La Jolla and UTC area have several condos available for almost half of what they sold for in 2005. There are some amazing deals out there right now. If you are thinking of buying, now is a great time.
As a first step towards making your initial home purchase, do make certain that your credit history and rating is as clean and as good as possible. Talk to a lender first and he can your credit report from all three reporting agencies, make certain that everything listed is accurate and repair help you figure out how to fix any discrepancies that are found.
When deciding upon a mortgage, you may have the option of paying extra points (a part of the interest that is paid during closing) or having a lower interest rate. If you only plan on living in the house for 3 to 5 years or so, it might be best to take an adjustable rate. If you are planning on staying in the home for years, then you might consider paying an extra point or two to reduce the interest rate, as it can save you quite a bit over time.
When you find a home you like, make sure you ask for the latest value in that complex or the neighborhood. This will also help when you are trying to decide on what price to offer. If the sales in the area are selling for $100,000 less than the list price and you were offering $10,000 under list price then this would not be a good value. If the values in the area are $50,000 more than the house that is selling then you might want to offer full price or even over full price.
Once you get an accepted offer, make sure you hire a Professional Home Inspector (I always use a contractor who is a home inspector). The Inspector will be able to tell you if the house you are considering deserves a clean bill of health or if it has potential or existing problems. Usually there is a list of items that are found at the house, anything from a cracked light switch plate to foundation problems. You have a choice of requesting the seller to make repairs or you can cancel your offer and get your deposit back if there is a major problem.
Despite the fact that the use of the internet can give you access to the listings of houses that are for sale. The home is usually our biggest purchase of a life time and it is filled with legal consequences if not done correctly. It is highly recommended that you use a Realtor to assist you throughout the buying process and who can provide you with essential additional information and facilitate a purchase that goes as smoothly as possible.