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San Diego Real Estate Veterans

Flood Maps Revised for Portions of San Diego Co. Effective April 5th

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for portions of San Diego County, primarily in the vicinity of Escondido, San Diego and Imperial Beach. The maps will become effective on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. These maps show areas that are considered to be in a floodplain, and therefore may require homeowners to obtain flood insurance. Disclosure of a Special Flood Hazard Area (Zone “A” or “V”) that affects the property is a statutory requirement in real estate transactions under California Civil Code 1103.

FEMA last updated flood maps in most of the county in May 2012. On the maps that will be effective on April 5th, approximately 5 parcels have been added to the Special Flood Hazard Area (“100-yr flood zone”) and about 146 parcels have been removed from this high-risk zone.

Prospective home buyers may wish to check with their insurance agent to see if the property’s flood zone, and insurance requirements, will be affected by the map changes.

For more information about…

– the flood map changes and how they may affect your clients
– insurance requirements which these changes may trigger
– opportunities that may benefit your clients with lowered flood insurance costs
– disclosure compliance
– how to view the new FEMA maps online

…give us a call and we will make sure that you receive the information you need regarding the changes.

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The reverse mortgage has won some new respect.

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A decade ago, most financial advisers would roll their eyes at the mention of reverse mortgages, loans that give homeowners an advance on their home equity and allow them to delay repayment until the home is sold. Such products, these advisers used to say, weren’t for their clients, but rather for those who didn’t prepare financially for retirement.

New safeguards in recent years, however, have led many advisers and researchers to change their minds about reverse mortgages. Indeed, many now are exploring when and how to use them in financial plans. One important change, the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013, prevents homeowners in most cases from taking all their equity at once—roughly 40% of the total amount that can be borrowed is unavailable until a year after the initial loan. Other recently enacted regulations require homeowners to demonstrate they are able and willing to pay their property taxes and home insurance. And there are new protections for the non-borrowing spouse.

Recent policy changes “should make the product safer for seniors in the future,” says Stephanie Moulton, an associate professor at Ohio State University and co-author of a 2015 paper on reverse mortgages published in the Journal of Urban Economics. Prof. Moulton estimates that such changes as limiting how much equity borrowers can extract upfront could cut the default rate on reverse mortgages in half. (In 2014, nearly 12% of reverse-mortgage borrowers in the federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program were in default on their property taxes or homeowners insurance.)

“Over time, these changes may encourage larger banks to re-enter the market, further increasing the credibility of the product and potentially lowering costs,” Prof. Moulton says.

Of course, there are still risks, including spending the proceeds too quickly and suffering losses if the proceeds are invested, as pointed out in a 2015 paper written by Wade Pfau, a professor at the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa., that favored the use of reverse mortgages in a retirement-income plan under the right circumstances.

While acknowledging the risks, Prof. Moulton says that “one of the advantages of the federally insured reverse mortgage, the HECM, is that the government assumes some of the risk for the borrower.” For example, she notes that HECM borrowers can never end up on the hook for negative equity. If the balance on the reverse mortgage ever grows to exceed the value of the home, the federal insurance covers the difference.

Here’s a look at some of the reverse-mortgage strategies financial planners suggest:

Foreclosure & Bank Owned homes in Chula Vista, CA

Taking a lump sum

Borrowing enough of the equity in a house in a lump sum to pay off an existing mortgage is one of the most frequent uses of a reverse mortgage, says Prof. Moulton. More than 60% of reverse-mortgage borrowers have used the proceeds for this purpose, according to her research. “This actually may be a pretty smart strategy,” she says.

Prof. Moulton cites a recent report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies that found that nearly 40% of seniors age 65 and older carry a mortgage today, a rate that has more than doubled since 1992. “Using a reverse mortgage to pay off a forward mortgage frees up monthly cash flow to a household,” she says. “Essentially it has the same effect on a household budget as receiving a monthly annuity payment.” But lump-sum borrowing can go wrong. Harold Evensky, chairman of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial, a wealth-management firm based in Lubbock, Texas, generally advises against using a lump sum as leverage to increase debt—as a down payment on a second home or vacation home, for instance. “There may be circumstances that justify the strategy, but it’s not something that should be considered without carefully considering the potential risk,” he says. “The risk is overleveraging,” he says—taking on more debt than you can afford to pay off.

And even if that isn’t the case—if the homeowner spends the borrowed money without incurring additional debt, say on a vacation or a car—spending the equity in a home this way deprives the homeowner of a valuable financial cushion, he says.

Foreclosure & Bank Owned homes in San Diego, CA

Opening a line of credit

Increasingly, advisers are suggesting that homeowners establish a line of credit through the HECM program whether they need the money immediately or not, because it can be used in several ways, as the need arises, to protect savings or even increase income in retirement.

A line of credit makes more sense than borrowing a lump sum and keeping it in reserve, says John Salter, an associate professor at Texas Tech University who has co-written papers with Mr. Evensky on reverse mortgages. That’s because, due to the intricacies of reverse-mortgage terms, the unused portion of a line of credit grows over the years, giving the homeowner access to more cash.

Shelley Giordano, chairwoman of the Funding Longevity Task Force, a Washington, D.C.-based industry group that promotes the use of home equity as a tool for retirement income, suggests setting up a reverse-mortgage line of credit as a way of protecting retirement funds from fluctuations in the financial markets.

Here’s the idea: In a bear market, homeowners can borrow funds as needed through the line of credit rather than withdrawing money from their investment portfolios. Withdrawals from a portfolio in down markets lock in losses and leave less money to grow when markets rebound. By borrowing instead, homeowners give the portfolio a better chance to recoup its losses when markets turn around.

Once the portfolio recovers, it can be used to pay off the line of credit, which is then fully available the next time cash is needed in a bear market. Ms. Giordano notes an HECM line of credit “cannot be canceled, frozen or reduced regardless of what the home value does in the future.”

An HECM line of credit also can be used as a source of income for those who want to delay applying for Social Security benefits and so increase their monthly payout when they do start taking benefits, Ms. Giordano says. After you apply for Social Security, you can stop taking money from the line of credit and, if you want, pay the loan back.

Because income from a reverse mortgage isn’t taxed, experts say an HECM line of credit can also be used—in place of taxable withdrawals from retirement accounts—to avoid tax-bracket creep, as well as the higher Medicare Part B and Part D premiums that can result from higher incomes. Ms. Giordano also suggests using a reverse-mortgage line of credit to pay taxes due on Roth IRA conversions. In the conversion process, distributions from IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and experts often recommend paying those taxes with funds outside the IRA, because using money from the IRA for that purpose generates even more taxes.

Mr. Evensky says the usefulness of reverse mortgages belies the negative impression some people still have of them.

“I believe most criticisms relate to a myopic view of the product that has not been reviewed for decades,” he says. “Unquestionably there can be misuses of the product. But the problem is the use, not the product.”

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Article provided by Wall Street Journal

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Ugly Dog Contest… Check it out!

No Joke…. the ugliest dog contest happens right here in April. Check out the schedule below and we hope to see you at one of the events this month. Get out of the house and enjoy the fun and sun of San Diego!

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San Diego Farmers Markets Ongoing
http://sdfarmbureau.org/BuyLocal/Farmers-Markets.php

San Diego Food Trucks Ongoing
www.sdfoodtrucks.com

San Diego Gulls Ongoing – check website for schedule
www.sandiegogulls.com/schedule-2/schedule

Giant Automotive Festival Apr 1-3
Explore over 2500 of the finest hot rods, customs, muscle cars, tricked-out trucks, and classics in the country on display both indoor and outdoor as they compete for a shot to win the coveted Goodguys 2016 Street Rod D’Elegance Award. With hundreds of vendor exhibits, the “Nitro Thunderfest” vintage dragster exhibition, the AutoCross timed racing competition, a Swap Meet & Cars 4 Sale Corral, live music, and Kids’ Zone.
www.good-guys.com

Hops on the Harbor Apr 1, 15, 22, 29
Two-and-a-half-hour cruise features multiple food stations, picturesque bay views, and a full bar with rotating local brews and craft beer flights. After-dinner music and dancing. April’s featured brewery is Coronado Brewing Co.
www.flagshipsd.com/cruises/hops-harbor

Craft Beer Relay Apr 2
The Craft Beer Relay is a four-person relay, a challenge to you and your teammates to navigate a race course filled with games, obstacles, and challenges. Twelve local craft beer stations along the course will keep you motivated — before and after your race, enjoy a craft beer festival with live music, food trucks, and local craft breweries.
http://craftbeerrelay.com/event/san-diego-california

Here are the latest homes for sale in Escondido

Tartan Day San Diego Apr 2
Tartan Day San Diego, presented by the House of Scotland and the House of Scotland Pipe Band, is a celebration of the culture, food, and music of Scotland. There will be clan and vendor booths, food and desserts for sale at reasonable prices, and the music and dance of Scotland.
www.houseofscotland.org

Chocolate Festival Apr 3
With vendors focusing on chocolate edibles. Crafts for kids include making their own chocolate pizza. Mars Chocolate History Ambassadors will be onsite to demonstrate the historical bean-to-beverage story of 18th-century chocolate using authentic tools including cocoa pods, cocoa beans and nibs, a hot stone metate, winnowing baskets, chocolate drink pots, and stirrers throughout the day. Observers will be able to touch, taste, smell, and experience chocolate as it was enjoyed in early America.
http://sdmaritime.org/visit/public-events/chocolate-festival

Tour de Cure Apr 9
Participants have the opportunity to participate in the one mile kids ride, 15 mile, 29 mile, 62 mile, and 100 mile-rides. The 15-mile ride is a new element to this year’s event. Waiting at the finish line will be more than 25 vendors, live music, healthy street tacos, and organic beer. Proceeds go toward critical funds for diabetes research and advocacy.
http://tour.diabetes.org

Here are the latest homes for sale in Poway

Healthy Living Festival Apr 9-10
Listen to experts share new ideas about lifestyle changes that can help you prevent disease and lower stress. Take part in free medical testing and screening. Watch chefs prepare and then sample healthy and ultra-tasty dishes with take home recipes. Catch the belly dancing show, join in a yoga, Zumba or dance class, or receive a massage. 30 free workshops, seminars, and cooking demos. 200 exhibitors.
http://www.healthylivingfestival.com

Ugly Dog Contest Apr 10
Hosted by San Diego Coastal Chamber and the Del Mar Kiwanis. Cutest dog, best trick, dog who looks like their owner, and more. Gift basket with dog products will be given to the first, second, and third place winners in each category. Gift bags with samples handed out to the first 100 to check in that morning.
www.delmarfairgrounds.com

Oceanside Jazz Fest: Vocal Festival Apr 14-16
The Oceanside Jazz Festival consists of educational and performance opportunities for school and community jazz bands and choirs, and featured concerts by internationally recognized performing artists.
www.miracosta.edu

Parkinson’s 5K Walk/Run & Expo Apr 16
USATF-certified and chip-timed 5K course on the San Diego Bay, Medical Expo and Health and Fitness Village, Paws for Parkinson’s Pet Festival, Kids’ Zone, and food trucks and beer garden. Hosted by the Parkinson’s Association, the event proceeds fund programs and services local to Parkinson’s families.
http://parkinsonsassociation.org

Here are the latest homes for sale in Rancho Bernardo

Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship Apr 23-24
One of the biggest rhythmic gymnastics competition in the West Coast, the Level 7 to 10 Region 1 Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship. Enjoy the best rhythmic gymnasts from California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. And be amazed by their grace, flexibility and mastery of the ball, ribbon, clubs, hoop, and rope.
https://usagym.org

Autism 5K/10K Apr 30
5K, 10K, and 1-mile courses and a festival with live music, 30+ vendor booths (including an autism resource fair), beer and wine garden, kids’ zone, and more. Entry includes a T-shirt, entry into the post-race raffle, and two drinks in the beer and wine garden.
http://acttodayformilitaryfamilies.kintera.org

Fiesta del Mar Apr 30
A cross-border Celebration of Friendship between the cities of Imperial Beach and Rosarito, Mexico with live musical acts from both the Rosarito and San Diego areas as well as interactive family activities hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of both cities.
www.portofsandiego.org

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Sometimes you just have to take a break…

MVAREP BadgeMy wife Pia and I were invited to an exclusive “Family and Friends” screening of a new TV show on the SyFy Channel “Wynonna Earp”. We saw the first two episodes and met the cast, producers, creators, etc. It was very well done and I’m super excited to have a new show on SyFy…. check it out starting April 1st!

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Click on the pic to check out the show!

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For Sale: 2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i

Here’s your chance to pick up a beautiful, gently used 2011 BMW X3 with xDrive 35i for a fraction of what a new BMW costs. This luxury crossover has indisputable “Understated” goodlooks, an athletic character and smooth power.

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This beauty has been pampered and sports only 40,435 miles. As you can see it has the classic BMW silver paint with a black interior.

  • 4 doors… 3.0 L 6 cylinder engine…
  • Horsepower: 300 hp
  • MPG: 19 city / 26 highway
  • Vehicle Dimensions: 183″ L x 74″ W x 65″ H

4 wheel drive for those impromptu trips to Big Bear Mountain during the Winter.

For more information and an opportunity to see/test drive this impressive crossover call 619-517-4954 today.

San Diego Padres: April

Padre HeaderAprilClick Here for Homes for sale in Scripps Ranch TodayApril Promo

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Welcome Back Ladies!

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Rates are rising: Lock in your 2016 rate with your $0 down VA loan benefit

contract imageThe VA loan benefit makes it easier for qualified borrowers to get a home loan of up to $417,000, buy a home with $0 down or streamline refinance to a lower rate.

  • Qualified borrowers:
  • Buy a home with $0 down
  • Refinance to lower monthly payments
  • Never pay PMI payments
  • Get competitive interest rates

Don’t wait for rates to rise…. Contact me today for a list of VA lenders our clients have used.

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A Few small Changes That Make a BIG Impact

According to today’s buyers, the kitchen and the master bathroom are most critiqued rooms in a home. What does this mean for sellers? They should look to improve these two influential rooms first. Whether undertaking a major remodel or making small improvements, these are the two most lived in rooms in the home and they draw the most attention.

Show Off The Improvements

During a tour, most buyers will notice and appreciate a new vanity or countertops more than new gutters. They also notice and appreciate fresh paint and carpets. But it can be overwhelming for homeowners to consider all the potential upgrades when preparing a home for sale. However, there are two rooms that should not be ignored. If sellers are tight on budget and time, they should turn their focus to these two rooms first.

  • Create a chef’s kitchen buyers can see themselves cooking in
  • Turn a basic bathroom into a spa-like oasis where buyers want to escape

While the kitchen and master bathroom are the most expensive areas of the home in terms of remodeling, there are some budget-friendly ways to make improvements buyers will notice.


Turn up the Heat in the Kitchen

Kitchens are the heart of a home and so sellers should pay attention to detail when planning improvements.

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Here are some of the most popular kitchen projects with the highest return on investment:

1. Install all real wood cabinets. Buyers are rarely impressed with flimsy shelves and composite materials. If attaching hardware, keep it neutral in style.

2. Buy commercial appliances, or go for the look of commercial. Upscale cooktops and ranges create real impact in the kitchen.

3. Seek to use natural wood, dark laminate wood or stone floors that clean easily. Spills can happen anywhere, but they are very common in the kitchen. Avoid light floor colors and grout as they show dirt and stains easier.

4. Install stone or granite countertops. Tile countertops are difficult to keep clean for the same reason tile floors are – the grout stains easily. Single material countertops, which are clean and easy to wipe down, are a favorite of most home chefs. They look beautiful too.

5. Update the lighting fixtures. Sellers will be amazed at the return they get from simply upgrading the kitchen lighting. Whenever remodeling to sell, keep in mind style varies, so keep items as neutral as possible.

Bonus Tip: When showing the home, declutter and organize the kitchen counters. Hide the coffee maker and toaster. Remove all clutter and magnets from the fridge. You’ll be surprised at how much larger your kitchen looks without the clutter.

Create a Spa-Like Oasis in the Master Bathroom

Sellers don’t have to do a lot to make a big improvement in the master bathroom. A new tub liner, or “shell,” can make a marred tub look like new and save the seller from having to replace it.

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If not replacing the vanity, a new faucet, new lights, fresh caulking around the tub, a new towel rack and a new mirror can make a tired bathroom come alive.

Spa-Like Bathroom Upgrades Buyers Love Include:

  • Walk-in showers
  • Dual Vanity
  • Stone or natural wood flooring
  • Modern and bright lighting fixtures
  • Ample storage space for towels and personal care products

Bonus Tip: For bathrooms, always display a sparkling clean bathtub and commode. There should be no dirty clothes or even hampers visible. The bathroom should be clean and smell fresh.

A kitchen or bath upgrade can be as simple as a weekend-long, low-budget brush-up. With the right planning, some of the most noticeable repairs do not require much. A fresh facelift will go a long way in the buyer’s mind.

And, as for the other areas of the house, don’t skip a fresh coat of paint and replace the carpets. These details add value and make the home more attractive to buyers.

 

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