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.
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!
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.
May 14th, 2015
Just listed for $609,000: 7411 Lantana Terrace in Carlsbad’s Coveted Sea Cliff Neighborhood.
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.
Located 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.
- 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
- 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.
May 8th, 2015
Welcome to 1588 Sapphire Drive, Offered at $759,000 – $789,000
LaMar Real Estate is pleased to present for sale this recently updated and bright home, located in the gated hilltop coastal community of Mar Brisa. Enjoy the new laminate wood flooring downstairs, new paint throughout, new carpeting upstairs, granite kitchen counters and lovely mountain views. This is a highly functional floorplan with formal dining room and cathedral ceilings, plus a low maintenance, water-concious backyard.
With 4 bedrooms and a loft (optional 5th bedroom), 2 ½ baths, and 2570 square feet, this is the largest floorplan in the neighborhood. The community offers a resort-like pool, spas, tot lot, parks and ocean breezes. Carlsbad Unified School District and close to shopping, dining and the beach. Low HOAs, no mello roos! All this at a price $20,000 under the last model match that sold, but still beautiful and move-in ready!
- 4 bedrooms, loft, 2.5 baths, 2570 square feet
- Granite kitchen counters
- New wood flooring downstairs
- New designer carpeting upstairs
- New custom paint throughout home
- Wide baseboards
- Tile flooring in kitchen and bathrooms
- Separate formal dining room
- Cathedral ceilings and lots of natural light
- East-facing views of hills and mountains
- 3 car garage
- Washer, dryer and refrigerator included
- Low HOAs, no mello roos
- Resort-like community pool and spa area, 2nd spa, tot lots and parks
- Gated community on hilltop with ocean views
- Carlsbad Schools
- Close to shopping, dining, entertainment and the beach
For more information please visit the property website by clicking here, or contact broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. Ca BRE Lic #01399682
May 4th, 2015
April 29th, 2015
April 20th, 2015
One of the most challenging situations any real estate agent can face is working with a couple where each person has different ideas on what their new home should look like, where it should sit, or what amenities it must contain. Personally, I like challenges because they are like puzzles that need to be solved; once I help buyers work through them and we find a home that makes them both happy, it is extremely rewarding for me as well.
Some buyers start out excited to look at homes and quickly realize they are not on the same page; for others it takes longer – they make find a home that one loves and the other could never imagine living in. Or they may see two homes that are very different, or in different neighborhoods, and divide on which one they would like to purchase.
Most buyer couples quickly realize that they may have to compromise a bit in order to find a home that makes them both happy. Here are some great suggestions that will help these buyers find a home that meets most of what both are looking for:
1. Make a list. This is the good-old suggestion that I always throw out there no matter what difficult decision is facing someone – I have taught my kids to do it too and it really does put things into perspective. Ask each of your buyers to make a list of things they must have in a new home, things they would like to have, those they don’t particularly care for but could possibly live with if they had to, and those things they absolutely do not care for. The easiest way to do this is to draw columns so you can compare all these things side by side. It is important that each person who is a decision maker does this along, without the help of the other decision maker(s).
Once the lists are complete, I like to look at them myself and prepare a “report,” that finds the commonalities and the complete differences. It really helps for the decision makers to see what they actually do have in common and what they completely disagree upon. It helps to discuss this together – not to argue or get frustrated, but to understand where the partners are coming from.
2. Encourage an open mind. Conflicted couples know that they will likely have to compromise (whether they like it or not), but they may not know there are other options out there that neither has considered. By encouraging them both to have an open mind, I can go to work to find properties that they may not have even considered. Armed with their lists I can research, visit homes and then report back to them – hopefully getting them to agree to have a look. I have had many couples start out looking in particular neighborhoods, yet end up purchasing elsewhere – somewhere they would never have considered in the beginning.
Similarly, a home that would have been overlooked at the start, let’s say because the yard was too small and both parties really wanted a larger yard, may be a possibility if changes can be made to expand the yard – this of course will take some research but if the outcome is positive it may open up possibilities for the buyers.
3. Decide which items each party is willing to concede. As for the items that are completely opposing in the lists that were created, the couple needs to think about which items they will each concede – in other words, where are they willing to cooperate? If one insists on hardwood flooring and the other loves a home with travertine tile flooring, can one of them live with the flooring that would not be their first choice? If one wants to be in a neighborhood that is walking distance to shops and eateries and the other wants to be more secluded, who is willing to give in and look at conceding personal desires? Of course, with a concession there is the expectation that the other party will give in as well on another point, so it is important to discuss (see number 4 below).
4. Be ready to compromise. If one person likes modern style homes and the other likes traditional, both will want to consider a compromise. Maybe they find a Craftsman home and combine interior design styles so that there are modern and traditional elements.
5. Don’t let your relationship be affected by your design tastes. Keep in mind that buying a home is a big decision, and don’t let your relationship take a toll during such an important decision-making process. It IS possible to find a home that will make you both happy, but you need to be open, willing and ready to make concessions.
Purchasing a home is definitely not an easy process, but that doesn’t mean that it should be made more difficult due to clashing personal preferences. If buyers recognize the needs of their partners and make a plan to compromise and have open minds, it IS possible to find a home that will make them both happy – I have seen this happen many times so I know it is true.
April 15th, 2015
Tax day is over…time to turn our focus back to the real estate market. I have to take a moment to say that I truly admire my accountants, because I could never do what they do – and so competently! Kudos to all you accountants out there for making peoples’ lives easier, and I am glad we all survived another tax day!
How is the real estate market doing? I get asked that question several times daily. My answer: it is HOT! Demand still has not met supply, and properties are selling quickly and oftentimes with multiple offers. It is great for sellers, but not so wonderful for buyers because there is little to choose from and they have to make quick decisions. For those buyers who are well-educated and know where they really want to live and what they can afford, they have to be ready to see new listings right away and ready to draft offers if they like what they see.
The Catch-22 in the real estate market today is that there are many sellers out there who would like to sell, but have nowhere to move to due to the lack of inventory, so they stay where they are and wait. Unfortunately this keeps the inventory tight in a market where demand is great.
Interest rates jumped a little this week, and many buyers are worried about the rumors that they will rise significantly in July. This is yet another reason for them to start searching for homes, which circles back to the low inventory levels.
Coming Soon! houses seem to be on the rise. I mean homes that have signed listing agreements but are not yet on the MLS. Agents put “Coming Soon!” signs in front to alert neighbors and those who drive by, creating excitement. Since I just had clients sign a listing and the tenants won’t be be out for about a week (and then another week for new flooring and paint)…I thought “what a great way to let the neighbors know this home will soon hit the market!” so I tried it. We’ll see what happens.
The bottom line is that the real estate market is strong in most areas, from what I have heard and read lately. Of course, as always I advise you to consult with a local area real estate agent before buying or selling a home. It seems that we have definitely climbed out of the doldrums and that the market has sprung back, so if you are thinking of purchasing or selling a home you should be in a good position to make that decision.
April 8th, 2015
Dear Listing Agent,
Have you asked yourself whether you are truly representing your sellers to the best of your abilities? There may be other agents who would argue that you are not doing so. Maybe you do not like your job or are overwhelmed (in which case, you need to make some changes, get some help, or get out), or maybe you just need a little advice. The most important way to get that home sold is to make sure you do the following:
1. Be courteous to buyers’ agents. This is a business built on COOPERATION. In fact, without it no homes would sell. With that in mind I have to tell you that you need to be nice and respectful to buyers’ agents. If you are rude, non-responsive, curt or make snide remarks to other agents who may sell your listing, then you are not adequately representing your seller.
2. Answer your phone/return calls. If I had a dollar for every time I have called a listing agent and that person did not get back to me for a long time, I would have a lot of money saved. Many agents do not answer their phones on the weekend (hello? Does your seller know this?), which is precisely when many buyers are out there looking at homes. I have had buyers want to write offers but needed questions answered, and the listing agent was nowhere to be found. If you cannot answer your phone then you need to forward the calls to someone who can.
3. Make buyers’ agents and their clients feel welcome. This may be similar to #1 above, but there are actually agents who come to the showings and hang around, making buyers feel uncomfortable. I recently had this happen. When we came back for a second showing the agent stepped out, but made some comments to me later about how long my clients stayed at the property that I felt were rude. (Obviously they were deciding whether it would work – the property needed a lot of updating and was over priced, but they liked it and wanted to be sure. I would rather that happen then instead of once we were in contract).
4. Make sure your listing is easy to access. I know it can’t be helped sometimes, but listings that require 24 hours notice or have crazy viewing times make it difficult for buyers. Many buyers work during the day and want to see properties after work or on the weekends. The easier the home is to see, the more opportunities for your seller.
The bottom line is that listing agents need to be present and involved with their listings. I am sure sellers in most cases are not aware when their agent is not cooperating/being rude, etc. I am also sure that if sellers knew these things, there are a handful of listing agents who would not get many listings.
The most important thing to keep in mind when listing a property is that you owe a FIDUCIARY duty to your sellers – if you are not representing them in the best capacity possible then you are breaching that duty. Please, consider your actions and always remember to treat other agents with the respect they deserve. It will benefit all parties in the long run and you will have a solid reputation (within the community and with other agents) as a listing agent.
April 6th, 2015
For the last few years buyers have been able to search on their own for properties for sale in any area via third party websites – the biggest being Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia, among thousands of others. Recently Zillow and Trulia merged (Zillow acquired Trulia), and that set in motion some big problems with MLS downloads to such sites (Realtor.com is NOT affected, as it is controlled by the National Association of Realtors).
How third party sites get listings from the many MLS sites has always been an issue, and there are even brokers who choose not to have their listings advertised on such sites (a shame though, because the consumer likely is not aware of this and may be missing out on some active listings…a very good reason why all buyers should have an agent representing them – but I digress).
One of the largest suppliers of information to the third party websites was not able to negotiate with Zillow and therefore will no longer be sharing syndicated MLS information with Zillow and Trulia starting April 7. There are other means by which brokers can have their listings shared on these sites, but they have to opt into them and many are either not aware or have not done so.
What does this mean to the millions of people who use these sites to search properties? It means that they may not see ALL the listings in the areas they are searching…which means that they may miss out on properties that they may have been interested in seeing and/or purchasing.
This mess will work itself out in time – it will have to. But the best advice I have for anyone shopping or following the real estate market is to HIRE A LOCAL AGENT. He or she can set up a search for you directly through the corresponding MLS, so that you get listings sent to you directly from the MLS as soon as they list (which will be quicker than you would receive them via any third party site anyway).