Category Archives: California Real Estate

Home Warranties Offer Great Benefits to Sellers and Buyers

billsSometimes we get asked by both sellers and buyers if home warranties are worth it. Our answer is always YES as both parties benefit from these policies.

Home warranty plans, also known as home protection plans, provide coverage for home appliances and major heating, electrical and cooling systems in the event they fail or break down. If any of the items under warranty in the program should fail, the consumer simply contacts the home warranty company, and they see to it that the item is inspected, repaired or replaced by a qualified contractor for a small “service call fee” (typically $60-$75).

Having a policy in place makes a home, particularly an older home, more attractive to buyers, as it can provide piece of mind knowing there will be coverage for unforeseen repairs upon move in. They can also save the day and speed turnaround time during the escrow itself as having a warranty in place will take care of any last minute problems of failing appliances and systems that can lead to re-negotiations when it is time to close.

Research has shown that homes with a warranty plan sell faster and at a higher price point. Warranties are a very affordable way to help ensure a smooth home sale transaction and increase both seller and buyer satisfaction.

For more information on home warranty plans, check out the website of our partner American Home Shield.

Rescue Dogs Can Make Great Family Members

dougieI was actually opposed to the idea of getting a dog, since I knew I would end up being the primary care taker – not my kids who were the ones begging to get one! Then we walked by an Open Arms Rescue setup outside of a pet supply store and met Dougie (named “Spunky” at the time).  It was his sweet, calm disposition that sold us on him.  He didn’t yap and whine, nor smother us with wiggling excitement and licks.  He was calm and serene, and looked like a truly gentle spirit.  We took him home for an extended visit (about a week) to see if he would get along with our cat and fit into our family.  He turned out to be absolutely perfect – friendly to every other dog on walks, sweet to the kids and the cat, and never barks when left alone.  We couldn’t be happier with our new member of the family!

This weekend, August 1-2, Coldwell Banker offices in communities across the United States, along with shelters and rescue groups in the network, will join forces for one of the largest adoption events of the year.  This nationwide event builds on the success of the “Homes for Dogs Project,” a national campaign hosted by Coldwell Banker® and, that aims to find homes for 20,000 adoptable dogs in 2015.  If you are interested in a pure bred, please know you can still adopt a rescue animal.  There are several rescue groups that are breed specific such as Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group, Inc., Maltese Rescue California, Southern California Pomeranian Rescue and more.   We hope you will consider attending one of the events this weekend and adopting a new member of your family. Please use this link to find an event near you: The Homes for Dogs National Adoption Weekend.


Del Mar’s Summer Twilight Concerts in Powerhouse Park

Del Mar’s annual Summer Twilight Concerts in Powerhouse Park continue tomorrow night with a concert by Berkley, Hart, Selis, Twang and Tim Flannery at  7:00PM with The Zel’s Opening Act, Christopher Dale, starting at 6:00PM. These monthly concerts run through September and are extremely popular – so be sure to arrive early as both parking and picnic space will be at a premium. These concerts are just one of the many things that the Del Mar Foundation does throughout the year in Del Mar that contribute to making Del Mar such a special place to live. For more info on the series and suggestions of where to park, food options, etc. check out the Del Mar Foundation website. You can also find information on the many other events they sponsor.
We have helped numerous buyers find their dream homes in Del Mar over the years and we would love to help you too.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the real estate market in Del Mar or anywhere in the Coastal North San Diego County region.

The San Diego County Fair Is Happening Now!

The annual San Diego County Fair opened this past weekend and will run through Sunday July 5th.   This year’s theme  “A Fair to Remember: a Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Parkcommemorates the centennial anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held in Balboa Park, and the great traditions and inventions arising from all of the fairs held in years past.  
For those who have never been, it is certainly a local event not to be missed.  There are so many different things to do, see, ride, eat, watch, buy, etc… it would be hard to capture in one article, but you can be assured with so many options there is something for everyone!  The variety of live music acts alone appeal to wide range of audiences.  Featured on multiple stages throughout the fairgrounds, there is everything from local, amateur acts to world renowned bands and music styles ranging from gospel to mariachi to rock and everything in between. There is the a Fun Zone with traditional and new carnival rides and games.  There are multiple barns housing rotating animal competitions.  If you are interested in art, you can spend an entire day admiring works from various art competitions including photography, painting, pottery and woodworking.  In addition, there are offbeat acts, such as swine races, hypnotists and magic shows, are also spread out among the fairgrounds. There also plenty of competitions you can enter if you are so inclined.  There is so much more than is listed here, be sure to check out the website before you go so you can plan you visit! 
The Geller-Meier Team is located in the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office at the same exit as the San Diego County Fair.  Please call us if you would like to stop by and discuss your real estate needs!  We would love the opportunity to show you properties near the fair – perhaps a condo in Solana Beach, a house on the beach in Del Mar or an estate in Rancho Santa Fe. Whatever your real estate needs are in North San Diego County, we are here to help!


Know someone starting college or graduate school in San Diego?

Obtaining a mortgageDo you know someone who will be attending college or graduate school in San Diego? Or perhaps they are starting their first job in San Diego. If so, we would love to discuss why investing in a property, versus renting, for the next few years makes financial sense.

Interest rates continue to be near historic lows, making financing very attractive. Though the San Diego housing market has been hot and prices have been on the rise, there are still many great opportunities to buy condos and townhomes close to San Diego’s campuses for less than $500,000.

In addition, there are a variety of FHA programs to choose from which could be very attractive to Baby Boomers/Empty Nesters looking to help their child get into his/her first home. Many people are under the illusion that they’d have to fork over a 20-25% down payment ($80,000 to $100,000) to help their kid get into a $400,000-$500,000 home—when in fact it can be done for less than $22,000.

Here’s how it works: The young adult goes out with Mom & Dad’s favorite Realtors – Maxine Geller and Eva Meier. They find a 3-bedroom home for under $500,000. Mom and/or Dad help him/her qualify for an FHA mortgage with as little as only 3.5% down. As owner/occupant, they can bring in a couple roommates for $750 each… and enjoy living in his own home for only $1200 a month. And it’ll only cost the parents $22,000 out of pocket.

We have done this with several clients and it is a total win-win! FHA is a sleeping giant that many agents and clients forget about— with interest rates at historic lows there’s never been a better time for Mom and Dad to help their adult children get into a home of their own. Let us know if you or someone you know has someone we can help with their first home.

Spotlight on Cardiff-by-the-Sea

2010-2011 Volcom's Totally Crustaceous Tour, Seaside, Cardiff CaCardiff-by-the-Sea is a very special place.  Originally founded in 1911 by developer J. Frank Cullen, the community was named in honor of his wife’s native Wales, and many streets have English names. This distinctive town became part of the incorporated City of Encinitas in 1986, but has retained its unique character and identity.  The community is known for its “walkability”, with the beach, lagoon, restaurants, markets, post office, library, restaurants and other services within easy walking distance of each other. Cardiff’s Restaurant Row, along Highway 101, provides great dining options right on the beach, with fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean.  The small town hosts some fun festivals throughout the year including the annual Cardiff Surf Classic  & Green Beach Fair, Taste of Cardiff and the Dog Days of Summer.

Around the world, Cardiff is well known for its awesome surfing, particularly Cardiff Reef, which attracts professional and amateur surfers year round.  Surf fans know about Cardiff for local legend and Cardiff resident, Rob Machado. He can be regularly seen catching a waves or enjoying one of the bowls named after him at a local café, Sambazon. In addition to surfing, Cardiff’s beaches are a great place to relax or enjoy a variety of other ocean sports including boogie boarding, paddle boarding and kite surfing. 

The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, a state wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary, is a jewel within Cardiff that attracts approximately 300 bird species annually. It has a lovely nature center that hosts numerous events throughout the year.  It is great not only for bird-watching, but for its ideal hiking trails through coastal wetland habitat. The entire reserve encompasses 1,000 acres of habitat that hosts more than 700 species of plants and animals and numerous hiking trails. 


A statue nicknamed “The Cardiff Kook” has received world-wide attention and is definitely a well-known attraction on the Coast Highway. The official name of the statue is “Magic Carpet Ride”, but soon after its unveiling, local surfers took to calling it the “Cardiff Kook”.  It has become a tradition to decorate it based on a theme, either public or private.  Sometimes it is adorned with simple happy birthday signs and sometimes it is dressed up much more elaborately, for example as a surfer about to be swallowed by a giant papier-mâché shark.  This famous landmark even has its own website, calendar and swag!

As for rSunseteal estate, Cardiff is highly desirable and inventory tends to be very low.  If you are interested in properties in this community, you need an agent who is knowledgeable and experienced in Cardiff that can provide you the expert guidance to be able act quickly, as properties tend to sell fast.  Eva Meier has been a resident for 27 years and a real estate agent for 17 years in Cardiff.  She has the insider knowledge to help you, whether you are looking for an affordable condo, an oceanview twinhome or a fabulous custom home in the composer district. Speaking of which, right now the Geller-Meier Team has an amazing custom home listed in the Composer District.  Check it out at, contact Eva (760.815.1318) or Maxine (858.353.5512) to schedule a private showing or come to the Open House this weekend on Saturday or Sunday from 1-4 PM.

Sometimes divorcing your home can be the hardest part of separating


Unfortunately, not all relationships last forever. Over the years, we have worked with a number of couples who were in the process of uncoupling. One of the hardest parts of ending a relationship when you own a home together can be figuring out what to do about the property you co-own.  Even though the relationship did not work out, both people may still love the home and want to stay, but generally neither one can afford to buy the other out.

We recently assisted one such couple – David and Maria.  They both loved their home so much that neither wanted to part with it.  Maria believed the house’s floor plan and big backyard were perfect for the daycare business she wanted to start, and David loved his five­ minute commute to work.  Since neither could afford to buy the other out, their divorce – and lives – were stalled.  Maria’s attorney, a friend of ours, suggested the couple call and talk to us.

Before we met, we did a thorough review of all the homes for sale in their area.  We determined a price range the couple could realistically expect to get for selling their home.  We then found a two bedroom townhome in a great, small complex just seven minutes from David’s office.  We also located two houses that could meet Maria’s criteria, but in an older, more affordable neighborhood. 

When we met with David and Maria, we were able to put these ideas, and, specifically, these properties in front of them, and they agreed it was time to let us help them explore all their options, list their home, and move on with their lives.

Having worked with many clients in similar situations over the years, we understand it can be hard to let go of a home you love, but we are here to help!

Please give us a call to discuss how we might be able to help you or someone you know.


Fiesta Del Sol and Solana Beach

Solana BeaBanner_Web_Fiestach’s 36th Annual Celebration of Fiesta del Sol is happening this weekend – May 30th and 31st at Fletcher Cove!  This free two day music & crafts festival has been Solana Beach’s kick off to summer for decades and is appropriate for all ages.  Solana Beach’s Belly Up Tavern, a popular live music venue known throughout the region for hosting both world famous and local acts, has lined up the entertainment again this year and it promises to be the best year yet with 18 amazing bands. Check out the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce site to get more information and see the schedule of performers.

There are many things that make Solana Beach stand out among North County beach towns. Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District is a great shopping area known for its unique boutiques, home and garden shops, antique stores, as well as a weekly farmer’s market.  Solana Beach also has a wide range of both local and chain shops and restaurants. There is a train station which is a stop for both local Coaster trains servicing San Diego to Oceanside as well as Amtrack trains to Los Angeles with connections all over the US.

We have had the pleasure of representing both buyers and sellers in Solana Beach.  Though the population is only around 13,000, there is a wide variety of options for real estate from custom estates to one bedroom condos and everything in between.  As for townhomes and condos there are options with ocean views, walking distance to the beach, close to golf or by the world famous Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.  Homes vary too – from to custom homes to lovely planned communities.  No matter what type of property you are looking for, chances are there is a place in Solana Beach for you.  Please contact us to help you find that perfect place.

Spring is in the Air – Time for Spring Cleaning!

nullWe are so lucky to have beautiful weather year round in San Diego that we sometimes do not appreciate the transition from winter to spring.  Even though there is not a big change in weather it is still a great time of year to tackle a big house cleaning.


Planning on renovating your home? Consider resale value even if you are not ready to sell!

Of course you should remodel your home to maximize your own enjoyment. However, if you are planning on selling in the future, it is always a good idea to think about resale value when considering renovations. If you are thinking of tackling remodeling projects to sell in the near future, you should research which home renovations make sense and how to accomplish them to add value to your home. has some great statistics for the Pacific Region that show the average costs and returns for various projects. Projects that add usable living space top the list in the Pacific, including deck additions which we are lucky enough to be able to use year round in San Diego. New windows and front doors also have excellent return. Notable is that minor kitchen remodels have a better return than major remodels and bathroom remodels have a high return.

These numbers do not tell the whole story. If you are going to spend money remodeling to resell, you should also be sure to keep in mind choosing styles that match the home and materials that will appeal to the widest range of buyers. This Old House’s has a great article on this topic: Renovations That Give You a Return on Your Investment.

Your best bet if you are remodeling to sell is to let us give you our expert perspective. We would be happy to meet with you and share our knowledge of what buyers notice, appreciate and value in the North County Coastal Region depending on what type of home it is – whether it be a townhome in Carmel Valley, a beach house in Cardiff or a planned community in Carlsbad.

photo credit: new plans via photopin (license)