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If You follow us on Social Media (If you don’t you should) you’ve probably noticed a couple of properties we just listed with multiple units. So it got me thinking, what are some of the advantages of owning these types of properties and why you should consider it!

Duplexes are a great start for those who are interested in investing in real estate. And, a superb (yet out-of-the box) strategy for first-time buyers. Duplexes are unique, and can prove to be a winning proposition!

Five advantages of owning a duplex


  1. Affordability

A duplex can be a great start for you if you are looking to buy a bigger home in the near future. Why? Rental income. The potential to finish `which helps pay off the mortgage.

  1. Get help with your mortgage

As I mentioned above, you can use your rental income to pay off the mortgage much quicker making it more affordable. This is one of the greatest advantages when owning a duplex which is why it’s appealing for new or seasoned investors.

To help paint a picture, let’s say your mortgage payments on the property is $1,500 per month. You rent the other half of the property for $950 a month, which leaves you only paying only $550 a month! If that isn’t turning some gears in your head then I don’t know what will.

  1. Live in one side, work from the other

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who want’s an affordable workspace why not work from next door? Living next door to the office can save you time and money in the long haul. Say goodbye to the long hour commute.

  1. Use the second unit for family

If you have an older family that need close attention, a duplex arrangement might be a great solution. You can all have peace of mind knowing your just a doorknock away. Another idea, rent it out to a family member who’s just graduated from University but can’t quite afford their own place yet. Not only will they be thankful but helping family and friends is one of the most rewarding feelings.

  1. Airbnb

We’ve all heard of it but does it work? There are numerous investors (new and experienced) who are taking advantage of the airbnb platform. Having the ability to rent out half of your property for a certain time is a win win. Check out how you can take advantage with a click youtube search to get started!

So you wanna buy a home…

You know every detail this home needs, from the square footage, to the extra room you want to use as your home office/yoga studio/place of solace from your crazy kids. So with the research done and a budget set it’s time to hit the streets and turn this goal into reality, until, reality hits you in the face. You can’t find the home with your special room, your offers aren’t being accepted, and the original budget you set for yourself isn’t working out. PAUSE. This is where we come in, and when I say we, I mean buyers agents. And guess what? You don’t have to pay us a dime!

Here are 5 reasons why you should use a buyers agent when looking for your new home.

1) Searching during high volume periods

During these periods, (typically spring/fall) there’s an influx of inventory to choose from which can be daunting to many people. An agent will have the most up to-date information of what’s currently on the market and can filter through the properties that don’t fit your criteria.

2) Area expertise

Good agents are experts on the various neighborhoods throughout your county. They can give valuable input that you might have overlooked due to the stresses of your home search. Your agent can give deeper insight by providing comparable properties, pros & cons of each neighborhood etc.

3) Write offers and negotiate with confidence

You can feel more confident when negotiating a fair price for your potential home. This is a skill that a buyers agent has continuously worked on and has mastered. Your agent will help you come up with a strategy and implement that strategy to ensure your success.

4) Workflow/Paperwork

There is a TON of paperwork and due dates during a real estate transaction, and much of it can be confusing. An agent will be able to break everything down for you and make sure you don’t overlook the more important documents. Be confident that you will have a smooth and steady transaction.

5) IT’S FREE

Last but not least, hiring a buyer’s agent is free to you. We can’t tell you how many people don’t know that we get paid from the seller of the property. So with no cost to you, it should be a no brainer to hire a buyer’s agent, to have proper representation and to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.

The answer to the question above is simple and short: YES! It is absolutely ok to use a friend as your real estate agent! But there’s a caveat to this:

Obviously, experience matters tremendously. There’s a lot to be said about knowledge base and expertise (which is really the top reason to hire a realtor, but more on this later in the article). That being said; your agent, irrespective of your relationship with him or her (be it your friend, cousin, brother, sister, former co-worker, etc.) should be vested in the industry. Your agent should not be a hobbyist or someone who just sees the work as a “side hustle”. Someone who does the real estate “side hustle,” typically, lacks the time to really put in the vital work to make a deal happen. Even a rookie full-time agent is better than a “Hobby” agent.

Agents who do this business as a hobby or a side hustle most often lack the knowledge of the important details about transactions, specifically negotiation, that can get you into trouble or be unable to get you out of trouble.  Further, the hobbyist, may lack the sense of urgency and drive to work effectively and efficiently for you. Back in the day (the stone age when nothing was online), you’d hire an agent because agents had the keys to the gates of information. Agents were your “in,” to obtain all data about new listings. NOW, that data is at your disposal 24/7 on that awesome smartphone! The value of the real estate agent lays in negotiation skill and strength, nuanced knowledge, industry experience and the brains and creativity to get you in or out of deals! There’s a slim chance a side hustler can be all of those things for you. Those strengths take full time discipline and practice! “You’re talking about practice?” YES! We are! A full-time agent must grind and hustle every day, taking massive action!

A full-time agent is dedicated and is going to work hard for you – this isn’t a hobby that he or she does only on the weekend – we live, eat and breath real estate! If you were getting brain surgery, would you want a part-time surgeon who does one or two surgeries per year? NO!!! You want the surgeon who does multiple surgeries per day. Now I am not equating being a real estate agent to being a brain surgeon, but it does take some degree of intelligence to do this job well and to sustain it for many years! So, do you want to work with a real estate agent who does one to two transactions per year and maybe works one Saturday every few months as a hobby? Or do you prefer to work with an agent who does multiple transactions per month and does this for a living – full time?  The choice is clear!

2 Fears Home Sellers Can Face

In this video we highlight 2 of the most common fears people have when selling their home in order to buy a new one. Learn the strategies we use to address these fears. 

For more insight, reach out to us and we will be happy to answer any more questions you might have.

Why you should consider to sell if you live in Chula Vista

Chula Vista is one of the fastest growing cities in California. Development has boomed ever since the great recession, unemployment is at it’s lowest, and families are growing faster than ever. As all of this compounded trends have emerged and neighboring communities have flourished because of it. We wanted to highlight that downtown Chula Vista is next on that list and how you as a property owner can take advantage of these favorable circumstances.

It’s no secret Downtown Chula Vista is going through a transition. If you would have asked any San Diego native you were heading there, they would have asked “what for?” Now downtown CV is going through the same trends as neighboring communities such as North Park and Barrio Logan went through, riding the wave of craft food & beer, which is great news for those who own property nearby.

If you own property in Chula Vista, specifically west Chula Vista, you may want to consider to put your house on the market, here are 3 reasons why. 

Low inventory Low Interest Rates

The demand for housing has steadily increased over the years, favoring those who are looking to sell. Population is growing, Millennials are moving out, but there is a shortage in housing all throughout San Diego. Buyer’s are going to great lengths to purchase a home, such as bidding wars, and submitting offers that will benefit sellers such as forgoing repair requests.   

Millennials want in on the action

Meaning they want to own property rather than continue to rent, and for good reason as rents have matched mortgages. (Thanks to the low interest rates as mentioned above) Downtown Chula Vista has started to become a spot for Chula Vista locals to venture to thanks to all the brewery’s and restaurants that are popping up. 

Mortgage Rates are extremely low

Mortgage rates are hovering just over 4% drawing new home buyers to the market. We’re in a unique period where both buyer and seller’s can benefit. However, this isn’t going to last and some experts are predicting that rates will reach 5% before the end of the year. If you don’t want to miss out on the plethora of buyer’s it is better to list your home sooner rather than later, not to mention if you are looking to buy after selling, you too can benefit from these low rates.

If you live in Chula Vista and are considering to sell, let’s grab a coffee and chat.

Empty Nest – Helping Downsize our clients

The McKinley’s are one of the sweetest couples I know. They’ve been married nearly 50 years and still treat one another as if they were on their honeymoon. They’re retired and have become world class travelers and wine connoisseurs. As a matter of fact, many of their most recent international travels have centered around the world’s popular wine regions such as France, Argentina and Australia. To call them bon vivants would be an understatement. They truly know how to enjoy themselves; they’re always laughing, cracking jokes and telling great stories.

Recently, they concluded that it was time to make a change in their living arrangement. They’d been living in their large five-bedroom family home (which they bought in the mid 80’s)- and both of their adult children live out of state with no prospect of returning to San Diego. As I mentioned, Dan and Artie love to travel; and when they do- they go for weeks on end, having to leave their huge empty nest unoccupied.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the home sits on a half-acre lot with lush tropical landscape and a pool. It’s a lot of house for just two persons. They realized that although it would be difficult to part with all the memories, nostalgia and emotional attachment; it was time to downsize their home. Their new retired lifestyle required that they buy something smaller, with less maintenance. But, they also wanted to be near entertainment, restaurants and the airport (of course).

After exploring some options, we concluded that a downtown San Diego condo would be the best fit, specifically the Little Italy neighborhood. We found a large 2-bedroom condo in the heart of Little Italy. The 2nd bedroom would allow them the flexibility to host guests, as they often have friends stay with them. The large living room affords them the possibility to host “Wine Night.” The Best part though, is that their complex is smack dab in the middle of Little Italy and they can walk to many of the newest and hippest restaurants in San Diego. And, the bonus? They’re a short Uber ride to the airport!

One of the major objections and concerns many empty nesters have about selling their large home and downsizing is the impact on property taxes. In California, property taxes are reassessed at purchase (per prop 13) and property taxes increase according to the newly assessed value which typically fall in line with market values. So many individuals shy away from selling because of potential for a substantial increase in annual cost in taxes – letting their equity sit.

What many don’t know, is that in California we have Propositions 60 and 90 which allow persons 55 years of age or older to be able to sell their current primary residence, purchase a new primary residence (of equal or lesser value) and take their current tax assessment with them – allowing them to keep the same tax base and save $$$$! Prop 60 allows individuals to transfer their tax assessment within their same county and Prop 90 allows for inter-county transfers of tax assessment (note: not all California counties participate and approval of the transfer by participating counties is at the county’s discretion). These propositions are a great benefit for seniors to take advantage of to help aid in a downsizing move and enhance their lifestyles.

The McKinley’s took advantage of proposition 60. I sold their huge suburban home in the high $500k’s and they bought their luxury downtown condo in the mid $550ks. Had they NOT utilized the benefit of Prop 60, their annual property taxes would be hovering in the $7,000 range – instead, they were able to transfer their tax assessment and their property taxes are in the $3,000 range! That’s a huge savings, not to mention the money and time they’re saving not having to water and maintain a large yard, servicing the pool and general maintenance of a huge home. It was a win-win on all fronts.

This type of move is not for everyone, but I highly recommend using the benefits of props 60 or 90 for seniors who find themselves in a huge empty nest that has become a burden to maintain. It’s also been of benefit for clients of mine who have moved to or from San Diego to be closer to adult children and grandchildren – enhancing their lifestyle and increasing their happiness! Are you ready to make the move?

If you have any questions about Prop 60/90 and to see if you can take advantage contact us today!

Working in real estate has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It’s a fun business too, but it’s not without its challenges and adrenaline rushes. Overcoming these moments alongside my clients is what allows me to grow deep relationships with them. All transactions are unique, some have small issues, others huge problems. Probate deals are an interesting animal – you’ve got to contend with probate court, attorneys, sometimes fiduciaries and quite often family conflict.

A few years back I was contacted by an attorney at one of the top estate planning and probate law firms in San Diego. She said, “I’ve got a probate referral for you!” I thanked her; but she responded, “Don’t thank me yet, this deal has a lot of hair on it, and I won’t be offended nor think less of you if you don’t want to take it on” I was immediately intrigued – “What could possibly be wrong with this deal, that the attorney is giving me an option to turn down the business?”  She went to explain that the subject property had been overrun by the tenants and were now squatting.

The squatters had converted it into a drug “crash pad” and there was much illicit activity coming out of the place. Additionally, they had a hoarding problem and there was junk all over the front and back yards. The city had come down hard on this property and the city attorney’s office was eager to get these people out! There was a catch – the squatters were the decedent’s adult children who were also beneficiaries! Ah, there was the rub! This was going to get dirty! But I was up for the challenge.

Upon agreeing to take the listing, I immediately got in touch with the executor of the estate to begin the process. She was extremely motivated to sell but had reservations, as she was the oldest sibling of the squatters. The truth of the matter is that the longer she delayed taking action, the more liability she exposed herself as the personal representative of the estate. Once she finally agreed to move forward, I told her I wanted access to the property so that I may get a better perspective as to the true value of the property. We made the arrangements and I had a contractor join me, just to gain an idea of the level of disrepair and deferred maintenance and how that would impact value. The executor joined us as well, because the squatters were expected to be combative, but per the attorney, they listened to the executor.

When we entered the property, it was as if we had pierced the veil of a movie screen and were transported to a horrific scene of a dark and violent film. The home was full of drugged out individuals – women and men of all ages: men who appeared to be in their seventies, women in their 20’s. There were so many people in this small three-bedroom 1,200 square foot home. Some individuals were catatonic (on their high), others half clothed, many appeared to have not bathed in ages, the stench coming from there was indescribable.

It was shocking, horrifying, disgusting and downright sad. We asked politely, but assertively for them to exit the property while we viewed it – most complied and began walking out. I began to count them and lost track at approximately 13 individuals.  The house was a wreck. It had fecal matter on the walls, urine stained carpets, drug paraphernalia throughout. I am not going to lie – I wanted to run out of there!

As we exited to the back yard, we took a short staircase down the crawl space. The home sat on a slight slope, allowing for a substantially tall crawl space which I estimate was nearly 5 feet tall. When we opened the door we were in awe to discover that there were people living underneath the property! How could this situation get worse! We left the house in a hurry! While we exited, I noticed the neighbors of this property were well maintained homes with children’s toys in the front yard. I thought about how dangerous it would be for those kids to play in their own yard with such a negative impact from this property. As a father, that motivated me deeply to move this property fast!

Once listed, my objective was to net the estate as much money as possible despite the current conditions. It became evident that it was going to be both difficult and unsafe to show the property. The executor’s siblings were unwilling to cooperate and vacate. The City Attorney was pressing hard on this property due to the criminal activity coming out of the place. We needed a solution – fast! The best option for this property was to sell it to a cash investor willing to take the property in its current condition and have said investor assume the responsibility of evicting all squatters and trashing out the place. Luckily, I am well networked with investors in San Diego and was able to obtain a fair an just offer that the executor and the court liked.

When the escrow closed the executor was relieved to be able to move one with her life and not have the looming liability hang over her head. The investor, after a few months was able to evict all occupants and rehab the property. Once rehabbed a nice young family was able to move in and now the kids in the neighboring homes have more friends to play with in a healthy and positive environment. The city attorney’s office called me to congratulate me on essentially improving the neighborhood. It was a daunting challenge, but boy was is worth it! 

It is no secret that the San Diego real estate market is HOT, but it depends on what your definition of hot is and what side you’re playing on. The San Diego Real Estate market has seen home pricing increase month after month for the last few years, with no real indication as to when the increase will let up. Some may say this is a good thing, which it is, if you’re a seller.

You see, this is a great time for homeowners to sell. Why? The current market conditions; low inventory + high prices = seller’s favor. On that same token, these market conditions are also having a “not so” positive impact on buyers. Just to clarify, unlike the shortage of inventory that we currently have in San Diego, there is no shortage in buyers.

So what’s happening to these buyers due to these market conditions? They can’t afford to buy that dream home they envisioned. Most first time buying families in San Diego are approved right around the $450,000 price point, leaving them with very low to almost nothing of an option to purchase their (4 bed, 2,000 sqft, with a backyard to host) dream home…The market has officially began to “price out” buyers! 

Just recently, I had a few clients in this exact scenario…One family in particular, the Manzo Family who were VA buyers. We initially began the Manzo’s search in South Bay San Diego. After expressing their concern of not being able to find their dream home anywhere near this price point in San Diego, I thought of expanding our search. With the approval amount of $450,000, they were a bit restricted on inventory available to them within that price point.

Many buyers are being priced out of the San Diego Real Estate market and are starting to be open minded to the idea of purchasing their dream home in the Temecula area which includes; Wildomar, Murrieta, Menifee and of course Temecula. I shared a list of homes with my clients that met most, if not all, check boxes of what their dream home required. We found 32 houses under $425,000 throughout South Riverside County. 2 weeks after this pivot in our home search the Manzo’s were in escrow, and a short 21 days after that they were the newest home owners in Wildomar and Riverside County. 

So I ask you this question. If you had the opportunity to find a spacious 4 bedroom, 2,000 sqft. home, for $425,000 and only 30 minutes north from Escondido/North County…Would you do it?

I

had the distinct pleasure of meeting the Maciel’s at an open house my team and I hosted. Like anyone who’s interested in becoming a homeowner, one does their research and proceeds to have a plethora of questions. So we listened, gave our input, and after a month from our initial greeting, Jaime & Tara were ready. They were serious, you’d probably be too if you had homeownership set as one of your goals for the year! For the Maciel’s, location was the key focus for our house hunt. Unfortunately at the time, the Maciel’s were residing in a neighborhood notorious for trouble, and they were fed up with it. My goal was to move them out ASAP, and provide a quality list of homes to view. This became more than an average home search, it was a search for peace of mind.

If you don’t already know, the housing market is extremely limited at the moment. Some homebuyers get discouraged with that fact, but we didn’t let that change our decision on moving forward. As luck would have it, after only a week of house hunting and reflecting on our options, we honed in on a property off East J Street in Chula Vista. We were excited! It was in budget and exactly what we were looking for. A single story home, plenty of room for entertaining guests, and most importantly, it was in a safe neighborhood. We submitted an offer and shortly after our offer was accepted! The stars were aligned, everything seemed perfect, and just as I thought nothing could go wrong, it did.

Look, opening escrow can be a smooth process, smooth like butter if you’re proactive and have a great team working together. This deal however put on the pressure! Life was testing both ends. On my clients side, they were being forcefully evicted, and expected to be out of their rental property the same day we were to close escrow. The only problem was, the sellers were way behind schedule. The big question became, will the sellers be moved out on time? My clients were afraid of being homeless and on top of it, were facing potential legal trouble from their old land lord. They were worried, but I reassured them we would figure this out.

When things couldn’t go more wrong it did. The wife of the sellers delivered her baby days away from escrow and they hadn’t started packing! There was no way they were going to pack everything up by themselves, so I took matters into my own hands. With escrow scheduled to close the next day, I skipped the office and head to my clients soon to be new home. All I saw was a large shipping container, a moving truck, and 5 little kids running around inflicting more stress for everyone! I hopped out the car, got my hands dirty and helped that family move everything until we finished the next day. I wont get to much into detail, but I will say we moved out A LOT! When it was all over relief set in, all the work paid off, my clients were getting a new home!

After all that work, I was able to give my clients the keys to their new home on time. It was so worth it. We really busted a mission to make that day possible. We don’t quit when we see adversity. It drives us to only work harder. Now the Maciel’s are proud homeowners and eager to make this new home theirs! The search for peace of mind concluded. We they and their son are in a safe neighborhood. We always have our friends and clients backs, remember that when you decide to buy or sell your home. 

P.S I recently paid a visit to their home and it is awesome! I can’t wait to share that story and photos with you guys soon.