We are first time home buyers and looking for the best San Diego neighborhood to invest in within our price range of $400K.

Asked by Rachellblaisdell@gmail.com, Thu Jan 17, 2013

- House preferred over condo
- Open to renting after a few years
- Is it better to buy small in an expensive neighborhood or bigger in a good but not necessarily high end area?

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Joseph Arend…, Agent, Encinitas, CA
Fri Jan 18, 2013
Congrats on taking that next step to becoming a homeowner. Its difficult to put an exact location on what area you should invest in but when I look at undervalued areas and potential areas that I would invest in a few come to mind. I really like South Oceanside for future appreciation and rental stability. I also like Mira Mesa for the same reason. I personally would look to stay as close to the coast as possible, with the coast being 95% built out the demand for those properties can only rise which will increase values over time.
We help first time buyers and investors every single day, I would be happy to work with you on achieving your goals. Feel free to call us anytime.
Also feel free to take a look at our website.

Joseph Arendsen
1 vote
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Honestly, you can't get into an 'expensive' neighborhood in your price range.

The neighborhoods I generally recommend for your price range are 1) mira mesa 2) clairemont 3) serra mesa 4) la mesa.

If you are willing to live outside of the central areas, I would include Oceanside, San Marcos, El Cajon, and Chula Vista.

I would be delighted to assist you Rachel.,...please let em know how I can help. Feel free to give me a call.
1 vote
, ,
Sun Jan 5, 2014
Now is a great time to buy. For mortgage help, call (630) 639-1081 or email for a free pre-approval in less than 10 minutes. We lend our own money and are licensed in 49 states and you can apply online at http://www.myccmtg.com.

We can do: FHA, Conventional, USDA, VA, HARP, Interest Only, Home Equity, Fixed, and Variable. Find out which product is right for you by calling Brad at (630) 639-1081.

Brad Neumann
Sr. Loan Officer
Crosscountry Mortgage Inc.
Phone: (630) 639-1081
Email: bneumann@myccmortgage.com
NMLS# 948036
0 votes
Ann_globenet…, , Westminster, CA
Thu Dec 5, 2013
Congratulations on your decision to buy your first home!

There are many things to consider and it looks like you have some specifics in mind already. In your price range, you may want to look for homes in Mira Mesa, Clairemont or Serra Mesa. You may want to consider some of the outlying areas, as well. If you are thinking of eventually becoming landlords on your home, all of San Diego is rich in perspective tenants.

Regardless, it is highly advisable that you seek real estate broker to help you tread the waters of home-buying. Globenet Realty has a team of professionals who are knowledgeable in all areas of real estate. Call us today at 714.988.8399 or visit us online at http://www.globenetrealty.com.
0 votes
BB, , Arts District HOA, Irving, TX
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Are you already pre-approved for a mortgage? Typically best to buy smaller in a better neighborhood, but is a case-by-case basis
0 votes
Cory La Scala, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Jan 18, 2013
Generally, if you buy bigger in a "good but not necessarily high end area," the rent probably won't cover the payments. Even if you're paying cash, you'd still want the numbers to make sense, since all of your cash will be tied up. If it were me, I'd buy 2 or 3 condos with reasonable HOA fees in solid rental areas, and there are many of those in San Diego. The best places to buy are in areas you'd want to live. I wouldn't discount buying one property if the numbers worked.

There are other numbers to consider as well. Property management if you live out of the area, or just don't know enough about landlord/tenant law. Maintenance and vacancy play a part too. If you have two rents coming in and one stops paying, you'll still have 2/3 of your expenses, or 1/2 if you buy two properties, paid by a tenant.

Let me know if I can help.

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala, REALTOR
Independence Realty
Lic # 01443391
0 votes
Miguel Bush, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
When in doubt choose location over size. San Diego has always been a great rental market, so whatever you buy will be easy to rent if you choose to. The better location will insure the quality of tenant, ie, the consistency of rental income. In a rising market, (like the one we are in today), prices will go up on all price ranges. The lower income neighborhoods will reach a ceiling sooner, because of the income limits of that the buyer universe, while the buyers in the higher income hoods can always step it up. If you buy in the higher income neighborhood your appreciation potential increases.
There are several neighborhoods that I could recommend to you, but ... without really knowing you, I would be misleading you at best. I am a Buyer's Agent! I prefer working with buyers and I am one of the best agents you will find. Give me a shot at representing you and you will end up recommending me to others.
0 votes
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
I'd seriously be checking out Vista "The Banana Belt of San Diego" for real value and quality of life. Been here for 30 years and raised 5 kids here. I'd be happy to share some very closely guarded secrets with you. Please give me a call. 760 815-6977. Or email me at onthelevel@cox.net.
0 votes
David Inderm…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hi There, great job on being a first time home buyer. Go to this link to get a feel of this different neighborhoods. http://www.sandiegohomestore.com/local-info.html .

I hope that helps you.
0 votes
Bianca Romani, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
This is a perfect amount to be qualified for as a first time homebuyer. You will have many areas to choose from. You will both just have to decide how far you want to be from your workplace(s).

I just found out about a California Education Code that allows parents to enroll their kids in public schools next to their parents workplace. So, essentially you could work in Poway (one of the best school districts in the county) and live in my hood, North Park and your kids could go to school right near where you work.....

Find a great agent to work with that represents plenty of 'buyers' and one that watches the marketplace for you everyday. The inventory is low and the competition is fierce to get your offer accepted. Work with a pro that gets her/his offers accepted for their clients over other multiple offers.

Take care, and if you need my service as a Buyer's Specialist go to BiancaRomani.com

It's a great city and I am sure you will find just what you are looking for.

Warm regards,

Bianca Romani
0 votes
Jerry Heard, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
With the goals that you stated particularly the possibility of moving and renting the home out in a few years, I would suggest buying in the neighborhood that is more expensive. In your price range that will always allow for good appreciation and it should be more easily marketed if yo decide to sell later. However if you feel that a certain market is currently undervalued that is the one that I would choose.
You want to make sure that the neighborhood is a good fit for your current needs since you will be living there for a while.Take into consideration the commute times to your work and other public services such as parks and schools.
There is a tool that you may want to try at this site: http://www.thesandiegopropertyshop.com/Buyer-Information/Fin… .Many of my clients have found it to be helpful. You also should get advice from an experienced Realtor.
Please contact me if I may be of any help to you or answer any questions.

Local Help with Your Real Estate Needs

Jerry Heard
Your Broker
The San Diego Property Shop
Direct 619-920-9796
Office 619-269-5545
Fax 619-269-9168
CA DRE # 00648687
0 votes
Tina Pankey…, , San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
If you're thinking of your first home as an investment that you're planning to rent out someday, you probably want to stay as close as possible to San Diego's more urban neighborhoods, ideally North Park (92104) or Normal Heights (92116). However, $400,000 unfortunately doesn't buy you much in North Park anymore so you could look a little further east into City Heights or west to Golden Hill. There are still some affordable homes in these neighborhoods, especially if you're willing to put some sweat equity into your property.

You can definitely get more bang for your buck in Clairemont (92117), Mira Mesa (92126) or East County's La Mesa (91941/2) or El Cajon (92120/19) but you may find your property more difficult to rent out when the time comes. An exception to that would be to buy a house in the College area close to SDSU. Another option would be to find a nice 2-unit property in the metro area; you can use part of the rental income to offset your mortgage payment.

I frequently work with first-time buyers in exactly your price range and I have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the inventory at that price point. I'd be happy to help you out!
0 votes
Jacqui Dougl…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
How exciting to be purchasing your first home. The best neighborhood would really depend on what is important to you such as do you prefer urban or suburban life, want to be close to work, schools and the ocean. Please contact me I would love to help you with your home purchase

Jacqui Douglas
Elite premier Properties
0 votes
Chris Gorno, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
HI Rachell~

This is a very exciting time for you to be buying your first home! Your question is best answered by finding a great Realtor to work with, and then followed with a buyer consultation where your new agent can not only explain the process in simple terms, but grab your hand to show you the way : ) Together the 3 of you can narrow the neighborhoods down to your top 3-4 choices or better, based on where you both work, where you like to be when you are not working: shopping, church, beach, gym ...what areas you go to on your down time! My company has offices in all areas of San Diego if you need help selecting a great agent or just picking my brain: just reach out to me!

Good Luck Rachell!

Chris Gorno
Windermere Real Estate
0 votes
asirois, , San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
If you want to research first-time homebuyer programs that may be available for you - we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. The State of CA has a great program - http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/index.htm.

I am a preferred loan officer with this program, and if you want to know the pro's and con's of using this type of assistance I'll be happy to discuss this with you. Visit us at http://www.guildMESAsd.com.
Web Reference:  http://www.guildMESAsd.com
0 votes
Jessica Tang…, Agent, San Digo, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hi Rachell,

As Sinead stated there are a lot of additional factors that go into deciding what area is right for you. Where you work & how far you want to commute. Are schools now, or will they in the future, be important to you. And your life style, do you prefer urban where everything is in walking distance, or suburban with a little more space. Call me directly and I would be happy to discuss it further with you. Thanks.

Jessica Tangen
SD Homes
CA DRE#01391056
0 votes
Chad Basinger, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hello Rachel,

Your question is very common among first time home buyers, as far as wanting to know what is the "best" neighborhood. Well, that should be driven by what is most important to you. I'd encourage you to come up with a list of "must have's" and a list of "thing's we'd like, but are not necessary" and a list of "deal breakers." Once you have gone through this exercise and are able to convey that to an expert agent, that individual should be able to recommend some neighborhoods that would fit what you are after.

Basically, I have a good idea of what you are ultimately asking and that is, "which home will provide the best value for us?" Once again, there are so many factors (for example- 1) where are you going to be working as commute times can play a major factor 2) are schools important? 3) what kind of activities appeal to you? and on and on.

All things being equal, homes generally perform better over time than condos. As with any purchase you make, it all comes down to value. This is why it's important to do your due diligence as well as align yourself with a qualified agent who can provide you with all the ammunition you need to make a prudent decision.

Best of luck!

Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
Web Reference:  http://www.chadbasinger.com
0 votes
Bill Hays, Agent, Cardiff, AL
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Many of the answers to your questions can be found in the question, "What type of property has the best resale value?" In general, single family residences will appreciate more quickly than condos or townhomes - so you are on track there.

Look for the balance between affordability, school district, and desirable community. Then drill down into more specific location considerations within that community. Keep in mind that you can change paint and flooring, but you can't change that noisy road behind your house or the apartment complex across the street. Hence, location, location, location will help with resale significantly.

Another consideration needs to be condition. Are you willing to do some work to get into a place for less money?

I know people who have purchased a small house in La Jolla just to get in that zip code - they later added on to the house. I also know people who looked for more square footage in a less "high end" area. It really is a case by case consideration.

I know and sell all over San Diego County. If you would like specifics, please contact me as consultations are free and I can provide you with a wealth of knowledgable insights and assistance.

CA DRE 01775528
(760) 525-8698
0 votes
Miekeba Jones, Agent, Silver Spring, MD
Thu Jan 17, 2013
hi Rachelblaisdell, It depends on a lot of factors. Such as are the property values steady? Which areas appear to resale even in a down market. Selecting a property that does not need too much work. Your Realtor will help you determine if an investment property suits you.
0 votes
Sinead McAll…, Agent, Oceanside, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hi Rachelle,
There are other things to consider such as where you work (commute) and what kind of home you want to live in. Feel free to contact me directly and we can explore a couple of neighborhoods that I think would be a good fit for you!

Sinead McAllister
McAllister Homes Real Estate
0 votes
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