Archive for February, 2013

San Diego March Calendar of Events

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

March 2
65th Annual Ocean Beach Kite Festival
This is a fun day of festivities including a crafts fair, food and entertainment along with kite making, decorating, demonstrations, and a flying contest. This is a free event.
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Dusty Rhodes Park, Sunset Cliffs Blvd., Ocean Beach
For more information visit

March 8
Taste of Navajo
A one of a kind event celebrating the great eateries, wineries, and breweries in the Navajo community (Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Grantville, San Carlos) and surrounding areas. An event to benefit Green Elementary. Formerly The Taste of San Carlos. Sample sumptuous bites from local restaurants & caterers or get great restaurant ideas for visitors or date night! In addition to the many opportunities to sample local fare, guests can purchase a drink at the bar, bid on silent auction items, listen to music, and learn about the night sky from an on-site astronomer and about the park itself from a volunteer ranger.
Time: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Location: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center
For more information visit

March 9
8th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
The cherry trees are blooming and the Japanese Friendship Garden in
Balboa Park is hosting a festival to celebrate the season. Get a taste of Japan by visiting gorgeous outdoor gardens and watching a traditional tea ceremony. Enjoy delicious food, arts, crafts, and cultural demonstrations. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park Japanese Friendship Garden, 2125 Pan American Rd., San Diego

March 9 – 10
86th Annual Thursday Club Rummage Sale
The granddaddy of all rummage sales! Thousands of new and gently used items such as furniture, clothing, sporting equipment, appliances, electronics, and more will be sold to benefit Balboa Park and local charities.
Time: Sat: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Sun: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park Activity Center, 2145 Park Blvd., San Diego
For more information visit

March 10
San Diego Half Marathon & 5K
The Second Annual San Diego Half Marathon is a scenic 13.1-mile course that will start at Petco Park and finish at 5th Avenue and K St. The 5K is a fast and scenic 3.1-mile race into downtown San Diego, designed for all ages and abilities. The event benefits several local charities. After the finish, “Celebrate San Diego” at the Gaslamp Block Party! Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 7:30 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., San Diego
For more information visit 

March 10
18th Annual Del Mar Kiwanis’ Ugly Dog Contest
Big dogs, little dogs, long dogs, short dogs, shaggy dogs, curly dogs and not a pretty one in the bunch! With this event there’s more to it than just “ugly” with 10 categories of winners. See website for admission information. Proceeds benefit several charities.
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Bates Nut Farm, 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center
For more information visit

March 15 – 16
Epic Beer Festival
This festival features over 80 craft breweries with more than 200 beers to sample. The Epic Beer Festival benefits Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a non-profit organization that transforms lives through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related medical care. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: Refer to website for specific times
Location: Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Dr., San Diego
For more information visit

March 16
33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival & Parade
Wear something green while you enjoy the festivities in a Celtic Village filled with Irish culture, music, dancing, food, and beer; plus a Kid’s Zone with rides and activities.
Time: Festival: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm, Parade: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Balboa Park, West side of park along 6th Ave., San Diego
For more information visit

March 16
Annual St. Patrick’s 10K & 2/4-Mile Run/Walk
This is an athletic event celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. This run/walk benefits Rady Children’s Hospital. There will be drawings, awards, and a special Irish award for the best “Irish Theme” running costume.
Time: 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Location: Mission Bay Park, San Diego
For more information visit

March 16
North County St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival
There will be a wonderful parade with three possible prizes for participants. After the parade The Village scavenger hunt for gold lets you search for clues that could lead you to be the winner of a gold coin! There will also be limerick readings at Art Beat, games and contests, a beer garden, and live entertainment.
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Main St., Downtown Vista
For more information visit

March 17
ShamROCK 2013
This is the 18th Annual Outdoor Musical Block Party celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on the green streets of the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Featuring live entertainment, DJs, Irish food, green beer, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and much more! Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
Location: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
For more information visit

March 23
Fight for Air: Climb & Festival
This is a most unusual athletic event where the challenge is a climb up the stairwell of the One America Plaza Building, the tallest in downtown
San Diego with 657 stairs to the 32nd floor. Then celebrate your amazing feat at the outdoor festival with music, vendors, food, and drink. Refer to website for participation and admission information.
Time: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: One America Plaza Building, San Diego
For more information visit

March 23
South Park Spring Walkabout
Browse, shop, and explore the neighborhood of South Park. This is a fun-filled evening festival where the shops are open late, plus entertainment, specials and surprises. This is a free event.
Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: South Park neighborhood, 30th St. and Fern St., San Diego

March 23 – 24
Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival
The only Busker Festival in Southern California takes place in Seaport Village. Professionals from across the country will perform their bizarre talents from sword swallowing to knife throwing to pogo stick tricks and juggling on unicycles. Even escape artists and comedic stunt men will be there. This is a free event.
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Seaport Village, San Diego

March 24
Paws in the Park 2013
Celebrate the bond between people and their pets! Raise funds and awareness for animals in need. Proceeds go to the Escondido Humane Society. Registration is free. Fun contests, costume parades, entertainment, shopping, giveaways, games for people and pets, opportunity drawing and more!
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Kit Carson Park, 3333 Bear Valley Pkwy., Escondido
For more information visit

March 30
2013 Cruise Into Easter
This is a free family event! There will be a visit from the Easter Bunny, face painting, bounce houses, a live band and a chuck wagon lunch. Sponsored by San Diego Harley Davidson and helps support Give Clean Water, a local non-profit focused on giving clean water to the world.
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, egg hunts at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm
Location: San Diego Harley Davidson, 5600 Kearny Mesa Rd., San Diego
For more information visit

March 31
Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt
Celebrate Easter at the Hotel del Coronado with food, entertainment and fun for the whole family. The Del will feature their Easter Champagne Brunch Buffet, Easter-egg hunts, holiday crafts and visits with the Easter Bunny! There will also be a fun zone with crafts for all ages. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
Location: Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado
For more information visit

March 31
Kiwanis Easter Pancake Breakfast
Enjoy a full delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk and coffee prepared and served by members of the Alpine Kiwanis. Proceeds help support youth programs and community projects in Alpine. Refer to website for admission and additional information.
Time: 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Alpine Elementary School Auditorium, 1850 Alpine Blvd., Alpine
For more information visit


Calendar courtesy of Lawyer’s Title

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A History of California Home Prices

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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Finally: It is a Seller’s Market

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Sellers rejoice: it is finally a sellers’ market in many areas. For those homeowners who need or want to sell, this news has been a long time coming, after the last few years of the housing market collapse and bad news. There are some very positive market conditions that accompany this changeover:

Home price increases: If you follow the housing market in your area you may have noticed that prices are increasing in most areas (of course, you should check with your local real estate professional, as every area is different). The median national home price has increased 12.3% in San Diego county from this time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The great news is that this will move many homeowners from being underwater, to being able to finally sell and move on. Many of these people were “stuck” in their homes because they owed more than their homes were worth. Zillow reported that over 2 million homeowners came out of the negative equity doldrums on their homes in 2012, and that is expected to continue this year. Over the next year we will see many of these underwater homeowners get out of negative equity situations, which will then increase the inventory levels and bring the market back into “normal,” aka healthy, status.

Increase in buyer demand: Also, according to NAR, buyer traffic has increased 40% from a year ago. There are many buyers out there ready to buy, and less inventory for them to see. This keeps prices climbing and leads to…

Multiple offers: Many listings are obtaining multiple offers, and many are also selling not only over comparable market value, but over appraised value. Lots of buyers are willing to pay cash out of pocket for homes where their appraisal has come in too low (they pay the difference between the appraisal and the sales price), thus driving neighborhood comparables upwards.

Market times have decreased: Due to all the above factors, market times have decreased and homes are selling more quickly. In San Diego county, average market times decreased for almost every city. The average days on market in North San Diego for detached homes was 36, down from 48 days in December 2012. Market time for attached homes similarly fell in the majority of San Diego county cities, some as much as 84%, with the median attached home market time all across the county at 48.  (Source: HomeDex)

The market is improving and all signs are pointing toward a healthy 2013 for the real estate market. The biggest plus is that we will eliminate the negative equity situation for many homeowners, creating more inventory for buyers, and allowing many current homeowners to sell and purchase properties that are more cost-efficient for them. All this, of course, will create higher home values, which benefit neighborhoods.

All in all, this is a great time to be in the position to sell, so get your home in tip-top shape and enjoy the turn of the market. If you are thinking of selling your home, it is important to consult with an experienced neighborhood real estate agent.



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Owning vs. Renting: 56 Reasons…

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Just in case you needed more reasons as to why it is advantageous to buy a home, here is an extensive list about the advantages and disadvantages of owning and renting…

Rent Advantages

  • May be cheaper than a mortgage payment
  • Fewer (if any) maintenance costs
  • No down payment required (less deposit)
  • No real estate taxes (renters insurance optional)
  • Less stress (who cares, it’s not yours!)
  • Freedom to move or downsize when necessary
  • No risk of home price depreciation
  • Some utility bills may be included
  • “Free” amenities such as pool, gym, security
  • Money can be used for other, more profitable investments
  • Can’t be foreclosed on (but you can be kicked out at the end of your lease if the owner is foreclosed upon)

Rent Disadvantages

  • Rental payment may exceed monthly cost of mortgage
  • No ownership or wealth creation
  • Payments never stop when renting
  • Rent will rise over time
  • Must deal with a landlord or management company
  • No tax benefits
  • Rules, regulations, and limitations
  • More temporary, less stability
  • Always at the mercy of the property owner
  • Pets may not be allowed

Ownership Advantages

  • You can build home equity and wealth
  • Status- Status-Status
  • Sizable tax deductions possible
  • Your space, your rules (pets welcome)
  • Ability to remodel, expand, tear down
  • Pride of ownership (social status, accomplishment)
  • Potentially better for children, family structure
  • Mortgage can improve your credit history/score
  • Ability to borrow against your home (HELOC or cash-out)
  • No more monthly payments once mortgage paid off
  • Fixed payments (if you choose a fixed mortgage)
  • Mortgages are the cheapest loans available
  • No landlord
  • Can exclude capital gains when you sell (partially)
  • Inflation hedge
  • Can rent out to others
  • Can sell and use proceeds for bigger/better home
  • Retirement nest egg
  • It’s the American Dream!

Ownership Disadvantages

  • Home prices may lose value
  • Could overpay for your property
  • Obtaining a mortgage (and finding a home) is a hassle
  • Not everyone qualifies for a mortgage
  • You must pay taxes and homeowners insurance
  • Total housing payment can be more expensive
  • Mortgage payment can rise (if an ARM)
  • Sizable down payment necessary
  • Maintenance costs can be excessive
  • Pricey HOA dues (if applicable)
  • You’re “stuck” in a home (long-term commitment)
  • Increased liability and responsibility
  • Transactional costs of buying and selling
  • Ownership is stressful!
  • Taxes and insurance generally rise
  • Your home can be damaged or destroyed (and not fully insured)
  • Can be foreclosed on and lose your home


The preceding post was written and shared with permission by Dan Dobbs, of Capital Mortgage Services. He can be reached at, or Or call him at 949-250-3981. DRE#00986886, NMLS# 307631

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Could Fannie Mae Actually Hurt the Real Estate Market?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Is Fannie Mae hurting the real estate market? Those following the practices of this government lending giant know that as of late, Fannie has been accused by many in the industry of price fixing and falsely inflating the real estate market. What is going on, and how can this happen at this time, after the housing market is finally on the road to recovery?

The majority of lenders and those who guaranty loans seem to be cooperating recently with foreclosure avoidance, opting for the less painful option of short sales. They claim that not only do they want to ease the homeowners’ pain, but that they do not have a desire to own property, and would rather take a loss sooner than have to go through the foreclosure process – one which has a hefty price tag.

There is one exception to this rule, and real estate agents are baffled. Fannie Mae – a government agency, who along with it’s cousin Freddie Mac guarantees and purchases loans, and owns or controls about 31 million U.S. mortgages  – has been implementing some strategies lately that go against this notion, despite statements of intentions to help:

1. Price Fixing? One of the claims expressed most frequently as of late by real estate professionals is that Fannie is engaging in price fixing. Here’s how it works: instead of opting for short sales, it is choosing to proceed with foreclosures. Then, once the home is ready to list, it’s selected agents list the property for over comparative market value, under Fannie’s Homepath program. No appraisals are needed, as Fannie is the largest provider of mortgage credit. Buyers are jumping in and paying over market value for these properties, and are closing escrows.

Initially this looks like a win-win, as the buyers get their home and do not have to go through the appraisal process, and the area comps are raised with the closing of the property at a value  higher than any other recent sales, thus increasing comps for the next seller. Sounds good, right? Not so fast.

The downside of this tactic is that the buyers are literally moving into their new homes as UNDERWATER homeowners. Their homes have no equity – they own the most expensive property in the neighborhood because Fannie has falsely inflated the home values. Appraisers will not look solely to the most expensive home that sold, but will include it with the other comps…thus leading to the next problem:

As  a result, future sellers will not likely benefit from the most expensive neighborhood sales (for more on this click here.). Appraisers will include the most expensive sale in their analysis, but they will not focus solely on that one sale; thus the next home to sell, even in better condition and with more to offer, will be evaluated by appraisers based on the combination of recent sales. What seller in their right mind, who did not have to sell, would choose to do so in such a situation? This will keep homes off the market, sustaining  low inventory levels.

2. Countering short sale offers at prices higher than comparable sold properties. Another tactic that is being used by Fannie when they DO agree to short sales, is to counter offers received higher than comparable sold properties. Again, this is crazy! These homes will not appraise, but still there are buyers willing – and doing it! – to pay cash over and above appraisal value in order to close escrow. Again, these new homeowners move into their homes in negative equity positions. This tactic also prices many homebuyers out of the market.

I’m not sure how to explain what is going on, but it scares me. Our market is healing right now, and if prices are falsely inflated and comparable sold properties ignored, we will see large market increases in short time periods. If you remember, this is what led to the last market crash. Please share your thoughts.


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Rate Increases Will Affect Your Mortgage Payments

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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Thinking of Buying Property? You’d Better Hurry!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

If you have been contemplating purchasing a home, whether it be a starter home, your dream home, investment property, or any other type of property, you may want to get serious now before it’s too late. Here are some reasons why it’s better to jump off that fence now rather than wait:

1. It is cheaper to buy rather than rent. The last time this was the cast was 1973.

2. Home affordability is better now than it has been in a long time. Prices now are discounted 61.5% from 1981, the last time they were at an all-time low.

3. New home inventory has hit a 50 year low, contributing to very low inventory levels, which are not expected to improve for 3-6 years. Between 1968 and 2008 there were at least 1 million homes built per year. With the new home inventory at such a low, we have a deficit of 900,000 homes a year (homes that are not being built), thus making inventory even lower.

4. One third of all closed escrows in 2011 were cash transactions (2012 numbers are likely higher). There is a lot of competition out there, and will continue to be as inventory and rates remain low.

5. Recent changes to lending laws will likely make getting a loan much harder. While the new laws afford protections to consumers, lenders will scrutinize applicants even more so now. Click here to read more about this.

6. Interest rates will rise. With low inventory and high demand, and with an improving economy, it is only a matter of time until the rates are raised. (In fact, they just went up slightly last week).

7. Foreclosures are decreasing. Lenders are vying away from foreclosures, opting for short sales – which are being appraised closer to comparative market value nowadays, making the chance of getting a “great deal” lower. Many federal and state programs are also helping underwater owners to refinance and stay in their homes, meaning less distressed inventory.

(Information compiled from the Charfen Institute and Data Quick)

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There is NO Such Thing as Shadow Inventory

Friday, February 1st, 2013

You have heard the term “shadow inventory.” It was initially coined to refer to the housing inventory that lenders owned, post-foreclosure, but had not yet placed on the market for sale. It has been feared for years and is the subject of much speculation – how much are those lenders really holding back? Since the inception of the term years back, it has been used broadly, as has included inventory that has not yet gone into foreclosure but may. The media has blown the term out of proportion, and the average American thinks it is something to really worry about…but it is NOT.

The tides of the real estate market have really turned in the past year. Lenders have created their own programs, along with federal and state programs, that have actually kept the foreclosure numbers down. Lenders are accepting more short sales and moving forward with less foreclosures, precisely because the lenders do not want to sit on inventory that they have to rehabilitate and sell. They are in the business of lending money, not selling homes.

I’ll put it another way: lenders do not want distressed inventory. In fact, Alex Charfen, founder and CEO of the Charfen Institute and regular commentator for MSNBC and Fox News, agrees that shadow inventory does not exist. He points to the actual bank holdings (which he has seen), and bases this assumption on actual communication with those at the highest levels within the lending institutions. He states flat out that “banks are not holding properties off the market.”

The bottom line is that “shadow inventory” is not a concern. In fact, if you want to be afraid of something real estate related, chew on this:

– It is less expensive to purchase a home then to rent. The last time in history that such was the case was in 1973.

– Housing is more affordable than it has ever been…BUT inventory is very low. Statistics say that inventory will take 3-5 years to shift. In that time, it is safe to say that interest rates will likely rise.

Standards of getting a loan, while offering more protection for buyers than ever before, have shifted and it is now harder to qualify for a loan.

Meanwhile, due to the lack of inventory and the greater demand in the housing market, prices continue to rise and competition is fierce – cash investors purchased 30% of homes in 2011 (and that number will likely be higher for 2012).

If you have been considering buying a home, now is the time. I don’t say this because I want to sell more homes, but because it is simply the truth. Many people waited back in 2006/2007 to sell – they saw prices rising like crazy and thought they would wait until they got just a tad higher, so they they could sell and reap bigger profits. Many of those people went into foreclosure or had to short sell their homes after the market plummeted. Don’t get left in the cold.

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