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Young San Diego man achieves dream of buying first home with help from a co-signer

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Posted at 6:02 AM, Nov 07, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Despite recent price drops, homes in San Diego are still among the most expensive in the country. The median price is hovering around $800,000, according to the Case-Shiller Indices.

For many in the market for their first home, one of the biggest hurdles can be qualifying for a mortgage. At first, that was a challenge for Dan Sipher, too, but now he owns a home in Clairemont.

“I’d been looking for a year and a half, two years even. I really was looking for something where I could get two units,” Dan said.

He wanted two units so he could rent out one of them. In August, he jumped at the chance to buy a duplex. Dan, who is a real estate agent, now co-owns a million-dollar property at age 26.

“I was renting before this and I'm actually paying less or just about the same as what I was paying, but I own a million-dollar home,” he said.

But this almost didn't happen, because even Dan, who knows more about homebuying than the average person, had not considered one thing.

“I didn't originally think about having a co-signer. When I originally saw this property, this was above my budget. I had to figure out a way to qualify for more money, so I talked to my lender, and he mentioned I could co-sign with my parents.”

That meant having a serious conversation with mom and dad.

“They asked me, 'Hey am I going to be financially responsible?' Technically yes, you're going to be financially responsible.”

However, Dan has already taken them off the title and is planning to refinance to take his parents off the loan --- a loan they never had to pay a cent for.

One person who helped with the process is Dan's real estate team leader Sean Zanganeh of the Sean Zanganeh Real Estate Team.

“One of the mistakes we see a lot of people make when it comes time to buying a house is they always go look at the house first and then figure out the finances later.”

Sean said prequalifying with a possible co-signer can help buyers understand what they can afford. He also reminds people there's no shame in getting help.

“I would say at least 75 percent of the people we help and serve in San Diego are getting some sort of assistance from their family.” He goes on to say, “You can always do it when you're ready, but if you're never informed about what is possible, you're never going to be ready.”

Dan co-owns the home with his twin brother Josh. Josh said the backyard space was a big selling point for them because it gives their French bulldog Rufus a safe, convenient place to play outside.

The rental income covers half the mortgage, the brothers split the rest making the $7,000 monthly payment manageable.

When asked about the assistance he received from his parents, Dan said, “They've been really helpful and I'm really grateful to have them.”

Sean points out co-signers don't have to be parents. They are often extended family or even a very close friend.

Dan said being a landlord as part of the deal is more work, but that the future rental income helped him qualify for the loan.