San Diego Calendar of Events for March 2015

February 27th, 2015

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Get Ready for A California Foreclosure Wave

February 24th, 2015

There is a big wave coming to Southern California and it will not be found in the ocean. Foreclosures have hit their highest level in two years and should begin to affect real estate inventory soon, at least for a short period of time.dreamstime_5042227

According to new data released this month by RealtyTrac, one of the largest real estate data firms, the number of homes repossessed by banks in California in December reached the highest levels since December 2012 – nearly triple.

California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, which is about a year old, has prolonged the foreclosure process for banks, who must now abide by the many protections provided homeowners under the bill, and now that the banks have had time to adjust to the new rules they are going after repossessions.

Notices of default, the first indication that a home is about to enter the foreclosure process, are currently at the same level they have been for the last six months, but will soon rise if all indications are correct.

Real estate agents and homebuyers will soon start to see more foreclosures and short sales popping up, just in time for the Spring selling season. But keep in mind that these sales are not the bargains they once were – even though banks want these properties off their books, they want to sell the homes for value as well. (click here for more information on the changing value of short sales).

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5 Ways to Best Sell a Tenant-Occupied Home

February 20th, 2015

Selling a home the right way can be tricky – you need to make sure the home is clean, clutter-free, shows well and is staged properly. You should  have beautiful professional photos and the home should be inviting and bright…a lot to contemplate when preparing for sale. If the home is occupied by tenants these tasks can be even more challenging. Here are 5 things you can do to make sure your home looks great with tenants living there. spring-cleaning

1.  Make assessments with the tenants. Before listing you should walk through the home with the tenants and your real estate agent. Make a list of things that need to be done in order to get great photos and optimal showing results – is there any clutter that needs to be removed? Does anything need to be remedied? Make a list for the tenant and then offer to help them out to get those items resolved.

2.  Include the tenants in the planning. Make sure you discuss with the tenants the ideal time(s) for showings – get them involved so that they do not feel their privacy is invaded. Find out if they would like to be notified by the agents themselves of potential showings, or if they prefer to have daily times where agents can just go and show (for example, if they will be at work). If there are any pets make sure to get instructions on what agents need to do to assure the pets are safe during showings. Consideration goes a long way and will make your tenant feel their needs are being addressed.

3.  Pay for a cleaning service. Tell your tenant that you will be paying for the home to be cleaned. If your tenants are messy you may need to have the cleaning service come every week or bi-weekly during the showing period. Most tenants will like this because they do not have to clean themselves. Make a deal with them that you will do this if they promise to make beds, put away clothing and food items, and keep everything clutter-free. If the home is carpeted you should also have the carpets cleaned, as well as the windows.

4.  Rent reduction. Many tenants have no desire to help you sell the property because it means they will need to move. In order to make sure they keep the house clean and show-ready you need to make it worth their while to do so. The best way to do this is to reduce their rent during the time the home is being marketed and shown. The tenant will agree to keep the home tidy and de-cluttered daily, in exchange for a reduced rent. This can be a win-win for everyone.

5.  Last resort: termination of tenancy. Some tenants just won’t cooperate no matter how much you do to help them. Rather than try to show the home in a poor state, if all else fails you will need to provide your tenants with written notice to terminate the lease (if it is possible to do so according to the terms of your lease). If the lease is still in effect and cannot be terminated it may be advantageous to offer the tenants a monetary sum to terminate the lease early. Make sure you speak with a real estate/tenant and landlord attorney in your area to understand the law and your rights as a landlord, as well as those of your tenants - you should do this before listing the home if you have a lease that is still in effect.

Over the years I have sold properties with tenants – from cooperative tenants to those who lived in filthy conditions and made nasty comments to potential buyers about the home (those tenants started out cooperative and said they were going to keep the place clean – they had to be evicted eventually). In general it is easier to sell properties without tenants, but if you have people who are willing to help out it can be done and it can be a positive situation for everyone if you take steps to be considerate and plan everything out.

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How Real Estate Compares as a Long Term Investment

February 17th, 2015

This is a very informative and helpful infographic showing that real estate is the best long term asset in America over time. Thank you to Jimmy Moncrief at Real Estate Finance HQ for the charts!

2015-02-17_09212

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5 Ways to Plan for a Successful Out-of-Area Move

February 11th, 2015

The best way to prepare for a move from outside of an area involves a bit of planning, and can start months or even years prior to moving…the more time you have to research and learn about the different cities and neighborhoods and what they have to offer, the better. I always advise taking time to go through the following steps so that when it comes time to find the right home you are not only prepared, but can feel confident that the neighborhoods you have selected are the right ones for you. images

1. Find a great real estate agent. Yes, it is important to find an agent who is familiar with the areas you are considering, and to do so early in the process. If you do not know which cities or neighborhoods may fit your criteria an agent can help you narrow down areas. You may find properties online that look great, but a local agent will know things about areas and neighborhoods that you may not learn online. Use your agent to help narrow down the possibilities by creating a list of “must-haves” and a list of “desires.”

2.  Start researching cities and important criteria. When planning a move the initial research will be tedious but should be done online. Before even looking at homes you should research areas – cities, specific neighborhoods. Look at maps and find out the proximity of neighborhoods to important places. If you do not know whether an area has homes that fit your budget it is a good idea to get help from your real estate agent. She or he may also be able to provide you with area maps that highlight different housing developments, so that you can see where they are in relation to important places.

Of course there are important criteria that you will insist upon, like being close to “good” schools, shopping, transportation or to your place of employment. Once you have narrowed down specific areas it is time to investigate these things. You can start online if you are not currently in the area, and when you visit you can of course expand your knowledge by driving around and visiting places that may sway your decision one way or the other. If schools are important to you then visit school websites, check out test scores and parent comments, and when you visit you can meet with school staff and even speak to parents to get feedback on the school.

checklist3.  Compare and contrast the differences in the areas that meet your needs. This is where your agent can help as well, especially if you live out of the area. Personally I like to put everything in writing, and I advise my clients make lists of each area they like. The list can be live, meaning that it may constantly change as more information is presented to you or as you visit. Make notes on different neighborhoods and even floorplans – whether you see them online or in person, and keep those lists updated as you move through the process.

4.  Visit the areas and spend time driving around, checking out neighborhoods. I always recommend doing so well before you are ready to move, even it it may be far off, because the way you perceive different neighborhoods can of course be different in person. Drive by homes in neighborhoods in the areas you have identified. I suggest visiting neighborhoods that appeal to you several times – in the morning and afternoon – to check things such as noise levels, whether residents are home during the day, etc.

5.  Make a list of your favorite neighborhoods and start visiting homes for sale. Even if your move is far off, it is a great idea to start looking at homes once you have narrowed your search down to a few neighborhoods. This way you will see what floorplans appeal to you and fit your needs. This makes it a lot easier when it does come time to purchase – you will be much more prepared and will be able to keep up with sale prices and comparables in the areas – all of which will benefit you when you are ready to purchase.

Buying a home should not be a rash decision, even if you need to move quickly. Use your time wisely to research and use your agent to help you. When it comes time to make an offer you will feel knowledgeable and confident because you did your research.

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Home Values Remain Strong

February 3rd, 2015

The latest CoreLogic report shows that home values rose 5.0% in December nationwide, compared to a year ago. This figure includes distressed sales. For the entire year of 2014 home prices increased 7.4%, which is down from the 11.1% increase in 2013.

This news is great for the housing market, and shows that the housing market was definitely on a healing path in 2014. Many wonder whether it will continue as we move through 2015, and there are many opposing views.

It is important to caution, as I always do, that to truly understand what is happening in the real estate market you need to study your own specific market, as of course the market will vary depending on area (for example, homes in the mid-west may not have the same trajectory as homes in San Diego, California). Looking at San Diego’s market as we head into February, it looks like the market remains strong and prices continue to either rise slightly or remain steady. Demand is definitely growing, and at least personally it seems listings are selling a lot quicker.

Below is a chart for the median price of homes sold in San Diego County up through January 1, 2015. You can see prices climbing back up after a (typical) seasonal dip during the holiday period.

Here is a chart showing San Diego County inventory since March of 2014. Again, after a typical seasonal dip over the holiday season, we can see inventory rates starting to climb back up as we head into February and toward the Spring season.

There are currently 5,373 active properties on the market today in San Diego County, and 3,634 pending properties. Since January 1, 1,595 properties have closed. During the same period last year (January 1 through February 3) 1,894 properties closed escrow. If you would like more data that is specifically tailored to where you live or would like to live, please contact me and I will be happy to send you detailed reports on your specific area.

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San Diego Calendar of Events for February 2015

January 28th, 2015

Happy February!

Museum Month: Half-Off Admission 
Macy’s Museum Month is back this February!  San Diego residents and visitors are invited to enjoy half-price admission at 45 museums during February. To take advantage of this great cost savings you must pick up a Museum Month Pass at any Macy’s store in San Diego, Temecula or Imperial Valley.
Date: February 1 – 28, 2015
Time: refer to website
Location: refer to website
Red Trolley Classic Criterium
Around and around they go! Amateur and professional cyclists as well as wheelchair athletes will race upon a circular course to see who is the fastest.
Date: February 01, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Sorrento Mesa (Waple & Hunnekens St.)
For more info.: contact Sean B. @ 619.865.3389
Culture & Cocktails: Havana Nights
Open-air bazaars, ocean-front walkways, bright colors, crumbling colonial architecture, and salsa music booming through the streets.
Date: February 5, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: Members – Free, Presale – $20, At Door – $25
Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For more call 619.232.7931 or
Farmers Insurance Open 2015
Mark your calendars now, because one of golf’s biggest events of the year, the Farmers Insurance Open, returns to San Diego in 2015. Torrey Pines Golf Course, 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd.
Date: February 5 – 8, 2015
Time:  refer to website
Location: Torrey Pines Golf Course
SDJT Presents: Flight of the Lawnchair Man

Around and around they go! Amateur and professional cyclists as well as wheelchair athletes will race upon a circular course to see who is the fastest.

Date: February 6 – 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Price: $11 – $15
Location: 3366 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92103
For more info.: call 619.239.8355 or visit juniortheatre.com
Mermaid San Diego Run 5K, 10K and Half Marathon 
This running and walking event is designed specifically for women who are looking for a supportive exercise experience.
Date: February 07, 2015
Time:  7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Price:  $35 (5K) ~ $45 (10K) ~ $55 (Half Marathon)
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: call Carlo Facchino @ 408.314.1718
Cooking Class and Dinner: Romance on the Beach

Join Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver for an exciting cooking demonstration where you’ll learn to tips and tricks to a three-course menu featuring Local Organic Mushroom Gateau, Brittany Lobster en Cocotte and Valrhona Lava Cake.

Date: February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Price: $75 per person
Location: 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037
For more info.: call 858.459.7222 or visit marineroom.com
Circus Vargas 11-Day Event
Come to the circus! Enter the big tent where there is lively music and thrilling exploits of human stars rendering unparalleled artistry and comical acts. See silly clowns, trampoline acrobatics, balancing acts, and aerial ballet. There is one show today.
Date: February 12, 2015
Time:  7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Price: $20 – $65
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: call 877.468.3861 or visit www.circusvargas.com
Valentine’s Day Weekend Cruises

Find romance between the sea and sky with San Diego Valentine’s dinner and brunch cruises from Hornblower. You’ll enjoy spectacular Bay views with famous San Diego landmarks, wonderful food to choose from with our special Valentine’s Day menus and music for dancing.

Date: February 13 – 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: Starting at $105 per adult
Location: 1800 North Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.686.8715
Gaslamp Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is a celebration of Fat Tuesday as held in New Orleans. This Mardi Gras is open to adults (age 21+) mingling in masked revelry. Be sure to catch handfuls of shiny beads as they’re tossed from a float parade!
Date: February 17, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM – 11:59 PM
Price: $35 – $45
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: contact Laurel McFarlane @ 619.233.5008
Chinese New Year Celebration – Year of the Sheep

It’s the Year of the Sheep! A celebration of the Chinese New Year will take place in the late evening to early morning in the Mid-City area of San Diego. The celebration presents traditional Chinese music, good cheer, and the flash and crackle of fireworks and a performance of the Dragon Dance.

Date: February 18 – 19, 2015
Time: 11:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Location: Indo-Chinese Association of San Diego
For more info.: contact Stanley Ting @ 619.717.7062
Rock in the Park – Venice
Venice’s trademarks are incredible harmonies, personal lyrics and high-energy shows. Their sound is at once familiar and fresh, their classic rock and folk influences apparent in their pop sensibilities.
Date: February 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Price: In Advance – $24 – $27 At the Door – $32
Location: 1875 El Prado Balboa Park
For more info.: call 619.238.1233 or visit www.rhfleet.org/events/rock-park
San Diego Lunar New Year Tet Festival 3-Day Event 

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, a Vietnamese cultural festival will take place to showcase homeland traditions. Come and experience ancestral rituals and Vietnamese dance and music performances. You can also shop for merchandise, stop for lunch, and watch a firecracker show.

Date: February 20, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Mira Mesa Community Park (8575 New Salem St.)
For more info.: contact Jake Pham @ 858.231.7508 or visit www.sdtet.com
The 12th Annual Guacamole Bowl 
Who Makes The Best Guacamole? The Guacamole Bowl is open to the Public who are invited to come out and sample all the great Guacamole. A $5 admission fee will get you a bag of Mission Tortilla Chips and all the Guacamole you can eat. You will also have the opportunity to vote for your favorite recipe and select the finalists in each division.
Date: February 21, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Price: $5 admission
Location: Balboa Park Club – 2150 Pan American Rd. West
For more info.: visit www.guacamolebowl.com
Mardi Gras Race

With a Mardi Gras theme, this athletic event offers a family friendly 15K, 5K, and a Kids Dash. All finishers who complete the course will get a medal! Participants are sure to enjoy the ocean views along the flat paved course.

Date: February 22, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Price: $60 (15K & 5K) ~ $15 (Kids Dash)
Location: refer to website
For more info.: contact Rosemarie Gibson @ 619.491.0677
ScholarShare’s Toddler Time: Finger Paint Friday

Leave your mark on the heart of a loved-one! Get messy designing a Valentine’s-themed artwork.

Date: February 27, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Price: $5 admission
Location: 200 W Island Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.233.8792
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

When the four Pevensie children stumble upon an old wardrobe, little do they know, that they will discover the magical world of Narnia. Full of mystical creatures, talking animals, and great escapes, this action-packed story by C.S Lewis depicts the triumph of Aslan, the great lion and ruler of Narnia, over the White Witch. Join the adventure as four brave kids, one great lion, and an entire kingdom fight for what is right.

Date: February 27 – March 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Price: $11 – $15
Location: 1650 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.239.8355 or visit juniortheatre.com
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Choosing a High School In Carlsbad

January 24th, 2015

Residents living in the City of Carlsbad have several choices when it comes to high schools. Parts of southeastern Carlsbad are in the San Dieguito High School District, such as residents of La Costa Valley and neighborhoods in the La Costa Canyon High School vicinity, but for those living in other parts of the city the choices are worth investigating, as each offers something different for your student.

images-2Carlsbad High School: Carlsbad High, or CHS, is a public high school that has been around since 1957, having just undergone major redevelopment that was completed in 2012. It is the main high school in Carlsbad and is home to over 3,000 students, grades 9-12. CHS offers a typical public high school curriculum and is on a semester system, with finals in January and June. CHS classes are split up, so that a student takes 3 classes every other day, alternating with 3 different classes on the remaining days. Each week switches off, so there are “odd” days – where students take periods 1, 3 and 5; on “even” days students take classes for periods 2, 4 and 6. Each class is 2 hours long.

CHS offers many different electives, a large athletic program, and honors/AP classes. It also has strong music program, award-winning dance, choir and dramatic arts programs (including drama, television, production, and art). The football program is a big part of the school. If your student does well in a traditional school this is a great place for him or her. Click here to visit the CHS website.

Sage Creek High School: Sage Creek is the newest public high school in Carlsbad, imagescurrently in it’s second year. At the present time it houses only freshman and sophomores, but will have a junior class in the Fall of 2015 and a senior class in the Fall of 2016. Sage Creek does not currently have a large athletics program, but plans to have one in the future as the student body grows. There are some sports available at the current time, as well as drama and other classes.

Sage Creek runs on the trimester system, with each trimester lasting 10 weeks and finals at the end. Many current students like the fast pace of this system, which mirrors that of many universities. Sage is already known for it’s dedication to academic excellence, and many of the brightest educators comprise the staff. At the present time students feel as if they are attending a private school, due to the small student body and class sizes. It is a great opportunity for students who want to be part of a growing school where they can start future traditions. Click here to visit the SCHS website.

Carlsbad Seaside Academy: Also known as CSA, Seaside is not as well known because it is a self-study school. Created for those students who needed to get a high school education but had other interests that were making that a challenge (skateboard/snowboard  champions – Sean White was a student, professional ballerinas and other students who needed time to dedicate to other areas have attended), CSA has become more popular in the last few years as an alternative to or in conjunction with a traditional high school education.

CSA students meet with their assigned teacher every few weeks, are given work for their classes, and complete it on their own in time for the next meeting, where they review it and discuss with the teacher. Classes like science have additional labs that students must attend. CSA is not open for general admission – students must apply. Students can also be enrolled as concurrent students, where they attend both CSA and either CHS or Sage – upon approval. It is a great alternative for those who do not learn well in traditional systems, or for those who have schedules or situations that make attending traditional school difficult. Click here to visit their website.

Carlsbad Village Academy (CVA): CVA is a continuation school for those who need to recover credits toward high school graduation. Students are allowed to earn up to 90 credits a year via the trimester system, which allows them to either transition back to conventional high school or remain at CVA and graduate. For more information click here to visit the website for CVA.

images-1Pacific Ridge School: This is a private school located in the Bressi Ranch neighborhood of Carlsbad, housing students in grades 7-12. This school is a top-rated school that offers exceptional learning and access to sports, the arts, clubs and annual travel. All the classes are connected and the teachers relate them to the real world, using seminar style learning, otherwise known as “Harkness” learning. If you are looking for a completely integrated learning style where your student will be immersed in discussions that will teach them to use their voices to make a difference, this is a school you must visit. Class sizes average 15 students and push the button on both creativity and interest. For more information visit their website by clicking here.

Other high school options: There are other high school options outside of the city limits, including several more private schools and home school programs. Depending on your child there is a program that will be just right, so investigate and visit schools before making a choice.

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How To Get the Highest Appraisal Value for Your Listing

January 17th, 2015

Appraisals are getting “tighter” and soon even more deals could begin crashing as buyers and sellers haggle the run up in asking prices. Understanding  ( to an appraiser) your  listing is simply a $500 appraisal fee, to you it’s a 3-6% commission; so by being proactive you will minimize the risks of losing large commission checks !   images

Quick Background on Appraisals

Dodd-Frank created a standardized federal licensing process for loan officers (“L/O’s) and appraisers. All appraisals must be performed by an independent third party (“arm’s length”) appraisal service.

The appraiser’s job is to inspect the property, compare it to similar (sold) properties, in closest proximity (up to one mile) and in the most recent time frame (up 6 months). The appraiser uses mathematical formulas (primarily price per sq. ft.) to derive a market value.  Pretty straight forward, until we get to amenities -then it becomes very subjective. One appraiser can value a fireplace at $8,000 and another at $15,000 or a view at $35,000 and another at $100,000.

There is no effective way to determine which appraiser is most accurate.

What Agents Can Do

dreamstime_988060If the appraisal is going to be “tight” there are actions you can take:

1.  When the appraisal is ordered make sure the loan officer lists you as the only “property access” contact. If the home is vacant, take off the lock box (and enter that notation into the MLS).  This guarantees the appraiser will call you for access to the property. Meeting the appraiser at the property is an opportunity to present the most up to date comps.

2.  If it feels appropriate, walk the appraiser thru the highlights of the property.

3.  Be friendly and helpful but NOT pushy!!! Appraisers are very sensitive about pressure to “hit the value”.

4.  Are there listings currently closing? Call the other listing agents and get info on when they are due to close. Better to delay the appraisers’ appt. until another home (with a higher value) closes a day or two later.

5.  Don’t rely on the MLS,  call your title service (daily if necessary) to check on a pending recording. As you know: It’s not unusual for MLS data “to lag” several days!

6.  FHA and VA appraisals often focus on more on “minutiae” than conventional Fannie/Freddie appraisals. Minor repairs ( i.e. leaky faucets – missing lite bulbs-etc)  can require an appraiser to come out for a 2nd time to “sign off” on the completed repairs) and delay your escrow’s closing by days/weeks and add several hundred dollars to the buyer’s costs. So be prepared to (pre) employ a handyman to fix small items (In reality, buyers will want many items repaired anyway).

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This helpful article was written and reprinted with permission by Dan Dobbs. You can visit his website at http://danieldobbs.org/ I felt this was a great article to share it because it provides great information to agents and sellers alike, which can help make sure all is done to assure a successful appraisal.

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New Listing: Spacious and Upgraded Encinitas Townhome

January 15th, 2015

This beautiful recently upgraded Seagate Village townhome has an abundance of natural light, two generous bedrooms with attached bathrooms, private patio with attached 2 car garage, numerous upgrades, and is situated in a desirable community with few resales. You will love this tranquil, tree-lined complex filled with meandering pathways and chirping birds, community pool, recreation center, tennis courts, play area, and walking paths along the outskirts. Offered at $459,00021_image21_mls

Features Include:

– 1097 sq ft, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

– Upgraded kitchen with custom glass tiled backsplash

– New stainless appliances (oven/cooktop, dishwasher,  and microwave). Stainless refrigerator.

– New porcelain whitewashed plank flooring downstairs

03_image03_mls- Travertine tile flooring in bathrooms, entry and kitchen

– Travertine tiled shower in master bathroom

– Generously sized bedrooms with attached bathrooms and ample closet space

– New fixtures throughout and canned lighting

– New furnace and water heater

– Lots of natural light throughout home 12_image12_mls

– Private patio for BBQ, garden or whatever you desire

– 2 car garage attached to patio with private entrance to home

– Encinitas and San Dieguito Union High School Districts

– Located close to everything Encinitas offers – shopping, dining, parks, entertainment, schools, transportation and just moments to Encinitas and Cardiff beaches and downtown areas

Please contact listing broker for more information: Rachel LaMar, LaMar Real Estate 760-310-9466. CA BRE license #01399682. For more information please click here.

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