How long have you been an agent? Full or part time? Have you always worked in the San Diego market?
I’ve been a full-time Realtor since 2007. I’ve always been primarily an agent in the San Diego market. I have occasionally worked in other areas of California, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs and the Bay Area. Also, I have an extensive network of top-level colleagues around the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe and assist several clients each year in those areas. For more about me, click here.
Do you work with both buyers and sellers? If so, how many homes do you buy or sell on average in a year?
I serve both buyers and sellers, in fairly equal numbers. By design, I am not a high-volume Realtor as I prioritize providing quality, dedicated service with integrity to each client, over quantity of transactions.
How long do you work with buyers on a typical purchase? Do you have an issue with a longer duration?
There is no typical purchase as everyone’s motivations, timing and circumstances are different. If pressed, I would say, on average, anywhere from 30 days to six months is typical. There’s zero issue with longer duration. My longest standing client was 13 years. Neither of us was in a hurry, and I was just always there for her. She found that very comforting and rare in her experience.
What is your strategy for helping us compete as buyers in today’s market?
My strategy for helping you compete in today’s market and get the home you want is educating you about the process ahead. I ensure that you have an opportunity to ask any and all questions you might have, so that you are thoroughly prepared move forward quickly and with confidence when you find the place that is right for you.
Preparation includes learning about the buying process, reviewing a sample purchase contract package, along with seller/property disclosures. That way, when we are ready to prepare an offer, there is no stress or wondering what various documents mean. Additionally, we will talk about what current market conditions are and review the maximum price point that is comfortable for you. This information will help us determine which areas are most likely to match your needs, wants and resources.
How does your commission work?
In California, commissions to a buyer’s agent are paid for traditionally by the seller. There is a posting within the MLS, indicating what percentage of the purchase price the seller/listing agent’s brokerage is going to pay the buyer’s brokerage. There is no standard minimum or maximum. It is all negotiable.
Not all buyer’s agents agree to the listed commission percentage, and some have their buyers sign a commission compensation differential form stating that the buyers will pay the difference between whatever is being offered on the MLS and what the agent’s fees are, if more. In my business, however, the focus is on providing service to my clients to help them achieve and build generational wealth, at the same time as providing a happy home for them to live in while doing so.
How will you ensure that we are buying the proper home?
I help ensure that you’re buying the proper home by asking you all the right questions before we start the process, as well as at multiple checkpoints, asking new questions as they arise and re-affirming responses to previous questions, and more assertively during our transaction, in a very nice, polite way as I am always on your side.
Of course, things that once were important often change with the progression of a home search, and that is normal. But that’s why I ask questions all along the way.
What advice would you provide to a first-time home buyer that would be important to know for the near future?
I believe education, communication, asking questions and adjusting parameters and goals as new information becomes available are important. But truly, preparation is key.
I recommend you make sure you have a solid lender that you’re comfortable with. Equally, being confident in and comfortable with your Realtor is critical. Make sure each has reviewed all documents in as much detail as you need and want. That way you are prepared, and the veil of mystery is gone, along with any anxiety and apprehension. You are now well prepared to move forward with comfort and confidence. It’s time for the fun part – let’s go find your dream home!
Should I Talk With A Bank Before Looking At Homes?
The answer to the question is yes and YES! There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a bank, or mortgage lender, and get pre-approved before looking at homes. First off, talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. Don’t look at homes for $700,000 if you can only afford up to $600,000.
If you’re a first-time home buyer, talking with a bank before looking at homes is something we can all agree on. You DON’T want to miss your chance on a first-time buyers program. These programs can vary from state to state and county to county, so knowing exactly what’s available to you, is critical.
Another important reason to talk with a bank before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home. The number of home buyers who don’t understand the difference between a down payment, pre-paid items, and escrows is a large amount, which is okay. These things can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage professional.
A mortgage professional can give you advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain and also whether or not you should request the seller to contribute towards your closing costs, also known as a seller’s concession. If you need any guidance, advice or recommendations, please reach out to me — I’m more than happy to help!
Should I Buy Or Continue To Rent?
Interest rates are higher than they have been for quite some time. An average, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is currently about 7%. Even so, it may to your advantage to buy rather than rent. You should speak with a reputable, experienced lender as everyone’s situation is unique. The rates you see online or on TV are almost never the rate you’ll actually pay, depending on your credit rating, debt-to-income ratio, amount of down payment and the area in which you want to purchase, among other variables.
In some cases, it may be comparable or even cheaper to purchase a home rather than to rent, especially when you take into account that you will start to accrue equity, build your assets and benefit from tax savings from the moment you close on your home. Buying a home can be a great investment. That being said, renting may be the right option for you, depending on your situation.
Ask yourself these things before making the final leap of becoming a home buyer. If you are thinking of buying, one of the most important things to consider is the length of time you plan on staying in a home. Another question to ask yourself is whether you are ready to take on the additional “responsibilities” of owning a home. When owning a home, there will be general home maintenance that should be done that suddenly you are in charge of. Are you ready for that? Buying a home is an incredible option and wealth-building tool for many people, but it doesn’t mean you need to do it NOW.
Consult with a trusted real-estate professional to go over your options.
Do I Really Want To Hire A Realtor?
You can go through the home-buying process without a Realtor. However, there are many reasons why most would recommend you have a Realtor represent your best interests when buying a home. A Realtor has a fiduciary responsibility, meaning that it is their job to place your financial and legal best interests above all else. Most are highly educated and very competent in executing this fiduciary responsibility for your benefit. The Realtor’s commission is probably the best investment anyone can make in the purchase or sale of a home or property. Doesn’t it make sense to have this level of protection and professional guidance during what is the biggest financial transaction most people will ever undertake?
The home-buying process can be complex, with many potential bumps along the road, ranging from very minor, cosmetic issues to much more serious issues with the home, along with other, moving parts of the process. Any mis-steps in the mountain of paperwork and inspections that should be done, disclosures that should be read and discussed, can have significant consequences, ranging from unsafe issues with the property to legal matters that, if unaware, could become catastrophically expensive.
Keep in mind, all Realtors are not the same! Having a Realtor is always recommended when buying a home. One thing not to do when buying a home is calling the listing agent because you don’t want to “bother” your Realtor. It is your Realtor’s passion and responsibility to advocate for you, with negotiation skills that have been honed over the length of their career. The listing agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller, not to you.
How Are The Schools?
This is another question that Realtors are not qualified to answer. There is no doubt that schools impact property values. Just like tips for selecting a neighborhood, an experienced, professional Realtor will be able to provide you with websites where you can find information on local schools so you can determine which schools are best for your children.
How Is The Neighborhood/Area?
When buying a home, a common question home buyers have is regarding the neighborhood/area. As a Realtor, there are rules against “steering” and providing personal opinions into specific areas and neighborhoods. This doesn’t mean that your Realtor cannot provide you with information to help you choose the right neighborhood when buying a home. Many buyers wonder about the growth of the local economy, crime statistics, taxes and local amenities. If you have chosen an experienced Realtor, you should receive all pertinent information to allow you to make an educated decision on areas and neighborhoods.
I Own A Home. Should I Buy Another Before Selling My Current Home?
There’s no one, right answer to this question. There are pro’s and con’s to buying a home before selling your current home, and the reverse can also be said.
OPTION 1: Buying a home before selling your current home. Not selling your current home until completing the purchase of your new home. The biggest challenge to buying a home before selling your current home is qualifying for at least two mortgages concurrently. For most, this is a challenging financial hurdle to overcome. You should speak with a trusted lender to go over your financial situation and determine if this is even an option. If you are one of the few for whom this is, in fact, an option, this is an excellent choice. It is the most stress-free path to purchasing your new home.
OPTION 2: Making a “contingent” offer to purchase. This is a possible path though less desirable for both the homebuyer and the homeseller. If the seller accepts your contingent offer to purchase, new stress is in store for you, as you now need to market your home for sale and possibly feel pressure to accept a less-than-ideal offer in order to perform within the contractual timeframe.
The issue is that your home must sell prior to the sellers being sure you can perform on your offer to buy the home they want to sell and that you want to buy. It is also possible, that while you make every effort to sell your home quickly, another buyer, without a contingency to sell, could come in with an offer, and the seller chooses to move forward with them, cancelling your contingent offer.
This can be emotionally challenging to overcome. This option can be full of frustration and disappointment. It can be done, but it is complicated. Talk to your trusted Realtor to decide if this is a viable option for you, and if they have successfully navigated this complex process before.
OPTION 3: Selling your current home before buying a new home. Each home sells at its own pace, and it is impossible to say at the outset exactly how long that will take.
The plus side to selling your current home before buying a new home is that it will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are in the powerful position of not having a sale contingency of your current home.
One risk of selling your current home without buying a new home first is the possibility of not having a place to live for a period of time. However, a “rent-back” can sometimes be negotiated with the buyer of your current home, as a condition of accepting their offer. A “rent-back” allows you to retain possession of your current home for a certain number of days after closing, for a negotiated, daily amount, usually equal to the buyer’s new mortgage payment, but it can vary, depending on the situation. This “rent-back” period allows you additional time to find a new home. Another common option is a furnished apartment or AirBNB/hotel/vacation rental, which can alleviate stress and allow you time to purchase your new home.
Can I Find A Rent-To-Own Property?
When an owner offers “rent-to-own” as a possible financing option, they are taking on a high risk since in most cases, a rent-to-own buyer has a credit score that is not impeccable. Since a seller is taking a higher risk, the terms for a rent-to-own must be considerably more favorable for the owner. This often leads to less-than-favorable terms for a buyer. To break it down, it could mean a higher interest rate and more money down than if you were to just buy a home. Don’t be afraid to check out this option, but unless you are prepared to pay more than you really need to, this is unlikely your best choice.
What Are The Average Utility Bills?
When buying a home, it’s important to know what additional costs will be in addition to the monthly mortgage payment. Utility bills are just one of the additional costs to consider when buying a home. Utility bills can be obtained from the home owner and in some cases, from the local utility company, who can provide averages over the past 12 months. Keep in mind, everyone prefers to have their home temperature different, so the average bill could be different if you were to purchase the home.
What Is A Foreclosure?
A foreclosure, sometimes referred to as a REO, is a property that is owned by a lender. If you’re considering the purchase of a foreclosure, it’s important to understand that most are sold “as-is.” Foreclosures, if not purchased by an owner occupant, are often purchased by investors, fixed up, “flipped” and sold to a new owner occupant.
Many clients tell me they want to buy a foreclosure. What they really mean is that they want the best deal possible. Since a traditional sale must compete with any foreclosures or short-sales on the market, they are going to be very comparable in price, depending on location and condition. It might not be the best deal. Discuss things with your trusted Realtor, who will ensure you get the best deal possible, which might not be a foreclosure.