The best feeling in the world is finally knowing you took a step in the right direction.
A step towards the future where everything that you never thought was possible, is possible.

In my last post, I wrote about getting ready to buy a home. We covered everything from finding the right lender and real estate agent to discovering your “why.” Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss the first part of the actual process and what you can expect with a home purchase.

1. Emotions: Many say that buying a home is one of the top five most stressful life events. It’s right up there with the death of a loved one, getting married or divorced, or the birth of a child. The process is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety all mixed in there. I don’t know that there is anything one can really do to prepare themselves for all of these emotions, other than being aware that it’s normal to have these feelings. Remember that your realtor and lender can’t read your mind, so it’s important to be honest about your feelings and concerns. This is not the time to be a lone ranger!

2. Finding the Home: This part of the process can be both exciting and frustrating. It’s exciting because you are daring to see your life differently. Yet it’s frustrating because what many buyers want versus what they can afford are two different things. It’s the proverbial champagne taste with a beer budget, so to speak.

3. Condos/Townhomes: If you’re using an FHA or VA loan and shopping in the condo market, it can be downright maddening to find a complex that will get approved. Plus, you’ll want to consider owner versus tenant occupancy and any pending complex litigation as well. When I’m working with a buyer in this situation, I take the extra step of checking these issues out in advance before taking someone to see a property. There’s no need to waste energy or risk falling in love with a property only to find out that the community doesn’t qualify. It’s also important to keep pet policies and HOA involvement in mind when purchasing this type of home.

4. Homes: Lender requirements are not as strict for detached single-family homes. The house only needs to meet their habitability guidelines. If the condition is fair or below, or there are foundation issues, it will be difficult to get a “normal” loan. There are rehab loans available for these types of situations, but it’s important to keep in mind that the property needs to appraise for the cost of the home and the finished remodel.

I once had a client go into escrow on a beautiful home that had been completely remodeled on the interior. It was at the top of where they felt comfortable price-wise. During the home inspection, we discovered issues with all of the major components – roofing, plumbing, sewer, HVAC and more. While the buyer wouldn’t have had to do anything on the interior, the expenses they would have had to incur in the first five years of homeownership would have been significantly beyond their financial capability. With broken hearts, they walked away from the purchase. Who can blame them for not wanting to be house poor? Shortly after, we found something larger and less expensive for them. Even though it needed cosmetic upgrades, it was easier for them financially and an all-around better fit.

5. Miscellaneous Items to Consider: Regardless of whether you’re looking at attached or detached homes, it’s good to ask and do the following: Does the floor plan of the home make sense for your needs? Is it on a busy street? Are there large power lines, strange odors, or air traffic? Talk to the neighbors. What do they like or dislike about the complex, neighborhood, local schools, or area? Drive by the home and area at different times of the day. Check crime statistics and the Megan’s Law database for the area. All of these components can impact the value and future sale of the home.

I hope you found this information to be helpful! Don’t forget about the first article in our Home Buying 101 Series: Preparation is Key. Our next installment will cover the process of writing an offer and going through escrow – stay tuned!

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We’re checking in on the San Diego real estate market after three quarters, and the trends are consistent with many of the other markets in Southern California.

Closed unit sales came in at 8,894 – down by 10.8% year-over-year and down 11.9% compared with Q2 of this year. Those unit sales accounted for over $6.2 billion, a 4.3% dip from the same time last year and an 11% drop from the previous quarter. Interestingly, though, the average closed price of a home in San Diego County came in at $706,900, a 7.4% jump from the same time last year and a 1% uptick from Q2.

Inventory also jumped considerably with 7,682 units available – a 40.2% increase from last year and a 17.6% jump from last quarter. The pace of sales went up as well, with the average days on market for a listing clocking in at 28 days, up from 26 in 2017 and 24 in Q2 2018.

Listing discount (sold price versus list price) was 97.9%, the same as last year and down slightly from the previous quarter. With a slower sales pace and increased inventory, the months of inventory on the market rose to 2.6, up considerably from the 1.6 months from the same period last year and 1.9 from just a quarter ago.

Factoring in all of the trends (rising prices, rising inventory, and rising days on market), San Diego is very much a market in transition. The big question becomes how much the rising inventory will affect home prices, and whether those who were waiting out the market decide if now is the time to make their move.

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Dia de los Muertos Guest Chef Dinner | Nov. 1
This year we’re inviting 8 guest chefs to join our own chef de cuisine Christine Rivera in the kitchen. We have an epic night of food and celebration planned. This event will sell out!
Time/Place: 6-10pm / Galaxy Taco, La Jolla
Contact: www.galaxytaco.com

Escondido Día de los Muertos Festival | Nov. 1
Guests are invited to create altars to remember and honor their loved ones in a special area outside of the Center’s museum; the event also features live music, traditional Mexican fare, sugar skull decorating, and more.
Time/Place: 5-9pm / California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Contact: 800-988-4253 / www.artcenter.org

SD Zoo Safari Park Día de los Muertos  | Nov. 1-4
Bring the family and join a celebration full of mariachi music, dancing, shopping, face painting, festive entertainment, and bilingual animal shows. Enjoy specialty food and beverages such as paletas, churro sundaes, margaritas and street tacos.
Time/Place: 9am-5pm / San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido
Contact: www.facebook.com/events/2187441988135058

California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival | Nov. 1-3
Will highlight current films from American Indian filmmakers, producers, directors, and actors.
Time/Place: CSU San Marcos & Pechanga Resort & Casino
Contact: www.caiiff.com

Chula Vista Veterans Parade | Nov. 2
A ceremony recognizing veterans and military families will immediately follow.
Time/Place: 8-11:30am / Magdalena Avenue to Santa Venetia Street – Veterans Elementary School
Contact: www.facebook.com/events/485512638599834

Old Town San Diego’s Dia de los Muertos | Nov. 2-4
The spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to celebrate with friends and family, during this happy, festive and very artistic time. Arts & crafts, music and food.
Time/Place: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Contact: www.dayofthedeadsd.com

Fall Home Decorating/Remodeling Show | Nov. 2-4
Hundreds of exhibitors for all of your home improvement needs from decorating/remodeling, home additions and landscaping.
Time/Place: Fri & Sun 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-6pm / Del Mar Fairgrounds
Contact: 800-999-5400 / www.homeshowsusa.net

San Diego Beer Week | Nov. 2-11
A 10-day celebration, promoting more than 130 independent craft breweries in San Diego County. Join the San Diego Brewers Guild and more than 60 independent breweries for 2018 Guild Fest, taking place at Embarcadero South in Downtown San Diego on November 3.
Contact: 858-581-7368 / www.sdbeer.com

Escondido Tamale Festival | Nov. 3
A celebration of all the great Latin foods that have become iconic staples of California’s culture. Best Tamale Contests. Grande Stage featuring Mariachis, Folklorico, Aztec, Latin Dance Performances. Activities for the kids.
Time/Place: 11am-5pm / Grape Day Park
Contact: 760-839-4777 / www.escondidotamalefestival.org

Kids Care Fest | Nov. 3
This community-oriented event is open to the public and features free health screenings for children and their families.
Time/Place: 9am-1pm / Lemon Grove Recreation Center
Contact: 619-825-5050 / www.kidscarefest.org

Bike the Coast | Nov. 3
Experience riding on the Southern California coast with 100, 50 or 25 mile routes on Highway 101. Everything starts and finishes at the Oceanside Pier with food, music, expo, shopping and fun!
Time/Place: 8am / Oceanside Pier
Contact: www.spectrumsportsevents.com/bike-the-coast

6K Veteran Walk/Run | Nov. 3
All proceeds benefit the Veteran’s Home in Chula Vista.
Time/Place: 8:30am-1pm / Chula Vista Veteran’s Home: 700 E Naples Court
Contact: 619-392-6333 / www.theveteranswalk.org

Trout Opening Weekend | Nov. 3-4
2,500 pounds of Rainbow Trout with large fish up to 12 pounds will be stocked for this upcoming event!
Time/Place: 6am-5pm / Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
Contact: 619-258-4785 / www.santeelakes.com

Carrera de los Muertos San Diego | Nov. 4
You will experience a great sense of community through a little exercise, music, dance, face painting and a lot of fun.
Time/Place: 6:45am / Embarcadero Park South
Contact: www.losmuertos5k.com/events/san-diego

Carlsbad Fall Village Faire | Nov. 4
Take in the beauty of our seaside city while browsing through unique booths, indulging in delectable eats and enjoying family entertainment at the largest one-day street faire in the nation.
Time/Place: 8am-4pm / Grand Avenue
Contact: www.carlsbad.org

Fallback Festival | Nov. 4
A Children’s Historic Street Faire. Travel back in time to enjoy our old west town! Pan for gold, saddle up on pony rides, and enjoy live entertainment.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / Gaslamp Quarter
Contact: https://gaslampfoundation.org

Coronado Island Film Festival | Nov. 9-12
Parties, panels, exhibits, workshops, celebrities, live performances, new films, filmmakers, interesting venues, awards, tributes, blooming gardens, beach walks, sunsets, shops and restaurants for every taste, along with a wide variety of films by filmmakers from every level of the craft, from emerging student to seasoned pro.
Contact: www.coronadoislandfilmfest.com

Ride the Point Memorial Charity Bicycle Ride | Nov. 10
Ride the Hidden, Unridden, and Forbidden Point Loma in San Diego, CA on EXCLUSIVE routes open once a year!
Time/Place: 6am-12pm / Liberty Station
Contact: www.ridethepoint.org

San Diego Veteran’s Day Parade | Nov. 10
See over 4,000 Veterans, Active Military, Bands, Floats and Civic Groups celebrate Veterans Day.
Time/Place: 11am-1pm / San Diego Embarcadero
Contact: www.sdvetparade.org

USS Midway Veteran’s Day Celebration | Nov. 10-11
Celebrate our service men and women with a parade along Harbor Drive. The fun continues onboard with the Salute to Service Festival featuring live entertainment, a KidZone, giveaways, a blood drive on Navy Pier, and more.
Time/Place: 10am-4pm / USS Midway Museum
Contact: www.midway.org/exhibits-activities

Silver Strand Half Marathon, 10 Miler & Veterans Day 5K | Nov. 11
Run along the “Silver Strand,” from Coronado to Imperial Beach! Enjoy the post race Beach Party and Beer Garden.
Time/Place: 7-11:30am / Sunset Park, Coronado
Contact: 858-268-1250 / www.silverstrandhalf.com

Tribute to Veterans – Showcase Concert | Nov. 11
This special performance will include patriotic repertoire as well as classical selections.
Time/Place: 1pm & 6pm / California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Contact: 619-233-3232 / www.sdys.org

UH Arts Open/Taste of University Heights | Nov. 11
Stroll through the quaint neighborhood sampling delicacies from University Heights’ diverse restaurants and enjoy a free self-guided tour of the arts.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / University Heights, San Diego
Contact: www.uharts.org

Fallbrook Veteran’s Day Parade & Celebration Ceremony | Nov. 11
Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, military vehicles, Fallbrook HS Marching Band, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, Fallbrook HS Marine Corps JROTC, Naval Sea Cadets Gunfighters Squadron and more! Ceremony in Village Square and free lunch at VFW post 1175 S Old Stage Rd.
Time/Place: 10am-1pm / Main Avenue
Contact: 760-728-8784 / www.fallbrookvfw.org

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival | Nov. 11-18
Featuring dozens of events, hundreds of domestic and international wineries, the celebration of craft beer and spirits, local culinary legends and nationally recognized celebrities, and a Grand Tasting Finale on the stunning Embarcadero.
Contact: www.sandiegowineclassic.com

Breast Cancer Cheering Station | Nov. 16
We will have a water, music and cheer station to root on the walkers, who will start their journeys at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and receive a huge show of support as they enter the Del Mar Village – the first city on their journey!
Time/Place: 7:30-9:30am / Del Mar Village
Contact: 858-735-3650 / www.visitdelmarvillage.com

Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival | Nov. 16
Entertainment provided by local choir and dance groups throughout the evening. This free event is open to the whole family and a great way to kick off the holiday season.
Time/Place: 6:30-8pm / Carlsbad Premium Outlets
Contact: 760-804-9045 / www.premiumoutlets.com

Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration | Nov. 16
Get in the holiday spirit with free festive crafts, food and hot beverages, live music, carolers, face painting, carriage rides, snow sledding, photos with Santa Claus, and the jubilant tree lighting ceremony.
Time/Place: 5:30-8:30pm / Santee Trolley Square
Contact: http://www.cityofsanteeca.gov/services/event-calendar/event-list-view

Victorian Country Christmas | Nov. 16-18
Support veterans and children in our local area! We will be kicking off the annual Toys for Tots drive so be sure to bring an unwrapped toy to help out! Crafts, high tea, silent auction and more!
Time/Place: 9am-4pm / Chula Vista Elks Lodge
Contact: 619-240-0098 / www.chulavistavcc.com

Del Mar Antique Show | Nov. 16-18
One of the largest indoor shows in California, regularly averaging 100+ exhibitors from all over the United States.
Time/Place: Fri & Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm / Del Mar Fairgrounds
Contact: 727-423-0187 / www.calendarshows.com

Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day | Nov. 16-18
A 60-mile walk for women and men who are ready to end breast cancer forever.
Time/Place: 6:30am-5:30pm / Del Mar Fairgrounds
Contact: 800-996-3DAY / www.The3Day.org

Doggie Street Festival | Nov. 17
Don’t miss this annual dog, cat and bird adopt-a-thon and celebration of our companion animals featuring fantastic pet products and services, yummy eats, vet tips, special guests and speakers, live music, a kids area, auction prizes and more! Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / NTC Park, Liberty Station
Contact: www.doggiestreetfestival.org/san-diego

Star of India Companion Sail | Nov. 17-18
Five years have elapsed since the last time Star of India sailed, so the opportunity to join her under sail this November makes this an a more unique experience!
Time/Place: Maritime Museum of San Diego
Contact: 619-234-9153 x111 / www.sdmaritime.org

Encinitas Holiday Street Fair | Nov. 18
450+ booths, dozens of unique downtown retailers, music of popular local bands and Kidz Zone.
Time/Place: 9am-4pm / Coast Highway 101
Contact: 760-943-1950 / www.kennedyfaires.com/encinitas

Mother Goose Parade | Nov. 18
San Diego’s East County’s annual holiday kick-off celebration featuring whimsical floats, clowns, bands and equestrians.
Time/Place: 1-3pm / El Cajon Blvd & W Main St
Contact: 619-333-0771 / www.mothergooseparade.org

San Diego Jazz Fest and Swing Extravaganza | Nov. 21-25
A variety of traditional jazz music, from ragtime to hot jazz to swing to rockabilly. Jazz bands and musicians from across the U.S. will perform.
Time/Place: Town and Country Resort & Convention Center
Contact: 619-297-5277 / www.sdjazzfest.org

Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K Run & Walk | Nov. 22
Generates awareness and funds to help support Father Joe’s Villages’ efforts to provide and serve close to 1 Million Meals each year!
Time/Place: 7:30-10:30am / Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park
Contact: www.thanksgivingrun.org

O’side Turkey Trot | Nov. 22
Pacific Marine Credit Union O’side Turkey Trot 10k Run, 5K Run/Walk and Senior 1 Mile. Event offers a costume contest, largest teams competition, fabulous live entertainment on the course and finisher medals for all participants.
Time/Place: 6:45-11:30am / Oceanside Civic Center
Contact: 760-434-5255 / www.osideturkeytrot.com

Waddle and Trot 5K and Kid’s Fun Run | Nov. 22
All proceeds benefit Santee Santa’s, Santee Lakes Foundation and Santee Food Bank. All participants receive a T-shirt and an online finisher certificate.
Time/Place: 6-11am / Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
Contact: www.waddleandtrot.com

Thank You Run 5K/10K and Kids Run | Nov. 22
Let’s have another fantastic Thanksgiving morning with our family and friends while we raise funds for Helen’s Closet and San Diegans suffering with ALS.
Time/Place: 7-10am / 4S Ranch Community Park
Contact: 858-449-1101 / www.thankyourun.org

San Diego Run for the Hungry 5K & 10K | Nov. 22
All profits from this race are donated to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.
Time/Place: 7-10am / Westfield Horton Plaza Mall
Contact: www.sdrunforthehungry.org

Fallbrook Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot | Nov. 22
Our goal is to raise funds for the Fallbrook Land Conservancy, Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary and the Fallbrook Community(s).
Time/Place: 8-10:30am / Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens
Contact: 760-468-0322 / www.fallbrookturkeytrot.com

SD South Bay Turkey Trot & Food Drive | Nov. 22
Run or walk San Diego’s only Turkey Trot that has 3 distances to choose from: 15k (9.3 miles), 10k (6.2 miles), 5k (3.1 miles).
Time/Place: 8-10:30am / Rohr Park, Bonita
Contact: www.sdthanksgivingrun.com

Coronado 5K Turkey Trot | Nov. 22
Move Your Feet Before The Feast and support mental health initiatives at Rady Children’s.
Time/Place: 8-11am / Tidelands Park
Contact: www.active.com

Spike Out Hunger Volleyball Tournament | Nov. 23
Serve up some competition and help feed the hungry at a charity beach volleyball tournament. All proceeds and donations go to Mama’s Kitchen, a local charity that provides food to patients with cancer and other debilitating medical conditions. There will be free pizza for participants.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / South Mission Beach
Contact: www.sdbvl.com

Julian Country Christmas & Tree Lighting | Nov. 24
Julian kicks off the holiday season with the annual lighting of the town’s huge living Christmas tree, presented by the Julian Merchants Association. Meet Santa!
Time/Place: 2-7pm / Pioneer Park
Contact: 760-765-1857 / www.visitjulian.com

Let it Glow!| Nov. 29
Light up the season with live glowing creatures! Learn about fluorescence, bioluminescence and phosphorescence through hands-on activities encounters, and meet the scientists who study these illuminating creatures.
Time/Place: 6-9pm / Birch Aquarium at Scripps, La Jolla
Contact: www.aquarium.ucsd.edu/events/2018/let-it-glow

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To be prepared is half the victory. – Miguel De Cervantes

The final few months of 2018 are upon us, and many are already making plans for the year ahead. Are you hopeful that 2019 will be THE year that you make the transition from renter to homeowner?

Buyer preparation is one of the keys to a successful home purchase. It’s important to avoid the most common mistake that many first-time buyers make – falling in love with a home that isn’t financially realistic.

Before looking at homes online and visiting open houses, here are a few things you should do first:

Speak with a Lender – Not sure where to find one? Get a referral from a friend or family member who recently purchased a home. Or, you can ask a real estate agent! I refer my clients to Carolyn Plummer at AmeriFirst Financial, Inc. With more than 28 years of experience, Carolyn is able to expertly guide buyers with integrity and helpfulness. Although it may seem premature to take this step so early in the process, I believe it is the most crucial. Imagine how horrible it would be to find a great home and then realize there had been a hiccup in your credit report? A reputable lender like Carolyn can help assess your credit to see if anything needs to be corrected, determine if there are debts that need to be paid down and review appropriate loan programs BEFORE you start looking at properties. She can also assist with calculating what you’ll need for a down payment and closing costs as well as evaluating discrepancies between what you qualify for and what you’re comfortable paying (For example, you may qualify for a $500,000 loan, but not want the monthly payment that comes with it).

Find a Real Estate Agent – Ask friends, colleagues or family members for their recommendations. Or, if you’ve already found a lender, ask them! I usually work hand-in-hand with Carolyn to meet buyers together, so it saves them time. We cover market trends, benefits of homeownership and what type of equity to anticipate over the next decade. We also discuss the vision that a buyer has for their future home.

Be Realistic – You’re more than likely not going to find your dream home the first time around, especially here in San Diego County. Instead, think of getting your foot in the door so that you can begin building the equity that will get you to your dream home. Speaking of dream homes, remember that no home is going to be perfect. Even people who build their “dream” home find that once they’ve moved in, there’s something they would have done differently. Keep your priorities in mind as you begin to look at homes and remember to be flexible! If the neighborhood is the most important factor in your purchase, then you may need to start with a condo or townhouse. 

Determine Your Why – A home purchase is a big commitment, and it’s scary for most buyers. When your lender asks for your hundredth piece of documentation, or you’re signing yet another real estate disclosure, your “why” will keep you moving forward. Is it so that you can own a pet? Is it for security for your children? A sense of community? Only YOU will know YOUR why.

Financial guru Suze Orman once stated that owning a home is a keystone of wealth – both financial affluence and emotional security. I agree with her. I‘ve seen many clients achieve great success in building significant wealth through their real estate ventures.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re considering buying a home in the future, it’s never too early to seek the advice of a real estate professional and lender. We’re here to help you achieve your homeownership dreams! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 619.405.7673 or homes@livininsd.com.

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It’s here! The final From the Front Porch Journal issue of 2018 is now available for your reading pleasure. We’re excited for you to see the upgrades we’ve made to the digital version – let us know what you think!

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