Archive for August, 2009

The Best “Staycation” Ever!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

‚ÄúStaycations‚Äù seem to have been popular this summer, and my family was no exception. I wanted to share what a WONDERFUL time we had right here in our own neck of the woods. It was like being in Hawaii, without the plane flight and dinners that cost as much as a week’s worth of groceries.

Where did we go? The Hotel Del Coronado. dreamstime_2270730

I have lived in San Diego for 15 years and have been to the Del, but have not stayed there since I was a kid. I forgot what a fantastic resort it is! There were some great deals on rooms this summer, for starters. The Del has recently remodeled (again), and it is even better now.

We woke up in the morning and had breakfast on the terrace at Sheerwater. Sipping fresh juice with the ocean backdrop and a magnificent lawn full of flowers felt like being in Hawaii. A few mornings we decided to venture out for breakfast. There is a bagel place right across the street from the hotel, and there are many great breakfast places just a short walk up Orange Avenue. There are also some world-class restaurants to choose from for dinner.

The pool was fantastic. You can order lunch poolside, walk to a restaurant, or simply ascend the stairs and have lunch outside on the roof deck overlooking the beach.

The kids swam all day and there were other fun choices for them: a Kids Club (in lieu of setting your kids in there all day‚which is available‚there are various crafts offered each day for one hour intervals, like tye-dyeing t-shirts, scavenger hunts and frame making). There is also a henna tattoo station by the pool (my daughter loved this!)

henna2There is a GREAT teen club where your teens can play video games, pool, dance dance revolution and other fun things. They can pop in and out of there anytime once you have authorized it‚a great place for the teens to escape when they need their alone time.

For the adults there is a world-class spa and fun classes offered. The morning yoga class is refreshing and a great way to wake up before lounging around all day. One morning we rented bicycles and rode around the island‚it was a great time together as a family and we all had fun and were ready to jump in the pool when we returned.Coronado09

The Del has a new eatery called the Eno Wine Bar. It is a wine, cheese and chocolate bar. You can sit outside at a personal fire pit and watch the sunset while you dine on one of 50 delectable cheeses from around the world and a world-class wine collection. The chocolate pairings are also scrumptious.

There are so many other fun things to do if you are adventurous‚you can rent a Seadoo or a boat, play golf on the local course, take a ferry over to the downtown area and enjoy the sites and restaurants there, or enjoy the beautiful beach. The hotel offers s’mores on the beach a few nights a week, which you can enjoy around a campfire. There is a fantastic ice cream parlor on site that offers mix-ins and many choices. The shops are fun and there is something for everyone.

The Del is one of San Diego’s greatest treasures and a perfect place to get away. There is something for everyone, or you can elect to do nothing but relax. If you have not been, or have not visited in a long time, there couldn’t be a better time to visit.

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Expressions of Gratitude

Monday, August 17th, 2009

I recently received an email from a friend that really hit home. She asked if upon seeing members of the military, ‚Äúhave you ever wanted to say thank you, but didn’t, and later wished you had?‚Äù

dreamstime_5981667I know that personally every time I see a member of our military I have wondered how to say something to express my gratitude, but I never quite know what to say. ‚ÄúThank you‚Äù is nice, but sometimes you are in a hurry or they look to be in a hurry, or sometimes it seems like those words are not enough. Now there is a way to express your gratitude to these brave men and women in a way that will make them and you feel great‚it is a simple gesture and the creators are trying to spread the word.

Check out this video and then please pass it along!

http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/shortmovie.php

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Short Sale Hell–?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

What seems to be the problem with short sales these days? It seems that they are getting harder rather than easier.

Over the last several days I have spoken with numerous agents who have short sale listings. The general consensus is that the lenders are not responding to offers, give conflicting information when the agents call, and buyers are more frustrated than ever. This is crazy! With the government financial incentives and all the qualified buyers out there, along with the slack in inventory and the supposed huge cache of properties lenders have in their portfolios, why would a lender WANT to let a listed property sit on the market when it has offers?dreamstime_5335354

One theory is that the lenders may see the buying frenzy, the low inventory and the multiple offers and think that if they sit on the property eventually they will get a higher price.

This theory is hard to justify, though, as the lender has to eat the mortgage and maintenance costs while that property is sitting, which surely (unless some all-cash investors came along and closed with substantially high prices, creating higher comparable sold properties) will not put more money in the lender’s pocket. Even if some all-cash buyers came along and closed at much higher prices than the comps, it would take time for those properties to close and become comparables. Time is money, folks.

dreamstime_6795077Another theory is that the lenders are still just understaffed and overwhelmed. This doesn’t make much sense to me either, as many lenders have reported hiring increases in their loss mitigation departments in the last year.

Really, how long does it take to read an offer on a property and pull comps, then sign off on a piece of paper and fax it to the agent? It is surely a benefit to the lender to get the properties off the market that they chose to list, right? You would think they would be thrilled at the prospect.

The bottom line is that for whatever reason the lenders are sitting on large quantities of vacant properties, or properties that are still occupied by previous owners who have not paid the mortgage in months (yes, this is a reality and I personally know people living rent-free in their foreclosed homes). It is time to sell the properties that are on the market now and then slowly release new properties to feed the buyer pool.

The benefit to getting these homes sold is obviously helping to heal the housing market, which in turn helps heal the economy. We need stronger pressure on these lenders to get them to commit to healing the economy. This benefits the lenders as well. Getting rid of their inventory allows them to open the channels to lending money once again, which stimulates purchasing power and heals.

Buyers, agents and realtor organizations need to rally congress, representatives and community leaders. Write letters, make phone calls. This is the biggest and easiest way to help the economy get back on track. The housing market is an enormous piece of the economic puzzle. Let’s find a way to push the lenders to step up and take responsibility for healing.

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