17. May 2013 11:48
The shortage of inventory in our current market in San Diego County is creating a lot of competition for buyers. One of the strategies to get noticed: buyers are waiving their appraisals. So, as an advantage over other buyers who retain the appraisal contingency, if an offer is made at $500,000 and the seller accepts that, the buyer's lender will order an appraisal to get the loan approval started. If the appraisal comes in below $500,000, the buyer can not negotiate with the seller a price reduction to meet the appraisal amount. This effectively changes the way in which a buyer purchases property. It is limiting. It can work best knowing that the market area in which the property is located is appreciating in value. A buyer who waives the appraisal contingency has an advantage at the start of escrow, but, if there is a shortage between what the sales price is versus the appraisal amount, be prepared to open up your checkbook to make up the difference. Some see this as a small price to pay to get the property you want.
30. April 2013 20:32
When I was a kid, my right of passage from child to adolescent occurred when I was allowed out unsupervised for rides on my bicycle. I explored new streets, rode through a park a couple miles away; I took that bike up and down steep hills and wore out the tires. It was a time of exploration. I did not need a helmet and I did not have GPS. So, when I see kids today, out and about but texting or talking on their phones, rather than interacting and taking it all in, it’s sad to know there is a life’s lesson they are not getting. In many ways, this method of exploration is also ideal when choosing where to live. By trial and error we find it, and often discover a favorite thing or two along the way. Be adventurous and be awed by the simple joy of just being.
12. April 2013 11:54
Since the time of the Great Recession, many have worried that if they lost their job or source of income, they might lose their home to foreclosure. Being underwater & owing more than the current value of the home made many, may susceptible to distress.
Today we are in a happy balance of rising values, higher demand and limited available inventory. So, with the change, take advantage. CNN Money published a story this week that I felt worth highlighting. First and foremost, if you plan on keeping your home a while, refinance. Now! Interest rates are low. I just completed a refinance that reduced my interest rate almost 2 points. A year ago I attempted a refinance but the appraisal came in low. Lenders require 20% equity or you pay the difference, and if you have to pay, what is the point of refinancing? Despite challenging the appraiser’s comparable sales, as they were pulled from different neighborhoods rather than from my actual neighborhood, the report stood. So I waited patiently and made a move as soon as the coast was clear.
HELOC (home equity line of credit) is a word that left the conversation 6 years ago. But it’s back. If you need cash for remodeling or the kids tuition, talk to your lender. Variable-rate HELOC’s average 5.15% and fixed rates average 6.25%. (College loans are 7.9% on the federal loan program known as Parent PLUS, for comparison).
Tax credits are available for energy efficient upgrades. Through the end of 2013, there is a $500 tax break for installing a new furnace, or new windows, or weather stripping, for example. Take advantage of this goal by visiting energystar.gov.
20. March 2013 16:15
The pictures never do the view justice for this house on Golden Park. It was built in 1935 by the retired manager of the Cracker Factory, a candy and cookie manufacturer at Market and Columbia downtown. In retirement, the owner intended to take up painting, and the house design included an outdoor pavilion with a very large rock fireplace. The views from the house and pavilion were awesome – perched high in La Playa above San Diego Bay, with an eye to the channel in one direction and an eye to the mountains in the other. Today, the view has evolved to include the ever-growing heights of downtown San Diego buildings, NAS North Island, the Coronado Shores towers, and the Coronado Bridge. The view captures the pulse of San Diego. You are able to watch incoming planes landing at San Diego Airport, as well as the cruise ships and Navy ships and sailboat regattas on San Diego Bay. I sold the house in February for $1.4 million, which the new owners will likely tear down to build anew. The house sat on the market for some time, as most buyers wanted a move- in ready home. This was a project, not so much for the condition or finish work, but, more so for what the neighbors had done to their homes. Big & bold and contemporary is the new look of La Playa. My sellers owned the home for 30 years so it was not easy to let it go. I have to say, as a REALTOR, there is a certain sadness that I, too, experience when my clients say goodbye to their homes. Under that roof so many memories are made. Change is healthy and good for the soul, which is exactly what sellers can tell you. It provides the perfect opportunity to purge and set new goals and make new friends. The rewards are plentiful, once the muscle aches of packing and unpacking are over.
13. February 2013 16:10
The local real estate market is cooking with gas, and it’s only the middle of February. In other parts of the US, the markets are heavily influenced by the seasons and weather. In San Diego, we have mild to little fluctuation in either. As a result, buyers are out in force, perhaps driven by low interest rates. Or, maybe the silencing of political issues with the Presidential election and inauguration behind us. Or, more likely, the desire to purchase real estate is making buyers realize that there is no time like the present. Time is of the essence – a true principle when it comes to real estate. Some of our neighborhoods are thin on inventory, which creates unusual demand for each new listing. Priced correctly, a clean and well maintained home or condo will draw attention. Some of the metro areas, like Kensington, Mission Hills, South Park, North Park, Bay Park, are feeling like it’s 2005 again. Is that a good thing? For sellers, of course. For buyers, know your hold time to make the best decision; intentions to own for 10 years is a different ballgame than plans to own then sell in 2 to 3 years. Be ready: have lender pre approval; have deposit money liquid; schedule a house tour as soon as it hits the market; have your pen handy to write an offer. Knowing the neighborhood as well as the recent closed sales is key to making a decision to write an offer. Because when the train leaves the station, you want to be on it.