Archive for October, 2012

San Diego November Calendar of Events

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

November 3 – 4, Escondido Renaissance Faire
The age of chivalry will be recreated among the wonders of nature. Activities include battle pageants, music in the streets, jugglers and hundreds of costumed re-enactors performing in this giant outdoor play. See website for admission information.
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Felicita County Park, 742 Clarence Ln., Escondido
For more information visit www.goldcoastfestivals.com/Escondido.html

November 4, Carlsbad Village Street Faire
This is the largest one-day street fair in California. It’s a non-profit event to benefit the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce with over 800 vendors, International food, kids’ rides, and even a pancake breakfast!
Time: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Village of Carlsbad, Carlsbad
For more information visit www.kennedyfaires.com/carlsbad 

November 9 – 11, Snow Jam 12
This is a consumer show featuring everything about skiing and snowboarding under one roof. There will be discounted merchandise available for purchase. See website for admission information.
Time: Fri 4:00 – 10:00 pm, Sat/Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.snowjamshow.com

November 9 – 11, Seasons of the Heart Craft Fair
There will be handcrafted items and one-of-a-kind gifts from nearly 100 vendors. These gifts range from holiday home décor, gourmet foods, collectibles, children’s toys, children and adult clothing, soaps, jewelry, holiday wreaths and floral arrangements, handbags, pottery, crafting supplies, one-of-a kind furniture pieces, and so much more!
Time: Fri/Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.seasonsoftheheartcraftfaire.com

November 10, Heavenly Hands Crafts Bazaar
There will be a wide selection of handmade arts and crafts, baked goods, a quilt raffle and book sale. This is a great way to get a head start on holiday shopping. Proceeds go to various ministries and missions selected by the MMPC Mission Committee.
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Mira Mesa Presbyterian Church, 8081 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego
For more information visit www.mmpcusa.com

November 12, 26th Annual San Diego Veteran’s Day Parade
This parade is held in admiration of veterans of past wars and to give a salute of recognition and honor to our military men and women of today who strive to keep our country safe. Several events are scheduled.
Time: 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
Location: Pacific Highway, South from Grape to W. Harbor Dr., San Diego
For more information visit www.sdvetparade.org

November 15 – 18, City Heights Carnival
A four-day carnival will take place in City Heights. Enjoy the excitement of carnival rides and entertaining carnival games. All ages are sure to have a good time.
Time:  Thurs/Fri: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sat/Sun: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Location: Rosa Park School and City Heights Recreation Center, 4380 Landis St., San Diego
For more information call (951) 316-1382

November 16, City of Santee Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Festivities include ice skating, carriage rides, caroling, free kid’s holiday crafts (while supplies last), a visit from Santa, and the tree lighting ceremony. There will be food samples, hot cocoa and coffee. This is a free event.
Time: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Santee Trolley Square, 9884 Mission Gorge Rd., Santee
For more information visit www.ci.santee.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=347

November 16 – 18, Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day For The Cure
Thousands of men and women are taking the challenge to walk 60 miles in three days. On the first day the walk will begin at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and proceed to Torrey Pines, La Jolla, and Pacific Beach to a camp at Crown Point Shores in Mission Beach. The walk will eventually culminate in Downtown San Diego at Petco Park. See website for admission and registration information.
Time: Refer to website
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.the3day.org

November 17, 26th Annual Toys For Tots Motorcycle Benefit Ride
This is the staging area for the Toys for Tots ride, which will depart from North County’s House of Motorcycles. See website for registration information. The ride benefits the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
Time:  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: North County’s House of Motorcycles, 1725 Hacienda Dr., Vista
For more information visit www.gwrra-ca1n.net/ridefliers.htm

November 17, 5K Thanksgiving Walk to Feed the Hungry
For over a decade, the Fallbrook Food Pantry (formerly Fallbrook Community Project) has worked to relieve hunger and provide hope and resources to neighbors in need. Participate in this 5k walk to help feed the hungry.
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Fallbrook Food Pantry, 1042 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook
For more information visit www.fallbrookfoodpantry.org 

November 18, 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade
The Mother Goose Parade is the largest, single-day event in San Diego County and one of the biggest parades of its kind west of the Mississippi. Generally there are over 100 entries featuring clowns, floats, bands, equestrians, giant balloons and Santa Claus. This year’s parade is titled “Home Town Heroes!”
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Magnolia Ave & Main St., El Cajon
For more information visit www.mothergooseparade.org 

November 18, Encinitas Street Faire & Fall Festival
The coastal city of Encinitas beckons you to join in the fun on the beautiful Coast Highway 101. There will be 400 unique booths featuring arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, items from around the world and more. The Fall Faire also offers a wide variety of food, two stages of live entertainment and children’s rides.
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Coast Highway 101, Encinitas – see website for map
For more information visit www.kennedyfaires.com/encinitas

November 21 – 25, San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival
This is the 33rd Annual celebration of Dixieland Jazz featuring bands from all over the U.S. The festival bands represent a wide variety of traditional jazz, Dixieland and swing styles. See website for admission information.
Time: Refer to website
Location: Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle N., San Diego

November 22, Annual Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K
Thanksgiving Day is a day to express both thanks for what we have and to extend our help to those who are lonely, hungry and without a home. Proceeds from this 5K event will help to provide basic provisions for underprivileged persons through the St. Vincent De Paul Village. See website for registration information.
Time: 7:45 am
Location: Museum of Man, 1350 El Prado – Balboa Park, San Diego
For more information visit www.thanksgivingrun.org

November 23 – 25, Goodguys 2nd Fall Del Mar Nationals
This car show features over 1,500 hot rods, customs and classics thru ’72. There will be live nostalgia entertainment and free kids entertainment. There will also be a Toys for Tots drop off. See website for admission information.
Time: Fri/Sat: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.good-guys.com 

November 24 – Mid December, Julian’s Country Christmas
& Tree Lighting Ceremony – Ongoing Event
The traditional lighting of the Julian Community Christmas Tree ceremony features the Julian Carolers and a visit from Santa just before 6:00 pm when the tree is lit. This marks the beginning of the annual Julian Country Christmas celebration, three weeks of old-fashioned holiday festivities.
Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Pioneer Park, Julian

 

Calendar courtesy of Lawyer’s Title

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Real Estate News REcap

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

HARP is helping more borrowers to refinance: HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, has recently been restructured, and this has allowed more homeowners to be able to take advantage and refinance to lower rates. The new guidelines allow those who are underwater with their mortgages to take avail of the program – a big welcome to homeowners struggling with mortgage payments. This also effects the foreclosure and short sale rates, which are good for the housing market and economy. As of July, approximately 75,000 homeowners have refinanced under HARP, up 50,000 from before the program was extended to help underwater homeowners. This is great news and hopefully it will continue to help people. Now if only they would apply these programs to non-Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans!

New home sales hit two year high: It’s official: builders are back in business. New home sales have reached the highest numbers in over two years. Here in North San Diego several new communities have popped up over the last 1-2 years, and they are all selling well. This is another great sign for the housing market recovery.

Pending home sales numbers increase: Pending home sales have been increasing lately, and September numbers, although slightly up from the previous month, held steady. The increase has been in effect for 17 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR’s chief economist believes that this upward trend should continue into 2013. This coming Spring should be a great time for sellers and buyers.

Number of low priced homes shrink in California: Although inventory is scarce everywhere and in most price ranges, properties around $300,000 and under are suffering worse. According to Zillow, there has been a 40% reduction in inventory under $313,000 in California in the last year. This explains the multiple offer situation in these categories – there simply is not enough supply to meet the demand. Hopefully after the holidays we will see more properties on the market.

Big banks being sued:Wells Fargo is being sued over alleged fraud in a mortgage lending program administered by the Federal Housing Administration. Bank of America is also being sued, by the Justice Department, for mortgage fraud to the tune of over $1 billion. The B of A cases involve loans created through Countrywide, before Countrywide was acquired by B of A in 2008…gee, maybe borrowers will see some of the fruits of the penalties if B of A is found liable – but of course that it doubtful (one can hope). Many of the claims involved in both suits go back over the course of 10 years. Well, I would wish these banks good luck in their suits, but as I have no sympathy I hope they get what they deserve.

 

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A History of Interest Rates

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

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Funerals, Weddings and Real Estate

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Last week was a little bit crazy…it started off with a funeral and ended with a wedding. In between, real estate kept me busy – trying to close a few escrows, fighting with a bank, writing offers, and trying to find a better solution for a buyer that didn’t involve suing a seller. In other words, a normal week, buttressed by stark reminders of mortality and blessings. Which makes one think…

We all know that life is precious, but it is so easy to forget that and get caught up in the day to day banalities. We have the tendency to go about our routines and get through each day, but many of us do not really think about our blessings unless we are reminded of them – such as when we see a sunset or sunrise, a new baby or a puppy, a rescue, or a sick or scared person smile.

I like to think of my blessings often, but like you, I am guilty now and then of getting through a day without doing so. Life is busy, and often one has to just deal with what is on the plate that day in order to move forward to the next set of tasks. Last week provided me the opportunity to really think about all that I am grateful for, and the fullness that comes from being satisfied with my place in this world.

How is this related to real estate, you might ask?  I believe everything in life has it’s place and time. I have some buyers who are waiting to find the “right” home, and some sellers who are deciding when is the “right” time to list their property for sale. In the last year I have had to go way beyond the norm to get offers accepted for people and to close escrows, and I have worked harder than ever. I know that things will work out as they are supposed to, and I will continue working hard until my clients are satisfied.

The other day on the freeway (on the way to the wedding), a man driving very recklessly cut me off and almost hit me. I put my hand on the horn and he flipped me off. Unbelievable, yes. But I felt sorry for him – he was not truly living and accepting responsibility. Being upset at strangers when they have done nothing wrong (or worse, when you are the one who made the mistake!) suggests it’s time to reevaluate!

We should all enjoy the ride and the lessons we learn every day in life. All we can do is our best, but more importantly, we should all strive to appreciate this life and the challenges we face. So…if you haven’t found your dream home yet, that perfect investment property, or if you don’t think it’s time to sell your home, don’t worry. The time will be right when it is right. In the meantime, keep your focus and enjoy every moment, because you will never live that moment again.

Have a wonderful week!

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Will the Short Sale Tax Break Be Extended?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

It is almost here: the dreaded end of the federal short sale tax breaks, also known as the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Come December 31, sellers who have not yet closed escrow on their short sales will no longer escape the capital gains tax on the difference between the sales price (of their home via a short sale) and the amount owed on their mortgage…UNLESS the tax breaks are extended. Will this  happen, and if not, what will happen to short sales?

First of all, I have to say that I think the tax will be extended. It simply does not make sense at this critical economic time to not extend the tax break. Doing so wreaks all kind of havoc, including surges in foreclosures and bankruptcy filings, which neither the government nor the banks want to see.

Failure to extend the act would undermine everything that is improving in the real estate market and cause us to jump many steps backwards. The fact that an extension has not yet been announced makes people nervous, but due to the Presidential election and other important issues on the proverbial table, I think it has been put on the backburner for a short time.

Lets take a look at the main arguments for not extending the tax break:

1.  Too costly. There are some who believe that the law will not be extended, as they feel the alleged $2.7 billion it will cost to do so is not justified due to the deficit. To this I would say it will be a lot more costly if millions of homes go into foreclosure again, as people find they have no other solution and cannot afford to stay in their homes. The lenders will be stuck with tons of inventory that they have to sell, many that will be trashed, and the market will drop again, creating another real estate nightmare. Just when we are coming out of the bad market is not a good time to cause it to dive again.

2.  Easy escape for homeowners – ? Another argument in favor of not renewing the tax savings is that doing so encourages people to default on their loans. In other words, if people know they can short sale their homes and walk away without financial ramifications, it makes it easier than staying in a home they cannot afford and trying to make it work. I do not agree with this argument, as I think the stress would just lead to more bankruptcy filings and foreclosures, which in the end is even worse for the lending institutions (not to mention for millions of families).

It remains to be seen what will happen come the end of the year. The bottom line is this: if you are contemplating a short sale and your house is not yet listed on the market, or if your home is listed but you have not yet sent any offers over to your short sale lender, it is a good time to discuss your options with both your agent and a financial adviser, CPA and/or attorney. You must understand your options and what could happen if the law is not extended, because it could effect your decision whether to close your short sale.

If you are in the middle of a short sale and you have obtained or are soon to obtain lender approval, you need to make sure that the lender(s) release you in writing from any financial liability once escrow closes, if it is to close after December 31.

[Note that regardless of when your short sale is closing, you should ALWAYS make sure the lender approval letter has language to this effect…most lenders automatically state such in the approval letters, but if not you need to have your agent or negotiator ask that it be included]. You also need to check your state laws to determine state tax liability with short sales, as laws do vary. For more information about short sales you can visit my website.

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Top 10 Signs You are Being Scammed

Friday, October 12th, 2012

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5 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Buy a Home

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Many real estate agents, mortgage professionals and economists have been saying it: “now is a great time to buy.” In fact, those cries have been echoed for the last year or so. Interestingly, there ARE many ready buyers out there, but inventory is so low and it is very difficult to be the lucky one whose offer is chosen, as many homes that are listed on the market obtain multiple offers, often in the first day or two.

So what makes now such a great time to buy real estate? There are 3 main reasons:

1.  (Still) historically low interest rates. The interest rates are still at unprecedented lows. Part of this reason is because there is little inventory in most markets. As prices climb, inventory will rise (because sellers will see a good reason to finally sell again) and in turn interest rates will likely rise. It’s a Catch-22, but if you want the best rates, the end of a long downturn is a great time to take advantage.

2.  Prices are rising in many markets. Many buyers have been waiting, some for a long time, until the market “bottomed out.” Well folks, we have reached that point and are now on the upswing. Prices in north county have risen, homes are receiving multiple offers, and the condo market is officially a seller’s market. Single family homes are soon to reach that level as well. If you are a buyer who has been “on the fence,” now is definitely the time to climb off and start looking, lest you find yourself facing higher prices and more competition as we head toward the Spring/Summer selling season.

3. Distressed inventory is down. Foreclosures have slackened off since the start of the summer, mostly in part to lenders embracing short sales and other programs, like loan modifications or sales to third party investors that help people stay in their homes. With less distressed inventory prices can continue to rise at a steady, “normal” pace. Note that even if you live in an area where there are still a lot of short sales, the jump in averages prices in those neighborhoods will cause lenders who hold paper on the distressed properties to seek prices that are more in line with the comparable sold properties, and since many lenders are trying to close short sales quicker and are being stricter with prices they will accept, it is likely such sales will not have a substantial effect on comparable properties.

4.  Rents continue to rise and rentals are harder to find – great for investors, not so great for those seeking to rent. Rents have risen over the past year and are at a 10 year high, according to research reported in the Wall Street Journal. One study by Trulia even found that it is cheaper to own rather than rent in many markets. Not to mention the rental market is so hot, that it requires much luck to even find a rental and be chosen as a renter, since there is so much competition. I have had renters call on all my listings over the past year, asking if the sellers were willing to rent instead of sell – people are desperate. One of my investors just leased out a newly purchased property – the same floorplan I sold last year to a different investor – and he was able to obtain a monthly rent almost $100 higher per month than the first investor.

5. Low inventory. Low inventory in most markets means much greater competition amongst buyers. How, you say, is this a reason to buy now? Well, since competition is so high and prices are rising, if you are lucky to be the chosen buyer on a property you will likely end up paying less than when there is more inventory. There is only less than a three month supply of inventory on the market now in San Diego. If the many buyers out there looking cannot find a home to purchase now, and hold off until there is more inventory (usually after the holidays), there will also be more competition, as you will also get the buyers at that time of year who want to make a move after school gets out for the summer. Also, you will likely get a lower interest rate if you buy now rather than down the road, as many economists predict interest rate increases as inventory rises.

Do you need a few more reasons? How about this: housing statistics have been and continue to be on the rise. Building statistics are up in many areas, and many markets are becoming seller’s markets. So remember that “now is truly a great time to buy” may sound like an old cliche, but truly makes sense right now. If you are serious about buying now, make sure you understand the importance of writing a strong offer – click here for some great tips. Happy house hunting!

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B of A to Eradicate Second Lien Debt

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Bank of America announced this week it’s plan to eliminate debt accrued on second lien mortgages for some lucky borrowers – approximately 150,000 lienholders across the country. This is big news for those who are underwater and would like to be able to stay in their homes. The lender says the goal behind the program is to help homeowners stay in their homes and build equity.

If you have a second mortgage that is serviced by B of A, you may soon receive a letter in the mail telling you your second lien can be extinguished. But don’t get too excited – the 150,000 letters are being sent out only to pre-qualified borrowers, and you cannot elect to be in the program. Apparently if you receive a letter your debt will be released within 30 days if you do not opt out of the program.

There is no data on which specific parts of the country may benefit the most, although one article mentioned the inland empire may see quite a few of these releases, as there were many second mortgages in that area and a substantial number of those loans that were issued by Countrywide (which was acquired by Bank of America). There is also no word on how credit may be effected, but if the bank is agreeing to release the debt in full there is a chance there may not be a credit ding…that remains to be seen.

While this is not a solution to preventing foreclosure, it could be a very powerful tool in it’s prevention, and those who are included in the program could really be receiving a life preserver. It is a new start and the chance to stay in a home that otherwise may not have been possible for much longer.

If you are the lucky recipient of one of these letters from B of A, please let me know. I would love to read the letter and understand the terms. You can email it to me at Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org.

 

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What’s Happening in Carlsbad?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Aside from the beautiful weather, beaches, and great places to live, work, shop and dine, there is a lot going on in the wonderful city of Carlsbad, California. Here is the latest:

Carlsbad wins $1.25 million in active transportation grants. The city of Carlsbad has combined $600,000 in local taxpayer funds with the winnings, received from the San Diego Association of Governments, to total $1.85 million. These funds will be used to improve various means of transportation around the city, including walking and biking paths, new bike racks and corrals, traffic roundabouts, and other projects to improve the city and contribute to an even more livable community.

Construction at Alga Norte Park is well under way! Carlsbad residents are excited for the new park, which we have been anticipating for many years. Construction is well under way on the olympic swimming pools, play areas and skate park. You can visit the web cams to see the progress here , or stop by and peek through the cutouts in the fence. The park is scheduled to open in late 2013, and will be a welcome addition to the community.

Several Carlsbad beaches will get more sand in November. Here come the dredgers! Ponto Beach and the beach just north of Pine Avenue will receive new sand in mid to late November. Other county beaches have already or are in the process of receiving new sand. For more  information on the dredging schedule click here.

Halloween Activities: There are several Halloween activities throughout the city this month. To make sure you don’t miss anything, click here to download the latest version of Carlsbad Currents. Also, visit www.Legoland.com for information on Brick-or-Treating events, which take place several times this month.

Oktoberfest. Join friends and neighbors for the 30th annual Oktoberfest at Holiday Park, October 6, from noon until 10:00 p.m. There will be lots of food (dinner tickets are $10 each), bands, dancing, face painting and jumps for kids, a pumpkin patch and a pumpkin decorating contest.

For more information and to purchase advance tickets, contact the Carlsbad Rotary at 760-443-0482, or visit their website.

 

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