La Mesa Oktoberfest Sept. 29-Oct. 1
The locally loved La Mesa Oktoberfest is going back to its roots to bring guests more entertainment, more vendors, more beer, and more “Prost!” (Cheers!) than ever before.
Time/Place: La Mesa Village
El Cajon Oktoberfest Sept. 29-Oct. 8
Enjoy authentic German food, German beers and liquors, our band the Guggenbach-Buam and traditional folk dancing.
Time/Place: Fri, Sat & Sun / 1017 South Mollison Avenue
Contact: 619-442-6637 / www.germanclubsandiego.org
Art & Craft Show Old Town San Diego Sept. 30-Oct. 1
Colorful art, crafts and entertainment, delicious international food, tasty tequilas, and a craft beer and wine garden.
Time/Place: Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm / Old Town San Diego
Adams Avenue Street Fair Sept. 30-Oct. 1
SoCal’s largest free two-day music festival held each year during the last weekend in Sept. in the community of Normal Heights.
Time/Place: Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-6pm / 34th and Adams Avenue
Contact: 619-282-7329 / www.adamsavenuebusiness.com
Taste of Rancho Santa Fe Oct. 1
This festive wine and food festival features over 40 wineries, restaurants, breweries and more and raises much needed funds for 10 worthy nonprofit organizations.
Time/Place: 4-7pm / The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Encinitas Oktoberfest Oct. 1
Will feature music, Bavarian dancers, German food and drink, and a street craft faire featuring more than 200 vendors.
Time/Place: 10am-6pm / Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real
Fashion Week San Diego Oct. 4-8
This year we are featuring 21 very talented and dynamic labels/brands on the catwalk in La Jolla.
Time/Place: See website for schedule.
Contact: 858-270-9466 / www.fashionweeksd.com/2017designers
San Diego International Film Festival Oct. 4-8
World premieres, never before seen studio releases, the best in independent filmmaking and a full schedule of glamorous parties and intimate events with filmmakers.
Time/Place: See website for schedule.
Beachfest Beer Cup Oct. 6
A Pacific Beachfest kickoff event including a beer competition featuring San Diego Craft Breweries showcasing their finest Lagers.
Time/Place: 5-9pm / PB Shore Club: 4343 Ocean Blvd., San Diego
Ocean Beach Oktoberfest Oct. 6-7
A two-day, eclectic, beachside festival with a variety of exciting activities, contests and entertainment.
Time/Place: Fri 12-6pm, Sat 9am-11pm / Foot of Ocean Beach Pier
Contact: 619-224-4906 / www.oceanbeachsandiego.com
Polish Festival Oct. 6-8
A wonderful cultural celebration in Pacific Beach all about Polish culture, traditions and cuisine.
Time/Place: St. Maximilian Kolbe Polish Roman Catholic Mission
Contact: 858-272-7655 / www.polishmission.org
Raptor Ridge Half Marathon Oct. 7
An awesome trail racing experience on an out-n-back course that begins with 4.5 miles of flat and fast jeep road that winds east towards the San Diego Safari Park and Raptor Ridge.
Time/Place: 7am / San Dieguito River Park, Escondido
Grape Day Discovery Festival Oct. 7
Includes a wine and beer garden, entertainment that includes dance battles by local dance crews, music, a grape stomp and a pie-eating contest!
Time/Place: 2-8pm / Grape Day Park, Escondido
Carlsbad Oktoberfest Oct. 7
The Carlsbad Rotary Oktoberfest, a fall tradition, will bring thousands of people to enjoy German food (and beer!), live music, and entertainment for children.
Time/Place: 12-10pm / Holiday Park
Pacific BeachFest Oct. 7
Includes a fish taco contest, surf competition, beach volley ball, craft beer, kids activities and music!
Time/Place: 8am-7pm / Pacific Beach Boardwalk
Contact: 858-273-3303 / www.pacificbeachfest.org
Maker Faire San Diego Oct. 7-8
A celebration of technology, arts, crafts, science, many more projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.
Time/Place: 10am-6pm / Balboa Park
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival Oct. 7-8
Works of 150+ artists, entertainment, a gourmet marketplace, the Family Art Center, and a wine and beer garden.
Time/Place: Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm / Girard Ave. and Prospect St.
Contact: 858-228-6542 / www.ljawf.com
Taste of Mission Hills Oct. 10
Our chefs’ preparations will surely captivate your taste buds. Included in the price of each ticket is Old Town Trolley guest transportation to within steps of each participating venue.
Time/Place: 5-9pm / Mission Hills, San Diego
Fleet Week San Diego Oct. 11-17
The mission of Fleet Week San Diego is to honor and celebrate the men and women of the military through public events that entertain and alliances that support and thank these heroes.
Harvest Festival Art & Craft Show Oct. 13-15
Features hundreds of artisans exhibiting American handmade items, strolling entertainment, festival food and a Kidzone.
Time/Place: Del Mar Fairgrounds
Old Town’s Fall Festival Oct. 14
The museums and merchants will be richly decorated and will host family friendly games, activities and entertainment reminiscent of an old-fashioned harvest celebration.
Time/Place: 12-4pm / Old Town San Diego
Contact: 619-297-3100 / www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego
Escondido Grand Avenue Festival Oct. 15
Live entertainment, over 400 vendors, children’s rides and activities, and food from around the world.
Time/Place: 9am-5pm / Downtown Escondido
Contact: 760-745-2125 / www.escondidochamber.org
Extreme Sailing Series Oct. 19-22
The free entry Harbor Island Race Village will provide front-row seats for the adrenaline-fueled action for the public, along with plenty of other entertainment throughout the day.
Time/Place: 10am-7pm / Point Loma Peninsula, Harbor Island
HauntFest on Main Oct. 20
An exciting family friendly event with a pumpkin patch, costume contest, kidz zone, rides, entertainment and more!
Time/Place: 5-10pm / Main Street, El Cajon
Borrego Days Desert Festival Oct. 20-22
Art, entertainment, delicious food and drink, and so much more! Parade, Car Show and Off-Road Show.
Time/Place: Christmas Circle Community Park, Borrego Springs
Contact: 760-767-5555 / www.borregodays.com
Bulls of St. Agata Charge Little Italy Oct. 21
Over 40 fine Italian bulls; the famous Lamborghini, and musical entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
Time/Place: 6-11pm / India St. & W Fir St.
Contact: 619-233-3898 / www.littleitalysd.com
Bayside Brew & Spirits Festival Oct. 21
We’re bringing together the best of both sides of the border to create an afternoon of fun for the South Bay.
Time/Place: 12-5pm / Pepper Park, National City
La Vista Memorial Park and Mortuary Dia de los Muertos Oct. 21
Programs of music, folk dancing, entertainment, food and hand crafted items.
Time/Place: 2-10pm / 3191 Orange Street, National City
Contact: 619-475-7770 / www.lavistamemorialpark.com
San Diego Kids Expo & Fair Oct. 21-22
Part businesses and non-profits on display, part fun fair and part music and dance festival. And definitely all kids!
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Del Mar Fairgrounds
Contact: 619-269-9441 / www.sandiegokidsexpo.com
San Diego Triathlon Challenge Oct. 22
Join 200 physically challenged athletes, 550 able-bodied athletes, celebrities, and sports legends as they compete.
Time/Place: 6am-4pm / La Jolla Cove
Giro di San Diego GranFondo Oct. 22
A celebration of cycling, food, and SD’s North Inland region.
Time/Place: 5:30am-6pm / Kit Carson Park, Escondido
Contact: 858-668-1739 / www.girodisandiego.com
Spooktacular 15k,10k/5k Run/Walk Oct. 22
For men, women, and children.
Time/Place: 7-10am / Hospitality Point Park, San Diego
Contact: 619-491-0677 / www.spooktacular10k.com
Trick-or-Treat on India Street Oct. 27
Little Italy businesses along historic India Street open their doors to give out candy and Halloween treats.
Time/Place: 5:30-7:30pm / Piazza Basilone and participating businesses
Contact: 619-233-3898 / www.littleitalysd.com
Spooky Camp-O-Ween Oct. 27-29
Come join us for fun, spooky activities at the campground! Make your camping reservations today!
Time/Place: Lake Jennings, Lakeside
Nightmare on Normal Street Oct. 28
Late night live entertainment, costume competitions with sassy judges, and two gigantic bars. This event is 21+.
Time/Place: 6-11pm / Normal Street at University Avenue, San Diego
Contact: 619-299-3330 / www.fabuloushillcrest.com
San Diego Monster Bash Oct. 28
Five themed stages to transport revelers into realms of fear and intrigue with stacked lineups of world class entertainment.
Time/Place: 6pm-Midnight / Gaslamp Quarter
Balboa Park Halloween Family Day Oct. 28
Over two dozen participating museums and cultural attractions will present free craft projects for kids, costume parades and contests, and other spooky surprises.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / Balboa Park
Contact: 619-239-0512 / www.balboaparkconservancy.org
Encinitas Dia de los Muertos Celebration Oct. 28
Celebrate life with live performances, art-making workshops, a student art exhibit, artist demos, food trucks and more.
Time/Place: 12-4pm / Encinitas Community Center
The Boulevard Boo! Parade Oct. 28
Features a spellbinding parade with ghoulish floats, unique vintage cars, costumes characters, bands and more!
Time/Place: 10am-Noon / El Cajon Boulevard
Contact: 619-582-1093 / www.collegeareabid.com/boo
Carrera de los Muertos San Diego Oct. 29
Enjoy a festive and scenic 5k run along downtown’s San Diego Bay and stay to celebrate in Embarcadero Park South with mariachi, dancers and comida deliciosa!
Time/Place: 6:45am / Embarcadero Park South
Once Upon a Hallowe’en Oct. 29
Celebrate Halloween by taking a ride into the past. Haunted house, scary stories, performances, and more.
Time/Place: 5:30-8:30pm / Old Poway Park
Oceanside Dia de los Muertos Oct. 29
The Mission will come alive with entertainment, carnival rides, altar displays and a classic car show!
Time/Place: 10am-4pm / Mission San Luis Rey
Contact: 760-757-3651 / www.mslrdiadelosmuertos.com
Trick or Trot 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run Oct. 29
Promises spooktacular fun for the whole family. Prizes will be awarded for race winners as well as best costumes.
Time/Place: 8-11:30am / Morley Field, San Diego
One of the biggest misconceptions of homebuying?
The 20% down payment. Here's how to buy with a lot less down.
Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you've got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home's cost.
Here are five creative ways to build your down-payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined.
1. Crowdsource Your Dream Home
You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can't crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. Hatch My House says it's helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.
2. Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)
When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit.
"They're called seller concessions," says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for the New York metro area at TD Bank. Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.
There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.
No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.
3. Look into Government Options
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list of links by state that direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state.
HUD offers help based on profession as well. If you're a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for a 50% discount on a house's HUD-appraised value in "revitalization areas." Those areas are designated by Congress for homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.
For veterans, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, there's no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.
Some cities also offer homeownership help. "The city of Hartford has the HouseHartford Program that gives down payment assistance and closing cost assistance," says Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner with Ridgeline Financial Partners and Carbray Staunton Financial Planners in Avon, Conn. The program partners with lenders, real estate attorneys, and homebuyer counseling agencies and has helped 1,200 low-income families.
4. Check with Your Employer
Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back.
Washington University in St. Louis offers forgivable loans to qualified employees who want to purchase housing in specific city neighborhoods. University employees receive the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $6,000 toward down payment or closing costs.
Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if the company is part of an EAH program.
5. Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs
Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. "I would say that the biggest misconception [of homebuying] is that you need 20% for the down payment of a house," says Rodriguez. "There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down."
FHA mortgages, for example, can require as little as 3.5%. But bear in mind that there are both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance payments. "The mortgage insurance could add another $300 to your monthly mortgage payment," Rodriguez says.
Some lender programs go even further. TD Bank, for example, offers a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. "Check with your regional bank," Rodriguez says. "Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program."
Not so daunting after all, is it? There's actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research -- and start peeking at those home listings!
5 Ways You Didn't Know You Could Save for a Down Payment
Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.
You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You’re excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counteroffer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.
Check your emotions.
A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that’s a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer.
Counter the purchase offer.
Unless you’ve received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms you’re willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think that’s customary, they’re afraid they’ll overpay, or they want to test your limits.
A counteroffer signals that you’re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that you’d like to take with you.
Consider the terms.
Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but it’s not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.
Review your comps.
Ask your real estate agent whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as “comps”) have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell.
Consider the buyer’s comps.
Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counteroffer information about those homes and
your own comps that justify your asking price.
If the buyers don’t include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyers’ agent for those comps.
Get the agents together.
If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you don’t have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyer’s agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyer’s agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If that’s the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer.
Don’t signal desperation.
Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your home’s listing describes you as a “motivated” seller, you’re signaling you’re open to a low offer.
If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that you’re motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking.
There’s a ton of real estate intel on the interwebs. (Why, you’re looking at some of it right now!) But even if you consider yourself the most research-savvy digital consumer of all time, you may not know everything you need to in order to make the wisest decisions when negotiating a real estate transaction.
Maybe you’re already familiar with real estate terms like “escrow” and “easement.” But we’re not just talking about a few words that test your real estate vocabulary. We’re talking about processing the bazillions of details you’ll deal with to buy or sell a home.
Here’s a quick list of things you may not already know that could put, or keep, money in your wallet while you’re in the real estate game.
1. Home Ownership is an Important Way to Build Wealth
Home ownership isn’t for everybody. But those who step onto the home ownership ladder steadily build wealth over their lifetime. A typical homeowner’s net worth was $195,400, while that of the typical renter was $5,400, according to 2013 data from the Federal Reserve, the most recent available. New data is expected in 2016, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR), predicts it will show $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for homeowners and around $5,000 for renters.
2. Owning Real Estate Can Save You Hundreds in Taxes
If sending a chunk of your hard-earned money to Uncle Sam or your local government makes you nuts, real estate is for you. When you own, you may be eligible for a slew of real estate tax deductions and credits, including state and local income and property taxes, and mortgage interest and mortgage insurance payments. At the average tax rate, real estate deductions helped taxpayers save roughly $100 billion in 2015, according to an analysis by NAR.
3. Buyers Who Tapped Expert Real Estate Advice Were Glad They Did
When buyers who’ve recently worked with a real estate agent were asked why they teamed up with one, more than half said it was an important step in finding the right home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.” Nearly four out of five consumers, 78%, say their agent was a very useful source of information.
4. Sellers Were Just as Happy They Worked with a Real Estate Pro
Your fellow consumers wholeheartedly believe it’s important to work with an agent when selling. Nearly nine out of 10 sellers, or 89%, did just that. They also reported a median gain on the sale of their home of $40,000 more than they paid for it, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.”
5. Sellers Who Spruce Up and Declutter Their Home Draw More Interest
Staging a home makes a big difference in buyers’ ability to see its potential. Four out of five real estate agents who work exclusively with buyers say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in the staged home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Staging." Nearly half say staging will increase a home's market value, and just under one-third say buyers are more willing to overlook a property’s faults when staging highlights its best features.
6. Sell-It-Yourselfers Are a Dwindling Crowd
The number of sellers who sold their home without a real estate pro has dropped to 8%, according to the buyer and seller study — the lowest share since this stat was first tracked in 1981.
7. Sellers Who Go It Alone Leave Money on the Table
The median price of homes sold without the expertise of a real estate agent was $210,000 in 2015. That’s $35,000 less than the median price of homes sold by sellers who worked with an agent, or $245,000, according to the buyer and seller study.
By: G.M. Filisko
If all those excited home buyer declarations like “This place is just perfect for us” and “I have to have it!” were binding, selling houses would be a breeze. But, as with everything in life, it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that really matters.
Still, it’s hard for home sellers to not get their hopes up when a buyer’s gushing over their home—only to be disappointed when the buyer disappears without a peep.
So what are some signs a buyer isn’t serious about your home?
It’s a good thing experienced REALTORS® can tell the difference between the buyer who means business and the one who has no intention of actually sealing the deal—and that these pros graciously agreed to clue us in.
Do any of the following red flags sound familiar? Keep each in mind, and you can save yourself the drama of dashed hopes.
Sign No. 1: The buyer is flying solo
If a buyer doesn’t have a real estate agent yet, he probably isn’t serious about shopping for a home.
“Buyer’s agents come at no cost to the buyer, since the seller pays the buyer’s agent’s commission,” explains Daniel Bortz, a REALTOR® in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Do you think a shopper who can’t be bothered to enlist free expert help is motivated enough to start putting papers in motion? We don’t think so either.
To put things in perspective, consider this: 87% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, according to a survey conducted last year by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® of recent home buyers and sellers. You do the math!
Sign No. 2: The buyer just began shopping
The old adage that timing is everything applies to selling homes as well. Typical home buyers take three months to buy, so if a seller is entertaining interest from someone on Day 1 or Week 1 of her house hunt, chances aren’t good that she’s the one.
“Many buyers look at a number of houses before they decide what they want,” says Bortz. “And if they’re at the early stages in their search, you’re less likely to receive an offer.”
Sign No. 3: You meet the buyer at an open house
It’s also less likely that a seller will score an offer from a buyer at an open house. According to a report from the NAR, only half of home buyers visit open houses—and those who do may be trying to avoid too much attention by hiding in the herd.
Serious buyers, on the other hand, will conduct their home search online, then once they spot a home they like, request a private showing.
It’s like dating: Asking to see a home one on one carries more weight than asking someone, “Hey, wanna hang out in a group?”
Sign No. 4: No pre-approval from a lender
There’s no need to read between the lines of this sign.
“You need to include a pre-approval letter from your lender when you submit an offer on a property,” says Bortz. “Without one, there’s no indication to the seller that you can actually afford to purchase the home.”
Sign No. 5: A speedy visit Buyers who zip along while they’re checking out the property aren’t likely to cross the finish line with you.
“Rushing through an open house is a definite sign of lack of interest,” says Abigail Harris, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker residential brokerage in the Boston area. Breezing through without asking questions, however, isn’t necessarily a bad sign, she adds. “Many buyers feel that they have all the answers and don’t need to ask questions.”
Sign No. 6: All promises, no action
Call it a bait and … stall. “You can tell that a buyer is dragging her feet if she says she’s very interested in making an offer but it is taking days for her to actually submit one,” says Bortz, who has encountered this phenomenon a number of times. “Typically such buyers are seriously interested, but they’re also strongly considering making an offer on another property, so they might be weighing their options before they make an offer on one of them.”
Sign No. 7: A (really) lowball offer
Everyone wants to score a deal, but if a buyer offers an “unreasonably low” sum, says Harris, that’s a “sure sign that they don’t really want the property.”
“Serious buyers in today’s market make their best offer right out of the gate,” explains Bortz. “So I’m honestly not sure why someone would throw out a ridiculously lowball offer. Maybe [it’s] just to test the waters?”
Sign No. 8: Lots of nitpicking
Even after the buyer has made an offer and you have accepted it, she still might not be 100% onboard with buying the property. Is she obsessed with finding faults and problems in the home?
“That’s a definite showing of disinterest,” says Harris. Bortz agrees, adding, “If she has a home inspection contingency and wants you to fix every single little thing that the inspector spots, such as a loose door knob, she might be looking for you to just give in and say, ‘No, I’m not fixing anything,’ so that she can back out of the deal.”
By: Jennifer O'Neill
By: Lisa Gordon
You’ve got a contract on your home for sale—congratulations! But before you pop the cork on the champagne, you’ve got to go through an ordeal that could make or break that sweet deal: a home inspection.
The home inspection is a contingency written into most offers, meaning that if the buyers aren’t happy with the result, they can cancel the sale without losing their earnest money deposit, or reopen negotiations and ask for a price reduction.
So it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for this important step of the process. How? Hey, we’re glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.
Will there always be a home inspection?
If your buyers are planning to tear down your home and build their own dream house, you might feel a pang of regret, but at least you won’t need to worry about the quality and condition of your property. These buyers are trying to get the lowest price possible and, if they think a clean contract without an inspection contingency will make them an attractive buyer in a competitive market, they’ll often forgo an inspection contingency.
But most buyers who are planning to live in your home want to know what they’re getting into. They want to know which systems work, and which don’t. They want to know how much money they’ll need to plow into the purchase, and which items you, dear seller, are willing to fix or replace to seal the deal.
The results of home inspections can give buyers peace of mind, or a tool they can use to bargain down the price. In the worst case, people with buyer’s remorse will use results of a home inspection to back out of the deal without penalty.
Sound scary? Don’t fret just yet. That first home inspection will let you know everything that’s wrong with your home. Armed with that information, you can fix problems before the next buyer shows up, adjust the price to reflect necessary repairs, or simply have a ready response when the issue comes up again.
Inspectors will look at everything
A home inspection is no quick once-over. Inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. Yep, you read that right—1,600.
“If we can get to it, we’ll inspect it,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Here are just some of the areas of the home your inspector is checking, and what a home inspector is looking for:
How can you prepare?
The home inspection isn’t a test that you need to study for. But there are some things you can do before a home inspection to make the process go more smoothly.
You could consider getting a pre-inspection to eliminate any surprises; some sellers choose to hire their own inspector to give the house a once-over and point out any problems, so they can fix them before the buyer’s home inspector arrives on the scene.
But be careful with this tactic.
“It’s not a good idea,” says Bill Golden, an Atlanta-area real estate agent. “If you have five different inspectors inspect the home, you’ll get five different lists of items they’re concerned about. Just because your inspector didn’t have a problem with something doesn’t mean the buyer’s inspector won’t.”
More important, if your inspector points out a problem, you’re obligated to disclose it to buyers.
“This could be a potential turn-off to buyers,” Golden says.
Do yourself a favor, and leave
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, give the inspector your cellphone number, grab your car keys, and go to a movie or out to lunch when the home inspector shows up. Your anxiety will only make everyone uncomfortable, which isn’t a productive atmosphere during an inspection.
“Inspectors and buyers are not at all comfortable with the seller being present during an inspection,” Golden says. “They need to be able to freely inspect and discuss any and everything they come across. You may think you are being helpful by being present, but you are not; you are impeding the process.”
And don’t play eager hostess. You don’t need to set out cookies and drinks; or provide ladders and other tools the inspector needs. He’ll bring his own.
Check your ego at your own door
Buying and selling a house is a competition: Sellers want to get the highest price, and buyers want the lowest. It’s not personal—it’s business. Remember that when a home inspector presents list of problems with your home as long as your arm.
“A home inspector’s job is to point out each and every deficiency and safety violation they see,” Golden says. “Arguing with the buyers about an inspector’s findings is not helpful.”
Keep your head in the game, and solve the problem with the buyer.
“It may be agreeing to fix an item, it may mean giving them some money toward a repair, or it may simply be providing documentation,” Golden says.
And that’s where an experienced real estate agent earns his or her commission. Agents know how to interpret inspection reports, which issues are vital to address, and which are red herrings designed to reopen price negotiations.
Barona Powwow Sept. 1-3
Join the Barona Band of Mission Indians for a weekend of contest dancing in all categories, camping, drums and cultural immersion.
Time/Place: Barona Sports Park, Lakeside
Contact: 619-443-6612 / www.barona-nsn.gov/2017powwow
US Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition Sept. 1-4
An extravaganza for the whole family with Master Sand Sculptors, entertainment, food and more.
Time/Place: 9am-5pm / Broadway Pier and Pavilion
Fleet Week San Diego - Military Family Tailgate Sept. 2
This annual event brings together military families for a fun afternoon of tailgating, music, games and other surprises at the opening game of San Diego State Football. This year the back-to-back Mountain West champion Aztecs will take on the UC DAVIS Aggies. After the game, enjoy the 42nd annual KGB Sky Show, an exciting fireworks extravaganza set to music.
Time/Place: 3pm / Qualcomm Stadium
Contact: 619-858-1545 / www.fleetweeksandiego.org
San Diego Bacon Fest Sept. 2
An all-inclusive event at Liberty Station, granting you unlimited samples from all our beverage and food vendors.
Time/Place: 12-5pm / Preble Field, NTC Park - Liberty Station
Julian Grape Stomp Festa Sept. 2
With ten local wineries offering sips to sample, a wide variety of food and shopping opportunities, great Italian music provided by Roman Holiday, Bocce Ball Court, a “Lucy Look-Alike” contest and undoubtedly, a little extemporaneous dancing here and there, this will be a party to remember!
Time/Place: 11am-6pm / Menghini Winery: 1150 Julian Orchards Dr.
Contact: 760-765-1857 / http://bit.ly/17grapest
KGB Sky Show Sept. 2
A beautiful production blending lighting, video and special effects to enhance the fireworks display following an exciting SDSU football game.
Time/Place: 5:30pm / Qualcomm Stadium
Labor Day Stickball Tournament Sept. 2-3
The Labor Day Stickball Tournament takes over the streets of Little Italy and allows players to revisit some childhood memories.
Time/Place: 8am-5pm / State St & W Ash St.
Contact: 619-233-3898 / www.littleitalysd.com
Remembering 9/11 Art Competition & Show Sept. 2-29
Artists are invited to create a patriotic themed work of art, honoring our military, veterans, first responders and our country. Reception on Sept. 10 from 2-4pm.
Time/Place: Brandon Gallery: 105 N. Main Avenue, Fallbrook
Contact: 760-731-0277 / www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org
Taste of Del Mar Sept. 7
Explore 20+ culinary creations from local and award-winning restaurants, experience 10+ craft beer and wine “Sip Stops,” and enjoy live music.
Time/Place: 5-8pm / Del Mar Village
Contact: 858-735-3650 / www.visitdelmarvillage.com
Sorrento Valley Beer Festival Sept. 8
Fresh, cool craft beer, delicious food, live music, fun games, fire pits and plenty of comfortable seating. A perfect recipe for a perfect night!
Time/Place: 5-8:30pm / Party Pals: 10427 Roselle St., San Diego
Surf for the Sea/Oceanside Firefighters Charity Surf Event Sept. 8
This is a charity surf event sponsored by Surf for the Sea/Surfrider Foundation.
Time/Place: 7:30am-4:30pm / North Harbor Jetty Beach, Oceanside
Contact: 760-439-0863 / www.ci.oceanside.ca.us
San Diego Blues Festival Sept. 9
Features members of the Blues Hall of Fame, a Grammy Award winner and many other blues acts. A benefit for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.
Time/Place: 12-8pm / Embarcadero Marina Park North
Contact: 858-863-5121 / www.sdbluesfest.com
ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk Sept. 9
Features a 5K run/walk, 1 mile walk, Kids’ Superhero Dash for Dad, and virtual Snooze for Dudes program. Stick around for the family-friendly post-race celebration.
Time/Place: 8am / De Anza Cove Park, San Diego
Contact: 202-303-3110 / http://support.zerocancer.org
Local Brews Local Grooves Sept. 9
Music & beer lovers... get ready for the ultimate craft beer and music festival! Enjoy 12 of the best breweries and bands that San Diego has to offer!
Time/Place: 5pm / House of Blues, San Diego
Contact: 619-299-2583 / www.houseofblues.com/sandiego
Carlsbad Brewfest Sept. 9
There’ll be 25 craft breweries with 50+ of the finest craft beers, and 1,500 of your closest beer buddies. Musical entertainment, food trucks, games, and so much more.
Time/Place: 12-4:30pm / Holiday Park: 3400 Pio Pico Dr.
Santee Bluegrass Festival Sept. 9
Live Bluegrass Music, Food Sampling, Beer & Wine Tasting, Silent Auction, Opportunity Drawing.
Time/Place: 5:30-9:30pm / Town Center Community Park East
Contact: 619-258-4100 / www.cityofsanteeca.gov
South Bay Pride Art & Musical Festival Sept. 9
Fantastic Live Bands, DJ’s and Dancing, Artisans galore with Great Food, Beverages and Cocktails throughout the event, Beach Activities, and much more!
Time/Place: 12-8pm / Chula Vista Bayside Park
Coronado MainStreet Garden Party Sept. 9
A downtown revitalization program dedicated to the beautification and enhancement of Coronado’s downtown. Cost $95-$110.
Time/Place: 5:30-7:30pm / 919 First Street, Coronado
Cardiff Greek Festival Sept. 9-10
Be Greek for the day and enjoy authentic food, music, live entertainment, dancing, children’s activities and more.
Time/Place: Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10:30am-9pm / Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church
Contact: 760-942-0920 / www.cardiffgreekfestival.com
9/11 Breakfast & Remembrance Ceremony Sept. 11
This ceremony is sponsored in partnership with “The Wounded Warrior Project.”
Time/Place: 7-10am / National City Fire Department
Contact: 619-336-4241 / www.nationalcityca.gov
Coronado Hospital Foundation Golf Tourn. Sept. 14
Enjoy playing 18 holes, followed by a fun-filled evening that includes dinner, an awards reception and silent auction!
Time/Place: 10:30am / Coronado Municipal Golf Course
Contact: 619-522-3703 / https://give.sharp.com
Lake Poway Fall Camping Series Sept. 15-16
Set up your tent and explore the park at your own pace. Hike the many trails, drop a line to catch a fish, cruise the lake on a motorboat, or simply relax by your campsite, and take in all the natural beauty that Lake Poway offers.
Time/Place: Sat 5pm-Sun 10am / Lake Poway
Contact: 858-668-4772 / www.poway.org
KAABOO Del Mar Festival Sept. 15-17
Enjoy the world-class music, hilarious comedy, incredible cuisine, craft libations, inspiring contemporary art, and personal indulgences.
Time/Place: Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds
Old Town San Diego Fiestas Patrias Sept. 16
Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with Old Town San Diego while commemorating and experiencing the rich and diverse culture of Mexican California.
Time/Place: 12-4pm / Old Town State Historic Park
Chula Vista Fiestas Patrias Sept. 17
Enjoy delicious food, music, and interactive zones designed for the entire family. Activities include, children’s art area, art and culture, health and fitness, carnival lane, and much more. Admission is Free.
Time/Place: 11am-6pm / West of H St between Bay Blvd and Marina Pkwy
Miramar Air Show Sept. 22-24
A Salute to Vietnam Veterans. General admission to the Miramar Air Show is FREE. “Bring your own” seating is available on both ends of the flight line.
Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
Contact: 877-772-5425 / www.miramarairshow.com
Semper Tri & Devil Dog Duathlon Sept. 23
Help us support quality of life programs for our Marines, Sailors & their Families by taking part.
Time/Place: 7:30am-1pm / Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Walk To End Alzheimer’s Sept. 23
There will be a kid’s zone and walkers can bring their dogs.
Time/Place: 8-11am / Kit Carson Park, Escondido
Civility Day Sept. 23
A free community event all about building bridges through dialogue to prevent violence. Entertainment from local musicians/dancers, Local artists, Free food, Activities for kids, Police & youth soccer game, Community resources on conflict resolution, Special Guests.
Time/Place: 12-4pm / Chula Vista Bayfront Park
Globe Gala 2017 Sept. 23
The Old Globe will celebrate in style with an Evening of Illusions in support of the theatre’s arts engagement and artistic programs.
Time/Place: 6pm / The Old Globe, San Diego
Contact: 619-684-4146 / www.theoldglobe.org
Julian Apple Days Festival Sept. 23-24
A two-day celebration featuring music and dancing, children’s activities, a beer and wine garden, contests, and apple pie.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Menghini Winery: 1150 Julian Orchards Drive
Vista Viking Festival Sept. 23-24
Viking Village and Marketplace, Battles and Weapons Range, Food and Drink, Entertainment and Competitions, Heritage Hall and KidZone and more!
Time/Place: Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm / Norway Hall Foundation: 2006 East Vista Way
San Diego Quilt Show Sept. 28-30
The 2017 San Diego Quilt Show’s theme is “Postcards from San Diego.”
Time/Place: Thu & Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 9am-5pm / SD Convention Center
Contact: 619-443-2706 / www.sandiegoquiltshow.com
La Mesa Oktoberfest Sept. 29-Oct. 1
The locally loved La Mesa Oktoberfest is going back to its roots to bring guests more entertainment, more vendors, more beer, and more “Prost!” (Cheers!) than ever before.
Time/Place: Fri 4-10:30pm, Sat 10am-10:30pm, Sun 10am-6pm / La Mesa Village
Sound of Freedom Poker Run Sept. 30
Enjoy coffee and doughnuts in the morning. Live band, raffle and auction after the ride at the VFW post.
Time/Place: VFW Post 1924: 1175 Old Stage Rd., Fallbrook
Contact: 760-728-8784 / www.fallbrookvfw.org/sof-poker-run-2017
CRSSD Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 1
A two-day electronic music festival featuring three stages and 36+ performers. In addition to the music, the festival will offer craft beer, mixed drinks, food, and more.
Time/Place: San Diego County Waterfront Park
Touring prospective houses can feel like wandering through an infinite, imaginary desert: You’re tired, you’re cranky, and you’re not sure if the experience is EVER. GOING. TO. END.
So when you’ve finally found “The One,” it’s an amazing feeling. You can already picture your first brunch in its adorable breakfast nook.
But wait. Before you summon the moving truck, your dream home’s seller has to pick you, too. Luckily, the key to locking down your ideal abode doesn’t always mean offering the most cash. Here are five ways to tip the odds in your favor.
#1 Negotiate with a Smile
Unlike most commercial real estate transactions, the buying and selling of a home is complicated by all kinds of emotions, explains Sara Benson of Benson Stanley Realty in Chicago. Often, how the seller feels about you can be more important than your money.
“People tend to do business with those they like and trust,” she says.
One of Benson’s favorite examples of this phenomenon occurred when one of her clients was second in line for a home. While the first-place bidders were negotiating their contract, they whipped out a long list of unreasonable demands for the seller.
“This infuriated the homeowner, who finally told them, ‘My property isn’t for sale to you at any price!’” Benson recalls. The seller ended up offering Benson’s clients the house, even though their bid was $10,000 below that of the first buyers.
Lesson learned? “Don’t nitpick over items that are insubstantial, like a torn window screen or a $50 valve on a hot water heater,” says Benson. “This will anger a seller more than anything.” And that, she says, could be a deal breaker.
#2 Get Personal
Bruce Ailion, an agent with RE/MAX in Woodstock, Ga., agrees that profit isn’t always the seller’s primary motivation. He recalls a recent deal in which he was representing an older couple selling their long-time family home.
“We had two offers: one from an investor paying cash, the second from financed first-time buyers.”
Despite Ailion’s recommendations, the sellers chose the first-time buyers, even though the cash offer was higher and would have been a much simpler transaction. Ultimately, what mattered most for Ailion’s clients was to pass their beloved home on to a deserving young family.
#3 Figure Out the Seller's Unique Motivation
Understanding why the sellers have put their home on the market is yet another powerful tool a buyer can bring to the negotiating table, says Ailion.
“Some sellers want a quick sale; others need time to find a home. Some are focused on price, others on certainty,” he says. “There are so many intangibles. It takes a deep understanding to make a good deal for everyone.”
See what information you can glean about the seller — from your agent or even from the seller’s neighbors — to arm yourself with as much information as possible.
“The more flexible a buyer can be on closing and possession, the more likely they’ll be able to negotiate a lower price,” agrees Benson. “They’re giving the seller peace of mind and the comfort of not having to rush out.”
#4 Write a Love Letter
Sometimes, a heartfelt note from a potential buyer can make all the difference, even when the chances seem pretty slim.
Darcey Regan, a Chicago-based HR executive, had already bid on another home when she and her husband stumbled upon a gorgeous old Victorian. Instantly, they were smitten. “I grew up in an old house, and the sellers had done a really great job of maintaining and renovating this one,” she says.
Unfortunately, multiple people had already placed offers on the house, including several developers who were planning to demolish the property. Regan felt her only hope was to write the sellers a letter. In it, she talked about growing up in a similar house, and how much she respected the owners’ efforts to preserve their home.
Within 24 hours, the sellers told her the house was hers. “It turns out they really wanted someone who would keep the house rather than tear it down,” she says.
Though it felt like a long shot, Regan believes her note was successful because it was genuine. Her advice? “Write a letter only if you’re really in love with the house, not because someone told you to.”
#5 Work With a Pro
It also helps to have a knowledgeable, well-respected pro on your side — someone who understands market realities and who will work well with the seller’s agent.
How do you find that seasoned pro with the sterling reputation? “Ask for referrals from your personal and professional network, and interview at least three different [agents] before you choose the one you feel most comfortable working with,” advises Benson.
Residential real estate is a game of both head and heart. Smart buyers who employ both are the ones most likely to win the home of their dreams.
5 key questions to ask yourself before buying a home.
Tired of working so hard just to build your landlord's equity instead of your own? Been dreaming about paint swatches and obsessing over Pinterest projects? Making that leap from renting to owning a home comes with many perks -- both financial and emotional. And even though home ownership comes with great responsibility, you might be surprised how achievable it can be.
Certainly, the best time to trade security deposits for a down payment is different for everyone. If you're thinking about switching from renting to owning, ask yourself these five questions to decide if you're ready to embark on the home ownership adventure.
1. Are You Financially Prepared?
Let's not beat around the bush: Buying a home requires a substantial financial commitment.
There's the down payment, of course. "On average, you want to have a minimum of 5% to 7% of the cost of the home you're targeting," says Jason Harriman, a REALTOR® with San Antonio-based Heyl Real Estate Group at Keller Williams Realty. Then, add 3% to 6% more for closing costs, which will vary based on where you live and what taxes your state and city require you to pay.
Tip: Keep in mind if you put down less than 20%, you'll pay PMI, private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in case of default. Usually, it's about $50 to $200 a month. But once you reach a certain threshold on your loan to value ratio, you can cancel PMI.
A healthy credit history is also important. Most borrowers will start to qualify for a mortgage with a minimum score of 620 -- but the most competitive interest rates will be offered to those with a score of 700 or above. So if you haven't started practicing those good credit habits yet, it's time to start developing them.
One of the trickiest hurdles for young adults, so many of whom are lugging around student loan debt, is the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Mortgage companies want borrowers to have a certain level of cash flow each month, and that means taking into account how much you're paying out to other lenders. Ideally, a borrower's debt-to-income ratio -- how much you pay toward debt each month divided by your gross monthly income -- should fall below 36%. (Strictly speaking, a loan is considered able to be paid if the DTI doesn't exceed 43%.) If yours doesn't, think about how you can get that debt needle moving in the right direction.
"The best way to do this is to pay off any unsecured debts like credit cards and personal loans, and keep them as close to a zero balance as you can," says Harriman.
2. Are You Prepared to Make Compromises?
Kathleen Celmins, who manages the personal finance site "Stacking Benjamins," was financially prepared to manage a mortgage. But once the house hunting began, she quickly realized she was priced out of the homes she had envisioned for herself.
"I originally wanted a single-family home with a yard and in a great neighborhood," she says. But given her price point, the homes she could afford ended up being in, well, not the greatest neighborhoods. "At one point, we looked at a property that was directly behind a strip club," she laughs. "We didn't even go inside."
After several weeks of searching, Celmins realized she needed to find a middle ground. "In my price range, I could get a not-so-great house in a not-so-great neighborhood. Or, I could get a really cute condominium with a gas range and granite countertops," she says. "It was something I compromised on. I gave up a yard for having fancy stuff in my condo."
3. Are You Emotionally Ready?
When it comes to renting, surprises don't require much emotional investment. The rent goes up? You can move. The fridge is on the fritz? The landlord will send someone over. Home ownership is a bit more hands-on. If the toilet breaks, it's time to start reading Yelp reviews. And if property taxes unexpectedly rise, it's on you to appeal or pay up.
"My homeowners association fee doubled in the first year I owned my condominium," says Celmins. "Then my real estate taxes were reassessed. My mortgage payment went up and I panicked. I didn't even know that could happen."
Of course, having the financial flexibility to cover those unexpected things is important, but don't overlook the importance of having the mental and emotional capability of dealing with them responsibly when they arise. Everything could be peachy for months, and then three maintenance issues might spring up in the same week. Stress management and problem solving skills are home ownership biggies.
4. Will Owning Pay Off in the Long Run?
Depending on the home you choose and where you live, you may pay a lower mortgage than you paid for rent. But even if you don't, there's still the financial advantage of building equity in your home, instead of lining your landlord's pockets.
5. Has Your Lifestyle Outgrown Renting?
Many people find a rental can only take them so far. When you're ready to start a family, you're going to want a few extra rooms, and that can get expensive with rising rental rates. A yard also provides a safe place for Junior to play or for a dog to scamper around. And speaking of Fido, the vast majority of renters have trouble finding a place that will allow for their pet. Home ownership can end that stress for good.
Then there are the renovations. If you're itching to test out your DIY skills and personalize your space, you're probably ready to own. Landlords who allow property renovations -- especially DIY projects -- are few and far between.
Buying a first home is a big change -- both from a financial and an emotional perspective. Still, for many, home ownership can be one of the most rewarding life choices one can make. "Turns out it's awesome," said Celmins. "I love it so much."
Escondido is a mid-sized city surrounded by rocky hills and set within a shallow valley. It's located approximately 30 miles north of San Diego and is also one of the oldest cities in the entire county. While Escondido isn't situated next to a coast, there are three lakes close by, making it easy to go boating or fishing. Both Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford are consistently stocked with trout and other fish. And Lake Hodges is a picturesque reservoir with its own dam.
Escondido, CA Homes for sale