Archive for March, 2015

Carlsbad On Track to Become Premier SoCal Shopping Destination

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Carlsbad is already known for it’s many attributes, including beautiful beaches and lagoons, hiking and biking trails, natural preserves and the Flower Fields, and yes, great shopping and dining. Popular shopping places like the Premium Outlets and the upscale Forum shops beckon many locals and tourists, but there are some future shopping projects that will draw even more shoppers to the area down the road. th

Westfield Shopping Mall Transformation: The Westfield shopping mall at the northernmost part of the city has been undergoing some changes already – including the addition of a new Regal Cinema and 24-Hour Fitness. The next phase will convert the greatly outdated indoor mall into an outdoor shopping experience, with the addition of many new stores and restaurants, including Panera, Luna Grill, Peet’s Coffee and a fish grill.

Restaurant tenants are expected to start moving in late this summer, but the conversion of the mall to an outdoor mall will not be completed until possibly early 2017. Construction will begin after the 2015 holiday season.

The Caruso Project: Also exciting is the news that down the road Carlsbad will have a new shopping experience that may mirror L.A.’s outdoor mall The Grove (same owners), with upscale shopping and dining in a beautiful setting close to the beach and lagoon. The proposed project will occupy the 50 acre site that currently houses the strawberry fields at the northeast corner of Cannon Road and interstate 5, but will not likely be completed for about 10 years (much to my teenage daughter’s dismay). The owners are the same company who own The Grove. While this project has not been officially announced to the public, many are aware and some local residents have been assisting with planning efforts.

For those who already know just how wonderful Carlsbad is, there will soon be a few more things to place on the list of things to do here in our amazing city.


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New Supreme Court Ruling May Impact Short Sales

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The latest case on the Supreme Court docket could affect the number and difficulty of future short sales, so if you are short selling, purchasing/planning to purchase a short sale, or if you are an agent who may be selling one, please read on. dreamstime_6795077

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court will soon rule as to whether a borrower has the right to void a second lien through bankruptcy when his home is not worth the value of the first mortgage. In simpler terms, if you have two loans and file bankruptcy, and your home is not worth the amount of the first mortgage (say you owe $500,000 on the first loan and $100,000 on a second loan, and your home is worth $450,000), filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy would allow you to void the second loan. The home could then be sold via short sale and the second lienholder would get nothing and have no rights to intervene.

Back during the short sale wave of 2008-2011 many second lienholders were successfully able to block negotiated bankruptcy settlements that benefitted the borrowers and first mortgage holders; thus many short sales fell through, and those homes eventually ended up going into foreclosure. When the economy worsened many of these foreclosure proceedings got pushed to the back burner and homeowners stayed in their homes for long periods of time, even years, without paying anything. This led to damaged and neglected homes, and in some parts of the U.S. entire neighborhoods deteriorated. This of course resulted in cost increases for taxpayers and the bank bailout.

Not long after this all started many first lienholders began to offer small sums to the second lienholders (usually about $10,000) in exchange for their blessing on the short sales, and this became standard practice. But not all second lienholders acquiesce. If they are now given the legal right to block these agreements in bankruptcy it could create problems that would be passed along to taxpayers.

Two of the Justices – Kennedy and Sotomayor – have indicated that they do not think it fair that a second lienholder would be able to hold hostage a bankruptcy settlement reached by the borrower and first lienholder.

Keep an eye on this case and the outcome, which should be decided in June, especially if you are a homeowner in this situation, a short sale buyer or an agent who sells short sales. The decision could affect short sales as we know them…stay tuned.

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LaMar Real Estate Welcomes Eduardo Padilla

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

LaMar Real Estate is pleased to announce that Eduardo Padilla is now a Realtor Associate. Eduardo has been working as a real estate and referral agent in Arizona and California for 10 years and has great people skills. He is intelligent, dedicated, detail-oriented and quite possibly the friendliest person you will ever meet. Eduardo pic

Eduardo is a welcome addition to LaMar Real Estate, and his presence will allow us to continue to stay true to our mission to help buyers and sellers in the best way possible, with service that is second to none and a focus on every detail – because real estate professionals should offer experience, patience, dedication and the benefit of a brokerage with legal perspectives.

Congratulations to Eduardo Padilla and welcome! Please help us welcome him and make him feel at home in the North San Diego real estate community.

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5 Steps to Determine the Validity of that List Price

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

There are many buyers out there who do not know how to read and understand recent comparable sold properties (there are also many agents in the same boat, so if you are a buyer do not feel bad). Of course, if you are working with a real estate agent who is familiar with the neighborhood(s) where you are focusing your home buying search, then that agent will be able to help you understand how to sort through the comps and come to a valid price so that you can write an offer. house_question

The problem is that oftentimes agents may not be intimately familiar with a neighborhood (i.e. they do not themselves know why some homes have lower sales prices than others), so it is up to the agent to really do some research. Here are the steps to follow so that you know whether that asking price is in fact valid:

1.  Print out all recent sales in the last 6 months in the area. If there are none then your agent will need to go outside the neighborhood to find similar homes – those that have amenities and other features that are comparable to the home you are thinking of purchasing. If there are still none then s/he will need to find some that may have more or less to offer, and then weigh the factors to come to a reasonable price.

2.  Speak with the listing agent. Every agent should place a call or visit to the listing agent whenever there is a question about value. The listing agent is the one who listed the home at that price, so the best place to start is with that person. Your agent needs to ask what comps were used to decide on a list price (in cases where it is not obvious – if you are looking in a tract neighborhood and there are 5 homes that have all sold in the same range then it is usually clear). If the listing is in a neighborhood where homes have sold across a wide value range, then you need to understand why.

justice-scales3.  Call the listing agents who sold the comparable homes. You can often get even more information this way that you may never have been able to see in photos or a virtual tour. For example, I just listed a home in a neighborhood where there is a discrepancy amongst recent comparable prices. I happen to know the neighborhood well (I live there), but a potential buyer’s agent called to ask me about the comps (I had sold a few of them) and I happen to know a lot about them and why they sold at the prices they did. I drafted an analysis on all the sold properties, and this was a big help to the agent and his clients. When I am representing a buyer in that same situation I ask for the same thing – at least a verbal analysis if someone is not willing to draft one (I of course take notes and then draft it up for my clients).

4.  Understand that “price per square foot” is not the sole focus. If you look only at price per square foot and there are comps all over the place, you may be under-or over-valuating the home you are considering. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration – location, upgrades, condition (even upgraded homes can be poorly maintained, and vice versa), amenities, views, lot size, and negative factors (noise, high traffic areas, hazard zones, etc.) Even two identical homes in the same community can have vastly different prices depending on the factors mentioned. You really need to get more information to understand the discrepancies before progressing. Always remember that every home has it’s own resume and story to tell, so just because another model match sold for a particular price does not mean that the same price applies to the home you are considering.

5.  Make a chart or comparison table to understand the comparable properties. You can include features that are positive and negative, and you can then compare them to the subject property (the one you are thinking about purchasing). Seeing it on paper can really help many buyers to understand differences and feel better about making an offer that will appraise (if you are getting a loan), and that makes sense in light of the other homes that have sold nearby.

In the end it is common knowledge that those who have more information are better informed to make big decisions. Since buying a home is one of those big decisions it is imperative to do your homework. Find a smart, experienced agent in the area(s) you like and use them to help you get to the point where you feel comfortable with the values in an area by heeding the above advice. That is their job. Happy house hunting!

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Lovely New South Carlsbad Listing

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Welcome to 1601 Sapphire Drive in Carlsbad, perched high on a hill in the gated community of Mar Brisa. Enjoy ocean breezes from this serene, bright and beautifully updated home, offering much to excite the senses and accommodate any lifestyle. 02_image_02_mls

The entryway welcomes you with an infusion of natural light, high ceilings and a cozy formal living room, complete with real hardwood flooring that extends through the downstairs living area.

11_image_11_mlsThe bright family room overlooks your private west-facing backyard, and connects to the stunning, recently upgraded kitchen, showcasing new cabinetry (including several glass door cabinets) with glider drawers and pull out shelving, and adorned with high-end granite counters, Italian tile backsplash and new stainless appliances. The large center island comes complete with a granite lazy Susan.


Features include:

  • 4 bedrooms plus optional 5th bedroom
  • 2336 square feet
  • Downstairs office/den/play area or 5th bedroom
  • Downstairs bathroom with shower
  • Hardwood flooring downstairs 06_image_06_mls
  • Designer carpeting upstairs
  • $40k kitchen renovation includes new cabinetry with glass doors and glider drawers and shelving, beautiful high-end granite counters, and large center island with lazy Susan, stainless appliances
  • Burglar-proof security screens at front door and back slider
  • Hunter Douglas window treatments in master and kitchen
  • Custom paint throughout
  • 24_image_24_mlsFans in all bedrooms
  • Formal dining room
  • Air conditioning
  • Central alarm system
  • New glass shower enclosures in upstairs bathrooms
  • Located adjacent to spa and tot lot
  • Private backyard with no houses directly behind
  • 3 car garage with epoxy flooring built-in overhead storage
  • Laundry room with sink
  • Low HOA dues, no mello Roos taxes, gated community
  • Community pool, spas, park and tot play area
  • Carlsbad schools
  • Close to beaches, shopping, dining, schools, parks and entertainment

For more information please contact listing agent Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466 (BRE license #01399682). You can see more photos and a virtual tour by clicking here.

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Buyers: Now is the Time to Plan Your Spring Buying Strategy

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

All the predictions about the Spring real estate market indicate that it is going to be a busy one. Focusing on my own North San Diego market, I agree and I am getting excited about several upcoming listings of my own. There is a buzz in the air amongst my local colleagues, and many have indicated they have listings coming up as well. With interest rates still low and inventory about to get a boost, it is a good time for buyers to make a plan for finding and purchasing the right home.checklist

Here is how a buyer can be ready to jump once s/he finds the right house this Spring:

1.  Get preapproved. Make sure that you have preapproval from a lender so that you know your budget and can be ready to make an offer when you find the right home. This will save you a lot of time and could prevent you from losing a home you really like to another buyer who was ready to go.

2.  Find a real estate agent in the area(s) you like. Having a skilled local agent on your side is the best assurance that you will be able to view new listings quickly. Another advantage is that many agents hear of “pocket” or upcoming listings before they hit the MLS, providing you with an opportunity many buyers may not have.

3.  Be ready to schedule a showing on listings that meet your criteria when they list. Get into those new listings as soon as you can. If you like the home you can strategize with your agent on how to make the most appealing offer to the seller; in doing so you may be able to avoid multiple offer situations.

4.  Understand the market(s) you are searching. Study recent closed sale prices and understand values in different neighborhoods. This will help you in your search. Your agent can assist you in preparing market analyses for you, and you can look at the photos of the homes to see what features may have (or have not) contributed to the sales price. You will feel much more comfortable when you make an offer if you are armed with all the right information.

Happy house hunting!

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