San Diego North county - Need advice on older homes...

Asked by Sanee Sing, 92126 Sun Feb 10, 2008

I am thinking about buying my first home and this is my first post! I am currently looking at Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos. I notice that the homes built in 1990 or earlier are more affordable than the ones built in the late 90's and early 00's. I was a little hesitant to look at the older homes, because of the potential repair/maintenance headaches.
- can someone give me a rough idea of the time and money required to maintain such a 80's home? what kind of repairs are typically required etc? (I don't consider myself handy and would require professional help for such repairs)
- any other pros/cons when comparing such older homes with the late 90's homes (I am currently not considering anything very new, i.e. built in 2003 or later)

Thanks for any other tips/advice!

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James Baker, , 92008
Mon Feb 11, 2008
Sanee, for a home from the 80's some of the things you should be most concerned with will be the heating & air conditioning and pool equipment, water heaters and roof. At 20 years these systems are looking at the end of their life cycle. They are things that are relatively expensive to repair and most folks cannot do themselves to save money. An agent (such as myself, ahem!) that comes from a construction background can be useful in advising you about building infrastructure. Much time and effort can be avoided this way since many red flag, potential problems can be spotted before you commit with an offfer to purchase and then spend several hundred dollars for a professional inspection and find that there is too many hidden negatives even in a well maintained home.

Another thought on the maintenence/time continum is the landscaping and outside ammenities. Larger lots were common in the 80's in the ares you mention and thus have more upkeep for the owner or his hired services. The trees and shrubs are probably beautifully full grown and that means leaves and debris to deal with and cannot be avoided. Some enjoy this chore and that is part of the charm for them.

I can help you spot these issues and many more, give me a call today!

James Baker

0 votes
Dianne Hicks, Agent, Rancho Bernardo, CA
Thu Apr 22, 2010
As everyone has stated, get one that is well maintained and have a good home inspector check it out. Keep in mind property taxes are usually much lower as well so that makes it ever more affordable. Good Luck!!!
1 vote
Chad Basinger, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Hi Sanee,

I can certainly relate to not being the most handy of people. We are all good at different things and that is why it is important to have a professional inspector and reputable contractor on your team when it comes to buying an older home. Many of the older homes have more character, larger lots, and no mello-roos, as opposed to many of the new developments that simply wanted to squeeze in as many homes as possible. The are too many variables to answer the question of whether to go older or buy new. Whatever property you are looking at buying, make sure to calculate how much it will cost to get it up to how you'd like it (and get multiple/competing bids.) As far as looking at the cost to remodel, you should check out the cost vs value report (I realize it is from 2008, but it should still be a good indicator.)…

Hope this helps!


Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
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0 votes
Scott Schroe…, , Escondido, CA
Fri Jun 11, 2010
Hey Sanee,

I know that this post is over two years old. Have you had any luck in finding a home? Are you still on the market?
0 votes
Gretchen Pag…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Jun 8, 2010
The most important thing when purchasing is location and neighborhood vs. age. You should obtain a professional inspection when you purchase so will have an understanding if there are an defects or maintenance issues with the home. A newer home may not have had the care that an older home has received so age in not your only indicator. You will need a handyman in any case and soon learn how to care for your home. Most agents have at least one good handyman they can recommend. Many of the older homes have been updated with newer windows, appliances, kitchens etc.. My advise to you is to work with an experienced agent who can point out potential problems and also help you compare value, neighborhoods and location. I am always happy to help educate you! My husband was a VP in Quality at Sony and can spot problems with homes from the doorway! We work together.
0 votes
Max, Both Buyer And Seller, San Diego, CA
Sun Feb 21, 2010
Sounds like you need a brand new home but don't want to pay the price of a new home.
So used homes selling for 400K and new homes selling for 500K and up

What about new home for 425K

I have vacant land that you can build a new home in 6252 East Lake Drive, San Diego CA 92119. Land Cost 185K, Home Cost around 235K – 250K to build
Nice area located in San Carlos. Upsize to a 4 bedroom home, or downsize to a 2 bedroom home. Build the home that fits your needs. Lot was previously approved for a 4 bedroom 3 bathroom, 2 car, 1971 Sqft Home. No monthly mortgage payments while you are building the home.

Build a New home for around 425,000…
0 votes
Trisha, , Valley Center, CA
Thu Feb 18, 2010
I went through the same issues when I was looking for a home but as long as it looks to be in good shape and all the inspections are done you should be in overall good shape. I have come to the conclusion that if you buy any home whether its new or old you always have to maintain something for example I bought a home built in 2000 and the hotwater heater went out and I know a coworker who bought a 2005 home and just had to replace the stove. I am also an agent and would be happy to help with any other advice you may need. 760 533 5347 Trisha
0 votes
Raana Jamshi…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sun Feb 10, 2008

If you are not in to repairs get a home that is either well maintained or remodeled. Do the through inspection of the house when buying. It all really depends how well the seller has taken care of their home. Some time home built in 1990's may look older than a house built in 1980's. As far as time and money to repair it all depends what kind of repairs your looking at.
Good luck with your purchase.
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