North County Property Tax Refunds – Where Are They?

Escondido Property TaxProperty Tax Refunds on North County Real Estate.

Where is your North County property tax refund on your North County home. The price of your North County property has gone down every year for the last four or five years. You have filed a request with the County to refigure your assessed value on you North County home, but you keep paying the high property taxes here in San Diego. You are in the same boat as thousands of other North County home owners.

I am including an article from the North County Times to expose the problem.

“The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office continues to take in millions of dollars more in property taxes than is owed and then lags in returning the money to taxpayers, according to a 2009 audit. The examination of the treasurer’s property tax refund account concluded that nearly $8 million needed to be refunded or funneled to the county’s general fund if the person or entity who was owed the money could not be located. It’s been a problem that stretches back to 2003 and has dragged on, despite a series of examinations in the years since. The most recent independent audit, conducted over nine months by the firm of Kessler International, found a variety of problems in how the treasurer’s office manages what is known as the Property Tax Trust and Refund account. That report was issued in March but never shared with the public.” Of course, this is an election year and Dan is running again.

This problem will not be easily solved, but Dan McAllister vows changes are being implemented to correct years-old problem. If you would like to find out how to lower your property taxes, contact Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor. Gary Harmon will provide you with a property tax reassessment form along with instructions on how and when to file.

7.2 Earthquake – How to be Ready

Escondido HomeEverywhere in the Escondido real estate area may be susceptible to damage from an earthquake, maybe even a bigger one than hit this Easter. We all need to be ready. Here are some of the things we can do.

  1. Identify earthquake hazards in your Escondido home. Secure everything around your Escondido property that might fall and hurt someone. This is easily done if you secure items as you buy them. For example, when I bought my big screen television, I secured it to the wall of my Escondido home with a safety wire. If you are starting from scratch, buy a stud finder at a North County Home Depot or Lowes and use it to find the proper studs. Of course, the water heater in the garage must have straps.
  2. Create a disaster plan. Talk with each one in your family and plan what to do in case of an earthquake. Have a meeting place outside of your Escondido home, but close by so everyone can be quickly accounted for. Learn basic first aid if possible. Have a place away from your Escondido property you can call, preferably out of state. The out of state phone lines won’t be as crowded. Learn how to deal with a lack of utilities and basic services. Also, expect aftershocks.
  3. Make up some disaster supplies kits. These kits would be useful in any type of emergency. Everyone in your North County home should have one. It is a good idea to have one at home, school, work, etc. You should have a large kit for your home that would last everyone three days to a week. These kits should contain food, water, clothes, and sanitary supplies. Your San Diego Red Cross sells kits and also has tips on what to put in the kits if you make your own.
  4. Have your Escondido property checked to identify any weaknesses. There are common issues that a home inspector will know that could help your North County home be stronger. If you just purchase a North County home, your Escondido real estate inspector will have made sure you had earthquake straps.
  5. During an Earthquake you should drop, cover and hold on. Drop to the floor, take cover under a strong table or desk, and hold on firmly. If there are no tables close by, drop to the floor next to an interior wall of your Escondido home.
  6. After the quake, check everything for damages or injuries. Always be calm and take care of yourself first so you will be available to help others. When you are sure you are safe, then you can start helping others. You need to know how to turn off leaking gas, water, or electricity if necessary.
  7. When you know you are safe, you can continue to follow your disaster plan. Stay away from the coast if there is any possibility of a tsunami. Listen to your battery powered radio for any emergency instructions. The station would be 600 AM . Call your out of area contact and let them know you are OK.    Escondido real estate information, call Gary Harmon, a top Escondido Realtor.

AB 957 and Encinitas Real Estate

HomeServices LendingThere are many technical things involved in a sale  transaction of Escondido real estate.  Here at Prudential California Realty, Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor is here to help. 

Legislation was signed into California law in December 2009 effecting us here in North County. Escondido home buyers and Escondido home sellers should be aware of several points:

1.A seller of REO residential Escondido real estate with four or fewer units “shall not require directly or indirectly as a condition of selling the Escondido property that title insurance covering the Escondido property or escrow service provided in connection with the sale of the property be purchased by the buyer from a particular title insurer or escrow agent.” In plain language it means that the bank, selling bank owned property, can’t require you the Escondido buyer to user their title insurance company or their escrow company. This is only true if you the buyer are paying for these services. Gary’s winning team member, Pickford Escrow and The Escrow Firm have closed over 9,000 REO (bank real estate owned) transactions in the last 18 months.
2.The bill provides that “sale” is intended by the Legislature to “include the receipt of an offer to purchase that residential Escondido property.” – means it is intended to prohibit sellers from conditioning the receipt of an offer to buy an Escondido REO property on the buyer’s agreement to use a specific title insurer or escrow agent. That means the bank has to look at your offer reguardless of which title or escrow company you choose. California Title Company, one of Gary’s winning team members is also experienced in bank REO’s sales.
3.AB 957 does NOT prohibit an Escondido buyer “from agreeing to accept the services of a title insurer or escrow agent recommended by the seller” PROVIDED THAT “written notice of the right to make an independent selection of those services is first provided by the seller to the buyer.” That means it is ok to use who the bank recommends provided they disclose that it is your choice.
4.AB 957 only applies to title insurance or escrow services “purchased by” or paid for by the Escondido buyer. That means if the bank is paying for both sides, they get to pick.
5.A seller who violates AB 957 “Shall be liable to a buyer in an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance or escrow service.” A violation of AB 957 is also deemed to be a violation of the seller’s license law which can subject the seller to discipline by its licensing entity.

For more information reguarding AB 957, contact Gary or HomeServices Lending.

Stage you Encinitas Home to sell Fast!


Kitchens are King

Are you thinking about selling your Encinitas home? In this competitive San Diego North County real estate market, it’s more important than ever to set your Encinitas home apart from the competition. Encinitas home owners that stage their homes usually sell their homes faster and for more money than non-staged homes. First impressions are critical when selling Encinitas real estate. Staging highlights a home’s positive features and minimizes negatives, while neutralizing the property so that it appeals to the widest range of prospective Encinitas home buyers. Staging can range from a simple consultation with sellers to coordinating a project that includes color analysis, editing, furniture arrangement and accessorizing. If you are interested in staging your Encinitas home to sell fast, contact Gary Harmon, your Encinitas Realtor. We work with professional staging companies that will insure you home always looks its very best.

Advice for Encinitas Home Sellers

Even though the Encinitas real estate market is much improved, now is not the time to slack off on presentation. The cleanest, most up-to-date Encinitas homes in the best condition and repair will always sell for more money than comparable Encinitas homes in less perfect shape. In the conforming loan range, be prepared for multiple offers, but don’t try to anticipate the Encinitas real estate market by raising the asking price beyond what can be supported by local market comparable sales. Remember, lenders, such as HomeServices Lending, are cautious and may decline your loan if they can’t justify your asking price. That will waste precious marketing time — and hurt your pricing if you end up having to put your Encinitas home back on the market because your deal fell through.

To sell your Encinitas home for the most money and in the least amount of time, list your Encinitas home with Gary Harmon, your Encinitas Realtor. See the months of Encinitas home inventory by price range below. Click on the graph to enlarge.

Escondido Real Estate – Get Maximum Online Esposure

Escondido home buyers once searched the North County Times and the San Diego Union  for Escondido homes for sale.  Today, over 87% of all Escondido real estate buyers start their search on the Internet.  These tech smart buyers don’t stop with just one or two websites.  They explore a whole range of Internet real estate destinations.

That is why Gary Harmon and Prudential California Realty insure that your Escondido property gets maximum exposure by making sure your Escondido home for sale is seen on all of the key sites.   Gary Harmon also makes sure your home is found on the first page of the Google keyword search for “escondido real estate,” the number one place Escondido buyers search.  Give it a try.  Type escondido real estate in the search  box on Google.  Hit search and you will find right in the middle of page one of Google.  That is where the most Escondido buyers are looking to find Escondido real estate information.  Why consider listing your Escondido home with anyone else, let Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor, put your home on the first page and maximize the chance of selling your home.

CA 2010 New Home Tax Credit

The State of California has passed a new home credit for a qualified new principal residence.  San Diego North County buyers must buy from May 1, 2010 through the end of the year. This would apply to almost all new San Diego North County homes for sale. Escondido homes or Encinitas homes constructed by the taxpayer would not qualify since they are not considered purchased.

The new Escondido home, Oceanside home, Encinitas home, or other North County home must be new, but can be attached or detached.  They can also be condos or manufactured homes.  New means it has never been occupied. North County sellers must certify that the San Diego home has never been occupied in order for a taxpayer to receive an allocation of the credit.

You are not eligible if you used the 2009 new home tax credit or if you are under 18.

New home tax credits are limited to the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $10,000.

The State has set aside $100,000,000 for this new home program, but when the money runs out, so does the program. When buying  North County homes, buyers who qualify for the new home credit may reserve a tax credit pri0r to close of escrow.  To reserve a new North County home tax credit, the buyer must fill out and fax to the state a reservation request which certifies that they have entered into a qualified new home purchase under the credit’s guidelines.  A copy of your signed North County home must be included with the purchase contract.  This credit  is strictly, first come, first serve. If you want to get in on this great opportunity you had better get started.

You should always take your Realtor with you on you first visit to new model homes.   Contact Gary Harmon, your top North County Realtor today.  For other types of credits see California 2010 Tax Credit First Time Buyer.

$10,000 CA Tax Credit

The State of California has passed a new credit for qualified first-time home buyers who buy a qualified principal residence from May 1, 2010 through the end of the year.  This would apply to almost all San Diego North County homes for sale.  Escondido homes or Encinitas homes can be mobile homes, manufactured homes, attached homes, condos, or even a houseboat.  Haven’t seen many of those in San Diego North County.

To be a buyer eligible to buy these San Diego North County homes you must be a first-time buyer.  You or your spouse cannot have had an ownership interest in any home, anywhere, in the last 3 years.  You are not eligible if you used the 2009 new home tax credit or if you are under 18.

Applications for these credits are being accepted now by the State.  The State has set aside $100,000,000 for this program, but when the money runs out, so does the program.  It is strictly, first come, first serve.  It is estimated that the money will run out by the end of May.

If you want to get in on this great opportunity you had better get started.  Contact Gary Harmon, your top North County Realtor today.  For more information see California 2010 Tax Credit First Time Buyer.