Win-Win: San Diego North County Buyers and Sellers

San Diego North County home buyers and sellers can rejoice that mortgage interest rates are at year-long lows in the first week of May, compared to 5% a year ago for the week ending May 5, 2010, says Freddie Mac.  Couple that with the fact that 69% of first-time home buyers can afford an entry-lev el home in California (as of Q4 2010) and it appears that housing is indeed on the rebound.

Advice for San Diego North County Buyers

With every spike in affordability comes a corresponding increase in mortgage applications. As mortgage firms operate with smaller staff and greater risk assessment, expect your loan to take longer than usual. Lock in your low rate now by applying for your loan and providing the lender every piece of documentation he or she requires.

Advice for San Diego North County Sellers

This is not the time to price at the top of the market. Bank appraisals of your home may come in lower than you might expect if underwriters have any cause for concern. Your buyer’s loan may go through a second review process to make certain the lender is meeting today’s strict  underwriting guidelines.

Don’t miss out on this great North County real estate market, contact Gary Harmon, you top North County Realtor.


In this tough economic atmosphere, the prospects of getting a great deal may lure your San Diego clients toward buying a short sale or REO.  But while up-front costs may seem lower on an REO or short-sale, Carlsbad and Oceanside buyers often end up paying in other ways.  Below the photo are five advantages of buying a new Carlsbad home, Oceanside home, or other San Diego North County home:

Elise Nicole

1. NO REPAIRS. With a short sale or REO, the previous owner may have stopped maintaining their Oceanside or Carlsbad property. That means your client could end up with expensive repair bills. But new Carlsbad home purchases often include builder warranties for workmanship, materials, and structural problems to help protect your client against large out-of-pocket repair expenses.

2. NO SURPRISES. With a new Carlsbad or Oceanside home, what you see is what you get. With an REO or short sale, what you might not see is what you get. New San Diego North County home purchases often come with many disclosures from the seller, though in reality, very little may actually need to be disclosed. For REO transactions, not only is the bank exempt from some of the disclosure requirements for sellers under California law, but the previous homeowner may be long gone.

3. GUARANTEED QUALITY. New San Diego North County homes are usually built with modern conveniences and energy-efficient technology. They may also come with warranties for craftsmanship, appliances and more, to give the buyer peace of mind. Short sale and REO properties may not come with warranties or upgrades and may not be available for inspection prior to purchase, so your client could be in for some expensive surprises after purchase.

4. FRIENDLIER FINANCING San Diego homebuilders often have relationships with lenders that help North County buyers obtain financing for new Carlsbad homes or Oceanside homes with relative ease. For short sales and REOs, the property may have a lower price tag, but some buyers may run into difficulty getting financing.

5. SHORTER PURCHASE PROCESS. North County homebuilders usually have homes available for immediate occupancy or on a move-in schedule that’s convenient for your clients. Negotiating a short sale can take several months — and there’s no guarantee your client’s offer will be approved.  Tips courtesy of CAR.

Your North County Realtor, Gary Harmon, can help find the right San Diego, new home for you.  Contact Gary Harmon, for a personal tour of new San Diego North County homes today.

Memorial Day Activities in San Diego 2011

Memorial Day in San Diego County is very special indeed.  San Diego is the largest military area in the nation with nearly 200,000 active duty and retired military.  We salute those who have died in the defense of our country on May 30th.

Turn on your sound and enjoy Lee Greenwoods “God Bless the USA.”

Memorial Day officially began in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866.  It has been a continued tradition each year since that date.
The brunt of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been shouldered by San Diego military personnel carrying the fight to our enemies.  The 3rd Battalion of the Fifth Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton has had dozens of its troops wounded or killed, more than any other unit in recent years.
Here in San Diego County, we certainly know how and why we honor our nation’s finest.  We visit cemeteries,  fly our flag at half mast, and if you really want to participate you can pause at 3 p.m. on May 30th and remember those who sacrificed their lives for our great freedoms.  We are also most thankful that thousands of our local men and women return home from their combat tours to their families and San Diego neighborhoods and try to settle into a normal real living lifestyle.
As a Realtor selling San Diego North County homes, I have set up special web pages to offer help and a Military Discount to those are serving our country.

See this pages at:

To get a personal tour of San Diego North County homes, contact Gary Harmon, you military off base housing expert.

Some Memorial Day Activities in San Diego 2011

Balboa Park: Continued reading of names of veterans from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center.

Balboa Park: Remembrance ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Monday featuring guest speakers, the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, retiring the colors and taps. Museum open from noon to 6 p.m.; admission fees required. (619) 239-5977.

Bonita: A fly-over by vintage planes precedes a memorial at 11 a.m. at the Chapel of Roses on May 31. Glen Abbey Memorial Park & Mortuary, 3838 Bonita Road, Bonita. (619) 498-4600.

Chula Vista: A Veterans Memorial will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Monday at Mater Dei Catholic High School. 1615 Mater Dei Drive. The dedication honors those Marian/Mater Dei Catholic Alumni who have served their community and country and in memory of two alum who where killed in action in Vietnam. (619) 423-2121, ext. 117.

Del Mar: The Del Mar Community Memorial Day Service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. Captain Brian C. Schexnayder, USMC, will be the guest speaker. At the end of the service, deceased military members will be remembered during the Memorial Roll Call, which concludes with a performance of taps. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 334 14th St., Del Mar. (858) 279-5458.

Coronado: 10 a.m. service Monday hosted by the Coronado VFW at Star Park, one block off Orange Avenue at Star Park Circle and Loma Avenue. (619) 865-4809.

Coronado: 1 to 3 p.m. concert Monday featuring the Coronado Big Band at the Coronado Ferry Landing, 1201 First St. (619) 435-8895.

Escondido: American Legion Post 149 will host a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at Oak Hill Memorial Park, 2640 Glenridge Road. (760) 745-1159.

Julian: Observance from 11 a.m. to noon Monday at Julian Pioneer Cemetery, A Street at Farmer Road. Potluck afterward at American Legion Post 468, 2503 Washington St. (760) 765-0126.

La Jolla: Program from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Monday at Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive S. Plaque presentation will honor Col. Bob Howard, a recipient of the Medal of Honor. (858) 459-2314 or

Lakeside: 11 a.m. ceremony Monday at Veterans of Foreign Wars, Carter-Smith Post 5867, 12650 Lindo Lane. Special guests include Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Lakeside; county Supervisor Dianne Jacob; Assemblyman Joel Anderson; Maj. Gen. T.L. Conant; and Nick Popaditch. Also will include display of Navy helicopter, Marine band performance and refreshments. (619) 443-0556.

Oceanside: Indoor Mass, 8 a.m. Monday at Mission San Luis Rey Parish, 4070 Mission Ave. An all-you-can-eat, $1.99 pancake breakfast follows from 9 to 11 a.m. in the dining room, and Mission San Luis Rey Cemetery, 4050 Mission Ave., will be open from 8 to 11 a.m. for visitation and tours. (760) 757-3651.

Point Loma: Annual Memorial Day Service and Day of Remembrance ceremony, 8:45 a.m. Monday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Guest speaker will be Brig. Gen. Ron Bailey, commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot’s Western Recruiting Region. (619) 553-2084, ext. 4000.

Poway: Memorial Day Remembrances are part of Sunday services at 8, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. Marine Maj. Brian Gilbertson, a Bronze Star recipient and Iraq war veteran, will be the featured speaker at a special forum at 11 a.m. in the Parish Hall. St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 16275 Pomerado Road. (858) 487-2159.

Rancho Bernardo: Ceremony at 10:45 a.m. Monday hosted by Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial Association at Webb Park, on Avena Place off Bernardo Center Drive. Will include flag ceremony, the Camp Pendleton honor guard and the Rancho Bernardo High School choir. Speaker will be Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson. (858) 674-1711.

San Marcos: VFW Post 3795 will host a service at 11 a.m. Monday, San Marcos Cemetery, 1021 Mulberry Drive. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served afterward at the VFW post, 212 W. Mission Road. (760) 744-3795.

Solana Beach: The city and VFW Post 5431 will host a ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon Monday at the Veterans Memorial in La Colonia Community Park, 715 Valley Ave. Highlights include a performance by the Santa Fe Christian School Band, Camp Pendleton Young Marines, the Col. Frank Brezina Venture Scout Crew No. 42 Color Guard and a special guest speaker, retired Air Force Col. Susan Thompson. Light refreshments will be served. (858) 720-2400.

San Diego: Annual Memorial Day observance will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Canyon Road. (800) 352-2646.

San Diego: Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, 4470 Hilltop Drive. (619) 264-3127.

San Diego: San Diego Veterans for Peace, Hugh Thompson Memorial Chapter, will host an Arlington West Memorial on Monday at the USS Midway Museum lawn, at Broadway and Harbor Drive. Veterans will participate from 8 a.m. to dusk. The public is invited to assist with the placement of religious symbols and candles. Names of the fallen in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be read. (858) 342-1964.

San Diego: An introduction by Rod Melendez will begin a ceremony that includes an invocation by Chaplain Darcy Povich, numerous speakers and the playing of taps from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Monday. Veterans Memorial, 2115 Park Blvd. (619) 239-2300.

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.

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.

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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.

Are San Diego County Short Sales Increasing?

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.9 percent of resales last month. That was up from an estimated 18.7 percent in January, 17.6 percent a year earlier, and 11.2 percent two years ago.

The short sale option provides a way for financially distressed San Diego North County sellers to prevent foreclosure.   But, what exactly is a short sale?  See answer below.

A short sale is an agreement in which the mortgage lenders or other lien holders agree to accept a payoff on the loan for less than the current balance. Many lenders agree to a short sale because they receive more of the loan balance in comparison to the amount from selling the North County home under foreclosure. The short sale process also aids in maintaining San Diego North County homes values in the community and helps the seller maintain better credit compared to foreclosure. In most instances, homeowners considering a short sale must meet specific criteria to qualify.

A short sale is not a typical real estate transaction, San Diego North County  home owners should consult a tax expert, obtain advice from an attorney and hire a qualified and experienced Prudential California Realty Realtor® like Gary Harmon.  Gary can help guide you through the process and act as a liaison between all the parties involved.

If you think a short sale might work for you, contact Gary Harmon.  Gary Harmon has completed Prudential’s short sale training program and has been certified as a “Short Sale Specialist.”  To learn more about “short sales” check out these instructional short sale  videos.

California Lifestyles – Real San Diego Living

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Southern California is a great place to live.  Real San Diego living lifestyles can be enjoyed especially in San Diego North County homes.   Check out the best source of   San Diego’s current listings:  see ALL San Diego  County.  See current listings for each community of San Diego North County homes.


East Carlsbad

South Carlsbad

West Carlsbad


San Marcos

North Escondido

South Escondido

East Escondido

Southwest Escondido


Like what you see?  Want to enjoy those California lifestyles and real San Diego living?  Contact Gary Harmon, your San Diego North County Realtor.