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5 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying a Downtown Condo

By Mike in Downtown San Diego Real Estate|May 2014 with 0 Comments

8 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Downtown ConcoYou have been doing your research for quite some time now, weighing all your opportunities, and looking around for a Downtown Condo casually.   Now you have finally decided to take the next step, and you are finally ready to Buy a Downtown Condo and benefit from the incredible urban Lifestyle that San Diego has to offer.  The process of getting started with your Condo Search can be exciting and stressful all at the same time.   Where do you start…who do you consult?

As with any large purchase, it is important to do all your research and homework before you begin. 92101 Urban Living is one of the original websites to include information on Properties for sale, all the neighborhoods and complexes in Downtown San Diego, and tips on the buying process.  Since you have made it this far…you have most likely reviewed the initial offerings of the information on the website.  In this blog, I wanted to think back on some of our recent transactions and provide some tips on what to look out for when you begin the buying process.   Let our experience guide you, so you do not overlook any details and avoid some common mistakes.

1. Searching for a Downtown Condo without getting Pre-approved by a Lender:   Do not make the mistake of confusing Pre-Qualification with Pre-Approval.   Pre-qualification is only the first step toward being “pre-approved”.  It is only a step in the right direction that will provide a range for the condos you are comfortable affording.  Pre-approval, however, means you have the same “buying power” of a cash buyer.  This will make negotiations with a seller much easier.   In Downtown San Diego, pre-approval from a lender who can lend on condos currently in litigation is a plus.

2. Don’t allow “First Impressions” to overly influence a decision:   Obviously, when you get started looking at the choices for a Downtown Condo there has to be a filtering process.   First Impressions are generally one of the most influential factors for a buyer.  This starts with the marketing photos and carries on to the actual “in person” showings.  It is so important to view Downtown condos as objectively as you can.  Experiencing as many of the properties in person as possible will ensure that you make the best choices.   Sometimes marketing photos or the style of seller get in the way of an initial impression.  However…try to make your decision based on the possibilities and basic characteristics of the condo:  Square footage, construction, location, orientation, HOA, upgrades, and amenities of the complex.

3. Failing to familiarize yourself with the Neighborhood Before buying:  Finding the right Downtown San Diego neighborhood can be summed up with one question…What do you want right outside your front door?  There is a huge difference in culture, energy, and surroundings of the core Downtown San Diego neighborhoods.  They are as diverse as the tree lined streets of the Marina District, to the hustle and bustle of the Gaslamp.   Know who lives in the neighborhood and what/who makes up it’s culture.   Try to see the neighborhoods at different times of the day, and days of the week.  Obviously, there will be a huge difference in the energy of a neighborhood that supports an active night-life as compared to a viewing during the day in business hours.

4. Starting the process to look without enough time:  Low inventory levels can be challenging for buyers.   As a result, buying with a timeline that you cannot control can be a huge mistake in today’s Downtown Marketplace.   Sometimes you will have to identify the right complex and neighborhood before you find the right Downtown Condo.  If you do not have enough time for the right inventory to come on the market, you may have to settle for only what is available currently, rather than exploring the possibilities of future choice.

5. Do not make an offer on Asking Price…Make an offer on Market Value:  Using a knowledgeable Realtor who is a specialist Downtown will be a key factor in avoiding this mistake. A well prepared buyer will have to do a proper financial analysis based on “Sold Comparable properties”.   “Comps” (Properties of like kind) as they are commonly referred to, are so important in determining the value of a Downtown Condo. Sometimes a price may be generated with a price per square foot analysis, and sometimes whenever possible it may be based on a “model match”.   Knowing the comps will provide you with the information necessary to judge the current market value and avoid “over-paying”.