Carlsbad Real Estate News and Views: A Home Buying Strategy for 2018

Here's the REAL scoop on living in Carlsbad ~ beaches, things to do, places to eat, community events, and of course neighborhoods, homes and the Carlsbad real estate market in general, including surrounding communities like Encinitas, Cardiff, San Marcos, Oceanside, Solana Beach and Del Mar.

A Home Buying Strategy for 2018

Home Buying Strategy for Carlsbad Buyers in 2018


do you have a plan?If you are planning to make what will be the biggest financial investment in your life, and buy a new home in 2018, you have to have a strategy. You DO have one, don’t you?


There are key things to have in place so that you can be successful with finding, and purchasing, a house in Carlsbad or elsewhere here in North San Diego County. And there's a lot to know about how to buy a home.


And if you are looking to buy a vacation home, there are some essential things to know about buying a second home.


Forging ahead without a plan, especially in our competitive market with limited inventory, will not lead to success, and can be a waste of time and pretty darn frustrating.


If you are serious about buying a home, a successful strategy should include the following, all of which flow together.




financial issuesYou need to get pre-approved if you are not paying all cash. There are 2 primary reasons for this: one, you must know what you can actually afford, not what you think you can, and two, any seller and listing agent will expect to see a pre-approval letter to have some confidence you can afford the home and associated closing costs plus have a good likelihood of closing.


Despite all that’s said these days about the financial aspects of buying a house, plenty of buyers start the process without really having a good idea of the financial aspects of their purchase – the cost of the mortgage itself (principal, interest, taxes, insurance), the closing costs, and the costs of owning a home (utilities, maintenance) – and are often surprised.


An additional component of this is to know your personal budget since that, too, will impact what you want to spend each month on a home.




hire a RealtorThe Internet is NOT the be-all-end-all of information, with correct answers to every question about real estate, despite what you may believe. There are plenty of gaps, discrepancies, and contradictions, and you need someone to explain what it all means.


Having a trusted, knowledgeable REALTOR® to answer all your questions (including those you don’t ask), educate you, guide you through the process, and help find solutions to problems that will arise is key.


You need someone in your corner to be YOUR advocate, watching out for your best interests, financial and otherwise, which the Internet can’t do. Nor can the agent representing the seller!




It’s pretty hard to be strategic in your home search if you don’t have a good sense of what you really need, and why. You no doubt have some thoughts about what you would like in your home. Are those things that you need because of some benefit, say a certain number of bedrooms, or are they simply nice to have?


That’s not to say you shouldn’t dream about having certain amenities, but the focus should be on what’s truly necessary, you will likely be frustrated. There are always trade-offs and knowing what you are willing to give up versus what you are not will help you be more strategic, and realistic, in your searching. Plus the market inventory and your budget will impact the reality of what is available to you to consider.


It’s also important to think about the lifestyle you desire. Thus the community and local neighborhood are essential to consider as well. It’s not just about the house. I have a couple of buyer questionnaires I will share to help you think through your needs and lifestyle.




do you research onlineLike it or not, there are a number of truths in real estate, and “Real estate is local” is one of them.


One of the key reasons to hire a good Realtor is so you can learn more about the local market conditions which affect you significantly– how much inventory is available in your price range, what the competition is like (e.g., are there lots of multiple offers), pricing (are homes selling for asking and above), your offer strategy (e.g., how to make a competitive offer), negotiations, and more.


While you can do lots of your own research online, and you should, the best and most accurate source of information on the local market and how it affects your purchase is your REALTOR®. Not the media, your best friend, your family or your neighbors…they just don’t know the realities of the local housing market.




Buying a house is like having a second job. It’s a complex and time-consuming process, and you need to be committed to research, asking questions, getting financially prepared, and spending the necessary time to look at homes and explore neighborhoods.


To be successful with your strategy you must be realistic, and keep the long term goal in mind, especially when things do not go as planned or expected. You are probably not buying your dream home, and likely won’t be living in your house forever. You should expect there will be trade-offs, and perhaps some things you don’t love, but be excited anyway!


A good strategy will help you be more confident about what you are doing, and to remain positive even when things are not going exactly as hoped for. In our competitive market realize it may take a while to find the right home, and you might be in competition more than once before you succeed. Keeping a positive attitude, even with ups and downs, will help.



Home Buyer's HandbookCarlsbad and nearby communities along the coast here in North San Diego County offer some great opportunities for first timers, move-up buyers, and those down-sizing, as well as relocation buyers.


With beautiful beaches, year-round activities, plenty of tourist attractions, golf, fairs and festivals, art, outdoor concerts, plus a wide range of dining options and shopping, there’s something for everyone.


Please give me a call at (760) 840-1360 and we can find a time to sit down and discuss your needs, answer your questions, and help you plan YOUR strategy for buying a home in 2018.


And if you also have a home to sell, we can discuss that as part of the overall strategy.




My Jeff Dowler signature





Click to Search for All San Diego Homes

At Home In Carlsbad blog


365 Things to Do in Carlsbad (and Nearby) on Facebook   

Jeff Dowler's Flickr Profile  Jeff Dowler's Facebook Profile   Jeff Dowler's YouTube Profile    Jeff Dowler's Twitter Profile   Jeff Dowler's LinkedIn Profile


      CRS Designation Logo




If I can provide more information about homes for sale in Carlsbad and in surrounding areas, our local housing market, or otherwise assist you, friends or family in a home search or home sale, please contact my mobile office or text me at (760) 840-1360, or feel free to email me at

Serving Carlsbad (including Aviara, La Costa & Carlsbad Village),  Encinitas (including Leucadia & Olivenhain), Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos (including San Elijo Hills), Oceanside, Escondido, and San Diego

All content ©Copyright by Jeff Dowler. All rights reserved.

Comment balloon 8 commentsJeff Dowler, CRS • December 29 2017 08:16PM


Well written, Jeff ... Real Estate is local, and if I have Clients interested in North San Diego, they'll be referred to you.

Posted by Raymond Denton, Simple Man (Academy Mortgage Corporation) 11 months ago

Hi Jeff Dowler 

Great post with good information for home buyers in 2018.

Happy Selling!


Posted by Brad Thomsen, Real Estate Services (Big Bear Realty) 11 months ago

Hi Jeff Dowler, this is a post filled with great information for all home buyers, you did an outstanding job. Those looking to buy or sell a home in the Carlsbad area would be wise to call you. 

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 11 months ago

And buyer's should keep in mind that a buyer's agent is paid by listing broker and not by the buyer. Therefore, the professional services of the buyer's Realtor are free to the buyer.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) 11 months ago

Chuck full  of guidance for those considering a purchase in the new yeat !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 11 months ago

Great advice for new buyers Jeff Dowler  you have a great plan here for a successful plan for buying a home in 2018

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Good morning Jeff.  Those who are considering a home purchase in 2018 will find your advice very useful.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 11 months ago

Thanks for sharing this.

Posted by Golden1 Agents 10 months ago