessert and a fireside reading of Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas led by the La Jolla Library.

Time/Place: 8-11am / Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival | Dec. 2
Marching bands, floats, vintage automobiles and Santa Claus. Church bells peal with a fly-over. There is also a Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Time/Place: 1:30-5pm / Girard Avenue & Prospect Street

San Pasqual Battle Day | Dec. 2
Commemorating the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual of the Mexican-American war with battle reenactment, military encampment, food and entertainment.

Time/Place: 10am-3pm / 15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido
760-737-2201 /

Kringle Mingle | Dec. 2
Come get free photos with Surfing Santa in his vintage Camera Camper Sleigh. Listen and dance to lively musical performances. Enjoy a cup of warm savory soup from Rimels, scrumptious holiday treats and cookies from VGs Donuts and much more. Children’s Craft Pavilion.

Time/Place: 1-5pm / North Courtyard of Cardiff Town Center

Santa by the Sea | Dec. 2
Free pictures with Santa, treats, games and entertainment, plus a holiday tree lighting!
3-5pm / L’Auberge Amphitheater, Del Mar
858-735-3650 /

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off | Dec. 2
40 local restaurants competing in a chili smackdown. 30 local handmade vendors. Local craft beer and wine garden. Kids Fun Fest area with bounce houses, carnival games and more. Live entertainment.

Time/Place: 11am-5pm / Thorn & 32nd Streets in North Park

Hanukkah Celebration & Menorah Lighting | Dec. 3
Celebration, live entertainment, photo opportunities, and more! Guests are invited to partake in an evening of ice skating at the Rady Children’s Ice Rink after the Menorah Lighting.

Time/Place: 5-9pm / Liberty Station

Alpine Village Christmas Parade & Snow Festival | Dec. 7
Imaginative creative entries for this hometown range from lights on pets and bikes to actual floats and huge trucks! The snow sledding, Santa Claus, entertainment, children’s activities and vendors begins at 7pm.
6:30-9pm / Alpine Creek Town Center
619-445-2722 /

Coronado Holiday Parade & Open House | Dec. 7
Santa arrives via the Ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing, a festive parade follows down Orange Avenue and Santa lights the Christmas Tree in Rotary Plaza.

Time/Place: 3:20-8pm / Coronado Ferry Landing
Contact: 619-435-7242 /

Balboa Park December Nights | Dec. 7-8
Friends, families and the community are invited to come together for festive fun, food and attractions throughout the park, including complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5-9pm.
Fri 3-11pm, Sat 12-11pm / Balboa Park

La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village | Dec. 7-8
Walk the streets of La Mesas historic downtown and enjoy live music and dance, cozy fires, craft vendors, food, and a kid’s area with holiday movies and activities.

Time/Place: 5-9pm / La Mesa Village
Contact: 619-606-2028 /

Makers Arcade Holiday Fair | Dec. 8
Find that one-of-a-kind gift at this fair, where makers come together to offer you a unique holiday shopping experience. While perusing handcrafted goods, enjoy live music, free make-and-take crafts, a photo booth, and delicious food and cocktails.
11am-6pm / The Port Pavilion at the Broadway Pier

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights | Dec. 8
A distinctly California celebration, features boats decorated for the holidays that will sail around the Bay.

Time/Place: 6-9pm / Mission Bay & Beaches
Contact: 858-488-0501 /

Poway’s Christmas in the Park | Dec. 8
Horse-drawn hay and pony rides, petting zoo, and face painting. Steam locomotive train rides, model trains, and live entertainment. Holiday sweets and warm dinner foods. Tree lighting and Santa.
3:30-8:30pm / Old Poway Park

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights | Dec. 8
Fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach.
7-9pm / Oceanside Harbor

Santa’s Holiday Festival | Dec. 8
Come take pictures with Santa. Each family will have the opportunity to make a memorable holiday ornament. There will be face painting, crafts and refreshments. Don’t forget to do a little holiday shopping in the Gift Shop.
10am-3pm / Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, Vista
760-726-1340 /

Jingle Bell Run | Dec. 8
The Arthritis Foundation’s original Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get decked out and be festive, while racing to raise funds and awareness to cure Americas #1 cause of disability.
6:30-11am / Liberty Station NTC Park
619-468-5986 /

Red Nose Run | Dec. 9
A holiday 5K that benefits Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and Semper Fi Fund. Participants are encouraged to dress in their best Holiday apparel and a prize will be awarded.

Time/Place: 12:30-5:30pm / Powerhouse Park, Del Mar

Del Dios Trail Half Marathon, 10K & 5K | Dec. 9
All courses feature dirt service roads or single-track trails, with elevation gains between 100-500. We are proud to offer our Kids Dash.

Time/Place: 6-11am / Lake Hodges Visitors Center, Escondido

Santa at the Lakes | Dec. 9
Santa Claus, snow sledding, carnival rides, smores, food, face painting, arts, crafts and so much more!

Time/Place: 10am-3pm / Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
Contact: 619-596-3141 /

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party | Dec. 9-10
Break out the Zoot suits and swing dance dresses, and take a step back in time to the ‘40s and ‘50s with a high-energy take on the holidays! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, who got their name from an autograph by blues legend Albert Collins, has appeared in concert venues across the world, sold millions of records, and had their music appear in hundreds of movies and television shows.
8pm / Poway Center for the Performing Arts

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights | Dec. 9 & 16
More than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see. The parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Pier at Cesar Chavez Park and the Ferry Landing in Coronado.
5pm / San Diego Bay

ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship | Dec. 12-16
The ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship serves as the preeminent platform for physically challenged surfers to display their talents in competition.

Time/Place: See website for schedule. / La Jolla Shores
Contact: 858-551-8563 /

Queen Bee Market Holiday Show | Dec. 14-15
Looking for that perfect holiday gift? With over 100 vendors selling home décor, handcrafted art, clothing, accessories, furniture, and so much more, you are certain to find something unique at this original urban-style, artisan market.
4-9pm Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday / Del Mar Fairgrounds

The Nutcracker | Dec. 14-23
Gather your friends and family to enjoy a classically extravagant score and vibrant cast of over 150 dancers. California Ballet’s glittering production of The Nutcracker leaps onto the stage of the San Diego Civic Theatre in a favorite holiday tradition.
Varies / San Diego Civic Theatre

San Diego Santa Run 5K & 1 Mile Race | Dec. 15
A series of runs that will take place on Garnet Ave featuring a 5K fun run and 1-mile run waves that include run with your dog, kids run, and a competitive wave.
8:30-11am / Garnet Ave. and Bayard St.
858-412-6787 /

Old Town Las Posadas | Dec. 15
Based on the story of Mary and Josephs search for shelter in Bethlehem. Fiesta de Reyes invites you to enjoy the holiday spirit with festive decorations throughout the park, entertainment, and holiday experiences for the whole family.

Time/Place: 12-8pm / Old Town San Diego
Contact: 619-291-4903 /

Dirty December Poker Fun Run Half Marathon & 10K | Dec. 15
In addition to a costume contest and holiday theme, this run will involve a poker element your poker hand could give you bonus time!
9am-12:30pm / Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon | Dec. 15
Starts on Penasquitos Drive in front of the Hotel Karlan then travels SW along Carmel Mountain Road along the 56 bike path and finishes at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach.

Time/Place: 5am-12pm / Hotel Karlan, Ranch Penasquitos

The Vet + Pet West Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade | Dec. 16
All pet owners and their furry, feathered, and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes and put their best paw, wing, and fin forward for this jolly promenade and pet expo.

Time/Place: 1-5pm / MLK Promenade Park, San Diego

Holiday Food Truck Festival | Dec. 26-30
The Holiday Food Truck Festival in Balboa Park returns for five festive days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
12pm – 7pm / Balboa Park House of Hospitality

San Diego International Auto Show | Dec. 27-30
Over 400 vehicles from 30+ global manufacturers. Be among the first in the US to see more than 20 debuts of newly unveiled vehicles not yet in showrooms that are expected to be on display at the show.

Time/Place: Thur-Fri 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-7pm / SD Convention Center
858-550-0080 /

San Diego Tango Festival | Dec. 28-Jan. 1
Join Tango enthusiasts from all over the country and dance the night away! There’s something for everyone at this event, and teachers will be on hand to show beginners the basic steps and proper dance etiquette.
Wyndham San Diego Bayside

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade | Dec. 31
Watch as the scenic bayside streets of downtown San Diego come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade! As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons…more than any other parade!
10am / Downtown San Diego

Solar Turbines 5K Run/Walk | Dec. 31
Athletes will run past 100,000 cheering spectators. Runners, families and spectators can watch the remainder of the parade that features colorful floats, bands and inflatable characters.

Time/Place: 9:45am / San Diego Harbor Front

SDCCU Holiday Bowl | Dec. 31
This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12.
4pm / SDCCU Stadium


The best feeling in the world is finally knowing you took a step in the right direction.
A step towards the future where everything that you never thought was possible, is possible.

In my last post, I wrote about getting ready to buy a home. We covered everything from finding the right lender and real estate agent to discovering your “why.” Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss the first part of the actual process and what you can expect with a home purchase.

1. Emotions: Many say that buying a home is one of the top five most stressful life events. It’s right up there with the death of a loved one, getting married or divorced, or the birth of a child. The process is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety all mixed in there. I don’t know that there is anything one can really do to prepare themselves for all of these emotions, other than being aware that it’s normal to have these feelings. Remember that your realtor and lender can’t read your mind, so it’s important to be honest about your feelings and concerns. This is not the time to be a lone ranger!

2. Finding the Home: This part of the process can be both exciting and frustrating. It’s exciting because you are daring to see your life differently. Yet it’s frustrating because what many buyers want versus what they can afford are two different things. It’s the proverbial champagne taste with a beer budget, so to speak.

3. Condos/Townhomes: If you’re using an FHA or VA loan and shopping in the condo market, it can be downright maddening to find a complex that will get approved. Plus, you’ll want to consider owner versus tenant occupancy and any pending complex litigation as well. When I’m working with a buyer in this situation, I take the extra step of checking these issues out in advance before taking someone to see a property. There’s no need to waste energy or risk falling in love with a property only to find out that the community doesn’t qualify. It’s also important to keep pet policies and HOA involvement in mind when purchasing this type of home.

4. Homes: Lender requirements are not as strict for detached single-family homes. The house only needs to meet their habitability guidelines. If the condition is fair or below, or there are foundation issues, it will be difficult to get a “normal” loan. There are rehab loans available for these types of situations, but it’s important to keep in mind that the property needs to appraise for the cost of the home and the finished remodel.

I once had a client go into escrow on a beautiful home that had been completely remodeled on the interior. It was at the top of where they felt comfortable price-wise. During the home inspection, we discovered issues with all of the major components – roofing, plumbing, sewer, HVAC and more. While the buyer wouldn’t have had to do anything on the interior, the expenses they would have had to incur in the first five years of homeownership would have been significantly beyond their financial capability. With broken hearts, they walked away from the purchase. Who can blame them for not wanting to be house poor? Shortly after, we found something larger and less expensive for them. Even though it needed cosmetic upgrades, it was easier for them financially and an all-around better fit.

5. Miscellaneous Items to Consider: Regardless of whether you’re looking at attached or detached homes, it’s good to ask and do the following: Does the floor plan of the home make sense for your needs? Is it on a busy street? Are there large power lines, strange odors, or air traffic? Talk to the neighbors. What do they like or dislike about the complex, neighborhood, local schools, or area? Drive by the home and area at different times of the day. Check crime statistics and the Megan’s Law database for the area. All of these components can impact the value and future sale of the home.

I hope you found this information to be helpful! Don’t forget about the first article in our Home Buying 101 Series: Preparation is Key. Our next installment will cover the process of writing an offer and going through escrow – stay tuned!