Living A Joyful Life


I made a deal, kind of a New Year’s Resolution, but bigger than that. I promised to live my life with joy in 2013.  Actually, my word for 2013 is JOY….it is written on a stone in my office. So, I am committed!

Now, that may seem kind of simple, but when you have a pretty busy life, you can lose those joyful moments.  I am a Realtor, have been for 20 years. It is hard work, but I love it…love selling homes, finding homes, solving the problems that invariably arise, putting a deal together, having happy clients, all of it. I even like to look at houses when I am on vacation!

Some days, I work 12+ hours. Some weeks, it’s hard to take a day off. So finding the JOY is easier some days than others. What I have discovered so far is that JOY really comes in the simple things in life. For me, I love my garden, flowers, plants, vegetables. I love the beauty of it. I love the process, from prepping, planting, growing and reaping the benefits, the smells, the tastes, all of it.

I love feeding the birds and butterflies in my yard. We have doves, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, robins, road runners, jays, Lazuli Buntings (they are so colorful), woodpeckers, owls, hawks, quail, finches, sparrows, and more. They eat a lot, but I don’t mind. I love watching them, listening to them.

Today I had an hour to kill between appointments so I ended up walking down a small town street, in and out of shops. My joy for the afternoon was an ice cream cone…all by myself…in a waffle cone, double scoop, even dripped down my chin. It was indeed a joyful moment!

So, what are the little things in life that bring you joy? I really want to know!

Do You Love Where You Live?

I love where I live. 

Living “in the country” brings me a sense of peace and tranquility at the end of the day.  Today, my husband and I watched a Golden Eagle soar over our house and land on a tree overlooking our property.   What a majestic being he was. I wanted to grab my camera, but we couldn’t move without disturbing this giant bird and ruining the moment. So, we stayed put, transfixed as we watched the eagle look for his evening meal.

We all like different things – some like the country, like I do; some like living in the mountains, the beach, in the city, in the suburbs, near a school, near public transportation – we are all drawn to something.  Sometimes that changes over time. What we like when we are 25 may not be the same as when we are 35 or 60.

Sometimes, we dream of where we would really like to live, and that can lead to a goal and a plan to achieve our dream.

So, do you love where you live?  Where do you dream of living? I would love to know, so let me know what and where your dream home is!

Your Selling Window May Be Closing!

One thing I am sure of, there is no way to “time” the market, whether you are buying or selling.  Yes, you can make an educated guess about when we are at the bottom or top of the market, and you might be one of the lucky ones to get it pretty close. But, we never know when we have pulled out of a down market, or start the downward spiral in an up market until AFTER it happens!

All indications are that the banks will be releasing more foreclosures in 2012 than in 2011.  What does this mean to you? Well, if you are selling your home, get it sold now before more inventory hits the market.  With inventory low in most areas of San Diego, some sellers are getting multiple offers on their properties, pretty nice!  If you are a buyer, prices and interest rates are great. If you find a home you like, jump on it. Prices may decline some more, but they may not — every area is different. But if prices do decline it means you will have more competition.  Make your move now!

Should a seller have a home inspection?

In most transactions, the buyer obtains a home inspection once a property is in escrow. This is at the buyer’s expense.  In California, our contracts state that the buyer is purchasing the home in its current and as-is condition, subject to buyer’s inspection rights.  In theory, this is great. But what often happens is that two weeks into a real estate transaction, there is a new round of negotiations.  The buyers usually ask for some repairs, even if they are minor.

For years home inspectors have encouraged sellers to obtain a home inspection prior to putting their home on the market.  Most sellers don’t and this has been the “norm” for years.

When I have clients who are selling a home they have not lived in, say for a family trust, I advise them to have a home inspection up front, at their expense. These sellers usually have very limited knowledge about the condition of the home.  We make the inspection report available to the buyer for their review, we can actually post it as an attachment in the Multiple Listing Service (and encourage them to have their own home inspection once in escrow).  The beauty of it is that the buyer can make an offer based on much more knowledge about the home.  After all, buyers don’t usually crawl up in the attic, or under the house, or get on the roof prior to writing an offer.

This helps both the seller in properly pricing a home, and a buyer in making an offer based on more information about the property.  For instance, when the seller has provided a home inspection and it indicates that the water heater is near the end of its life, the buyer can adjust the price of the price offered, or ask for the water heater to be replaced prior to close of escrow.  Alternatively, the seller can price a home at a realistic price, higher or lower, based on the condition of the home, having taken into account items discovered during the inspection.

Even for traditional sellers who live in their homes, I think it is a great idea to invest in a home inspection up front. If there are items that need attention, the seller has the opportunity to take care of them up front and make note that those items have been remedied.

Are You Sitting on the Fence ….. Waiting?

I see it everyday, cash buyers here in San Diego buying property….single family homes, condos, and apartments buildings.  They are coming to San Diego from all over the country.

Some are even coming from other countries. They can’t buy property fast enough.
So why are so many people here in San Diego sitting on the fence? Waiting to make a move and buy a home, or buy an investment property and start building their wealth?

For first time home buyers, you have to live somewhere, right?  You can continue paying rent and helping someone else build their wealth, or you can buy a home to call your own, where you can paint the walls any color you want, hang pictures wherever your want, grow a garden, have a pet without huge deposits. Did you know that you can sometimes spend less money owning your own home than you pay in rent?

Some of the best bargains in San Diego County are found in San Diego’s best kept secret….East County.  The communities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Lakeside, Alpine, Jamul, Descanso, and Pine Valley offer fantastic values.  How about a 5 bedroom home on 1.5 acres with oak trees and a seasonal stream for $484,599?  Yes, you can find it in Alpine.  What about a great investment property — a condo for less than $100,000? It’s in El Cajon.   Looking for a custom home with a view…have you checked out the communities of Horizon Hills or Hidden Mesa?  Want some privacy and a place for horses?  Have you seen Dehesa Valley?  Amazing values there!

Don’t miss out on the great opportunity this real estate cycle is offering…..its there for the taking!