Category Archives: Solana Beach

Blake Lively Brings Encinitas, Del Mar and La Jolla into The Lime Light for Her June Vogue Cover Shoot!

Surfing Swami's at Sunset in Encinitas, courtesy Kdude, FlicrNew York might be her residence, but Southern California apparently has her heart!  Encinitas gets great exposure thanks to actress Blake Lively’s photo shoot at Swami’s, which is the June cover of Vogue magazine.  You can visit her Vogue Diary and listen to her dish about her beachy trip, family and her passions.  While Blake was in town she got a private surf lesson from legend Rob Machado, as did Vogue’s Hamish Bowles

Hey, Blake…if you’re looking for Del Mar CA Real Estate…you know who to call 😉

NOAA warns of El Nino

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an El Nino Advisory, stating that the El Nino conditions are expected to strengthen and last in the Northern Hemisphere throughout  the winter of 2009-2010.

For those of us in Southern California, North Coastal San Diego County in It never rains in California?particular, that means way more rain than we’re used to.  There’s no doubt we need it after so many years of water shortages, but the torrential downpours can cause problems. 

  • Make sure all your drains and gutters are cleared of debris and are functioning properly before the rain hits. 
  • If your home doesn’t have gutters, you may consider having them installed.
  • Visually inspect nearby storm drains before the storm season and after every rain.
  • If drain are obstructed, notify your local Dept of Public Works 

Stay dry and enjoy the show!

Solana Beach Bags a Winning Recycling Program

The Coastal North San Diego County region has always been at the cutting edge of all things “green”.  From initiating the Cottonwood Creek Environmental Film Festival to being home of the newly renamed San Diego Botanical Garden, the northern part of San Diego County seems to attract those protective of our environment and inspire conservation among those who enjoy living here.   One of our local beach communities, Solana Beach CA, has found another way to make life cleaner and better for all of us that live and play here. 

Since 2008, the City of Solana Beach has been recycling plastic shopping bags. Working with EDCO, their contract solid waste hauler, and Trex Co Inc. of Virginia, the country’s leading manufacturer of wood-alternative decking made from recycled materials, the city has kept an estimated 160,000 plastic bags out of area landfills and off the streets.

Residents can now drop off clean plastic bags or plastic wrappings at nine convenient drop-off points.
• City Hall, 635 S. Hwy 101
• La Colonia Community Center, 715 Valley Ave.
• Fire Station, 500 Lomas Santa Fe
• Premiere Cleaners, 154 S Solana Hills Dr.
• One Hour Martinizing, 661 Lomas Santa Fe Cleaners, 917 Lomas Santa Fe
• Lomas Santa Fe Cleaners, 917 Lomas Santa Fe
• Park Place Cleaners, 437 S. Hwy 101
• Liberty Cleaners, 124 Lomas Santa Fe
• Marshalls, 915 Lomas Santa Fe

Yet Another Plastic Bag on Beach, courtesy gretchichi

Yet Another Plastic Bag on Beach, courtesy gretchichi

EDCO transports the plastic bags from the drop-off points to the city public works yard at no cost to the city.  There, the bags are “baled” using a machine provided by Trex and paid for by proceeds from the recycled bags.  The bales are then picked up by Trex Co. and the plastic is reused.

The City spends less than $3,000 annually on wages supporting this program. Once the $3,000 cost of the baling machine is met, the city will begin receiving $0.15 per pound by Trex.  City administrators are proud of this program for its significant environmental and financial benefits to the residents of Solana Beach.

State officials believe that the successful plastic bag recycling program in Solana Beach may become a model for other cities throughout the state.

Plastic pollution has become a severe worldwide environmental issue, but those here in Solana Beach CA are doing their part to clean up the planet.

Avoiding Traffic at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

I found myself stuck in another traffic bottleneck this morning.  It took me half an hour to drive off the exit ramp and creep the 1/2 mile to my Coldwell Banker Del Mar Village office.  And, what gets me is that it was totally avoidable!

Del Mar Fairgrounds

Del Mar Fairgrounds

I ought to know better after living and working next to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the last 20 years!  Summer after summer, we locals learn to arrange our schedules around the traffic patterns generated by the San Diego County Fair and the race track season.  The problem is we forget that the Fairgrounds are also used throughout the year for a variety of events. In fact, the facifilites are used for over 350 events a year.  They include weddings, receptions, equestrian and other animal shows, concerts, craft shows, home shows, car shows and other social and consumer events.

When there’s an event going on, it can take hours to go a mile, and sometimes, there’s no way to turn around and take another route.  It can be rather frustrating, to say the least, and as I mentioned, it’s totally avoidable!  I am hereby promising myself to visit and check the schedule once a month to make sure I know what times and days to avoid.  Hey, and who knows?  I may even learn about an event I wouldn’t want to miss!  For example, I’m sure my 2 yr old and my 4 yr old would enjoy the circus that’s coming next week – I never would have known about it had I not written this post and checked the schedule!

If you’d like to take advantage of the great prices out there and buy a second home – a launching pad, so to speak – to all the wonderful events at the Fairgrounds, give me a call (760-815-1318)!  It is a phenomenal time to buy.  Or, if you just can’t take the traffic anymore and want to sell your Del Mar CA home, I have buyers for you!  Give me a call!

Prices in Del Mar Still Falling

Low end has hit bottom, but Del Mar is still on the way down

While the lower end in San Diego County is selling like hotcakes, with multiple offers and major frustration for those trying to purchase, the buyers still have the upper hand in higher end markets like Del Mar

Depreciating vs Appreciating Market

The de facto definition of a depreciating market is one where the rate at which inventory is coming on the market is faster than the rate at which property is going into escrow.  Your basic supply/demand equation…  The low end in San Diego County – everywhere from Oceanside, Vista, and San Marcos to Clairemont, Linda Vista and Mira Mesa – is seeing a definite slowing in new inventory and a huge number of new escrows.  From what I can see, they’ve already hit bottom.  The demand is putting pressure on prices, which are bound to start creeping up soon as a result.  In contrast, home prices in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, and other high end coastal North San Diego County markets, have yet to hit bottom.  The following graph showing says it all:

Del Mar CA Market Activity - a declining market

Del Mar CA Market Activity - a declining market

This set of circumstances provides an incredible opportunity for those interesting in getting their foot in the door into Del Mar Real Estate.  For the inside scoop on the great values, give me a call (760-815-1318) or do your own research on our site  Don’t let this market pass you by!

Short Sales: the interminable waiting game

Rampant short sales and huge lender losses

I understand the pain lenders must feel with all the losses they are suffering right now.  So, why doesn’t someone from within, from within and above, streamline the process so they can minimize their losses and move on??  The extent of the bureaucracy is unbelievable.

The short sale process: a classic bureaucractic quagmire

A prime example of lenders cutting off their noses to spite their faces is what’s happening with my clients P and T.  They are all cash buyers, ready to act swiftly and close within a couple of weeks, but looking in areas where virtually every listing is a short sale or a foreclosure.  We restricted our search to properties whose listing agents had specifically told us they were extremely close to getting bank approval.  We wrote offers on two properties, both with reassurances that we should have an answer within a week or two at the latest.  It has been 6 weeks with the first, and almost 5 with the second.  We get no courtesy updates, no calls even inquiring whether we are still in the game or have found another property. 

The perfect property with an imperfect agent

Meanwhile, we’ve been keeping tabs on the market, checking out new listings, hoping for an REO (banked owned) property that would meet their needs – these sellers (i.e. the banks) generally respond quickly and we’d be able to close in a couple of weeks.  No such luck, but we did find The Perfect Property.  The problem is,

  1. it’s a short sale,
  2. it just came on the market, and
  3. the listing agent has done no homework. 

This particular listing agent lists homes with particularly low prices to generate lots of offers, submits them ALL to the lenders (there’s a first and a second trust deed holder), and then waits for them to make sense of them all.  While the banks are proceeding with the short sale approval process, he continues to submit offers as he receives them, bogging down the system.  Eventually, the lenders come back with a minimum approved figure, of which the listing agent then informs all buyers, giving them an opportunity to respond with their highest and best offer.  Then, buyers must wait again for the next round of bureaucrats to assess the offers and pick one. 

A very long wait

We were informed this process would take 90 days!  Here are a couple of high quality buyers, willing to pay FULL price, all cash, and the lenders are stupid enough to risk losing them.  It all could be settled within a matter of a couple of weeks.  But because the lenders haven’t taken the time to create an efficient system for dealing with offers, and because the listing agent is lazy and doesn’t want to do the extra work of finding the best offer to present to the lender, we have to sit around and wait for this inefficient process to run its course…  We may or may not stick around…

How Lucky I Am to Live Here!

The continued weather reports of the gripping cold across the Midwest and upper northeast have once again made me aware of how lucky I am to live in San Diego California.  Today is sunny, clear skies, and in the 70’s! 


I find it so easy to become complacent and just go about my life, mostly outdoors, without the thought of putting on a heavy coat, hat, gloves and warm boots.  There are no problems with skidding on ice or having my windshield wipers on extra fast to clear the pouring rain! 

Yes, I pay heavily to live here – a smaller home at a higher price – but to me it’s worth it.  While many are spending time in their homes in front of their fireplaces, I am about to take a walk on the beach! 

I live in North County Coastal San Diego, where the surf meets the turf in Del Mar, and, on a clear day like today, one can see islands 100 miles away!   Well, off to get my sunscreen and book and head to the beach!

Major activity in the low end – where the best deals are…

While those of us working in Del Mar Real Estate are having a very slow month, our colleagues to the north can barely keep their head above water. 

Hot Real Estate Deals!

The market in Oceanside, Vista, and Fallbrook is so hot for buyers, just about every listing has multiple offers!  I’ve been working with several clients looking for homes in those areas, and we’re seeing homes that sold for $450k back in 2004 selling for as low as $150-$200k today!  From townhomes to detached bungalows, there are some unbelievable deals out there right now.  No wonder this is where all the activity is!

North San Diego County Real Estate Sales

North San Diego County Real Estate Sales

San Diego’s Public Transport – or Lack Thereof

Public officials and news commentators often complain about how we Californians are too in love with our cars to use public transportation.  While I agree we are fairly addicted to our own personal set of wheels, I am certainly willing and would be happy to take a bus or train from time to time and avoid sitting in traffic.

The problem is, the schedules and routes available leave a lot to be desired, and I often have no choice but to drive myself.

Take the day before yesterday, for example.  I thought it would be a fun outing for my family (my husband, my 2 year old boy and my 4 year old girl) to head to downtown San Diego from our north county beachside community, Cardiff-by-the-Sea.  It’s only a 20 minute drive, but I thought part of the fun would be to take the commuter train “The Coaster” down there and back. 

(Buses weren’t an option unless we were willing to transfer 3 times and spend our entire day just on getting there.)  So, I went online and looked up the Coaster schedule – NOT a single train on Sundays!  I guess it’s only for commuters – well, only for M-F commuters… 

So then I checked Amtrak– I know I’ve often had to sit and wait for passing trains on a Sunday, so, I think to myself, there must be plenty of trains scheduled throughout the day.  Well, there were several options – can’t complain there.  Almost one train an hour.

The shocker was the fee – they charge $18 round trip for 1 adult!  My 4 year old could go at half fare, and the little one was free, so our total came to $45 – just to go 20 minutes down the coast.  Had the Coaster been available it would have cost us $24 total – better, but still hardly what one would expect after living in a city like New York, where a 20 minute ride costs a few bucks…  No wonder people drive themselves.

The Upside of the Downturn

Depressing Times

This has been a depressing time, particularly for those of us in the real estate industry.  Well, in fact, for everybody!  The economic crisis has spread around the world, and few are immune to its devastation.  I have watched so many lose their homes whether through foreclosure or being forced to sell short.  Lovely families with small children, elderly who had recently downsized, up and coming yuppies who had bought their first condo.  Even those San Diego homeowners whose mortgages are of the good old fashioned 30 year fixed variety are struggling because they have lost their jobs. 

Wide Range of Price Adjustments

In San Diego County, the drop in real estate values spans the gamut.  I’ve seen as low as 10%-15% adjustments in some of the coastal communities like Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carmel Valley; 50% in several areas with lots of newer track homes like Chula Vista and San Marcos; and as high as 70% drops in some areas like Vista, Fallbrook and Oceanside. 

The Silver Lining

So can there possible be a silver lining to all of this?  Well, one’s loss is another’s gain.  The fact is that the affordability index has tripled in North San Diego County Real Estate over the last year, from 10% in November 2007 to 30% in November 2008.

Affordability Index in San Diego County
Affordability Index in San Diego County

Couple that with the fact that the rates are at historic lows, this is a fantastic time to buy.  If one is well qualified, or has a significant amount of cash to put down, one can purchase a property at an incredible discount.  If you’d like help finding one of those great deals, whether Del Mar property or elsewhere in the county where the deals are even better, give me a call 760-815-1318.  Or, you’re welcome to do your own research – just visit our website whwere you can search the entire MLS by map.