“Are many owners carrying back notes nowadays? I almost never see it offered. With savings interest rates in the 1% range, you’d think it would be very common.”
I agree with you that many owners would benefit by “being the bank” and letting the buyer make payments on a first or second trust deed provided the buyer makes a sufficient down payment as security.
Additionally, many owners who would be paying tax on a gain would get some benefit by carrying a note.
However, most owners prefer the liquidity of just getting the cash and the clean break from the property.
So I rarely see “owner will carry” terms offered on San Diego real estate.