There is so much paperwork and time involved with buying a home in San Diego, that it makes sense to get a head start on several important things before you even write an offer.
Obviously, we will be out looking at homes together (and that is an important part of buying a home), but here is a list of 6 other items you can start checking off your Home Buying To-Do List:
1. Read the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (C.A.R. form SBSA).
This is a disclosure document put together by the California Association of REALTORS® with all sorts of general information about buying a home in the state of California. It's about 11 pages long, and you will have to sign that you received and read this document when you write an offer on a property.
Since you probably won't have much time to read an 11-page document when you are also reviewing your purchase contract, it's a good idea to get a head start and read the SBSA document now. Ask your San Diego Exclusive Buyer Agent (hopefully that's me) to send you a copy of this form if they haven't already done so.
2. Read the Local Area Disclosures for San Diego County (SDAR form LAD).
This is another long disclosure document similar to the SBSA (see #1 above), however this document gets much more specific about things you may want to know about within San Diego County. If you are relocating to San Diego from out of the area, you will find this to be a very informative document.
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Whether or not you find it interesting, you will be asked to sign that you've read it when you write an offer to buy a home, so (again) you might as well get familiar with the information now. The good thing about the SBSA and LAD documents is that they will spur questions from you that will allow you and me to have great real estate discussions on all sorts of topics. So..... get reading! And then send/ask me your questions!
For more information about the LAD disclosure document read the following link: San Diego Local Area Disclosures.
3. Research and contact potential property inspectors.
An interesting thing is that many homebuyers rely on their real estate agent to select a property inspector for them without a second thought. What many home buyers do not consider is that there is an inherent conflict of interest for the buyer's agent to select the property inspector (agents want the transaction to close, and an inspector could cause a problem with that). As a homebuyer, you want an inspector whose loyalty is to YOU, not to your real estate agent.
There are many great inspectors out there, and if you take time to research them now, you will certainly find a handful who could do a great job for you. If you want or need any help with these, I am here to help you. Of course, I've met many property inspectors over the years (some better than others). If you want some referrals, I'm always happy to provide those to you. I can also schedule the appointments for you.
Here's the reality, you need a list of go-to inspectors (not just one or two). When it's time to schedule your inspections, time will be limited. We will be looking to schedule inspection appointments that work with your schedule, my schedule, and the seller/tenant's schedule, so we usually have a specific day and time we are looking for. Since most inspectors are busy, we may need to contact several before we find one that works with our schedule. So make a list now. Feel free to use my list (see link below). And if you find any inspectors you think I should add to my list, send them my way.
Read this article for more about how to find a San Diego property inspector (and for a list of inspectors I've compiled): How to find a California Licensed Property Inspector. Let me know if you have any questions about this!
4. Find a contractor.
Talk to friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. to find a contractor who you might start a relationship with. Contractors come in very handy when you are trying to determine how much repairs or renovations will cost on a home. However, a seasoned contractor will know that homebuyers have a compelling need for a good estimate/bid/quote during their investigation phase of their home purchase, but the very same homebuyers rarely end up hiring that contractor to do the work (especially if the buyer ends up asking the seller to do those repairs, or if the buyer decides to postpone the work until a later date).
For that reason, it is difficult to find a good contractor who will jump at the opportunity to meet you at the property for a bid when you don't even own the home yet.
That being said, friends (and friends of friends) will often do that for you (and any contractor will probably be willing to put more thought and time into the estimate if you offer to pay them up-front for the estimate, perhaps $250 - $350, depending on how extensive the repairs are). Simply contact a few contractors, let them know that you are actively searching for a home, and ask them how much they would charge to meet you at the property and give you an estimate for repair costs when you have a home under contract. Again, I know a lot of people in San Diego, and I am happy to give you some contractor referrals if you would like them.
5. Read these booklets about natural hazards (earthquakes, lead in the home, mold, etc.).
There are several booklets that you will be given during your purchase transaction, and they each have great information that all San Diego homeowners should read and be aware of. These booklets include:
- Homeowner's Guide to Earthquake Safety
- Residential Environmental Hazards: A Guide for Homeowners, Homebuyers, Landlords, and Tenants
- Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
- What is Your Home Energy Rating?
If you take the time to start reading them now, it will give you more time for investigation, etc. once you are under contract to buy a home. Find more info about and links to download each of these booklets at the following link: Booklets for San Diego Home Buyers.
6. Lastly, remember that I'm here to answer all your questions. Going through the five steps outlined above will very likely bring up many other questions about buying a home. I enjoy helping my clients through the whole home-buying process, so ask away!
Who else do you know who is considering buying a home in San Diego? Most homebuyers don't start considering information like this until they're already writing an offer on a property, but in my opinion that is too late. Share this article with them now, and they will thank you for the good information. And please tell them about me (or better yet introduce us to each other)! I highly value referrals from my clients.
Justin Gramm is the founder and principal broker of Globella Buyers Realty, your San Diego Exclusive Buyer Brokerage. He also writes this blog, "For San Diego Home Buyers."
Exclusive Buyer Agents do not list homes for sale and never represent sellers. They have no "inventory" to try to sell you. They can represent you in purchasing any home. They are specialists at representing buyers only on the buyers' side of the transaction. Exclusive Buyer Agents work to get buyers the best price and terms when they buy a home.
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If you have excellent credit and plan to buy a home or condo in San Diego County within 90 days, contact Justin Gramm to hire an agent on your side of the transaction. Call Justin at 619-775-1977 or E-mail.