First time buying or selling a home?

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying or selling a home in San Diego comes with a lot of questions, especially for our Active Duty and Veteran Military looking looking to use their VA benefits to do so.  First time homebuyers and even seasoned real estate investors often have these common questions.  Got another question not covered here?  Feel free to send a message below and ask!  

As a home buyer, do I pay for any of those comission fees to realtors?

No!  Comission fees are paid for by the sellers.

We’re not working with an agent and there’s a cool house we just saw.  Can we just contact the seller’s agent and work with them to make it easier on everyone?

Keep in mind that the seller’s agent has been contracted by the sellers of the home to represent them, not you.  They have a fiduciary duty to do what is best for their clients, first and foremost.  That being said, agents that take on both sides of the sale of the home may not represent you in the best manner possible.  Having your own representation will ensure that you get the best out of your home buying experience.  

How long is escrow?

The most common escrow is 30 days, from the time your offer is accepted and both parties agree to the terms and conditions of the offer to the time that you’ll receive your keys.  However, they length of an escrow can vary greatly depending on the terms agreed upon between both the buyers and sellers.

Should I get prequalified for a VA loan before starting my home search?

Yes!  Getting prequalified for a home loan is essential to help your Tip of the Spear Realtor get a better sense of how much home you not only qualify for, but also, what you feel comfortable spending within those limits.  Combined with what you are looking for in your new neighborhood, this will help your realtor find the best homes that match your criteria.  We suggest working with Military Homespot Lending, and you can apply NOW for your pre-qualification by clicking the link above.

I’m relocating to San Diego and will be stationed at one of the local bases.  Where should I buy a home?

With the largest concentration of active duty military in California, San Diego  is incredibly welcoming and accommodating to our military families.  We have several Marine Corps and Navy bases located all throughout San Diego County.  We understand the importance of a smooth daily commute, and are happy to suggest checking out neighborhoods in close proximity to your San Diego Military base.  Check out our military relocation page for more information and a detailed map of all of the nearby bases.


Can my spouse use my VA home loan?

You can absolutely add your spouse as a co-borrower to your VA home loan.  There are a few benefits to doing so, but importantly, adding a spouse to the loan as a co-borrower could increase the amount that you qualify for.  We work with one of the most knowledgeable VA lenders in San Diego County who is happy to answer your VA home loan related questions.  We highly recommend Kyle Melvin with Military Homespot Lending for his honesty, transparency and great rates.

What’s the loan limit in San Diego if I use my VA home loan benefit?

Great news! VA loan guidelines have recently changed! If you have never used your VA loan, there is no longer a limit in purchase price. That means you can utilize your VA loan to purchase a home for as much as you can qualify for with your first home. There are stipulations for subsequent uses though so if you already own a home that you purchased with your VA loan benefit and you’re interested in purchasing another, reach out to us! We will explain the process in detail and help you set up a game plan to get you and your family into a home.

Can I use the VA loan to buy a condo?

Yes, but the VA must approve the condo project.  They maintain a database of pre-approved condos or if the condo you are interested in making an offer for is not listed, your Tip of the Spear Realtor and lender will work together to request that it become approved.

Can I use my BAH to pay my mortgage?

Yes!  There are no restrictions on using your Basic Allowance for Housing.  Why not put your BAH to use in making money for you by investing in real estate instead of renting!  Also, your BAH can help you qualify you for your VA loan.

I might get relocated in a few years, so I probably shouldn’t buy anything, right?

Think about your home purchase as an investment.  If you might be relocating in a few years, take the time that you are living in San Diego to enjoy your home, and if/when the time comes to relocate out of San Diego, you can either sell your home and use the equity that you have gained in those few years to purchase a new home, or, you can opt to rent it out and use the rents collected monthly to pay for a new mortgage for your new home!

Should I just search the big name websites like Zillow for my future home?

Sites like Zillow are not always accurate, giving estimates that can be 10-20% off target.  Often times, homes that have already been sold still show up in your home search, getting hopes up only to break them down when your Realtor looks into it and sees that it is already off of the market.  Tip of the Spear Realtors recommends the use of their preferred home search app, easy to use on both iPhone and Android devices. Contact your San Diego Realtor to get set up with your accurate and easy to use home-search app!

What factors should I consider when looking for my new home?

The perfect home to you may vary greatly from the perfect home to your Master Sergeant.  He may prefer a home with a spacious yard while you might want to enjoy a smaller yard with a swimming pool.  We all have our ‘must haves’ and they can be different depending on what is important for you and your military family.  Here are a few things to discuss as a family, and to decide what is important in searching for your new home:

  • Location (Top city and neighborhood choices)
  • Neighborhood (kids playing outdoors or proximity to local parks, shopping, etc…)
  • Schools (do you have kids that will be attending the local schools?)
  • Year the home was built (do you prefer a newer build, an older home with vintage charm or a flipped home?)
  • Size and layout of  the Home (open concept, family ‘great’ rooms, space for your mother in law, laundry rooms)
  • Size and style of yard (blank canvas dirt lot, swimming pool, jacuzzi, well manicured outdoor entertaining space…)
  • Solar (paid off panels, leased, financed, etc…)
  • Commute Time to your San Diego Military Base or place of employment (check the daily traffic reports)
  • Community living (condo or HOA, community amenities, etc…)

Ask us a question!

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Tip of the Spear Realtors
We are your Active Duty Military and Veteran Real Estate Experts, proudly helping our nation’s service members and families fulfill their real estate goals in San Diego and South Riverside Counties!  Our San Diego Military Real Estate Team is Veteran based .  We understand the struggles that military families face and strives to make sure each and every client not only gets our very best in service in attaining your real estate goals, but also to create a lifelong partnership to keep you connected to the military and veteran community.  Tip of the Spear Realtors work with Active Duty, Retired and Veterans from the United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, Army, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard.  

Exp Realty Military Veteran Realtor

Brian Britton
USMC Veteran
Team Leader
Tip of the Spear Real Estate Team
Brokered by EXP Realty
Real Estate Team
(619) 356-0837
DRE #02007869