New Beach-Close Carlsbad Listing: 824 Okra Court

October 21st, 2016

This wonderfully upgraded Sea Cliff home is located on a cul de sac with views of the lake and pool area. 2 Master suites plus an optional third bedroom downstairs provide ample living space, and the private backyard patio offers fruit trees and tranquil views. Upgrades include granite counters, stainless appliances, travertine flooring, designer carpeting upstairs, new fixtures, remodeled fireplace and bathrooms, new water heater, epoxy flooring in garage, air conditioning, custom paint throughout, and more. 8_8424857_79462_ea-79462-108

Features include:

  • 1681 SF, 2 bedrooms + optional bedroom, 3 bathrooms
  • Patio views to lake and pool/spa
  • Quiet cul de sac location
  • Upgraded kitchen with granite counters
  • Stainless appliances (refrigerator included with sale)
  • 11_8424867_79462_ea-79462-111Travertine flooring downstairs
  • Designer carpeting on stairs and second floor
  • Dual master suites and a third optional bedroom downstairs
  • New lighting and fixtures throughout
  • Remodeled bathrooms
  • Custom paint throughout, wide baseboards
  • 2 car garage with epoxy flooring and built-in storage
  • New water heater
  • New washer and dryer (included)
  • Air conditioning 16_8424872_79462_ea-79462-116
  • High ceilings
  • Gated community
  • Community pools and spas, tennis courts, clubhouse, lakes, walking paths
  • Less than a mile to the beach
  • Stroll to shopping, dining at Poinsettia Village Center
  • Carlsbad School District
  • Low HOAs, no mello roos

Sea Cliff is one of Carlsbad’s secret havens: a gated community with tree-lined walking paths, lakes and ponds, tennis courts, pools and hot tubs, gazebos, places to sit and enjoy nature, plus a fully equipped clubhouse where there is always something going on. Located only 1 mile from the beach, and moments to shopping, dining and entertainment in sunny Carlsbad, North San Diego.

For more photos, information or to schedule a showing, click here or contact agent Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. LaMar Real Estate. BRE# 01993682

1_8424849_79462_ea-79462-101 3_8424850_79462_ea-79462-103 5_8424856_79462_ea-79462-105 gate

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Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down?

October 7th, 2016

It has been an interesting time lately in the real estate market, and it is difficult to figure out exactly what is going on – is it slowing down, is it still hot…many people are confused. It really depends on your specific area, but there are some interesting things going on in my local markets…let’s take a look. dreamstime_988060

Multiple offers – still?! Yes! There are still some of those crazy multiple offer situations going on out there, and believe it or not they make it look like a seller’s market in the heat of summer. But this is not happening everywhere. It seems – at least in my neck of the woods in North San Diego – to be happening with condos and towhhomes that are very nicely upgraded, in good areas, and priced up to $550,000. Just last week I wrote an offer on a townhome for clients. The offer was super clean, priced over asking price, which was already stretching the appraisal potential, and a quick close in 30 days. We received a multiple counter offer asking us in essence to come up higher, remove the appraisal contingency at the outset, reduce all other contingency periods, and specifying that the sellers would make no repairs. We lost that one (I would never allow a buyer to remove an appraisal contingency unless they insisted, after being fully aware of the consequences).

Buyers are not jumping as high: Yes, this may sound like it contradicts the above paragraph, but it is true in most cases that buyers are not giving into inflated prices any longer. Most buyers (with the exception being the above scenario) are taking longer to find the right home, and then trying to negotiate the price. Much of the real estate news I read follows this position – after a crazy summer with prices inflating many buyers who missed the boat (or even those who intentionally waited out the crazy buyer storm) are finding that they can negotiate prices down and for that matter do not mind waiting until homes have some market time to make offers. This to me indicates the slow approach of a buyers market.

Fewer listings, fewer escrows opened: As is normal after the end of the summer season, listings are not as plentiful. But even after a fewer-than-usual-listings summer the Fall numbers continue to drop. Fewer escrows were opened in the last month compared to summer months. If this continues – fewer active properties, steady demand – it could spur the seller’s market to stick around for a bit…which means we could see prices rise. Interest rates will play a big part in this equation, as of course will jobs – people have to be able to afford homes.

In a nutshell the market is a bit hard to predict right now and doing so requires focusing on the specific community in which you are searching. For those buyers out there who are ready, willing and able to purchase my advice is to not rush into anything (unless you find your absolute “must-have it” dream home – but even then you need to be careful), consult with an experienced real estate agent to make a plan,  stick to your budget and stick to your guns when negotiating price, repairs and other items.

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Lenders are Messing Up Real Estate Sales!

September 19th, 2016

I don’t know if it’s just bad luck, but I have been having MAJOR issues with lenders lately – messing up (and almost killing) escrows at the 11th hour. (I should say that these mistakes are not from MY preferred lenders, but from lenders whose clients are purchasing my listings). Here is what I know: lenders are held to high standards, most importantly they must check all paperwork and needed documentation during the buyer’s loan contingency process. Here are some of the dumb things that I have seen lately from buyers’ lenders: th

1. Not checking buyer documentation. I had a lender this past week that on the day of the loan contingency removal deadline realized that there were two parties to a trust for which they based funds going into the loan. Now I have to assume that they had a copy of this trust for 21 days, and that they vetted it to make sure their borrower qualified. However, on day 21 I find out that they “just realized” that there were 2 trustees, not one, and therefore the borrower actually had half of the money to his name instead of the whole trust amount, on which they based approval.

This is unacceptable folks! These are basic inquiries a lender needs to make when processing a loan! How could the lender not have known the borrower’s stake in the trust when it should have had that trust documentation, which clearly identifies trustees and is a vital document when funds are coming from it?! Unbelievable.

2. Sending over loan docs with a change in borrower names. Believe it or not, a lender this past week sent over loan docs to escrow to be signed by the buyers, with closing slated for the following day (which happened to be a Friday so there was no room for screw-ups). The problem was that the docs had DIFFERENT buyer names than the contract/escrow documents – they basically eliminated a buyer! Now, I don’t know about you but it isn’t rocket science –  it is pretty basic common sense that if you have a contract between parties, you cannot just change or eliminate the name(s) of a party without proper documentation (it also happens to be the law). Lenders KNOW this!

Suffice it to say that in this particular case escrow and I had to jump through hoops and the lender had to re-draw docs at the 11th hour. It was very stressful. This is absolutely unbelievable. The lender has copies of the contracts and all documentation relating to the purchase agreement. For them to do something like this is just crazy.


The moral of my crazy lender scenario week is that there are often problems in a real estate transaction, so prepare for them. But those who are charged with qualifying borrowers need to be much more careful. Things like this should not be happening. This past week was officially named by me “lender screw-up week.” I sure am glad those lenders that I work with are so on top of things, and hope to never work with either of these particular lenders again.

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4 Reasons Why a Housing Bubble is Not Looming

September 8th, 2016

Many blogs and articles have alluded to the idea of a pending housing bubble, and some people even seem to be nervous. This kind of talk is always prevalent after a strong sales season, but how do we know how much credibility to give these claims, and could we be facing a housing bubble any time in the near future? house-bubbles

The answer in my opinion is a loud NO. In the July pending home sales index the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that pending home sales are now at the highest level since 2006 (the highest month was April 2016). But wait, you may say, it was not long last time between the strong sales season to when the market actually crashed. However, there are some differences between the last housing bubble and our current economic situation.

Here are some reasons why the housing market won’t likely crash,  nor any bubbles form in the near future:

1. Mortgage applications are up. While purchase activity dipped in August, there has been an increase in the last few weeks and the MBA reports a 1% rise in the last week alone. With rates still low many homebuyers are jumping off the fence.

2. Consumer credit is strong. Credit servicing continues to strengthen and Fannie Mae reports that the single family home delinquency rate continues to decline. Those home borrowers who are either 3 months or more behind in payments, or who are actively in foreclosure, has  dropped, with a total fall of close to 25% in the last year – resulting in the lowest level since 2008.

3. Mortgage availability has increased, according to the MBA. But credit is not as loose as before the last crash, when many people were given loans without being able to afford them.

4. Inventory is down/little or no new building – many active homes are now in escrow and with scarce inventory the chance of a bubble forming is slim to none. Unlike in 2007/2008, there is very little or no new home construction in most areas. As prices have risen many buyers have been priced out of markets. Eventually buyers will give up in many areas and prices will then be driven down. Population is growing in many areas, like here in San Diego County, faster than housing supply – this means that there is not likely a chance of a bubble.

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Gorgeous New Bonsall Community Listing: Acreage, Views, Well and Equestrian-Ready

August 31st, 2016

Welcome to 1138 Little Gopher Canyon Road, Vista

Offered at $875,000 DJI_0005

Perched atop a high hill with panoramic mountain and country views, this one-of-a-kind quality, custom built Bonsall community view home provides privacy and is designed for entertaining, relaxing and welcomes equestrian and animal lovers. Situated on 4.5 beautifully landscaped acres in the Bonsall School District, with stunning mountain views, this property has its own high production private WELL for irrigation, which saves lots of money and makes maintenance of the beautiful grounds a breeze. The home offers many upgraded features, including equestrian and small animal facilities, as well as recreation areas.

2_8374535_77977_BPO-77977-102Home Amenities:

* Grand living/family room with cherry wood paneling and custom cherry fireplace

* Formal raised platform dining area

* Breakfast nook with view to outside waterfall

* Billiard area

* Work-out room

* Custom wood cabinetry in kitchen with built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator, KitchenAid double oven and appliances, granite countertops, center island, reverse osmosis drinking water unit, breakfast bar and large custom kitchen window

*  Giant master suite with stone fireplace, master bath and dual walk-in closets. French doors with private patio and work-out room conveniently located off bedroom.

*  2nd bedroom with custom woodwork and new cherry cabinetry in the full bathroom

*  3rd bedroom includes custom oak ceiling with walk-in closet and private bath.  Sliding door to large wood patio and spa located off bedroom.

*  Whole-house high-end stereo system with outdoor patio speakers

*  Security system

* Exterior of home just repainted

* Bonsall School District

Surrounding Outside of Home: 16_8374538_77977_BPO-77977-116

*  Canvas covered large tiled patio off living/dining area with windows to regulate air flow with fountain, lighting and outdoor stereo for entertaining

*  Large rear wooden deck with built-in spa

*  Fabulous custom waterfall fountain that can be viewed from living areas and 2nd bedroom

*  Master bedroom private patio

*  Square raised gardens with roses and home-grown vegetables and herbs

*  4th Upper fenced corral

*  Beautiful mature trees including lemon and mulberry

46_8374572_77977_BPO-77977-146Lower Area of Property: 

* Cement stairway from top to bottom of property

* Huge wooden deck

* LED lighted sports court

* Restroom with storage for tack and supplies

* Professional style putting green

* 3 shaded 24×12′ horse corrals and large fenced turn-out area

* Custom large barbecue

* Separate animal enclosure pen for smaller animals with shade shed

* Retaining walls and curbs throughout with walkways and stairs

* Storage shed for hay

For more information and photos, please click here. Please contact broker Rachel LaMar with questions or to schedule a private showing at 760-310-9466. Lists on MLS and showings to begin Friday 9/2.

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3 Reasons Why You Need a Realtor When Buying a New Construction Home

August 31st, 2016

A good real estate agent is golden when it comes to assuring that all your needs are met as a buyer – from searching for the right home to negotiating, to making sure all obligations are met as a buyer and that everything needed from the seller has been provided. It not just about getting to the close of escrow, but also about protecting your legal rights as a buyer and making sure there are no surprises once you do close escrow. house_shoppingcart

When it comes to the purchase of a new construction home many buyers end up using builder sales representatives, partly because they are there on site and make it easy, and partly because buyers do not know why this can actually be detrimental when it comes to their rights. Here are the top reasons why working with your own real estate agent can help you when purchasing new construction:

1. Dual agency dilemma: When you work with a builder representative, their first allegiance is to the builder. Once they represent you as well then dual agency comes into play. If you are a frequent blog reader you know how I feel about dual agency (click here to read more), and the dangers it brings. In the alternative, it is better if you have your own representation so that the allegiance is only to you – that person can look our for ONLY your best interests.

2. Extra set of eyes and problem solver: Once again, if you have your own representative Realtor to look over the new construction contract then s/he may point some things out to you that you might be able to alter to suit you better. For example, including items that do not come with the home, or extending deposit dates. A good real estate agent is there to assist you and make sure that you benefit. The builder does not care to whom it pays the commission – they just want to get the home sold. Even if you the builder uses its own contract (as opposed to state or local real estate association documents), your agent can still be with you while the documents are presented and help you decipher them.

3. No extra cost to you: Many buyers make the mistake of believing that if they work directly with a builder sales representative, they will save money on the purchase of their new home. This is not true – the builder takes into account the commissions when setting home prices. The builder wants to sell the home, and while it may  (key word – “may”) pay out less commission to an on-site sales rep, most builders do cooperate with brokers and advertise such. A buyer is not going to gain anything by working with an on-site sales rep versus an outside agent. In fact, an outside agent who is a good negotiator may be able to help negotiate perks and price adjustments on your behalf. Either way the builder is going to pay a commission, so why not take advantage of independent representation – someone who has ONLY your interests in mind and not those of the builder. There is no cost to you as a buyer.

When looking at the possibility of purchasing a new construction home, make sure you are well represented. Your interests should be first and foremost.

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The Parent Bully Dilemma

August 24th, 2016

We all know that bullying is wrong, that it creates low self-esteem, and issues like depression and anxiety, and has led to high suicide rates among teenagers. But what happens when the bully is a parent? Believe it or not, this is not out of the ordinary, and unfortunately these people raise new generations of bullies, perpetuating the vicious cycle and making bullying harder to eliminate.

Adults, especially those who are parents, should be mature enough to understand bullying and its effects, but unfortunately that is often not the case. Think aggressive sports parents or dance/drama moms (a cliche yes, but so prevalent on television)…we see it all around us, all the time. But many parents do not realize that their actions constitute bullying.

Everyone knows about physical bullying, but many still do not realize that there is an even worse form of bullying that leaves deep scars – it is emotional bullying, and it happens often. Every parent needs to ask themselves whether they might be bullying others, especially children.

Talking about others in a negative way, especially if they are minors, is an act of bullying. Parents are in a position of leadership, both in and outside of the home. Those leaders outside the home (say as a school volunteer or extra curricular activity helpers) have even more power to affect young peoples’ perceptions. Gossiping about others, especially in front of your own children (no matter how old they are) teaches them that it is ok to do.

Take for example a mom volunteer at a high school who gossiped about a student in front of a room full of 40- to 50-something year old moms. Her daughter was in the room as well. Her daughter also bullied the victim verbally by constantly trying to get her in trouble – not what many would consider bullying but still a valid form. Furthermore, the mom didn’t even have her facts straight and was making assumptions, thus resorting to slander….the girl’s parents could sue her should they decide to do so, since her words deeply wounded the victim. The other moms proceeded to discuss the “badness” of this young lady who actually was one of several who made s silly mistake. Sadly, they didn’t even have their facts straight – this is how rumors get started. Who knows how many went home and discussed the “bad” choices allegedly made by the victim with their own daughters? Think of what that teaches the daughters! Of course this is how the bullying culture survives – the apple never falls far from the tree.

Parents, keep in mind that your actions can be extremely detrimental to young minds. Did you ever wonder why the incidences of depression, anxiety and suicide have skyrocketed with younger generations and in past decades? As one who was bullied in high school, and as the mother of young adults who were bullied there as well, I think it is time we seriously assess our actions as parents – hopefully it’s not too late.

Bullying will continue to be a big problem until we all understand that words, not only actions, can hurt others. Many may not think before speaking, but as a parent it is crucial to teach your children that bullying is NOT ok. You are the only one who can truly instill this very important lesson in your children. So ask yourself how your words and actions may be seen from their point of view before you speak or act. We can ALL combat bullying if we just check ourselves and openly discuss it. If you realize you have done or said something to or in front of your children that could be an act of bullying, or may incite them to bully another person, discuss your mistake with them. You will be a better person and so will your children.

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6 Improvements that May Not Add Value to Your Home Sale

August 8th, 2016

It is common knowledge that upgrades and improvements add value to homes, and of course most people know that there are some upgrades and improvements that add more value than others, such as upgrading kitchen counters and appliances, or bathrooms. But some improvements do not truly add value in the sense that they will increase your sale price potential. Let’s take a look at some of these. contractor

1.  Pool: Pools can be highly desirable or completely undesirable (for example, if the buyers have babies or small children they may be seen as a danger). If you have a pool then of course you will attract buyers who want one, and if you do not have one but have a yard that will accommodate one you may attract buyers who are interested in adding one. But if you do not have one, adding a pool will not usually help resale value (there may be an exception if your home is located in a very warm environment like the desert, where pools are coveted and oftentimes expected). Speak with your agent if you are considering adding a pool and know you will be selling down the road.

2.  Yard improvements: These can be tricky. There are some improvements to yards that can actually add value, and some that may be a waste of money that sellers will never see at selling time (although they may make the home more appealing). For example, if you have a yard that is merely dirt and has no landscaping, it may make sense to put in sod and an inexpensive border with some greenery. But going overboard – fully landscaping and hardscaping – may not bring dollars to your pocketbook. There are ways to make yards look nice that do not involve spending lots of money.

3.  New construction landscaping: Most newly built homes do not come with landscaped backyards, and often also come without landscaped front yards. It is always a question whether to landscape if the home has to be sold prior to any being completed. Many buyers will not want to pay top dollar for dirt front and back yards. BUT one has to be very careful when landscaping, as it can become very personal and if a potential buyer comes along who doesn’t have the same taste and feels the need to rip everything out and start over it can actually be a detriment to the sale, rather than a benefit. It is important to speak with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can take into consideration the neighborhood, prices and other factors. If it is decided that some type of landscaping is a good idea, try to keep it simple in case the new buyer wants to add more (built-in BBQ, firepit, hardscape, etc.) Keep in mind that just because you spend the money, it does not mean you will get it back at sale time – in fact, you likely will not…BUT having a completed yard could also make your home more marketable (I know that is confusing so speak with an experience local agent if you will be selling soon after purchase).

4.  Garage conversions: These typically are on my “do not do” list, and if they exist I recommend converting them back prior to selling. Garage conversions require permits for one thing, and many people (at least in my years of experience showing these types of homes) do not obtain them. Most buyers want the garage space so unless there are many spaces in the garage if you have a 2 or 3 car garage it is preferable to NOT have one converted to a room. Most buyers will see it as something they have to “deal with” and may write your home off their possibility list.

5.  Room additions: This is a tricky one because it all depends on the home, lot and what is being added. If you live in a tract neighborhood and want to add a room it could be ok if you have a large enough lot such that you are not making the outdoor space smaller. If your addition makes your home the most expensive one on the block you need to beware, as most buyers do not want to own the highest priced home in a neighborhood. There is a lot to take into consideration when adding a room, so speak with an experienced agent if you are planning to sell down the road and are contemplating an addition.

6. Other improvements: There are many other improvements that could add value to a sale. I suggest inviting an experienced local area agent over to discuss any potential improvements prior to sale. Adding a new furnace or water heater is great if the ones you have are old – that will add some value an peace of mind for new buyers. New windows may be good in an older home as they help with insulation. New flooring could be a charm under the right circumstances, and paint – often the cheapest and best way to make a difference – is a great improvement. What you “should” improve will really depend on many factors, so consult with an expert agent in your area before spending any money.

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New Listing: Upgraded Seaport Home with Large Yard

August 3rd, 2016

Welcome to 7205 Mimosa Drive in Carlsbad, offered at $839,000.

If you never thought you could fall in love with a home, wait until you see this one. This spectacularly upgraded home is where memories will be made, friends and families will gather, and long lazy days will be spent in the impeccably landscaped pool-sized backyard with ocean breezes and peek views of the stunning Batiquitos Lagoon. Lovingly updated with top of the line materials, gorgeous kitchen and fabulous loft with view balcony. 45_8337111_76698_bpo-76698-145

Enjoy distressed wood plank flooring, custom paint, new windows and doors, incredible chef kitchen with granite counters, custom cabinetry and stainless appliances. Updated bathrooms with extended Italian porcelain shower in the master bath, upgraded fixtures throughout, crown molding in bedrooms, cedar plank master closet, enormous rectangular yard with room for large pool, raised patio, putting green, vegetable garden and lagoon views from deck. RV parking, storage shed and large patio off the kitchen for entertaining. Huge bright and open loft upstairs with ocean and lagoon peek from electronic Sunsetter covered balcony, room off of loft – playroom, office, den, or add closet for another bedroom. Newer roof, garage storage and workbench, ceiling fans, and whole house wiring. Adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon trails, and short stroll to shopping, dining, grocery store, library, movies and more. Carlsbad schools – blocks to Aviara Oaks Elementary and Aviara Middle School. Great neighborhood with NO HOAs or mello roos. Moment to beaches…come live the Carlsbad lifestyle.

8_8337072_76698_bpo-76698-108Features include:

– 3 bedrooms plus 1 optional, 2 baths, 1653 square feet

– Distressed wide plank wood flooring

– New windows and doors throughout

– Gorgeous kitchen with granite, stainless appliances, custom cabinetry, raised ceiling,

movable island counter, added window and updated fixtures

– Crown molding in bedrooms, plantation shutters

– Lovely master suite with French doors to the yard, cedar plank built-in closet

– Italian porcelain extended shower in master bathroom

– Upgraded fixtures and custom paint throughout 25_8337089_76698_bpo-76698-125

– Pool-sized yard: raised deck with lagoon views, putting green, vegetable garden,

storage shed and large patio off kitchen

– RV parking

– Big, bright, open loft upstairs with ocean peek view balcony, Sunsetter electronic shade

and recently redone deck

– Room off loft – office, playroom, den, or add closet for another bedroom

– Newer roof (8 years old)

19_8337083_76698_bpo-76698-119– Garage laundry area, storage and workbench

– Fans

– No HOA or mello roos

– Adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon and trails

– Carlsbad schools – Aviara Oaks Elementary and Middle Schools are blocks away

– Stroll to shopping, dining, movies, coffee, grocery store, library and more

– Moments to beaches, transportation and everything Carlsbad has to offer

For more information and photos click here. Call Broker Rachel LaMar with questions or to schedule a showing at 760-310-9466. MLS# 160042727. OPEN SUNDAY, 8/7 1-4:00 PM


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New Listing: Upgraded Townhome in San Elijo Hills

July 21st, 2016

LaMar Real Estate is proud to welcome you to 1612 Avery Road, San Marcos. Offered at $489,000.

This beautifully upgraded, bright and open tri-level end unit townhome offers the largest floorplan in the complex, with great amenities and location. Features include a full bedroom and bathroom on the top floor, spacious kitchen with Corian counters and breakfast nook, custom paint throughout, designer tile flooring and carpeting, AC and attached 2 car garage. Gated front courtyard, mature trees and a wonderful community with pool and spa – located in the desirable Morgans Corner complex in the San Elijo Hills town center. Stroll to shopping, dining, parks and schools. 1_8325183_76376_EA-76376-101

Feature Include:

– 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 1740 square feet

– Bright and open floorplan

– Spacious kitchen with Corian counters, black appliances and breakfast nook

– Built-in tv/storage unit in living room

– Tile flooring and upgraded carpeting

8_8325190_76376_EA-76376-108– Attached 2 car garage

– Laundry room on second floor

– Gated front courtyard

– Refrigerator, washer and dryer included

– Category 5 wiring

– Air conditioning

– Ceiling fans

– Community pool and spa

– Award-winning San Marcos Elementary and Middle Schools blocks away 12_8325192_76376_EA-76376-112

– Walkable community – shopping, dining, schools, groceries, parks, trails

– Thousands of acres of trails and open space

– Community parks, sports fields and dog park

For more information and photos, and to view a virtual tour, please click here. To schedule a showing or for questions, please call Broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. CA BRE lic# 01399682.

Open Sunday, July 24, 2016 from 1:00-4:00.

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