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.