Archive for June, 2013
Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Here is the July calendar of events…I will be back to blogging after next week. Have a great week and a wonderful holiday!
July 1 – 7
San Diego Fringe Festival
For seven days, San Diego will have artists from across the United States and around the world participate alongside home-grown talent in street performing, cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, poetry, spoken word, theatre, puppetry, music, visual art, design, and much more. Refer to website for ticket information.
Time: Refer to website for specific times
Refer to website for specific locations
For more information visit www.sdfringe.org
University City 5K and 4th of July Celebration
This course features a fast, flat, and scenic run and a 1-mile fun run. Celebration event includes a pancake breakfast, a pet and bike parade, family field games, festival booths, and much more.
July 4, 4th of July Celebration and Fireworks
Live music, food, children’s activities, educational activities, a special performance by the 1st Division Marine Band, and more. For the first time, the Center will open its doors for gourmet picnic, drinks, and reserved seating for the fireworks spectacular. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Grape Day Park, 321 N. Broadway, Escondido
Reptile Super Show
Over 100 vendors will fill more than 500 tables packed with reptiles, amphibians and all related supplies for the reptile enthusiast in your family. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: San Diego Community Concourse, 202 C St., San Diego
Festival of the Bells
This event celebrates the anniversary of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the Mother of California’s 21 Missions. There will be food, entertainment, dancing and traditional activities like the Blessing of the Bells and the Blessing of the Animals. All five Mission bells are rung during the weekend festivities, including an original bell dating back to 1802. This is a free event.
Time: Refer to website for specific times
Padres Tailgate Party and Firefighter Chili Cook-Off
Over 25 fire departments will create their signature chili and serve it from a specially themed and decorated booth. Awards will be given for people’s choice, best booth, best chili, and top fundraising team. This event will feature all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, snacks, and cold beverages from Rock Bottom, Manzanita Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, and more. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Park Way, San Diego
Breakwater Brew Festival
This is a 5 year anniversary beer festival featuring Gone Baby Gone and other bands that will be performing. Refer to website for admission information.
11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Junior Seau Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre, 200 North of the Strand, Oceanside
For more information visit www.breakwaterbrewing.com
San Diego Vintage Flea Market
This is San Diego’s only vintage and vintage inspired flea market. This market features over 40+ vendors with goods ranging from turn-of-the-century to midcentury modern.
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Heartland Masonic Lodge, 695 Ballantyne St., El Cajon
For more information visit www.facebook.com/SDVintageFleaMarket
San Diego Blood Bank 5K Walk/Run
Enjoy a beautiful walk or run along a scenic course with spectacular views of San Diego Bay, cruise ships, US Navy ships and the classic sailing craft, the Star of India. This walk/run also includes a “family fun zone,” music, and much more. Refer to website for registration information.
7:00 am – 11:00 am
Embarcadero Marina Park North, 500 Kettner Blvd., San Diego
For more information visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org
Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack
San Diego horse racing takes place where the “turf meets the surf” at the Del Mar Racetrack. Fans flock to the track each summer to wager on their favorite horses during the popular, annual Del Mar Thoroughbred Club racing season. Don’t miss the fun on Opening Day at the Races! Refer to website for admission information.
11:30 am – 6:30 pm
Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.dmtc.com
The largest comics and pop culture event in the United States attracts thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, movie memorabilia and all things related to pop culture to San Diego. Traditional events include an eclectic film program, screening rooms devoted to Japanese animation, gaming, as well as over 350 hours of other programming on all aspects of comic boks and pop culture.
Refer to website for specific times
San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego
For more information visit http://www.comic-con.org/cci
Summer of Love Walkabout
This is a fun-filled evening festival to introduce you to the shops and cafes of South Park. Explore shops, galleries, and eateries at this walkabout. There will be a streetcar used to tour and many people touring on foot.
Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Along 30th St. / Juniper St., South Park
Fiesta Del Sol San Diego 2013
A two day street festival featuring performances, arts and culture, a children’s area, and resources on health, education, civic engagement, and green/technology.
11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Logan Avenue between César E. Chávez Parkway and 26th
, San Diego
For more information visit www.fiestadelsolsandiego.org
San Diego Run for the Warriors
A 5K race dedicated to the men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, their families, and families of the fallen. Refer to website for registration information.
Time: 6:00 am – 8:00 am
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Park Way, San Diego
5th Annual Doggie Street Festival
This event celebrates furry friends and is dedicated to educating the public about pet care, training, spay/neuter and responsible adoption options. Besides traditional festival-type food and music, the event also offers pet merchandise, pet sitting services, and dog washing and grooming. This is a free event.
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: NTC Park at Liberty Station, 2455 Cushing Road, San Diego
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Over the ten years I have been selling residential real estate there have been many questions that I could label “million dollar questions,” but perhaps the number one question is why do lenders hold up closings? Granted, if I had a proverbial crystal ball I could probably help relax many inquiring minds, and I definitely would not have as many gray hairs! Let’s look at some of the reasons lenders hold up closings.
1. Too many people, too little training. Big lenders have many employees. In most cases one would think that with so many employees the company would be more efficient, right? But this is not the case with big lenders. All those people actually make getting a loan approved and closed MORE difficult. I have been trying to figure this one out for years, so I will chalk it up to a lack of internal communication (see below), training and a BIG disregard for deadlines. It is no wonder most Americans despise working with big lenders.
I do have a solution to the above issue, and to me it seems simple but of course I think in black and white. Departments should be created where people are trained to do only one or two specific jobs. They do their part and the loan processing then moves to the next department, almost like a conveyor belt, until all the steps are completed. The lenders would save money by streamlining the process, and escrows would close sooner (or at least on time – what a concept!!)
2. Failure to communicate. This category goes hand in hand with number 1. Big lenders not only have a hard time with internal communication, but they have just as big an issue with communicating between real estate agents and mortgage professionals. In fact, with one sale I have pending right now, the lender (Citibank) asked me – the listing agent – and the buyer’s agent to refrain from communicating with them during the loan processing! Part of the reason I can offer great service to my clients is because I stay in constant communication with all parties involved in closing the sale, so this went against my ability to provide great service and frankly, made me upset (I definitely won’t be referring any of my buyers to Citibank’s mortgage department). As a result of this lack of communication we are not going to close late. Unbelievable – or perhaps I should say “believable, but very, very upsetting.”
3. No Oversight. This is not a new realization. Lack of lender oversight has been a complaint for decades. In fact there was an article in the paper this morning about big lenders violating the terms of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement (the agreement to clean up shady foreclosure practices). What a surprise! The list includes Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase. Where is the oversight, and why can these big banks do whatever the heck they want? This is a disgrace, especially for America as a nation.
I am sure there are many other reasons I could add to the list, but I think this is a pretty accurate description of what is going on in our lending industry, at least with the big banks. I have not had these issues with smaller lenders, in-house mortgage lenders or credit unions. This particular blog also did not discuss why lenders hold up short sales – an even more mysterious question (and one that I have written about several times). I sure wish these big banks would clean up. Not only would it make real estate a more pleasant business, but it would also help the housing market and allow more people to buy homes.
Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Business is business, and oftentimes for many that means keeping emotions at bay and thinking with only a black and white palette. Real estate sales transactions are no exception, or are they?
There often comes a time in a real estate sale where the buyers discover information about their new home that they consider important, and as a result they appeal to the sellers for repairs, credit or a reduction in the purchase price. Most sellers are open to helping the buyers out in some way, but there are others who dig their feet in the dirt and refuse to budge. I have represented many buyers and many sellers, and I have seen both sides and understand where all parties are coming from. But there is something to be said about kindness and trying to understand viewpoints and concerns, and I think no matter what side you are on you can always be a good person.
Of course, each sale is very different and there is no way to formulate a plan that will apply in every situation. My best advice is to truly consider what is being requested and to try to weigh alternatives, then to make a compromise. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
1. Repair request compromises. When a buyer makes an offer on a home, especially for top dollar, and gets into contract s/he is unlikely to know of any problems with the home (unless of course they are obvious, as in a fixer-upper, or where the seller discloses defects prior to getting into contract). It is usually not until a buyer has a home inspection that s/he discovers issues that need to be addressed. At this point most buyers will ask the seller to either make repairs or credit money in escrow to fix items that need repair. In extreme cases, where the repairs are very high, a buyer might ask for a price reduction.
2. Price reduction compromises. These are harder for most sellers to swallow, and rightfully so. However, it is always imperative to look at the nature of the problem(s), and again to have an open mind. If your buyers are asking for a reduction in price because the home has old flooring or old appliances, that is something they knew when they made their offer, thus they had the opportunity to take that into consideration already. But if the buyer discovers something s/he could not see or did not know the extent of during investigations – like that the appliances had bad wiring that made them a fire hazard and have lead to their deterioration – that is an issue the seller should seriously consider.. Of course, it all depends on many factors and no two situations will be the same, so it is smart to have an open mind and imagine oneself on the opposite end of the transaction.
3. Avoiding pricey repairs or price reductions. A good solution for sellers in avoiding pricey repair requests or price reductions is to have a home inspection prior to listing. I do not suggest this to every seller, but only to those who are aware there may be issues OR who live in older homes. It is a good idea to gain an understanding as to what might need to be addressed – the seller can then take care of some items prior to listing to avoid surprises down the road.
As a seller it is important to fully understand where the buyer is coming from. Minor items are easy to fix, and if they are safely hazards I always suggest to my sellers to take care of them – this not only makes you a good person, but it makes a statement that you understand your buyers want to purchase your home and did not anticipate there were safety issues to be resolved. Sometimes it is important to be able to compromise, just as it is important to limit requests to items that are truly a safety concern or could lead to even bigger problems down the road. Of course, there are different factors in each case so every seller or buyer will need to discuss with their agents.
Buyers too need to understand where the seller is coming from. If a home is in contract for a reasonable price (i.e. the price is in line with the comparable sold properties), the buyers need to take that into consideration when figuring out a reasonable repair request or price reduction. If the buyer is paying a premium for the home then the buyer will undoubtedly expect a home that does not have tens of thousands of dollars of repair work added on top of the price premium – if the tables were turned the seller would feel the same.
The best advice when discussing repairs or price reductions between buyers and sellers of home, is to go into them with an open mind. Sellers who deny any type of aid without trying to understand why the request was presented could end up losing the sale – and don’t forget that anything a buyer discovers in a home or other type of inspection must be disclosed by the sellers to any subsequent buyers. Buyers could similarly end up walking away from a home they really love by getting caught up in minutiae, so it is imperative to carefully consider negotiation tactics after contract acceptance. Compromising can often lead to a successful close of escrow.
Monday, June 10th, 2013
For many real estate agents the paperwork involved in the sale of a home can be difficult, but it is also of utmost importance. Unfortunately a large percentage of agents lack either the knowledge or patience (or both perhaps ?) to properly handle this task, and this needs to be addressed in our industry.
From a legal standpoint there are agents who, on almost a daily basis, are setting themselves or their clients up for potential lawsuits. Here’s a great example: three times in the last week alone I have seen poor examples of paperwork skills, from sloppy and missing papers, to erroneously filled out disclosures (where the agent obviously did not review the client’s disclosures before presenting them to the buyers’ agent, me – this happened twice in the last week, by two different agents), to sending disclosures that are not on correct, updated forms.
Paperwork is of utmost importance in a home sale, as what one says, or neglects to say, could subject one to liability down the road. Now, it is understandable that most agents are not attorneys, but there are still ways for any agent to master paperwork skills, and here they are:
1. Broker responsibility: In my professional and legal opinion, no paperwork should go out for signatures without broker review…yes, even for those very experienced agents. Those who want to avoid this can get a broker’s license. But in all reality there is just not enough oversight in our industry and this leads to lawsuits. Personally as a broker I would NEVER want someone out there representing my company who is doing a sloppy job! Every broker should have such a clause in the employment contract – either the broker or a designated person inside the company should review everything before anything goes out for signatures. Call me over-the-top, but this is how I would do it.
2. Better training: this goes hand in had with the above: brokerages simply need to have more and better training. When an agent joins a firm s/he should learn how to handle paperwork, and that includes going through EVERY form…tedious but it will ensure better skills and fewer lawsuits. Many agents have probably never actually read many of the forms anyway. Furthermore, there should be training sessions held whenever new forms are released to make sure all agents understand any changes.
3. Have a checklist in your file: Every agents should have a checklist so they can see what papers have been fully executed and which still need to be submitted for signatures. This is imperative – those agents who fly by night and have no idea what forms are required are just asking for trouble.
4. Use a transaction coordinator! This is a GREAT way for anyone to stay on top of paperwork, and a very simple way, albeit at a cost (but you can shop around) to avoid potential legalities down the road. Make sure your TC is experienced; the best way to find one is to ask around and then interview the recommended person/team.
5. Review all paperwork filled out by your clients before sending them off to the other side: this is especially important if you are the listing agent and your client is filling out disclosures. You need to review them and see if your clients have failed to answer any questions, or left out information of which you are aware (e.g. if there is an HOA and the client did not check the box so indicating – this has happened several times in paperwork I have received from sellers).
6. When in doubt: ASK! There is always someone you can ask for help when you are not sure about which form to use or how to fill out a particular form. It is more important to admit you have no clue than to just “wing it” and submit paperwork that may contain errors.
Anyone can fill out paperwork correctly, so there is no reason to ever send over papers that are faulty. Use the above points to make sure you protect your clients, and you will not only be a hero, but you will be acting in a professional manner and doing the right thing.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Many real estate markets across the country, including here in San Diego County, are currently experiencing seller’s markets, due to low inventory levels and increased demand for homes. Many homes receive multiple offers and are priced over neighborhood comparable sales values, and there are also many situations reported where buyers will remove appraisal contingencies in their offer (meaning they are willing to pay any value over the appraised value so that their offer has a higher chance of getting accepted).
With higher sales prices in many neighborhoods it is hard to make sense of the comparable sold properties, which may show values that are lower than the asking price of a home that buyers want to purchase. It is often difficult even for agents to counsel buyers on how to handle some situations, because no one wants to see her buyer overpay for a home, but at the same time we do not want to see our buyers lose out on home they love. What should buyers and their agents make of all this, and how do they know what to offer in order to get their offers accepted?
1. Comparable sold properties. Obviously the first place to start is with the comparable sold properties. If there have been recent sales in a neighborhood the task of coming to the right sales price is easier, because one usually will see an upwards trend in prices over the last several months or since the start of the year. As agents we really have to compare the recent solds to the subject property to see what similarities and differences the properties possess, then we need to balance them out and add on for price increases. Sometimes this is not as easy as it seems though, and we really need to dig in and do our homework.
For example, on a recent listing we asked for a price over comparable sold value in the neighborhood, but we knew there were a few homes pending in there for prices higher than what showed on the MLS, and those homes were never placed on the MLS, so the appraiser would not have seen them pending. We had to explain this to both the buyer and the appraiser. So sometimes you have to go beyond what is listed in the MLS and have a title representative pull listings that are being sold by owner or by out-of-area agents who might not have put the home on your local MLS.
2. Area Increases. If there are no recent sales in the immediate area, and no recently sold similar properties nearby, then the focus should be on older sales, taking into consideration price gains in the area or in the county. If you can show that prices have increased substantially in the area, say 10%, yet cannot find comparable sales in the immediate neighborhood, you can still apply the increased percentage in value to the home that you are trying to purchase.
Here in San Diego many areas have increased abut 10% since prices started rising, but there are specific neighborhoods where prices have increased more that that…it is important to get a good understanding of what values are doing in the neighborhood in which you wish to purchase a home.
3. Appraisals. Appraisers seem to be “with the program” lately. At the beginning of the year when prices were just starting to climb, many appraisers were not appraising homes with increased sales prices, or they were making it more difficult for buyers to move forward with the purchase because appraisals were not coming in at value. Now however, there generally are enough recent sales within or surrounding a community that allow the appraisers more room to see the growing values.
If an appraisal does not come in at value there are obviously choices – the buyer and seller can either renegotiate the sales price, or the buyer can choose to pay the difference between the sales price and the appraised value.
It is definitely not an easy task to find value in a home where there are no significant recent sales comparables, but it can be done and you can get your appraisal to come in if you do your homework.