Archive for August, 2015

San Diego Calendar of Events September 2015

Friday, August 28th, 2015

I hope everyone had a great summer…enjoy September!

th9/1-12/26. Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Old town San Diego – 4005 Taylor Street

1-7. Circus: Science Under the Big Top
1875 El Prado, Balboa Park

1-11. Surf Culture Art Exhibition 2015
2226 Avenida De La Playa

1-28. Superhero Studio
200 West Island Avenue, San Diego

1-20. The Comedy of Errors
Old Globe Theater – 1363 Old Globe Way

4. Tall Ships: Spectacular Cruise
Hornblower Navy Float – 970 N Harbor Drive

8. Free Teen Dance Class
2650 Truxtun Rd – Suite 106, San Diego

9. Summer Movie: The Princess Bride th-1
789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego

10. Taste of Downtown 2015!
Downtown San Diego

13. FACE Foundation’s 5k Doggie Dash
5553 Copley Drive, San Diego

18. Dinner in the Library
Geisel Library, UC San Diego

19. Julian Music Festival
Menghini Winery – 1150 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

21-27. San Diego’s Restaurant Week
Various Locations

25. Scholar Share’s Finger Painting
200 West Island Avenue, San Diego

th27. The Cat in the Hat
340 N Escondido Blvd, Escondido

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Best Negotiation Tactics For Home Buyers in a Seller’s Market

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Lately it seems the great listings are commanding multiple offers, and selling quickly. For buyers who have been searching the market for some time this can be frustrating, as a good looking listing can often sell at a higher price and the buyer is forced to compete with many others, some who may be better qualified on paper. So what is a buyer to do? images

Here are some great negotiation tactics that might help your offer be accepted:

1.  Offer the best price you can. By this I do not mean the “highest” price. The best price, in comparison, means the one that will appraise and that you feel comfortable paying. If the home is the highest priced home in the neighborhood, you need to weigh the possibilities – for example, is it probable that other homes will improve in the near future? In order to really understand the value of a particular neighborhood you need to consult with an experienced real estate agent.

But, you say, what about the other buyers, who may be willing to pay more? If a seller is only after a number than there is a chance that such a buyer may outbid you. However, keep in mind that unless that buyer is paying cash there is a chance the home will not appraise at the contracted price. That is why is is important to make a strong offer in other respects. Even if your offer is not accepted there is a chance they may come back to you if the current contract does not close.

2. Shorten up time frames. Sellers want to know as soon as possible that the sale has a high chance of closing. In California, the buyer has 17 days to investigate and remove all contingencies but the loan; the loan contingency is 21 days. I would not suggest shortening the loan contingency unless your lender says that will be absolutely possible (however, with the new lender disclosure laws it may be impossible, so speak with your agent and lender first); removing the inspection contingency in a shorter time frame can be possible, so it is something to consider. You can also let the seller know that if your loan gets approved in fewer than 21 days you are happy to remove that contingency earlier.

3. Should you write a letter to the sellers? This is a controversial topic and really is one that needs to be decided with your agent. It used to be that buyers who wrote a great “here’s who we are!” letter had a higher chance of getting an offer accepted (assuming all other aspects were equally promising), because it made the buyers real people and played on seller emotions.

4. Multiple counter offer situations: If you receive a multiple counter offer you have to be prepared to accept the terms or put your best final offer forward. Again, it is not always about just price, so have your agent find out exactly what the seller is hoping for. If the seller is selling an investment property they likely are focused on numbers; if the sellers have lived in the home for some time there may be emotions involved, in which case you can alter your response.

Today there is controversy about such letters because many say if an offer is not accepted there is a chance it could be due to prejudice – without going into a long list here you can imagine the possibilities. Regardless, this is a decision you need to make with your agent. It really depends on the situation but I still believe there are ways to write these letters to cater them more to the home and less personal.


It is important to remember that every market and each home sale may be different and present a different set of circumstances. It is important to speak with your real estate agent and lender and find out specifically what you can do to provide the best opportunity to have your offer accepted.

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HOA Pet Weight Restriction Kills Home Sale Days Before Closing

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I have seen a lot of HOA rules in my time as a real estate agent that I thought were pointless, some even downright ridiculous…but until last week I have never had a sale cancel because of one, despite efforts from all parties to garner an exception. After a board member insinuated it was my fault for not knowing the regulations (see below * to understand why this is not the agent’s responsibility), and after many attempts and conflicting information received, the parties were all left exasperated and very upset when the sale had to cancel at the last minute. th

HOA regulations can be beneficial, and in most instances I am all for them – I myself live in an HOA regulated neighborhood. I like the fact that my neighbor can’t paint his garage Pepto Bismol pink or leave a front yard full of weeds (although with current water restrictions most yards are looking that way anyway, but that’s a story for another blog). I understand the need for stricter regulations in condominium developments as well, since there are shared walls and many common areas. But in this particular case the home is a detached home in a small neighborhood of homes with small yards.

The regulation in this case was a pet restriction that postulates all pets, with the exception of fish, must not be more than 25 pounds total (so a cat and a dog together cannot weigh more than 25 pounds). The problem in my sellers’ case started when the HOA took 17 days to get the regulations out to the buyers – a week longer than is required under the standard California Residential Purchase Contract. Keep in mind that day 17 is the day (unless altered in the contract) when the buyers have to remove their contingencies (except for the loan contingency).

The buyers got the HOA docs on day 17 and immediately started reading through them so that they could remove contingencies. Lo and behold they discovered the pet weight restriction. They wrote a letter to the HOA asking if an exception could be made, as their dog weighed 15 pounds over the limit. For the next several days the buyers and their agent, and the sellers and I, all tried to appeal to the HOA and/or board members, but in the end we were given different stories – it was a unanimous vote against, it was a majority vote against, and that they couldn’t/wouldn’t vote on any exceptions.

th-1 After spending money on an appraisal, home inspection, and lots of time negotiating repairs and other issues, the buyers decided to cancel – they love their dog and could not imagine moving into a neighborhood where she was not welcome. It was a frustrating day for all involved.

* A note on agent “responsibility” involving HOA regulations and disclosure: I think it is important to note here that it is not the listing agent’s responsibility to investigate and disclose any HOA regulations. The reasons for this are obvious – these regulations can change at any time, and if agents had to keep up with what goes on at every HOA meeting for every property they list, they wouldn’t have time to do their jobs effectively; not to mention they could subject themselves to liability in doing so.

Now, if an agent happens to know of a regulation that might be a sticking point for buyers, s/he can use discretion as to whether to post it in the MLS listing under confidential agent remarks (I did that in this case after we went back on the MLS). The whole purpose of escrow officers charging sellers to order HOA documents, and the reason they are supposed to be delivered to buyers in 10 days, is to provide the buyers an opportunity to review them and make those decisions for themselves – one person’s frustration over a particular regulation may not be that of another.

The moral of this unhappy story is that the buyers lost their “dream home,” and the sellers had to go back to market, having lost the other buyers (it was a multiple offer situation). Had the buyers moved in and fought the regulation they may have lost, which could have cost them their dog. As a dog lover I understand why they made their decision, and as a human being I question the ability of a governing body to limit the weight of a dog – in my opinion it really is no one’s business and if a dog owner is a good one and makes sure their pets get enough love and exercise, it shouldn’t matter if the dog is 10 pounds or 80.

I plan to write another segment on this story from a legal perspective. If you find yourself in a similar situation there is some case law that may or may not help you on the subject, and some ways to determine whether such rules are actually enforced – if they are not your case could be even stronger…stay tuned.

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Carlsbad is One of the Hottest Housing Markets in the Country

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

According to, the San Diego market and Carlsbad in particular was ranked 8 out of the top 20 housing markets in the U.S. for July. The results were based on the number of views per listing with home searches on the site, as well as the median age of inventory in each market. This information mirrors reports that existing home sales are up – slightly over 3% month over month. th

Data confirms what those of us who live and work in Carlsbad have known for a long time – it is a wonderful place to live. Lets look at some of the reasons to love Carlsbad:

– One of the best climates year round, with an average temperature between 68-72°.

– Some of the cleanest, nicest beaches in San Diego county, including amazing surf spots

– 3 lagoons, which include trail systems and even one that includes water sports

– Miles of trails throughout the city

flowerfields– The Flower Fields

– Carlsbad Village

– Many beautiful parks, including Alga Norte Park with public olympic swimming facility, skate and dog parks

– Great shopping – Carlsbad Premium Outlets, the Forum Shops and great boutique shopping in Carlsbad Village

– Numerous dining choices, from casual eateries to micro-breweries, fine dining and many ocean view spots

– Home to top resorts like La Costa Resort & Spa, Aviara’s Park Hyatt and Hilton’s Oceanfront Resort & Spa

– Several top golf courses, including La Costa Resort, The Crossings, and Aviara Golf Club

There is so much more to do and see in Carlsbad…there is no better place to be!


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