Archive for May, 2014
Friday, May 30th, 2014
Wow…summer is here (well technically not for a few more weeks, but June means summer as far as I am concerned!) There is always so much to do in San Diego county in the summer, so have a wonderful June and a safe summer.
|Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach May 31-June 1
Attendees will be enjoying great live reggae, soul, funk, jazz, blues and rock music, a beer garden, a variety of food, hand made art, paintings, local photography, jewelry, clothing, and crafts, and the cool vibe of Solana Beach. 9am-9pm. Fletcher Cove. 858-755-4775 / www.fiestadelsol.net
|Rock n’ Roll Marathon June 1
It’s a exciting event where live bands and cheerleading groups entertain athletes as they travel along a 26.2-mile course. This event is in conjunction with the “Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon”. 6am-4pm. Balboa Park. (858) 768-6425 / www.rocknroll.competitor.com
|Rancho Bernardo Alive! Expo June 1
Music abounds on two stages as patrons shop from booth to booth. Business Showcase, Cultural Center, Food Court, and a Kids Zone. The event also presents a car show and Free health screenings by doctors and nurses. 10am-4pm. Bernardo Center Drive. (858) 487-1767 x-12 / www.sdncc.com
|San Diego County Fair June 7-July 6
The Fab Fair is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first visit to the United States, sparking the British Invasion in music and pop culture, influencing even today’s musicians. Del Mar Fairgrounds. 858-755-1161 / www.sdfair.com
|Arthritis Walk 2014 June 7
A good way to help combat arthritis is to walk. Walking moves the muscles and lubricates the joints for more flexibility. So, let’s move together by participating at this event. Proceeds will benefit the Arthritis Foundation. 7am-1pm. Liberty Station. (858) 492-1090 x-6711 / www.sdarthritiswalk.org
|Encinitas Rotary Wine Festival June 7
Stroll around the garden and the rest of this beautiful property sampling fine wines and beverages from around the world. 5-8pm. Hamilton Children’s Garden, the newest part of San Diego Botanic Garden located at 230 Quail Gardens Dr. 760-753-1977 / www.encinitaswinefestival.com
|Cycle Southcrest June 7
Collaborative effort to introduce Southcrest and Shelltown neighborhoods to Chollas Creek and the Bayshore Trail Project. Non-competitive bike ride, but also allows walkers to participate. 10am-1pm. Southcrest Rec. Center: 4149 Newton Ave. (619) 543-0430 / www.groundworksandiego.org
|Art Around Adams June 7
A community art festival is happening along Adams Avenue where merchants proudly display their wares. Performing art, interactive art, display art, and the Sculpture Garden. Circus performances, a Kids Zone, and a community mural. 2-10pm. (858) 342-7496 / www.artaroundadams.com
|Sam Adams Brew & View June 7
The event is designed for adults (age 21+) where attendees can enjoy Sam Adams Beer and a comedy movie presentation entitled “Wedding Crashers”. The event is accompanied with live music, games, and food. 6-10:30pm. Liberty Station. (303) 819-9780 / www.samadamsbrewandview.com
|Carlsbad Beach Fest June 14
Celebration of coastal environmental stewardship, education, and public outreach at Tamarack State Beach. Free beach activities, music and entertainment, beach cleanup, interactive booths, exhibitors, sand castles, food, and fun. 8am-3pm. 760-271-5787 / www.carlsbadbeachfest.com
|Fiesta Metric Century Bicycle Ride June 7
Riders can enjoy scenic views from Downtown to Otay Lakes. Upon returning, cyclists can partake in a delicious Mexican Buffet and an expo with bike-related merchandise. 6:30am-2pm. County Admin. Building parking lot: 1600 Pacific Hwy. (858) 692-6220 / www.shadowtour.com
|LaDainian Tomlinson 5K by EDCO June 14
It’s early summer and the sun is up! Come and join celebrities and others on a 5K run/walk and a 1-mile kid’s run at Liberty Station. Proceeds benefit the LaDaninian Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation. Enjoy the post-event celebration. 7am-1pm. (858) 836-0133 / www.lt5k.com
|Old House Fair June 21
Local craftsmen and community businesses that specialize in the repair, remodel, and preservation of homes will be there. Historic home tours. 10am–4pm. Beech Street (between Fern St. & Dale St.) / 30th Street (between Cedar St. & Ash St.) (619) 233-6679 / www.theoldhousefair.com
|The Cooper Family Juneteenth Celebration June 21
Juneteenth celebrates Black Independence Day. The event presents African history, drumming, and dancing and includes a Teen Stage, a Fun Zone, merchandise booths, light refreshments, and a talent show. 11am-6pm. Imperial Avenue. (619) 245-3387 / www.cfjuneteenth.com
|United States Police & Fire Criterium June 22
Today, law enforcement and firefighting personnel from throughout the United States will compete at a fast-paced cycling criterium on a circular course. Come and watch and cheer them on. 7:30am-12:30pm. Mira Mesa: Huennekins St. & Wapples St. (858) 571-9919 x-107 / www.uspfc.org
|Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chile Cook-Off Festival June 28
Follow the aroma of hot chili and the sounds of music. Nestled along Antique Row, the streets are lined with booths of food, art, and merchandise. There are games, rides, and raffles. Be sure to watch the super chili cook-off contest. 10am-9pm. (619) 224-4906 / www.oceanbeachsandiego.com
|Golden Triangle Art & Craft Beer Festival June 28
Amid musical entertainment, children can slide and play on a big mound of snow. Adults can enjoy wine tasting and the craft beer garden. Shoppers can listen to music while visiting merchandise booths. 10am–4pm. Nobel Rec. Center: 8810 Judicial Dr. (858) 602-2532 / www.lajollagtrotary.org
|Mass Creativity Day June 28
Demonstrates the power of the arts to foster careativity and communication across generational, cultural, and geographical boundaries. 10am-4pm. West Island Avenue and the park across the street from the New Children’s Museum. (619) 795-1774 / www.thinkplaycreate.org
|San Ysidro Independence Day Festival June 28
Highlights include staged musical performances, a car show, food, and game booths. There’s an activity area for children, and a beer garden for adults. The event concludes with an evening fireworks show. 3-10pm. Larson Athletic Field: 455 Sycamore Rd. (619) 428-5200 / www.sanysidrobid.com
|The San Diego International Triathlon June 29
Top pro athletes will compete for a $10K prize purse. The International Course consists of a 1,000-meter swim, 30K cycle, and a 10K run. The Sprint Course consists of a 500-meter swim, 20K cycle, and a 6-mile run. 6:30am-12pm. (858) 268-1250 / www.kozenterprises.com
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
This is the number one question I get from buyers today…it is Spring/almost Summer, so why are there not more listings available? While I have blogged about this topic several times before, I thought I would discuss the main reason I believe we are not seeing more inventory in many areas right now, including here in San Diego and North San Diego.
There are many potential sellers out there – those who want to move up, downsize, change neighborhoods or move out of area. I know because I have spoken with people who have in the back of their minds that they can move and would like to, but for one reason: there is no inventory. This sounds like a cyclical argument, and it is, so let’s break it down to understand what is happening in many markets.
Sellers are typically not just sellers, they are buyers as well. When they sell their home, they most often need to purchase another replacement property. If the sellers live in an area where inventory is low, they know that while their home may sell quickly, they may have a hard time finding a home to purchase. Rather than step out into the deep unknown – facing the prospect of renting (which is also a difficult market in which to find a property) and moving twice, many sellers decide to just wait it out.
Despite the fact that historically speaking, it is never the best time to BOTH buy and sell, it is easy to see how the above viewpoint, which is completely understandable in today’s market, coupled with buyer competition, might make sellers wait to put out a For Sale sign.
The demand for homes in many areas is still high, and there are buyers waiting for properties to come onto the market, many who understand the need to be aggressive and jump high in order to beat out other interested parties (a topic for another blog). If the demand continues sellers may realize that taking a risk could be positive. If the sellers wait too long they may price themselves out of the market; in other words, if demand remains stable or grows, prices will likewise remain stable or rise. While this is great news for potential sellers, if they are going to be purchasers as well it could mean higher prices on that end.
The bottom line is that sellers need to feel comfortable that they will be able to purchase a home once their home has sold (if that is the plan). They need to do their research and be ready to make an offer when a home meeting their criteria comes up – all the more reason to list their homes now as we head into Summer. If flexibility is an option then it is a good idea to line up a back-up plan, such as a month to month or even weekly rental while the sellers/buyers find a home and close escrow. There are apartments that do rent on a weekly basis, and are available furnished, so that the sellers/buyers would not have to move twice.
Before jumping into the selling market, make sure to have a plan and discuss it with your real estate agent. If you align all the pieces correctly you can sell your home and find a new one in a difficult buyers’ market.
Friday, May 23rd, 2014
For most people, Memorial Day is not a holiday typically consisting of celebrations. There are no presents, and for the most part it is a day off. I think it is so important that we acknowledge why we celebrate Memorial Day, because it reminds us of how lucky we are.
Today I sent out an email to all my clients and friends, wishing them a Happy Memorial Day. I received this response back from one wonderful client/friend:
“I immigrated in 1983- 31 years ago, and was a citizen in 1993. I have never taken a moment for granted. [I have] loved this country for not only giving me a safe home, but [also] the most amazing husband. I am FOREVER proud to be an AMERICAN.”
These words touched me and they ring true. We are all beyond lucky to live in this great country, despite the problems it may have. We have our freedom, and that is because we have men and women who are willing to fight for it.
On this Memorial Day, please think about the above, and next time you see a member of the military or another person whose job it is to protect our country and our freedom, please thank them.
Enjoy the weekend 🙂
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Many residents of San Diego County just emerged from a harrowing week, filled with fires, evacuations and lots of fear and sadness. Luckily most people and their possessions survived but it is a lot to process and the effects will linger for a long time. As a past fire victim myself (I lost my home to a fire when I was a child), I know that this is a time to respect those who have lost, those who are suffering or evacuating their homes, so it shocked me to see several new listings pop up during the height of the firestorm.
Like most people across the county who were being evacuated and feeling scared, I would never have known that agents were listing properties during this time but for the fact that I have searches set up for clients, so new listings are emailed to me the moment they pop onto the MLS. In the midst of answering emails from family and friends inquiring about my family’s safety I had new listing emails.
I honestly cannot believe that any agent would have the audacity to place a listing on the market during such a time. Couldn’t they wait a few days until things cooled down and evacuation orders were lifted? Several of the properties listed were in areas close to the fires, so even if they were not evacuated neighborhoods they may not have been easy or even possible to get to (not that any agent in their right mind would consider showing them…I assume).
I believe that in the face of tragedy, especially on such a large scale, we need to ask ourselves whether our actions are empathetic. Holding off on putting a property on the MLS for a few days would have been the smart, professional thing to do. If an agent is bored he or she could have instead volunteered to help by bringing items to shelters or sitting phone shifts for 211.
I hope that if there is ever a large-scale tragedy again in San Diego County people will think first and do the right thing.
Thursday, May 15th, 2014
San Diego County needs all the prayers and help it can get right now, as it deals with a crisis of epic proportion. With 8 fires still actively burning, and most not near containment, today will be another hot and difficult day for firefighters, homeowners and residents of the County.
On a personal note, our nightmare first started with a phone call just after 11:00 yesterday from my daughter, who told me that her school was on fire and the entire student body was being evacuated. I got there as quickly as I could – people were driving like lunatics and I almost got hit multiple times. The school was covered in a thick layer of black smoke and flames were surrounding it (it did not burn down).
I finally found my daughter in the sea of cars and panicked parents, and we headed home. Our neighborhood was engulfed in black smoke and all the neighbors were frantically packing cars. The police were blocking roads and would not let my son into the neighborhood to help me load the animals and few possessions my daughter and I could fit into the car (photo albums and important papers, little else). Three homes burned down just outside the back gates to our neighborhood – homes I drive by daily. Very sad.
San Diego is in crisis. Please stay off the roads unless you have to be on them. If you can, donate supplies to various local organizations. Drink tons of water and try to stay indoors – the air is poor but it’s probably worse outside. Stay cool. Don’t exercise outside – I saw several people running and was shocked. Comfort your pets – mine are freaked. Be prepared to evacuate…we never know what the day might bring. Be safe San Diego.
Monday, May 12th, 2014
A new study was just released that named San Diego, Carlsbad and San Marcos the #1 toughest housing markets in which renters can purchase homes. For every 100 homes available for purchase, there are slightly over 5 renters who can qualify to buy the home (according to research firm SNL Real Estate).
The recent market increase has made it more difficult for people hoping to purchase homes, pricing many out of the market. Prices in San Diego county rose 19.4% year over year as of January 2014, resulting in a rise in the median home price, to just under $477,000. Today’s buyer needs to earn over $81,000 to purchase a median-priced home.
While many economists and real estate experts believe the price increase is cooling off, there are other factors in play that could continue to make it difficult to afford a home here in San Diego county:
Low inventory still plagues many parts of the county, so that many buyers are competing for the same properties…which of course could have the effect of actually increasing prices but we will have to see.
The ability to obtain financing is still very challenging for many would-be buyers. Lenders are not making it any easier to obtain loans. Plus, with new reports showing that 1/3 of home sales are paid for in cash (click here for more on this statistic), this also presents a challenge for a buyer who needs to obtain a loan – most sellers will obviously opt for a cash buyer over one who has to qualify for a loan.
If you are a renter looking to purchase, there are a few things you should do to get ready, so that once you find the right home you are able to make a solid offer:
– Get preapproved. It is very important to speak with a mortgage professional so that you know exactly how much mortgage you can afford. I highly recommend a formal preapproval, where the mortgage professional analyzes your earnings, debt and other factors to come to an accurate assessment of your ability to purchase.
– Find a great real estate agent. You need to find someone who has experience, patience, and really is an expert in the areas in which you wish to hunt for properties. Your agent needs to be on your team, whether you like to search for properties on your own or have her/him do so for you. He or she can help educate you on different areas/neighborhoods, etc., so take advantage of their expertise. It costs you nothing, but will be a big benefit to you if you have someone who can answer questions provide further information, and walk you through all the paperwork and legalities.
– Stop spending on any big ticket items. If you are in the market to purchase a home, it is imperative that you stop spending money on any big items, like furniture, cars or trips. Lenders scrutinize all spending during the loan approval period, so just to be safe it is smart to stop spending from the start.
The bottom line is to not be discouraged if you are a renter looking to purchase a home. In fact, in March of this year 30% of homes were purchased by first time buyers, so it can happen! Just make sure to get all your ducks in order so that you are in the best position to make an offer when you do find that perfect home.
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
I recently met with potential sellers who wanted me to take a look at their home and make recommendations as to what they should fix or remodel before they list their home. Like any sellers, they want to make the most money they can on the sale. Luckily for them, their home is in a very desirable part of San Diego, in a great location on a cul de sac with high-ranking schools in the area. It is an expensive area so they wanted to make sure that they would meet buyer expectations.
All sellers want to make the most they can on the sale of their homes, and the question they all ask is the same: what should we do to make our home look the best it can in order to attract buyers and get the best price possible?
My advice usually veers toward not spending a lot of money to prepare a home for sale. I have written numerous blogs over the years about ways sellers can make their homes look better without emptying bank accounts. Here are some factors to consider so that your home shows in the best light possible:
1. Location. First and foremost, the location of your home may determine how much money you need to spend in order to have a sale-ready property. If you live in a desirable location obviously that is a plus, and it will mean you may not have to do much to get your home in tip-top shape. Discuss with your agent how your location may or may not determine the extent of pre-sale preparations.
2. Local market and neighboring homes. The hyper-local market obviously has a big impact on what a seller needs to do to get a home ready. If all the homes in the neighborhood are remodeled and upgraded, and the sellers’ home is not, then that is a consideration. However, a seller should not always assume that just because their home is the ugliest on the block they need to dump money into it in order to sell – it really depends on the the market. Like many local markets today, if inventory is scarce it may not make a difference if a home needs TLC. Another consideration is that you cannot please every buyer – some may like wood floors, some tile, some carpeting – so it may make sense to let the new owners decide. Sellers really need to discuss these concerns with their agent, using all the local data and comparable sold properties available…things could go either way. Of course a cost analysis needs to be done for any work that is a consideration. There are also many ways to make the home look as appealing as possible without spending a lot of money.
3. Eyesores and functionality issues. If a home has specific rooms or areas that really stand out as undesirable it may be worth it to address them, however that does not always mean spending a lot of money. For example, if a room is dark (which is not generally desirable), the sellers can consider inexpensive ways to brighten it up without adding windows or skylights. Lighter color paint and removing window treatments are just a few ideas. Of course, it is all very project specific, so again it is a good idea to consult with your real estate agent or a home stager.
In the case of homes that were rented and not cared for, or homes that have pet stains and odors, it may make sense to replace carpeting or flooring, as odors are big red flags to most buyers. If there are items known to the seller to be in disrepair (for example, plumbing or electrical issues), I usually recommend taking care of those – it is important that all major systems function properly. If the fix is too expensive you will need to disclose and be prepared to lower your price. The key is to make the home as appealing to potential buyers as possible…if they know they will need to spend money to fix big issues it may be a turn-off. If a home potentially has multiple issues it may be a good idea to get a pre-sale inspection and address issues in the report. Of course, there are some homes that may need to be sold as-is, and priced accordingly.
4. Smart alternatives. As alluded to above, there are many ways to really dress up a home for sale without breaking the bank – landscaping and paint are two of the best ideas. De-cluttering is a must. Brightening and cleaning are also imperative. For those properties that just need a little extra help, staging is terrific. Talk to your agent and consider your options before jumping into any expensive remodeling project or upgrade.
There are some inexpensive things you can do to really enhance your curb appeal – for ideas on staging click here. For other ideas click here.
It is important to remember that it is not always necessary to assume that you need to spend a lot of money to get your home sale-ready. Of course, every home is different and will have it’s own set of issues to conquer. But with a little creativity and likely not a lot of money, it is possible to present your home in the best light.
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Market time across California is down, and the number of days most homes spend on the market has decreased immensely. Chalk it up to a high demand but low supply of inventory. It’s a great time to sell a home. Check out these numbers from the California Association of Realtors:
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
There is a lot of news out there in the real estate world, so let’s cover some important items you should know.
Property tax reassessment deadline extended in San Diego County: If you are trying to get your property taxes reassessed you are in luck. The county assessor has extended the deadline for filing reassessment paperwork to May 16. If you are interested you can apply by clicking here.
Price appreciation in San Diego County led nation in February: San Diego officially led the nation with the highest price appreciation in February. and fall behind only San Francisco and Las Vegas in annual appreciation. Prices of resale single family homes increased almost 20% from February of 2013 to February of 2014 here in San Diego. The reason for the increase? Increased demand for housing and low inventory levels. Most industry experts predict that prices will slow and we will see normal growth patterns in appreciation, circa 3-3.5% annually. Signs of slowing are already apparent.
Luxury home sales hit all time high in U.S.: Home valued at a million dollars and over are selling at two times their historical average right now, having risen 7.8% in March since the same time last year. Compare that to a 12% plunge during the same period for homes valued at $250,000 and below…or 2/3 of the homes that sold across the country. An improving economy and strong stock market are building confidence in wealthy home buyers, while at the same time putting homeownership out of reach for a large majority of Americans; tighter credit standards, escalating prices and slow wage growth effect the decision to buy for a large majority of would-be homeowners.
FHA makes it easier for some people to buy homes: Those who have a recent foreclosure, short sale or economic hardship may now be able to qualify for home loans sooner, according to the FHA. The newly created category “economic event” will now be acceptable to allow borrowers to obtain loans in as little as 12 months after the event. Economic event is defined as an uncontrollable event (such as job loss or pay cuts) that led to loss of employment or income for at least 6 months, creating a total household income decrease of at least 20%. Of course, there are requirements and documentation, and each case is individually evaluated. If you have more questions you can contact your mortgage professional for more information.