Welcome to San Diego Blog | October 30, 2018

Five Concessions NOT to Make on Your First Home Purchase

Buying your first home can be an overwhelming experience, but don’t worry I am here to help! You may have to make some concessions in order to make it work, but there are some concessions that do not seem important but will make a bigger and bigger impact as time goes on. You want your first home to bring back positive memories and from my experience, making sure you tick these 5 boxes will really impact you long term!


    • This is an area where a certain amount of sacrifice may be needed, but you need to be honest with yourself about what is most important to you. You may not be able to buy in the best neighborhoods in San Diego (La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, etc.) but there are certain things you should not sacrifice. For example, if living in an above average school district is important to you, then do it! You may end up having to send your child to a private school (which can be extremely costly!) or even worse they may struggle at a below average school. So in the long run you may save money by purchasing in the better district and provide your family with a better life.
    • Don’t accept a grueling commute. This may seem like a sacrifice that you are willing to accept, but as more and more time goes on it will become the biggest thorn in your side. Adding hours to an already long work day will make your life miserable much faster than you think! If you have to commute, try to live as close to your office as possible, or if possible live near a transportation corridor where you can take a train or bus. With the new mid-coast trolley expansion scheduled to be completed in 2021, this area is only getting bigger and bigger!


  • Size Isn’t Everything, But it Does Matter!
    • Your first home is likely to be smaller than your dream home, and that fine! Remember, this is your starter home and will make an upgrade feel that much nicer. Today more and more people are living in smaller and smaller spaces as prices increase and with forums like Pinterest ideas for small spaces are easier to come by. At the same time, sometimes small is too small! Make sure that you have enough space inside and outside to meet your needs and plans for the next few years. If you are planning on growing your family, make sure you have space to do so.


  • Disclosures and Reports are Important!
    • When you are buying your first home the amount of disclosures, reports and documents that you receive can feel like trying to drink from a fire hose, but there is a reason you receive all of these. You receive these documents so you can make an informed decision, so it is in your best interest to go over all of them in detail. If you have any questions about the information, talk to a professional. Be realistic about what you can and can’t handle. Consider costs and if the repair will negatively impact your ability to enjoy your exciting new home. Some first time home buyers look past negative information as they have fallen in love with a home and the idea of being a homeowner. But nothing will make your first home buying experience worse than dealing with costly issues that will take. For example here are some average costs for common issues:
      • Install a new roof – $7,000
      • Install new Windows – $4,500
      • Kitchen Remodel – $19,000
      • Remodel a Bathroom – $9,000


  • How is the HOA doing?
    • If you are purchasing in an HOA community, which many first time home buyers do, take time to review the HOA disclosures. You are looking for a financially healthy, well managed association that has adequate reserves for planned expenditures such as property upkeep and preventative maintenance. If an HOA does not have adequate reserves and they need money, they will levy an assessment that the owners have to pay! The assessment can be a one time fee or an increase over a period of time, and if it goes unpaid it can become a lien on your property that the HOA can foreclose on. This is not meant to discourage you, but to make sure you make an informed decision.


  • Amenities and Features
    • While you are looking for your first home you may not be able to get all of the amenities and features you want so it is important to prioritize and not deviate from your list. If you love to cook, don’t settle for a home with a poorly designed kitchen as a remodel is extremely expensive and living through a remodel is much harder than most people think! It is like camping in your own home and that is not as fun as it sounds. Another thing to consider is outdoor space. If you like spending time outdoors than a small patio will not cut it, even if it feels fine at first glance. The more you focus on what is important to you, the less likely you are to settle for something that you will not like.


While all of this might sound buying your first home is all about settling don’t worry! This is designed to help you find the best first home for you, and your Realtor will be of great help. I have experience helping first time home buyers through their purchase and enjoy helping people find the perfect place. The more information I have as an agent, the better the experience will be for you! I look forward to working with you.

Written by: Meghan McNutt

Categories: Buyers, Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Tips for Buyers, Tips for Buyers

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