San Diego Housing Inventory at Low Numbers

Where did all those Home for Sale signs go? They’ve become scarce in San Diego County, leaving home buyers in a competitive situation that few anticipated.

In cities like San Diego, the “buyer’s market” is a thing of the past. Homes are selling faster than they’re coming on the market, and those who seek to get an under market value bargain are finding themselves shut out.

Serious San Diego home buyers need to confine their search to the price range they can afford; then work with an experienced buyer’s agent with a good reputation in the real estate community.

We fit that description.

What difference does the agent make? All the difference.

First, we know what our buyers can ask for safely and what will lead to an automatic rejection. Then, we know how to negotiate in a manner that keeps the lines of communication open – thus leading to an agreement.

Next, your agent’s reputation will be a factor when the listing agent presents multiple offers to the home seller. Our offers are looked upon favorably because listing agents know our buyers either have the cash or have been pre-approved for their mortgage loan. They also know that we’ll do our share of the work while behaving in a professional, pleasant, and cooperative manner.

Other San Diego County agents know us and know we deliver results for our clients.

If you’re ready to own a San Diego home, get in touch. You can reach us by writing td@tomdunlap.com or by calling 619-929-1413.

Thinking of selling your San Diego home?

Your first question is probably “What is my home worth in today’s market?”

To get an instant estimate, just CLICK HERE. Once you enter your address and verify a few details, an estimate of your home’s value will be on it’s way to your inbox.

Then when you’re ready for a more precise market analysis, get in touch. We’ll be glad to prepare an in-depth market analysis.

The Importance of a Reasonable Purchase Offer

Right now in San Diego we’re experiencing a shortage of homes for sale. When the market is balanced, we have 6 months worth of inventory. As we go into 2017, we have just over 2 months worth of inventory. As a result, buyers are competing for every correctly priced home.

Most San Diego homes are priced at – or even below – the price at which they will sell. So buyers who come in hoping for a large discount are asking for disappointment.

Sellers don’t have to entertain low offers, so if they feel an offer is unreasonable, they won’t counter. They’ll just accept another offer or counter to the buyer who made a reasonable offer. The unreasonable offer will be marked “rejected.”

Next, a low offer could alienate the sellers so much that they won’t counter even if there’s only been one offer.

Remember that for a person who has lived in a home, emotions play a significant role in the decision-making process.

Listing agents always advise sellers to view the sale of their home as a business transaction. But it is difficult for most, especially if they’ve lived in the home for many years.

How can you come up with a reasonable offer on a San Diego home?

Trust your buyers’ agent. He or she has a finger on the pulse of San Diego real estate – and knows when a house is or isn’t priced at market value.

Your home buying decision should be based on finding a house in your financial “comfort zone” that will feel like home. When you find one that says “I’m your new home, you must live here,” don’t play games with the price you offer. If you do, someone else will soon be living in “your” home.

When you’re ready to find your new San Diego home, get in touch.

Our experienced San Diego buyer’s agents will not only speed up the process by narrowing your search to homes that fit your wants and needs, they’ll help you determine an offering price that will help you own the home you choose.

You can reach us by writing td@tomdunlap.com or by calling 619-929-1413.

Before You Leave the House to View San Diego Homes for Sale, Get Prepared

You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage loan, you’ve chosen an agent, your agent has helped you narrow the search, and now it’s time to get in the car and see those San Diego homes in person.

This is fun and exciting, but can also be confusing and exhausting if you’re not prepared. Happily, being prepared isn’t difficult.

Here’s the short list:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Take along property flyers and a clipboard.
  • Focus your time and attention on the search.
  • Be prepared to act if you find the home you want.

The clothing: Yes, you do like to look nice, but go for comfort as well. Getting in and out of the car and walking around can make you tired and cranky if your clothes or shoes are pinching.

The flyers and clipboard:
If you see more than 2 San Diego homes in a day, it’s easy to get their various features and benefits confused. So take along the flyers and make your own notes as you view the homes. The clipboard will make it easier to keep things together and give you a writing surface.

Plan to focus: When you’re making a major life decision, it’s best to give it your full attention. So set aside enough uninterrupted time to really see the homes you’re viewing.

This is not the time to be distracted by cell phones, nor to need to rush in order to make it to an appointment. And if you have children, carefully consider whether or not they should accompany you as you view homes.

Some children will enjoy the San Diego home search and be helpful as you make your determinations – and others won’t. Only you know how your own children will react.

If they’re going to love the adventure and help you focus on the benefits and features of each home, by all means bring them along.

If they’re going to be tired, cranky, and anxious to go home, don’t make them come along. You won’t be able to focus on the homes if you’re focused on the kids.

Be prepared to act: The San Diego housing market is low on inventory and we’re seeing the most desirable homes moving quickly from “for sale” to “sold.” So when you find the home you know you want, don’t hesitate. Take the time to make the offer before you return home.

Are you ready?

Our buyers’ agents are ready. So get in touch. You can reach us at 619-929-1413 or by writing td@tomdunlap.com.

Searching for a San Diego Home

When you begin the search for your San Diego home you’ll see more homes for sale than you could possibly view, even though the inventory is low. Your first task, then, is to narrow the search.

First, settle on a price range.

When you meet with a lender to become pre-approved for a home loan, you’ll learn the maximum you can spend. But do listen to your own instincts as well. You may not want to “spend all you can” on your monthly mortgage payment.

Choose the monthly payment that you know will fit comfortably into your budget, then ask your lender to work backwards and tell you your maximum loan amount.

Next, consider where you want to live.

Which San Diego neighborhood will be most convenient to work, school, family and/or recreation – and which will enhance your own lifestyle? Come, explore the differences between the neighborhoods and what each has to offer in terms of lifestyle and convenience.

Of course these aren’t all the San Diego neighborhoods you have to choose from. Describe your perfect neighborhood to your buyer’s agent and he or she will help you focus on areas where you’ll be happy.

Start the search in those neighborhoods.

Now – what you want vs. what you need.

Start with what you absolutely must have. This generally includes the number of bedrooms and baths, but you may have other requirements. You might need a master bedroom and the laundry room on ground level. You may have a grand piano or other large furniture that requires an over-sized room. Maybe a home office is a feature you can’t do without.

Whatever it is – whether it affects the interior or exterior of the home – make a list of these important features.

This will help your buyer’s agent narrow the search to homes that meet the basic requirements.

Now comes the fun part – making a list of features you’d like to have.

What would please you and make a house seem extra-special?

  • Walk-in closets?
  • Bay windows?
  • Cathedral ceilings?
  • A huge pantry?
  • A 4-car garage?

Share that list with your buyer’s agent as well. It will help focus your search on those houses you’re most apt to love.

Be prepared for your list to change as you view homes. You may see other features that grab your attention and cause you to alter your goals. Sometimes buyers even change their minds about the “must have” items if a house without one of them speaks to their emotions.

And that’s OK. Your list is not carved in stone. It’s merely a good starting point that will save you time in your search for the perfect San Diego home.

Let the San Diego Pro Team help you find the perfect home…Call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com.

What’s the difference between “prequalified” and “Pre-approved?”

San Diego home buyers understandably get these two terms confused, but there is a great difference.

Anyone can become prequalified over the phone, with no documentation. You simply tell the mortgage lender about your situation and he or she says “I think you can” or “I don’t think you can.” The lender might also give you an estimate of how much you can afford to pay for a home, but it is not a guarantee of a loan.

Pre-approval comes only after the lender has verified the information you provide and checked your credit report. Your pre-approval letter IS a guarantee that unless things change, you will be given a loan for up to a specified amount.

That “unless things change” disclaimer is the reason why your buyer’s agent will advise against doing anything to change your financial picture once you’ve been approved.

That includes making purchases on credit cards, letting any vendor check your credit report, failing to pay a bill on time, changing employment, or withdrawing funds from your savings account.

Don’t even pay off an old account without first getting advice from your lender.

Do you need a San Diego mortgage lender?

Yes, a local lender will be far more responsive to your needs than any Internet lender.

If you’re ready to begin your San Diego home search and don’t have a mortgage lender, get in touch. We’ll be happy to provide you with a list of local lenders who have served our clients well.

And then – we’ll be pleased to help you locate and purchase that new San Diego home!

You can reach us by phone at 619-929-1413 or write us at td@tomdunlap.com.

How a ½% rise in interest rates will affect your buying power

Will a 1/2% increase in mortgage interest rates determine which San Diego home you purchase?


Depending upon your finances, it certainly could.

As an example, let’s assume that you’re purchasing a home and after you’ve made the down payment; your loan balance will be an even $100,000.

If your interest rate is 4%, your monthly payment for principle and interest on a 30 year mortgage will be $477.42.

Should the rate rise to 4.5%, the payment will go to $506.69. That’s a difference of $29.27 per month – per $100,000 of your loan balance.

Translating that to a price you’re more likely to pay for a home in San Diego, $400,000 at 4% = $1,909.66 per month, while 4.5% = $2,026.74 – for a difference of 4 X $29.72 or $117.08.

Now let’s assume that your lender has looked at your other obligations and said that $1,910 is the most you can pay for principle and interest.

Working backwards, we now find that your loan amount can’t exceed $376,896. In other words, the price of the home you wanted would have to drop by just over $23,000, or about 6%. Of course, you could add the $23,000 to your down payment.

We’ll be happy to help you find the home that fits your budget, regardless of the prevailing interest rate.

So if you want to own a home anywhere in San Diego County, simply call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com.