July 2nd, 2014

4th of July Fireworks in San Diego 2014 Edition

4th of July Fireworks in San Diego – 2014 Edition

We here at Team Aguilar love fireworks and love celebrating our nation’s independence, and we believe you should too! Here is a list of all the fireworks displays scheduled in San Diego. Remember to call in advance before making the trip. All events are free-admission unless otherwise stated – check the event websites listed below for more information. Be safe, enjoy yourselves and have a great fourth of July everybody!

Here are a list of 4th of July Fireworks in San Diego 2014 events:

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Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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April 3rd, 2014

Real Estate Ethics – Working Hard to Do the Right Thing

A short sale lead

Yesterday I received a call about a possible short sale, even better it was a referral from a past client. It always feels good when you receive a referral. In this case the referral was about a home that was $90,000 underwater and the owners wanted out. They wanted to short sale, and what was even better is that they informed me they already had a buyer lined up. Easy money, right?

All I would have to do is submit a request for a short sale, turn a blind eye to any outside offers that come in and introduce our pre-arranged “buyer” as the only person willing to make a serious offer on his home. Everyone is happy, I get to close a quick and easy transaction – one whose result has already been pre-determined – collect my commission and call it a day. What could be easier! Except if I were to go through with such a deal I would be committing fraud and jeopardizing my real estate license.

I politely informed the lead that short selling his home to a straw buyer is something I would not do. As difficult as banks are to deal with (and believe me, you don’t know the meaning of the word difficult until you have dealt with the servicing departments these banks use to process short sales), I as a Realtor have a responsibility to my client. In the case of a short sale, the bank is a party in the transaction because of the seller’s negative equity position in the home. I have to do my best to recover as much money as possible from the short sale. If I limit the home’s exposure on the MLS or turn a blind eye to legitimate offers on the property, I become guilty of defrauding the bank.

When I carefully explained all of this to the lead, the response was, “Oh………………. so can you short sale my home????” I clearly wasn’t getting through to them. So once again I replied, saying that while they will undoubtedly find a real estate agent willing to go along with their scheme, that agent would not be me. I ended our conversation by informing them if they wanted to enter into a short-sale listing agreement with me, they would have to prove to the bank that they’re in a genuine financial hardship, let me expose their listing to the whole world via the MLS and other avenues and grant me the freedom to entertain all offers.

They ended up taking their business elsewhere.

The above example shows the ethical and moral dilemmas we working Realtors face every day. There are many Realtors who are all too happy to accept such deals and pocket the money. What’s the harm, right?

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Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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August 23rd, 2013

San Diego’s Uneven Housing Recovery and How You Can Benefit From It!

We’ve all heard news of the San Diego housing market recovery by now – I’ve already blogged about it before (mini housing bubble, Prices Up, Foreclosures Down ). Latest data from real estate tracking company DataQuick, however, provides an interesting quirk on the recovery story. It turns out that the recovery is not uniform across all neighborhoods in San Diego County but, in fact, certain neighborhoods are recovering faster than others.

Unsurprisingly, high-density subdivisions close to major employers as well as beach-front neighborhoods in northwest San Diego recovered fastest, gaining back much of their pre-housing-crash value, while neighborhoods in south and east San Diego County have been much slower to recover.

What’s driving the recovery?

First of all, it is important to pinpoint the reasons behind the recovery in the first place. A gradually strengthening national economy, combined with steady increases in employment and historically low interest rates mandated by FHA have played a role in creating a mini-frenzy in the real estate market last year. Many would-be home buyers sitting on the fence decided to jump into the market to take advantage of low rates and depressed prices, driving up property values in certain desirable neighborhoods. The limited inventory of detached single-family homes combined with increased demand from local, out-of-state and international buyers resulted in a significant rise in home prices.

Which areas experienced the strongest recovery?

Carmel Valley, thanks to its proximity to large employers such as Qualcomm and good schools experienced the strongest recovery – the average home value are a mere 3.2% below their pre-crash peak in 2005.

The coastal communities of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach have also seen strong recoveries in home values thanks to limited supply of prime beach front property. Premium beach-front areas in a city like San Diego will always be in demand, regardless of the overall state of the housing market. The average home in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach sells for around 9.3% less than their peak pre-crash price.

Which areas are going through slow recoveries?

Neighborhoods mainly in the southern and eastern parts of San Diego County such as Logan Heights, Paradise Hills and Chula Vista are not faring as well as their northern counterparts. Average home prices in these areas are still nearly 50% lower than their pre-housing-crash peak.

These areas were hardest hit by the mortgage crisis, experiencing a high level of mortgage defaults resulting in foreclosures. To reduce their inventory of foreclosed homes banks were compelled to resell these properties at highly discounted prices, which had a knock-on effect of lowering property values throughout the neighborhood. While values have risen, they have not kept pace with other parts of San Diego County.

The silver lining (Here’s how you benefit!)

Economists and analysts all agree that the recovery is well underway, and has been for some time now. It’s not a matter of if, but when, prices will return to their pre-crash peaks. Even neighborhoods like Logan Heights and Paradise Hills are expected to recover fully as homeowners in those neighborhoods fix up their properties and put them on the market. As non-distressed home sales increase in such neighborhoods it will have the effect of raising median home prices across the board.

Investors are already being priced out the more expensive areas on San Diego and are turning to the South and East areas of the County to find great deals on single family homes. Southern and Eastern San Diego County are prime areas for anyone looking for a bargain right now.

The historically low interest rates for single family detached homes won’t last forever. FHA has artificially held rates down to speed up recovery in the national housing market, but once the government intervention ends mortgage rates will start to rise, pushing many would-be buyers out of the market.

The signs are clear; prices have no way to go but up and rates are still historically low (for the time being). Now is a great time to invest.

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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June 21st, 2013

Mini-Housing Bubble, Foreclosure Recovery and the Most Morally Pure San Diego Neighborhoods – San Diego Real Estate Highlights for the Week of June 17, 2013

CNNMoney logo

CNNMoney recently featured San Diego as one of their Top Ten Fastest Growing Cities for Real Estate. San Diego’s prominent Navy presence and the defence contractors that come with it, as well as being the conduit for $26.3 billion worth of Californian exports to Mexico are cited as the primary reasons for the city’s economic growth. San Diego’s sunny climate and ocean front location are also listed as major draws for new residents. The article mentions that property developers in San Diego have switched to condos and rental apartments as affordable alternatives to single family homes.

UT San Diego logoUT San Diego kicked off June with a number of dire predictions about the local real estate market. This story warns about rising home prices in San Diego Real Estate. Home prices in March of 2013 were 12% higher from what they were a year ago – the highest they have been since 2008. What is the reason behind this precipitous rise? Inventory shortage as a result of high buyer demand thanks to historically low rates combined with a large number of homeowners unable to sell because they’re stuck in underwater mortgages.

A follow up piece three days later cites the aforementioned factors as a potential catalyst for a mini-housing bubble in San Diego. The author states that San Diego is more vulnerable to abrupt changes in house prices than other markets because of its strict zoning laws. Such laws, though popular with residents, make it difficult for property developers to quickly respond to surging demand with new construction. Experts estimate that new construction in San Diego is down 89 percent from its peak in 2006, leading to a dearth of new inventory in the face of increasing buyer enthusiasm.

A June 20 article laments the bleak prospects for affordable housing in California in the wake of reduced federal funding. The article discusses several new proposals to keep affordable housing alive in the Golden State, including a bill that would mandate an additional $75 fee for filing paperwork relating to refinancing, liens and quit-claim deeds – a move predictably opposed by the California Association of Realtors.

We end our UT San Diego round-up with this positive piece proudly proclaiming that San Diego foreclosures are at a 7 year low. The $25 billion national mortgage settlement and California’s Homeowner’s Bill of Rights are said to be the primary driving forces behind the reduction in foreclosures (both are discussed in more detail in this earlier blog post). Another factor behind the recovery is increasing home values, which brought many homeowners struggling with underwater mortgages out of negative equity. Federal and State incentives to protect homeowners also meant that banks were more receptive to conducting short sales in San Diego instead of foreclosing. Now would be a good time to remind readers that real estate industry groups like the California Mortgage Association, California Bankers Association and California Mortgage Bankers Association lobbied hard against the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, warning of dire consequences if it passed.

This 13 page feature in the May/June 2013 issue of Our City San Diego gives us an extensive look into the many diverse and colorful neighborhoods that make up San Diego. The editors broke down San Diego County into 85 neighborhoods and ranked them in 16 categories, including crime, schools, youth facilities, health and “moral cleanliness.” The article contains the details behind ranking methodology and data sources used. Spoiler: Coronado consistently ranks as the best place to raise a family, and Downtown San Diego the worst. As far as moral cleanliness (i.e. sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll) is concerned, Hillcrest and Downtown San Diego are ranked as the worst (or best, if you happen to enjoy sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll!)

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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June 1st, 2013

2013 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

2013 San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon

Info as well as Six Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon

San Diego’s annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon kicks off this weekend on Sunday, June 2nd. Based on feedback from runners of previous marathons, organizers have decided to relocate the finish line to a new venue this year.

The 2013 event will start at its usual location of 6th Avenue and Quince, and finish at Petco Park. Both the 26.2 mile full marathon and 13.1 mile half-marathon have the same start and finish lines. Special events for the big day include a massive post-marathon concert at Petco Park as well as mini concerts by local bands along the course.

2013 San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon course route

Commuters concerned about road closures will want to consult the official course route (PDF link) and make note of which roads will be affected. Keep in mind both races start at 6 am; the full course (marked in red) lasts 7 hours and the half course (in blue) is scheduled for 4 hours.

For more information including rules, registration and course details please visit the official 2013 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon page.

Six Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon:

1. Since its inception in 1998 the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events have raised over $287 million for various children’s charities.
2. Runners from Kenya dominate the men’s event, having won 11 of the last 15 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons. Three Ethiopians and a Moroccan make up the remaining four.
3. The half-marathon has been won for the past two years by home-grown hero, San Diego’s own, Meb Keflezighi.
4. This year’s event is expected to attract over 20,000 runners and 100,000 spectators.
5. Clothing discarded over the course of the race will be collected and donated to local homeless shelters.
6. You get special perks if you show up at this year’s event dressed as Elvis.

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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March 11th, 2013

Three Celebrity REALTORS

The world of celebrities and real estate frequently intersect – stars buying million dollar homes and stars losing million dollar homes have been tabloid fodder for decades. For a change of pace let’s look at real estate agents who are celebrities in their own right, not REALTORS® to the stars (plenty of them around) but agents working in the field who are (or were) famous for one thing or the other. Keep in mind we use “celebrity” in the loosest sense of the word.

1. ‘Old Man’ off Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars Old ManStar of Pawn Stars, the hit History reality TV show, Richard Harrison (better known as ‘Old Man’) had a long and storied career before finding success in the cutthroat world of Las Vegas pawn-brokers. Before reality TV stardom and the bright lights of Las Vegas, ‘Old Man’ Harrison spent 21 years in the US Navy. He and his family were based in San Diego for most of those 21 years, where Harrison’s wife JoAnne obtained her REALTORS license and opened a San Diego real estate office in 1973. After he left the navy in the late 70′s Harrison helped run his wife’s San Diego real estate business for a number of years, until 18 percent interest rates in 1981 almost drove them to bankruptcy. The couple was forced to close up their San Diego real estate office and make the move to Las Vegas with less than $5000 to their name. Soon after the move ‘Old Man’ Harrison opened his first store, a tiny 300 square-foot Gold & Silver Coin Shop and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. Sharona off The Knack’s hit, My Sharona

SharonaSharona Alperin met The Knack’s lead singer Doug Fieger when she was 17 and a four year relationship ensued. His time with her inspired Fieger to write the band’s one and only hit, ‘My Sharona.’ Today, Alperin is a REALTOR for Sotheby’s International Realty, selling high-end real estate in West LA. Even though Alperin has been a successful real estate agent for more than 20 years she does not back away from her place in rock history, as anyone visiting her homepage will see.

 

 

3. Gay Swedish porn star turned real estate superstar, Fredrik Eklund

Fredrik Eklund left his native Sweden in 2001 and arrived in California where he starred in six gay pornographic films for the next two years. Eklund then made the move to New York where in a short amount of time he went from having zero clients and no real estate experience to becoming the managing director of Core Group Marketing, a boutique real estate firm where he handled a $58 million portfolio in 2010. Eklund is currently the managing director of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Manhattan with “more than 1.5 billion dollars in residential sales over the last 11 years” according to his online profile.

Son of a prominent public figure (noted Swedish economist Klas Eklund), Mr. Eklund’s colorful past has made him something of a minor celebrity in his native Sweden. Now, with his Bravo real-estate themed reality show entering its second season, Eklund is well on his way to becoming a minor-celebrity here in America.

Celebrity REALTORS

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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February 22nd, 2013

San Diego Real Estate Market Update for February 22, 2013

The latest report from real estate tracker DataQuick paints a sunny picture for San Diego Real Estate in 2013. January’s figures show mortgage default rates in San Diego County at their lowest levels since mid-2005, and foreclosures at a six year low.

Impact of the Homeowner Bill of Rights
California Homeowner Bill of RightsA big reason for these declines is the of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, a comprehensive update to California’s mortgage regulations championed by Attorney General Kamala Harris and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill includes provisions to stop dual tracking (a controversial procedure where banks went ahead with foreclosure against struggling homeowners in the middle of a short sale or loan modification procedure), stop robo-signing foreclosure documents and to streamlining loan modification applications to make it easier for borrowers.

Despite strenuous objections from industry groups like the California Mortgage Association, California Bankers Association and California Mortgage Bankers Association, the Homeowner Bill of Rights became law on January 1st and had an immediate effect on lowering foreclosures and mortgage defaults, although the jury is still out on long-term ramifications.

Short Sales Popular as Ever
Short sales, where the lender approves the sale of a property for lower-than-market-price and forgives the remainder of the debt, made up 25.9% of all homes sold in Southern California. San Diego short sales remain as popular as ever, as it gives borrowers the opportunity the chance to get back into solvency with minimum impact to their credit ratings, and lenders the chance of avoiding a messy, lengthy and expensive foreclosure.

National Mortgage SettlementA large part of the rise in popularity of short sales in recent months is due to the $25 billion joint state-federal settlement reached with the nation’s largest mortgage companies in February 2012. The settlement is meant to help homeowners struggling in the aftermath of the housing-collapse, and the majority of that help is coming in the form of short sales. Now is as good a time as any to get approved for a short sale, seeing as the nation’s largest mortgage servicers are obliged to help.

Tight Inventory, Seller’s Market
San Diego real estate’s lack of inventory has led to a steady increase in prices towards the end of December. The lack of inventory and rising prices have created the perfect conditions for a seller’s market in January, and many homeowners decided to sell their properties to take advantage of this sudden-price hike.

This increase in sales is reflected in January’s figures, which show a six year high in the number of homes sold for that month. Experts are already questioning whether this sudden price hike is sustainable, and if it could encourage short-term property speculators.

Cash is King!
34.9 percent of all homes sold in January were paid for in cash. Buyers are paying with cash in record numbers in San Diego and other real estate markets in Southern California. Jumbo loans, i.e. mortgages above $417,000, accounted for 21.6 percent of January’s home lending, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) made up 5.8 percent while government-insured FHA loans, popular with first-time buyers, accounted for 23.5 percent of home financing options for the month of January.

Think market conditions are ripe for investing? Check out our San Diego real estate listings and contact Carlos or Alex today.

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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January 19th, 2013

Mitt Romney Comes Home… to San Diego!

Mitt Romney gives concession speechNow that enough time has elapsed since the 2012 Presidential Elections, let’s take a look at what Mitt Romney has been up to since his defeat. While his running mate Paul Ryan featured prominently during the ongoing fiscal-cliff negotiations, Mitt Romney has kept a low profile after his concession speech at the Boston Convention Center in the early hours of November 7, 2012.

There were reports of Romney leaving the convention center immediately after his concession speech in a single vehicle driven by his oldest son, Tagg – a far cry from the 15 car Secret-Service escorted motorcade he arrived in.

After a grueling 18 month election campaign that saw Mitt Romney travel all over the country in search of votes, he quietly stepped out of the spotlight once it became clear his life-long ambitions of becoming president were well and truly dead.

So where did Mitt Romney end up after all the glitz and glamor of a billion dollar presidential campaign? Not Michigan, where he grew up. Not Massachusetts, where he spent most of his adult life, ruled as governor and maintains his official residence. And not New Hampshire, where Mitt and his wife own an 11 acre, $10 million lake-front property. In the end Romney decided to spend his post-campaign life in California – namely at his beachfront mansion in La Jolla, San Diego. Regular readers will know that I’ve blogged about Romney’s La Jolla beachfront property before, and discussed his attempts to lower its property taxes as well as his difficulty in getting permits to renovate it.

Romney pumping gas in La JollaRomney and members of his extended family have been spotted all over the upscale San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla. To date, Romney has been photographed shopping at the La Jolla Costco; blurry cell phone photos have emerged of Romney and his wife Anne at a Saturday night showing of the latest Twilight (yes, Twilight!) film at a Del Mar cinema; and an aspiring Redditor snapped a photo of a tired looking Romney pumping gas at a La Jolla San Diego station.

Other random places where post-election Mitt Romney has popped up: ring-side at the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Marquez fight in Las Vegas; The Happiest Place on Earth (which, unsurprisingly, is in California); eating pizza in Salt Lake City; and buying Cheerios at a CVS.

By all accounts Romney has been cheerful and gracious when out and about in publix, even agreeing to pose for photographs public on occasion.

Romney in DisneylandAlthough no one should begrudge Mitt Romney enjoying some time away from the limelight in a beautiful La Jolla neighborhood with incredible views of the sea – it is a little ironic considering what Mitt Romney had to say about California during the campaign. In September, 2012, on a fundraiser stop in San Diego, Romney commented that he did not agree with the path California has taken, and did not want to see the rest of the US resemble the Golden State. The entire quote and the context in which it was said can be found here.

None the less, San Diegans should be flattered that Mitt Romney chose our city and our State out of all his other houses in all the other States. Presidential Candidate Romney may not want the rest of the country to turn into California, but private citizen Romney certainly wasted no time in picking San Diego, California as his #1 choice for place to live!

Want to be Mitt’s new neighbor? Check out Team Aguilar’s La Jolla section!

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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November 14th, 2012

How Did San Diego Vote in the 2012 General Elections?

This interactive map from UT San Diego shows a breakdown of how each neighborhood voted in the 2012 general elections

At first glance is seems that the more built-up downtown areas are in favor of Obama while the suburbs and rural communities away from the downtown core going for Romney – with the exceptions being Coronado, La Jolla and Chula Vista.

This election has also highlighted the north-south divide that has always been present in San Diego politics. While the presidential race did not reflect this as much, the mayoral race was striking in the way the vote was split almost evenly across either side of Interstate 8.

Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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August 21st, 2012

A Closer Look at Mitt Romney’s La Jolla House

The news media and political blogs have been fascinated with Mitt Romney’s La Jolla beach-front property. The home’s enormous price tag, acrimony from  his neighbors and a detailed look into Mitt’s repeated attempts to get tax cuts on the 12 million dollar property have all fanned the flames of controversy. Now that this issue is largely passed out of the news cycle, let’s look beyond the headlines and opinion-pieces and focus on the facts behind the hoopla about Mitt Romney’s La Jolla mansion.

How Ann and Mitt Romney Saved $109,000 in San Diego Property Taxes

Mitt Romney paid $12 million for the three-bedroom Spanish-style La Jolla villa in 2008. The beachfront property has open views of the ocean and sits at the end of a quiet on a one-way street. Former residents include first woman mayor of San Diego, Maureen O’Connor, and actor/activist Richard Gere.

The Romneys paid cash for the house and immediately applied for property tax relief. Real estate attorneys hired by Mitt Romney waged a months-long campaign with the San Diego County tax assessors’ office to reduce the annual property tax bill.

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Alex Aguilar

is the owner of Team Aguilar real estate in San Diego and your source for everything related to the San Diego Real Estate market. Please subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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