Buyers, Sellers & Agents Beware: Real Estate Hackers Want Your Information

July 24th, 2015

Hackers are always finding new ways to get into our information, and lately they seem to be focusing heavily on real estate transactions. They are doing this by breaking into your email accounts and finding information about pending property sales, which they can use to their advantage. images

The hackers find out what they can about transactions, including names and email addresses of parties involved in the transactions such as buyers, sellers, escrow or closing officers/companies, and other real estate agents. They then send emails posing as these people asking for purchase funds to be wired to accounts that they own.

How do you protect yourself from these hackers?

1.  VERIFY: Don’t ever transfer ANY funds without calling to verify amounts and account numbers. Even if the email looks like it comes from the escrow company, take a few moments to call anyway.

2. KEEP BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION PRIVATE: Don’t ever provide bank account information – make sure that your escrow or closing officer handles this in a professional manner.  You should never give out your own bank account numbers. If there is a wire that needs to be made, all you need is the wiring information directly from the escrow company (or attorney if you are in a state that uses attorneys to close property sales).

3.  KEEP YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNTS PROTECTED: It is important to protect your email accounts as best you can. Change your email passwords often, and make sure they are not easy passwords to figure out. Do not use your birthdate, name, or other obvious information. Definitely do not use the word “password,” your birthday, numbers like 123 or your childrens’ names.  Try to think of passwords that do not make much sense and would be difficult to figure out, with a combination of numbers and letters.

There are some email servers that provide two step verification processes in order to log into email accounts. They use codes that are sent to you via a mobile app or text message – these codes are never the same but are required in conjunction with your password. Check with your provider.

Hackers will always pose threats, but you can lessen the chances of being victimized by being careful and vigilant.

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Will the Real Estate Market Continue it’s Upward Climb?

July 20th, 2015

The real estate market has been literally HOT for some time now – both 2014 and 2015 have shown record sales and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It is still a seller’s market, inventory and interest rates are low, and it is the prime “selling season.” But how long can this last? dreamstime_6887078

There are several factors that could have an impact on our real estate market moving forward. Let’s look at those and analyze the possibilities:

1. New federal government policies. There are 2 big policies that are about to take effect which could have an impact on real estate sales. One of these could actually stimulate more sales because it advocates lower downpayment requirements and loosens up loan underwriting standards, which could help buyers, especially first time homebuyers, realize their homeownership dreams.

The other program on the horizon could have a detrimental affect on real estate sales. Home buyers and sellers will face a new hurdle in the sales process, one that could extend escrow periods – possibly for lengthy periods – and may cause other delays and issues. New requirements are being implemented that will make loan disclosures much stricter starting October 3, 2015. While the theory behind the disclosures makes sense, the implementation is sure to cause many headaches. In a nutshell, every time there is a change to any terms in the purchase contract, the borrower will receive new disclosures, and with it a new period to review them, which could extend the buyer’s contingencies for lengthy amounts of time, thus extending escrow periods.

statisticsFor example, say you are purchasing a home and everything is going along well, and you have a few days left to remove your contingencies. You have a home inspection and there are repairs you feel the seller should make, so you present a repair request. The seller agrees to credit you money toward closing costs so you can repair those issues after the close of escrow. Your lender will now have to issue new disclosures to you because you are changing the terms of the contract (by getting a credit back through escrow), and you will have more time to review these new disclosures. This will extend your contingency period – it is risky for sellers because it means their homes will be held up in escrow for longer periods, or at least they will be off market without a non-refundable deposit for a longer period of time. For more information on this topic visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

2. Foreign investors: Over the last few years foreign homebuyers have invested quite a lot of money in U.S. real estate markets. But with the strengthening of the dollar and weakening of other currency, there are many economists who predict these investments will start to ebb.

3. Decline of new construction: New construction has picked up in some places over the last few years, but in this seller’s market it is not increasing at a rate to keep up with demand for homes, especially entry-level properties in many markets.

4. Interest rate changes -? At some point rates will need to move upwards, and this could obviously put some entry-level buyers out of the market. While it doesn’t look like this will be the case any time in the near future, it is inevitable at some point.

I feel that the current market will remain strong moving forward, at least for some time. With the new policies and state of the factors mentioned above it is foreseeable that things could slow down possibly in a year or so. But like I always say, location is a big part of the picture – here in San Diego we will always have a desirable market due to our weather and proximity to the ocean. For specific market news and predictions in your hometown, consult a licensed and experienced area real estate agent.

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New Listing: Upgraded Oceanside Twinhome

July 17th, 2015

Charming and quiet end/corner lot twinhome with garage and extra parking via large, private side driveway (can accommodate an RV).  IMG_6556

Features include: Wood and tile flooring, 5 burner gas chef range with convection oven, microwave, dishwasher, Reverse osmosis system for bottled quality drinking water, Fresh paint throughout with smooth white ceilings, Lighting fixtures with ceiling fans in every main room, Window coverings, Yard, washer and dryer, central A/C, low maintenance/water usage yard,

IMG_6550Wood fenced private terraced back yard with irrigation…perfect for gardening, Large covered and uncovered patio, Garage with workbench and extra storage, Sunroom, Kitchen dining area, Kitchen garden window, Ample cabinets and storage throughout home, Nice investment income potential.

Great first home or income property. Please call Rachel LaMar, Broker, for more information or to schedule a showing at 760-310-9466. BRE # 01399682. MLS #150039255

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There’s No Place Like Home

July 13th, 2015

I hope everyone is having a great summer! I recently returned from a family trip to Europe (sorry for the lack of blogs this past month!), and it was absolutely wonderful. We have many memories to enjoy forever. Of course, coming home was also fantastic, and it made me realize that there truly is no place like home. I loved walking into my house – the furniture, the pictures on the walls, the many memories we have created here – yes, it is a building but it is our sanctuary and it is even more appreciated every time one returns. IMG_6224

Being a homeowner is great because you can truly make your home into the place you want to come home to – the place where you feel at ease and happy. If you are thinking about making some changes but don’t know what style you prefer, start looking through magazines or online at sites like Houzz – you will get some incredible ideas!

Here are some great ways you can spice up your home while expressing your own interests and desires.

Master bedroom: The bedroom is really a place where you want to feel relaxed and comfortable. I do not allow any exercise equipment or anything related to work (desks, computers, etc.) in my bedroom. It is a place where I go to unwind and to SLEEP!  My spouse and I have different opinions on the television – we do have one in the bedroom but I don’t care for it.

IMG_6156Decorating a bedroom is very personal, but can be done on any budget. Choose colors for your wall and bed that are restful. Pick window treatments that will let in lots of natural light, but can also keep the light out when it is time to sleep. If you are on a budget there are great stores like HomeGoods and Target where you can purchase bedding, knick knacks and art at discount prices, making your room look just as beautiful as some of the high-end decorated homes. Make a plan first – colors, art, etc., and then have fun!

I was inspired in Italy (as I always am) by the Tuscan art and decor – the mustards and browns with natural woods and art and light, and am always inspired by the Italian Riviera with it’s casual European beach elegance. One of those will be my next bedroom transformation!

Kitchen: The kitchen is the focal point of most homes – where family and friends gather and where you can get creative. It should be functional so that you can easily find cooking utensils and paraphanalia. If you have a small budget and can only remodel one part of your home, the kitchen is the best place to invest because the return on resale is highest. Other rooms in your home can be made to feel spruced up easily with paint, new fixtures and area rugs, but the kitchen is the best place to splurge.

If you cannot afford a kitchen remodel you can do wonders with paint and by refinishing cabinetry and adding new hardware. A pot rack is also easy to install and will keep you organized.

Family room: This is also a popular place to hang out and be together. Whether you like cozy, ultra modern or something in between, it is not too difficult to spice up your family room on any budget. If you cannot splurge on new couches look into slip covers – most of them are machine washable and easy to put on, and they will give your family room a new look. Throw pillows are also great and you can find great deals on them at many discount home stores. Paint is always cheap and can transform any room, and inexpensive pieces of art, candles and knick knacks are always easy to find.

The great thing about redecorating is that you can often use items you already have to make a big difference. Websites like Houzz can give you some great ideas – for example, using mason jars for lighting or flower arrangements, or even to store items on counter tops. If you have old tables or mirrors in your garage you can give them new life with some spray paint. Need art work? You can blow up favorite photos onto canvas and hang them as is or in frames – Costco has great prices. There are also many DIY sites on the internet that will give you great ideas for your home – from easy to difficult.

So do yourself a favor and remember that your home is your sanctuary – you should want to come home!

 

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Fully Remodeled Carlsbad Home with Sunset Views to the Ocean

July 10th, 2015

Are you looking for a  move-in ready home that feels brand new? Look no further! Welcome to 2775 Vista del Oro in Carlsbad.01_image01_mls

Offered at $579,000

This impressive, turn-key detached home was just upgraded to the hilt and looks and feels brand new! Bamboo wood flooring throughout, granite in kitchen and baths, marble tile backsplashes, stainless appliances, glass hood, ceramic tile flooring in bathrooms, new paint inside and out, new hardware, fixtures and lighting, 2 fireplaces, and the list goes on!

10_image10_mlsEnormous master suite with ocean and sunset view deck and walk in closet, one bedroom and full bath downstairs. Over 2,000 square feet with a two car garage and a great outdoor view patio.

Features include:

  • 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2073 square feet
  • Beautiful full modern remodel just completed
  • Custom granite counters throughout
  • Marble tile backsplash in kitchen
  • Bamboo wood flooring throughout
  • New stainless appliances, glass and stainless hood 07_image07_mls
  • New hardware, fixtures and lighting throughout
  • Downstairs bedroom with full bath
  • All bathrooms have been redone with high quality materials
  • Oversized master suite with private ocean peek and sunset view deck
  • Walk in closet in master
  • Large master bath with ceramic tiles, glass backsplash, & glass shower doors
  • Plantation shutters
  • New paint inside and out
  • 2 marble tile fireplaces, in living room and master suite
  • 2 car garage
  • 12_image12_mlsPrivate patio with great sunset views and ocean peeks
  • Quiet community with pool
  • Low HOAs
  • Conveniently located close to shopping, dining, highways and the beach

For more information on this beautiful property please click here or call Broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. BRE lic #01399682.

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San Diego Calendar of Events for July 2015

July 2nd, 2015
National City’s 4th of July Carnival 
The National City Host Lions Club invite you to celebrate the 4th of July with a weekend long carnival complete with rides, games, food, fun and fireworks!
Date: July 1 – 5, 2015
Time: Wednesday-Friday: 5:00 to 11:00 PM

Saturday (4th of July): 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Fireworks at 9:00 PM
Location: D Ave & E 12th St., National City, CA 91950
For more info.: visit www.nationalcityhostlions.org
Oceanside Fireworks Show
The public is invited to the City of Oceanside Fireworks Show on July 3, 2015 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.
Date: July 3, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Location: 3302 Senior Center Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056
For more info. visit www.ci.oceanside.ca.us
80’s Heat Aloha Party
Enjoy the dance party with 80’s heat, make sure you come in a costume! Costume Contest with prizes.
Date: July 3, 2015
Time: 9:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Price: Advance – $13 / Day of – $15 / Reserved – $23
Location: 143 S Cedros, Suite T, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Fireworks Display / Parades / Festivals – July 4th, 2015
Big Bay Boom!
The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back, promising another spectacular display over San Diego Bay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing.
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: Fireworks will begin at 9:00 PM
Price: Advance – $13 / Day of – $15 / Reserved – $23
Location: visit website for details
For more info.: visit www.bigbayboom.com
4th of July Celebration in Ocean Beach
Celebrate the fourth of July in Ocean Beach with a spectacular fireworks display off the OB Pier!
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM / Fireworks at 9:00 PM
Location: 5091 Niagara Ave., San Diego, CA 92107
For more info.: visit www.oceanbeachsandiego.com
Mira Mesa Fourth of July Celebration
The Mira Mesa Town Council is honored to once again present the annual Mira Mesa 4th of July Parade and Family Fun Day in the Park.
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM / Fireworks at 9:00 PM
Location: 8575 New Salem Street, San Diego, CA 92126
For more info.: visit www.miramesatowncouncil.org
Sea to Shining Sea 4th of July Fireworks
SeaWorld will light up the sky with an amazing fireworks extravaganza to celebrate the 4th of July. Fireworks will start at 10:10 PM and will last approximately 17 minutes.
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM / Fireworks at 10:10 PM
Location: 500 SeaWorld Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade and Festivities
Come and enjoy a fun filled day for family and friends at the annual Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade and Festivities.
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location: Aviary Drive & Canyon Lake Dr., SD, CA 92131
Julian 4th of July Parade
The stars and stripes will move down Main Street during this year’s Julian Fourth of July parade, prompting selection of It’s a Grand Old Flag as the theme for the annual patriotic celebration.
Date: July 4, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: Main St., Julian, CA 92036
For more info.: visit www.julianparade.com
Red, White and BOOM! Rocks LEGOLAND
The summer heats up at LEGOLAND with a star-spangled Fourth of July celebration, “Red, White and Boom!”. The awe-inspiring fireworks show begins at 8:30 PM and blends patriotic music with dazzling pyrotechnics.

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 10:00 AM to 9:30 PM
Location: One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008
For more info.: call 760.918.5346 or visit www.LEGOLAND.com
El Cajon 4th of July Picnic and Fireworks
Celebrate the 4th of July in El Cajon with a good old fashioned picnic, children’s activities, vendors and fireworks!

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Location: 1675 East Madison Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92019
For more info.: visit www.ci.el-cajon.ca.us
Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic
Pack a few blankets and chairs for Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic with live music, food, fun and more.

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: 16948 Avenida De Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
For more info.: visit www.rsfassociation.org
Santee Salutes – Fourth of July Celebration
Rock out with 80s All Stars playing hits from the 80s, a patriotic ceremony, inflatable zone, food trucks and fireworks.

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Price: Free / Parking – $5-$15 / Reserved Canopy – $135
Location: 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071
For more info.: visit www.ci.santee.ca.us
Independence Day Festival & Fireworks
Join 20,000 patriotic festival-goers for the 52nd Annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks in Escondido.

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: 5340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025
Ramona Rotary Community Fireworks and Family Picnic
It’s an unforgettable experience when the skies over Ramona explode with color during the annual Ramona Rotary Community Fireworks and Family Picnic on July 4.

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Location: 1521 Hanson Lane, Ramona, CA 92065
For more info.: visit www.ramonarotary.org
Vista Independence Day Celebration
Celebrate the 4th of July in Vista at the Moonlight Amphitheatre with live music, an honorary ceremony, family fun and fireworks!
  • 7:00 AM: Brengle Terrace Park opens
  • 5:00 PM: Moonlight Amphitheatre opens
  • 7:00 PM: Honorary Ceremony on the Moonlight Stage
  • 7:35 PM: The Mar Dels performs on the Moonlight Stage
  • 9:00 PM: Fireworks

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Price: $5
Location: 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084
For more info.: visit www.ramonarotary.org
Fourth of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove
Come celebrate 4th of July with friends, family, and fireworks at La Jolla Cove! Come early to find your spot and enjoy some of the best sunset views in America’s finest city!

Date: July 4, 2015

Time: 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM / Fireworks at 9:00 PM
Location: 1180 Coast Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037
For more info.: visit www.lajollabythesea.com
11th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am
The 11th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am beach day on July 11 will feature a surf contest, live music performances, and nerf surf jousting exposition between surf contest heats.
Date: July 11, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: 252 5th Street, Encintas, CA 92024
For more info.: visit www.switchfoot.com/c/bro-am
Del Mar Racing Season
San Diego horse racing takes place where the “turf meets the surf” at the Del Mar Racetrack.
Date: July 16 – September 7, 2015
Time: 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Price: call or visit website for details
Location: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
For more info. call 858.755.1141 or visit www.dmtc.com
San Diego Pride Rally
Pride celebrations everywhere trace their heritage to the eventful evening of June 28, 1969 when patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City said “No more!” to the harassing tactics of the New York Police. That protest has grown to annual events held in major cities throughout the world. In San Diego, our first rally was held in 1975.
Date: July 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: University Ave & Normal St., Hillcrest, CA 92103
For more info.: call 619.297.7683 or visit sdpride.org/rally.htm
Annual LGBT Pride Festival
San Diego Pride’s famous cultural Festival includes multiple stages of entertainment, more than 80 musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, 300 participating vendor booths, an art exhibit, cultural presentations, and great food!
Date: July 18 – 19, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Price: $15+ / Volunteers and Youth Under 15 – Free
Location: 6th Ave & Laurel St., San Diego, CA 92103
For more info. call 619.297.7683 or visit sdpride.org/festival.htm
Insect Festival
This one-of-a-kind event features thousands of fascinating creepy-crawlies including live insects, lizards, snakes, and the famous “Madagascar hissing cockroaches.”
Date: July 25 – 26, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Price: Free with paid admission or membership
Location: 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, CA 92024
For more info. visit www.sdbgarden.org/insect.htm
Film in the Garden: Annie Hall (1977, PG)
Winner of the 1977 Oscar for Best Picture, Woody Allen’s classic romance Annie Hall (1977, PG) opens with Alvy Singer’s flashback to his childhood home, built under Coney Island’s Thunderbolt roller coaster!
Date: July 27, 2015
Time: 18:00 PM to 10:30 PM
Price: Museum & MOPA Members – Free / Nonmembers – $5
Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For more info. call 619.232.7931 or visit www.sdmart.org/calendar/film-garden-0
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San Diego Calendar of Events for June 2015

June 1st, 2015

Happy San Diego summer to everyone!

June1

june2

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Realtors Beware of Fraud When Purchasing Business Products

May 28th, 2015

Yesterday I found out I was the victim of fraud, resulting from a purchase I made from a well-known real estate business products company. It turns out one of their employees, who had helped me place an order over the phone (I tried to do so online but needed the art department to fix some art work), stole my credit card number and went on a shopping spree – spending about $1000 on my card. fraud

I found out about this because of the kindness of a vendor, who realized that my zip code and the shipping zip code were different. He Googled me and called me to ask if I had spend a large sum at his online fishing clothing site. I don’t fish, nor do I wear fishing related clothing. Thank you to this vendor, who took the time to investigate what he thought was a “fishy” purchase (pun intended), I contacted my bank.

It took me a few hours to realize that I knew exactly where the fraud occurred. Luckily for me, I do not use my business credit card often, other than some monthly recurring business fees. I happened to use it to order some products early in May, and the company was based in Florida. The 9 charges that were made on my card were in Florida, so I put it all together and contacted the company. They were able to figure out who it was and I filed police reports both in Florida and in my hometown.

The lesson I learned from this is that I will never again provide my credit card information verbally when placing an order. I did receive apologies from management (personally I would have comped me for my order for all the trouble I went through – I had to deal with this for several hours during my work day – but that’s a difference of opinion in the definition of customer service).

So next time you order business products online, no matter how trustworthy the site, if you have no alternative than to pay over the phone make sure to ask for the supervisor or top manager – do not give your personal information to ANY employee. Sadly, the guy who helped me place my order that day was great on the phone – hopefully he will be practicing those skills from a cell for the next several years (I was told that he had done this before and they couldn’t prove it – they now have evidence to do so). Makes me miss prosecuting people like this guy. In short, he messed with the wrong lady.

If you are into fishing and want to buy some great clothes, please shoot me an email and I will hook you up with the vendor’s site, as I checked it out and he really has some nice clothing! There are still good people in this world, and that solidifies my belief in the human race. So thank you to Neil from Florida!

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Carlsbad Residents Must Follow New Water Restrictions

May 24th, 2015

The City of Carlsbad just imposed new water restrictions for landscape watering, so if you are a resident make sure to read on so you don’t get fined.

If your address ends in an odd number you may only water your landscape on Tuesday and Friday, between the hours of 6 PM and 10 AM.

Addresses ending in even numbers may water Monday and Thursday, with the same hour restrictions.

Condos and businesses and apartments must also follow the Monday and Thursday schedule.

All watering is limited to eight minutes per station, and the recommendation from the city is to split the run times in half – 4 minutes in the morning and 4 in the evening – to avoid runoff.

We all must do our part to keep Carlsbad in compliance with California water restrictions. Thank you for doing your part. If you live in another city please check with your city website to learn your city’s mandatory restrictions, and please help your neighbors to learn about new rules.

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Enjoy Resort-Style Living in Carlsbad’s Sea Cliff Neighborhood

May 14th, 2015

Just listed for $609,000: 7411 Lantana Terrace in Carlsbad’s Coveted Sea Cliff Neighborhood.02_image02_mls

Welcome to the beautiful gated resort community of Sea Cliff in Southwest Carlsbad, located just moments from the beach. This popular detached single story model is bright and quiet and has recently been updated with new paint throughout, refinished kitchen cabinets and stainless appliances.

11_image11_mlsLocated next to a greenbelt (no neighbor to the south) and steps from one of two community pools/spas and the clubhouse, this lovely home offers privacy and tranquility. Enjoy community tennis courts, lakes and tree lined streets. The bonus room is an added benefit as a den, office, craft room or whatever you desire. Moments to the beach, Batiquitos Lagoon, shopping, dining and entertainment.

Features include:

  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, bonus room, 1357 square feet
  • Detached end home with no neighbors on South side
  • Popular Plan C model with bonus room
  • Two car garage
  • Indoor laundry room (washer and dryer are currently in garage)
  • Lots of natural light and high ceilings 13_image13_mls
  • Updated kitchen with newly stained cabinetry and hardware, stainless appliances
  • Spacious rear patio with cover
  • Bonus room for office, den, craft area or whatever you imagine
  • Community amenities galore! Clubhouse, pools, spas, tennis courts, lakes
  • Washer and dryer included
  • Close to shopping, dining, highways and the beach
  • Low HOA fees, no mello roos
  • Carlsbad Unified School District

For more information or to schedule a showing, please contact Broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. CA BRE lic #01399682. To visit the property website click here.

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