Archive for January, 2015

San Diego Calendar of Events for February 2015

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Happy February!

Museum Month: Half-Off Admission 
Macy’s Museum Month is back this February!  San Diego residents and visitors are invited to enjoy half-price admission at 45 museums during February. To take advantage of this great cost savings you must pick up a Museum Month Pass at any Macy’s store in San Diego, Temecula or Imperial Valley.
Date: February 1 – 28, 2015
Time: refer to website
Location: refer to website
For more info.: visit
Red Trolley Classic Criterium
Around and around they go! Amateur and professional cyclists as well as wheelchair athletes will race upon a circular course to see who is the fastest.
Date: February 01, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Sorrento Mesa (Waple & Hunnekens St.)
For more info.: contact Sean B. @ 619.865.3389
Culture & Cocktails: Havana Nights
Open-air bazaars, ocean-front walkways, bright colors, crumbling colonial architecture, and salsa music booming through the streets.
Date: February 5, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: Members – Free, Presale – $20, At Door – $25
Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For more call 619.232.7931 or
Farmers Insurance Open 2015
Mark your calendars now, because one of golf’s biggest events of the year, the Farmers Insurance Open, returns to San Diego in 2015. Torrey Pines Golf Course, 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd.
Date: February 5 – 8, 2015
Time:  refer to website
Location: Torrey Pines Golf Course
SDJT Presents: Flight of the Lawnchair Man

Around and around they go! Amateur and professional cyclists as well as wheelchair athletes will race upon a circular course to see who is the fastest.

Date: February 6 – 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Price: $11 – $15
Location: 3366 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92103
For more info.: call 619.239.8355 or visit
Mermaid San Diego Run 5K, 10K and Half Marathon 
This running and walking event is designed specifically for women who are looking for a supportive exercise experience.
Date: February 07, 2015
Time:  7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Price:  $35 (5K) ~ $45 (10K) ~ $55 (Half Marathon)
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: call Carlo Facchino @ 408.314.1718
Cooking Class and Dinner: Romance on the Beach

Join Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver for an exciting cooking demonstration where you’ll learn to tips and tricks to a three-course menu featuring Local Organic Mushroom Gateau, Brittany Lobster en Cocotte and Valrhona Lava Cake.

Date: February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Price: $75 per person
Location: 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037
For more info.: call 858.459.7222 or visit
Circus Vargas 11-Day Event
Come to the circus! Enter the big tent where there is lively music and thrilling exploits of human stars rendering unparalleled artistry and comical acts. See silly clowns, trampoline acrobatics, balancing acts, and aerial ballet. There is one show today.
Date: February 12, 2015
Time:  7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Price: $20 – $65
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: call 877.468.3861 or visit
Valentine’s Day Weekend Cruises

Find romance between the sea and sky with San Diego Valentine’s dinner and brunch cruises from Hornblower. You’ll enjoy spectacular Bay views with famous San Diego landmarks, wonderful food to choose from with our special Valentine’s Day menus and music for dancing.

Date: February 13 – 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: Starting at $105 per adult
Location: 1800 North Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.686.8715
Gaslamp Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is a celebration of Fat Tuesday as held in New Orleans. This Mardi Gras is open to adults (age 21+) mingling in masked revelry. Be sure to catch handfuls of shiny beads as they’re tossed from a float parade!
Date: February 17, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM – 11:59 PM
Price: $35 – $45
Location: East & West Mission Bay
For more info.: contact Laurel McFarlane @ 619.233.5008
Chinese New Year Celebration - Year of the Sheep

It’s the Year of the Sheep! A celebration of the Chinese New Year will take place in the late evening to early morning in the Mid-City area of San Diego. The celebration presents traditional Chinese music, good cheer, and the flash and crackle of fireworks and a performance of the Dragon Dance.

Date: February 18 – 19, 2015
Time: 11:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Location: Indo-Chinese Association of San Diego
For more info.: contact Stanley Ting @ 619.717.7062
Rock in the Park – Venice
Venice’s trademarks are incredible harmonies, personal lyrics and high-energy shows. Their sound is at once familiar and fresh, their classic rock and folk influences apparent in their pop sensibilities.
Date: February 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Price: In Advance – $24 – $27 At the Door – $32
Location: 1875 El Prado Balboa Park
For more info.: call 619.238.1233 or visit
San Diego Lunar New Year Tet Festival 3-Day Event 

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, a Vietnamese cultural festival will take place to showcase homeland traditions. Come and experience ancestral rituals and Vietnamese dance and music performances. You can also shop for merchandise, stop for lunch, and watch a firecracker show.

Date: February 20, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Mira Mesa Community Park (8575 New Salem St.)
For more info.: contact Jake Pham @ 858.231.7508 or visit
The 12th Annual Guacamole Bowl 
Who Makes The Best Guacamole? The Guacamole Bowl is open to the Public who are invited to come out and sample all the great Guacamole. A $5 admission fee will get you a bag of Mission Tortilla Chips and all the Guacamole you can eat. You will also have the opportunity to vote for your favorite recipe and select the finalists in each division.
Date: February 21, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Price: $5 admission
Location: Balboa Park Club – 2150 Pan American Rd. West
For more info.: visit
Mardi Gras Race

With a Mardi Gras theme, this athletic event offers a family friendly 15K, 5K, and a Kids Dash. All finishers who complete the course will get a medal! Participants are sure to enjoy the ocean views along the flat paved course.

Date: February 22, 2015
Time: 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Price: $60 (15K & 5K) ~ $15 (Kids Dash)
Location: refer to website
For more info.: contact Rosemarie Gibson @ 619.491.0677
ScholarShare’s Toddler Time: Finger Paint Friday

Leave your mark on the heart of a loved-one! Get messy designing a Valentine’s-themed artwork.

Date: February 27, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Price: $5 admission
Location: 200 W Island Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.233.8792
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

When the four Pevensie children stumble upon an old wardrobe, little do they know, that they will discover the magical world of Narnia. Full of mystical creatures, talking animals, and great escapes, this action-packed story by C.S Lewis depicts the triumph of Aslan, the great lion and ruler of Narnia, over the White Witch. Join the adventure as four brave kids, one great lion, and an entire kingdom fight for what is right.

Date: February 27 – March 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Price: $11 – $15
Location: 1650 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For more info.: call 619.239.8355 or visit
RSS Feed

Choosing a High School In Carlsbad

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Residents living in the City of Carlsbad have several choices when it comes to high schools. Parts of southeastern Carlsbad are in the San Dieguito High School District, such as residents of La Costa Valley and neighborhoods in the La Costa Canyon High School vicinity, but for those living in other parts of the city the choices are worth investigating, as each offers something different for your student.

images-2Carlsbad High School: Carlsbad High, or CHS, is a public high school that has been around since 1957, having just undergone major redevelopment that was completed in 2012. It is the main high school in Carlsbad and is home to over 3,000 students, grades 9-12. CHS offers a typical public high school curriculum and is on a semester system, with finals in January and June. CHS classes are split up, so that a student takes 3 classes every other day, alternating with 3 different classes on the remaining days. Each week switches off, so there are “odd” days – where students take periods 1, 3 and 5; on “even” days students take classes for periods 2, 4 and 6. Each class is 2 hours long.

CHS offers many different electives, a large athletic program, and honors/AP classes. It also has strong music program, award-winning dance, choir and dramatic arts programs (including drama, television, production, and art). The football program is a big part of the school. If your student does well in a traditional school this is a great place for him or her. Click here to visit the CHS website.

Sage Creek High School: Sage Creek is the newest public high school in Carlsbad, imagescurrently in it’s second year. At the present time it houses only freshman and sophomores, but will have a junior class in the Fall of 2015 and a senior class in the Fall of 2016. Sage Creek does not currently have a large athletics program, but plans to have one in the future as the student body grows. There are some sports available at the current time, as well as drama and other classes.

Sage Creek runs on the trimester system, with each trimester lasting 10 weeks and finals at the end. Many current students like the fast pace of this system, which mirrors that of many universities. Sage is already known for it’s dedication to academic excellence, and many of the brightest educators comprise the staff. At the present time students feel as if they are attending a private school, due to the small student body and class sizes. It is a great opportunity for students who want to be part of a growing school where they can start future traditions. Click here to visit the SCHS website.

Carlsbad Seaside Academy: Also known as CSA, Seaside is not as well known because it is a self-study school. Created for those students who needed to get a high school education but had other interests that were making that a challenge (skateboard/snowboard  champions – Sean White was a student, professional ballerinas and other students who needed time to dedicate to other areas have attended), CSA has become more popular in the last few years as an alternative to or in conjunction with a traditional high school education.

CSA students meet with their assigned teacher every few weeks, are given work for their classes, and complete it on their own in time for the next meeting, where they review it and discuss with the teacher. Classes like science have additional labs that students must attend. CSA is not open for general admission – students must apply. Students can also be enrolled as concurrent students, where they attend both CSA and either CHS or Sage – upon approval. It is a great alternative for those who do not learn well in traditional systems, or for those who have schedules or situations that make attending traditional school difficult. Click here to visit their website.

Carlsbad Village Academy (CVA): CVA is a continuation school for those who need to recover credits toward high school graduation. Students are allowed to earn up to 90 credits a year via the trimester system, which allows them to either transition back to conventional high school or remain at CVA and graduate. For more information click here to visit the website for CVA.

images-1Pacific Ridge School: This is a private school located in the Bressi Ranch neighborhood of Carlsbad, housing students in grades 7-12. This school is a top-rated school that offers exceptional learning and access to sports, the arts, clubs and annual travel. All the classes are connected and the teachers relate them to the real world, using seminar style learning, otherwise known as “Harkness” learning. If you are looking for a completely integrated learning style where your student will be immersed in discussions that will teach them to use their voices to make a difference, this is a school you must visit. Class sizes average 15 students and push the button on both creativity and interest. For more information visit their website by clicking here.

Other high school options: There are other high school options outside of the city limits, including several more private schools and home school programs. Depending on your child there is a program that will be just right, so investigate and visit schools before making a choice.

RSS Feed

How To Get the Highest Appraisal Value for Your Listing

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Appraisals are getting “tighter” and soon even more deals could begin crashing as buyers and sellers haggle the run up in asking prices. Understanding  ( to an appraiser) your  listing is simply a $500 appraisal fee, to you it’s a 3-6% commission; so by being proactive you will minimize the risks of losing large commission checks !   images

Quick Background on Appraisals

Dodd-Frank created a standardized federal licensing process for loan officers (“L/O’s) and appraisers. All appraisals must be performed by an independent third party (“arm’s length”) appraisal service.

The appraiser’s job is to inspect the property, compare it to similar (sold) properties, in closest proximity (up to one mile) and in the most recent time frame (up 6 months). The appraiser uses mathematical formulas (primarily price per sq. ft.) to derive a market value.  Pretty straight forward, until we get to amenities -then it becomes very subjective. One appraiser can value a fireplace at $8,000 and another at $15,000 or a view at $35,000 and another at $100,000.

There is no effective way to determine which appraiser is most accurate.

What Agents Can Do

dreamstime_988060If the appraisal is going to be “tight” there are actions you can take:

1.  When the appraisal is ordered make sure the loan officer lists you as the only “property access” contact. If the home is vacant, take off the lock box (and enter that notation into the MLS).  This guarantees the appraiser will call you for access to the property. Meeting the appraiser at the property is an opportunity to present the most up to date comps.

2.  If it feels appropriate, walk the appraiser thru the highlights of the property.

3.  Be friendly and helpful but NOT pushy!!! Appraisers are very sensitive about pressure to “hit the value”.

4.  Are there listings currently closing? Call the other listing agents and get info on when they are due to close. Better to delay the appraisers’ appt. until another home (with a higher value) closes a day or two later.

5.  Don’t rely on the MLS,  call your title service (daily if necessary) to check on a pending recording. As you know: It’s not unusual for MLS data “to lag” several days!

6.  FHA and VA appraisals often focus on more on “minutiae” than conventional Fannie/Freddie appraisals. Minor repairs ( i.e. leaky faucets – missing lite bulbs-etc)  can require an appraiser to come out for a 2nd time to “sign off” on the completed repairs) and delay your escrow’s closing by days/weeks and add several hundred dollars to the buyer’s costs. So be prepared to (pre) employ a handyman to fix small items (In reality, buyers will want many items repaired anyway).


This helpful article was written and reprinted with permission by Dan Dobbs. You can visit his website at I felt this was a great article to share it because it provides great information to agents and sellers alike, which can help make sure all is done to assure a successful appraisal.

RSS Feed

New Listing: Spacious and Upgraded Encinitas Townhome

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

This beautiful recently upgraded Seagate Village townhome has an abundance of natural light, two generous bedrooms with attached bathrooms, private patio with attached 2 car garage, numerous upgrades, and is situated in a desirable community with few resales. You will love this tranquil, tree-lined complex filled with meandering pathways and chirping birds, community pool, recreation center, tennis courts, play area, and walking paths along the outskirts. Offered at $459,00021_image21_mls

Features Include:

– 1097 sq ft, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

– Upgraded kitchen with custom glass tiled backsplash

– New stainless appliances (oven/cooktop, dishwasher,  and microwave). Stainless refrigerator.

– New porcelain whitewashed plank flooring downstairs

03_image03_mls– Travertine tile flooring in bathrooms, entry and kitchen

– Travertine tiled shower in master bathroom

– Generously sized bedrooms with attached bathrooms and ample closet space

– New fixtures throughout and canned lighting

– New furnace and water heater

– Lots of natural light throughout home 12_image12_mls

– Private patio for BBQ, garden or whatever you desire

– 2 car garage attached to patio with private entrance to home

– Encinitas and San Dieguito Union High School Districts

– Located close to everything Encinitas offers – shopping, dining, parks, entertainment, schools, transportation and just moments to Encinitas and Cardiff beaches and downtown areas

Please contact listing broker for more information: Rachel LaMar, LaMar Real Estate 760-310-9466. CA BRE license #01399682. For more information please click here.

RSS Feed

Wonderful New Carlsbad Listing

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Welcome to 3372 Avenida Nieve! Offered at $869,000

This beautiful and bright Sonata cul-du-sac street home comes complete with west-facing views to La Costa Valley and beyond. Vaulted ceilings, large, open granite kitchen with stainless Thermador cooktop, hardwood flooring in the living room/dining room combo, downstairs bedroom, fresh paint throughout, plantation shutters, nice private backyard and elegant, large master suite with adjoining sitting area, balcony and west facing views. 01_image01_mls

Talk about location! This home is ideally located close to shopping, dining, parks and entertainment. Highly rated San Dieguito School District, with all schools in close proximity – Mission Estancia Elementary, Diegueno Middle School and La Costa Canyon High School. All information is deemed reliable, but buyer and buyers’ agent to verify all, including square footage, prior to close of escrow.

Features Include: 04_image04_mls

  • 2592 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
  • 16,000+ square foot lot
  • Espresso hardwood flooring in dining/living rooms
  • Large chef’s kitchen with island, granite counters
  • Thermador stainless cooktop in kitchen
  • Plantation shutters in all upstairs bedrooms
  • Downstairs bedroom and bathroom
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Custom designer windows in living/dining room
  • Oversized master suite with sitting area, balcony and west-facing views to La Costa Valley and beyond
  • Spacious and private backyard with large flagstone area
  • Front porch 18_image18_mls
  • Cozy family room with fireplace
  • Lots of natural light throughout home
  • New custom paint throughout
  • Close to shopping, dining, parks, schools and entertainment
  • San Dieguito School District
  • Low HOA dues

For more photos, video and further information, please click here. To schedule a showing please call broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. MLS #150001504

RSS Feed

Real Estate Market Predictions for 2015

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

2014 was a positive year for the housing market, with many areas experiencing recovery and more houses selling than previous years. Prices rose quite a bit, and there was a lot of conflicting news about the future of housing. Now, as we head into 2015, many wonder what is in store for the housing market. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, but based on what I see in my local market here is what I think we will see as we head into the new year.

1. Price Increases Will Slow Down

Buyers were out in force on a pretty consistent level in 2014 here in North San Diego. We saw increased competition for listings, multiple offer situations, interest rates remained low, and prices jumped. Heading into the new year I believe prices will continue to rise, however in a much slower (think “normal”) manner. There are two factors that contribute to this: the exit of many investors from the market and lower inventory levels. According to Case-Schiller prices on a national level are near their spring 2005 levels; the 20 cities tracked by the real estate analytic giant are about 15% to 17% off their mid-summer 2006 peaks.

Zillow predicts prices will rise this year about 2.5%, while thinks the number will be closer to 4-5%. The California Association of Realtors predicts that single family home prices will appreciate 5.8% in 2015 – that is a lot less than the appreciation this year, which statewide climbed to almost 12% (obviously some areas were higher than others, like San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, and parts of Northern California). Moving forward the market will likely follow a more “normal” growth pattern as predicted.  Homebuyer Pool will Increase

2014 saw quite a gain in the number of homebuyers – low rates and lower inventory levels had many people determined to purchase before prices jumped too high. Since the majority of investors have left the housing market (due to rising prices and the inability to get a great “deal,”) rates are still low and credit rules have eased, I expect we will continue to see an influx of ready, willing and able buyers to the market. These factors will lead to increased inventory levels, which means that more sellers will list their homes and be able to find replacement properties (one of the biggest challenges for sellers last year was that there was so little inventory that they had nowhere to move to if they sold).

3.  Affordability will Decrease

Along with more inventory and a stronger market, I think affordability will worsen. Just because housing market prices are rising does not mean that buyers’ income is rising in sync. With rising prices, even though the rise will be slower, buyers whose incomes remain the same will not be able to afford the homes they may wish to purchase. When mortgage rates start to rise that will add to the challenge. thinks that affordability will decrease 5-10% in 2015.

4. Mortgage Rates Will Rise

This is inevitable. Those who are sitting on the fence need to start looking now before rates rise and affordability decreases. Freddie Mac predicts a rise to a 4.5% interest rate this year, while others (like the Mortgage Bankers Association) predict rates will hit 5% by the end of the year.

Market stabilization should generate more inventory as we settle into calmer housing waters, as sellers realize the price frenzy is now over and there is no longer a need to wait and see if prices will continue to jump exponentially. Buyers who have been considering a home purchase will likely jump off the fence to do so before interest rates rise – which they will. The slowing down of price jumps could be a big benefit to the market as a whole, bringing us back to a much more “normal,” thus safer-feeling market.

RSS Feed