Are you thinking about moving to San Diego and buying a house here? DO NOT BUY A HOUSE in San Diego without reading this blog! Some of the homes and surrounding issues are different in than other cities and states than in San Diego. If you’re moving to San Diego, YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF before you buy a house!
Topic number one isn’t going to be the most exciting topic but it is very important. Let’s talk about property tax. Property tax in San Diego can be very confusing. You know how when your looking a properties on say Zillow, maybe Redfin. If you scroll down or look for something that says public tax or tax history. Usually you see a tax figure. It’s usually listed as the annual figure. That figure will actually change when you purchase property.
Under California State law (Prop 13), real property is reassessed only (and this is super important when you buy a home or condo) when a change in ownership occurs, or upon completion of new construction. Except for these two occasions, property assessments cannot be increased by more than 2% annually, based on the California Consumer Price Index. The property tax rate is 1%, plus any bonds, fees, or special charges.
So in San Diego, this amounts to about 1.25% of the purchase price. As a general rule, you can calculate your monthly tax payment by multiply the purchase price by .0125 and dividing by 12. For example, if you purchase a $650,000 property, the taxes will be around $677 per month. Unlike some other states, different cities in California do not have tax rates that differ greatly.
One major difference in California (and I know it’s trendy to knock on California right now but this is a huge advantage to some other states) is that taxes go up only 2% a year, for as long as you own the home.
Long story short, make sure you know that property tax number you are seeing on your dream home is going to change. It will change drastically if the sellers have owned the home for an extended amount of time.
California Wild Fires
Topic number two is a big one, especially due to recent events. It’s going to be the location of your home and the potential for wild fires. Actually, any natural disaster or element would apply but let’s use wild fires since they are getting so much wide spread attention and press lately. When you buy a home, besides the fact you can die in a wild fire, wild fires can pose a major risk to your home (for most of us, this is the single biggest asset we own and will ever purchase). California does not require you to carry home owners insurance but if you are planning to use a loan to buy your home, your lender will most likely require you to carry homeowners insurance. Here’s the problem: Wild fires are not going away, in fact many believe the problem is actually getting worse. Well guess what? So do some of the major insurance carriers. They are now denying and even dropping customers living in high or severe wild fire zones. Even if you find a carrier, your insurance premiums can be significantly higher because you are in a more hazardous zone. Keep this in mind as you search for your new home. Are you living in a severe wild fire zone? I have a link below that you can use to check from.
Fire Hazard Zone Map: https://egis.fire.ca.gov/FHSZ/
If you are considering a home built in or before the sixties, this issue comes up all the time. Most likely your sewer lines are connected using clay or cast iron pipes (maybe Orangeburg). These types of piping were extremely popular at the time. The problem is many of them have exceeded there 50 to 60 year expected functional lifetime and are now corroding, deteriorating, attracting roots, and broken. At the very least, it’s probably a good idea to have a plumber or specialized home inspector check out the condition with a scope and camera. If these need to be replaced, this can get very pricey. This is super common in Clairemont, North Park, Normal Heights, Serra Mesa, anywhere with homes built from the early 1900’s to the late 1960’s.
Electrical and Magnetic Fields (EMFs)
Have you seen homes that are near to or under those gigantic metal power poles? The ones that make that loud buzzing sound? Even better, power lines can be located underground and you don’t see or hear anything. That doesn’t mean there isn’t reason for concern, I’m talking about Emfs or Electric and Magnetic Fields. Here’s the thing, real estate agents and brokers (like myself) are not qualified to explain the potential risks associated with Emfs, if any, but it is generally believed that public concern with Emfs may affect the value of a property in close proximity to high-voltage power lines.
Electrical and Magnetic Fields (Emfs) info: Visit www.sdge.com and type “emf” in the search line
Local Area San Diego Disclosures
Pay attention to all the local area San Diego disclosures specific to different communities and neighborhoods. You realtor will know this booklet and form as the San Diego Local Area Disclosure Report. Some of the active issues in San Diego are a toxic waste dump that poisoned the soil and nearby wells in part of Escondido, these is improperly compacted soil in Fairbanks Ranch (Rancho Santa Fe). The houses have literally moved or sunk in some cases. These are like the crazy mansion type houses. There are communities in San Diego were they are still finding to this day lost military ordinance. San Diego’s a military town and it makes sense but the first time I saw that I was like what… All this information is part of your purchase and comes over to you in a booklet. Don’t skip this, it’s important. I have a link below so you can check it out if you want below:
(Local Area Disclosures for San Diego County – LAD) https://bit.ly/3CWPujQ
Alrighty, so those are going to be a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking about moving to San Diego and buying a house.
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