Archive for December, 2013

San Diego Calendar of Events for January 2014

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


January 1, Polar Bear Plunge
As an annual tradition to ring in the New Year, a bunch of absolutely nutz swimmers will congregate on the beach at La Jolla Shores and plunge into the icy cold ocean. Lifeguards and support crew will be there on hand in kayaks and jet skis. Free event. Chili and potluck on the lawn – bring your favorite chili, sour, and/or warm food. Cider/coffee provided.
Time:  10:00 am – 11:00 am
Location:  La Jolla Shores
For more information visit
January 1-5, San Diego International Auto Show
Featuring the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof, over 400 vehicles from 36 global manufacturers.   Show visitors can participate in exciting, fun new features, family entertainment, and interactive activities. On Sunday, family day, children under 12 are free with paying adult, with fun activities for kids of all ages.
Time:  Wed. – Sat. 10:00 am – 9:00 pm / Sun. 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location:  San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Dr., Downtown San Diego
For more information visit
January 7, Annual San Diego Resolution Run 5K & 15K
San Diego Resolution Run 5K & 15K will take runners on a loop around Fiesta Island in scenic Mission Bay Park’s De Anza Cove while raising funds for charities:
San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project‘s Wild Willow Farm & Education Center. Registration fees range from $15 – $50.
Time:  First race at 7:30 am
Location:  Tecolote Shore Park, 1740 E Mission Bay Dr.
For more information visit
January 13, Petco Walk.Run.Wag 5K9
The Petco Walk.Run.Wag.5K9 is a 5km and 1-mile run and walk for people with or without a dog.  The event will include a pet and fitness expo.
Time:  7:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location:  Del Mar Fairgrounds – Wyland Center
For more information visit

January 17-19, Gem Faire
The Gem Faire, established in 1989, has become a world-renowned marketplace
for the finest in gemstones, beads, jewelry, minerals, fossils, meteorites, lapidary equipment, metaphysical items and much more at the lowest prices in today’s market. Workshops and classes also are offered. Admission: $7.00 (children 11 and younger free).
Time:  Fri. Noon – 6:00 pm / Sat. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm / Sun. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Del Mar Fairgrounds
For more information visit
January 17-19, Del Mar Antique Show
More than 250 premier antique dealers from all over California and the western U.S. will be selling the finest in antiques and collectibles. Appraisal service is available for $5 per item. Restoration services are also available. Admission: $8.00 (17 and younger free).
Time:  Fri. & Sat. 11:00 am – 7:00 pm / Sun. 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Del Mar Fairgrounds – O’Brien Hall
For more information visit
January 18, Sheila Harden San Diego Multi-Cultural Festival
A diversified cultural festival with music, dance performances, storytelling, and a wide range of ethnic foods and merchandise. The Kids Zone has drum circles, face painting, and craft-making activities, plus you can learn about local educational institutions at the Education Fair. Free event.
Time:  11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, E.Harbor Dr. between First and Fifth Aves.
For more information visit
January 19, Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
An annual event commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The parade features marching bands and floats, drill teams, dance groups, and other community groups.
Time:  2:00 pm
Location:  Harbor Drive – Embarcadero
For more information visit
January 19, Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon
The Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon features a rolling course, including 14 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Includes fully staffed and equipped water stations, and unsurpassed volunteer support and live entertainment along the way.  See website for registration fees.
Time:  Marathon start at 6:15 am / Half Marathon start at 7:45 am
Location:  Both races start at Westfield Plaza Camino Real, Carlsbad
For more information visit
January 19-24, San Diego Restaurant Week
Extraordinary three-course menus from San Diego’s best restaurants. Choose from over 180 of the city’s best restaurants and enjoy a fixed price, three-course dinner for $20, $30 or $40 per person, depending on the restaurant. Also a two-course lunch available $10-$15-$20. There are no tickets or passes required for Restaurant Week. For a complete list of participating restaurants visit the San Diego Restaurant Week website.
Time:  Refer to website
Location:  Refer to website – various locations
For more information visit
January 20, Free Art in the Park – Poway
Stop by for crafts and free family fun at Community Park.
Time:  10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location:  Poway Community Park, 13094 Civic Center Dr., Poway
For more information visit
January 20 – 26, Farmer’s Insurance Open
The Farmer’s Insurance Open is a professional golf tournament and the PGA TOUR stop in San Diego.  Don’t miss the excitement!  Several attractions are open to the public, including the Alaska Airlines Fan Village, the Grey Goose Lounge, Michelob Ultra 19th Hole, Michelob Ultra Oasis, and Beringer Wine Bar.
Time:  Refer to website for a schedule of events
Location:  Torrey Pines Golf Course, 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd.
For more information visit
January 23 – 26, San Diego Sunroad Boatshow
The San Diego Sunroad Boatshow is complete with both land and in-water locations, focusing on the latest boats and marine equipment. This years show includes over 100 new and pre-cruised sailboats and motor yachts, dozens of marine vendors with the latest nautical products and services, live music, food and beverages, and special boating events and boat rides for kids and adults. $12 for Adults. Children 12 and under, free. Cash only.
Time:  Thurs. & Fri.  Noon – 6:00 pm / Sat. & Sun. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location:  Harbor Island – San Diego Bay, 955 Harbor Island Dr.
For more information
January 25, San Diego Whale Festival
The free Whale Festival is a family community event offering a wide variety of interactive and hands on displays to spark the interest and imagination of any child including a walk-through gray whale, live sea creatures, free face painting, a kids art mural coloring project and a giant inflated obstacle course, a trackless train and two giant bounce houses. Enjoy live music on the “Whale of a stage”.
Time:  11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location:  San Diego Embarcadero, 1066 N. Harbor Dr. – at the foot of Broadway
For more information visit
January 25, Carmel Valley 5K & Fun Run
A 5K run/walk and a Fun Run for kids in Carmel Valley where the proceeds from the event will benefit the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation to help pay for science, art, music, and technology programs. Admission fees: 5K for age 15 and older = $46 / 5K for age 6-14 = $36 / Fun Run = $21.
Time:  8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location:  Carmel Del Mar Elementary, 12345 Carmel Park Dr.
For more information visit
January 31- Feb. 2, San Diego Lunar New Year Tet Festival
A 3-day celebration of the Lunar New Year, this Vietnamese cultural festival will showcase homeland traditions. Experience ancestral rituals and Vietnamese music with costumed dance performances, carnival rides and Vietnamese games, food, and merchandise. Free event.
Time:  Fri. 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm / Sat. & Sun 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Location: Mira Mesa Community Park, 8575 New Salem St.
For more information visit
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5 Home Projects to Avoid

Thursday, December 26th, 2013


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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 20th, 2013

I wanted to wish all my readers and clients a very happy holiday season, and a New Year filled with love, joy, laughter, prosperity and most of all, peace.Happy holidays

My blog will be dark over the holidays, but I look forward to providing you with more great real estate news and musings in the New Year. If there is any pressing news I must share I may do so before then, but if not…


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December Real Estate Sales are HOT!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

It may be a little cooler here in San Diego than we are used to, but the real estate market is definitely heating up. Every year I think that December will be a slow month and that I will get to relax a bit, and every year I am wrong..this year is no exception. There are 1179 pending sales in the county as of December 1. I think this December could end up being one of the busiest in years for homes going into escrow.images

Why is the market so hot right now? I think there are a few reasons, but suffice it to say that the buyers who are out there looking are very serious, and they are making very strong offers to boot. Here are a few reasons why I believe the market is on fire this December:

1.  Market changes: I think the biggest factor in the buyer frenzy is that there have been some significant changes in the market here in San Diego (and in many other places as well). For starters, most listings are priced well, and the multiple offer frenzy seems to have died down. Even though inventory is still on the low side, those homes that are listed tend to show well. Priced right + show well = interested buyers. The buyers who are out there looking are very savvy – most of them have seen multiple properties and know not only what they want, but how much homes are worth. When they find one that meets all their criteria, they are willing to make offers over asking price to prevent multiple offer situations.

For sellers this holiday season is going to turn out to be a great time to list and sell – if their homes are priced right and show well, most sellers will be happy they lived through the hassle of selling during this time of year.  Loan qualification changes: I have discussed this in several blogs, so it is no surprise to hear that the major lenders have stated that it will be more difficult for people to qualify for loans come the new year. Tougher qualification standards will be put into play, creating the possibility that some buyers may be pushed out of the market. This could have some potential buyers worried, creating more of a sense of urgency to find properties sooner rather than later.

3.  Interest rate rise: We have been hearing about this one for a while as well, and there is no doubt in my mind that there WILL be rises in interest rates in the new year. How much and how many is a mystery, but this still seems to have an affect on those buyers who are ready to purchase and want to lock in the lowest rates possible.

4.  The unknown future: Given the status of last year’s Spring inventory (which was very low), it remains to be seen what will happen come Spring 2014. There are many factors that will influence whether we will see an inventory surge – interest rates, loan qualification standards, the economy and job market, etc. There will be a big comfort factor involved in whether sellers choose to list their homes or wait until things stabilize further in the economy. Fear of the unknown future may cause some buyers to buy now rather than wait to see what happens. Many feel that real estate is on the mend, but that it is still a volatile economy. This can go either way, but with the number of serious buyers out there right now I think it is creating the desire to buy now rather than wait it out and see what happens in the Spring.

It definitely is a hot market here in San Diego this December…it will be interesting to see the numbers come out and be able to compare them to the last several Decembers for previous years.

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Real Estate News for Week of December 9, 2013

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Franchise Tax Board Will Not Tax California Short Sellers on Non-Recourse Loans: The FTB has announced that short sellers will not be taxed on non-recourse loans, following the lead of the IRS. This decision seems obvious, given that a short sale does not have debt forgiveness. Good news for those who need to sell their homes short.News

FHA Lowers Loan Limits for 2014: The FHA recently announced that maximum loan limits for 1-4 unit dwellings will be reduced in the coming year, from $725,750 to $625,500 for a single unit. (Check the limits for 2-4 units, as they vary). This could limit borrowers’ pool of available properties, so if you are looking for properties with an FHA loan, it is imperative to speak with your mortgage professional and make a plan. The revised limits also vary by county, so make sure you get all the facts. If you can find something and get an FHA case number before the end of the month you will be fine, if not, find out whether you need to revise your maximum searching limits after the first of the year so you can make adjustments.

Investors are Expected to Remain Most Active Buyers Heading into 2014: Despite all the hoopla that investors are out of the real estate market, a new study says that they will still comprise a large part of the buyer pool in the new year. The study by Data Quick points out investor staying power will be a result of tightening credit standards and a lack of affordable properties, which will shrink the buyer pool and possibly keep many first time buyers out of the market.

Foreclosure Inventory Has Decreased, but is Not Going Away: Despite the decrease in foreclosure inventory this year, they still play a role in most housing markets and are expected to do so moving into the new year. CoreLogic reports that foreclosures completed in October dropped 30% year over year from 2o12, but that foreclosure inventory is still four times higher than normal. I think “normal” is no longer a word we should embrace in real estate, at least until our economy stabilizes and people feel less worried. To read the report click here.



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Pristine Cul de Sac Home in La Costa Greens

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Absolutely pristine La Costa Greens cul de sac home – upgrades galore with a bright, open floor plan and a fabulous, private entertainer’s backyard. This home shows like a model and is move-in ready.image_029_mls Offered at $829,000.

Features include:

• Granite kitchen counters with large island/breakfast bar

• Stainless appliances with double oven, custom hood, 5 burner stove and oversized built-in refrigerator

• Plantation shutters throughout

• Custom tile flooring downstairs

image_014_mls• Dark distressed wood flooring in master

• Full bedroom and bathroom downstairs

• Granite wet bar and wine bar ”2nd kitchen” off dining room

• Custom paint throughout

• Large loft upstairs

• Side patio with water feature off dining room

• Professionally landscaped private yard with fruit trees, large outdoor fireplace with generous seating area, water featuresimage_023_mls

• Wrought iron banisters on staircase and designer carpeting upstairs

• Front courtyard entry with fountain

• Golf course and sunset views from master bedroom

• Spa like master bath with sunken tub, large shower, walk in closet and stone floors

image_028_mls• Upstairs laundry with sink

• Oversized garage with built-in storage

• Central alarm system

• Located in the coveted La Costa Greens community, complete with access to the

Presidio (resort-like pool/spa and clubhouse, gym area), tennis courts

• Close to shopping, dining, schools, highways, and beaches

For more information, photos and a virtual tour click here. MLS number 130063268. Call Rachel with questions and for showings at 760-310-9466.

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5 Reasons to Purchase a Home

Friday, December 6th, 2013

The following article was written by Michael Deery with Citiwide Financial Corp – I felt it was great information to share with my readers. If you have any questions about any of this information above, please feel free to contact Michael directly at 858-442-2686.

In 2013 alone, the cost of paying a mortgage has climbed 13%, which means a buyer has lost 13% in purchasing power. Mortgage rates were at 3.25% in April and today sit at 4.5%. So a buyer who was approved at $500k at the beginning of the year, can now only afford $435k using the same monthly payment today. With home prices also surging between 10%-20% in most housing markets during 2013, the cost of waiting to purchase a home has increased considerably for buyers. Here are 5 reasons to purchase a home soon!

1. The Cost of a Mortgage Increased 13% in 2013
It has been a rough ride for mortgage rates over the past 9 months. As you can see on this chart, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have increased from 3.25% to 4.5% during 2013.A buyer who could afford $500k at the beginning of the year, can now only afford $435k using the same monthly payment today. So in just 9 months, the cost of paying a mortgage has climbed 13%, and a buyer has lost 13% in purchasing power.

2. Home Prices are Continuing to Rise Everywhere

Home Prices are on the rise everywhere, as limited inventory is driving prices up. It is the old law of supply and demand, with limited supply demand will rise, and this is why we are seeing bidding wars for properties going on in most local markets, and this in turn is driving prices up.

For example, see below the September year-over-year home price appreciation gains for the cities Case-Shiller tracks for its report on housing values!

The housing markets in San Diego, LA and San Francisco have all seen annual appreciation gains around 20% over the past 12 months!


3. Tougher Underwriting Rules are Coming in January 14th 2014

On January 14th the CFPB, (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), is due to enforce new tougher qualifying rules for mortgages. These new laws will be known as “Qualified Mortgage” (QM) and the “Ability to Repay” (ATR).

Q: What is a Qualified Mortgage (QM)?  

A:  A Qualified Mortgage is a home loan that meets certain standards set forth by the federal Government. Lenders that generate such loans are presumed to have also met the Ability-to-Repay rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Qualified Mortgage rule, as defined by CFPB, is designed to create safer loans by prohibiting or limiting certain high-risk products and features.

One of these new rules will cap the debt to income ratios allowed on certain loans at 43%. Currently the FHA and VA allow buyers to go to a 55% Debt to income ratio, Conventional is currently allowed to go to 45% and sometimes 50%.

Once these new rules are in place on January 14th, I will send out more information.

4. As Mortgage Rates Increase in 2014, Your Purchasing Power Will Fall

A question that all buyers have is, where will rates be in a year and how will this affect my affordability? There have been several experts out in the past few weeks who are convinced the Fed will taper their bond purchases early next year, now that economic data is improving, and predict mortgage rates will be north of 5% by this time next year. (Goldman Sachs, Pimco)

With that in mind, here is a good chart to share with your buyers, that shows the “impact of rising rates on a buyers purchasing power or affordability”. It shows if rates just increase from 4.5% to 5.5%, a buyer will lose another 10.75% in purchasing power, which means, if they can afford to purchase $600k today, they will only be able to afford $540k in a year!

Add in another 8%-10% appreciation, and the cost of a home will be roughly 20% more expensive in a year than it is today!

5. Buy A Home When the Fed is Offering Money at a Discount.

A question many people ask is, “When is a good time to buy a home?”

I think a great time to buy a home is when the Fed is applying monetary stimulus into the economy, via their Quantitative Easing or “QE” program, which essentially is giving buyers the opportunity to borrow money at a discount. But now that recent economic data has been improving, The Fed will start to pull back on their monetary stimulus soon, which will automatically increase the cost to borrow money.

As you can see on this chart, the influence of Federal Reserve stimulus on mortgage rates is undoubted, and is the #1 reason why rates are so low in the first place. The average 30 year fixed rate prior to stimulus was roughly 6.5%, compared to today’s rates of roughly 4.5%.

This is a chart that all buyers and move-up-sellers who are contemplating when they should sell should review, so they know what effect the Fed is having on current interest rates and affordability. Without Fed stimulus, rates will probably revert back to normal, which will be roughly 6.5% on a 30 year fixed.

Tips for Buyers and Move-Up-Sellers in 2014

Bottom line, all evidence above suggests that rates and home prices are going to continue to increase over the next 12 months, which means the cost of purchasing a home is going to increase for buyers. And it looks like qualifying for a mortgage may get more difficult too.

But, on the positive side, buyers should know that the average 30 year fixed mortgage rate over the past 40 years has been 8.7%, and 6.5% over the past decade!  So for any buyers who are still on the fence looking at buying a home, a 4.5% rate is still a terrific rate to get on a home loan.

Another good tip for buyers too, is to focus on the monthly payment and NOT the rate. Yes rates have gone up this year and it is very unfortunate, but is the monthly payment still affordable? If the payment is still affordable, do not focus on the interest rate.

Overall, it is still a great time to buy a home, but waiting another 6 months or a year to buy a home, will probably just end up costing you even more money.

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Selling Your Home During the Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I wrote the following post several years ago, but it is still pertinent (probably even more so today, as there are many serious buyers home shopping right now). The holidays can be a great time to sell…have a look (or a second look) and see why:Xmas tree & menorah

Heading into the holidays can be a stressful time for most people, especially when you have a home to sell in the midst of all the celebrations. Many sellers take their homes off the market before the holidays, or avoid listing them altogether, to avoid added stress, but this time of year can actually be a blessing for the home seller. There are some good reasons to keep or start marketing your home over the holidays.

1.  Serious buyers. Buyers who are looking for homes over the holidays tend to be serious buyers, given the fact that they are looking for homes during the holiday season. With less inventory out there this makes it an ideal time for sellers.

2.  Less competition. Since so many sellers take their homes off the market you will have less competition. If your home shows well (holiday decor is ok and is expected at this time of year) and is priced well this could be a big benefit to you. There are buyers out there who need to find places to live over the holidays. If you are worried about showings when you are celebrating or have guests, simply have your agent ask for more notice for appointments, and you can even specify showing times that would be easiest on you.

3.  Highlight the warmth of your home. The holidays are a great time to really highlight the warmth of your home. As long as you don’t go overboard with decorations, gift clutter or holiday smells (like holiday candles), a little festivity can give your home a welcoming feel. Make sure not to block any ares where natural light comes into the home.

While selling your home over the holidays can be challenging, if you designate showing times and keep your home in tip top showing shape, there is no reason you have to let it interfere with holiday enjoyment.

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