The Difference Between Down Payments and Good Faith Deposits

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Today I’d like to explain the difference between good faith deposits and down payments. They’re fairly similar and a lot of my clients confuse them.

A down payment is basically telling how much a buyer is willing to invest in a property whether it is by choice or required by the bank. VA buyers aren’t required to put any money down, and FHA loans require 3.5% down. Conventional loans typically require 10-20% down on a home. If you put down less than 20% on a conventional loan, then you’ll be forced to pay private mortgage insurance. This money must be brought to the table one week prior to closing escrow.

A good faith deposit is typically 1% of the purchase price. The difference here is that money needs to be deposited in escrow within 48 hours of acceptance. So basically, the good faith deposit shows how eager you are to buy the home. However, if you go through the contingency period and then decide not to buy the home, that good faith deposit is usually non-refundable.

That’s it for now, but if you have any other questions about real estate in San Diego, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

How Do Real Estate Commissions Work in San Diego?

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People always want to know how real estate agents get paid. Today I’ll be here to fill you in and explain how everything works.

When someone sells a home, a listing agent will charge them a 6% commission rate on a home. That 6% is further divided up and the buyer’s agent gets the other 3%.

Next, 1% of this transaction will go back to the broker, whether it’s a big franchise or not. This goes to overhead, paying employees, and other professional expenses. Another 1% of this commission goes towards paying taxes.

Finally, the last portion, or 1% of that 6%, goes to the agent. Usually, the agent will spend this on marketing, or whatever expenses it takes to get the home sold.


That’s how agents get paid. Even though we charge 6%, we never get all of it.

If you need help selling your home in sunny San Diego, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Seven Ways to Prepare Your San Diego Home to Sell

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Today, we’ll talk about how you can prepare your San Diego home for sale. Check out these seven tips to add curb appeal and maximize your property value!
  • Remove clutter. Some buyers can’t oversee what’s going on in the house.
  • Have bright lights. If a buyer comes in during the evening, avoid dim and dead lights. Open up the blinds and windows for natural lighting.
  • Ensure your home smells nice. Add some air freshener and open some windows to air out the home.
  • Clean your front yard. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, and make sure there is no debris in the yard.
  • Pack away personal touches and other belongings. This includes picture frames, family trinkets, and even (if you have any) inappropriate posters. You’re moving anyway, so it’s better to have them put away.
  • Keep colors and amenities neutral. Offer paint and flooring credit rather than changing it altogether. You never know what a buyer wants, so leave them with that decision.
  • Price it to sell. Talk to a competent, knowledgeable agent (like myself) that understands the market to determine your property’s actual worth.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the surrounding area, give me a call or send me an email! I’d be happy to answer any question.

How to Win a Bidding War in San Diego

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Want to buy a home? Search all homes for sale.

Today we are going to talk about how you can win a bidding war in San Diego, if you find yourself in that situation. We’ve got seven great tips for you to help your offer stand out, and make you the most attractive buyer possible. Here they are:

1. Get pre-approved.
There is a big difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification. When you get pre-qualified, all they really do is run your credit. A pre-approval covers all the aspects of your financial picture, checking your income, looking at your deposits, and comparing that to your spending habits.

2. Have a strong good-faith deposit.
The bigger, the better to show the seller you are serious about buying.

3. Have a strong down payment.
A down payment of 20% or better is attractive to the seller, but if you have a low down payment due to a VA or USDA loan, that’s okay too.

4. Don’t make a lowball offer.
If you’re competing against other buyers, a low offer isn’t going to cut it.

5. Keep contingencies reasonable.
Termite damage is a reasonable thing for a seller to repair. As for paint and carpet, sometimes it’s not.

6. Write a compelling, heartfelt letter to the seller.
If a buyer wants to buy a home, and tells their personal story to the seller about why they want to buy the home, it may relate to the seller. It’s not all about price to the sellers all the time.

7. Max out your highest and best offer.

In a bidding war, you’ve got to come with your best foot forward in order to win a property. We recently made an offer that was $30,000 over list price. The seller thought we were crazy, but the home ended up appraising for that amount, and our buyers won the home.

If you have any questions for us, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you!