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7 Secrets Real Estate Pros Know to Get the Best Deal on a Home

  When it comes to buying a home, everyone wants the best property they can find for the least amount of money possible. To make this seemingly impossible dream a reality, there are some steps you should take to get the best deal out there. Start by doing your homework and researching property values in the area, then time your move wisely. Here are tried-and-true tips to get the best deal on a home.
Image result for home research

1. Do your homework before you start looking at houses.

It might sound boring, but if you don’t know if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage and if you don’t have your paperwork in order, you could miss out on a great house. Usually everyone is all over a good deal, so you want to be prepared to make an offer quickly if necessary. This paperwork takes time, and if it isn’t ready to go, you could miss the window of opportunity. You also need to make sure you can afford the property to begin with, too!

2. Consider buying a fixer upper.

If you’re young and looking for a first home, you might not want to go all-in on a more expensive, move-in-ready place. You can save a lot of money by looking at a house that has great bones but needs a superficial facelift. Look at the potential and be willing to update that pink bathroom. Plus, remodeling the room may allow you to up the price even further when you eventually go to sell the property.

3. Look at the values of other properties in the area.Related image

While you need to take the property values you see on real estate sites with a grain of salt, work with your agent to evaluate the prices in the area. Check out pictures, look at materials and finishes in the home, think about lot size. Be really critical and take everything into consideration, because all of it impacts the price of the home. And remember: while it’s not in an agent’s best interest to overprice a house they want to sell, doing this research beforehand can help you negotiate a price.

4. Have your agent explain your offer.

After doing all that research, there is a reason why the price you decided on is what it is. Make sure that this reasoning is communicated to the seller. I like to put a personal touch on the offer and write up a little something about how we landed on the number we did. You want to start a dialogue and not just go in with a blanket statement.

5. Check how long the property has been on the market.Image result for how long property on market


People usually want to sell their homes in a timely fashion, so it should raise a flag if a property has been on the market for six months to a year. Have your agent call and see what’s up with the house. Don’t be afraid to make an offer, though! You want it to be fair, but when a house has been sitting that long, you never know what someone would be willing to take unless you ask.

6. Look to buy in late fall or winter.

There are definitely more popular times of year to list or look for a home. Surprisingly, the spring market can start as early as right after Super Bowl Sunday. Everyone is trying to buy in the spring, but the late fall is the most underrated time of year. You can find great properties because sellers are eager and want things wrapped up by the holidays. Plus, many buyers aren’t willing to move during the winter, so you’ll have less competition.

7. Make sure you have good credit. 


Mortgage companies will reward people with better credit. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best rates and packages for your unique situation. Look at roughly three different options. You’ll also want to get the help of an experienced mortgage broker. Have credit in order (680 and above), employment history, and income ready to go. If these factors aren’t in good standing, you could end up paying higher rates.

San Diego Neighborhood Highlight: Vista

If you’re looking for living that feels like the countryside but still has a lot of amenities, look no further than Vista. Far from the packed-in urban areas of central San Diego, Vista has fewer than 100,000 people. It’s got excellent schools, gourmet restaurants, and tons of community events, making it a perfect place to raise a family or simply enjoy a quieter pace.

Commute Times

Vista is north of the city of San Marcos, on the very outskirts of inland San Diego County, so you’ll want to consider your commute time. The 78 freeway makes it an easy jaunt to the northern coastal communities. It’s only about 15 minutes to Carlsbad, for example. But if you work in downtown San Diego, expect it to take an hour or more to get there by car. Another option is the train, which leaves from coastal San Diego stops.


Vista Homes
Vista Homes

It’s easier to find a home with some land here than it is in most other areas of San Diego County. That said, there are homes to fit a variety of budgets. You can still score a condo here for less than $300K, with the average price of all homes at $522K. This area is very family-friendly. The housing market remains hot, with homes typically selling within 10 days of going on the market. Set up the perfect home for your family, filled with baskets of toys, a large green yard and everything in between.


There are a number of both public and private schools in Vista, all with an average ranking grade of B+. Several schools have a ranking of A+, though, like Mission Vista High, which is #102 in the state. Check with the school district to find out if the home you’re interested in is within the boundaries of a school you like.

Private schools in Vista are predominantly church-affiliated. Most of these schools are highly rated, with admission requirements.


Though it’s a relatively smaller city by Southern California standards, Vista’s got a vibrant foodie scene.  Mikko Sushi opened a Vista sister location to its beachside Carlsbad joint, serving up a variety of modern Japanese seafood dishes and noodles for a moderate price.

Mikko Sushi in Vista
Mikko Sushi in Vista

If you’re in the mood for authentic Italian, check out Ciao Ristorante, which has a full pasta and pizza menu, as well as many other items. Curbside Cafe on Main Street in downtown Vista is a neighborhood favorite for breakfast and lunch, with items costing around $10, and boasts Vista’s best cinnamon roll.

Things to Do

One of the things residents like the best about Vista is its historic, quaint downtown, known as Vista Village. Currently undergoing redevelopment, the area has a number of shops and restaurants perfect for strolling.

Farmer's Market
Farmer’s Market

Held every Saturday at the courthouse downtown from 8 am to 1 pm, the Vista Farmer’s Market is San Diego County’s oldest. Here local farmers bring fresh produce to sell. But you can also buy everything from microgreens to oil and vinegar. Locals love to meander the aisles, sipping coffee and eating from the many vendors selling specialty items.

Vista also has many annual events. The yearly Rhythm and Brews Festival is a fundraiser for two food banks. Held downtown every spring, it features more than 100 craft breweries and live music stages.

The Vista Strawberry Festival is a family-friendly event that usually takes place on Memorial Day weekend that hearkens back to the days when Vista was the largest producer of strawberries. The area still grows quite a few of these fruits, which are also sold at this event. Because it’s a strawberry festival, it features events like the Little Miss Strawberry Shortcake pageant, strawberry jam making, and strawberry costume contests. It’s also got a bunch of carnival rides for the kiddos and a beer garden for the grown-ups.

Legoland San Diego is also very close, and a great place if your kids are 10 and under. Many families get annual passes. There’s also a water park here, perfect for hot days. The Moonlight Amphitheatre is a Vista treasure, with open-air plays during the warmer months. They feature Broadway shows, concerts, and outdoor movie screenings. Age ranges for the shows do vary, so check out those guidelines before buying tickets.

Outdoor Activities

Vista is really close to the Cleveland National Forest and Palomar Mountain.

Cleveland National Forest
Cleveland National Forest

It’s just an hour’s drive up the slopes if you feel like seeing snow during the winter. There’s also a ton of hiking and camping to be had. The area has a couple dozen mountain biking trails, for all skill levels.

If you’re looking for rock climbing, northern San Diego has many different places to try it out. For fishing, kayaking, and other boating, check out Lake San Marcos, located just south of Vista. Or you can head west for about 10 miles and go to the beaches in Carlsbad or Oceanside.

For more organized sports, the Vista Valley Country Club offers golf along with spa services and fitness. The Tennis Club of Vista has teams for people of all skill levels.

Whether you’re looking for a single-bedroom condo or a large home on multiple acres, if you want a country kind of life that’s still very active, Vista could be the right area for you. Contact our local experts to find your dream home today!

Recipe: Penne with Chicken and Asparagus


  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.
  3. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
  4. Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 332 calories; 10.9  43.3  16.7  20  69 

Click HERE for more information about the recipe.

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Melissa Cizauskas | 12625 High Bluff Dr #102 San Diego, CA 92130 | 858.353.6985 | DRE #01228000 | Coastal Premier Properties Inc | DRE #01861547

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