Archive for January, 2012

February Calendar of Events for San Diego

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

February 3
Fun Friday Nites
Parents can have a “date night” while children enjoy a night of games, crafts, pizza and movies with friends at the San Elijo Recreation Center. Program is supervised by trained recreation leaders. For ages: 4-12 years. Cost: $20/child; $5 sibling discount.
Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: San Elijo Recreation Center, 1105 Elfin Forest Rd, San Marcos

February 4
El Cajon Ford Youth Fishing Derby
Poway’s annual Youth Fishing Derby for ages 15 and under. Fishing begins shortly after 6:00 am and continues until noon, followed by a free barbecue lunch. The awards ceremony and raffle drawing will begin at approximately 1:00 pm. Prizes will be awarded to age division winners, raffle ticket winners, and to the kid with the best fishing story.
Time: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Lake Poway, 14644 Lake Poway Rd, Poway

February 9 – 19
22nd Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival
The San Diego Jewish Film Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious
Jewish Film Festivals in North America. Annual presentation of American and international feature films, including documentaries and short subjects that explore
the Jewish experience.
Time: Refer to website for schedule
Location: Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center/ Jacobs Family Campus,
4126 Executive Dr, La Jolla
For more information visit

February 11
Mermaid San Diego 5K, 10K & Half Marathon
This event is an all women’s 5K and 10K run/walk & half-marathon that travels along the shoreline of East Mission Bay and on the roadway around Fiesta Island. See website for admission fees.
Time: 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: South Tecolote Shores, Mission Bay
For more information visit

February 11,
For the Love of Chocolate & SweetArt Festival
3rd Annual “For the Love of Chocolate” festival will take place in
Downtown Escondido. Sample locally brewed beer and wines, paired with
San Diego’s finest chocolatiers. Cost: $20 per person; includes 10 beer or wine and chocolate pairings. Admission to Sweet Street is free.
Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Downtown Escondido, Grand Avenue

February 12
Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K
The flat and fast course is perfect for the casual runner or couple who are looking for a fun event or for the serious racer who is looking for the perfect course for a 10K PR. See website for registration fees & contact information.
Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Tidelands Park, Coronado
For more information visit

February 12
San Dieguito Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk
USAT&F certified course, sanctioned event. Beautiful, scenic course through
Rancho Santa Fe: starts and ends at San Dieguito County Park. Long sleeve t-shirts to all participants. Medals to all Half Marathon & 5K finishers. Post-race merchandise drawings and refreshments.
Time: 8:00 am
Location: San Dieguito County Park, Rancho Santa Fe
For more information visit

February 18
K9 Cancer Cure Walk – San Diego
Help to find a cure for Canine cancer. There is a 1 mile walk, vendors, guest speakers, and gift bags. All the proceeds benefit the Morris Animal Foundation.
Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Walnut Grove Park, 1950 Sycamore Drive, San Marcos
For more information visit

February 18
Polar Plunge
Totally insane individuals plunge into the ocean to raise money
for Special Olympics.This event is sponsored by the
Special Olympics Southern California.
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Oceanside Pier Amphitheater, Oceanside
For more information visit

February 18
9th Annual Little Italy Carnevale
Venetian masquerade event in Little Italy mirrors the one held in Venice, Italy, as the celebration before Lent. People will be dressed in traditional Venetian Carnevale attire and entertainment includes music, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and more. Free admission.
Time: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Little Italy, Downtown San Diego, India Street between Hawthorn & Cedar Streets
For more information visit

February 21
Mardi Gras 2012 Gaslamp Quarter
An adult only (age 21+) Mardi Gras. Masked revelry in the streets. Entertainment on multiple stages, masquerade parade at 9:30 pm, International DJ talent, themed areas, and beads–beads–beads! See website for details and locations.
Time: 5:30 pm – Midnight
Location: Gaslamp Quarter, Downtown San Diego

February 21
Hillcrest Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras for adults only (age 21+). Dress up in colorful attire and lots of beads, and party down. Dance in the streets, mingle, drink beer and enjoy games, rides, and
a laser light show.
Time: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Location: Hillcrest, University Ave (between 1st & 4th Aves),
3rd Ave (between Washington & Robinson Sts)
For more information visit

February 24 – 26
Silver Bay Kennel Club Dog Show
The Silver Bay Kennel Club dog show is one of the largest in the United States. Open to the general public. Free admission. Please, no pets. Only dogs participating in the show are allowed.
Time: Fri: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sat: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar
For more information visit

February 24 – 26
Heritage Weekend Festival and Parade
The Heritage Day Festival and Parade is a grassroots community affair with many free activities for the entire family to enjoy. The parade features two-minute presentations from over 60 parade entrants.
Time: Festival & Parade: Sat 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Abraham Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Ave, San Diego
For more information visit

February 25
9th Annual Guacamole Bowl Cook-Off Contest
Guacamole lovers, feast your mouths on this!! Well, it’s not exactly a cook-off, but more of a whip-up. Teams will come together and use their own guacamole recipes that will be entered into a contest for the best tasting concoction. Come hungry and vote for your favorite! Admission $5.00 – includes a bag of chips and a vote of your choice. Benefits “Sports for Exceptional Athletes.”
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park, 2150 Pan American Rd West, San Diego
For more information visit

February 26
San Diego 2012 Muscle Walk
Muscular Dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases in which the muscles that control movement progressively weaken. Participants who join this 5K event are encouraged to obtain pledges or donations to raise funds for services through the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Admission: Participant pledge/donation.
Route: Crown Point Shores > boardwalk > Ingraham Street Bridge >Riveria Dr. > Crown Point Shores.
Time: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Crown Point, Mission Bay, 3600 Corona Oriente Rd, San Diego
For more information visit
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Recently Upgraded Coastal Carlsbad Home

Friday, January 27th, 2012

If you are looking for a home that is bright, clean, close to the beach and has been recently upgraded to the hilt, I have the home for you! My new listing at 1477 Sapphire Drive in Carlsbad is in the wonderful gated community of Mar Brisa, just moments from the beach, dining, shopping, walking trails and in the wonderful Carlsbad school district.

Here are some of the amenities this home offers:

•4 bedroom plus optional bedroom downstairs (or den/office), 2336 square feet, great floorplan

•  Granite kitchen counters

•  New Travertine flooring downstairs with decorative inlays

•  New custom stone floor-to-ceiling fireplace in family room

•  New hardwood flooring in master bedroom – which has ocean peek-a-boo views and plenty of closet space

•  New carpeting upstairs

•  Surround sound system downstairs with recessed speakers, and the family room is wired for Apple TV

•  3 car garage with built-in storage

• Private, nicely landscaped backyard with fire pit

• Newer kitchen appliances, and refrigerator, washer and dryer convey with sale

• Gated community with community pool, two spas, tot lot and exercise lot

If you would like to schedule a showing for this home, please call me at 760-310-9466. For more information and to view more photos and see the virtual tour, please click here.


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When Do You Truly Own the Home You Purchased?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I read an astonishing statistic today: Zillow reported that about 47% of homebuyers think they own a home once they have signed the purchase contract. Not only did this shock me, but it really made me upset. Someone – the agent – is not communicating. This is way too important to not discuss with buyers, and we have to have that conversation with them, every time!

After reading the statistic and tweeting about it, one of my colleagues responded that his clients changed the locks on their soon-to-be new house, before the close of escrow.

I decided to have a look at our residential purchase contract to find language that specifically states WHEN the buyer owns the home for which the contract was written. I could not find any, but there are numerous mentions of escrow and what happens during that period. I suppose those who drafted these contracts either assumed the buyers would figure it out that escrow must actually close before they become home owners, or assumed their agents would explain this.

While I think maybe the contract drafters may want to consider including a layman’s paragraph about actual ownership and and what point that is established, it is also extremely important for the agents to be sure to educate their buyers. Whether or not my buyers want to read it, I briefly explain what is on each page as they are signing, and always suggest they read it.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you are a real estate agent, you need to be candid with your clients. Explain everything, even if you think your clients already know it, or think it is silly you should do so. Buyers: if you do not understand something please ask your agent – that is their job, they have a fiduciary relationship with you and keeping you informed is of utmost importance.

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San Diego Home Sales for 2011

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The numbers are in! Below are the home sale statistics for San Diego in 2011. If you would like a .pdf copy of the entire chart, please email me at and I will be happy to send them to you. Thank you to title rep extraordinaire, Roxanne Kelemen with Advantage Title for this data.


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Is the Internet Doomed?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you don’t listen to the news and do not know about SOPA and PIPA, especially if you are in the real estate industry or are a buyer or seller, you need to understand what it is and how it might effect you.

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA , Protect IP Act, threaten the entire internet, and will have a big impact on how we use it. The bills, backed by the entertainment and music industry, as well as other big companies, will allow for the control of content on the internet, in order to prevent piracy. If you have a website and you post copyrighted content on your site, your site could be SHUT DOWN! It could be something as simple as posting a family photo on Facebook, where there is something in the background that is copyrighted, or posting a video on YouTube, where a copyrighted song is playing in the background – Facebook and YouTube could be shut down.

For Realtors, who rely on content sharing daily through multiple listing services, as well as photos and videos, this could be bad news. It would effect the consumer’s ability to search for homes, see videos and photos, and visit real estate websites. I have no doubt that the majority of real estate blog sites would be shut down under this new legislation, as well as millions of other blog sites. I know that to go through the hundreds of blogs and photos on my own blog site would be an exhausting task, and that there is a chance I might miss something that is copyrighted. Could I afford to have my website and blogsites shut down? NO!! I would likely have to find a new career.

Many websites and blogsites went black today in protest.

SOPA and PIPA are scheduled to be voted on by Congress on January 24. I urge you to call, email and write your local Congresspeople to tell them you are against these bills. The entire internet is at risk.

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How Do I Buy a Foreclosure?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I have had several clients recently ask how to purchase a foreclosure property, and it is a great question. Oftentimes buyers do not differentiate between the purchase of a foreclosure, a pre-foreclosure, and a post-foreclosure. Let’s take a look at the different ways to purchase property in various stages of foreclosure:

1. Auction (the one true way to “buy a foreclosure”). If you want to buy a foreclosure this is the typical way to do so. Auctions are definitely tricky and you need to understand the process and what you may be getting into. There are several things you really need to understand before going to auction – for explanation read this article. I usually do not recommend auctions to my clients, as there are some caveats (oftentimes you cannot inspect the property first, you do not receive any disclosures, you may be bidding against experienced auction-goers, etc.) If you do decide to go to an auction make sure you are well prepared.

2. Short sales (aka pre-foreclosures). A large percentage of foreclosure-related sales are sold via short sales or lender owned listings. Purchasing a short sale can be a good way to get a better price on a home, but the buyer has to have no aversion to waiting to close escrow – sometimes as long as 3-6 months. The good thing about a short sale is that you will get to inspect the property, and usually you will be provided with disclosures from the owner. For more information on short sales and how they work, you can visit the short sale information tab on my website. I have also written numerous blogs about short sales.

3. Lender-owned/REO (aka post-foreclosures). REO (real estate owned) properties are those that are owned by the lenders who hold the note. They have already gone through the foreclosure process and are now active in the market. Most often, these properties are priced below comparable sold homes, and often the price is reduced every so often if the property has not sold. Post foreclosure properties can also be owned by “flippers,” who purchased the property at auction, did some work, and are reselling it for profit.

The good news then is that many of these homes can be purchased at a savings. The not so good news is that buyers will not likely receive disclosures, as the bank obviously never lived in the property. However, the purchase process is like that of a normal sale – buyers are able to view the property, obtain inspections and reports, and exercise due diligence to their satisfaction with the property condition.

What about all those foreclosure websites? Foreclosure websites can be helpful, but honestly if you have an experienced agent s/he can do the research for you, saving you money in subscriptions. If you are focusing on a particular neighborhood, your agent can research the neighborhood via the public records, and find out who is delinquent, and which properties have notices of default or auction dates filed. If the property is not yet listed as a short sale your agent can see if the owner is open to doing so, allowing you to write an offer and have it presented to the bank. You can also find out auction dates (which often get postponed – the new dates do not necessarily list on the public records, but your agent can do further research). If you are a skilled auction attendee and purchase a lot of foreclosed properties this way, subscribing to one of these sites is a good idea.

There is no magic bullet that will get you a screaming deal on any of these properties. But if you do your homework you can likely acquire nice home at a savings. If you are not afraid of the challenge these can all be great ways to buy your next home. Make sure you have an experienced agent to help you if you are buying a short sale or REO property. If you have any questions about foreclosure please do not hesitate to post them in the comment section below, or email me at

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Real Estate News REcap for January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

There is a lot of news out there in the real estate market, and much of it is very positive in pointing toward a market recovery. I am not putting a spin on things – this is what is going on now and the news looks good.

Mortgage Delinquencies Down. The number of mortgage delinquencies is lower than it was back in January of 2010 – 25% lower, according to LPS (Lender Processing Services). What does this mean? Many say this means the market is starting to recover, and they are predicting a decent year for housing. With less delinquencies there will be fewer foreclosures. The states with the highest percentage of non-current loans are Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. Those with the lowest percentage of non-current loans are North Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana. You can read the entire report here.

Mortgage Applications Rise 4.5%. Continuing on with the premise that the market is recovering, mortgage applications are on the rise, according the the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing also rose, and with low interest rates continuing it could be a boom to the Spring home buying season. Click here to read the entire story posted by Housing Wire.

Lowest Reported Lender Owned Inventory Since 2007. Lender owned inventory, or REO properties, has dropped 34% since 2010, and is at the lowest rate since 2007, according to a year-end report by Realty Trac. 804,423 homes were repossessed by lenders in 2011.

Fannie Mae Extends Mortgage Forbearance Program for Unemployed Borrowers. Fannie Mae just released new guidelines to help unemployed borrowers. The servicer will reduce or suspend mortgage payments to those who qualify, for a specified period of up to 6 months if requirements are met. At the end of the period the servicer will evaluate to see if the borrower is eligible for up to another 6 month extension. No foreclosures will be filed during these forbearance periods. The program is slated to begin March 1, but servicers are being encouraged to begin helping borrowers right away.

And some California real estate news…

Keep Your Home California Program Adds More Lenders. Keep Your Home California, the program dedicated to helping borrowers avoid foreclosure, has added more lenders to the program roster, bringing the total to 55 servicers who have pledged to assist struggling homeowners. According to a Union Tribune article, the servicers are amongst the biggest names in the mortgage industry, holding 90% of all California home loans. For more information on the program you can visit the website.

Mello Roos Taxes No Longer Deductible. A new tax law will create more tax liability for homeowners with mello roos taxes. Until now, a homeowner was able to deduct his entire property tax bill, including mello roos assessments, from his state income tax. Starting with the 2012 tax bill, the Franchise Tax Board will require property tax bills to be divided into deductible and non-deductible portions. Mello roos taxes will be non-deductible. Since the 2012 taxes are not due for over a year there are groups that will be fighting this tax increase, citing a bad move on behalf of the state in difficult financial times. If the law sticks it could create problems in selling homes with mello roos taxes, leading to losses in property values. We will have to wait and see if the FTB reverses this one.


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New Real Estate Laws for 2012

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

With a new year there are new laws, so here is my annual list of some of the new real estate laws you may want to be aware of going into this new year:

Landlord Right to Prohibit Smoking. California Senate Bill 332 gives landlords the right to prohibit smoking in their residential rental properties, including outside areas. The non-smoking areas of the property must be designated in the lease agreement. Existing tenants must be provided 30 days notice if a landlord wishes to impose these restrictions on current leases. Law effective January 1.

Foreclosure Postponement Notice Requirement. Senate Bill 4 requires specified notices of how to postpone a foreclosure sale be provided to owners who receive foreclosure notices. Lenders seeking foreclosure are required to make a good faith effort to provide such information to those who seek it. Law effective April 1, 2012.

Owners Right to Rent Condominium. Senate Bill 150 allows an owner of a unit in a common interest development to rent or lease out the property despite homeowner rules to the contrary, as long as the rules were not in effect before the owner took title. Law effective January 1.

HOA Restrictions Against Excessive Fees. Senate Bill 771 requires HOAs (home owner associations) to limit the costs of preparing and delivering HOA documents and disclosures. Once the HOA estimates a fee for doing so, and the fee is paid, it cannot tack on unreasonable fees beyond the estimate, nor can it threaten to withhold release of the information to sellers until extra fees are paid. Law effective Januart 1.

Restricting Actions of HOA Boards. Senate bill 563 requires HOA boards to provide at least 2 days notice to owners for HOA meetings, with the exception of emergency meetings. Boards are not permitted to take action on any business items outside of a meeting, with the exception of those that have been delegated to managing personnel or others. Law effective January 1.

School Residency Attendance Can Be Established Via Parent Workplace. Under Senate bill 381, residency requirements for specific school districts may now be established by parent workplace, if at least one parent/legal guardian of the pupil is “physically employed within the boundaries of that district at least 10 hours per school week.” This is determined by the district, and “may” be allowed should the district choose to do so. This law was already in place, but is now extended through July 1, 2017.

Small Claims Court Judgment Increase. Under Senate bill 221, small claims judgments are now increased from $7500 to $10,000 if the claim was brought by a natural person (if brought by a corporation the limit is still $5,000). Law effective January 1.

Real Estate Agent Licensing/Discipline Changes. There are numerous changes to discipline in regards to real estate agents, including those related to license suspension for failure to pay taxes, and the requirement to report any disciplinary actions and escrow activities to the DRE. Senate Bills 53, 706. Laws effective January 1.

For a complete list of all new 2012 laws go to for California laws or for federal laws.

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Is Lender Short Sale Cooperation Increasing?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Could it be that lenders are starting to cooperate more with short sales? And if so, what does that mean to sellers and buyers? Might short sales get easier and speedier, thereby ridding many markets of distressed inventory and putting them on the road to recovery? This may sound too good to be true, but there are signs that it may in fact be happening.

According to HopeNow, short sales increased last year by 26,000 and foreclosures decreased by 255,000. Both had increased in 2010.

Some major lenders have adopted systems by which to better handle foreclosures, and others have indicated they will be doing the same.

Short sales have always been a mixed bag of emotions. They can be emotionally draining, dragging out the inevitable: loss of a home and all the memories that go with it. But on the flip side, distressed homeowners can avoid the ramifications and stigma of a foreclosure through a short sale. Short sales can usually save something for all parties involved – money, credit, and hopefully sanity.

Here are some benefits of short sales over foreclosures:

For the seller:

1. Less of an impact on credit

2. Can purchase a home again in several years, vs. 7-10 years with a foreclosure

Benefits for buyers:

1.  Prices are often lower

2.  Buyers usually get all the disclosures and can conduct property inspections (when buying foreclosure properties at auction, buyers often must do so without the ability to view the home and conduct inspections…not to mention all the competition from experienced auction buyers).

Benefits for lenders:

1. Short sales cost less

2. Short sales typically sell for higher prices than foreclosures (they lose money on the subsequent sale)

Benefits for neighborhoods:

1. Short sales tend to sell quicker and for prices more in line with comparable sold properties, protecting values more

2. Lower vacancy rates with short sales, thus less chance for vandalism and maintenance issues (which effect surrounding property values)

So, it appears that lenders, at least some of them, are making efforts to increase cooperation with short sales – we will see going forward if it becomes a reality. I sure hope so.


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Carlsbad Ocean View Home on Large Lot

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Once in a while a property comes along that is very special…that time has come. Welcome to 4029 Sunnyhill Drive in Carlsbad – a wonderful home on a large half-acre, unobstructed ocean view lot, just moments to the beach, shopping and dining.


  • Ocean views! Expanded view potential with second story addition
  • Updated kitchen with granite counters, stainless appliances
  • Detached guest house and office, plus 3 greenhouses
  • Outdoor kitchen with tandoori and pizza ovens, BBQ, kegerator
  • Gated property
  • Ranch style, single story home
  • Large, private lot 23000 square foot lot
  • 2565 square feet of living space (guest house and office not included in square footage)
  • Resort-like pool and spa, recently resurfaced
  • Basketball court, tennis backboard, large grassy area
  • Mature landscaping with multiple fruit trees
  • Moments to beach, shopping, dining, Carlsbad Village, schools
  • No HOA or mello roos
  • Carlsbad schools
  • MLS number 120000115

To view this property or get more information please contact Rachel LaMar, Broker, at 760-310-9466 or Visit property website for photos, information. CA DRE license 01399682. Property MLS number 120000115.

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