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Buying Real Estate in San Diego
Old 09-17-2009, 04:54 PM   #1
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Buying Real Estate in San Diego

DD and ds-in-law and granddaughter will be moving to San Diego the end of Oct or beginning of Nov. DS-in-law is in the navy and will be stationed there for the rest of his time, approx 2 1/2 yrs. There is a possibility that he might re-enlist because he is guaranteed 6 yrs at that station. He is currently in training school in San Antonio. They flew to San Diego and looked at several townhomes last weekend and put in offers on two of them. It is not looking very good for either of their offers. Realtor is emailing them other places that are for sale.

I have bought 3 homes during my life. Two were in OH and one in WV. We would offer less than the asking price and then they would counter offer, etc. The last house that we bought was in 1986. I watch HGTV and have also read about pricing houses lower and then wait for people to get in bidding wars and pay more than you are asking. My DD is asking me why certain houses are listed the way they are and I have no idea. For instance, one house had an open house and you had to make an offer that day or the next. Some houses state that they will only accept cash offers. Another place stated you had to be approved by their lender. There were a few places that they wanted to see, but the realtor could not get an appt. Does anyone know why they have these different stipulations? He is going to be stationed at Balboa Naval Hospital. Does anyone know any good neighborhoods or ones to shy away? They are planning on doing a VA loan and are trying to get everything done by 11/30/09 or earlier, so that they can get the $8000 first time home owner's tax credit. Any helpful info will be appreciated.
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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I am not qualified to answer you questions, but this is a good site for San Diego real estate.

Piggington's Econo-Almanac | San Diego Housing Bubble News and Analysis

This guy was one of those who predicted the crash, and has chronicled its details. Lots of charts about price-to-rent ratios, and how the market is recovering.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the above link. Looks like a lot of good info there.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:29 AM   #4
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From what I've read (and I've never tried to buy in SD) I thought the buyers had the reigns?
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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It doesn't seem like the buyers have the power. The realtor told them that houses selling for first time buyers (lower amounts) are generating lots of offers due to the tax credit. One place had 28 offers. They offered higher than the asking price, but guess not high enough.
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Old 09-18-2009, 03:14 PM   #6
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It doesn't seem like the buyers have the power. The realtor told them that houses selling for first time buyers (lower amounts) are generating lots of offers due to the tax credit. One place had 28 offers. They offered higher than the asking price, but guess not high enough.
I've been toying with the idea of buying a condo in San Diego. DS lives down there, and the weather is nicer than up north.

That said, I definitely would wait until the first time buyer credit goes away. As with any other credit/rebate, I expect the price to drop by at least the amount of the former credit once it goes away. There's also seasonality. Sales activity drops way off in the winter, even in San Diego.
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:44 PM   #7
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Having recently departed San Diego I am slightly familiar with the situation. I have been getting the Prudential updates for a while and it does seem that there is a fair amount of competition at the lower end of the market. Houses under $500k are selling rapidly, less than 3 months of inventory, whereas anything more expensive is sitting. As someone else suggested, they should sit it out until the tax credit expires, as I am sure that is causing a lot of frenzied action. I don't believe there is anything happening in San Diego which indicates they should buy now or they will miss the boat.

As to where they should buy, I would avoid the downtown area like the plague. So much inventory there that is impossible to offload. Does your SIL work regular hours as that can determine the commute time. Traffic in San Diego is horrendous. Personally if it was I would be looking at Encinitas but that is a long way from Balboa Hospital.

As to the place that required an offer that day or the next, that is indicating to me the buyers want out and they are going to take the best offer at that particular time. They do not want to drag things on for months.

Also before they jump into a condo are they sure they can not afford a house taking into account how far the market has fallen? What are their interests? I would avoid anywhere inland because it gets hot as hell and is rather boring.
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:44 AM   #8
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That said, I definitely would wait until the first time buyer credit goes away. As with any other credit/rebate, I expect the price to drop by at least the amount of the former credit once it goes away. There's also seasonality. Sales activity drops way off in the winter, even in San Diego.
The first time buyer credit is one of the reasons they are trying so hard to obtain a place so quickly. The other reason is that they have been apart the majority of time since the beginning of July and want to live together as a family again. DS-in-law has been in training in San Antonio and DD and DGD have lived in WV with us. Maybe they do need to slow down and wait for some of the sales activity to drop off.
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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As to where they should buy, I would avoid the downtown area like the plague. So much inventory there that is impossible to offload. Does your SIL work regular hours as that can determine the commute time. Traffic in San Diego is horrendous. Personally if it was I would be looking at Encinitas but that is a long way from Balboa Hospital.

I will definitely pass along to them to avoid the downtown area. My SIL is supposed to work regular clinic hours in this job for the most part.

Also before they jump into a condo are they sure they can not afford a house taking into account how far the market has fallen? What are their interests? I would avoid anywhere inland because it gets hot as hell and is rather boring.
Actually their realtor emailed them a video of a house that just came on the market. He made a short video of the surrounding houses from the front door and of the house itself and the back yard and houses in the back from an upstairs window. They submitted an offer on it also. They sure built those houses close together. I guess land is at a premium. I would never put in a bid on a place without personally being at the place, but I also think that I have probably lived my life too conservatively after the age of 25.

SIL and DD are very young, early 20's. They are very active when they can be. They also have a DD who is just 14 mos old. They like bicycling, tennis, running, working out and shooting guns. They also like being on their computers, reading, playing board games and doing puzzles. SIL is a huge Cowboy fan and was able to go to a preseason Cowboy game while in TX. DD loves to go shopping, unfortunately. In other words, they are pretty well rounded. I am sure that they will go to the San Diego zoo quite a bit with the little one.
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:40 AM   #10
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I am sure that they will go to the San Diego zoo quite a bit with the little one.
With a kid that age, it's worth having annual passes to both the zoo and to Sea World.

Back in the mid-90s, the zoo's summer after-dinner programs were about the only way to get our kid settled down and ready for sleep.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:38 AM   #11
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We were in SD in July. I don't understand how anyone can afford to live there. Shacks are going for 250K. Unless you are on the beach, its very hot there. We spent 5 hours at the SD zoo and I thought I'd melt!! By the way, the zoo is spectacular! We paid $9.50 for a bowl of breakfast oatmeal; coffee was $5/cup. Way too crowded for me.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:02 PM   #12
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We were in SD in July. I don't understand how anyone can afford to live there. Shacks are going for 250K. Unless you are on the beach, its very hot there. We spent 5 hours at the SD zoo and I thought I'd melt!! By the way, the zoo is spectacular! We paid $9.50 for a bowl of breakfast oatmeal; coffee was $5/cup. Way too crowded for me.
Well, if it wasn't for the tourists paying full retail then the locals would have to pay more!
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:00 AM   #13
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Ut-oh, sounds like the market is heating up again in S.D.

Jim the Realtor has become famous for his funny videos chronicling the housing bust. They are also a good insight into the market.
YouTube - JimtheRealtor's Channel
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:15 AM   #14
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Thanks for that link IP, however something seems off to me. I used to work for a firm of civil engineers in SD, we worked with a lot of builders and believe me no-one was building anything because nothing was selling. The home builders were doing layoff after layoff. All the reports I read tell me that anything over $500k is not moving, think the last report from Prudential was there was inventory of 8 mos in that price range. So given these circumstances why would there be a waiting list of 250 people for this particular development. I think it is off the 56 in the middle of nowhere, between Carmel Valley and Poway. It's nowhere near the coast so why would people be so hungry to live there? For those prices you can buy in Carmel Valley.
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:40 PM   #15
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Maybe somebody has already said this, but I wouldn't buy real estate S.D. with only a two year time horizon (8 years, maybe) unless I was intimately knowledgeable about the local micro-market. IMHO the housing (and loan) market is still too much in a turmoil, and who can predict that will happen when the government winds down their extraordinary market interventions?

Have a look at this take:
Home Sales: Ignore Special Factors at Your Own Risk | The Big Picture

I hate giving advice. Take it at your own peril and with a whole box of sale. I am a rube from Texas an know nothing outside of what I read.
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