San Diego Beach Safety

This Fourth of July is  a great time to enjoy San Diego North County beaches.  However, the first rule is to always be safe.  Beach safety can be broken down into water safety and avoiding sunburn. 

Beach and Water Safety

  • Learn to swim before you go to the beach (teach you children)
  • Never go in the water alone
  • Swim near a lifeguard station
  • Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present
  • Know which adult is watching
  • Don’t rely on flotation devices, such as rafts or inner-tubes. These can turn over.
  • Call or wave for help if you get in trouble.
  • Do not swim while under the influence of  drugs or alcohols.
  • Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances.
  • If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel and with the current until you get out.
  • Report hazardous conditions to lifeguards.
  • Stay clear our coastal bluffs, they can collapse and cause injury.
  • Never turn your back to the ocean.

Safety from the Sun:

Many more San Diegoians will be injured by sunburn than anything else this Fourth of July.  Follow the following safety tips:

  • Limit outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear a good pair of sun glasses to ward off the sun from your eyes.
  • Wear a hat to protect your head.
  • Be extra careful on cloudy days, you may receive a “surprise sunburn.” 
  • Some drugs & cosmetics — Tetacycline, diuretics, major tranquilizers — may increase susceptibility to sunburn.
  • If you are among those likely to burn, use a sunblock with a PF of 15 or greater.  I suggest above 40.
  • Apply sunblock at least 15 to 30 minutes before venturing out into the sun and re-apply at least every hour.
  • Re-apply more often if you are perspiring heavily or going in the ocean.
  • Use sunblocks with higher PFs on areas that need extra protection like the tip of your nose, your ears, your collarbone, the tops of your feet, and your shoulders.
  • Do not use sunblock on your lips. Instead, use only sun protection products designed specifically for lips.
  • Always, keep all sunblock and sun medications away from your eyes.

And the most important rule to be safe and have a great time at our San Diego beaches, is always use common sense.

To find great San Diego North County real estate deals, contact Gary Harmon, Real Living Lifestyles.

San Marcos Homes Market Statistics

Current Real Estate Listings of San Marcos Homes for Sale

The median San Marcos Homes value in June 2011 is $389,900.  The median value for San Diego North County homes  for the same period is $388,700.  We love our weather here in San Diego and we pay dearly for it.  The National median home value is only $175,100.   San Marcos home appreciation has decreased by -2.4%  with San Diego County homes being about the same.    Nationally, homes have gone down in the same period by -3.2%.   See the chart below for a ten year average of median San Marcos homes values and how they stack up against the City, County and the Nation.  There is also a chart of  San Marcos homes appreciation for the same ten year period.

If you would like to see San Marcos CA homes for sale and take advantage of this great San Diego North County real estate market, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles Real Estate agent.

[idx-listings city=”San Marcos” minprice=”350000″ propertytypes=”335″ orderby=”Price” orderdir=”DESC” count=”25″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

Are San Diego North County Home Prices Going Up or Down?

The following price trends of San Diego North County homes for sale are brought to you by Altos Research.    This information is accurate and up to date as of the last week in May 2011.  See current median prices of San Diego North County homes and market trends by community.

Carlsbad homes for sale

The median list price for CARLSBAD homes for sale this week in July is $722,250. Carlsbad home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.  However because of excess inventory, prices have not yet stopped falling.

Oceanside homes for sale

 The median list price of OCEANSIDE homes for sale this week in July is $351,450.  Oceanside home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.  Since this is a Buyer’s market prices are not yet moving higher as excess Oceanside home inventory is consumed.

Vista CA homes for sale

 The median list price in VISTA, CA this week is $339,000. Vista CA Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.  Since this is a Buyer’s market prices are not yet moving higher as excess inventory is consumed. 

Escondido homes for sale

 The median list price ofn ESCONDIDO homes for sale this week is $359,000. The market has shown some evidence of slowing recently. Both prices and Escondido homes inventory levels are relatively unchanged in recent weeks.

San Marcos CA homes for sale

 The median list price of SAN MARCOS CA homes for sale this week in July is $430,000.  The market has shown some evidence of slowing recently. 

Encinitas homes for sale

 The median list price of Encinitas homes this week in July is $957,500. Encinitas home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks.  Since this is a Buyer’s market prices are not yet moving higher as excess Encinitas homes inventory is consumed.

To see great San Diego North County homes in any of these market areas, contact Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor.

[idx-listings city=”Rancho Santa Fe” propertytypes=”335″ orderby=”DateAdded” orderdir=”DESC” count=”25″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

San Diego North County Real Estate Facts – April 2011

Below the photo is a summary of current real estate conditions in San Diego North County.

• The median price for all North County home sales – attached and detached – increased from $358,000 in February 2011 to $393,500 in March 2011.
• Detached homes in North County rose 7.82 percent from $417,500 in February 2011 to $450,165 in March 2011, the largest monthly price increase in the past 12 months. Year-over median single-family detached homes in North San Diego County declined four percent, from $469,000 in March 2010, the second month of year-over declines following an 18-month trend of increases in median price (with the exception of August 2010).
• The number of single family detached North County listings (active and contingent) increased 3.93 percent to 4,626 ending March 2011, the third monthly increase. Year-over listings increased by 14.11 percent from March 2010.
• The number of sold North San Diego County SFD homes jumped 50 percent from February 2011 to March 2011 and increased 4.72 percent year-over from March 2010.
• Median days-on-market for single-family detached North County homes decreased from 69 days in February 2011 to 58 days in March 2011.

The above information on San Diego North County real estate was furnished courtesy of the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.   To get more San Diego home information, contact Gary Harmon, your San Diego North County Realtor.

Valley Center Estate Home – Listing of the Day

29045 Fruitvale Lane, Valley Center, CA 92082

Valley Center Estate Home - San Diego North CountyLike owning your own resort with this fabulous fully fenced and electronic gated home featuring pebble tech pool with swim up bar, 2.18 acres lushly landscaped with well water for irrigation and municipal water for inside the home, built-in BBQ center, spacious patio area, views of the mountains and hillsides, storage building matching the home for yard equipment and covered RV shelter which can house 6 or more cars. Home features 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, gourmet kitchen with granite counters, great room, luxurious master suite & an attached 4 car garage. 

View virtual tour and see all other photos.

For more information on this great estate home at 29045 Fruitvale Lane, Valley Center, CA 92082, contact Gary Harmon of the Hadley Home Team.

[idx-listings city=”Valley Center” minprice=”400000″ propertytypes=”335″ orderby=”Price” orderdir=”ASC” count=”21″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Safety Tips from San Diego North County Home Inspections

Read the following safety tips and put them in practice.  They may save your life or the life of someone you love.

  • Have your gas water heaters and gas furnaces serviced and inspected annually, a poor running appliance will not burn efficiently and as a byproduct – produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
  • When using your fireplace, follow the manufacturers safety instructions for safe operation.
  • Use the internet to obtain operating manuals or write to the manufacturer for your appliances.
  • Have flue vents repaired if disconnected or damaged on water heaters and furnaces.
  • Do make sure the “firedoor” installed between the garage and house has a working self closing device and the door is properly weather-stripped.
  • Do make sure no doors enter a sleeping room from a garage.
  • Do make sure that no one is sleeping in a garage conversion (illegal room) where the gas appliances are still in the garage.
  • Homes in California must now have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed by July 2011 under a new bill signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 7, 2010.
  • Up to 40 California residents die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • This was reported as one of the compelling reasons for this Senate Bill to be introduced.
  • New & remodel construction will also include CO detectors.
  • A carbon monoxide detector is required if your San Diego North County home has a fossil fuel burning device; this would be:
     A gas water heater
     A gas furnace
     A fireplace (gas fired or not)
     A gas stove or wood burning stove
     An attached garage

Through the years we have seen other mandatory items to be installed when completing a real estate transaction. These include: smoke detectors, seismic strapping water heaters and now carbon monoxide detectors.

  • The cost of the Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector will be somewhere between $30-$50.
  • For simplicity, a combo smoke detector/ CO detector is available.
  • Fines may be levied for noncompliant properties.
  • Prior to installing the CO detector: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPER PLACEMENT.
  • Also, note the life expectancy of the product as it will have to be replaced at the manufacturer recommended intervals, approximately every 5-6 years.


Larger homes where the bedrooms are separated by floors and large square footages may very well need more than one carbon monoxide detector, therefore it is recommended you read the installation instructions and request clarification from your local code enforcement divisions in the city or county where you live.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a San Diego North County home, contact Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor.

More Mass Transit or More Freeway Lanes?

Do you think the following article by the National Association of Realtors reflects opinions here of San Diego North County home owners?  I think not, but read it for yourself and let me know what you think North County home owners want when buying a home.   Do you think San Diego North County home owners would prefer most of our taxes going for mass transit like the Sprinter or Coaster or would we all like some more freeway lanes?

Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart-growth communities over ones that require more driving between home, work, and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, from the National Association of REALTORS®.
“REALTORS® care about improving communities through smart-growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps. “Our members don’t just sell homes, they sell neighborhoods. REALTORS® understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”
Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes. According to the survey, when considering a home purchase, 77 percent of respondents said they would look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and 50 percent would like to see improvements to existing public transportation rather than initiatives to build new roads and developments.
The survey also revealed that while space is important to home buyers, many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving. Eighty percent of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute, but nearly three out of five of those surveyed — 59 percent — would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.
The survey also found community characteristics are very important to most people. When considering a home purchase, 88 percent of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home, and 77 percent of those surveyed want communities with high-quality schools.   Sourse is NAR, the National Association of Realtors.

If you would like to know more about buying a San Diego North County home, contact Gary Harmon, your top North County Realtor.

Optimistic about the San Diego Real Estate Market

As you may already know, we commissioned Prudential’s Global Market Research Group to survey consumers between the ages of 25-64 who are in the market to buy a home.
Our Prudential 2011 survey found that Americans are significantly more optimistic about real estate today than a year ago and, despite economic volatility, their belief in real estate as a good investment is unshaken. In fact, most feel that the real estate market and property values will see recovery in the next year or two, and they highlighted the importance of real estate agents in the home-buying and selling process.

Prudential launched a media blitz in the early-morning hours of March 10 starting with 21 live television and radio interviews and two taped sessions. Survey coverage was picked up by 174 TV stations and national radio programs representing more than 25 million viewers and listeners. (Prudential agents can watch a sampling of these interviews linked from the PREA Center “Top Story” section and on the NextWork community site.)
We also blanketed the national and regional press as well as real estate trade publications with our press release, “Americans Confident in Recovery of Real Estate Market.” The Wall Street Journal was among the first to file stories. When the dust finally settled our press release generated 19,503 headline impressions on the Internet.
A simple Google search returned 23 pages of results including postings on media and trade association sites, affiliate websites, agent blogs and even the sites of other real estate companies. Our press release was viewed and posted on media sites in Sweden, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India and the Republic of Korea, which is great as America continues as a highly desirable market for international investors.

We at Prudential California Realty are optimistic about the San Diego Real Estate Market.  For more information about San Diego North County real estate, contact Gary Harmon, your San Diego North County Realtor.

[idx-listings city=”Chula Vista” minprice=”400000″ propertytypes=”335″ orderby=”Price” orderdir=”DESC” count=”21″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

Pickford Escrow – Gary's Winning Team

An escrow company acts as a neutral third party in the North County real estate transaction.  As such, they are bound by law to notify both buyer and seller if the instructions given to them are not mutually consistant or if they cannot be carried out.  Pickford Escrow holds legal documentation and funds on behalf of the North County buyer and San Diego seller.   The escrow holder works closly with Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor, the buyer, the seller, and the lender to assure the sale’s conditions are complied within the time period call for the the purchase contract.

Pickford Escrow is one of the largest full service escrow companies in the state, with 13 offices in Southern California. Pickford Escrow has a distinguished reputation for experience, stability, and dedicated customer service. I have been proudly recommending Pickford Escrow since its inception.

Since its establishment in 1991, the firm has focused on a single mission: to deliver the highest level of professional service to its clients. As part of a comprehensive, collaborative real estate team (Realtor®, lender, title officer, escrow officer, transaction coordinator), the company acts as a neutral party to facilitate a variety of real estate transactions for a diverse range of clients.

Pickford Escrow is fully licensed by the Department of Corporations which holds it to a higher standard in both experience and trust accounting practices. Pickford Escrow is part of HomeServices of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. This powerful alliance reinforces the strength, excellence and integrity of its service to you.

There are many great escrow officers at Pickford, but Gary has found Karyn Dillon to be especially professional and caring.  Karyn, with over 12 years of escrow experience, has become a valuable member of Gary’s winning team.  You too will find Karyn and her staff a customer service driven team of professionals always focused on consistently providing the highest level of quality escrow service.  For more escrow information see the main Pickford Escrow site.

Make Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor, and Pickford Escrow your winning real estate team.   Other members of the Gary Harmon team include Prudential California Realty, California Title, Home Services Lending, and Prudential Relocation.

Home Warranty – Who Does it Benefit?

Home Buyers Protection

By covering major home systems and appliances, a Home Protection Plan can help make buying or selling a San Diego North County home a more rewarding experience.   See reasons below photo.

Home Warranty - San Diego North County Home

San Diego Home buyers benefit:

  • Coverage for unexpected repair or replacement costs of many of your North County home’s major systems and appliances.
  • Convenience with access to our network of local certified contractors through our service representatives available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
  • Budget protection by only paying a nominal service fee per trade call in most situations.

San Diego Home sellers benefit:

  • Competitive edge for a faster sale.
  • Potential additional negotiating power to sell your San Diego home at a higher price.
  • Reduce after-sale liability.

When representing you as your North County Realtor I work with First American Home Warranty, one of my Winning Team Members.  When you buy a San Diego North County home, I suggest you also purchase a home warranty on your new home.  First American Home Warranty has been on the my winning team for many years.  First American has provided over 1,000,000 homeowners with high quality service since 1984.  It has an “A” rating by A.M. Best which stands for excellent.  I carry a home warranty on my own personal residence provided by First American Home Warranty.  For more information on home warranties, contact Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor.

  To find your San Diego North County home, contact Gary Harmon.