I agree with Richard Combs as far as locations in San Diego. I grew up and currently work in the North County Coastal areas of San Diego, which are Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and La Jolla, although La Jolla isn't usually included in the North County Coastal. These areas are close to the beach (or on the beach), and a central hub for nthe North County Coastal areas. If you're going to move more cental and closer to the City, look at Coronado, Point Loma, and a subdivision called Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach. These areas are known to have good schools, but bar none, you'll find no better school systems in San Diego than the areas I mentioned in North County Coastal. Some of them are top in the state, and also in the nation.
As a Realtor in San Diego, speaking from my own experience with past clients, as well as the experience from friends whom have worked for New Home builders, here's my understanding. A new home builder will give you up to about 6% back for your recurring and/or non-recurring closing costs. Some of these fees include title, escrow, miscellaneous fees such as courier fees, pro-rated taxes and interest, ect. Then, they usually give you another 3% - 4% of "incentives," which can be used towards upgrades for flooring, tile, granite, fixtures, etc. This would equate to your 9% - 10% "freebies." This number obviously fluctuates with each individual's financial situation and the amount of money you get for closing costs, if any.Now, if you're weighing that against buying an existing "resale" home, depending on how much cash you're putting down and what type of loan you're getting, it's my understanding you can get as high as 10% back for closing costs. The most I've written into a contract for a client was 7%. However, you have more negoting power over the price of the resale, rather than the fixed prices New Home Builders have as their bottom line for selling a home.Also, do some checking. I understand California currently has a one time tax incentive credit of $10,000 if you buy a new construction home from a new home builder.Hope this helps.