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Home Projects and Resale ROI

February 23, 2017

Consider me your #1 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. 


Lowering Credit Card Interest Rates

February 16, 2017




When was the last time you evaluated the interest rate on your credit cards? The higher the rate, the more that “borrowed’ money is costing you. If you’d like to keep more of your hard-earned cash, consider the following action plan for securing a lower rate.

Negotiate — Sometimes it’s as simple as asking. In fact, three out of four people who request an interest rate reduction are successful. First, take note of your history with the company, including how long you’ve been a customer and the timeliness of your payments, and collect interest rate offers you’ve received from their competitors. Then make the call, and share this information. If the representative can’t help, politely ask for a supervisor.

Transfer — Even if your company refuses to budge, you may be able to move your high-interest balance to another card. Companies frequently lure customers from their competitors with low-interest or even zero-interest offers. If you’re able to pay off your debt during the promotional period, you can save money just by making a switch. Just be sure to compare the terms of each offer before you decide to go for it.

Improve — It’s always worth it to take steps to improve your credit score, which impacts your ability to qualify for low rates. Paying off debt is key, but there are other things you can do as well. Set up bill reminders or automatic payments to ensure timely payments, correct errors on your credit report and keep your balance low compared to the credit available on your card.

It may take a little while, but once you successfully reduce your interest rates, you’ll have more money at your disposal to achieve your financial goals.

Consider me your #1 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. 

Is a 15 Year OR 30 Year Mortgage Loan Better For You?

February 9, 2017

Home finance


From MDC Financial Service Group

If you’re looking to buy a home, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is whether to go with a 15-year or a 30-year mortgage loan. There are some simple and straight forward mortgage calculators available online that will give you a good ballpark figure of what you can expect to be out each month based on which mortgage option you select, however, they are other things to take into consideration besides your monthly mortgage payment. An experienced mortgage professional will be able to guide you through the differences between a 15-year and a 30-year loan, but we’ve also collected some factors to think about when deciding what is best for you and your family.

What are the key differences between a 15- and 30- year loan?

The most obvious difference is the term of the loan. Additionally, generally 15-year loan terms will come with lower interest rates. The shorter term of the 15-year mortgage means that you’ll make higher mortgage payments each month, but you’ll save in the long term via both the lower interest rate you’ll have on your shorter-term loan and also because you’ll pay more towards the principal each month and you’ll pay less in overall interest than you would on a 30-year loan. Did you know that you might pay almost double with a 30-year mortgage over what you would pay on the same mortgage that’s a 15-year term? What would you do with the savings?!

Some people assume at first that your monthly mortgage payment on a 15-year mortgage will be double what it would be on a 30-year mortgage, but this simply isn’t the case. 15-year mortgages generally come with a payment that’s about 45-50% higher than it would be spread over 30 years – though you’ll want to consult a mortgage professional to determine mortgage payment amounts for your unique purchase and financial situation. For example, if you took out a $200,000 loan at 4% interest, you would expect to pay about $1475 each month for 15 years, or $955 a month for 30 years. As you can see, paying roughly an additional $500 a month will net you a home that’s paid off in just 15 years.

What are some considerations when deciding between a 30-year or 15-year mortgage?

You’ll want to talk to your lender and weigh any original fees, closing costs or other fees accompanying the loan and whether those amounts may vary between 15 and 30-year term mortgages. Also, you’ll want to look at where you’re at financially and in life: will you be nearing retirement in 15 years or in another position where having a paid-off home would be more benefit? Could you get a better rate of return investing the additional money you would have put towards your home, making a 30-year mortgage the better financial option? Do you have enough income and liquid savings to comfortably swing the additional mortgage payment each month that comes with a 15-year loan?

We suggest talking to a mortgage professional before deciding which loan is best for you. An experienced lender will be able to adequately evaluate your financial situation and discuss your concerns in order to help you make the best decision for you and your family.


Consider me your #1 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 Forecast for 2017

January 30, 2017





Another year has come and gone so it is time to reflect on what was and what may be!

The year 2016 was unprecedented in many ways and the housing market road the wave-experts anticipated increased building activity but production was still inadequate, prices appreciated beyond expectations with many crossing the 2006 peak mortgage rates toyed with record lows before crossing 4% for the first time in two years.

Here are some trends that shaped our state’s residential real estate market:

  1. Tight inventories. Many homeowners were too nervous to enter the competitive market and cautious of what they might face as home buyers. I helped six clients successfully sell their    current home and buy their new home, most without having to move twice. Through teamwork and strategy it can be done!
  2. Lower home ownership rates. Rates hit a 50 year low, with California hovering at 54%, compared to 63.5 % for the country as a whole (Mortgage Bankers Association). Decreased affordability and millennials delaying purchases were likely the biggest culprits.
  3. Low mortgage rates. Despite a predicted rise, rates continued to go down to near historic lows. Brexit and other news events were contributors. Refinances went up and buyers got more bang   for their buck.
  4. Transaction delays. When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau required new disclosure forms in October 2015 (TILA-Respa Integrated Disclosure) delays were anticipated.  However, the forms created more clarity and technology adapted well for smoother transactions, with in most cases, only slight delays.
  5. Increase in outmigration. More Californians left in 2016 than since 2011 (California Department of Finance).The silver lining is more inventory from homeowners who leave and sell.

According to Forbes here are eight things housing experts expect to see in 2017:

  1. Prices will continue to rise slowly. Prices rose every month last year (through October) with the largest gains coming in the later half and a 5.61% increase nationally.
  2. Affordability will still be a challenge.  Wages are expected to grow in America’s big cities this year, but the share of homes affordable to someone earning the median income is not. This trend, which has stymied many aspiring to buy their first home, will be intensified by a continued shortage in low- to moderate-priced inventory and rising mortgage rates.
  3. Mortgage rates will fluctuate. The two major political events of 2016 set mortgage rates moving in opposite directions. The British vote to exit the European Union put rates near a record low and the U.S. election of Donald Trump had the opposite effect, sending rates above 4% for the first time in two years. By historic standards rates are still low. In 2017 experts expect movement, but differ on where the 30-year fixed rate will land. Estimates range from between 3.75% and 4.6%–not so far from where it is today.
  4. Credit availability will likely improve. Early Trump administration priorities are not expected to deal directly with housing. However, the president-elect and his team have made it clear they hope to roll back much of the post-crisis financial regulation laid out in the Dodd-Frank Act. This could open up banks to lend more freely to a wide-range of would be buyers. There is speculation that Trump would return government- controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private control. Investors cheer the possibility some housing economists worry such a move would further restrict who could get credit.
  5. Supply will improve but remain short.  Declining inventory was the defining feature of the housing  market in 2016. It led to price appreciation, a hyper fast market for buyers, and discouraged would-be-sellers who feared entering the buying fray. A complete turnaround is unlikely in 2017, but there are some signs we could see a small bump in housing supply on the new home front. When it comes to existing       homes “rate lock” may constrain inventory. Homeowners who locked in a mortgage below 4% are likely to stay in low priced homes rather than upgrade, a pattern that last emerged when rates briefly rose in 2013.
  6. More Millennials will become homeowners. According to some estimates, nearly half of buyers are under age 36. Not every economist agrees with this assessment, however it is clear that Millennials (born after 1980 and now the largest adult generation) will continue to make up a growing part of the buyer pool.
  7. Competition will grow fiercer. Sellers will maintain the edge over buyers as demand increases.
  8. Political uncertainty will be replaced with policy uncertainty. Experts agree that three of the President’s priorities could impact the housing market: pledges to spend more on infrastructure, to cut taxes and to crack down on immigration. The consensus is that in the very short term any moves in these areas could have a neutral-to-positive impact on the housing market. Over the longer term opinions vary.

In San Diego the news was good overall- values increased, a majority of properties sold at or over list price, market time shrunk. Low inventory though meant stiff competition and some delays in finding the right property. See the December/year to year statistics.

If you have any future plans you have been keeping secret, now may be the time to review the value of your property with me and I can provide you with a Seller’s Estimated Net Sheet. Sellers that act on their plans to up-size, down-size, change neighborhoods and/or move out of San Diego will create more inventory for all Buyers (including themselves)!



Market @ A Glance: January 2017 Edition

January 26, 2017



Here is the latest scoop on our national, state and local housing markets.  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.


For the country existing-home sales closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade.

In California sale prices at the end of 2016 were the highest since 2007.

San Diego’s inventory was drastically down in year-over-year comparisons along with days on market and months of supply. Meanwhile, sales and prices were up in most markets.






What Matters to Home Buyers

January 19, 2017

Consider me your #1 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. 



10 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a New Home (That You May Have Missed)

January 12, 2017



By: Lisa Johnson Mandell, ClientDirect

You’ve finally found it: a home you’re swooning over and dying to own. From the exposed ceiling beams to the hardwood floors, this feels like the place. So what’s next? Don’t just stand there dumbstruck; it’s time to dig deeper and ask questions—and not just the kind that randomly pop into your head, either. You need to hit all of the necessary topics head-on, and some of them are not so obvious.

But you’re in luck: We’ve pulled together a checklist of some of the most important initial questions to ask when buying a home:

What is the home’s sales history?
When was the last time the house sold, and how much did the current owners pay for it? This is essential intel, and you don’t even have to ask the seller or your real estate agent about it, because it’s posted on every MLS listing. All you have to do is scroll down to find it. But make sure you know it.

When buying a home, the previous sale price will give you a sense of what the sellers might expect you to pay—but keep in mind that a home’s true market value is based more on what comparable homes are selling for now rather than what it went for in the past, says Los Angeles Realtor® Jennifer Niman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Sales history will also show you whether the home’s price has been trending up or down over time, which can help you hone your negotiating stance.

Did the sellers make any major renovations or additions?
If they’ve overhauled the kitchen, added a bedroom, or finished the basement, you’ll want to know that—and, ideally, see receipts from contractors to get a sense of what they paid for these upgrades.

In general, this will give you a ballpark notion of how much money they’ve sunk into the home—and what they hope to get out. That said, don’t assume you have to fork over as much cash as they put in; home improvements generally reap only a 64% return on average. And that return on investment varies widely based on which renovation is done.

How much are the property taxes?
Property tax history is also typically available right on the listing detail page. If you can’t find it, ask the seller. You’ll want to find out what previous owners paid, but understand that the property tax, since it’s based on a percentage of the value of the house, will probably be affected by your purchase price. This could be a huge additional expense, and you’ll need to budget for that when putting together your offer.

What are the monthly maintenance and utility costs?
Is there any type of homeowners association fee? Find out. Also learn what kind of power the house uses, be it gas, oil, electric, or a combination, and ask what the average monthly bill for each is. Also inquire about water, waste removal, and any other utility costs that are applicable.

Has there ever been a broken pipe? Sewer backup?
This may sound trivial (not to mention unpleasant), but according to the Insurance Information Institute, broken pipes account for an estimated 22% of all home insurance losses. If the homeowner doesn’t ‘fess up, a good home inspector can probably find evidence of either one of these situations, so you might want to put these on your list of questions to ask your inspector, too.

How old is the roof?
The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says the national median cost of an asphalt roofing replacement is about $7,600. It would be good to know how soon you might need to lay out that substantial amount of cash.

Have there ever been any pest infestations?
If there was an infestation, when were pest control procedures undertaken? No, this won’t necessarily mean the house is pest-free at the time you’re buying it, but it’s a good starting point to know the history. Many buyers require that termite treatment be included in the price; it’s easiest to tent for pest removal when the house is empty, between owners.

Are there warranties on the appliances, HVAC system, garage door, etc.?
And if so, can the homeowner provide the documentation? Ask for it. This can establish how old these features are, and give you an idea of when they might need to be replaced and how expensive it could be. It will also help you decide whether or not to buy a home warranty.

What are the parking restrictions around the house?
Will guests need parking permits? How many permits are you, as the homeowner, allowed, and can you obtain more if you decide to throw a party? Also, check out the parking situation on the property itself. Will your car(s) fit in the garage? Is there room to park anywhere else on the property other than the driveway?

Does the house have any kind of unusual history?
In many states, owners are legally bound to disclose if a death or major crime has occurred recently on the premises, but there are other circumstances you should be aware of as well. For example: Did anyone famous ever live there? Was it ever used in a film, TV series, or commercial? If so, you might have to deal with fans ringing your doorbell or driving by at all hours of the day or night.

Oh, and if the house has a history of being haunted or paranormally “stigmatized,” you might have a little extra negotiating power when buying a home. Thanks, ghosts.

Consider me your #1 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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