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Home Buying Benefits for Military Buyers!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

Homeownership is the dream of many Americans, but did you know that Military Service members, their families and Veterans are among the highest group of homeowners?

If you're a Military Service member or Veteran, Home Buying is well within your reach! You have access to many home-buying benefits, and protections, making this one of the most powerful home loan programs on the market. Let's review the program:

VA Loan Program

Since the beginning of the VA Loan Program, over 21 million loans for Veterans and active duty Military Members and their families. Here are some of the highlights of the program:

VA loans feature many benefits that help make home buying possible, including the following:

  • No down payment requirement
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Lower average interest rates
  • Limits on closing costs
  • More lenient credit requirements

* Individuals not qualifying for a conventional home loan have been flocking to VA home loans! 

Typically, veterans and active-duty service members are eligible for a VA home loan if they served in the following capacity:

  • 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime
  • 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime
  • 6 or more years in the National Guard or Reserves

 

Occupancy & power of attorney

The VA Loan program is focused on getting buyers into homes they'll be living in full time. However, the program does make exceptions for some active-duty service members and veterans:

For example, a spouse or children may be able to fulfill the occupancy requirement on behalf of a VA buyer.

A VA buyer who is deployed or otherwise unable to manage the loan process can typically assign a power of attorney to a spouse or family member to manage the loan process and sign documents.

If you find yourself needing to assert the Power of Attorney, there are 2 types from which to choose; General & Specific, all depending on what parts of the loan document the actual buyer can sign.

The occupancy and power of attorney options mean an eligible VA buyer’s spouse and children could buy a home during a deployment or unaccompanied assignment, helping alleviate the emotional toll of multiple moves on military families.

Basic allowance for housing

Did you know that many active-duty military members who receive a monthly housing allowance can use this money to qualify for a home loan? Mortgage Lenders can count Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) as effective income. This makes for a much easier transition from renting to owning your own home. 

For help with equating your BAH and qualifying income into a home loan equation, give the Mary McTernan team a call.

Financial protections

Being an active-duty service member, you can face unique financial challenges; deployment and changes of station can put undue emotional and financial strain on the family.  For this reason, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) can provide military personnel financial protection involving interest rates, income tax payments, foreclosure, eviction and more! 

Veterans Affairs also offers foreclosure avoidance protection assistance for homeowners. Their team of experts work with lenders on your behalf, when stuggling homeownership difficulties occur.

Call Mary McTernan and her team for all your Home Buying Questions and Assistance! The San Diego area offers fabulous home choices for all Military Service personnel and Veterans!

Resource: Realtor.com

Normal Heights Celebrates!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

Dance the weekend away and fill your bellies with delicious food and beverages at our favorite Normal Heights festival…..the 35th Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair!!! Head down to Adams Avenue, between 32nd Street and 35th Street, this Saturday and Sunday for the ultimate neighborhood celebration. Held every year on the last weekend of September, the Adams Avenue Street Fair is the largest free two-day music festival in all of Southern California! Along with all of the incredible live performances that you and your family will enjoy all weekend, there are countless other activities at the fair. Dine on delicious food from the many food vendors. Stop by one of the 3 beer gardens to quench your thirst on San Diego’s finest craft beer options. Take a spin on the giant carnival rides located in Adams Avenue Park. AND, check out the more than 350 arts and crafts booths along the avenue to pick up some unique goodies. Here is more important information you’ll need to make the most of your time this weekend at the Adams Avenue Street Fair:


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Official Program

Live Music!

With over 90 musical acts on 7 stages it is impossible to list all of the incredible performers that will be appearing at the Adams Avenue Street Fair. Whether you love world music, blues, rock, americana, indie, or R&B, there will be a band that is music to your ears this weekend!  Here is a list of this year’s amazing headliners:


Saturday, September 24th

8:45 - 9:45 pm - Mrs. Magician @ Casbah Rock Stage

8:45 - 10:00 pm - The B-Side Players @ DiMille’s Variety Stage

8:45 - 10:00 pm - Sugaray Rayford Blues Band @ Hawley Blues Stage

Sunday, September 25th

4:15 - 5:15 pm - Sebadoh @ Casbah Rock Stage

4:30 - 5:45 pm - Jungle Fire @ DiMille’s Variety Stage

5:45 - 7:00 pm - Lisa Haley and The Zydekats @ Hawley Blues Stage

5:45 - 7:00 pm - The Beat Farmers with Dave Alvin @ 34th Roots Rock Stage


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Street Fair’s Craft Beer Taste!

On Saturday, September 24th, craft beer lovers should head to the tent across from the Starbucks Stage for a special Craft Beer Taste! This event will be held from noon until 4:00 pm and will feature around 30 different types of craft beers from 15+ breweries. For $20, visitors can sample 12 different beers in 4-ounce tastes. Don’t miss out on this special Saturday only event. Tickets can be purchased HERE!!


Event Details

Date: Saturday, September 24th, 2016 - Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Time: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm (Saturday) and 10:00 am - 7:00 pm (Sunday)

Location: Adams Avenue (from 32nd Street to 35th Street)

Cost: FREE Admission!


Romantic Things to Do in San Diego!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

San Diego is truly a city of romance. With 70 miles of gorgeous coastline, spectacular weather year round, insanely delicious restaurants, and countless activities available, the options for a romantic night between you and your significant other is endless! Whether you have just started dating or have been married for years, fall in love all over again by planning a date night or weekend getaway for the two of you.

 

 

There are endless romantic dining options in San Diego. Plan a date night for you and your love at one of these favorite restaurants for a night you two will never forget. Considered the most romantic restaurant in the city, Bertrand at Mister A's (2550 Fifth Avenue) offers spectacular views of downtown San Diego from its 12th floor location. Dine on some delicious modern American cuisine and marvel at the gorgeous city you call home. Feel like you have escaped to Paris for the night at Cafe Chloe (721 9th Avenue). This cozy cafe serves award winning French bistro classics. Sit inside in the beautifully decorated restaurant or enjoy your meal at one of the quaint outdoor tables.  Enjoy an amazing flight of wine paired with your three or five course meal at the Wine Vault & Bistro (3731 India Street). With gourmet food, an intimate atmosphere, and incredible selection of wine, you and your significant other will love this San Diego spot. After dinner, head over to one of the two locations of Extraordinary Desserts (2929 5th Avenue and 1430 Union Street) for some incredibly decadent cakes and sweet treats. Almost too beautiful to eat, your taste buds will be singing as you share a homemade dessert from their constantly changing menu.

 

The ocean offers the most perfect romantic spot for in San Diego. Plan a date on the water doing on of these fun activities. Have an adventure at sea by renting a paddleboard or kayak with Aqua Adventures (1548 Quivira Way). Explore quiet coves, marvel at lounging sea lions, and enjoy some time together in the sun. The company also offers romantic packages for those extra special occassions! You and your significant other do not have to book a flight to Venice to enjoy a romantic gondola ride. Head over to The Gondola Company (503 Grand Caribe Causeway) in Coronado. Snuggle up under a blanket as your go for a one-hour ride in the bay.  Take a Hornblower Dinner Cruise (970 North Harbor Drive) on the bay. With sunset cruise options, you two will enjoy your meal with champagne and live music. Be sure to kiss as you sail under the Coronado Bridge, a San Diego tradition that is said to bring you good luck.

 

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The weather and natual environment in San Diego offers excellent date options. Especially for those couples that love to be active and outside, there are many spots for you to enjoy throughout the metro area. The quintessential spot in San Diego, Balboa Park offers endless fun and romantic opportunities. Explore the many museums together, take a ride on the carousel, and stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden. Have a picnic in one of the lush green spaces or head over to the Prado for a truly romantic setting while you dine. Spend time in the Southern California sun as you and your love hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla. Enjoy the miles of trails as you explore the local wildlife and witness some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean in the area. There are far things more romantic than watching the sunset and Sunset Cliffs Natural Park offers the perfect spot to do just that. Pack a blanket and find the ultimate spot along the cliffs as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. During certain parts of the year, you two might also see the spectacular California Gray Whales as they migrate.

 

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Plan a romantic weekend getaway without ever leaving the San Diego area! As a couple, you can enjoy a night completely to yourselves at one of the great hotels in the area. The La Valencia Hotel (1132 Prospect Street) in La Jolla is a Mediterranean inspired oceanfront resort. With exceedingly charm rooms, delicious dining options, a luxurious spa, and a pool with views of the ocean, you will feel like you are on vacation despite being a short drive from home. Spend the night at Tower 23 Hotel (723 Felspar Street). This boutique hotel is located directly on the ocean for spectacular views. Enjoy time relaxing on the beach, stroll up the coast to explore some coves, or hit up the boardwalk for some fun. Before retreating to your beautiful room, sip a cocktail on the patio as the sun sets. A San Diego landmark, the Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Avenue) offers the ultimate romantic getaway. Explore Coronado Island before experiencing the world class service offered at this historic hotel. The amenities at this hotel are truly endless. Spend time at one of the multiple pools. Check out the unique shops and boutiques located on site. Relax at the spa. Before you head back across the bay to San Diego, be sure to check out the famous Sunday brunch for a delicious meal with your significant other.

 

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San Diego Dog Directory!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

With beautiful year round weather, stunning beaches, great dining and retail options, and countless activities, San Diego is the perfect place to live for everyone…...including our four legged friends! In fact, according to Realtor.com, San Diego is the 5th Most Dog Friendly City in the Country! The rankings were based on the percentage of dog owners as well as access to numerous pet related amenities, such as parks, groomers, pet stores, etc. With 63% of households having dogs and almost 1,000 pet related businesses, it’s no surprise that San Diego is the ultimate city for your pooch! Here is our handy pet directory for San Diego to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy!

Pet Stores and Bakeries

We want to give our dogs the best of everything. Whether it is food, toys, accessories, or more, we love to spoil our pets. San Diego is filled with great boutiques, bakeries, and pet supply stores. Many offer healthy foods and eco-friendly toys. These are our favorite spots to get all of our dog treats and necessities:

Pet Groomers

Not only do you want to make sure your dog always looks its best but it also helps keep your dog happy and healthy by properly maintaining their coat, nails, and teeth. If you do not have time to groom your pet at home or have a dog with an unruly mane, there are plenty of experienced and highly qualified pet groomers located throughout San Diego. Here are some local groomers to send your pup to for some pampering:

Pet Photography

Your dog truly is another member of the family. Add their photo to your wall of family portraits to let everyone your visits your home know how much you love your pooch! Check out these award winning pet photographers to turn your dog into a furry model for the day:

Pet Sitters and Walkers

Whether you work full days or need to go out of town for business or vacation, you want to make sure that your pet is taken care of while you are away. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and socialization when you are at work by hiring a dog walker. If you need to leave San Diego for a couple days, make you beloved pooch more comfortable by allowing them to stay in your home with a pet sitter instead of at a boarding facility. Here are some great local dog sitters and walkers to keep Fido happy every day:


Dog Parks and Beaches

Dogs are allowed in all San Diego municipal parks as long as they are maintained on a leash that does not extend past 8 feet. If you want your dog to be able to stretch their legs, run free, and roll in the grass with other dogs, check out one of the many off-leash areas available throughout San Diego. All off-leash dog parks are designated on this helpful MAP. The following our favorite parks to take Fido:

Balboa Park - includes:

  • Grape Street Dog Park (1998 28th Street)
  • Morley Field Dog Park (Morley Field Drive & Alabama Street)
  • Nate’s Point (2500 Balboa Drive
Other Dog-friendly Parks ....
  • Capehart Park (Soledad Mountain Road)
  • Charles L Lewis III Memorial Park (4750 Home Avenue)
  • Kearny Mesa Community Park (3170 Armstrong Street)
  • Nobel Park (8820 Judicial Drive)
  • Ward Canyon Neighborhood Park (3905 Adams Avenue)

In San Diego, your dog can also enjoy a day at the beach! For most beaches in the metro area, dogs must be leashed at all times and are allowed on the beach starting in the evening and until 9:00 am the following morning. However, there are two great beaches that allow dogs off leash! Just remember to always pick up after your pet at any of the San Diego beaches to ensure that our furry friends are always welcome to enjoy the surf and sun in the future!

Pet Rescue and Adoption in San Diego

Don’t have a family dog yet or are looking to add another four-legged friend to your family? Save a life and rescue a dog! There are many great organizations in the San Diego area that work tirelessly to rescue dogs and find loving homes for them. Make a difference in a homeless animal’s life and find a best friend for you and your family at one of these animal adoption organizations:

For more tips on San Diego and our wonderful communities, visit our website!

Best Places to Live in San Diego!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

San Diego is an incredible city to call home. Deciding where to settle down within the city can seem daunting with all of the amazing, unique neighborhoods located throughout the metropolitan area. Whether you are looking for a strong sense of community, great local businesses, or easy accessibility, there is the perfect area for you in San Diego. Here is our list of the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego!

 

NORTH PARK (92104)  

North Park is the perfect San Diego neighborhood for anyone that wants to be able to walk to their favorite local spots. This area is extremely pedestrian and bike friendly. On top of that, North Park is buzzing with new dining and drinking establishments, making it one of the coolest neighborhoods to currently live in. Whatever your taste buds desire, there is surely a restaurant or coffee shop in this neighborhood that you will enjoy. And, many of them offer great outdoor spaces for you to enjoy your meal in the beautiful year round weather. This neighborhood’s current claim to fame is as the craft beer hub of San Diego. There are currently six breweries located in North Park. Looking for great entertainment beyond your stomach? North Park conveniently borders Balboa Park, the main cultural center for San Diego. This park is home to 15 major museums, performing arts venues, and countless other attractions. Current Homes for Sale in North Park.

 

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Photo Credit: Andrew Kleske




SOUTH PARK (92102, 92104)       

South Park is a small neighborhood located just north of downtown San Diego. It is perfect for anybody looking for a tight-knit community within the broader metropolitan area. South Park has an incredibly strong identity and focuses on all things local. This quaint tree lined neighborhood features an eclectic array of stores and restaurants. You will find unique items to purchase and delicious farm to table meals at the local establishments. It is an incredibly historic neighborhood within San Diego. It is dominated by single family homes, featuring Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Current Homes for Sale in South Park.

 

 Photo Credit: Luci Dumas Fine Photography



UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS (92116)  

This neighborhood is located between Hillcrest and North Park. University Heights is centered around Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. This thoroughfares both feature a great assortment of boutiques, antique stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and artist studios. The history of this neighborhood is closely linked to the streetcar system that used to run throughout San Diego. Trolley Barn Park (1900 Adams Avenue) is a popular spot for local families to hang out and enjoy the San Diego sunshine. There is a great playground at the park and a free concert series every Friday during the summer. A fun fact about this park: the sidewalks within it are laid out to mimic the local street pattern in the neighborhood! With its convenient location along Interstate 8 and California State Route 163, residents in University Heights can easily travel throughout San Diego and the wider metropolitan area. Current Homes for Sale in University Heights.


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Photo Credit: Andrew Kleske

 

NORMAL HEIGHTS (92116)     

If you want a neighborhood with rich cultural diversity, Normal Heights is the perfect spot for you. This area is recognized as the only neighborhood that accurately represents the broader diversity of San Diego as a whole. Normal Heights brings all of its residents together yearly for fantastic community-wide events. In April, check out Adams Avenue Unplugged, where you can enjoy over a hundred free live music performances over the course of two days. Food lovers will love the Taste of Adams Avenue which occurs annually in June. At this great festival, you can enjoy delicious food from all the restaurants, coffee houses, and bars that occupy the area. Current Homes for Sale in Normal Heights.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Kleske



If you are interested in Buying or Selling in one of these or the many other great neighborhoods located throughout San Diego, give McT Real Estate Group a call today or visit our website

 

Real Estate Investing 101

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

 Real Estate Investing 101

Real Estate Investment 101

The economic outlook for some industries has not been too good lately, however, one sector that is doing very well and gaining traction is real estate. The Urban Land Institute released a report called the  2016 Emerging Trends in Real Estate which talks about “18-hour cities” and the increase of millennial parents that are moving to the suburbs from the urban areas, indicating the strength of real estate with every passing day in of 2016. Some in large financial institutions have gone on to say that “the next 24 months look doggone good for real estate.”

Real Estate is a smart place to make an investment and grow your wealth is what these trends are showing. With the rental market in San Diego showing a huge increase in demand and a housing shortage, finding a tenant is a breeze and homes that are being flipped are selling quickly and for high prices.

With this being said, the San Diego Real Estate Market is highly competitive right now. If you are thinking of investing in Real Estate, you will need to be strategic in who you work with, where you look for investment opportunities and educate yourself. Read on for out 101 of Real Estate Investing.

Get your real estate team in place before you buy

Getting a team in place requires research and relationships. Once you have found your key players you will feel empowered and will start to get your feet wet by putting serious offers on properties. Here are some of the key players that you should have in place. 

  • A mortgage broker or banker, who will help you get the financing needed to purchase a property.
  • An Experienced local Realtor that knows the area and knows about the types of homes in the area.
  • An Accountant that is well versed in real estate investments
  • A good contractor, for repairs and for rehabbing.

How to find rehab or wholesale deals

This is not for the nervous-nellie. This can be costly and devastating if you jump in and don’t know what you are doing so please, make sure that you have done your homework and are ready to go.

You can buy properties in San Diego to fix up and flip (resell) or if you are lucky enough to find a property that you can rent out for a monthly cash flow, then, this is amazing.

The advantage of flipping properties is that you can end up with a good return on investment (ROI) in the short term. For example, you buy a property for $500,000, and invest $100,000 into repairs. Once it’s rehabbed, your property is valued at $750,000, and you sell it for a $150,000 profit.

This is an extremely simplified version of ROI. There are many other factors that you need to determine to see if the numbers work in your favor — that is, you’re not overpaying initially when you buy the properties or for the renovations or holding costs.

Flipping properties mean that you will need to spend more time looking for fixer uppers that may be under market value. These may be more difficult to find in San Diego’s hot market with rising property prices. Beyond the actual purchase price, you will also need to factor in fixed purchase costs for inspections, closing, and lender fees.

You’ll also need to factor in holding costs. Your budget should include funds for making repairs, whether you are doing them yourself or hiring contractors. While you’re upgrading the property, you’ll need to carry mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Because of rising property values, fix-and-flip deals in good neighborhoods can be hard to find. But once you know where to find rehab opportunities, you can easily repeat the process by reinvesting proceeds from a previous flip into the next property, which can be bigger, in a more desirable neighborhood, or finished out more luxuriously, and therefore sold for more cash!

Working with the right real estate professionals will help you learn which neighborhoods to consider and determine where you should focus your search. We can help you find the right fixer-uppers that may be under market value. Also, a Realtor will have access to many properties that may not be publicly available.

Finding buy-and-hold rental properties

A buy-and-hold rental property is one that your purchase with the intent of renting it out to tenants. If you find the right long-term buy-and-hold rental property, you can earn consistent cash flow each month, which can be a great source of supplemental income.

You’ll need to carefully review the operating expenses on the property and what tenants are willing to pay for the space to know if you’ll make or lose money each month. For example, say your total costs to buy a duplex was $60,000, including down payment and closing costs. You can rent each of the units for $1800. Assuming your building is 100% occupied, you’ll make $3600 per month in income. Your expenses include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, and management fees, and you want to set aside some cash each month for capital expenditures and routine repairs. You calculate that your expenses add up to $3100 per month. Once you subtract your expenses from your income, you’ll have a positive cash flow of $500 per month.

Of course, this is a very simplified example, and it doesn’t take into account that problems will inevitably arise. Emergency roof repairs, heating system breakdowns, broken windows that need replacing, and other unexpected expenses can eat away at your profits. One of your units may be vacant for a month or more -- or you could have a tenant who fails to pay their monthly rent.

The more you can anticipate problems before they happen, however, the easier it will be for you to recover from setbacks! Moreover, rent isn’t the only way to make money on a buy-and-hold property. You can also add amenities, such as coin laundry and vending machines, to increase your potential monthly income. If your property has space to add a billboard, you can earn advertising revenue from renting that space, too. And when you decide to sell, your property’s value will likely have increased both from the overall rising property values and by the improvements you made to increase the cash flow. 

Once you find and invest in your rental property, you’ll need to decide how you want it managed from month to month.

Getting the right property manager

Do you want to manage your own property or hire a manager? Property management can become a full-time job. As a property manager, you’ll have to deal not only with maintenance, repairs and tenant issues, but also with insurance, fair rental regulations, and building code compliance. So if you’re not an expert in these areas, managing your own properties may not be worth your time and effort.

Hiring a professional manager can save you headaches over the long term. While you’ll have to factor in management as a fixed expense, your property manager will likely know how to better take care of routine repairs, tenant issues, and keeping your property near 100% occupancy.

Your real estate professional can refer you to reputable property management companies to help you take care of your investment.

Where should I start investing in local real estate?

Work with a knowledgeable real estate professional who knows about the different neighborhoods. We can help you find properties that will fit into your budget and your overall goals. Whether you’re seeking a duplex or multifamily property so you can maximize your rental income or whether you want a condo or single-family home to improve for resale, we can guide you to the best property to suit your needs. 

Contact the McT Real Estate Group to learn more about investment properties in San Diego area. 

Things to Do in San Diego with the Kids!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

San Diego is a playground for all ages. With endless activities and entertainment options available, it truly is the perfect place to call home. You and your family will never run out of new things to explore and do. Check out our favorite family friendly sites in San Diego to plan your next day of fun and adventure!


Step back in time at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (4002 Wallace Street)! Discover what life was like in early San Diego at this great park. The park focuses on life in the area between the periods of 1821 and 1872. Learn about how cultures converged between the Mexican communities in the area and the earliest American settlements. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park features museums, retail shops, and restaurants. Your children will love exploring the restored historic adobe buildings. There are also always amazing activities taking place throughout the park. Watch a blacksmith at work, listen to music, attend a special gathering, and so much more. Your family will have fun while learning about the history of our amazing city. The park is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.

San Diego is a stunning coastal city. Take advantage of the unique location by the ocean and spend the day with your family at Seaport Village (849 West Harbor Drive). This complex along the waterfront features 14 acres of unique shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It was designed to resemble a harbor of a century ago. There are over 50 stores and 17 restaurants for you and your family to try! Take a spin on the carousel or have your family’s portrait done by the caricature artist. There are also always Special Events occurring throughout the year for additional entertainment and family fun.  Seaport Village is open daily from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm.

Spend a day with the animals at the San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Drive). The zoo is home to over 4,000 rare and endangered animals! It was the pioneering zoo in creating open-air natural habitat environments for the animals allowing a unique opportunity to witness how they would live out in the wild. Every continent is represented by animals in the park. Pretend like you and your family are traveling the world as you spend the day at the zoo. Travel from the Australian Outback to Panda Canyon. From there, go from Africa Rocks to the Northern Frontier. There truly are endless things to do at the zoo. Participate in an animal encounter, allowing you to get up close and personal with your favorite furry creature. Ride the mini train, see a show, or dine at one of the restaurants in the park. The San Diego Zoo is open daily with hours changing throughout the week. After you are done at the zoo, you and your family will love exploring all the other amazing facilities located right outside the zoo gates in Balboa Park.

Climb aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers at the USS Midway Museum (910 North Harbor Drive). Imagine life as one of the 225,000 sailors who have served their country at sea on the Midway. Your entire family will never forget their day at this museum. Learn about the history of the aircraft carrier by listening to audio tour as narrated by actual Midway sailors. There are over 60 exhibits on the ship, including 29 restored aircrafts. For the truly adventurous, try out one of the two flight simulators. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Click HERE for information on ticket prices.

Walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido). This incredible park covers 1,800 acres and features incredible animal and plant life throughout. It is a truly unique zoo experience with its open-range enclosures. In these areas, including the Asian Savanna and African Plains, visitors go on a caravan or cart safari through the areas. This allows you to see animals exactly as they would behave in their native homes! There are so many adventures to be had at this park. Zip line over animal exhibits or try the challenging ropes course in the Nairobi Village. You and your family can even spend the night camping at the park on one of the special Roar & Snore Safaris! Every visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park will be an unforgettable experience! Click HERE for daily hours!


Have a day of thrills at Belmont Park (3146 Mission Boulevard). This historic amusement park is located directly on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Ride the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, a true San Diego landmark. This wooden rollercoaster is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In addition to the coaster, there are tons of other great amusement rides to spin and flip you around all day, including the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Vertical Plunge, and the Liberty Carousel. Try your hand at surfing in the Wavehouse. If rides aren’t your thing, you and your family will love playing a round of mini golf or competing in lazer tag. Afterwards, dine on some delicious food from one of the 7 dining options in the park. Click HERE for information on the park and amusement ride hours.


Everyone’s favorite block toy is now an amusement park! Your children will love spending the day at Legoland California (1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad). With rides, character meet and greets, 4-D movies, and so much more, there is endless fun at this park. Spend all day exploring the themed areas of the park, from Pirate Shores and Imagination Zone to Lego Friends Heartlake City and Explorer Island. At the Sea Life Aquarium, you and your family can have up close encounters with incredible sea life, including sharks, octopi, and rays. This hands-on learning experience allows your children to learn all about life under the ocean waters. There are plenty of dining and shopping options located throughout the park. Your kids can also stock up on all their favorite Lego gear and trade Minifigures for new ones at the park! Hours vary per day so check out the website for more information.  


For a truly unique art museum experience, bring your family to The New Children's Museum  (200 West Island Avenue). This innovative children’s museum brings art alive. It is a great educational experience that focuses on breeding creativity amongst the youth. Your children will love exploring their imaginations as they check out the interactive exhibitions created by contemporary artists. They can also try their hands at their own artwork! The museum features special artistic performances throughout the week as well. It will be a day at the museum unlike any other your family has ever experienced. Click HERE for all hours and admission information to plan your visit.


Hire A Home Inspector - Don't Get Burned

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

Hire a Home Inspector

Buying a Home- Do I Really Need a Home Inspection?

You have been thinking about Buying a Home for quite some time but just have not gotten around to it because you were not sure if you wanted to be tied down to one place. Well, the time has come and now you are sure so you begin with your research and contact a local Realtor. You sit down with your Realtor and go over your needs, wants and your overall goals. Together you come up with a plan and figure out what neighborhoods you would like to live in and what type of home you would like.

After finding several homes that you absolutely love, putting offers in and getting beat out by offers, you finally get your offer accepted on the ideal home in the desired neighborhood, close to everything your love. You are excited and thrilled. Now before moving in there are lots of things that you must do.

First, it is important to hire a great home inspector. Homes are not like buying a microwave. You can’t just return it for an even exchange. Buying a Home is a huge investment and should do your homework before finalizing the commitment that you are getting ready to make.

If you don’t know of any home inspectors, you should ask your Realtor for a few referrals. A good Realtor will know several and be able to refer you to a few. A Home inspection will consist of a general visual inspection of the roof, foundation, plumbing, HVAC system and electrical and will typically cost anywhere from $350.00-$550.00, depending on the size of the home. They will be able to tell you if any of these items needs further attention and if you should get further specialized inspections by the foundation expert, plumber expert, HVAC expert and/or the roofing expert to evaluate.

 

Can A Home Inspection Save You Money?

There will be times that a seller will put their home on the market and they will have done a pre-home inspection and have disclosed the reports on the MLS for all to see. The inspections may show plumbing issues, foundation issues, roof issues or more. By seeing this up front you the buyer are aware and will know what you are putting an offer on and what to expect. However, most times this is not the case. It is not until after you have fallen in love with the home and put an offer in do you find out all of the quirks and issues that the home has based on the home inspectors findings. By doing your due diligence you are in a better-negotiating position. You can ask that the sellers either repair some of these issues prior to closing or give a credit to you the buyer to help cover the cost for completing the repairs. Another thing that your Realtor may be able to negotiate is to have the sales price lowered instead of completing the repairs.

Most importantly by having a home inspection done by an experienced home inspector, you will have peace of mind knowing that what you are buying is safe for you and your family.

Here is an idea of what repairs can cost:

Roof- We are pretty fortunate that it does not rain much is Sunny San Diego so a roof will last a little longer here. With this being said it is a very common issue that comes up in the general home inspections and should be addressed sooner than later. Repairs can run from $350.00-$1,200. which is not too bad but if you have to replace it, this can run anywhere from $2,500.00-$7,000.00.

Foundation- Here in the metro area of San Diego, most of our homes are early 1900 Craftsman Bungalow Homes as well as Spanish Style homes. They typically have crawl spaces where the inspector will crawl under and take a look to see what is going on with the bones of the home. The homes have post and piers with a cement perimeter. Most homes have not been completely upgraded and we find that the minimum cost can range from $1,500-$10,000.  

Plumbing-The inspector will check for stains on the walls and around the shower, noisy pipes and leaks. Leaks can cause major headaches so catching these are imperative. Plumbing repairs can be anywhere from $300.00 -$4,200.00.

Electrical-The home inspector should check for GCFI outlets, electric outlets, circuit breakers and in some cases, homes in this area still have knob and tube. Although we have been told be many electricians that knob and tube wiring is not dangerous unless you have insulation or anything laying on top of it, it will be difficult to get insurance if there is still this type of wiring in the house. This can cost anywhere from $3,000-$6,000 to replace with new wiring. 

Steps To Take To Save Money Using a Home Inspection

It is important that you attend the home inspection. I know that you will think that you will be bored but this is a crucial step as you will be able to ask the home inspector questions and he or she will be able to answer them quickly and precise. If you don’t go in person and you just wait to receive the inspection via email, you will be terrified, as it all looks very scary on paper. Being at the inspection in person is very important and how the inspector delivers his findings and recommendations are always much easier to understand in a conversation.

Hire a Qualified Home Inspector

The American Society of Home Inspectors is a great place to find a qualified home inspector in San Diego.

If you have any questions regarding the home buying process and are looking for a Real Estate Buyer Specialist, please contact the McT Real Estate Group. We would be happy to help you with the purchase of your new home.

 

San Diego Halloween Events

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

San Diego Halloween Events 2016

San Diego Halloween Parties are always a hit whether you are getting together with a small group of friends and going big at the San Diego Monster Bash, where there are over 20 DJ’s and five themed stages. There is also the San Diego Zombie Crawl that takes place in the Gaslamp District, downtown San Diego. Here you can bar hop from party to party and all parties are Halloween themed.


 

If you are not into the big club scene, no worries, there are a ton of places to have fun at where adults and kids are welcome. For starters, there is Halloween Family Day in Balboa Park. There are craft projects for kids, contests, and parades all going on and sponsored by over two dozen participating museums. Then there is Legoland Brick or Treat Party Nights where the park is open every Saturday night in October, and there are costume contests, Character Meet and Greets, Treat Stations and Live Entertainment. There is also a Ghost Cruise adventure that is always fun.

There are always San Diego Haunted Houses to experience, and if want to have a hard time sleeping at night afterward, there is the Haunted Hotel, located Downtown San Diego. There are new themes introduced every year and visitors line up to be terrified year after year by the live zombies. There is also the Haunted Trail in Balboa Park where a walk in the park will never be the same.

If after all of this you are ready to find your not so haunted House in San Diego, contact the McT Real Estate Group for help on finding your dream home.

San Diego's Festival of Sail...this Labor Day Weekend!

by North Park Real Estate Expert-Metro San Diego

Spend Labor Day Weekend at the Festival of Sail 2016! This amazing San Diego festival will offer you and your family endless hours of fun as you explore the world of sail!


 

Parade of Sail

The festival kicks off on Friday, September 2nd, with the Parade of Sail! Starting at 1:30 pm, the participating ships will set sail from the mouth of San Diego Bay. Set up along the waterfront to see the majestic ships as they pass Shelter Island, Harbor Island, and Embarcadero. The parade ends back at the Maritime Museum at 3:30 pm. Click HERE for a map of the parade route!

Want your own adventure on the high seas? You can be in the parade! Board the Cloudia, Bill of Rights, Curlew, Exy/Irving Johnson, or Spirit of Dana Point and be a part of the festivities! Tickets to be a passenger on one of the parade ships is $60.00 per adult and $48.00 per child. 

Festival of Sail


Come down to the North Embarcadero for the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s annual Festival of Sail on Saturday, September 3rd (9:00 am – 7:00 pm), Sunday, September 4th (9:00 am – 7:00 pm), and Monday, September 5th (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)!

This is the west coast’s largest Tall Ship festival. You and your family will love all of the fun festivities planned. Admission to the festival includes access to the Maritime Museum, the opportunity to explore the visiting ships, watching special sailing demonstrations, activities in the kids zone, and so much more! Tickets for the festival are $7.00 per adult, $5.00 for seniors over 62 or individuals with a military ID, and $5 per child (ages 3 to 12). There is also a free Street Fair during the festival.

There are also special adventures that you can be a part of throughout the weekend. You and your family can sail aboard a classic sailboat for one of the Mid-Day or Twilight Sails! Take a cruise on the Pilot, an historic 1914 San Diego pilot boat, or on the PCF 816 Patrol Craft Fast – Swift Boat. If you want a real adrenaline rush, participate in the mock Cannon Battle on the bay and see which ship returns victorious! These special activities are offered at specific days and times and for an additional ticket price. For more information, check out the Festival of Sail website.

Be a part of the best waterfront festival in San Diego!

We wish you and your family a very fun and safe Labor Day weekend! 

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