Investment Properties

Do you really want to be a landlord? 

Before you jump in the car with me or any other North County Realtor, you need to weigh the pros and cons of buying and owning San Diego investment properties.  Buying or investing in a large project with professional management requires a large financial outlay.  Whereas, buying a San Diego single family homes or small North County investments properties require detailed effort in management and maintaining the properties.  Some of the pros of buying San Diego investment properties are as follows:

  1. Housing is a basic necessity (everyone needs it)
  2. In San Diego North County investment properties are usually easy to keep rented
  3. Income is usually predictable
  4. good resale prospect, especially on units
  5. Investment properties provide a hedge against inflation
  6. You can use leverage to build an estate
  7. Enjoy pride of ownership

Son cons might be:

  1. Investment properties are a service business
  2. Management requirements
  3. Complaints and problems
  4. Maintenance

A buyer that understands what they are getting into will be in a good position to proceed with viewing San Diego North County investment properties possibilities.  This final step is where I come in, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles Realtor.  The final result should be an investment that will prove rewarding.

All content by .

7 Steps to a Successful Home Inspection

Because buying a San Diego North County home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, you should take every precaution to ensure that you know as much as possible about your new San Diego home before completing your purchase.

A San Diego property inspection, sometimes called a physical inspection, can save you thousands of dollars in future repairs. At the very least, if no major defects are found, the inspection report will give you piece of mind in knowing the exact state of your new North County house and what you might reasonably expect after taking possession.

During an inspection, the inspector will review the readily accessible, exposed portions of the San Diego North County home, including the attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, and exterior. The inspection will also look at the foundation, heating/air conditioning systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems and appliances for potential defects. Although small blemishes or cosmetic flaws may be apparent to the untrained eye, a thorough home inspection should point out every minor defect.

Before the Inspection

RULE #1 — Buyers of San Diego properties should choose their own inspector—preferably one that a co-worker, friend or neighbor recommends. Your Realtor may provide you a list of inspectiors that he has used in the past.

RULE #2 — Your inspector should be a member of

By definition, a San Diego North County property inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems of a residential building. An inspection is not a substitute for an appraisal or a building code inspection.

RULE #3 — The standard San Diego North County property inspection does not provide a warranty or guaranty for the following:

  • Roof, Soil, or Geological Conditions
  • Earthquake Hazards
  • Invisible or Latent Defect Termite Damage
  • The Insides of the WallsCracking and Settling Covered by Wall Coverings

During the Inspection


RULE #4 – The San Diego home buyers should be physically present at the end of the San Diego North County home inspection. This is when the inspector will go over any concerns that he has found. Ask your home inspector any concerns you may have about the home.

RULE #5 — Soon after the inspection you will receive the written report. Take time to review, in detail, every item listed on the report. Discuss any concerns with your North County Realtor.

RULE #6 — San Diego North County home buyers are well advised to have safety items repaired or replaced by the close of escrow or final walk-thru.

After the Inspection

RULE #7 – Get estimates for repairs listed in the report. You may choose to have the seller repair some of the items, ask the seller for a credit, or do some of the repairs yourself. Go

over your request with your Realtor. Remember, he has been through this process many times and will know what is a reasonable request and what is not.  After selling San Diego North County real estate for over 22 years, Gary Harmon is qualified to help guide your through the steps of a home inspection. Contact Gary Harmon, and find you San Diego home today.

927 Parkwood Avenue

927 Parkwood Avenue

Current Real Estate Listings of Vista CA Home for Sale 

 927 Parkwood Avenue, Vista, CA 92081 is a regular listing, but priced to compete with foreclosures and short sales of San Diego North County Homes.  This home is in a gated community on a half acre view lot.  It has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms including a bedroom on the main floor.  In addition it has a loft/den.  The kitchen features an island and granite countertops.  There are 2 spacious paito areas for entertaining.  There is also gated RV or boat parking.  Esf = 3646.  Enjoy the photos in the video below.


For more information on Vista Ca Homes for Sale, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles real estate agent.


[idx-listing mlsnumber=”110046245″ showall=”true”]

Quick Facts about Mello-Roos

How is community funding provided?

Let’s say for example, that plans for a new Carlsbad school are approved in your Community Facilities District. To finance the San Diego school, tax-exempt municipal bonds are issued. These public bonds are repaid (or secured) over an extended time through the levy of a special tax (Mello-Roos) on properties that benefit from the facility. This tax is usually added to the annual San Diego North County property tax bills (over a 20-25 year period) of residences within the CFD.

How Much Will be Assessed?

An adopted formula that relates to the size of the San Diego North County home (square footage or lot size) is used to determine the amount of an individual assessment.  In general, the special taxes and assessments do not exceed 1% to 1.5% of the market value of new new homes. Moreover, the total amount of all annual taxes (including property tax) usually does not exceed 2% to 2.5% of the North County home’s market value.

Can my Mello-Roos increase?

This special tax on your North County home can increase only at a maximum rate of 2% per year over a 25 year period. On the other hand, it’s possible that this tax will decrease.

Can I choose how to pay for Mello-Roos?

Yes. As already mentioned, the special assessment can be added to your San Diego property tax bills until your portion of the tax is paid off. A schedule of maximum special tax payments over a period of 25 years is available to San Diego North County home owners prior to the close of escrow.  Those who purchase a new North Country home also have the option to pay for their Mello-Roos tax in it’s entirety at the time they buy. However, because statistics indicate that the average homeowner in California moves every 7 years, it’s often prudent to spread the payment over time.

Find out more about Mello Roos in San Diego North County by reading “How to Avoid Mello Roos.”  To get more info, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles real estate agent.

How to Avoid Mello-Roos

If you are looking for a San Diego North County home, you have probably come across the term “Mello-Roos.” You don’t know what it is, but you see it is a cost you will have to pay on many newer North County homes. The only way to avoid Mello-Roos is to buy an older home or maybe a newer custom home that does not have Mello-Roos. I consider Mello-Roos just another cost of owning a home. Always consider the entire package before purchasing. The San Diego home that has the Mello-Roos tax just may be the best deal for you.

Here are a few things you should know about this term, Mello-Roos. Mello-Roos bonds provide financing for many new San Diego homes communities and their needs. These needs include construction and maintenance of public roads, sewers, water mains, fire stations, public libraries, recreational parks and of course, schools.
The Mello-Roos bond tax is usually added to the annual North County home property tax bills. Most of the bonds have a duration of 20-25 years and can increase up to 2% annually for the entire duration of the bond. Many Mello-Roos bonds can be paid off in full at the time of the originga purchase of the San Diego property . However, because the average San Diego home owner moves every 7 years, it is often prudent to spread the payments over time.
The amount of Mello-Roos Tax that is charged to North County home owner will vary from one CFD to another. Typically, the adopted formula is based on the size of the North County home. That means that the Mello-Roos Tax can be based on either the square footage or the lot size.

To learn more about Mello-Roos, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles Realtor.

All content by .

June 2011 San Diego North County Home Statistics

The July 2011 HomeDex™ Report provides June 2011 San Diego housing statistics.   Information in this report is used by permission from the North San Diego County Association of Realtors®  (NSDCAR).   Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles  Realtor, has been a member of NSDCAR for over 20 years.
• The median price for all San Diego North County home sales – attached and detached – increased from $380,000 in May 2011 to $386,225 in June 2011.
• San Diego detached homes in North County declined 2.17 percent from $460,000 in May 2011 to $450,000 in June 2011; monthly median prices have fluctuated up and down since January 2011. Year-over median SFD price in North San Diego County homes decreased 6.25 percent from $479,975 in June 2010. This was the largest price fall during a five month trend of year-over price declines.
• The San Diego County median SFD remained steady with a slight 0.53 percent decline, from $380,000 in May 2011 to $378,000 in June 2011, after a 1.3 percent increase last month. Year-over median price decreased about 6.67 percent from June 2010.
• The number of North San Diego homes listings (active and contingent) increased about one percent from May 2011 to June 2011; continuing a trend of monthly increases in listings since January 2011. Listings increased 5.47 percent year-over from June 2010.
• The number of sold North San Diego County SFD units increased 12.25 percent from May 2011 to June 2011, the fourth monthly increase this year.
• Median days-on-market for single-family detached homes in North County increased from 47 days in May 2011 to 49 days in June 2011.

Contact Gary Harmon, to see San Diego North County homes today.

See up to date market statistics provide by Altos Research for Carlsbad homes, Oceanside homes, Vista homes, San Marcos homes, Escondido homes and Encinitas homes.

Carlsbad Mineral Water – Carlsbad Real Estate History

As mentioned in an earlier blog, just to the west of my Real Living Lifestyles office is the Ocean House.  To the east of the our Carlsbad Village Faire office is the old Carlsbad railroad station.  Probably the most historic site is one block to the north, the home of Carlsbad Mineral Water.  A plack and statue marks the sp0t. 

In 1882 John A. Frazier chose to settle on a farm in the Carlsbad real estate area and named it Frazier’s Station.  Carlsbad Mineral Water was discovered when he drilled a well for his farm near the beach.  He had dug a well for his water supply, but discovered that the  water cured a stomach ailment from which he had suffered for years.   Intrigued, he sent samples of the water to two independent testing laboratories in New York and Chicago.  The results showed his water was chemically very similar to the water from the famous Sprudel Well Number 9, Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic).  To celebrate this fact, the name of the area was changed from Frazier’s Station to Carlsbad, California.

One of San Diego North County’s real estate booms was happening at the time, and Capt. Frazier platted his farm for the new city called Carlsbad, California.  He also started bottling his water and selling it across the nation as (The American) Carlsbad Mineral Water.  He built a huge Victorian hotel beside his original well, and people came from all over the world and included at least two U.S. presidents enjoy the mineral water for drinking and for bathing, just as they would in the European Carlsbad.  Just down the street to the south of the well was one of the famous “Twin Inns”  which is now the Ocean House, another giant piece of Carlsbad Real Estate history.

The real estate boom of the 1880s crashed, but Carlsbad’s mineral water continued to be popular until the Great Depression, when the well was abandoned because the owners lacked the funds for maintenance.

The well was lost until it was rediscovered in 1955 by Kay and “Chris” Christiansen. The Christiansens wanted to restore the well and revive the mineral-water business, but for various reasons they could not do so.  In 1991, Kay met Ludvik Grigoris, who became interested in helping her with her dream. Ludvik had been born in Karlovy Vary, when it was in Czechoslovakia and under Communist rule.

From 1993 to 1995, Ludvik and his wife Veronica worked at restoring and redrilling the well. By this time, Ludvik had been instrumental in forging a sister-city relationship between his birthplace of Karlovy Vary and Carlsbad, Calif. In late 1995, the mayor and city council of Carlsbad, along with an fficial delegation from Karlovy Vary, officiated at the formal re-opening of the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa. In June 1996, Carlsbad Alkaline Water™ finally, ­after an absence of 60 years, ­once again became available to the public.

I am going to bring me a gallon bottle and two quarters and give it a try.  Drink up, to Carlsbad real estate history.

See Carlsbad real estate and other San Diego North County real estate, contact Gary Harmon, for your best move!

Best Time to Invest – San Diego Real Estate

Don’t Miss Out!

Prices in San Diego North County are low.  Interest rates are low.  Don’t let the poem below describe you.

I hesitate to make a list of all the countless deals I’ve missed;

Bonanzas that were in my grip – I watched them through my fingers slip;

The windfalls which I should have bought, lost because I over thought;

I thought of this, I thought of that, I could have sworn I smelled a rat;

As I thought things over twice, another grabbed them at the price;

It seems I always hesitate, then make my mind up much too late;

A very cautious person I, and that is why I never buy;

At times a tear drowns my eye for all the deals I let pass by;

And now life’s saddest words I pen – If only I’d invested then!

                              Author Unknown

Don’t sit on the sideline in the great San Diego North County real estate market.  Contact Gary Harmon, your North County Realtor.  Let Gary’s 22 years of experience help you get the next great real estate deal.  See  “Homes are currently 24% under priced.”

[idx-listings city=”San Diego” minprice=”300000″ propertytypes=”335″ orderby=”Price” orderdir=”ASC” count=”25″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

History – Carlsbad Real Estate

This is the second in my series about Carlsbad real estate history.  If you missed it, the first was Twin Inns – Ocean House.  Behind Carlsbad Village Faire to the east is the original Carlsbad train station.  I see it everyday as I walk around the Faire.  Walked over last week and took the photo below.  The original station is now a Carlsbad information center.  This original Carlsbad station still exist in its original location at State and Elm Streets.  It is one of the train stations that remains trackside in close proximity to the newer station Carlsbad Village Station.

The end of line is downtown San Diego and the historic Sante Fe Train Depot. The depot was originally built in 1887 and replaced in 1915 in the Spanish Revival style of architecture. Like many buildings in San Diego, it was rebuilt to prepare for the Panama Pacific Exposition. It, too, was in a precarious situation in 1971 when the depot was faced with the ugly prospect of demolition. Preservationists, citizens and anyone with a one-track mind to save the old depot, delivered the message that any idea of destroying the building was an idea careening down the wrong track. Attempts to destroy this San Diego treasure were thwarted and the building rolled right into the National Historic Register in 1972. Touchdown for those who worked hard to save it. Sante Fe is at Kettner and Broadway in downtown San Diego.

If you want to engineer a fun day trip, hop on Amtrak or even the Coaster train and ride the rails up to Carlsbad or Oceanside from the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. You won’t be able to see Encinitas from the train, but you’ll see Santa Fe, Del Mar, and Carlsbad stations.

Trains and train stations conjure up all sorts of nostalgic and romantic images. Train stations have been places to both welcome home loved ones or to say goodbye. Train stations dot the landscape of towns and cities that we often never venture out to explore, but somehow, passing through them, we get a sense that we’ve been somewhere. Trains take us to more than train stations. Visit one of the train stations and consider taking a train ride. We can’t afford to lose the magic of train travel. All aboard!

To get Carlsbad real estate information, contact Gary Harmon, your Carlsbad Realtor.

Carlsbad Real Estate History

Ocean House – Twin Inns

My Real Living Lifestyles real estate office is located in Carlsbad Village Faire at the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Boulebard, suite 223.    Looking out of my desk window, I look directly at the Ocean House.  Since it is such an intresting building, I decided to do a little research on its history and the following is what I found.  See article under photo. 

This beautiful building at the corner of what was Elm and old 101 is the anchor of all Carlsbad landmarks.  This beautiful old Victorian mansion that I gaze at out of my office window towards is now the home to offices and the Ocean House resturant.  It has a celebrated past and for decades was the hub of the entire Carlsbad real estate area activity. 

In 1883 John A. Frazier chose to settle in the Carlsbad home area, named it Frazier’s Station.  The German immigrant was not interested in being the city’s founding father, but rather saw the Carlsbad real estate area as an investment opportunity.  He dug a well for his water supply. Analysis of the deep (over 400 feet) well water showed it to be nearly identical to the water from the famous Sprudel Well Number 9, Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic).  To celebrate this fact, the name of the area was changed from Frazier’s Station to Carlsbad, California.

Promotion of the Carlsbad real estate area was begun by the California Southern Railway (Santa Fe), and by the Carlsbad Land and Water Company. A large hotel was erected near the well, and railway waiting rooms across the country featured posters of the new Carlsbad Spa and its miraculous waters.

In 1887, the president of the Carlsbad Land company, Gerhard Schutte, erected a large Carlsbad home nearby, and his business partner, D. D. Wadsworth, built a mirror image of the president’s house on the same block 200 feet to the north. The two Carlsbad homes, visible for miles across the coastal plain, became landmarks in the Carlsbad real estate area.  The Wadsworth house was torn down in 1950.  The 1890’s saw droughts and recession and many of the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Co. principals moved south to San Diego.

About the turn of the century the land boom was over. The original Carlsbad Hotel, a giant five-story wooden structure with a rooftop gazebo located further inland, had burned to the ground. Within a few years the Carlsbad Land and Water Company was reorganized. 

The Carlsbad homes were leased for commercial purposes, and were now renting rooms and serving meals.  They later became owned and operated by Mesdames Whiting and Reedy, who established many traditions such as the Blue Willow China, buffet and Sunday brunch family-style service, and the name “Twin Inns.” The Carlsbad area was still being promoted, but now by the South Coast Land Company as the Avocado Capitol of the World!

In 1918 Baron Long closed his famous Ship Cafe on the canal in Venice, California. His specialty chef, Eddie Kentner, drove south seeking a likely place to relocate. Attracted to the Twin Inns, he acquired the business on November 5, 1919.  He and his wife, Neva, took over the matching houses.  Travel between Los Angeles and San Diego North County by automobile was arduous in the 1920s.  The Twin Inns soon became a favorite stopping place for travelers, enhanced, perhaps, by Mr. Kentner’s willingness to prepare meals at all hours of the night for “victims” of the automobile technology of the ’20s. Prohibition drove many fun-seekers south, attracted to Baron Long’s newest venture, which he built south of the border, the Caliente Race Track and Gambling Spa in Tijuana.

The increased traffic made it necessary to enlarge the Twin Inns. The Rotunda Salon was added in 1922. In 1936 the lobby and front rooms were remodeled to provide more space. By 1950 the combination of increased business and local street widening projects had made parking a major problem. The old Wadsworth House was razed to provide parking in what is now the north lot. In February 1961, Art and D.D. Morgan, son-in-law Eddie Kentner, Sr., took over the management of the family restaurant. They were succeeded in November 1969, by Bonnie and Eddie Kentner, Jr. In April 1984 the Kentner family sold the historic Twin Inns building and all its land. The new owners changed the name from the Twin Inns to Neimans upon completion of an extensive restoration in 1985, which included a stage and live entertainment.

The new and present owner acquired Neimans in 2004. Another extensive renovation was completed in November with a decor uplift to Southern California tropical and beach influenced. The elegant old Victorian mansion is now called Ocean House, and is ready to offer a second hundred years of fine dining and service to San Diego’s North County.  There have always been rumors that the Twin Inns (Ocean House) was a haunted mansion with aits trap-door tower and secret room.  I think I will keep my window locked.

To see Carlsbad homes or other San Diego North County real estate, contact Gary Harmon, your Real Living Lifestyles Realtor.