Blog Category: Blog

The Hidden Costs of Buying a House

By Damian Lyon,

New home buyers are often surprised to learn about the “hidden” fees of buying real estate. In many cases, their real estate agents may not have properly informed them of the common fees they’ll encounter. Worse, some real estate agents may not mention the fees until their clients have found their dream home and are about to close at escrow.

As The Casual Realtor, honesty and transparency are two of the cornerstone principles that guide my work. I inform my clients of all applicable fees as soon as possible so there are no unpleasant surprises. I’ve met far too many clients that have fallen in love with a house only to find out they needed several thousand dollars more than expected at closing. This usually happens because their real estate agent was desperate for a sale. The fees aren’t really “hidden” unless you’ve hired a disingenuous real estate agent.

So what are these “hidden” fees? Most of the closing costs cover the administrative fees of setting up the escrow account and preparing the title. The fees can also cover appraisals and home inspections, both of which are completed by experts. The exact fees that will be applied varies depending on the house, location, mortgage, and other factors. An experienced, detail-oriented realtor will be familiar with all applicable fees, and is one of the specialties of my team.

In many cases, these “hidden” fees usually amount to about 2.5% of the total cost of the house. When estimating the fees for you, I will usually estimate one the higher side to assure you won’t be forced to produce thousands of dollars at the very last minute.
If you would like a more detailed explanation of the “hidden” fees you’ll encounter as a home buyer, I’d be happy to give you a more complete analysis. Complete this form CONTACT ME NOW and I will contact you soon!

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Choosing a Realtor

By Damian Lyon,

Choosing a realtor is one of the most important decisions new home buyers can make. A talented and attentive realtor can leverage expertise, tools, and experience to help you find your dream home. The real estate market can be exceedingly fast-paced. When your dream home hits the market, a great realtor can respond immediately.

The best way to find the perfect realtor is to ask questions. Any qualified realtor will be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you encounter a realtor that isn’t willing to answer questions, run! If they’re not willing to help in the preliminary stages, they will not be willing to help when you need them the most.

Cutting corners by working with less experienced agents or relying on real estate websites like Zillow or Trulia puts a buyer at a significant disadvantage. I update information more often, the information is more accurate, I can provide an interpretation of common “real estate lingo”, and I offer superior, immediate communication by utilizing technologies such as email and texting. I make myself available to my clients every day of the week between 8am and 10pm.

When it comes to finding your perfect dream home, timing is everything. In the real estate world, the early bird really does get the worm. While I consider myself to be The Casual Realtor, my approach to responding to new listings is anything but casual. Once I help my clients calculate their price range Click Here to Review My First Post and we find a few ideal locations Click Here for My Second Post, I set all my clients up with a daily update list that will prepare us to respond to great new listings with a lightening-fast response. Other less technologically-savvy realtors typically respond slowly, and we can use this to our advantage. If your dream house comes on the market, I want us to be the first to respond with an offer.

If you do have any questions, contact me via this form CONTACT ME NOW. I love helping people make their dreams come true. Finding a perfect match between realtors and buyers makes the home buying process far more satisfying and successful. Even if you ultimately choose another realtor, I would be happy to help you get on the right track!

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Narrowing Down Desirable Locations

By Damian Lyon,

In my last post, I discussed the first step new home buyers should take once you decide to make your dream of home ownership come true – determining your price range. This step helps me determine which houses to show and what criteria to use to set up new listing alerts. The second step helps me refine this process by narrowing down desirable locations.

Many variables come into play when considering possible locations, such as:

  • How close is the neighborhood from my work?
  • What are the traffic patterns during my commute times?
  • How close is the neighborhood to restaurants, grocery stores, and recreational activities that support my hobbies?
  • What are the schools and parks like in this neighborhood?

These are just a few of the possible variables to consider. Part of my job as The Casual Realtor is to help you assess exactly what is most important to you, then help find you the perfect home.

As an example, my own home is only a few miles from my office and the traffic is light. It’s important for me to be able to commute quickly to immediately respond if my clients are interested in viewing properties. I have several parks with age-appropriate play areas for my young son within a short walking distance. My home is also a short drive from my gym if I want to practice jiu jitsu or a casino if I want to play poker.

Your new home will be the hub around which all other activities revolve. Picking the perfect location is one of the most important elements to finding your dream home. My expertise and knowledge of the entire San Diego area allows me to help you find the ideal location.

The process of finding a superb location for your dream home begins by knowing how and where to research. You can contact me using this form Inquiry Form and I can steer you in the right direction to begin the process of finding the perfect location for your new home.

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“Damian, I am interested in buying a house, but I have no idea where to begin. What do you recommend?”

By Damian Lyon,

This is the single most common question I receive from first-time home buyers, and it is completely understandable. The process of purchasing a house can be complex and intimidating. I have passion for helping people realize their dreams, and that passion led me to produce this guide as a way to help answer some of these common questions. Over the next few weeks and months, I will help guide you through this process. Let’s start with your very first step.

The best place to start is determining the appropriate price range of prospective dream homes. The goal is to set realistic expectations. If you begin your search and include homes outside your price range, you’ll invariably be disappointed when you have to “settle” for a home that’s within your budget. This also gives me an idea of the search parameters when I set up your customized listing updates.

The simplest way to arrive at your appropriate price range is to determine how much of a payment you can afford in your monthly budget. Most people that purchase a home for the first time are renting, so rent payments can be a good starting point. Online loan calculators, such as this Mortgage Calculator, can be used to determine your price range.

This information will also be helpful in the future because I can help pair you with a trusted lender. Through years of hands-on experience, I’ve developed personal relationships with some of the best lenders in the San Diego area. I’ve already done the hard work of separating the outstanding from the mediocre. The goal is to provide you with an easy, headache-free, honest borrowing experience.

In the next article, I will discuss choosing a location. We have a tremendous variety of neighborhoods in the greater San Diego area. Whether you’re looking for a beach house overlooking the Pacific, a three bedroom in an eclectic Hillcrest neighborhood, or a condo in East County overlooking the mountains to the east, I can help you make your dreams come true!

Mortgage Calculator

Interest Rate
Down Payment
List Price:

Loan Amount $ 191,200

Total Payment
$ 1,215
Estimated Monthly Payments:
Principle + Interest: $ 912
Monthly Tax: $ 248
Monthly Insurance: $ 55

Based on a fully amortized fixed rate loan. Ask your agent for the tax rates in your area. Insurance estimate is based on an average cost, your final premium cost will be determined by the type of coverage you select. This program only provides an estimate.

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