Happy Holidays!

Whether you’re a past client, a current client, a friend, or a family member, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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I wanted to take the time today to reflect back on 2016. It’s been an amazing year—even better than last year. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.

Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or investor, or just a friend or family member, I have been blessed to serve you. I also want to thank you for your awesome referrals. You may or may not have done business with me, but you thought about me, and I’m grateful for that.

I have been blessed to serve you.

With that in mind, I look forward to 2017. One of my philosophies in life is that the best is yet to come. Not just for me, but for your family and your loved ones. Happy holidays!

4 Reasons a Home Sale Gets Delayed

There are many reasons why a home sale might get delayed. I will go over the four most common reasons today.

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Recently, someone asked me, “What are some things that can delay a home sale?” Here are the four most common delays:

1. The buyer is not fully approved for the loan yet. The lender may be having a challenging time verifying income, checking deposits, and things of that nature.

2. There might be title issues and late payments. Maybe the previous owner owes back taxes on the property, or there are child support liens attached to the property. If the title is not free and clear, the home sale process will be delayed.

If the buyer is not approved for the loan yet, you might not close as scheduled.

3. The buyer has some kind of special government funding. Whether the buyer uses a VA loan, an FHA loan, or receives help from the city to purchase the property, there is a lot more red tape involved than there is in the standard home loan.

4. The termite/pest inspection. If the property hasn’t been tented or fumigated or if the woodwork hasn’t been repaired, the home sale process will stall.

These are the most common reasons why a home sale might get delayed, but there are many other factors in a transaction that can cause delays. If you have any other questions about the home sale process or about real estate in general, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Preparing Your Home for the San Diego Market

Should you fix up your home when you're getting ready to sell it? The answer is both yes and no. Watch out for high-dollar renovations and focus on the small ones.

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Should you fix your home up before selling? The answer is "yo!"

That's yes and no, by the way. If you're thinking about carpet, paint, flooring, and your yard, it can get really expensive as a renovation project. I would advise you put the brakes on.

There are, however, things that I think you should consider. For example, a professional cleaning throughout the house is an absolute "yes." Brightening up the house with nice new lights and opening up the house with blinds and curtains are good ideas, too. You want it to be bright and airy.

Extensive renovations can get pricey if you're not careful.

Put some air freshener out to make it smell nice, too. Remember, when buyers walk into your home, you want them to have as good of an experience as possible when they imagine themselves living in the house.

Another inexpensive thing you can do is remove clutter and personal items from your home, as well as any explicit or inappropriate materials or decorations that are exclusive to you and your tastes.

Thanks again for tuning in today. If you're looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, or you know anyone looking to buy, sell or invest, give me a call or send me an email. I hope to hear from you soon!

What Happens After Your Listing Expires?

What happens if your home sits on the market and the listing expires? I wanted to offer some advice to home sellers facing this difficult situation.

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If you're selling your home, what happens when the listing expires?

You'll be getting a lot of calls and solicitations from Realtors, so make up your mind if you still want to try and sell. If you do, interview at least three agents. Three is the perfect number.

Listings almost always expire because the house is priced way too high.

Next, go ahead and reduce the price. Listings almost always expire because the price is way too high.

Finally, consider the condition of the home. Be honest - what is the condition of the property? Do you have good curb appeal? Does the home show well? You want to make it show well this time.

If you have any other questions about what happens after your listing expires, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to help!

How We Made the Home Buying Process for Myron and His Wife Stress-Free

“The results were exactly what my wife and I expected. He was very diligent and very thorough with explaining things that we were unaware of, but most importantly he was able to prioritize exactly what we wanted so the results were beyond what we expected. We needed an inspection and he was able to be at our place for the inspection for what I believe was a duration of three hours so that right there showed us that he was dedicated to making this experience complete and stress-free for us.”

How We Worked as a Team to Help Luis Quickly Sell His Home

“Working with Joe and the team was great.I was able to meet with him on Friday, we put the house up for sale and by Sunday night we had several showings and two offers. He and his team were really on it as far as letting me know what’s going on and I liked everything being online. It was a good thing for me. It was great to sign the docs online for the most part. He and his team overall were great. Everyone has different responsibilities for the transaction and I think overall the communication was great.”

Getting the Most from Your Open House

Open houses are important when you're selling a home in the San Diego Market. I've got some tips for getting the most buyers possible to your open house.

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Today I wanted to talk about open houses and the best ways to utilize them in the San Diego real estate market.

For starters, the more signs the better. It's hard to conduct an open house without a lot of them, so I recommend anywhere from 20 to 30 signs. Secondly, go heavy on Internet and social media marketing. Put the open house on Craigslist and social media, as well as the MLS. Put it anywhere and everywhere online to let people know it's for sale.

I recommend 20 to 30 open house signs minimum.

Lastly, don't forget to invite all your neighbors and your friends to your open house and let them know you're moving on. Maybe they have a buyer in mind who will want to buy your home. Utilize your neighbors and friends for promotion!

I hope you find these tips helpful for your next open house. If you have any questions about open houses or about the San Diego real estate market, give me a call or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

How to Pick the Right Lender for San Diego Real Estate

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Let's talk for a moment about how to pick the right lender when dealing in San Diego real estate.

Referrals and word of mouth are the best way to pick out a lender. Your friend, family member or coworker probably used the lender they're referring to you, and they have a great track record. Experience is very important as well. You don't want to work with someone new unless they have the right mentor helping them out during the loan process.

You definitely need to consider company reputation when looking at lenders, especially for customer service. You want to work with someone who will make the transaction as smooth as possible, because it's very complicated with a lot of moving parts.

Next, you want to check the GFE (Good Faith Estimate), which is how much a lender will charge for a loan. Sometimes, an extra hundred dollars here or there will make a big difference in the end, especially if you're buying with very little money down.

Do not skip the home inspection.

Lastly, look at the results! Will this lender give you a pre-approval or not? If he or she won't give you a pre-approval, move on. There are other lenders in town to choose from. When I was personally trying to buy a home, one lender didn't approve me, but I didn't give up. The next lender I went to approved me.

If you have any questions or concerns about the lending process, I'd be more than happy to share my insight with you. If you're interested in learning more about the buying and selling process, don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. Let's talk soon!

How We Sold Jennifer's House in a Matter of Days

“Oh, I got great results. I met him on a Sunday morning and he said, “I bet I can have this house sold by Tuesday,” and he did. He’s very personable. He really listens to me. He’s a great guy doing a great job. He is definitely in the right profession. He is a wonderful people person. My whole experience with him was like that and if I write that he is awesome in an email or something he writes right back, “Thanks so much!”

Your Offer Has Been Accepted - Now What?

What happens when your offer on a home gets accepted?

As soon as your offer is accepted, put down your earnest money deposit into escrow to show that you are serious about closing on the property. You should also let the bank know that your offer has been accepted. That way, the bank can order an appraisal right away to make sure that the home is worth the amount you’re buying it for.

Next, you will hire a home inspector to check out the property and make sure that there are no major repairs that need to be made. If repairs do need to be made, you can negotiate these repairs with the seller.

Do not skip the home inspection.

Lastly, do a final walkthrough of the home right before closing. Use this time to make sure that the property is in the same condition it was when you made the offer. You don’t want to buy a property only to find out that something got damaged during closing.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

The Key to Selling a Tenant-Occupied Property

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If you are currently renting out an investment home but want to sell it before the current lease is up, we’ve got some great tips to share with you. Here are four ways you can make selling your tenant-occupied property much easier:

1. Communication is very important. If you have a tenant that has been in there for less than a year, a 24-hour notice should be sufficient.

2. Offer incentives to tenants for selling. Maybe you could offer them a free month's rent or some other concession that would make them feel more comfortable.

3. Take offers subject to inspection. Have the buyer/investor submit an offer and if it’s accepted, then the tenant can cooperate on the inspection.

4. Have the tenant stay. If the buyer is an investor, having a tenant already in place may be attractive to them.

Already having a tenant can be enticing for a buyer.

If you have any questions for us or if you’re looking to buy or sell in sunny San Diego, give us a call or send us a quick email. We would love to hear from you!

How to Handle a San Diego Home Inspection

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How should you handle a home inspection as a buyer in San Diego? Let’s say that the seller has just gotten an inspection done on their home. How should you proceed from there?

Well, if there are certain repairs to be made, I suggest that you ask for additional closing costs instead of asking for the repairs to be performed. However, if there are major repairs, you should ask the seller to fix them or you should negotiate for them to be performed. You could pay for parts of the repairs, or you could ask for additional closing costs.

Another way around repairs is to ask for a price reduction on the home. This would work if there are a lot of repairs adding up to be in the thousands of dollars.

Deals often fall apart after inspections due to poor negotiating.

If you’re using a government loan, you should be aware that there are certain things that must be included with the home. Water heaters must have dual straps, and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed. There are some other things that need to be included for FHA loans, but feel free to ask me about them later.

You’ll need the help of a real estate professional in order to negotiate repairs and closing costs for you. Deals often fall apart after inspections due to poor negotiating, but I don’t want that to happen to you.

I look forward to continuing this conversation with you!

Choosing the Right Home to Buy

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Choosing the right home to buy involves many steps and possibly, many homes. Here is how I recommend going about the process.

The first thing you should do is get a pre-approval on a loan, before you even start looking at homes. It’s important to get pre-approved because you want to stay within your budget. You don’t want to have champagne taste with a beer budget, you want to find something that suits you within your budget. If you’re looking for a starter home, you probably won’t go after that beachfront property. Although you won’t know if you can afford it or not until you get pre-approved.

Know your hot buttons when picking out the right home. If you want a large kitchen, you might have to sacrifice on the yard. Know what you want, and know what you’re willing to give up to get it.

Trust your gut.

Finally, trust your gut. If you walk into a home and it doesn’t feel right, don’t make an offer. Walk away and re-evaluate.

If you have any questions for me, or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell in sunny San Diego, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

The Most Important Things to Remember When Moving

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There are a lot of different things to take care of when you’re moving. It’s easy to forget some of them, but we want to discuss some things you should take into account when planning your move so you can make sure all your bases are covered. Here’s where to start:

1. Hire movers right away. Don’t pick the first company that sends you a postcard; I’ve made that mistake before. Ask for a referral or look up different companies on Yelp!

2. Change your address. Log on to usps.com to change your address as soon as you close the transaction on your new home. While you’re at it, change out your financial records, banking records, and DMV records. Make sure they all have your new address.

3. Turn off/on your utilities. If you’re a seller, shut down the utilities in your name within two to three days of closing so you aren’t charged any extra. If you’re buying, set up those utilities before you actually move in.

4. Call the phone and cable companies. You may want to keep the same company or you may want to change things up. Do your due diligence first to make sure the quality in your neighborhood is there if you plan to keep the same company.

5. Claim proof of residency. This is an important step, especially if you’re moving into a strong school district in a highly sought after area.

Hire movers right away.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to talking with you soon!

The Difference Between Down Payments and Good Faith Deposits

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Today I’d like to explain the difference between good faith deposits and down payments. They’re fairly similar and a lot of my clients confuse them.

A down payment is basically telling how much a buyer is willing to invest in a property whether it is by choice or required by the bank. VA buyers aren’t required to put any money down, and FHA loans require 3.5% down. Conventional loans typically require 10-20% down on a home. If you put down less than 20% on a conventional loan, then you’ll be forced to pay private mortgage insurance. This money must be brought to the table one week prior to closing escrow.

A good faith deposit is typically 1% of the purchase price. The difference here is that money needs to be deposited in escrow within 48 hours of acceptance. So basically, the good faith deposit shows how eager you are to buy the home. However, if you go through the contingency period and then decide not to buy the home, that good faith deposit is usually non-refundable.

That’s it for now, but if you have any other questions about real estate in San Diego, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

How Do Real Estate Commissions Work in San Diego?

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People always want to know how real estate agents get paid. Today I’ll be here to fill you in and explain how everything works.

When someone sells a home, a listing agent will charge them a 6% commission rate on a home. That 6% is further divided up and the buyer’s agent gets the other 3%.

Next, 1% of this transaction will go back to the broker, whether it’s a big franchise or not. This goes to overhead, paying employees, and other professional expenses. Another 1% of this commission goes towards paying taxes.

Finally, the last portion, or 1% of that 6%, goes to the agent. Usually, the agent will spend this on marketing, or whatever expenses it takes to get the home sold.


That’s how agents get paid. Even though we charge 6%, we never get all of it.

If you need help selling your home in sunny San Diego, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Seven Ways to Prepare Your San Diego Home to Sell

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Today, we’ll talk about how you can prepare your San Diego home for sale. Check out these seven tips to add curb appeal and maximize your property value!
  • Remove clutter. Some buyers can’t oversee what’s going on in the house.
  • Have bright lights. If a buyer comes in during the evening, avoid dim and dead lights. Open up the blinds and windows for natural lighting.
  • Ensure your home smells nice. Add some air freshener and open some windows to air out the home.
  • Clean your front yard. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, and make sure there is no debris in the yard.
  • Pack away personal touches and other belongings. This includes picture frames, family trinkets, and even (if you have any) inappropriate posters. You’re moving anyway, so it’s better to have them put away.
  • Keep colors and amenities neutral. Offer paint and flooring credit rather than changing it altogether. You never know what a buyer wants, so leave them with that decision.
  • Price it to sell. Talk to a competent, knowledgeable agent (like myself) that understands the market to determine your property’s actual worth.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the surrounding area, give me a call or send me an email! I’d be happy to answer any question.

How to Win a Bidding War in San Diego

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Today we are going to talk about how you can win a bidding war in San Diego, if you find yourself in that situation. We’ve got seven great tips for you to help your offer stand out, and make you the most attractive buyer possible. Here they are:

1. Get pre-approved.
There is a big difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification. When you get pre-qualified, all they really do is run your credit. A pre-approval covers all the aspects of your financial picture, checking your income, looking at your deposits, and comparing that to your spending habits.

2. Have a strong good-faith deposit.
The bigger, the better to show the seller you are serious about buying.

3. Have a strong down payment.
A down payment of 20% or better is attractive to the seller, but if you have a low down payment due to a VA or USDA loan, that’s okay too.

4. Don’t make a lowball offer.
If you’re competing against other buyers, a low offer isn’t going to cut it.

5. Keep contingencies reasonable.
Termite damage is a reasonable thing for a seller to repair. As for paint and carpet, sometimes it’s not.

6. Write a compelling, heartfelt letter to the seller.
If a buyer wants to buy a home, and tells their personal story to the seller about why they want to buy the home, it may relate to the seller. It’s not all about price to the sellers all the time.

7. Max out your highest and best offer.

In a bidding war, you’ve got to come with your best foot forward in order to win a property. We recently made an offer that was $30,000 over list price. The seller thought we were crazy, but the home ended up appraising for that amount, and our buyers won the home.

If you have any questions for us, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you!

How We Helped Maria by Always Being Available

"Well I only have positive things to say about him. He was very professional and very helpful. And I was so very happy with his services. The whole experience was above and beyond. If I needed anything, he would immediately answer me back. That's important."

How We Helped Sabrina With Our Professional Experience

"It was an awesome experience. My husband and I were very pleased working with him. He was very efficient in finding homes for us to look at. Every time I would text him any little question, it could have been late or a weekend, and he was very prompt in responding. He was basically on call at all times with us. If anybody is looking for a good agent I would definitely recommend Joe."

Six Things to Remember When Renovating in San Diego

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Plan ahead. People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan! Plan everything, including time, cost, and more. It’s better to be proactive than reactive.

Overestimate your cost. Don’t cap your budget too low when renovating. Some appliances might require a larger investment for exceptional quality.

Consider all loan options. Sometimes, a line of credit or home equity line will be better than refinance. The opposite also applies. There are other available directions, such as cashing out. Figure out the best for your situation.

Get quotes from three licensed contractors. Don’t rely on one client! Understand the market and talk to multiple vendors. This could save you thousands of dollars alone. Additionally, ensure their license is still active.

Stick to the plan. Don’t overindulge! It’s easy to get caught in the mix and overspend. For instance, a relative might offer unsolicited advice and pressure you to spend more. Don’t give in.

Overestimate your time frame. It never hurts to have time left over. Don’t plan in a short period of time; you’ll run out of time quickly.

If you have any questions about renovations or anything else real estate related, feel free to reach out by phone or email. I’d be happy to serve your real estate needs!

Avoid These Mistakes When Buying New Construction Properties

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As a San Diego Realtor, I often see buyers make the same common mistakes. Today, we'll review the most frequent ones I notice in the surrounding area that could otherwise be easily dodged and avoided.
  1. You don’t hire a real estate professional. Recently, I had a client towards the East Coast call me before beginning their property search. They knew I had insight on the San Diego market, so they came to me prior to taking any further steps. Realtors particularly understand local markets to help you purchase new property with your best interests in mind.

  2. You don’t read the fine print. Agreements are long and extensive. Buyers often overlook HUD, Homeowners Associations, and other details. You need to understand all the terms and conditions with your agreement, and a Realtor can help you review everything.

  3. You plan poorly. Know when you should be closing escrow, moving out of your current home or rental, and hiring the movers. Again, a professional can walk you through this timeline and create one personalized for your situation.

If you have any questions about this topic or buying in the San Diego area, I’d be happy to help! Make it a powerful day!

Buy These San Diego Homes If You Hit the Powerball

What a Powerball winner can buy in San Diego
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Most Powerball success stories begin with buying a nice home on the beach for your family (and even your parents, too). Recently, I was featured in a news segment on ABC Channel 10! They asked me to find the most expensive homes available in San Diego. Check out these listings for over $20 million dollars each in this video.

If you hit the jackpot, the housing market becomes limitless! You can buy all four of these properties and stay within a $100 million dollar budget. Give me a call if you're lucky enough to hit it big in the future.

Making Offers on New Listings in San Diego

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Today, we're going to talk about making offers on new listings, and whether you should be waiting to make an offer in this market. 

Most of the time, the simple answer to this question is "absolutely not." Whether we are in a good market or a bad market, when a good home at a good price comes on the market, it's going to sell fast. People like quality homes that are priced right and you have to make an offer on them right away to have a chance. 

However, there are a few things you need to do first before going to make an offer on a home. You need to be prepared to enter a fast-paced market like this, and today we've got four great tips that will help you get ready to make an offer.

1. Get a pre-approval from a reputable lender.
There's no sense in going out there to look at homes when you don't know what you can afford. We have a preferred lender we would love for you to talk to before you go out looking for homes, so you can know exactly what kind of home you can afford when you begin your search. 

2. Make a fair offer.
If you try to low-ball a property, many sellers won't even respond back. In fact, we had this happen just last week with a buyer. You've got to make a fair offer, because the sellers have all the power in this market. It's ultimately your decision, but I would be glad to give you some expert advice on the topic.

3. Understand your/their motivation.
Some sellers really aren't motivated to sell, and those properties will sit on the market. You should consider making an offer on those types of homes because if they become stale inventory, you could probably get a discount. Some buyers may be cautious about purchasing a home, but should also understand why buying is such a good investment.

4. Make sure your agent knows your outs.
There are certain stipulations on a purchase contract that can get you out of the contract after you've already signed it. A good agent is the only one who is going to know about these outs, and alert you to them if something goes awry.

As long as you've followed the four precautions I've mentioned, you should be ready to make an offer as soon as your dream home comes on the market. If you have any questions for us, don't hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We're here to be your #1 real estate resource in San Diego. 

How to Find Your True San Diego Home Value

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Can you trust Zillow to give you an accurate home evaluation? The answer is YO: yes and no. It all depends on your neighborhood.

Typically, Zillow estimates are off by 5% to 15%. However, if you're in a cookie cutter neighborhood, where multiple homes have the same builder and similar floor plans, then it's pretty easy for Zillow to estimate. It may not be completely accurate, but it will be closer than an estimate for a home in a custom neighborhood.  

Other neighborhoods can be more difficult. Zillow uses an algorithm, so if you're in a custom neighborhood like La Jolla, Zillow has no way of knowing all the features of your home. If your neighborhood has different builders, custom homes, and different amenities, Zillow is going to be way off.

For instance, in La Jolla, the way the home is positioned can significantly throw Zillow off. Some houses in La Jolla are angled for spectacular ocean views, boosting their home value over other homes in the neighborhood.

Ultimately, there are certain things Zillow cannot know. No one from Zillow goes into your home to check all the upgrades or renovations you have made. I recently went into a listing appointment where Zillow really underestimated the home value. The seller had made many upgrades and add-ons that increased the home value dramatically.

Although Zillow is a good place to start, the best way to know your home value is to have a real estate agent come out to your property and run a Comparative Market Analysis. The CMA takes recently sold homes in your area and the unique features of your property into account, giving you an accurate value.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!