Archive for September, 2012

San Diego October Calendar of Events

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Throughout October, Haunted Hotel
The Haunted Hotel is where horror movies come to life with terrifying special effects and illusions.
Time: See website for times
Location: 424 Market St., Downtown San Diego
For more information visit

Throughout October, Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
The Haunted Trail is a stroll through the park that you will never forget. Red eyes glow and creepy fingers reach out to get you.
Time: See website for times
Location: 424 Market St East of 6th Ave and Juniper St., San Diego
For more information visit

Throughout October, Scream Zone
The Scream Zone includes the Chamber of Chills, the Haunted Hayride, and the House of Horror, featuring themed rooms guaranteed to make your spine crawl.
Time: See website for times
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit

October 5 – 7, Oktoberfest
The La Mesa Oktoberfest is among the largest celebrations of its kind on the West Coast. This is a traditional German celebration featuring dancing, food, beer gardens, Bavarian bands, arts and crafts, commercial booths, and a kids’ carnival. This is a free event.
Time: Fri/Sat 11:00 am – 11:30 pm   Sun 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: La Mesa Blvd between Date & Fourth Streets, La Mesa
For more information visit

October 6, Del Mar Mud Run
This 5K course includes multiple mudpits and challenging military-style obstacles. There will also be a Mud Fest after-party and international beer festival. Refer to website for registration information.
Time: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit

October 6, Annual PB Fest
This beach party includes entertaining music, sand dancing, surf contest, beach volleyball tournament, skateboarding, beer garden, arts and craft displays, and shopping. This is a free event.
Time: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location: Pacific Beach Boardwalk, between Diamond & Thomas, San Diego
For more information visit

October 6 – 7, 6th Annual Old Town Art Festival
Enjoy museum quality art, sculptures, and international foods from over a dozen local restaurants, wine tasting pavilion, and continuous live entertainment.
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: San Diego Ave. between Twiggs and Conde St., San Diego
For more information visit

October 6 – 7, Julian Apple Days Festival
This is a special weekend full of fun for the whole family. Features include apple displays, music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children’s games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, food and merchandise vendors, contests, and of course apple pie.
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Menghini Winery, 1150 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian
For more information visit

October 7, San Marcos Harvest Festival
The Fall Festival will feature a variety of food, arts and crafts, and vendor booths. There will be a live music, a beer garden, classic car show, and carnival rides and games. This is a free event.
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Via Vera Cruz, Grand Ave & San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos
For more information visit

October 12 – 13, Annual OB Oktoberfest
The event begins Friday night with a Battle of the Bands and happy hour. Saturday the live music, beer garden, German nosh, beachfront vendors, German bands and fun will continue.
Time: See website for times
Location: Pier Parking Lot, Newport Ave & Abbott St., Ocean Beach
For more information visit

October 12 – 14, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels annual aviation expo includes performances by the world’s best military and civilian pilots, followed by a fireworks display and the famous “Great Wall of Fire.” This is a free event.
Time: Refer to website for times
Location: MCAS Miramar
For more information visit

October 13, 20, 27, Spooky Sleepover
Spend the night at the San Diego Zoo during a Halloween-themed spooky sleepover. This includes activities such as Halloween crafts, private bus tour, up-close personal animal encounters, trick-or-treat around the Reptile House, and much more.
Time: Sat: 4:00 pm – Sun: 9:00am
Location: San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego
For more information visit

October 20, San Diego Rocktoberfest
North Park is celebrating their version of a German cultural festival known as “Rocktoberfest.” Enjoy food, foamy beer, slap-dancing, singing, yodeling, and various other fun activities. See website for ticket information.
Time: 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: 29th St, between University Ave. and North Park Way, North Park
For more information visit

October 21, Escondido Downtown Street Faire
Live entertainment and food from around the world have combined to make the Escondido Downtown Street Faire a family tradition since 1989.
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Grand Ave, between Centre City Parkway and Ivy, Downtown Escondido
For more information visit

October 21, 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
You can make strides against breast cancer by participating in this walking event, which is a non-strenuous 4-mile walk. This is a free event.
Time: 8:30 am – 1:00 pm (registration is at 7:30 am)
Location: Balboa Park, Park in lot on Presidents Way and Park Blvd.
For more information visit

October 27, Annual Boulevard Boo! Parade & Carnival 2012
This family friendly event features a Halloween-themed parade with ghoulish floats, unique costumed characters, and much more! The carnival includes costume contests, pumpkin bowling, and a Haunted Pumpkin Patch with trick-or-treating. This is a free event.
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Clay Park, Seminole Dr. near Art St. and El Cajon Blvd., San Diego
For more information visit

October 27, 12th Annual Monster Bash
This is an adult Halloween block party with live entertainment, food, dancing, and cocktails. There will be a costume contest with a $3,000 cash prize for the winner. See website for ticket information.
Time: 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
Location: Gaslamp Quarter, 6th Ave and Market St, Downtown San Diego
For more information visit

October 27, Annual Nightmare on Normal Street
Normal Street goes abnormal! The streets will be filled with people showing off their elaborate Halloween costumes and enjoying the festivities. See website for ticket information.
Time: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Normal St. between University Ave. and Blaine St., Hillcrest
For more information visit

October 27, Hoot, Howl and Prowl
This is an after dark adventure where you meet wildlife up close. The kids are encouraged to wear animal costumes and will be given a glow necklace before parting for their adventure. Reservations required.
Time: 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, 14664 Lake Poway Rd., Poway
For more information visit


Calendar courtesy of Lawyer’s Title

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The 4 Most Common Pricing Mistakes

Monday, September 24th, 2012

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Beware: Lender Communication Failure Can Lead to Foreclosure

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Some of the big lenders are making grievous errors that are costing homeowners, buyers and their agents time, money and much aggravation. The biggest problem is that oftentimes departments claiming to help borrowers do not communicate. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say a seller is in the middle of a short sale, almost to the approval phase when, to his excitement, he discovers his loan interest rate has reset and lowered – maybe he can actually afford the payments now, and wouldn’t that be great to keep his home! So he calls the loan modification department, and the representative tells him they can help him work it out, but he must cancel his short sale, so together they contact the short sale department and the seller cancels his short sale.

The seller has nothing in writing stating that his loan modification will be granted, and no promises are made. Here is the issue: the loan modification department let the seller cancel the short sale without providing terms and explaining how any agreements will work, including any monetary consequences involved. If the loan modification does not work out in his favor, the seller may have no options left but to foreclose (unless the lender allows another short sale attempt).

The above scenario is frustrating, and as much as it would make me very happy for all the distressed sellers out there to discover there was a way for them to keep their homes, I do not believe that anyone should make a decision without facts, including either a written offer with terms or a written agreement.

The solution here is for the loan modification department and the short sale departments to communicate and change their policy. Sellers should not be required to cancel their short sales until they know whether they will qualify for a loan modification. Even if they do qualify, they may not like nor be able to afford the new payments. Therefore, there should be a holding period for the short sale, where the seller and the loan modification department have to work out a plan. This period should take no longer than 10-14 days. If at the end of that period the seller is not satisfied with the terms offered, s/he should be able to jump back into the short sale.

This is a simple solution that will prevent unnecessary foreclosures…because NO ONE SHOULD MAKE A DECISION WITHOUT LEARNING ALL THE FACTS AND CONSEQUENCES FIRST. I challenge big lenders to do the right thing and truly help distressed borrowers by not pushing them into a corner from which they may not be able to escape.

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As Home Prices Rise, So May Your Property Taxes

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The decline in the real estate market these last several years led many California homeowners to seek reductions in their property taxes. All they had to do was show the decline in market value of their homes, via a comparative market analysis, and local tax assessors were generous in granting annual reductions. BUT… now that prices are increasing, homeowners must realize that so too can their property taxes.

Normally property taxes do not increase more than 2% annually, thanks to the voter-approved Proposition 13 (also passed by voters in 1978). However, just as assessors have the authority to temporarily reduce taxes when property values go down, so can they increase taxes, even more than 2%, when the values come back up (Proposition 8, 1978).

The 2% limit outlined in Proposition 13 only takes effect when the value of the property reaches the level it would have reached had the market never dropped. There are areas in California that have already been subject to tax increases.

If you live in an area that has seen market value increases, and you have had a property tax reduction, be prepared for possible property tax increases soon. It may not be welcome news to you, but it is good news for your county and the economy to see these improvements in the housing sector.

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“Walkability” – The Hottest Buzz Word for Buyers & Sellers

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

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Be Careful What You List For

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Although many local housing markets are experiencing increased sales prices, it is still very important to be careful in listing your home at the right price. I have always adhered to the notion that a listing has the strongest potential to attract qualified home buyers the first two weeks on the market (many agents say it is the first 30 days, but I think the first two weeks are the most crucial). With a great listing agent, a strong marketing plan, and quality photos of your home, the right list price will provide the opportunity to attract many buyers, possibly leading to multiple offers.

Here are some of the issues sellers can face if their home is not priced right from the start:

1.  Lack of interest. It used to be that buyers would come and see properties even if they were not priced well. In the last few years, it seems like that is no longer the case. Many buyers now prefer to to wait on price reductions, with the philosophy that lengthy market time means sellers are breaking down their barriers and might be willing to sell for UNDER market value, just to finally get rid of their homes. Those homes that are priced well garner more interest from both agents and buyers, and have a higher chance of selling. In fact, in many areas, such as here in North San Diego, homes that are priced well end up getting multiple offers and even selling above list price.

2.  Extended market time. This really goes hand in hand with number one, above. If you do not have your home priced right you will not generate interest amongst qualified buyers; no interest = longer market times. Lots of buyers tend to want to wait until prices come down, rather than trying to negotiate with sellers whom they feel are unreasonable in the expectations. Price reductions down the road do not seem to stimulate interest like a new listing hitting the market.

3.  Appraisal issues. We are seeing many more appraisal issues now, mostly because the banks have been so stubborn with lending. They want to prevent the free-for-all lending environment that caused the housing crash. In my opinion, they are really being too strict in lots of cases. Where there are strong sold comparables, and home prices can justifiably be increased (due to location, condition and upgrades), it is important for the lenders to understand that such properties should sell for more. But of course, there are limits.

4.  Distressed property comparisons. Many sold comparables might contain a few or lots of distressed sales. Some agents still believe that appraisers appraise properties with two different sets of criteria: distressed and non-distressed. That is no longer the case, in my opinion. Just because a  home is distressed most lenders still expect the home to sell according to comparable market prices. There IS an advantage to the waiting periods for non-distressed properties, but all things being equal your home should not sell for $100,000 more simply because it is not a short sale or bank-owned property. Of course, many other factors need to be considered in appraisals, including condition, location and upgrades.

So, how do you come up with the right price for your property? The first thing to do is to hire an experienced area agent. He or she can provide you with an extensive comparable market analysis, and then you can consider any upgrades, superior location, views, etc. It is alright to add on a reasonable amount for any of these “extras,” so discuss with your agent as to what is considered reasonable. If you  have a home that is difficult to compare, you may want to consider paying for an appraisal before listing. Even if your market has become a sellers’ market, as have many attached homes in San Diego cities, you still need to be reasonable in pricing your listing. In retrospect, once you have sold your home, I think you will be happy that you did everything right at the beginning.



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Home Price Index Sees Biggest Increase in Years

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The latest news from the CoreLogic, a national provider of real estate statistics, is that the home price index has increased 3.8% on a national level – the largest increase since 2006. The figures include distressed properties. What does this mean?

A home price increase is good for the housing industry, as it means that housing is on the road to recovery. This is great news for the economy. What will be interesting to see is how the news affects home sellers. Either we will begin to see more inventory on the market, which is desperately needed to meet demand, or we will continue to see low inventory as sellers wait for the market to climb.

Unfortunately there will not be any drastic increases in price – it will be gradual. Hopefully those sellers who are sitting on the proverbial fence waiting to sell will realize this shortly, and then list their homes anyway. Lack of inventory is one of our biggest challenges right now in real estate, but undoubtedly is one of the reasons for the price increase.

The future index measures by CoreLogic indicate that sales will rise, moving forward, 4.6% on a year to year basis from August of 2011, and at least 0.6% on a month over month basis from July of 2012. These predictions are derived from measuring multiple listing service (MLS) data that measure price changes in prior months.

The 5 states with the highest levels of appreciation, including distressed properties, were Arizona, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Colorado.

In North San Diego county we have seen a slight price decrease (for attached and detached homes)  in median price, from $403,500 to $395,000, for the month of July, compared to July of last year. San Diego county a as whole enjoyed a price increase of 1.28% from June to July of 2012, with a year to year increase of 5.33% from July of 2011.

As always, it is imperative to focus on your specific neighborhood if you are interested in specific sales data, as information varies depending on where you are located. The good news is that most areas across the nation are experiencing price increases, which is a great sign for the housing market and the economy.

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