Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

R1bman, Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

I am considering a move to San Diego and was wondering what I can purchase in a decent neighborhood for about 200,000.00 or less.

Asked by R1bman, San Diego, CA Sat Sep 4, 2010

I will be retired at 56 yo and looking for full time work. What is the job market like? What is the social life like in terms of meeting people, new friends, etc. Quality of life, i.e., low crime, traffic, well maintained city?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi there,

I'm going to assume you have your job search sorted out... $200,0000 will buy you a condo. If you know what you qualify for, I can help you figure out your monthly payments, so you know what to pay for the condo, taking into consideration the HOA fees. Your lender will look at those as part of your monthly expenses, but if you can spend $200,000 on a condo plus the HOA fees, you should be ok to buy in several areas. The better the area, the more updating you may need to do after you move in, but that you can change over time, you can't change your location!

You won't necessarily be able to buy Downtown or at the beach, but you can easily drive anywhere, or even try the trolley! Downtown HOA fees can be quite high, and prices are understandably higher the closer to the coast you go, so like Chad mentioned, Rancho Bernardo is a great inland area to buy, very desirable, and affordable. You have many options!

The condo you buy will also depend on the type of loan you'll have. If you have a 20% down payment, you can buy almost anywhere (lenders have criteria for condo complexes, but these are good for you as a buyer too). If you have more like a 3.5% down payment, the selection narrows a bit.

Let me know if you have any questions, or would like me to send you any maps of San Diego with zip codes and neighborhoods.

Happy house hunting!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
I think San Diego is Wonderland, R1bman! I have lived in a lot of places, all over the US, Italy, Brazil and there's no place I can imagine living at this point. San Diego has it all for me. My team just found a Fannie Mae condo downtown with the HomePath Financing option for a first time buyer for just over 200K. This bank owned transaction is going smoothly. For 200K or less it's a condo for sure, several choices of neighborhood depending upon your interests and desire to be close to the beach vs. the countryside. San Diego is well maintained compared with many large cities I have visiting although there is, in my opinion, a homeless situation we could be doing better with. Efforts are being made even as we speak, yet the problem persists. Crime in the neighborhood were I reside in Central San Diego has the highest crime related to theft of items from parked cars. Since moving here from the East Coast, people I met made me feel like I was welcome. Unemployment here is still an issue, so it depends upon your area of expertise whether you will find work easily. Post more specific questions and you can fine tune your research.
Best of Luck
Web Reference: http://www.lchometeamsd.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Wherever you look, be sure to look at the HOA fees, they can vary by a lot. Also beware of newer communities, especially in Chula Vista and Eastlake, that have high Mello-Roos assessments. You can easily pay well over $500 per month just in HOA fees and assessments.

Good luck, and happy house hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 9, 2010
You can buy a condo in San Carlos. San Carlos offers Cowles Mountain, Lake Murray, Mission Trails Regional Park, easy freeway access, clean streets and crime free neighborhoods.
Web Reference: http://www.jefflarabee/blog
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 9, 2010
You can find a home in San Diego in the $200k-$250k range. We actually have a listing that is currently going through short sale approval with the lender and it is listed at $249,000. The current owner purchased it for $319,000 in 2008. This home is a 3 bedroom/2 bath single level home on a large lot. It was completely rehabbed from top to bottom in 2006. We actually found that is was difficult placing a well qualified buyer with interest in waiting on the short sale on this property. Something like this would be a great opportunity for you to move to San Diego and enjoy all that our community has to offer. I recommend that you look in that price range and get yourself pre-approved if you find a home that you like. If you have patience to deal with a short sale, you will probably have an opportunity for a property type like this home that is located within a 15-20 minute drive of Downtown San Diego. There are many neighborhoods to chose from in our community. If you are patient, you won't necessarily have to go into a condo situation, unless you want to do so...

Good luck with your move! I am sure you will truly enjoy living in our community.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
I would recommend eastlake or chula vista. We have several foreclosures that we are listing that are in the 200k range for single family. If you have to stay under 200, you will be looking at condos if you want to stay within an hour of the city, unless you want a serious fixer.

MY TEAM HAS OVER 100 PRE-LISTED FORECLOSURES AND WE ARE THE LISTING AGENT! - Please Email Me If you Are Looking For A Foreclosure In San Diego. Over 30 of them are FHA/VA Approved and Fully Renovated!

Hope this helps!

Patrick A. Hale, CDPE, RSD
Short Sale & REO Listing Agent
Associate Broker

"The Best Way To Predict Your Future Is To Create It"
Keller Williams Realty
Toll Free: (866) 538-6057 I San Diego: (619) 309-7883
Mobile/Text: (858) 539-6803 I DRE License # 01777558
Office: 4370 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92122

"Help Over 360 Distressed Home Owners Avoid Foreclosure"
If You or Someone You Know is in Financial Distress Visit: http://www.SDRealEstate360.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
The average home cost in a good neighborhood in San Diego is around 4-500K. For 200K you can get a decent condo, but would you be interested in something like that? If you have any more questions feel free to email me at atifa7@yahoo.com, and check out my website shortsalecreditsaver.com. Look forward to hearing from you!
-Atifa R
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
R1bman: The word "Decent", has different meaings to each person who is considering a life changing event like living out your retirmemnt years in a new City. This is a very personal question and you will have to do some research on your own to figure out what is best for you. I will say that condominium living is not for everyone and that is what you are going to find in the $200,000 price range anywhere in San Diego County.

If you want a house with a yard and not a condominium I would suggest the Temecula Wine Country.

Check out http://www.city-data.com for infomation about any area you are considering. This site has a great user forum and you can hear from individuals who live in the areas you are seeking information about!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
As many of the agents have answered its hard to give you much of an idea since the price range is low for a single family home but certainly possible for a condo. Also the job market really depends on your profession with some being easy to get, and others like construction being almost impossible.

San Diego is a huge county and has many diverse neighborhoods. In general, the mose east you go from the Ocean the more affordable the homes are. Depending on your vocation I would strongly suggest you pick an area to live that is close - traffic can be bad moving around San Diego and can add 1 to 3 hours to your day for commute times.

Here are some resources that might help you. The first in a monthly publication by the San Diego Association of Realtors with prices per zip code. These reports come out each month around the 10th to 15th.


Secondly here is a link to crime statistics in San Diego.


Third here are some of the San Diego City neighborhoods and active listings for sale.


Some communities are more social than others, best to take some time and explore the different options to get a feel for the one that feels right to you.

In your price point there will be little inventory and prices are probably selling at close to asking price. The best deals go quickly so at some point find a REALTOR® that you're comfortable with to give you some guidance after understanding your situation.

Good luck and I am so thankful everyday for living in such a wonderful place.
Web Reference: http://www.SanDiegoJeff.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
Hello, when considering a home purchase you must first establish how much of a loan you qualify for, unless of course you plan on paying cash for it; quit frankly I think there are much better things to do with your money then paying all cash for a home though.

Anyhow to answer your question we need to be a bit more specific, are you looking for a single family residence, condo, mobile home in a park, and regarding decent neighborhood, that is very subjective and quit a personal decision. Certainly you'll have to make the trip to San Diego at some point to drive the many different areas and determine for yourself what you like and dislike about different neighborhoods. San Diego has so many unique settings like, the beach areas, midtown, downtown, mountain and desert living, and everything in between.

I would suggest first speaking with a qualified lender that will quickly get you pre-qualified for a loan right over the phone or course for FREE. Then you'll know exactly how much you can afford and we can then begin to send you all the best home listings throughout the county that meet your qualifications and needs.

If you already know how much you can afford to purchase and want to search for homes to get an idea of what is available for around the $200,000 amont you can seach our website at http://www.homeinfotoday.com and click on the "Home Search" button on the left hand side.

Let me know if you need assistance, Travel@cox.net

I hope this was helpful and have a great day!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
Hello R1bman

It appears that you will be considering the job market as well as a place to live in San Diego. I can't answer how easy it will be for you to find a job without knowing what you are qualified to do. Since you are retiring at age 56 (that's great) San Diego is a city that will offer you many things to do to enhance your social life. If you tend to like suburbia living, traffic at rush hour can be a problem. For a city our size, we have comparatively low crime and our weather is hard to beat encouraging a lot of outdoor activities. All good for our quality of life. The price range you mentioned will more than likely support condo living and we have properties now that were not available before for around $200K With interest rates so low, and a fair amount of short sales and foreclosures, there is no better time to enter the San Diego Market.

I have been a Realtor in San Diego for over 35yrs and totally familiar with every part of SD City and County and would love to share my knowledge and educate you to what is available to meet your needs. Check me out on the Internet by just putting in my name. Also visit http://www.livesandiegocity.com my email caryl.iseman@argsd.com

Caryl Iseman
ARG Abbott Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
You would be surprised at the selection in our area under $200 K. If you like a very social life, then you might want to stay close to downtown or the beach areas. Come take a tour of the different areas, you will find lots to like. What activities do you like? Boating? Surfing? Dancing? Golfing? They are all here.

the best place to start is with a tour.

Let me know if I can help you in any way!

Joan Wilson (Realtor, SRES, Ecobroker, Certified REO, HAFA, and Short Sale Specialist)

California Cool 4 Sale
Prudential California Realty
Direct Phone: 760-757-3468
800-975-7481 x 111
Fax: 760-946-7894
License # 01341483

Find Your Dream Home:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
Hello R1bman,

That is a loaded question with lots of ways to go about answering it. What I will start by saying is there is a definite reason why we are referred to as "America's Finest City." I have lived in various parts of the United States and you simply will not find a better place for weather! The quality of life is great. Like most cities though, traffic can be a bit challenging at times (really depends on what time of day and what freeways you need to use)...you can go to http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist11/d11tmc/sdmap/showmap.php for real time traffic updates in San Diego. I realize you will get many responses to this question and most will be agents partial to the area they work in, which does make some sense. You can find plenty of condo's throughout the city for around 200K and it simply depends on what area you'd like to be in. I recently represented a buyer on a condo in Bernardo Heights (great, safe area of Rancho Bernardo), which gives you access to 3 community centers (pool, tennis courts, meeting rooms, et.al). The condo is a 2 bedroom/2 bath 1,108 sq. ft place and it went for $201K and the Rancho Bernardo area offers everything you'd be looking for I'd imagine. At any rate, the best thing to do would be have someone show you some properties and in different areas. In the meantime, I'd be more than happy to discuss the various areas of San Diego with you and/or provide you with properties that meet your parameters. I will leave this by saying you will be very happy if you decide to move to San Diego.

Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
San Diego county has many wonderful neighborhoods, and it would depend on the type of home you are looking for (single family, condominium, townhome) and how many bedrooms, square footage, etc. Is proximity to the beach important? The coastal communities do command a much higher price point than some of the more inland communities, however there is a lot of inventory for condominiums in the $200K price range to consider.
I would be happy to make some recommendations for you and can also set you up on a search where the properties are emailed to you as they come on the market.
In the south part of San Diego county in the communities of Eastlake and Otay Lakes there is an abundance of bank foreclosure and short sale homes that are in newer communities. It is about 15 minutes south of Downtown San Diego. Also, Mission Valley is less than 10 minutes from the beach, and central to everything that San Diego has to offer.
Please let me know if I can help, as I'd be happy to. Lori Demirdjian - Keller Williams Realty 619-241-1015 or LoriDemirdjian@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
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