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The 8th Annual Poinsettia Bowl

SDSU vs. BYU – Thursday, December 20, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium

The Aztecs (9-3) and Cougars (7-5) are set to square off in the 8th Annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl this Thursday, December 20th at Qualcomm Stadium.  This is the second time that San Diego State has been invited to the Poinsettia Bowl since beating Navy 35-14 in 2010.  This year’s matchup promises to be an exciting one, with the Aztecs boasting one of the Nation’s best ground attacks, against the Cougar’s shutdown defense.  The game gets even saucier when you consider the contempt the teams have for one another. It is a rivalry that dates back to November 24, 1979, and a game that was said to have nearly “killed the Aztecs’ football program.” In it, the Cougars gave the Aztecs a sound, 63-14 beating on national television, and effectively ruined the Aztecs’ hope for a bowl appearance.  Overall, BYU has dominated the rivalry with a 27-7-1 record all-time.

Tickets for the 8th Annual Poinsettia Bowl range from $50-$75 and can be purchased here.

San Diego Trolley information for the game, including schedule and pricing can be found here.

 

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Let There Be Lights!

Your Guide to Holiday Light Displays in San Diego

It’s that time of year again, when we dust off our knotted strands of rainbow-colored incandescent and LED lights, inflate our inflatable Santa and snowmen, and prominently display them for all the world to see—in our yards and on our walls and rooftops. It’s an American tradition that dates back to Thomas Edison (circa 1880), who brought us the first electric Christmas light display as a way to market his “Miracle of Light.” Ever since, we have been mesmerized by their glow and overcome by that unmistakable, child-like feeling of wonderment that could bring a smile to even the grumpiest of Grinchy McScrooges.

We are lucky to have several Holiday light displays in San Diego that will surely twinkle your fancy. Here’s a (nice) list of San Diego neighborhoods with a little extra Yuletide flare:

 

Chula Vista’s Christmas Circle


Located along the loop of  Whitney Street and Mankato Street in San Diego’s South Bay, this neighborhood display usually runs from 5:00 to 10:00 PM through December 26.

Rancho Penasquitos’ Christmas Card Lane


Located in Rancho Penasquitos at Oviedo Street – off Black Mtn. Rd. includes Twin Trails, Carmel Mtn. Rd., Ellingham St., Renato St., Oviedo St., Twin Trails Dr., Barrymore St., Totherham Ave., Talca Ave., Allenbrook Way, Davenport Ave., Amber Sky Ln.

 El Cajon’s Jingle Bell Hill
(a.k.a. Pepper Drive Lights)

Also known as Pepper Drive lights, Jingle Bell Hill is located on Solomon Avenue and Pegeen Place.

La Mesa Neighborhood Lights

Stadler Street – Fairchild residence as featured in the Union-Tribune. Map

5475 Heidi Street – off Lake Murray Blvd. and Marengo, Dec. 10 through Jan.1, 6 to 10 pm. - Map

6761 Jackson Drive – off Cowles Mtn. Blvd. Decorations remain lit until Jan.1. 5 to 9 pm. - Map

 

Source: http://sandiego.about.com/od/thingstodo/a/holiday_lights.htm

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In the Rancho Penasquitos area, new Rancho de los Penasquitos monuments have been erected throughout the community.  It was at the January 5, 2011 Penasquitos Town Council meeting that the monuments were approved to go up throughout 92129.  They are located in the following areas: 12800 Rancho Penasquitos Blvd., 11114 Carmel Mountain Road (South of Penasquitos Drive), 8700 Carmel Mountain Road (North of Sedorus Street), 14500 Black Mountain Road, and 12500 Black Mountain Road. 

They are beautiful reminders of the community that many people live in and love and have chosen to make their home.

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Ready, Set, FALL!!!

For your Fall-Back Routine

On November 3rd, daylight savings time comes to an end. As you get ready to set your clocks back, consider making these other household updates as part of your “fall back” routine…..so you can enjoy that extra hour of sleep.

 

F – Fireplace.  Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney and check duct work every year, especially before winter when you’ll be using it most.

A- Air Filters.  Since you’ll be indoors more often, change out your air filters.  While you’re at it, replace fridge filters, furnace filters, kitchen range hood filter, and check your dryer vents. 

L – Lawn and Garden.  Aerating your lawn can keep it looking healthier and experts recommend doing so once a year.  Use this time to check sprinkler heads and irrigation lines as well.

L – List of Possessions.  If you didn’t do it last year, make this the year you list out, or easier still, videotape your home, to catalog your possessions and make a clear inventory of items you would claim in the event of loss or damage.

B – Batteries.  Check to make sure you have fresh batteries in everything you’d need in an emergency, including smoke detectors, flashlights, radios.

A – Adjust clocks and timers.  As you change the clocks, check the timer on your home thermostat, as well as your television sets, digital recorders, sprinkler system, outdoor lighting, and any other item on a timer.

C – Clean out medicine cabinets.  As you head into cold and flu season, it’s wise to clear out medicine cabinets and check the expiration dates on the medicines you keep.  Expired?  Dispose of them safely by following the FDA guidelines or bring them to one of the next San Diego County Sheriff Department’s Prescription Drug Take-Back programs.

K – Kitchen.  That extra hour of sleep might give you the energy to clean out your freezer and defrost it, if necessary, and even clean that stove.

Courtesy of www.92129Magazine.com

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Mortgage Relief Fraud: Will You Be the Next Victim?

 Not if I have anything to say about it!

 The FBI reported a jump of 71% in mortgage relief fraud investigations from 2008-2009, and expects this number to have grown in 2010.

 That’s why it’s my duty to educate homeowners in my community on the cautions they need to take, and what the government has recently done to protect you from unscrupulous individuals and companies who want to take advantage of their desperate situations.

 What you need to watch out for if you are looking for mortgage relief assistance: 

  1. Upfront fees—just don’t pay them! In fact, they are now illegal!
  2. A request to sign over your deed (this only spells trouble)
  3. Lots of paperwork without the opportunity for review
  4. The claim of government-affiliation

These are just a few red flags you need to be wary of. I’ve created a free report on the homepage of my website that details more of what you need to watch for. 

If you are struggling with an unaffordable mortgage and are looking for help, educate yourself. These scammers can be very shrewd and will say almost anything to steal your money. 

The Federal Trade Commission has required disclosures of anyone offering mortgage relief services. If you’d like to see an example, check out any of the pages of my website. If a company you are dealing with has not provided these disclosures, please ask why they are not compliant, and proceed with caution! 

As a CDPE, you can trust that I have the tools to be in full compliance of FTC regulations, and will always work with your best interests at heart. 

If you want viable alternatives to foreclosure, give me a call today. I’m always here to help!

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Halloween Happenings in San Diego

Make the most of those Halloween costumes

Who says Halloween has to last only one day?  Those costumes are too cute to wear only once.  Here are some of the fun events happening throughout San Diego to celebrate Halloween and the fall season, although it still feels like summer here!

Legoland California Resort’s Brick-or-Treat (Weekends in October) – Two trick or treat trails, a giant Lego pumpkin, themed décor and much more. 

SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular (Weekends in October) – Silly and spooky shows like the Pirates 4D movie experience and The Search for Captain Lucky’s Treasure walk-through adventure.  Trick or treat alongside SeaWorld characters. 

Scream Zone Del Mar (October 17-21, October 24-31 7pm until midnight) The best San Diego Halloween adventure awaits you at the Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Tickets $14.99 for one scary adventure, $27.99 for all three – Haunted Hayride, House of Horror and The Chamber.  Recommended for teens and above. 

The Haunted Hotel (September 29 through October 31st) – Gaslamp Quarter at 424 Market Street.  NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER 10 OR THOSE EASILY FRIGHTENED. Buy tickets online to avoid waiting in line.  Tickets cost $17 Friday and Saturday, $15 other nights. 

Bates Nut Farm (September 29 through October 31st) – Over 40 year tradition.  Pumpkin patch, picnic, farm zoo, straw maze and hay rides.  One of the great San Diego Halloween events.  All ages. Open daily 9am-5pm 

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day (Saturday, October 27) – Children under 12 will be treated to free admission to over a dozen museums.  There will be a doggie costume parade and contest at the Lily Pond, a Great Pumpkin parachute drop at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and activities that explore legendary local ghosts at the San Diego History Center. 

 Halloween Carnival (Friday, October 26th 4:30-6:30 at Mira Mesa Recreation Center) – Even with absence of Monster Manor this year, Halloween fun (not scary) can be had as Mira Mesa Theatre Guild joins the Mira Mesa Halloween Carnival.  Children can enjoy carnival-style games, trick-or-treat, costume contest for ages 11 and under, face painting and more. 

Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!  (October 26 & 27 6-9pm) Live music, games, story times, walk through a “whale fall”, create slime in “deep-sea” slime lab, collect tricky treats, costume raffle.  Members $15, Public $17, Door (all) $19, Free for children 2 and under. 

Carmel Mountain Plaza (October 31st 3-5pm) – Trick-or-Treating throughout the center at participating stores.  Halloween fun, balloons and live music featuring 80’z All-Stars (2:30-5:30 in front of Barnes & Noble).  Register near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Reading Cinemas and receive a free treat bag, while supplies last.  Give a treat too – bring a can of food to support the San Diego Food Bank. 

Spooktacular 10k/5k Run-Walk (October 27th at 8:00am – subject to change) Lake Murray.  Register online by October 25th at midnight.  USATF certified map. Scenic gentle rolling, paved course.  Get your freaky fitness on. Fun for the whole family. 

And for those who don’t mind the drive……

Disneyland Resort’s Halloween Time (September 14 through October 31) – Experience the year ‘round favorites like Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure as well as seasonal treats like Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy.

Knott’s Berry Farm’s Snoopy’s Costume Party (Weekends in October) – Non-scary daytime event offers shows, activities, and trick-or-treating geared for kids ages 3-11.  Costumes are allowed.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights (until October 31st, select nights) (Ticket purchase required, not included in regular park admission) – Costumes not allowed, Not recommended for kids under 13.  Navigate through hundreds of haunted mazes and ScareZones, and take a ride on the Terror Tram, which drops guests off on some of the scariest sets on the Universal back lot.

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Escape Your Unmanageable Mortgage

Getting free doesn’t have to mean running away.

Perhaps you have heard about it.

On the news, a reporter tells a story about how the housing crisis has caused some homeowners to simply walk away from their homes. It sounds crazy, but many people are being led to believe that walking away from their home is a good (or even the best!) option.

It is called Strategic Default. For distressed homeowners who believe that they have no good choices left, the idea of walking away free of consequence may sound like a relief. The reality, however, is that choosing strategic default has serious repercussions on your credit.

THERE ARE BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE!

As a real estate professional who has earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, my mission is to provide financially-challenged homeowners with options to escape from unmanageable mortgages without running away.  

Facing your problems head-on is always the best solution. Let me help.

 

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Solving Your Mortgage Crisis Just Got Easier

5 Steps for a Successful Short Sale

Lenders and the federal government, prompted by the sheer volume of loan modification and short sale requests, have overhauled their systems and programs, making the foreclosure avoidance process much easier than in the past.

If you are considering short selling your home to avoid the financial and emotional fallout of foreclosure, you should be aware of the five steps you should take to increase your chances of a successful transaction.

First, do you qualify?

You must:

  1. Have a verifiable hardship, like unemployment, medical bills, or relocation
  2. Must have a monthly income shortfall
  3. Be insolvent (you have no cash or assets that can be sold to pay down the mortgage), or headed towards insolvency

If you meet these qualifications, follow these five steps to a successful short sale:

  1. Contact me so we can identify your servicer, fill out a short sale packet for the lender, and assemble all the required information needed to list your home for sale
  2. Gather financial information (i.e., bank statements, pay stubs) from at least the last three months
  3. Keep your house in showcase condition for showings, and make as many repairs as necessary and that you can afford
  4. Expect the lender, junior lien holders, and private insurance companies to request more paperwork, and try to gather requested information quickly to ensure transaction efficiency
  5. Set realistic expectations and work with me, the lender, and the buyer to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved

For more information about how the short sale process works, or about any other foreclosure alternatives you may qualify for, call me today. I can help you alleviate the burden that the threat of foreclosure brings, and we can develop a strategy to help you breathe a little easier.

IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT DISCLOSURE: You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender (or servicer). If you reject the offer, you will not have to pay us for our services. The above brokerage is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

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Ten Tips for Selling Your Home

Sell your home for top dollar with these tips

Whether or not we’re in a buyers or sellers market, or even in a distressed market, we always advise home sellers to do whatever it takes to try to quickly get top dollar for their home.  There are many easy things that can be done to accomplish this. 

We know that most people make decisions based on emotion, and buying a home is no different.  In fact, it’s probably the most emotional decision one will ever make in their lifetime.  So, the goal of selling a home is to try and connect with a home buyer so that they become emotionally attached to a home and want to purchase it and make it their own. 

Here are some tips to follow if you’re selling your home.

1)      Make the Right First Impressions – When buyers drive up to a home, there is only one chance for that first impression.  Make sure that the exterior of your home makes a statement.  For starters, power washing the outside will help rid the home of dirt and debris.  Try to avoid parking cars in the driveway to give the impression that there is plenty of parking in the garage.  Also power wash oil stains and debris in the driveway.  Make sure the landscaping is maintained and add color if possible by adding potted plants and/or flowers.  Even your front door will make a statement, so be sure that it’s clean, touch up any chipping paint if needed, and make sure the locks don’t stick. 

2)      Make Obvious Repairs – Repair any peeling exterior paint or damaged siding, especially in the front of the home.  Make sure the front door hinges and hardware work perfectly, and the doorbell too since one of the worst first impressions is a non-working doorbell.  If for some reason you can’t get it to work, place a note over the doorbell that reads “Please Knock”.  Sliders and doors all need to be oiled and working smoothly including the sliding screen doors too.  You want that smooth transition from room to room and from indoor to outdoor living.

3)  Get a Pest Inspection.  Although not mandatory, there are quite a few loans that will require that a termite inspection be done.  It may be worth it to do this ahead of time, so that your buyers know what they’re getting into ahead of time and you can hire an inspector that you trust.  If you choose to clear all Section 1 problems (active infestation), be sure to hire a contractor or professional and then have the inspector return to give a clear report.  This inspection report and/or clearance can be provided to a buyer, often times even attached to the MLS listing. 

4) Empty the Garage.  This is my favorite recommendation for sellers because it’s one of the best tips for selling your home much quicker. A garage is typically the man’s space, but both men and women always want to see if they have room to store their items and they will always look in the garage. A clean and empty garage is always attractive to future buyers, so either clear out as much as possible or rent a storage unit and take everything in the garage and put it in storage for a month or two. You can also use the storage unit for the decluttering, which is the next step.

5) Clear Out the Clutter.  Difficult as it may be for any homeowner, it’s very important to declutter and depersonalize the entire house. Buyers need to be able to visualize their furniture and their possessions in your home and if you have too much of your stuff hanging around they won’t be able to do this. Less of your stuff in your house makes the room cleaner and larger and everything seems much calmer. A staged home is a good example of how much of your personalized possessions should be present – which is not much, especially in the main living areas.  Less clutter enhances the architectural details or unique accents in your home too.

6) Interior Sprucing.   Fresh paint on the walls is probably the best thing you can do to add appeal to the interior of the house for future buyers. Saturated colors on walls are less attractive than neutrals; consider painting it a grey, tan, or white so future buyers can envision their own color and art on the walls. Touch up the baseboards and trim also since dirty trim and scuffed up baseboards make a home look dingy.  Clean the whole house including the windows and the carpets to rid the home of dust and odors and keep them fresh and clean until escrow closes. Hire a professional window washer or carpet cleaner if necessary.

7) Price it the home Correctly.  Resist the urge to overprice your home especially in the current real estate market. Your personal attachment to your home may cause you to list the home for more than its worth, but you must be realistic about its true value. The ideal time for an offer is within the first 30 days, so setting the right price is key. If it’s priced too high, the home may not get showings, and you’ll be forced to reduce the price to leave buyers wondering what is wrong with your home.

8) Demand Good Marketing Photos.  Most real estate agents and brokers underestimate the importance of good marketing images of a home. Good images will attract more buyers, poor images have the opposite effect. For examples of excellent marketing photos go to: www.BrentHaywoodPhotography.com

9)  Show It Well (No Pets or Bad Odors)  Having a pet in the home isn’t always the best idea when showing the house to new buyers since they can be distracting. You want your buyers looking at the home and not worrying if it’s okay if the cat goes outside or if the dog is friendly or not. Pets need to be kept away from the showing, whether you take them on a walk, place them in a room away from buyers, or take them to a friend’s house while your home is on the market.  Also be sure your house doesn’t smell like your pets either. Clean surfaces and carpets are important and air fresheners are always a good idea. Fresh flowers on the dining room table or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen make your home’s living spaces feel fresher and more appealing.

10) Hire the Right Agent.  We have many years of experience in the San Diego market, we have listed hundreds of properties in various price points.  We believe in constant communication and respond to calls and emails right away. When we list the property, we ensure that we receive from our sellers all the selling points of the home including such things as upgraded appliances, air conditioning, new fixtures, modern technology, home alarms, etc. We will also do the research on obtaining details about your neighborhood, HOA (if applicable), as well as schools, parks, and other amenities.  And in this challenging market, we are also extremely versed at dealing with short sales, foreclosures and other distressed situations. 

 Source – http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/03/ten-tips-for-selling-your-home/

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The Foreclosure FairytaleThe Foreclosure Fairytale

There is a lot of misinformation out there.

I would not be surprised to find out that you have heard that a foreclosure is sometimes the best option for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the vast majority of homeowners out there who are in danger of losing their homes, a short sale represents a vastly superior option.

The reality is that a foreclosure is a devastating option.

As a real estate professional with the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, I have put together all of the benefits of a short sale over a foreclosure in a free report that is available to anyone.

Take a look at my site and download a copy of my free report entitled “The Foreclosure Fairytale” Then contact me for a free, confidential consultation.

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Mary Ellen Haywood
CA BRE License #01264878
Mobile:619-994-5515

Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty
810 West Washington Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Office: 619-269-2277
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