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Carlsbad Relocation A to Z

Buyer's Lifestyle Questionnaire

Sep. 8, 2013
Categorized in: House Hunting

One of the reasons for your relocation, or simply a result of it, may be a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

WHile you may be seeking to maintain your current lifestyle in your new home you may be hoping to make some changes.

No doubt whatever your plans, LIFESTYLE is generally a pretty important part of the HOME SEARCH, and likely involves aspects of the house you hope to buy as well as the surrounding neighborhood and the larger community.

Of course many buyers moving here to SoCal are seeking a lifestyle by the beach, being able to be outdoors all year including dining, and a wealth of recreational activities.You may want to be near shopping and dining, or perhaps golfing is an essential part of your lifestyle.

My LIFESTYLE QUESTIONNAIRE may be helpful to you as you think about those things that are really important to you as part of your home search. You will also find a copy of my WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU questionnaire to help in your home search.

If I can help in any way in your home search here in Southern California (Carlsbad and beyond), please don't hesitate to get in touch.

LINK TO LIFESTYLE QUESTIONNAIRE and

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU QUESTIONNAIRE

(you will be able to download or print)

Are You Going to Buy Now? Or Later?

Dec. 20, 2010
Categorized in: Financial Stuff

The question or whether to buy now or in the future often comes up with relocation.

And there are many issues to consider - finding the right home, selling the old one (if necessary), financial (job, income, debts, credit) and so one.

Some buyers want to buy now, but must wait because they can't find what they want, prices are not what they would like, or financially they just cannot swing it.

And sometime people are waiting becuase they think, or hope, prices will decline. While that may be the case, as it has over these last few years, the rising interest rates could work against any savings you might get from lower prices. You simply won't know when the bottom is until it has passed.

Are you ready to buy now or will that be in the future? Read the full article...

Shall I Rent or Shall I Buy?

Jan. 21, 2010
Categorized in: Financial Stuff

If you are relocating here to Southern California (Carlsbad, Encinitas or other nearby San Diego coastal communities) you may be considering if you should rent or if you should buy.

It's a tough question, and there are pros and cons to both sides. And I have done both

Getting the lay of the land before buying in a new community makes sense. And financially you may need some time to get things in order, especially if you are moving here from a less expensive area, or if your home has not yet sold and you do not qualify for a mortgage until that happens.

It can be a great time to buy, however, for some buyers. The prices are about where they were in 2004, give or take. Mortgage rates are terrific and still in the 5% range  (but that is expected to shift upwards over the next few months so you will pay more each month for the same house). Given the general downward trend in inventory (some communities in my area have less than 5 months of inventory), there is a lot of competition, especially at the lower price points, and we are seeing some upticks in average prices of homes sold.

Will this continue?

Hard to say. Waiting a year to buy could mean you will pay more for your home, both in terms of price as well as in the interest rate.

We could also see more inventory, especially of short sales and Roes, but that can also mean more competition.

But the choice is personal and does depend on your personal situation. If I can help with more information about the market so you can make an informed choice, please let me know.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A RENTAL:

  • Most of the area rentals will be found on sites like Craigslist and SignOnSanDiego. Landlords can list their properties for free and do not have to pay a fee to a real estate agent.
  • I can also send you rental listings from the MLS but there will be fewer options to choose from.
  • Know that if you have pets, especially dogs, that some rentals have restrictions, either due to the home owner's preference on in the case of the HOA or condo association.

 

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers  How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler

Some Changes in FHA Mortgages

Jan. 21, 2010
Categorized in: Financial Stuff

Listen up if you :

(1) are pre-approved for an FHA mortgage, or

(2) plan to get pre-approved to use an FHA loan to buy a home in your new location.

Money

FHA has recently made some significant changes in requirements and other details about their loans.

You can read more about these recent announcements on the HUD website.

Government sites can be a challenge to wade through all the "stuff."  A friend of mine in Philadelphia, Jeff Belonger, is an FHA expert - his blog article about FHA loans makes these changes much easier to understand.

Some big changes:

  • An increase in the mortgage insurance premium amount
  • A decrease in the amount of concession a buyer can receive from a seller from 6% max to 3% max

 

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers  How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler

How Does Inventory Affect Buying and Selling?

Aug. 18, 2009
Categorized in: Selling Your House

If you are selling your home as part of your RELOCATION, and planning to buy a new one in your new location, you really need to understand about INVENTORY and how it can impact the decisions you  need to make.

Inventory will affect the price you will determine for listing your home so it is positioned well in YOUR particular market.

Bbut inventory will also impact the options you will have in your new location. A well-informed agent WILL understand this and be able to provide you with the information you need most so you can be an informed consumer.

If you need help in finding a qualified agent in your area, please feel free to let me know. I have a huge network of agents I know around the country becuase of my substantial Internet marketing plus my professional certifications (Certified Residential Specialist or CRS for one).

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers  How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

Buyers - How Fast Can You Move?

Jul. 25, 2009
Categorized in: House Hunting

In the current market in some areas, at the lower price points, it is NOT a buyer's market. That is certainly true here in Southern California in communities like Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido where there are a lot of short sales and REOs (bank owned foreclosures) under $300,000.

And buyers are finding they need to make quick decisions or they will lose out on properties they like. It is particularly difficult if you are relocating and are not here physically to see properties as soon as they come on the market.

The question becomes - "Buyers, How Fast Can You Move?". Read more to understand how this may affect you.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers  How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

Researching Schools, Communities, Crime Stats and the Housing Market

Mar. 31, 2009
Categorized in: Internet information

Check out my recent post on Carlsbad Real Estate News for information how to research schools, communities, crime statistics and the housing market reports.

Internet Aids for Helping You in Your Relocation to Carlsbad

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

Do Not Open the Refrigerator

Feb. 3, 2009
Categorized in: House Hunting

I wrote a warning to buyers, and agents, recently. It had to do with ot opening the refrigerator door in homes they were touring that are distress sales - bank owned properties, and vacant short sales and foreclosures.

Here's why you don't open that refrigerator door.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

The ActiveRain Real Estate Network - A Powerful Consumer Tool

Jan. 14, 2009
Categorized in: Research

I have mentioned, on more than one occasion, my writing on ActiveRain, the largest real estate social and informational network on-line with over 128,000 members of the RE biz.

I suspect many of you have been there as a result of links to articles posted here on Relocation A to Z. I have been a member of ActiveRain for over 2 years now, with almost 1000 articles written. The membership when I started was a little over 6,000 folks.

ActiveRain, or AR as it is fondly called, is a powerful consumer tool (see link below)

ActiveRain real estate network logo and link

There are many thousands of articles on AR written by REALTORS like myself, mortgage brokers, staging professionals, home inspectors and others in our business. These articles have to do with communities all over the US, housing, things to do and places to visit, as well as a wealth of information useful to buyers and sellers.

A recent article by founder Jon Washburn indicated that while AR is a powerful peer-to-peer platform, it is even more powerful as a consumer tool, with about 9 times as many consumer hits as members, and a growth rate in 2008 of about 200%.

Walkable Neighborhoods in North County San Diego

Dec. 17, 2008
Categorized in: House Hunting

Read about walkable real estateI have had a good number of buyers who are relocating here and want to be within walking distance of amenities such as shopping, restaurants, services, and the public library, among other things.

While this is not an easy thing to find, there are real estate opportunities in a number of North County San Diego communities where I work that will allow for this - Carlsbad, Cardiff, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar for example.

Walkability, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder, or should we say the feet of the walker?

Some people consider 15 - 20 minutes a very reasonable walk and others want to be closer, say 10 minutes or so. So as I am sharing information about these communities, bear in mind that if walking distance is important you will need to check it out for yourself to be sure.

There is a neat web tool that allows you to gain an idea of walkability. I talk about it in the first of my walkable neighborhood series articles - it's called a WALKSCORE. You simply enter an address and it will calculate a score based on proximity to a variety of amenities (plus you get the distances to those amenities so you can sort of judge for yourself). Being close to one store will not get you a high walkability score - what is more important is general walkability to a range of amenities and services.

READ MORE: Finding a Place to Live With Great Walkability (Walkable Neighborhood Series)

I am continuing to add communities to my walkable neighborhood series, but here are the first few. And if I can provide more information, please let me know. Or stop by the search page on my website and search for homes in the MLS (the link is BELOW). Grab a few and enter the addresses into Walkscore to see how it works. Or use your own address. have fun, and happy searching.

Carlsbad Village Real Estate in Carlsbad, California

 

 

Downtown Encinitas

 

 

Cardiff Real Estate in The Walking District in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

 

 

Carlsbad Homes for Sale in La Costa, Carlsbad

 

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If I can provide more information about Del Mar, Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2008 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

Services for Buyers Who Are Relocating

Nov. 30, 2008
Categorized in: Finding a REALTOR

Relocation is tough, and you probably need some help to get through the process.

Here are the highlights of some services you can expect if you are moving to Southern California.

 

Community information - Here are just a few community profiles in my service area – Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, Cardiff, Solana Beach.

Market Conditions - I provide monthly market reports on communities like Carlsbad, Encinitas and Cardiff but can customize reports for you for any North County San Diego community.

MLS listings

Photos - My Carlsbad Video and Photobloggery which I update regularly has plenty of photos and videos about the area to give you a feel for the San Diego lifestyle.

Videos – one of the best ways to get a feel for a home and the community is through video. Here’s an example of a community video. And here’s one of a listing of mine.

Phone Tour  

Buyers Handbook - the Buyer’s Handbook Summary is on my website on my homepage and can be downloaded at any time.

Websites for research

Help for Sellers Too – check out my

Informed Sellers page on my website

for some helpful information.

Read the full article on my service offerings here.

Watch out for That Appraisal in Today's Market, Buyers

Jul. 3, 2008
Categorized in: House Hunting

Buyers in our area, and others, are now confronting a new issue in their real estate transacation - the APPRAISAL.

Having a home appraisal is NOT new, of course, and most buyers (and sellers) typically anxst over the appraisal until it is completed, since the bank will not issue a loan commitment until the underwriter has the complete file and reviews the appraisal.

            

Today's market, wtih declining prices in many areas, and the increasing number of short sales, foreclosures, and REOs (bank owned properties) is creating problems in many communities with appraisals which are, increasingly, coming in below the agreed-upon purchase price. Banks are tightening standards (only 3 months allowed for comparables, not 6) and appraisers themselves are being more closely scrutinized.

You may be relocating to a market very different from your current one and may find this to be more of an issue, or possibly less.

Is this a concern?

In many markets it should be. And as a prudent buyer there are things you should know, and do.

Read There's a New Source of Anxiety here.

This is just one more GOOD reason to make sure you are working with an agent in your relocation who really knows the local market and can help avoid some of these issues.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by

phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler

Don't Take Short Cuts on Your Home Inspection

Jun. 12, 2008
Categorized in: Due Diligence
Tagged with: buyers, home inspections
Folks who are buying Carlsbad real estate, or anywhere for that matter, owe it to themselves to do a thorough investigation of the property they wish to buy.
This is not new news, or shouldn’t be.

Most REALTORS strongly encourage buyers to hire a home inspector to investigate the home they are trying to buy and part of the due diligence process. To not do so is foolhardy, in my opinion. We even have a disclosure here that advises buyers that to not conduct such an investigation is going against the recommendations of the agent. But sometimes folks don’t listen.

With the market we are in, this becomes even more critical, given the number of short sales foreclosures, and bank-owned properties (REOs). Since these homes, and sometimes others, are sold AS IS, a prudent real estate buyer will want to know what they are getting themselves into before signing on the dotted line.

My experiences with home inspectors have been pretty good, although I know there are some who are not so competent. And let’s face it they are normally not trades people so their inspections may be less thorough than, say, a licensed plumber. Nor should they be expected to be as knowledgeable. Plus there are always those darned disclosures and disclaimers.If they recommend further evaluation, it is probably wise to listen.

The point of all this is to ask whether you, Mr. and/or Ms. Carlsbad Buyer, are really doing as thorough an inspection as you should. Or are there cases where more is needed?

Read the full article here.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by

phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler

What You Should Know About Down Payments

May. 28, 2008
Categorized in: Financial Stuff

I recently wrote about the importance of considering your overall financial status and goals when making a Carlsbad home purchase. It’s a big decision and there can be huge financial implications, both in the near term and down the road.

Most buyers, unless they qualify for 100% financing or obtain gift money, will allocate a large chunk of cash to the down payment (up to 20% or more of the purchase price; with detached homes starting around $500K in Carlsbad we are talking $100,000!). And the decision of how large a down payment to make on your home purchase is not just about making a competitive offer, but may have huge implications on your big-picture financial situation. This decision requires a careful analysis and depends on your unique set of circumstances.

So I got some information from a friend of mine, Paul Parotti, a financial planner, and wanted to share this. With the help of a qualified real estate agent, financial planner, mortgage professional and possibly a CPA, buyers should look at the following factors when making this decision:

$    $    $    $    $  

How will the down payment expense affect your nest egg? Tying up too much of your net worth in your home would create major problems if you were to lose your job or encounter some other financial difficulty. For those who think they will always have the option of cashing out excess equity by refinancing, consider that mortgage standards on cash out refinances are much more stringent than on purchase transactions, with lower loan-to-value allowances and stricter borrower credit requirements. Even if you do qualify for a cash out refinance, closing costs may be several thousands of dollars. The bottom line: it’s best to keep enough cash available to float you for six months or more, just in case.

Read the full article here.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by

phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler

St. Joseph, Crystal Balls and Psychics - Are They For Real "Estate?"

May. 20, 2008
Categorized in: Psychology Stuff

What IS the real estate world coming to?

St. Joseph? Crystal Balls? Psychics?


You bet. There are tons of predictions floating around, and everyone wants to know:

  • will my house sell?
    • When will the market hit bottom?
      • Should I buy or sell now or wait?


Whether you believe in the power of St. Joseph to sell your home, wish your REALTOR had a crystal ball, or are one of many folks who consult psychics on a variety of subjects, predictions seem to be the mainstay of our housing market these days.

Read more about a growing trend.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by

phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler

Carlsbad Relocation A to Z

Blog by Jeff Dowler
Carlsbad, California

An informational source for people who are relocating, with a particular focus on moving to the Carlsbad area of North County San Diego (and nearby coastal communities), with advice, guidance and true stories to help you on your way and make it a great journey, from a REALTOR´┐Ż with plenty of personal (4 major moves, most recently from Boston to Carlsbad, California) and professional relocation experience. Are you running into problems selling your home? Need to find a new one quickly? Never moved before and haven't a clue? You'll find some great tips on how to solve your relocation issues here. Or ask me a question any time and I'll share some solutions or tell you where to get more information. CA BRE Lic. #01490977

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