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How to Create a Home Inventory

February 11, 2016

homeowner insurance

Provided by: MDC Financial Service Group


What would happen if you lost everything in a fire, tornado or another disaster? Homeowners insurance would likely cover your house, but without a comprehensive list of your belongings, you’d have to rely on memory to determine what else was damaged or destroyed.

That’s where an inventory of your home can help. Not only will it prevent you from forgetting important valuables, but it can also streamline the claim filing process. Follow these steps to create your home inventory.

Pick a method. You have a lot of options for cataloging your possessions. There are home inventory apps for your phone, organizational apps like Evernote, and, of course, the trusty Excel spreadsheet. You can even print out a ready-made checklist to use with a clipboard as you walk through your home.

Take inventory. Go room by room and use your phone to take photos and video of everything, including serial numbers of electronics and appliances. Peek inside closets and drawers, and don’t forget to visit the garage, attic and any rarely used spaces.

Keep it safe. Back up your inventory so the information is accessible even if you’re unable to gain entry into your home. Store a second set of any hard copies elsewhere, like in a safe deposit box or at a friend’s house. Digital versions should be backed up to the cloud or saved on a thumb drive you store off-site.

A home inventory can also be a helpful reminder to double-check your insurance coverages. There are certain types of belongings, like jewelry, tools and electronics, that are typically covered up to a set dollar limit. Adjusting your coverages now will save you a lot of heartache if something does go wrong, making sure you’re not left empty-handed when it comes time to file a claim.

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Real Estate Laws You’ve Already Broken

February 4, 2016




By: Meaghan Agnew, Client Direct

You’re not a lawyer, which means you rely on the expertise of your buying team to walk you through real estate legalese when you’re trying to score that new home. But given that there are hundreds of real estate injunctions on the books, it’s practically inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Consider this common real estate practice that lands in a legal gray area: submitting a “sweetheart” letter with your offer. Technically, it’s not illegal to write (or submit) one. However, the sellers of your dream house may choose not to read it, because selecting an offer based on who the buyers are could be discriminatory — and therefore a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Here are some real estate and real estate–adjacent regulations you might have already violated without even realizing it — but shouldn’t worry about (for the most part).

Grilling your REALTOR for certain neighborhood info
Who better to fill you in on the ins and outs of a potential new neighborhood than your agent? Who better to pass along thoughts about the nearest church or the economic makeup of your potential new street? Well, actually, if you pried any of that info out of your agent, you helped them break real estate law.

HUD disallows discussions of a neighborhood’s religious makeup, schools, median household income, and crime rates, to name just a few no-nos. The reason is a good one: The law was created in part to prevent discrimination against homebuyers. So to keep everything aboveboard, you’re best off gathering most neighborhood data on your own.

Visiting a property by yourself
You signed the purchase and sale, and everything is going along swimmingly. The mortgage process is continuing along without a hitch, the inspection didn’t turn up anything major, and the sellers have already vacated the premises and cleaned up the place, so it’s just waiting for you to move in. Which means you can swing by some night, get the key out of the lockbox, and start measuring rooms to figure out a moving day strategy, right?

Whoops — that’s trespassing. It’s easy to start feeling like a house is your home when it’s about to be yours, but until the paperwork is signed (and the keys are in your possession), you can’t access the property without permission. And the last thing you want is for your almost-neighbors to call the police on you.

Taking photos at an open house
You headed to an open house and were blown away by what you saw. You whipped out your phone and started snapping away, wanting to capture what the online listing didn’t. Except you photographed the seller too (what were they doing there anyway?), and now you’re in trouble. Well, not necessarily, but in theory, yes.

The First Amendment includes a right to privacy, and photographing someone in their own home without their permission is a violation of that right. No harm, no foul, and they will probably never know, but you might as well delete that particular shot to keep things completely copacetic.

Signing for your S.O.
OK, so this one is a little bit of a bigger deal. If you’ve bought a house or condo before, you know that the volume of paperwork is completely overwhelming. And it can be super tricky finding a time when both you and your partner can sit down and sign yet another ream of documents. So you went ahead and swiped “his” or “her” signature across a couple of dotted lines, thinking their verbal permission was enough.

But it’s not. To sign on someone’s behalf, you need to obtain power of attorney, and even then it might not be enough. So as tempting as it might be to approximate your partner’s John Hancock on everything going forward, just don’t. It’s fraud, which is technically a felony, which is technically punishable by prison and large fines. Instead, talk to your real estate lawyer about the power-of-attorney possibility, and don’t sign anything on anybody’s behalf in the meantime.

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Why Buy?

January 28, 2016

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Why buy real estate

Real Estate @ A Glance: January 2016 Edition

January 19, 2016

Better RE glance




Here is the most recent information on the San Diego housing market. For specific information on your neighborhood or a market analysis on your home, please send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.


In 2015, national residential real estate, by and large, had a good year. Supply and demand were healthy in an environment rife with low interest rates and improved employment. The Federal Reserve finally increased short-term rates in December, and more increases are expected in 2016. Housing markets have shown a willingness to accept this. Save for a few expensive outliers where low inventory and high prices have become the norm, a balanced market is anticipated for much of the country for the foreseeable future. Improved inventory and affordability remain key factors for continued optimism.


Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate near 2.0 percent to close 2015, and that rate is expected to increase next year. Residential real estate is considered a healthy piece of the national economy. Contributing factors from within the industry include better lending standards and foreclosures falling back to more traditional levels. Declining unemployment, higher wages and low fuel prices have also conspired to improve personal budgets.

Median Sales Price: $475,000
Days on the Market Until Sale: 39
Housing Affordability Index: 2015-Q3: 29%
Months Supply: 1.8


To view larger image, click here.

Appliance 911 Homestyle

January 14, 2016




Article from San Diego Union Tribune 

There are two rules of thumb for choosing between repairing or replacing a major appliance: If the appliance is old, it might be time to think of buying a replacement. And, if the repair job is a pricey one, it could make more financial sense to purchase a new appliance that will likely be more energy-efficient.

Any appliance with more than five or six years under its belt would count as old, says Rob Carpenter, owner and president of Mr. Handyman of North and West Central Maryland. Repairs that cost more than $300 or $400 should be the threshold of expensive jobs, he adds.

“Usually, if an appliance is too old, it’s more expensive to fix it,” Carpenter says. “And if you’re looking at an older appliance, you might be able to get a new model that will reduce your energy bills month after month.”

For Lynda Lyday, home improvement expert, the repair-replace question always comes down to dollars. “You have to look at the cost of everything,” she says. “It sounds simple, but that’s always the best way to make the decision.”

These rules, of course, depend on which machine you’re talking about. Read on to see specific tips from the experts.

Dishwasher: If the problem is minor, a broken seal or a button that’s no longer working, repairing a dishwasher makes sense. But if it comes to a broken motor that might cost $300 to repair, buying a new dishwasher for $400 is the better choice.

Oven: New ovens aren’t cheap. The decision to repair or replace comes down to simple math here: If the repair comes close to the cost of a new oven, especially if your current model is more than 10 years old, shopping for a new model makes sense.

Furnace: You’ll have to consider efficiency when deciding to replace a furnace that’s on the fritz. If your furnace is 10 years old or older, a more efficient model might reduce your heating bills enough to help recoup your investment sooner. That’s unless, of course, the problem is a simple one such as a clogged filter.

TV: TVs are getting less expensive every day. When yours breaks down, it usually makes more sense to shop for a modern model with new features.

Toilet: You can find good toilets today at affordable prices. At the same time, toilet repairs are often cheap. The decision to repair or replace usually comes down to performance: Does your current toilet clog often? Is it cracked or scratched? It might be time to find a new throne.

Water heater: Water heaters generally last for 10 to 12 years. If your model is older than that and is giving you trouble, you should probably replace it. You don’t want to wake up one morning to find your basement or condo flooded.  © CTW Features © Copyright 2016 The San Diego Union-Tribune. All rights reserved.

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

2016 Exterior Fix-It List

January 7, 2016




Article printed in the San Diego Union Tribune.


More people will see the outside of a home than they will ever see the interior. Beyond pure vanity, though, maintaining a beautiful home exterior will keep the structure sound and ensure a healthy resale value.

It’s puzzling, then, how it can be so easy to neglect the home exterior. One culprit could be a lack of attention, says Sabine Schoenberg, founder of the home improvement site, Greenwich, Connecticut.

“You don’t catch whether your driveways or gutters are in bad shape because you go into ‘auto mode’ when you come home for the day,” Schoenberg says. “You come home so often, that you don’t pay attention to what’s around you.”

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve this: Every month or every quarter, view your home as if you’re a first-time visitor.

“Every so often you should go around and perform your own visual home inspection,” Schoenberg says. “I know we are all busy, but if you look at your home like a visitor would, you’re more likely to find the cracks in the foundation, the cracks around the windows and the stains in the driveway.”

The home maintenance experts offer the following tips on how to stay on top of exterior issues:


Lynda Lyday, a contractor, carpenter and home-improvement author who splits her time between New York and St. Petersburg, Florida, says that driveways are often one of the most neglected areas of a home. That’s because they are outside in the heat or cold 24/7.

“I’m a big believer in the pressure washer,” Lyday says. “That’s especially true for the concrete driveway.”

Lyday recommends that homeowners should pressure-wash their driveways every few months to wash away oil stains and other unsightly messes. It’s equally important for homeowners to apply new sealer to their blacktop driveways every two years to keep cracks from forming.


It’s important for homeowners to clean their gutters at least once every season. Stopped gutters can cause water to puddle along the edges of a home. It can be costly if that water leaks into a residence’s basement.

Lyday says not to forget the downspouts. Many owners clean their gutters but then forget to unscrew their downspouts and clean out any clogs in them. A clogged downspout can also result in large pools of water around the edge of a home.

Underground drain lines

Schoenberg says that 99 percent of homeowners forget to check their underground drain lines. This could be a costly mistake. In older underground systems, especially those made of clay, tree roots can clog pipes enough so that they are only working at 20- to 30-percent effectiveness.

“That works during most rain events. But if you get a real heavy rain, your whole drainage system might back up into your basement,” Schoenberg says.

Homeowners should hire plumbing experts with drain cameras to look for blockages every few years, she says. Owners with older drainage systems should do this every year.


Wood decks suffer when they are exposed to either too much sunlight or too much shade. Schoenberg recommends that homeowners seal their wood decks every few years to preserve the material and make it last longer.


It’s easy for windows that face north to become overgrown with mold and mildew. That’s why Lyday recommends that homeowners every season use a push broom and garden hose to scrub around the base of their windows. This should remove any vegetation or mildew that builds up around them.

For Lyday, taking care of a home’s exterior mostly requires common sense. She believes, for instance, in the power of binoculars.

“Say you need to check on your gutters,” Lyday says. “Get a pair of binoculars and look up into those gutters. See what is inside them. You might be surprised at what you find. Exterior maintenance is often about this kind of common-sense approach. You need to keep up with it to prevent it from becoming a bigger job.”   © CTW Features  © Copyright 2016 The San Diego Union-Tribune. All rights reserved.


Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Save Big with a Shorter-Term Loan

December 17, 2015



Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.




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