Fabulous tropical paradise in La Costa Greens

SOLD BY WESLEY GUEST FOR $1,050,000 Fabulous tropical paradise in LaCosta Greens. Lushly landscaped private yard w/ canyon views & your own energy efficient salt water pool w/ Baja bench, & spa. Plenty of room in this 4 bedroom, 4 ½ bath & 3 car garage. The home features spacious gourmet kitchen, SS appliances, granite counters, tile flooring, fireplaces in living & family rooms, First level bedroom w/ full en suite bath. Master bedroom w/ balcony view, tiled bath, dual sinks, vanity, & much more. All bedrooms with own baths.

Enjoy the Presidio community amenities that are only a short walk away the includes a pool, tennis, gym, playground and clubhouse. Walk/hike around the beautiful grounds and alongside the waterfalls and duck lake. Close to Legoland and the Carlsbad outlet mall. Walking distance to Alga Norte Community park and water center.

What Does Contingent Status Mean and is the Property Available?

A very common question is what does “Contingent” status mean and is the property available?  This is a great question.  I’ll answer it briefly below.  For even more details, contact me and we can really get into the details.

The answer is technically NO, the property is NOT available.  You next question is likely “Why is it showing up in my property search then?”.  The property is not technically in “Pending” (Escrow) status yet so the switch cannot be made.  Should you pursue a “Contingent” property or is it a waste of time?  I will not beat around the bush, most likely it is a waste of time.  Every now and then a back up offer might be accepted but in my experience, you are better off continuing your real estate search and finding something new as your chances to actually close escrow rise considerably.

In 2013, there is usually just one reason a property is marked “Contingent”.  It has to do with short sales.  When a buyer makes an offer to a seller on a short sale listing and the seller accepts, the deal is not quite executed just yet.  Both parties must wait for a short sale approval from the lender(s).  This approval wait time can take several weeks or it can take several months.    The lender has the option to approve the sale, not approve the sale, change the price, change the terms, etc…   If the lender(s) approve the short sale, then it will switch to “Pending” status and you no longer have to see a property you cannot have everyday in your property search.  From there. assuming a successful escrow is achieved, the property will ultimately fall into Sold status as ownership has changed and the property is in possession of it’s new owners.

Contact me with any questions on the subject, I am always available.  Also, have a question about a property in “Contingent” status?  Call me so I can give you the scoop.

FHA Approved Downtown San Diego Condos – Benefits and Advantages


All FHA Approved Downtown San Diego Condos for Sale – CLICK HERE

Benefits and Advantages of Using an FHA Loan:

  • Low down payments as low as 3.5%, they make home ownership very affordable for many would be home buyers.
  • FHA loans are possible for borrowers with “less than perfect” credit.
  • Lower FICO scores than conventional loans are generally accepted.
  • An FHA loan is possible after only 2-3 years following a bankruptcy or foreclosure in some cases.
  • Interest rates are essentially the same as a conventional loan.  The monthly mortgage insurance premium is far less than you would pay on a conventional loan.
  • Debt ratios for borrowers may be higher than what is accepted on a conventional loan.

List of all FHA Approved Downtown San Diego Condos Here

March 2013 Downtown San Diego Condo and Real Estate Market Report


Holy smokes, March of 2013 was an incredibly HOT market for Downtown San Diego Condo sales!  We ended up with 94 total sales (per Multiple Listing Service).  That is a significant increase in total number of sales compared to last month’s 63 total sales for February 2013.

  • 81 sales were regular sales (versus 50 for February). ⇑
  • 11 were short sales (versus 11 for February).
  • 5 were foreclosure sales (versus 2 for February). ⇑

Other Quick Facts:

  • Highest sale Sapphire Tower, 27th floor, 3 Bed for $1.8M
  • Lowest sale Element, 7th floor, 1 Bed for $154,000
  • 94 total sales of Downtown Condos (67 for February), average sales price was $560,000 (February was $450,000)
  • 155 Active Listings as of April 1, 2013
  • Average Days on Market to Sell:  45 Days

Breakdown by Neighborhood:


Tips for Selling Your Home for Top Dollar and Fast!

Real Estate inventory levels continue to shrink as demand continues to climb.  If you are thinking of selling your home or condo, this is a great time.  Positioning your property correctly will result in multiple offers and a very fast and clean sale.  If you are thinking of purchasing a home or condo, this is a very good time to take that first step.  Prices are already on the rise, interest rates will be soon to follow.  We may never again see affordability like it is today in our lifetime.  Thinking about buying?  The time is right, don’t let the market pass you by!  Thinking about selling?  It makes sense, especially if you are “moving up”.

Search All Downtown Condos and Real Estate for Sale

Questions? Comments? Please send them my way!

Multiple Offers are Back: Tips to Win Bidding Wars

Multiple offers are here and the bidding wars are back!  This is great for sellers, not so great for buyers.  From Downtown San Diego Condos to Pacific Beach town-homes and La Jolla homes, the competition has really heated up.

This can be attributed to three main drivers:

Interest rates remain low for home loans, the inventory of real estate currently listed for sale is minimal at best, and prices remain very affordable, especially relative to their peaks in 2007.  The end result is a lot of buyers wanting to buy coupled with very little options to choose from.  It is not unusual right now to see a properly positioned home or condo receive between 12 – 30 offers!

Not to despair, multiple offer bidding wars can and are won on a daily basis.  These are my suggestions below.  You do not need to use all 12 but pick a few and you will be in escrow on your Downtown San Diego or Coastal home before you know it.

1)    Offer Asking Price or More –  If the home or condo is priced right, offer by 3 to 10% more.

2)    Find Out the Seller’s Needs – A specific title company?  A rent back?  A longer escrow?  This can go a long way in certain situations.  Especially in Downtown San Diego were many condos are second homes or investment properties.

3)    Read All Existing Inspections and Reports – There may be a chance to remove certain contingencies here.  After reading these seller documents, sign, acknowledge date, and include a receipt for reports form.  The less red tape for the seller, the better your offer will look.

4)    Pay for Seller’s Fees – Such as Escrow Fees, Natural Hazards Disclosure, Pest Inspections, Smoke Detectors, Water Heater Bracing, and Carbon Monoxide Detector.  Refrain from asking for a Home Warranty.

5)    Write a Personalized Letter to the Seller – Introduce yourself and your family.  Tell the seller why you like the house.  Maybe even include a picture or a short video clip.

6)    Include all Pre-Approval Forms – Such as the Pre-Approval Letter (a full DU Approval is preferred), source of Down Payment and Closing Costs funds.  Demand your lender to call the Listing Agent to tell them what a great buyer you are!  For Downtown San Diego condos, have your lender assure the listing agent they can finance the particular building.  This is a big tip, circle or highlight it!

7)    Increase Your Deposit Amount – Increase your deposit by 10 or 20% as a good faith deposit and sign the liquidated damages provision.   Even in the unlikely event escrow had to be canceled after your contingency period is over, you’re capped at 3% unless you documentation stating otherwise.  This has been an especially powerful technique in the La Jolla coastal market.

8)    Confirm Physical State or Purchase As-Is  – If the seller is going to look at offers on a certain day, do the physical inspection, then write the offer without the Physical Inspection Contingency.  Or potentially write the offer to purchase “as-is”.  This simply means if an unforeseen inspection item does arise, you either remedy the item(s) as the purchaser or you may decide to walk as your contingencies are still in place.

9)    Write Without Appraisal – This is powerful.  If you have 20% down, and you have some extra cash in the bank, write the offer without the Appraisal Contingency.  The seller is assured you will move forward even if the house does not appraise.

10)    Buy For Cash – If you have the cash, write the offer for cash!  Get your loan during the Escrow period, or after Escrow is closed.  Although keep in mind over 30% of real estate purchases are for cash so cash alone does not eliminate your competition.

11)    Fix All Errors on Contracts – This seems like a no-brainer but not to be taken lightly.  Check spelling, no cross outs, clean it up!  The contract must look like a professional put it together.  A listing agent will see a contract with errors and mistakes and think this is a sign of things to come and a rocky escrow at best.

12)    Meet With the Sellers – This is not always possible but a huge advantage if the option is there.  If your offer is close to another offer, the sellers will have made a connection with you and may choose you



2013 February Downtown San Diego Real Estate and Condo Market Report


February 2013 closed out with a huge bang for Downtown San Diego Condo sales.  We ended up with 63 total sales (per Multiple Listing Service).

  • 50 sales were regular sales.
  • 11 were short sales.
  • 2 were foreclosure sales.

That’s right, only 2 foreclosures sales closed in February!   My advice to any Downtown San Diego Condo shoppers looking for a bargain:  Do not pursue foreclosures as that train has left the station my friends!  Shadow inventory?  Not going to happen.  The banks are systematically and slowly bring homes to market.  They did not become billion dollar+ size banks by being stupid.  They control the market and they know it.  A massive shadow inventory home drop is just not going to happen.

The highest sale was for $2,145,ooo at Pinnacle in The Marina District.  This 3 bedroom penthouse style condo had been on market 420 days.  The lowest sale closed at Acqua Vista in Little Italy for $159,000.  It was a 431 sq ft studio that actually sold before being entered on the Multiple Listing Service system.  It was an “Unlisted Property” sale.  The Average sales price for Downtown San Diego Condo sales was $455,326 and at 70 days on market.  The Mark in East Village had the most sales for the month at 5!  It is important to note the the market for Downtown San Diego Condos positioned correctly and under $600,000 is on fire!  Sellers can expect top market dollar and just days on market if positioned correctly.

What All Brokers Should Be Doing to Sell Downtown San Diego Condos for Top Dollar!

What to expect going forward:  The inventory levels for Downtown San Diego Condos is still very low under the $600,000 marker.  Expect bidding wars and multiple offers to increase as the inventory levels continue to drop and more buyers enter the market.

Frustrated Trying To Find a Downtown San Diego Condo?  Try This

Prices will continue to increase slowly but steadily for the foreseeable future.

Questions?  Comments?  Please send them my way!

Condo Litigation (SB 800) Impacts Sellers /Buyers in Downtown and Coastal San Diego Condos


Downtown San Diego Condo Litigation (or Pre Litigation called SB 800) can impact buying or selling condos in the city or near the coast.  Specifically, we are talking about SB 800 “right to repair” and full construction litigation.  In most cases, there is a 4 – 10 year time frame to pursue any type of remedy or settlement(s) in regard to construction type  issues such as plumbing, electrical, drainage, etc…  This 4 – 10 year time line usually starts from project completion date.

We are seeing many condos in litigation in Downtown San Diego currently as many were built and completed in the real estate boom years from year 2000 through year 2007.  Expect to see construction or condo litigation through 2017 as most new building construction stopped as of 2007, late 2008.  Litigation pertaining to construction defects is a normal part of the condo life cycle.  What can vary is the degree of seriousness of litigation claims and likelihood of settlement.  Any condo buyer considering a condo purchase downtown or anywhere in San Diego should ask his or herself if the SB 800 claim(s) and litigation are acceptable and within the realm of what they are comfortable with.

The biggest hurdle a condo buyer will face is financing.  Most lenders shy away from home loans on condominiums in litigation as litigation is deemed added risk.  Contact me for a list of lenders who will finance a condo in SB 800 or full litigation.  Also, home owners thinking of selling a condo in a complex in litigation should consider the fact that there are simply less buyers (you are most likely looking for a cash buyer) and property values may be impacted.


Construction litigation should always be examined on a case by case basis.  For more information or a list of condos in and that are not in litigation in Downtown San Diego, click below:


I am a San Diego Real Estate Broker – Owner – Realtor with a ton of experience in conducting transactions involving litigation on real estate purchases and sales. Working with an experienced broker can make all the difference when purchasing or for your bottom line as a condo seller.

Downtown San Diego Vacation Condo Choice is a Different Animal

Downtown San DIego SkylineCommon sense would say that buying a Downtown San Diego vacation condo would be pretty much like buying your primary home. After all, the technical processes are the same: first, you locate a suitable vacation home the same way you found your primary residence (most likely with the active help of a knowledgeable Downtown San Diego Real Estate agent), then the offer, financing, documentation, etc.

In fact, there are basic differences. Appreciating how they affect your final choice can help you secure a Downtown San Diego vacation condo that provides the advantages you set out for — a memory-creating family getaway, investment value that builds wealth, or both.

Search Downtown San Diego Condos Here

Patience is a key virtue in getting the deal right. Financial experts from Bankrate suggest that vacation condo buyers are in ideal position to maintain calm and refrain from making rash decisions (after all, you already have your primary residence).  When you remove the emotion from a Downtown San Diego condo purchase, you change the game.

Quicken Mortgage’s Bob Walters agrees — even after you have narrowed your search to an area you know is right for you. “There’s no reason you have to buy…right now,” he says, adding that a “second home, more so than a primary residence, has to be treated as an investment.”

Even if the primary goal is recreational, he has a point. Like any second living space, a Downtown vacation condo in San Diego carries new expenses — maintenance and security chief among them. These factors can be offset by selecting a low-maintenance property and either installing security alarms or purchasing in a highly secured area.  It is true though that many Downtown San Diego condo complex’s and buildings have security and surveillance video which ads an additional level of security unavailable to a regular vacation condo or home purchase.  Unlike your primary residence, it’s fair to think of vacation home expenses as actually belonging on the discretionary side of the budget ledger. Knowing that long-term value appreciation is balancing those costs can’t help but add to your overall enjoyment quotient.

All Downtown San Diego Condos for Sale Here

Shopping for a Downtown San Diego vacation condo should be a pleasure (a low-pressure one, at that!). Taking the time to make sure it is a canny investment as well as the right vacation decision is part of the professional guidance I offer all my Downtown San Diego clients.  Choosing the right Downtown San Diego real estate agent is key!

The top areas for Downtown San Diego Condos as vacation properties are The Marina District, Columbia District, and East Village.  Please use my condo search tools to the right to view Downtown San Diego Condos for sale by complex, area, and even complex video tours.

Condos for Sale in Downtown San Diego Benefit from Kitchen Updates

Downtown San Diego Condo Modern KitchenThe importance of kitchens to prospective home-buyers is something that never seems to change. If you are preparing to bring your home onto the market anytime soon, you’ve probably been thinking about how to make your Condos for Sale in Downtown San Diego as attractive as possible. Odds are good that updating your kitchen (with an attractive photo or two) is somewhere near the top of your to-do list. An inviting kitchen rivals curb appeal in creating a superior MLS listing, so if you’re noodling a remodel of your home’s core, you will be interested in these trends for 2013.

About that linoleum from the 1970’s: it’s time to say good-bye.  Kitchen experts agree that hardwood floors remain a hot kitchen remodeling trend…and there are a few fresh twists we can expect to start appearing more frequently in Condos for Sale in Downtown San Diego. Interior designer Cami Weinstein says, “I am starting to see lighter shades of wood floors again – something that hasn’t been seen in a while.”  The washed-wood floors are back from the 80’s and 90’s — but with wider planks and hand scraping that creates a less formal, beach like feel.

Award-winning designer Kathleen Donohue points to a newer trend: re-facing cabinets rather than replacing them. People are watching their spending, and simply re-facing (the process of simply changing cabinet doors while maintaining the original cabinet structure) is a much less expensive option than total rebuilding. Freeing up remodeling dollars is a definite plus.

Adding to the trend toward thrift-consciousness, expect kitchen features that do double-duty – conserving precious kitchen space in the process. Examples are microwaves that double as second ovens and/or warming drawers, and refrigerators with convertible drawers that can act as fridge, freezer, or wine fridge. Either should be a great selling feature in your Condos for Sale in Downtown San Diego. Especially if your home has a smaller kitchen, multi-taskers like those are valuable ideas.

What Every Agent Should Be Doing to Sell a Home or Condo but Doesn’t

Spring, 2013 is shaping up as a great time to sell.  I offer complimentary and confidential evaluations all the time, so if you’re considering listing your home this year, give me a call…  we can start in the kitchen!

REO Bargains Remain for Heads-Up Downtown San Diego Condo Hunters

downtown san diego condo or foreclosure propertyYes, foreclosure rates across the country continue to drop, yet Downtown San Diego Condo bargain-hunters can take heart: there still remain a decent number of bank owned properties in Downtown San Diego. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, distressed homes accounted for 24% of national December sales; a large proportion, but significantly down from the 32% of just a year ago.  Also known as “real estate owned” (or REO) properties, it is well-known that these homes can often be bought at a significant discount — frequently by as much as 16% – 17% below market.

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Before anyone updates his or her Facebook status to tell the world about the millions they are about to make by ‘flipping’ Downtown San Diego Condo foreclosures, it’s good to bear in mind some key differences between buying regular homes and bank owned properties. To make an REO purchase successful, potential buyers need to plan for those special factors.

  • Count on Downtown San Diego Condo bank owned properties being more difficult to finance due to guidelines set by lenders: requirements that can prevent REO purchases from going through. Due to a property’s condition (which can sometimes be poor, even non-habitable), FHA and VA-approved buyers must gain pre-approval before submitting an offer.
  • Bank owned properties are generally sold “as-is”, often with fewer disclosure requirements. I always urge my Downtown San Diego Condo buyers to be diligent about pre-purchase inspections – and with REOs, it’s doubly important. Purchasers of bank owned properties can have little or no recourse if defects or maintenance issues are discovered later.
  • Lenders can run into additional costs when selling REOs — costs involving liens, evictions, property taxes, insurance, etc.  This motivates them to try to squeeze as high a price as possible from the transaction. In addition, banks may charge additional fees for extended closing and other services.

All of which goes to the point of how buying bank-owned properties in Downtown San Diego differs from run-of-the-mill home purchases…and why having a real estate agent well-versed in bank owned properties is so important.  If you would like a look at the options currently available among Downtown San Diego Condo REO offerings, give me a call today!