1. Aim for a house, condo, or apartment you can realistically afford. Start by picking a community that fits your budget best. Foreclosures in La Mesa may have cheaper rates. Meanwhile, Coronado homes offer plenty of more upscale dream homes.
  2. Prepare your credit and financial history. Make sure you know how it looks and try to have it cleaned up before making an offer on a property. Take care of any lose ends you might owe to creditors.
  3. Think ahead. Make sure you consider your future plans and whether you will be staying put, or if there might be an event that will create the need to move in the near future. About five years in the house will eliminate financial losses.
  4. Buy in a high-quality school area. This is one of the top reasons why buyers value an area, so even if you don’t have kids it’s smart to buy a new house in a good school district. Carslbad and Coronado are some of the best-performing school districts in the San Diego area.
  5. Get a home inspector through your house to make sure the house is worth the price you’ve agreed on. The lender will also require an appraisal, but there’s no harm in getting a second opinion and catching potential problems that could otherwise hurt you financially down the line.
  6. Do your homework and learn about the prices of similar real estate in the area. The more information you are armed with, the more likely you are to find the perfect house.
  7. Get pre-approval from lender to get an idea what you can afford, without wasting your time. The process involves looking at your income, debt, and credit history.
  8. Work with a realtor, buyer agent, or other real estate professional that can kick-start your house hunt and point you in the right direction.
  9. Choose wisely between rate and point. A mortgage often allows you the option of paying extra points (a portion of your interest rate paid at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan on staying for at least 3-5 years, then it’s often smartest to take the points.
  10. The last tip of the day is to remember you can still qualify for a home loan even if you don’t have 20 percent to put down. Some public and private lenders offer down payments as low as 3 percent.

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