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June 16, 2020

Mission Beach Steps to Beach and Ocean

Mission Beach Steps to Beach and Ocean

Mission Beach Real Estate 3 Bedroom 2 Bath

Vacation rental this Mission Beach property or live in full time. Soak in the amazing panoramic ocean views from the roof top deck of this 3 bedroom, 2 bath,  1,319 sq. ft.  twin home located just one building off the boardwalk and beach. 360 views of the ocean, the bay, Belmont Park and the pier creating the perfect backdrop for summer. 

Dine al fresco on your patio and take in all the stunning San Diego sunsets steps from the Pacific Ocean. The water views continue as you entertain in your large open concept floor plan. In unit laundry, 2 car garage with additional carport.

Mission Beach real estate for sale The Lewis Team

If you’re looking for that perfect property in Mission Beach then you will want to see this one. Call Dawn Lewis and The Lewis Team for your private showing today.

716 Kingston Court San Diego CA 92109

  • Bedrooms 3
  • Bathrooms 2
  • Square Footage 1,319
  • Year Built 1999

Asking Price $1,349,900

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

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May 28, 2020

What is the Process for First Time Home Buyers in San Diego

What is the Process for First Time Home Buyers in San Diego

8 Steps for San Diego First Time Home Buyers

Buying your very first home or condo can be an overwhelming undertaking without proper preparation and an understanding of the buying process. I see way too many blog posts or articles written by writers with no actual experience in real estate. Not a single transaction under their belt but yet they freely give advice on buying real estate. The advice I give is from a seasoned Licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of California. So it’s not advice in theory from books or knowledge gathered on the internet it’s actually knowledge from doing. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Buying a home in San Diego 101 for the First Time Home Buyer

I will layout a step by step process of buying a home for the first time. If you’ve already purchased a home in another state or even in California you may gain some knowledge from this post so please read on. First time home buyers, since you have never been through the process of buying a home, you come to the table with no actual experience with this process. First time home buyers should take the time to familiarize themselves with mortgages and the process of qualifying for one. They should also learn the process of buying a home so that they will have the basic knowledge of the process. This will take many of the unknowns out of the equation. Knowledge is very important and can make the road a little less bumpy on the way to the  American Dream of home ownership.

First Time Home Buyer in San Diego

1. Getting a Loan

Unless you’re lucky enough to have all cash to purchase your first home you will need to apply for a home loan. You need to know how much money a lender will lend you to purchase a home and at what interest rate. This will allow you to find out what your monthly payment will be including, Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance also known as “PITI”. You should also be aware that some properties in San Diego County will have a Home Owners Association “HOA” fee, or maybe even 2 HOA fees and possibly Mellow-Roos. Your real estate agent can help you determine if the home you want to write an offer on has any of these. You will also need to know the type of loan you will use to purchase your home. The most common home loans are FHA, VA and Conventional. They can also require a down payment anywhere from 3.5% to 5% or more. The VA Loan requires zero money down and is a loan offered only to active duty, retired military and veterans that qualify for the loan, there are other acceptations to this loan so please contact a qualified lender or the Veterans Administration. 

A lender will need from you the following information to apply for a loan

This is typically what a loan officer will need from you to start off the loan application process to qualify for a mortgage. You can usually fill out an application online, verbally either in person or over the phone or the old fashioned way, fill out the paperwork. Today, due to the ease and speed of technology, most people choose online. 

Typical information a lender will ask a first time home buyer for:

  • Full name, phone number, date of birth and Social Security number
  • Marital status along with number of children and their ages
  • 2 full year’s history of where you lived. If you’re a renter, your rent payment is required. 
  • 2 full years of employment history including the names of the companies you worked for along with their addresses and phone numbers and the title you had while working there.
  • 2 full year’s income history. If you receive commissions, bonuses or are self-employed you must provide 2 years of bonus, commission or self-employed income that you received. 
  • Asset account balances including all checking, savings, investment, stocks, and retirement accounts like 401k or 403b.
  • Debt payments and balances for student loans, car loans, alimony, child support, credit cards or any other fixed debt obligations that you have.
  • The lender will also need confirmation whether you’ve had foreclosures or bankruptcies within the past seven years and whether you’re party to any lawsuits, or you co-sign on any loans.
  • The lender will also need confirmation if any part of your down payment will be borrowed.
  • A lender will need documents from you when applying for a loan

The loan officer will need documents from you to verify the application. They will provide a list of documents needed from you to complete the application. This can be a part of the process where first time home buyer for whatever reasons, doesn’t want to give the documentation over to a loan officer. Please understand they will need this to complete the application and to get you what you need in the first step of buying your first home. You will need to know what amount of money you qualify for to purchase a home. The process can’t start without it.

Loan Application for First Time Home Buyer San Diego

Typically a lender will ask for the following documents: 

  • Provide the most recent two month statements for all checking, savings, investment, and retirement accounts. Include all pages even if a page says “intentionally left blank” on certain pages.
  • If you’re receiving gift funds for your down payment or closing costs monies, your lender will require all donors and receivers to sign a gift letter verifying the gift isn’t a loan. 
  • Written authorization from you so the lender can run your credit report.
  • You will need to write letters of explanation for credit inquiries and past addresses as well as derogatory information on your credit report.
  • If there are tax liens or other derogatory items on your credit report that require further explanation, you’ll be required to provide full documentation for all of the derogatory instances.
  • If there is a bankruptcy in the past seven years, discharge papers are required.
  • If you are a renter you will need to provide 12 months of canceled rent checks or 12 months of bank statements to show rent checks were paid and cleared on time. 
  • Personal federal tax returns for the past two years.
  • Provide pay stubs for at least 30 days.
  • Provide W2 forms for all jobs worked in the past two years.
  • If you are self-employed or greater than 20 percent owner in a company, a year-to-date profit and loss statement for the business.
  • If you are self-employed or you are greater than 20 percent owner in a company, all pages of business federal tax returns for past two years.
  • If you’re divorced and receiving (or paying) child support or alimony, a divorce decree will be required, and this income typically must be scheduled for at least three more years from the time of loan closing.

Seems like a lot, I know. Keep in mind if you were loaning hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone and giving them 30 years to pay it back do you think you would want a lot of documentation too? I would. This hurdle is probably the hardest and most uncomfortable part of the process. Once this is done then the fun part starts. Don’t let this stop your home ownership dream in its tracks. Just getter done!

2. Saving for your Down Payment and Closing Costs

Once the lender has worked with you and has nailed down the loan type, interest rate, qualifying amount or max purchase price of your new home, monthly payment, down payment and estimated closing costs then you will need to save for your down payment and closing costs. Typically you will need a minimum of 3.5% down for an FHA Loan, 5% down for a conventional loan and 0 down for a VA Loan. This will vary so your lender will clarify exactly what you will need for a down payment. And when I say 3.5% down payment I mean 3.5% of the purchase price of the home. So as an example on a $500,000 home in San Diego you would need $25,000 for a down payment, 5% of $500,000.

Closing costs are expenses you will incur when purchasing a home. They can vary depending on the type of property you purchase and the type of loan you are using. Here is a list of some of the fees that you will pay in closing costs. This list can vary and does not include all lending costs and fees.

Typical closing costs when buying a home:

  • Lender Application Fee: Some lenders will charge an application fee.
  • Escrow Fee: This is paid to the escrow company for conducting the closing. The escrow oversees the closing as an independent party in purchase of a home.  
  • Title Search: This fee is paid to the title company for doing a thorough search of the property’s records. The title company researches the deed to your new home, ensuring that no one else has a claim to the property.
  • Lender’s Policy Title Insurance: This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender’s mortgage is a valid lien, and it protects the lender if there is a problem with the title.
  • Courier Fee / Wiring Fee: This covers the cost of transporting documents and wring.
  • Credit Report: A 3-bureau credit report or a residential mortgage credit report (RMCR). This is a single report that merges the data in your credit reports from each of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) that helps a lender determine interest rates for your loan.
  • Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes and Mortgage Insurance: Often you are asked to put down two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments at closing.
  • Homeowners’ Insurance: This covers possible damages to your home. Your first year’s insurance is often paid at closing.
  • Prepaid Interest: Most lenders will ask you to prepay any interest that will accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.
  • Flood Determination or Life of Loan Coverage: This is paid to a third party to determine if the property is located in a flood zone. If the property is found to be located within a flood zone, you will need to buy flood insurance. The insurance is paid separately.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): If you’re making a down payment that’s less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, chances are you’ll be required to pay PMI. If so, you may need to pay the first month’s PMI payment at closing.
  • Property Tax: Typically, lenders will want any taxes due within 60 days of purchase by the loan servicer to be paid at closing.
  • Recording Fees: A fee charged by your local recording office, usually city or county, for the recording of public land records.
  • VA Funding Fee: If you have a VA loan, you may be required to pay a VA funding fee at closing (or you can roll this fee into the cost of the loan if you prefer). This is a percentage of the loan amount that the VA assesses to fund the VA home loan program, however some borrowers are exempt from this fee. The percentage depends on your type of service and the amount of your down payment. Here is a breakdown of the cost of the VA funding fee and a complete list of allowed fees for VA loans. Search for VA Approved homes in San Diego Now!

* These costs may or may not apply to your actual home purchase

Example of Buyer Closing Costs in San Diego County

Here is an example of buyer closing costs for a $500,000 purchase with 5% down “$25,000” for a loan amount of $475,000. 

  • Escrow fee: $1500
  • Title fee: $1000
  • Lender processing and underwriting: $1500
  • Prepaid interest of 17 days: $885
  • Homeowners insurance premium one year in advance: $960
  • Impound Account: Homeowners Insurance: 2 Months $160
  • Impound Account: Property taxes “1.25% tax rate used”:  6 Months $3125

Total Closing Costs: $9130 

* This is an approximation only – your lender will have more accurate numbers

*This does not include an appraisal fee which is about $600 or a home inspection which is about $300 to $500. This also does not include Mello-Roos, HOA or Mortgage Insurance fees, which may or may not apply.

The total we will need to purchase a home in this scenario of a $500,000 purchase price:

Conventional Loan with 5% Down

  • Purchase Price $500,000
  • 5% Down                $25,000
  • Financing $475,000
  • Closing Costs Approx.              $9,130
  • Appraisal Approx.                    $600
  • Home Inspection Approx.         $400

Total   $35,130

FHA Loan with 3.5% Down

  • Purchase Price                         $500,000
  • 3.5% Down                             $17,500
  • Financing                                $482,500
  • Closing Costs Approx.              $9,130
  • Appraisal Approx.                    $600
  • Home Inspection Approx.         $400

Total   $27,630

VA Loan with 0 Down

  • Purchase Price $500,000
  • 0 Down                                  $0
  • Financing                                $500,000
  • Closing Costs Approx.              $9,130
  • Appraisal Approx.                    $600
  • Home Inspection Approx.         $400

Total   $10,130

Please understand that these are approximate numbers so please don’t use these as fact. They are for instructional purposes only. I’m also not a loan officer; I’m using this scenario to explain the process of buying a home. 

First Time Homebuyers in San DIego Saving for Down Payment

There’s another part to the equation that can be a factor in how much you will need to save and that’s the closing costs. Closing costs can be paid in full or in part by the seller. So when an offer is written on a property the buyer can ask the seller to pay for the buyer’s closing costs. So if you asked the seller to pay your closing costs in the above scenarios the total you would need to save would be $26,000 on a Conventional Loan, $18,500 on an FHA Loan and $1,000 on a VA Loan. If a buyer is asking the seller to pay the closing costs of $9,130 on a $500,000 purchase price it would mean that the seller would actually only be netting $490,870 because the seller would have to pay from their proceeds $9,130 of the buyers closing costs. 

Many times in order for this to work the buyer has to offer more money to purchase the home so that the seller nets the same amount as if they weren’t paying for the buyers closing costs. So if you, as the buyer, want the seller to pay for your closing costs then you might have to offer more money by the amount of the closing costs for the seller to accept your offer. So if the seller will take $500,000 for their home and you want them to pay $9,130 of your closing costs then you will need to make an offer at $509,130. Remember this is just an example it’s possible the seller will take $500,000 and still pay for your closing costs it’s all about the negotiations. 

If there are multiple offers on this example property a seller is more than likely to take the best offer. Sometimes the best offer is not the highest price offer, it can also depend on other factors like; close of escrow, rent back options, all cash, how much cash is in the offer and is the buyer asking the seller to pay for buyer closing costs. A seller may be less likely to accept an offer with buyer closing costs if they have better options. One of the reasons for this is that the home will need to appraise in order to get financing from the lender. If the purchase price is more because the closing costs are added into the purchase price then the home is less likely to appraise. Seller’s factor paying a buyer’s closing costs into the equation of taking an offer that includes closing costs when they are considering offers. If this sounds complicated it may be but if you’re an experienced agent it’s not, it’s just every day negotiations.

So at this point you have spoken with a loan officer and qualified for a loan. You also should know how much money you will need to save or get gifted to you in order to have enough money for your down payment, closing costs and other fees associated with buying a home. 

You should also know and be comfortable with your monthly payment which will include principal, interest, taxes and insurance. It may also “depending on the property” include; “H.O.A.” Home Owners Insurance, Mello-Roos, “P.M.I.” Private Mortgage Insurance and possibly others. 

On a $500,000 Purchase Price this is an estimate of what your monthly payment may look like on a 5% down conventional loan. So this means that you would be financing $475,000 at a 4% interest rate, this rate will vary depending on many factors. As of the writing of this post 4% is about the going rate, which historically is an excellent interest rate for first time home buyers.

Example of Monthly Payment

  • Principal & Interest $2,267 “Most of which is interest”
  • Taxes $500 “Figured at 1.2% of purchase price – will vary”
  • Insurance $75
  • Private Mortgage Insurance “PMI” $350 “No PMI on VA Loans”

Total $ 3,192

* This is just an estimate for instructional purposes only.

Also factor in things like, electric bill, gas bill, water bill, yard maintenance and other monthly expenses that a homeowner will incur.

Once you have saved the money or possibly received a gift or a combination of both then you’re ready for the next step in buying your first home in San Diego, California.

3. Finding a real estate agent that you want to work with

Agents in San Diego that work with first time home buyers

Now it’s time to choose your San Diego real estate agent that will help you with the home buying process. This is my chance to tell you about The Lewis Team and why we would be a great choice to help you. We’re knowledgeable, as you can see we know the process very well and have over 50 years combined experience selling thousands of homes in San Diego, many of which were to first time home buyers. We have many 5 star reviews on sites like, Zillow, Trulia, Yelp and others. Most of our business is past clients and referrals of friends and family from our past clients. Now that that’s out of the way this is what you should look for in a good San Diego Real Estate Agent:

  • Experience – There’s no substitute for experience. Once an agent gets their real estate license they essentially have no experience on how to help you purchase a home, write contracts, negotiate on your behalf, write request for repairs, addendums, rent backs and so many other things that just aren’t on a real estate exam. All this comes with time in the business.
  • Team or Individual Agent – Nowadays most agents are on teams and their on teams for a good reason. A team has a team leader and experienced agents that have been with the team for many years. This combined experience gives them an advantage over a lone agent doing it on their own. A lone agent just won’t have the experience of a top-producing team. A real estate team also has more resources such as additional agents for when you want to see a home right away and your agent is already with other clients or at a school event, vacation, not feeling well, etc.… there are additional agents that can show you properties if your agent for some reason is not able to. Let’s face it, life happens and people are not always available when you want them and in the scenario of a lone agent you wouldn’t be able to see that home that just came on the market if they were unavailable, but on a team there is another agent there to jump in and show you the home so that it doesn’t get purchased by another buyer. Teams work and we’re one of the first real estate teams in San Diego and one of the best.
  • First Time Home Buyer Experience – Make sure your real estate team has lots of experience working with first time home buyers. There’s a lot of hand holding and education that goes on during a buyers first experience with buying a home. You can read lots of blog posts and articles on real estate sites but if you take the time to read who the author is they’re many times not real estate agents or brokers they’re writers with no real estate experience. So when you read some of these articles and blogs they may not be written by someone who actually sells real estate, rest assure that we at The Lewis Team have helped hundreds of first time home buyers buy their first home or condo in San Diego County. Many of them active duty military relocating to San Diego due to the many military bases in San Diego.
  • Phone Interview – All good agents love helping people. That’s essentially what real estate agents do, they help people find their home and then help them with the process of buying it. To me real estate is less of a sales job and more of a people helping job. So agents that love what they do love to be interviewed for the job. If you’re buying a home for the first time then call the agent or contact them and ask for a phone interview to see if that agent or team is right for you. 
  • Face to Face Interview - Sometimes a phone interview is enough for a buyer to feel comfortable with a real estate agent to start helping with the home buying process and other times buyers want a face to face meeting. It’s not such a bad idea to take the time to meet the agent. Remember that the home buying process may take some time and you will be working with this agent for quite a while so making sure that you’re compatible and you like them is a really good idea. Good places to meet are at the agent’s office, a coffee shop or ask when the agent is doing their next open house and meet them at the open house. Due to Covid-19 or Coronavirus in today’s San Diego Real Estate Market, many agents are doing Zoom face to face meetings over the internet.
  • How Hard Do They Work - Many times a home in the location that a buyer wants isn’t always available for sale. That’s where a good and hardworking agent with experience is essential in getting you an advantage over other buyers that want the same type of home in the same neighborhood that you do. Because we have been in the business for so long we know where to find coming soon and off market deals. We have access to lists of homes that are coming soon on the market before they actually come on the market for sale. This allows us to show them to our buyers before other agents even know they exist. In today’s competitive market this is essential in getting the home. We also take the time and effort to canvas a neighborhood and ask the home owners if they are interested in selling their home to a buyer that we represent. This allows us an exclusive for our buyers to write an offer on a home that wasn’t even available until we did the hard work of door knocking and calling on behalf of our first time home buyer.

Once you feel comfortable with your decision then it’s time to let the agent know that you have chosen them as your agent and that it’s time to get to work!

Caution: I want to throw out a word of caution. With the internet the way it is today with cookies and tracking your IP Address and the like, many companies will target you when they notice you’re looking around on-line for a home. Take caution in knowing that many agents will pay lots of money to marketing companies to target you to use them. Many times they may not be experienced agents but rather agents that just pay for leads to companies that track your movements on the web and social media. Choose a local San Diego Team with lots of experience and great reviews not someone who is trying to target you like a predator does prey.  

FAQ: How do agents get paid? An agent that helps a buyer buy a home is paid by the seller of the home. So essentially when an agent helps you purchase a home you aren’t paying them anything, the seller does through a commission. So if that’s the case, why not hire the best!

4. What Where and When

Now that you’ve chosen an agent it’s time to find your home. Your agent will need to know what kind of property you are interested in, where you would like to live and when you would like to close escrow and move into the property. 

What type of property would you like to buy?

With that being said you will need to be realistic. A house on the beach at 5 million dollars is probably not realistic for a first time home buyer. So from what your lender said your home buying budget is you will need to select a property that is within the price range of the max loan amount. So in the scenario we were using earlier we hypothetically had a max purchase price of $500,000. This would approximately put your payment “depending on interest rate and how much down you’re putting” somewhere around $3,200 per month. This would include Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance and PMI “if applicable”. It would not include an HOA “Home Owners Associations” so keep in mind an HOA will decrease your buying power. So if an HOA is $180 per month your will only be able to spend $3,000 a month towards your home purchase which would drop your max purchase price from $500,000 to somewhere around $470,000. It also does not include a Mello-Roos Tax which some areas of San Diego have. A smart real estate agent will know if there is an HOA or Mello-Roos and will advise you appropriately. Again this is where experience makes all the difference in the world. 

FAQ: Why wouldn’t I just use the agent that I see on the sidebar on a national real estate website?

You can certainly use an agent that pays money to be on a national real estate website but keep in mind that they may not be very experienced, they’re just the ones who are paying the money to advertise on the national real estate website page. I’ve seen agents who have been in the business for a year that have over 50 reviews on web sites but yet they have only sold a handful of homes or no homes at all. These reviews can certainly be manipulated so beware. There are some national real estate companies that have really good websites that many buyers use. They come up really good in Internet searches on Google and Yahoo because of the massive amounts of content on their websites not because of the experience of the agents. I often use the analogy of WebMD. WebMD is a fantastic website for researching information on rashes, pains, sicknesses and the like but you wouldn’t use WebMD as your doctor or surgeon. You would find a local expert with lots of experience to make sure you were properly taken care of. Using WebMD for research is fine but not for an operation or a firsthand diagnoses. Real Estate is the same way, use the national real estate websites for research but find a local expert to help you with the complicated process of buying a home.

Where do I buy a home in san diego if i'm a first time home buyer

So I created these links for you to see what is on the market in San Diego for at or under $500,000. I did not include areas that are way on the outskirts of San Diego County only because 99.9% of people working close to San Diego proper will not make the commute to these outlying areas. They’re just too far out for a realistic commute.  

Homes for sale in San Diego under $500,000

3 Bedroom 1 Bath Homes in San Diego under $500,000

3 Bedroom 2+ Bath Homes in San Diego under $500,000

The median home price in San Diego County varies year to year but is somewhere around $550,000. The median condo price is quite a bit less. So from these searches you will see fixer upper properties that may require cash offers only, you will not be able to purchase these with VA, FHA or Conventional Financing, these require cash or hard money loans. Some of them maybe in areas that you would not consider buying a home in for various reasons and others may be worth having a look. The condos will in most cases be less expensive than a detached home but will have an HOA and will be in building shared with other condo owners. 

So after looking at some of the homes and condos in the price ranges you can buy in it’s time to put your What List together:


  • How many bedrooms: 2   3   4   5+
  • How many bathrooms:  1   2   3+
  • Minimum square footage:  800 Sq Ft+    1500 Sq Ft+    2000 Sq Ft+
  • Garage required: Y or N
  • Yard required: Y or N
  • Pool required: Y or N
  • Other needs: 

Don’t get caught up on items like paint color or flooring type. These can easily be changed for a few thousand dollars or sweat equity. Be more concerned about things that can’t be change or that are a large dollar amount to be changed. Depending on your price range and where you want to buy a home you may have lots to choose from or you may have very few homes that meet your criteria. I also want to stress that the perfect home doesn’t exist. The idea is to get as close to the perfect home as possible within your home buying budget.

Where would you like to buy?

There are 6 main areas of San Diego County and they are broken down as flows:

Central San Diego

Coastal San Diego

East County San Diego

North County Coastal San Diego

North County Inland San Diego

South Bay San Diego

If you’re from San Diego or familiar with San Diego then you probably have a general idea of where you want to live. The question is, is it within your home buying budget? If you’re relocating to San Diego and not familiar with the area then a local agent can help answer your questions about different communities in the county. Many times where you live is effected by where you’re working. Commute times can play a major part in the decision on where you buy a home. Schools may also be very important to you and you may have a certain school or school district in mind when looking for the perfect location to buy. As a general rule the better the school district the more expensive are the homes. Many times when we help active duty military moving to San Diego the location of the base where they will work is a major factor in where they will end up buying.

In most cases, not all, the closer you buy to the coast or Pacific Ocean the more expensive it is. Many of the affordable communities are inland a ways but still an easy commute to the beaches and coastline of San Diego. There are many master planned communities which many of them are newer in areas of Carmel Valley, Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido and Chula Vista, among others. San Diego also has its share of older neighborhoods with older homes which some can be over 100 years old. There are some really nice Craftsman homes and California Bungalow homes in areas like Mission Hills, North Park and Kensington. We can show you where the up and coming communities are in the county and where we think the market will do very well over time. Remember your home is not only where you live it’s also a vehicle to build wealth.

There is also the option of buying a new home in San Diego from a new home builder like, KB Home, Lennar, Meritage Homes, Toll Brothers, Shea Homes, William Lyon Homes, Cornerstone Communities, TRI Point Homes, Pardee Homes, Beazer Homes, HQT Homes, CalAtlantic Homes, D.R. Horton, Pacific Coast Communities, Brookfield Residential, Pacific Legacy Homes and more. We would love to show you the different new home communities in San Diego County and show you where the real value is when buying in the new home communities. 

Pick the areas that you want to buy in and work with your agent to narrow down exactly which communities within the zip codes really meet your needs. Your agent will work hard to find you what you’re looking for in the area you want to buy in. Don’t just give it to chance by waiting for sites like Zillow, and Redfin to show it on their sites. By then the home, especially if it’s a desirable property, may already be sold to another buyer.

When would you like to buy and move in?

Now you will need to decide when you would like to move in to the property that you are about to purchase. You may be in a lease or you may be moving to San Diego in 6 months. You may be in a month to month lease or renting a room and are flexible on a move in date. You may also need to sell a home in order to buy a new one and The Lewis Team can help you with both. If you’re selling a home in San Diego then you will need to coordinate the sale of your home with the purchase of your new one. Don’t leave this complicated transaction to an amateur, contact us to let us show you how it’s done. You can also check out our San Diego Home Value calculator to get an approximate value of your home.

Sometimes home buyers will coordinate the move so that they are in the new home before the next school year starts so they don’t have to move their children in the middle of the school year. Others may want to buy a property at different times of the year for different reasons. Once you have decided on when you want to buy and when you want to close escrow and be in your new home let your agent know and they can advise you on when to start looking for properties to meet your timelines

5. Start Looking at Properties

Now the fun part starts. You have everything in order to start looking at properties with your agent. Your agent will start emailing you homes that fit your criteria and you will select the ones that you want to go look at in person.

Advice: Don’t judge a property from the photos. Whether the photos are good or bad make sure that you don’t eliminate a property from the photos alone. Many times the photos don’t give a realistic representation of the property for sale and you may be missing out on the one that you would have made an offer on. 

First Time Home buyers in San DIego looking at property for sale

Once you have let the agent know which homes you want to see they will setup showings with the listing agent or homeowner so that you can preview the home. Your agent will either pick you up and drive you around and show you the homes or you can meet your agent at one of the homes and follow them to each one of the properties. Some buyers will meet at the agent’s office and decide from there if they will drive with the agent or follow them. When previewing properties you will sometimes know right away that the home just won’t work, move on to the next home to allow you to spend more time at the properties that peek your interest. It’s a process of elimination and as you go through these homes give them a score of 1-10 or only keep the top 3 in the bunch. That way at the end of previewing the properties you have the 3 homes that you would potentially write an offer on. If you don’t rate the home or eliminate properties you will not remember them in detail at the end of the day. Rate them or eliminate them while you’re at the property or in the car on your way to the next property while it’s fresh in your mind. 

Your agent will be with you and taking notes on what your likes and dislikes are about the properties you’re looking at. This will help them understand what you’re really interested in and not interested in so if you don’t see something that you like they will continue the search for a home that meets your needs. Sometimes it can take a few trips to find a home that you would like to write an offer on. Sometimes you’ll see one that you want to buy the first time out.

When you see something you want to make an offer on, act quickly! There are other buyers that may also like the home and will be putting in an offer. If you take too long they may buy the property before you have a chance to buy it. Your agent will help you in determining what purchase price amount you want to offer, if you’re asking for closing costs, length of escrow and other important details of the purchase agreement.

6. Writing the Offer

When your agent finds you a property that you are interested in buying then they will use a Residential Purchase Agreement to write an offer on the home or condo. Your agent will need your full legal name(s) for the contract along with what amount of money you would like to offer, how much down you will be putting (usually 3.5% to 5% of the purchase price), good faith deposit (anywhere from 1% to 3% of the purchase price), if you want the seller to pay all or part of your closing costs and when you would like to close escrow (usually 30 days upon acceptance of your offer). 

You want to make your offer stand out to the seller especially if there are multiple offers on the property. If you’re not the only offer you want the seller to take yours, writing a strong offer includes a strong purchase price and terms that the seller is looking for. Some sellers want a quick escrow, some sellers want a long escrow, some will want a rent back and so on. Your agent should discuss with the listing agent what the sellers are looking for to make your offer more enticing to them. It’s not always about price.

Your real estate agent should also take the time to do a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis on what homes similar to the one you’re writing an offer on have recently sold for. This will give you a clear snapshot of what has sold in the neighborhood and at what price. This will help you and your agent when it comes time to nail down what purchase price you will ultimately offer. You may want the house but you certainly do not want to over pay. Remember, a home is only worth what a seller is willing to pay. But also remember a seller has a price in mind that they will want for their home. It’s negotiating that gets you to the end result.

First time home buyers in san diego writing an offer to buy a home

So once you have decided on what goes into the offer, your agent will write the offer. They will explain the contingency periods to you that include inspection, appraisal and loan contingency and possibly others. The inspection contingency allows you to inspect the property and back out of the deal if there is something that you don’t like in the findings. You should hire a professional home inspector to inspect the home for you. Depending on the size of the property a home inspection can range between $300 and $1,000 but usually it is between $400 and $500. The appraisal contingency allows for your lender’s appraiser to appraise the property to make sure that in their opinion the home is worth what you’re paying for it. Since the lender is going to be financing the property they want to make sure the home is at the value of the purchase amount. Keep in mind that sometimes appraisers don’t bring the home in at the value of the purchase price you offered. This is your opportunity to back out of the deal or have your agent negotiate with the listing agent to come up with a compromise on price acceptable to both the buyer and seller. The loan contingency is your opportunity to back out of the transaction if for some reason the lender cannot get you the loan to purchase the property. Even though your lender may have pre-qualified or pre-approved you for the loan, something could possibly come up to derail the loan. This is also one of the contingencies in the contract that will allow you to back out of the deal.

Your agent will have you sign the offer, usually through DocuSign so they will need your email address(s) to send you the contract for signatures. Once signed by you and your agent the offer then will be emailed to the listing agent by your agent. The agent will call the listing agent to make sure they received it and answer any questions they have about the offer. Remember that real estate is about relationships and listing agents want to feel good about your offer when they present it to the seller. This is where a good buyer’s agent takes the time to start building a good working relationship with the listing agent. No listing agent or seller wants to be in escrow with a buyer or buyer’s agent they don’t feel comfortable with. Communication is the key.

The seller has a period of time, usually 3 days, to look at the contract and decide whether they will accept it, counter it or reject it. You may be the only offer or there may be multiple offers on the seller’s property. If there are multiple offers the seller may just take the best offer, counter back the top offer(s), counter back all of the offers or whatever they choose. They are in control of which offer they end up taking. In this scenario we will pretend that the seller countered you back and raised the price by $10,000. You decide to accept their counter and now it’s time to go to escrow.

7. Offer Accepted – Escrow

Now that your offer has been accepted by the seller an escrow company will act as a neutral third party to handle paperwork and money. The escrow company is almost always chosen by the seller or listing agent and the exact escrow company is stated in the residential purchase agreement. Many times it’s written as “seller to select all services” which means seller picks, escrow and title. As a buyer you will be contacted by escrow and they will introduce themselves to you and let you know what will happen during the escrow process. They will be the ones that contact you to wire the initial good faith deposit funds to an escrow bank account. Due to possible fraud the escrow company should be the only party that instructs you on where to wire the money to.

During the escrow a buyer will receive disclosures, do home inspections and any other inspections that they deem fit, get their loan in order, wire funds to escrow, receive information on the properties title, ask for the seller to do any repairs that the buyer wants, make sure that this property meets their needs after looking at all disclosures and looking at all of the finding from inspections, select how you will take title to the property and get ready to move to your new home. Your lender will order an appraisal and the appraiser will go out to the property and do an appraisal to make sure that the home is worth the price that you offered in the Residential Purchase Agreement. If not your real estate agent may need to do a little more negotiation on the price of the San Diego real estate you’re buying.

The Lewis Team will be there to guide you through this process and answer any questions that you have. Once you have decided that the findings from the disclosures and inspections meet your needs then you will release your contingencies and get ready to close escrow. This process usually takes 30 days but can be a little shorter or a little longer. You will wire over the remaining funds to escrow and close escrow. The property is now yours and unless you allowed the seller to rent back for a period of time you can now move into your new home in San Diego.

First time home buyer family in San Diego moving into their new house

8. Move In

It’s now time to move in. If you need help with referrals for movers, cleaners, carpet cleaners, landscapers, handymen, painters, flooring installers and so on …. we can help. We will stop by and check in on you to make sure everything is going well and answer any questions that come up. Once you have purchased your new home or condo The Lewis Team will always be there to answer any questions you have and periodically update you with the value of your San Diego real estate. Since we’ve been selling homes for over 30 years we’re in this for the long haul and will be there when you’re ready to sell and purchase your next home.

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor


Ready to buy your first home or condo in San Diego?

Make sure you have the best real estate team in San Diego to help you on your journey!!!

The Lewis Team San Diego Real Estate Experts!


May 15, 2020

Can I Buy a Home in San Diego During the Coronavirus Epidemic?

Can I Buy a Home in San Diego During the Coronavirus Epidemic?

How to buy real estate in San Diego during Covid-19 Stay at Home Order.

Well even during the Coronavirus Pandemic you can still buy and sell real estate in San Diego California. Why? Because real estate is essential. People need to buy and sell and have a home to move into. They can’t be left homeless. Of course there are rules that need to be followed when buying and selling real estate in San Diego during the epidemic. 

San Diego Real Estate Agents Coronavirus Authorized

Here are the current guidelines in the State of California including San Diego County.

COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Real Estate Transactions


On March 19, 2020, the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order requiring most Californians to stay at home to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 among the population.

The impact of COVID-19 on the health of Californians is not yet fully known. Reported illness ranges from very mild (some people have no symptoms) to severe illness that may result in death. Certain groups, including people aged 65 or older and those with serious underlying medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk of hospitalization and serious complications. Transmission is most likely when people are in close contact with an infected person, even if that person does not have any symptoms or has not yet developed symptoms. Precise information about the number and rates of COVID-19 by industry or occupational groups, including among critical infrastructure workers, is not available at this time. There have been multiple outbreaks in a range of workplaces, indicating that workers are at risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 infection. Examples of these workplaces include long-term care facilities, prisons, food production, warehouses, meat processing plants, and grocery stores.

As stay-at-home orders are modified, it is essential that all possible steps be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the public.

Key prevention practices include:

✓ physical distancing to the maximum extent possible,

✓ use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not required) and customers/clients,

✓ frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection,

✓ training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan. In addition, it will be critical to have in place appropriate processes to identify new cases of illness in workplaces and, when they are identified, to intervene quickly and work with public health authorities to halt the spread of the virus. 


This document provides guidance for businesses operating in the real estate industry including sales and rentals of single-family, multi-family, apartment, commercial, and industrial properties to support a safe, clean environment for workers. The guidance is not intended to revoke or repeal any employee rights, either statutory, regulatory or collectively bargained, and is not exhaustive, as it does not include county health orders, nor is it a substitute for any existing safety and health-related regulatory requirements such as those of Cal/OSHA.1 Stay current on changes to public health guidance and state/local orders, as the COVID-19 situation continues. Cal/OSHA has more comprehensive guidance on their Cal/OSHA Interim General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19 webpage. CDC has additional requirements in their guidance for businesses and employers.

Workplace Specific Plan

• Establish a written, worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan at every facility, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas, and designate a person at each facility to implement the plan.

• Identify contact information for the local health department where the facility is located for communicating information about COVID-19 outbreaks among employees.

• Train and communicate with employees and employee representatives on the plan.

• Regularly evaluate the workplace for compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified.

• Investigate any COVID-19 illness and determine if any work-related factors could have contributed to risk of infection. Update the plan as needed to prevent further cases.

• Identify close contacts (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) of an infected employee and take steps to isolate COVID-19 positive employee(s) and close contacts.

• Adhere to the guidelines below. Failure to do so could result in workplace illnesses that may cause operations to be temporarily closed or limited.

Shown Properties Specific Plan

• Establish a written COVID-19 prevention plan to be followed by agents who show properties. Display a set of rules for agents and home viewers at the entrance of the property that are to be a condition of entry. The rules must include instructions to use face coverings and hand sanitizer. It must include instructions to maintain physical distancing and avoid touching surfaces of the shown property. The rules or a link to the rules should be part of online public and MLS listings. Posted rules should be clearly visible and include pictograms.

• Real estate and rental agents must confirm understanding of the rules with visitors before showing the property and provide a digital copy of the COVID-19 prevention plan to clients, appraisers, inspectors, stagers, purchasing agents and contractors and obtain their agreement to follow the plan prior to entering the property.

• Regularly evaluate compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified.

Topics for Employee Training

• Information on COVID-19, how to prevent it from spreading, and which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting the virus.

• Self-screening at home, including temperature and/or symptom checks using CDC guidelines.

• The importance of not coming to work if employees have a frequent cough, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, recent loss of taste or smell, or if they or someone they live with have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

• To seek medical attention if their symptoms become severe, including persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. Updates and further details are available on CDC’s webpage.

• The importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, including scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds (or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol when employees cannot get to a sink or handwashing station, per CDC guidelines).

• The importance of physical distancing, both at work and off work time (see Physical Distancing section below).

• Proper use of face coverings, including:

o Face coverings do not protect the wearer and are not personal protective equipment (PPE).

o Face coverings can help protect people near the wearer, but do not replace the need for physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

o Employees should wash or sanitize hands before and after using or adjusting face coverings.

o Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.

o Face coverings should be washed after each shift.

• Ensure temporary, contract, and all other workers at the facility are also properly trained in COVID-19 prevention policies and have necessary PPE. 

• Discuss these responsibilities ahead of time with organizations supplying temporary, contract, and all other workers.

• Information on employer or government-sponsored leave benefits the employee may be entitled to receive that would make it financially easier to stay at home. See additional information on government programs supporting sick leave and worker’s compensation for COVID-19, including employee’s sick leave rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and employee’s rights to workers’ compensation benefits and presumption of the work-relatedness of COVID-19 pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-62-20. 

Individual Control Measures and Screening

• Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift and any vendors, contractors, or other workers entering the establishment. Make sure the temperature/symptom screener avoids close contact with workers to the extent possible. Both screeners and employees should wear face coverings for the screening.

• If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening was performed prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC guidelines, as described in the Topics for Employee Training section above.

• Encourage workers who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home.

• Employers should provide and ensure workers use all required protective equipment, including face coverings and gloves where necessary.

• Employers should consider where disposable glove use may be helpful to supplement frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer; examples are for workers who are screening others for symptoms or handling commonly touched items.

• Face coverings are strongly recommended when employees are in the vicinity of others. Workers should have face coverings available and wear them when in shared work areas, such as offices and listed properties. Face coverings must not be shared.

• Employers, brokers, and real estate licensees must take reasonable measures, including posting signage in strategic and highly-visible locations, to remind clients that they should use face coverings and practice physical distancing when viewing a property in person.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols for Workplaces

• Perform thorough cleaning on high traffic areas of offices and other shared workspaces (lobbies, meeting rooms, break rooms, etc.) and areas of ingress and egress (handrails, stairways, elevator controls, etc.). Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces in shared work areas like counters, light switches, door handles, etc.

• Avoid sharing phones, other work supplies, or office equipment wherever possible. Never share PPE.

• Where such items must be shared, disinfect with a cleaner appropriate for the surface between shifts or uses, whichever is more frequent, including the following: shared office equipment, such as copiers, fax machines, printers, telephones, keyboards, staplers, staple removers, letter openers, surfaces in reception areas, shared work stations, etc. 

• Instruct employees to wipe down and disinfect equipment that passes between employees and customers, including clipboards and keys after each use.

• Equip workplace terminals and desks with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes and provide personal hand sanitizers to all employees.

• Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices at their workplaces during their shift. Cleaning assignments should be assigned during working hours as part of the employee’s job duties.

• Ensure that sanitary facilities stay operational and stocked at all times and provide additional soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer when needed.

• Install and encourage the use of hands-free devices, if possible, including motion sensor lights and automatic soap and paper towel dispensers. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should use products approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved list and follow product instructions. Use disinfectants labeled to be effective against emerging viral pathogens, diluted household bleach solutions (5 tablespoons per gallon of water), or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol that are appropriate for the surface. Provide employees training on manufacturer’s directions and Cal/OSHA requirements for safe use. Workers using cleaners or disinfectants should wear gloves as required by the product instructions.

• Require employees to clean and disinfect personal work areas often and supply the necessary cleaning products.

• Modify hours if necessary, to ensure regular, thorough cleaning of office spaces.

• Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in offices and other spaces.

San Diego Real Estate Agents Covid-19 Authorized

Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols for Shown Properties

• Thoroughly clean shown properties and disinfect commonly used surfaces including counters, door and cabinet handles, key lock boxes, keypads, toilets, sinks, light switches, etc. These surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each showing.

• During a showing, introduce fresh outside air, for example by opening doors/windows, weather permitting, and operating ventilation systems.

• Instruct employees to wipe down and disinfect equipment that passes between employees and customers, including clipboards and keys, after each use.

• Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices at shown properties during their shift. Cleaning assignments should be assigned during working hours as part of the employee’s job duties.

• Real estate licensees should ensure shown properties are equipped with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for use by employees and clients as needed.

• Provide and strongly recommend clients, real estate licensees, and inspectors to use face coverings and hand sanitizer. Place these items at the property entrance so that people can put them on before entering. Ensure disposable covers are properly discarded after use, for example in a trash bag that is sealed prior to disposal.

• All people entering a property, including agents, brokers, inspectors, and clients, must wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer immediately upon entry and before touring or inspecting the property.

• Adjust or modify showings to provide adequate time for proper cleaning and disinfecting. If the property is currently occupied, ensure adequate time to disinfect after occupants leave for showings and before and after clients view the property.

Physical Distancing Guidelines for Workplaces 

• Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between employees and customers. This can include use of physical partitions or visual cues (e.g., floor markings or signs to indicate to where employees should stand).

.• Utilize work practices, when feasible and necessary, to limit the number of employees at the office at one time. This may include scheduling (e.g., staggering start/end times), establishing alternating days for on-site reporting, returning to the office workspace in phases, or continued use of telework when feasible.

• Redesign office spaces, cubicles, etc. and decrease the capacity for conference and meeting rooms to ensure workspaces allow for six feet between employees.

• Designate separate routes for entry and exit into office spaces to help maintain social distancing and lessen the instances of people closely passing each other, if possible. Establish directional hallways and

passageways for foot traffic, if possible, to eliminate employees from passing by one another.

• Close or restrict, using barriers, or separating tables/chairs in common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, such as kitchenettes and break rooms. Discourage employees from congregating in high traffic areas such as bathrooms and hallways. Limit the number of individuals riding in an elevator and ensure the use of face coverings.

• Close self-service coffee, water, and snack areas. Provide individual water bottles if there is no other suitable potable water source.

• Consider offering workers who request modified duties options that minimize their contact with customers and other employees (e.g., managing inventory rather than working as a cashier or managing

administrative needs through telework).

• Stagger employee breaks, within compliance with wage and hour regulations, to maintain physical distancing protocols.

• Display signage at entrances and waiting areas to remind people of physical distancing and face covering usage at every opportunity. Dedicate staff to direct guests to meeting rooms upon entry to office space rather than congregating in lobbies or common areas.

• Discontinue nonessential travel and encourage distance meetings via phone and internet.

• Discontinue shared vehicle trips between employees, contractors, clients, etc. Each party should travel in their own vehicle to offices, properties, or other locations that require in-person activities.

• Require employees to avoid handshakes and similar greetings that break physical distance.

• Avoid passing transaction materials such as pens, paperwork, and keys back and forth between employees and customers.

• Complete real estate transactions with all related parties digitally if feasible. Maintain physical distance when in-person meetings are required with escrow agents, loan officers, mortgage brokers, etc. Meet in spaces that allow for at least six feet of physical distance, such as outside.

• Eliminate person-to-person contact for delivery of goods to physical offices. Avoid touching others’ pens and clipboards.

Physical Distancing Guidelines for Shown Properties

• Discontinue holding open houses and showings open to the general public on a walk-in basis; use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people in the house or property.

• If current occupants are present and/or participate during property showings, in accordance with their legal rights, they should adhere to the same standards regarding physical distancing, proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and promote a safe environment for all persons present.

• Utilize virtual tours in lieu of open houses via digital technologies, social media, etc. in lieu of property showings whenever possible. If virtual tours are not feasible, limit the number of people present during showings. When a real estate licensee or renter is present, maintain physical distance at all times.

• Real estate licensees or sellers/renters must open doorways or other areas of ingress and egress prior to in-person property showings to minimize clients touching surfaces. 

• Real estate licensees should remind clients to maintain physical distancing during showings and to refrain from touching handles, switches, pulls, etc. All persons on property for in-person showings should avoid touching knobs, faucets, toilets and toilet handles, light switches, garage door

opener buttons, handles and pulls, alarm system controls, fan pulls, remotes, thermostats, switchboxes, gates and gate latches, window locks and sashes, pool coverings, and other such items.

• Prior to and concluding in-person showings, real estate licensees must disinfect mobility and safety fixtures on the property such as handrails and banisters.

• All home inspectors and prospective homebuyers who accompany the inspectors should use face coverings while performing on-property inspections. Home inspectors must have access to and utilize soap and hand sanitizer.

• All information must be delivered electronically. Discontinue providing handouts or other types of promotional or informational materials.

1Additional requirements must be considered for vulnerable populations. The real estate industry

must comply with all Cal/OSHA standards and be prepared to adhere to its guidance as well as

guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California

Department of Public Health (CDPH). Additionally, employers must be prepared to alter their

operations as those guidelines change.

Considering buying a home in San Diego or selling a home in San Diego during the Coronavirus AKA Covid-19 Epidemic?

Call us for a free over the phone or Zoom consultation.

We’ll get through this together

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

Dawn Lewis – San Diego Realtor since 1989


The Lewis Team San Diego Real Estate Experts!


May 3, 2020

California Craftsman Bungalow in City Heights San Diego

California Craftsman Bungalow in City Heights San Diego

Opportunity Knocks for this 1926 Home in City Heights

Live in this updated 1926 California Craftsman Bungalow in City Heights. This San Diego home is centrally located to shopping, dining and freeways and is in the heart of City Heights. This home has 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms and is 1,016 Square Feet. Extra income from the garage converted studio in the back. This home sits on a large lot that allows for 1-3 units; giving potential to add additional units. 

City Heights California Craftsman Bungalow San Diego by The Lewis Team

This City Heights home features an open concept floor plan with bamboo hardwood floors, kitchen with white shaker cabinets, tiled back splash, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

City Heights California Craftsman Bungalow San Diego CA by The Lewis Team

Want to live in the heart of City Heights in a 1926 California Craftsman Bungalow? This is your opportunity!

  • Bedrooms 3
  • Bathrooms 2
  • Square Feet 1,016
  • Year Built 1926


4219 Marlborough Ave San Diego CA 92105

Map for city heights real estate san diego homes for sale

Asking Price $619,000

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

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What's My Home's Value in San Diego

The Lewis Team San Diego Real Estate Experts!                 

April 12, 2020

Checking my San Diego Homes Value after Coronavirus

Checking my San Diego Homes Value after Coronavirus

Has the Coronavirus Affected my Real Estate Value in San Diego County?

The Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, shut down the world’s economy for a period of time in 2020, millions of jobs were lost because of it and it put millions on unemployment in the United States. Some renters stopped paying rent causing some landlords to struggle to pay their mortgages. The effects of the virus are well known, sickness, panic, and even death. But how has the lockdown of people and the economy affected home values in San Diego and Southern California. 

San Diego Real Estate Values Coronavirus 2019 2020 2021

If you want to know the answer contact The Lewis Team and we will put together a free home value analysis and email or text it to you. Please put “Home Value” in comments and please include your name, email address, phone number and property address. 

Keep in mind that the San Diego and Southern California real estate markets were doing great in 2019 and 2020 just before the Coronavirus hit. It was mostly a seller’s market and in many price ranges there were multiple offers from buyers on properties. Coronavirus came and essentially shut down the real estate market only allowing for viewing online or virtually. Wisely the State of California added real estate services to the essential services list and allowed showings as long as the virtual tour was not sufficient and while viewing homes social distancing and proper precautions were taken. Real estate slowed but new listings hit the San Diego market and sales continued. Most business was done virtually, through email and on the phone.

I’m sure many homeowners are wondering about their homes value. They may be getting ready to relocate, military relocation, retirement or they just purchased a home and are concerned about their homes value. Knowing the value of your home and the expected time on market needed to sell it is essential. Having this home value assessment completed by a local expert is now even more important. Using the Big National or even Global Real Estate Web Site’s “What’s my Home’s Value”  button that uses an automated house value tool has no way of knowing the Coronavirus effect on the value of a home in San Diego. Please use a local expert with over 30 years’ experience to guide you through this process.

We’ll get through this together

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

Dawn Lewis – San Diego Realtor since 1989


The Lewis Team San Diego Real Estate Experts!


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March 31, 2020

Home for Sale in Bay Ho

Home for Sale in Bay Ho

4 Bedroom 2 Bath Home in Bay Ho 92117

Gorgeous remodeled 4 bedroom home for sale in the highly coveted neighborhood of Bay Ho. Open floor plan with vaulted ceilings in living room & chef's kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances, farm sink, quartz countertops & large waterfall island. Vinyl plank flooring throughout, dual pane windows, fresh interior/exterior paint, 200 amp electric panel, owned solar & updated plumbing. All updates done within the last 2 years!

Bay Ho 4 Bedroom Home for sale on Moraga Ave by The Lewis Team

Large yard with grass area, patio, fenced garden and greenhouse. Large 2 car garage. This Bay Ho Clairemont home is very close to Clairemont Square, Pacific Beach, Downtown San Diego, and lots of shopping and dining. Easy freeway access and centrally located to all Greater San Diego has to offer while still being in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in San Diego County.

Bay Ho 4 Bedroom Home for sale on Moraga Avenue  by The Lewis Team

Bay Ho Property Details:

  • Bedrooms 4
  • Bathrooms 2
  • Square Feet 1,426
  • Year Built 1956
  • Asking Price $799,000-$820,000


4442 Moraga Ave San Diego CA 92117

Bay Ho Real Estate Location Map

For more information contact or call Lindsay Shuman with The Lewis Team 


Lindsay Shuman San Diego Realtor

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March 29, 2020

Mira Mesa Home for Sale in 2020

Mira Mesa Home for Sale in 2020

3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home on Cul-De-Sac with Huge Lot in Mira Mesa

Highly desirable, single story, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Mira Mesa. This house is on a a cul-de-sac in the heart of Mira Mesa and has 1,244 square feet and a great floor plan as well. Hardwood floors & tile throughout. Extra-large living room with fireplace. Kitchen has gorgeous wood shaker cabinets with granite countertops and opens up to the dining area. Master bedroom has ensuite. 

Mira Mesa Home for Sale 2020 Large Yard

Home has huge backyard for entertaining! Large covered back patio & expansive grass area with matured palm trees & landscaping. Large 2 car garage. If you’ve been looking for a home in Mira Mesa I would encourage you to call us as soon as possible to view this home. It won’t last long and it very well may be the one you’ve been waiting for.

Mira Mesa Home for Sale 2020 Large Yard on Cul-De_Sac

Mira Mesa Home Details

  • Bedrooms 3
  • Bathrooms 2
  • Square Feet 1,244
  • Year Built 1977
  • Asking Price $675,000

11292 Ganesta Road San Diego CA 92126

Ganesta Road Real Estate for sale in mira mesa

***Virtually tour this Mira Mesa home for sale in 2020***   

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Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

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March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus and San Diego Real Estate

COVID-19 Coronavirus and San Diego Real Estate

The San Diego Real Estate Market and the Covid-19 Virus

We're thinking of all of you....  

We hope this email finds you and your loved ones well and in good health. During this time of uncertainty due to the Coronavirus epidemic, please be assured in our team's constant ability to be of service to you and your loved ones.  We are here to offer support, expertise or anything else you might need. Everyone on our team is healthy and able to help if you or anyone you know needs assistance. We can pick up groceries, food, supplies, check on loved ones, etc. just let us know!  We will continue to stay by your side and navigate through this uncharted territory together.

San Diego Real Estate Covid-19 Coronavirus  questions for a real estate agent in san diego california

During this time of uncertainty there is plenty of information going around; some reliable some not. We know that many of you are struggling to understand what this crazy time means for yourself, your families and your investments. With over 31 years of experience in the business and having been through several shifts and changes in the market we would like to offer up our expertise.

If you're in a position where you are concerned about your financial state, job security, and/or how this down time is going to affect your ability to make your next mortgage/rent payment please know that there are some financial reliefs that you may be able to benefit from. Reach out to any one of us so we can help you process your unique situation and needs. Together we can make sure we all make it to the other side.  

The market is always changing, good or bad; this market is no different. We are looking at incredibly low rate loans that can be taken advantage of. It may be that it’s time for you to utilize the Fed's stimulus package to your advantage by making the move you've been needing to make. If you are wondering where you might fit in to this, please reach out to us for a private one on one virtual meeting to discuss where you are at.

If you have any questions, not only about the market but anything else or maybe you need to talk to someone other than your spouse, partner, roommate, kids, or pet don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our goal is to offer support, resources, a sense of community and advice if needed. Remember this too shall pass.

We at The Lewis Team hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this trying time.

Please reach out to us if you have any needs or questions:

Dawn Lewis 619-981-3917

Mike Lewis 619-981-3918 

Shylia Alarcon 619-981-3922

Lindsay Shuman 858-314-8432

Angela Bumgarner 310-428-9984

Diana Duplain 619-791-0922

The Lewis Team


Posted in 4s Ranch, Allied Gardens, Alpine, Bay Ho, Bay Park, Big Block Realty, Blog, Blogroll, Bonita, Boulevard, Cardiff, Carlsbad, Carmel Country Highlands, Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Central Coastal, Central Inland, Chula Vista, Clairemont Mesa, Coastal San Diego Real Estate, College Grove, Coronado, Dawn Lewis, Del Cerro, Del Mar, Descanso, Downtown, Dulzura, East County, East San Diego, EastLake, EastLake Gates, Eastlake Trails North, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Fairbanks Ranch, Fallbrook, Grantville, Hillcrest, Imperial Beach, Jamul, Julian, Kensington, La Costa, La Jolla, La Mesa, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Leucadia, Linda Vista, Logan Heights, Metro, Mira Mesa, Mission Beach, Mission Hills, Mission Valley, National City, Normal Heights, North County Coastal, North County Inland, North Park, Ocean Beach, Ocean View Hills, Oceanside, Old Town, Olivenhain, Otay Mesa, Otay Ranch, Pacific Beach, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Paradise Hills, Pine Valley, Point Loma, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Del Rey, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Rolling Hills, Sabre Springs, San Carlos, San Diego Coastal Real Estate, San Diego Foreclosures, San Diego House Values, San Diego Marine Relocation, San Diego Market Report, San Diego Military Relocation, San Diego MLS, San Diego Navy Relocation, San Diego New Homes, San Diego Real Estate, San Diego Real Estate Blog, San Diego Real Estate Investments, San Diego Real Estate Market, San Diego Real Estate News, San Diego Relocation, San Elijo Hills, San Marcos, San Miguel Ranch, San Ysidro, Santaluz, Santee, Scripps Ranch, Serra Mesa, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, South Bay, Spring Valley, Sunbow, Terra Nova, The Lewis Team, Tierrasanta, Torrey Highlands, University City, Valley Center, Vista, Windingwalk
Feb. 8, 2020

Avila Townhome for Sale in Vista

Avila Townhome for Sale in Vista

Large 4 Bedroom 3.5 Bath Townhome in North County Inland San Diego

Beautiful 4 bedroom 3.5 bath with 1,977 square feet home in the brand new community of Avila in Vista. This gorgeous home has upgraded features including luxury vinyl flooring throughout & smart home touches. Open concept great room floorplan. Stunning kitchen includes features such as white shaker cabinets, quartz counter tops, Carrera marble backsplash, pendant lighting at extra-large island with an eat at bar & all stainless steel appliances. 

Townhome for sale in Vista California Lewis Team

Convenient 1 bedrood & full bath downstairs. Balcony overlooking amazing spacious greenbelt, shaded picnic area & pool. Attached 2 car garage. Close to all Vista has to offer including shopping, dining and freeways. This unit will not last long in this HOT market!

Townhome for sale in Vista California 4 pics


1576 Castillo Way 47 Vista CA 92081

  • Bedrooms 4
  • Bathrooms 3.5
  • Square Feet 1,977
  • Year Built 2019
  • Garage 2 Car

Asking Price $599,999

Call The Lewis Team to find out more about this opportunity to purchase this fine 4 bedroom Townhome in Vista California. 

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Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor

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Feb. 5, 2020

5 Essentials Things Your San Diego Agent Needs to do to Sell Your Home in 2020

5 Essentials Things Your San Diego Agent Needs to do to Sell Your Home in 2020

Make Sure You Have the Edge Over Your Competition in 2020

2020 is shaping up to be a seller’s market for most price ranges in San Diego County. This means that sellers selling their home under the $1,000,000 price range in the most desirable neighborhoods of San Diego County will get multiple offers on their homes. If your home is under the $700,000 price range your home will be in very high demand. Lack of inventory and plenty of home buyers looking to buy a home in 2020 have made circumstances very favorable to sellers. 

When homes are priced in higher price ranges like $1,000,0000 to $10,000,000 or more there are fewer buyers in this price range and these homes can take some time to sell due to far fewer buyers. Areas like Carmel Valley, Carlsbad, and other similar communities have many homes that sell in the 1 to 2 million dollar range quickly and for multiple offers due to their extreme desirability. Most buyers in San Diego County have been qualified to buy a home with a purchase price of $500,000 to $800,000, homes in these price ranges will have multiples buyers previewing them and writing offers on them.

5 Essentials Things Your San Diego Agent Needs to do to Sell Your Home in 2020

If you’re selling your San Diego home in 2020 your real estate agent should do these 5 essential things to get your home SOLD for top dollar.


  1. Prepare Your Home for Showings
  2. Pre-Market Your Home
  3. Mega Open House
  4. Make Your Home Available for Buyers to Preview
  5. Negotiate the BEST Offer for Your Home

1. Prepare Your Home for Showings

From the time your real estate agent sees your home for the first time they should be thinking about the things they need to do with your home to get it sold for top-dollar. A listing agent in looking at things like curb appeal, landscaping, condition, interior design, furniture, odors, paint color, neighborhood as soon as they see your home is the sign of an agent sizing up your home and knowing right away what to do and how to get it done. This is an agent with years of experience and a proven system that has been tested to get the home sold.

Photos are essential in today’s internet based real estate market. The vast majority of buyers will be looking to buy a home online on real estate websites like Realtor, Zillow, Redfin and thousands of others. Buyers will be emailed your listing from the MLS or may be delivered to them in a drip email from a real estate website or agent. The first thing that the buyer will do is look at the pictures of your home. This is why your home has to show well and to show well it needs to be ready for pictures before the photographs are taken. 

Things to do before you sell your home in 2020

The first 7 tips in this post “10 Tips to Selling Your San Diego Home for Top Dollar” should be completed before we take pictures and let buyers see your home. We always use a professional photographer to showcase your home and make sure the photos we present to the buyers when looking on-line are the best they can possibly be. You wouldn’t believe how many agents use their cell phones to take pictures of a client’s home to use for listing and marketing photos. It’s embarrassing.

2. Pre-Market Your Home

A listing agent should pre-market your home to get buyers and buyer’s agents interested in seeing it. This way excitement gets built as your home is getting ready to be put on the market. Letting potential buyers know about it and letting agents know about it will keep them interested in seeing it before it even comes on the marker for sale. There are many ways agents can pre-market your home and since we’ve been selling for over 30 years we have it down better than any other agents in town. Knowing how, where and when to pre-market is a process that can get you top-dollar for your home as soon as it hits the market. The “Coming Soon” is a big part of grabbing the attention of a buyer looking in your neighborhood and keeping them interested in your home until we open the doors for them to see it.

3. Mega Open House

What is a Mega Open House? Well it’s kind of like an open house that has the build up from the pre-marketing, usually done over the span of a weekend, Saturday and Sunday, lots of signage and social media, promoting the open house on-line through the San Diego MLS to push out to all of the on-line real estate websites and other marketing regimes. We don’t want to give away all of our secrets!!!! 

Preparing for an Open House in San Diego

At the Mega Open House, buyers and buyers agents will be able to “for the first time” see your home. They will also see all of the other buyers and agents there which will allow them to see the excitement so many have over your property. Because you took the time to prepare your home for showings and it’s in great show condition, buyers are enthusiastic about the opportunity to write their best offer. Because we pre-marketed your home to so many they traffic to see your home is plentiful and excitement is in the air. 

4. Make Your Home Available for Buyers to Preview

Because not all potential buyers and their real estate agents will be able to make the open house you need to make your home available for buyers to preview. This means when a buyer wants to see your home you need to make it available to them. This means you will need to leave your home for a while to let the buyer and their agent take a good look at the home to see if they want to buy it and what they want to offer for it. Many times a buyer will see your home at an open house but will want to look at it again with their agent without anyone else around. At this point they are serious buyer and you need to let them have access to your home to feel comfortable with writing an offer on it.

Let’s face it they will probably want to see it at a time that doesn’t work for you. You maybe just getting home from work and want to make dinner, you may have to gather up your dogs and get them out of the house, you may have a sleeping child that doesn’t want to get up and leave, and the list goes on and on. I get it, I’ve seen it all. You can always say no but keep in mind you may be saying no to the buyer that wants to write the highest and best offer on your house. You shouldn’t let that opportunity pass you by.

Walking dogs for property showings

5. Negotiate the BEST Offer for Your Home

This is where an experienced real estate agent in San Diego comes into play. Your agent needs to be a top-negotiator to get you the highest price for your home with the most desirable terms. If it’s one offer on your home or multiple offers on your home, an experienced agent will work with you to get an offer that meets your price and terms. The only way this happens is by using an experienced agent with a proven track record. When I say the highest price for your home, that’s easy, it simply means the most money for your home or highest purchase price. When I talk about terms it can mean things like, closing date, length of escrow, paying or not paying closing costs, rent back or no rent back or even free rent back, paying for items to be repaired or not, termite repair and so on. Many things are negotiable and the terms determine contractually what the buyer will do and what the seller will do. Make sure you are suing an experienced agent with over 30 year’s experience and over 2,000 homes sold under their belt represent you. You’ll be glad you did.

Time to list your home in San Diego CA

I hope this article helped you pick a good real estate agent in San Diego County and also helped you get top-dollar for your home and a smooth transaction. Being informed on the listing and selling process of a home is essential in the age of such readily available information, not all of it so good. I also love to share my experience with sellers so that they make good decisions and as few mistakes as possible. If you would like to ask me any questions please call of contact me. If you would like to know your home’s value in San Diego please let me know and I will offer you a free CMA to let you know what your homes is worth in 2020.

Dawn Lewis – San Diego Realtor since 1989

Dawn Lewis San Diego Realtor


Interested in selling a home in 2020?

The Lewis Team San Diego Real Estate Experts!