Want To Live In The Best Place On Earth?

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Being a Realtor in San Diego is different that being a Realtor in most parts of the country. We don’t have to take pictures winter and summer to show our homes at their best in various seasons. We don’t have to worry about shoveling snow or a snow storm keeping people from home shopping. We have to drive our kids to see snow! We usually don’t have to worry about people tromping mud through a home, or forgetting their umbrellas, or having to shed their warm coats and where to put them when looking at homes.

We can barbecue outside year round. You can go to the beach, the mountains and the desert all in the same day if you want to (not that I usually want to). We do have some amazing beaches…my favorite? Wind and Sea…it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

We complain about traffic, but it’s really nothing compared to Los Angeles traffic. That is serious traffic. They don’t count how many miles it is to go somewhere, it’s how many minutes or hours it is to go somewhere.

We can be outside enjoying beautiful weather all year round. I think that’s why our sports teams, while they have fans, don’t have fans like on the East Coast. There are just so many wonderful things to do here, so many choices every day that people often forego a sporting event for the beach, or a round of golf.  Our fans are called “Fair Weather Fans”, and I think that describes us pretty well!

I love that we can garden year round, vegetables, fruit, flowers, you name it. And, nothing tastes that food you have grown yourself. Although, my broccoli does not love the 80+ degree weather the last few weeks, may have to replant them. Such problems!

So, if you think about moving to San Diego from one of those “snowy” states, stop thinking and take some action. It is like living in Paradise!

A Military Way Of Life

I have lived in San Diego for over 30 years, so it’s easy to forget that this is such a military town. It is a way of life here, something that too often is taken for granted.

I have been around the military and military families most of my adult life. Living in San Diego, most of us have friends and business associates who are, or were, in the military. I think all branches of the service are represented here, but mostly Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Once when we were attending a Century 21 event in Coronado and were staying at the Hotel Del Coronado, we were awakened about 4:00 am to Navy Seals storming the beach as part of their training. We got up and had our coffee on the balcony while watching them. It was awesome!

I had the privilege of attending a client’s Retirement Ceremony from the Navy on Friday. She has served as a Navy Nurse for 22 years. A remarkable woman, I don’t think I have ever seen her without a smile.  She is an optimist, a lover of animals, and has a great laugh. When she moved to San Diego, it was with the goal of finding a home that would enable her to reach her ultimate goal of expanding her dog rescue organization. We found the perfect place in Dehesa Valley.

While I have seen it before, the Passing the Flag – Old Glory Ceremony, always makes me cry. It is so moving. And, this week, it reminded me how honored I am to be able to work with so many clients and friends who serve in the military, whether active duty or retired. Why I am so glad I can help them with buying or selling a home, and help to ensure their move is as stress free as possible. That we find a place where their families will be happy and secure while they are deployed…perhaps a home they can return to at retirement…an investment in their future.

If you have never seen the ceremony, take a few minutes to watch. I think you will be proud of our military men and women, too!

Cultivating a Garden, Isn’t It What Life’s All About?

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We have been planting and harvesting gardens, in some size or another, for almost 25 years. We usually planted pumpkins along with tomatoes, peppers, corn, zucchini, you get the picture. When our daughter was growing up, we wanted to have home-grown pumpkins to carve into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Most years, we were lucky if we had one or two pumpkins out of the crop, and they never got really big.  We harvested them and used them for decorations during the fall holidays. They served a purpose, but we were always a little disappointed. We could buy really big pumpkins, better for carving, at the grocery store.

This year, we have the most amazing pumpkin patch ever. It has expanded into garden space never intended for the pumpkin patch. But, we are so amazed at what’s happening, we are just letting it go and see what happens. I knew we had a few little pumpkins growing. But when I peeked under the leaves this weekend, I was astonished by what I saw. Pumpkins, lots of pumpkins. And they are going to be big!

In a way, the pumpkin patch reminds me of my business. I sell homes in San Diego, and have been for over 20 years. While I never “farmed” (as they call it in the real estate business) an area, I did try to cultivate relationships with the people I worked with, all over San Diego. Why? Well, I really do like and care about the families I work with. I have always believed that the best business is referral business, word of mouth, people recommending your services. You work hard to provide great service and really care about clients. You take care of their needs; you care about their families, their problems, their triumphs. You help them over rough patches and celebrate the good times with them. You answer questions and give advice.  And, one day, you realize you have this wonderful group of people who want to help you, too! And, 20+ years later, I am amazed and grateful how my business has grown. Kind of like our pumpkin patch!

Want To Make More Money When You Sell Your Home?

ImageSo, you have been pleasantly surprised by the increase in prices and you have decided to take the plunge and put your home on the market. You have watched the TV home improvement shows and know you should “get your home ready” or “stage” it, but what does that mean?

I can’t stress the value of “curb appeal” enough. When potential buyers arrive at your home and walk to the front door, are they making a list repairs that need to be completed? Or, are they drawn to the freshly painted and welcoming front door? The new door mat? The colorful flowers in the pot? It makes a big difference.

I recommend you stand across the street from your home and pretend you are a buyer…what do you see? Let your emotional ties to the home go and be honest.  Is the front door dusty and in need of paint? Can you see the trash cans? Are the walks clean?

Most homes show better with less furniture.  You have decided to move, so start packing! Rent a storage unit for furniture that blocks paths through your home and put them in storage. Do you need all the books on the book shelves – probably not, pack them. What about out of season clothes or toys your kids don’t play with anymore?

Now is the time to de-clutter – if you haven’t used it in a month, does it really need to be out on a counter? If not, donate it or pack it away!

You must de-personalize! Pack up those personal photographs. You want potential buyers to say “I can see myself living here” not wondering what kind of people live here now, looking at your family photos to see if they know you!

Your house needs to shine! Wash windows inside and out. Re-caulk tubs and showers if needed. Polish faucets and mirrors. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Keep the beds made!

Now is the time to make minor repairs. Even better is to have a home inspection that you can provide the buyer with a list of the items you have or will take care of.

Taking a couple of weeks to prepare your home for sale can be worth literally thousands of dollars…REALLY.  I would be happy to share more details for how to prepare your home for sale, just let me know how I can help you!