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9 tips on how to choose the RIGHT agent for First Time Home Buyers!


Finding the RIGHT agent can be challenging!

Are you a first time home buyer in San Diego?

 Choosing a real estate agent is a very important decision.

Who you choose will make a HUGE difference in experience you have.

Here are some tips on how to choose the BEST real estate agent for you:

1. Look for someone who has experience in working with first time home buyers.

 First time home buyers need an agent that loves to educate their buyer on the entire home buying and financing process. Look for an agent that loves for you to ask questions and does not put any pressure on you.  I love an agent that has a relatable home buying guide that they share with their first time home buyers. It's also important that your agent doesn't use  language you don't understand and it can't be said too many times, loves your questions.

2. Make sure your agent doesn't make you feel bad about your budget.

Your agent should be knowledgeable about entry-level price points and what neighborhoods offer the most value in your price ranges. Don't hire agents that appear to only work with higher budget buyers.  

3. Look for agents who specialize in the neighborhoods you are targeting and understand the type of home you are buying. 

You can't have all the answers, your agent should be able to introduce you to neighborhoods you were not currently aware of.  Whether it's a historic property, condo or retirement home, look for an agent that knows that type of property.

4. Just as in EVERY relationship look for an agent that is a good listener. 

You need an agent that knows the questions to ask and really listens. You also need a Realtor that understands that the process can be a long one.  Look for a Realtor that will keep you focused on your true needs and wants and not let yourself get into escrow for a home that is not right for you.  Find someone who will stick the process out with you!

5. Look for an agent that is a strong negotiator and your transaction is not their FIRST rodeo. 

The best agents work full time and have honed their negotiation and people skills and know-how to help guide you through the negotiations and stages of the transaction.  The ability to educate you on what is going on in the current market so you are in a strong position is extremely advantageous.

6. Connections to the industry.  Look for an agent who has a good relationship with other agents. 

In a competitive environment, your offer may be chosen based on a positive past experience with your agent, or an overall good reputation.  In addition, your agent should have a good network of professionals that they trust and can refer to you during the transaction such as mortgage professionals and home inspectors.  And after the sale, they should be a real estate resource for you. A person to reach out when you need an honest professional such as a plumber, contractor, electrician, cleaner roofer or more!

7. Tech Lover. Even if you're not techy, you need an agent that is. 

Look for an agent that is using: Electronic signatures, a convenience for you! Your agent needs to be extremely mobile. Able to lookup listings on their ipad or phone when you are out shopping so you don't miss any opportunity. 

8. Don't settle for a Realtor that is not RESPONSIVE and communicative. 

The best agents respond quickly and in the manner you prefer. If you like the phone, they like the phone, you like to text then your agent should text. You should feel comfortable reaching out and not feel like you are bothering them.  Your agent should be available when it's convenient for you.

9. Lastly, look for an agent that has a stellar reputation. 

Not every Agent has your best interest at heart. Check and read the reviews and see what real home buyers have said about the experience and process.  Find an agent that you enjoy spending time with and TRUST. Be wary if someone does not have any presence online.

The Home Buying Process can be EXCITING.  Find the right REALTOR to protect you and your interests. 

The SDLookup Real Estate Team can HELP!!

For more info:


Entertainment ideas while under quarantine


One of the best things that we can do right now to protect both ourselves and our friends and neighbors is to stay home. Unfortunately, there are only so many times that you can watch Tiger King or listen to your kids sing along with Elsa on Disney+. You need something new to do, and it needs to be something that the whole family can enjoy while you’re all staying safe at home.

There are some unique opportunities available right now that may never be available again once this is all over. They provide experiences that the whole family can enjoy that aren’t just the same old TV shows. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few activities that you might consider that would give your family some new things to do.

A Virtual Reunion

With record numbers of people working and doing schoolwork at home, more people are using video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams than ever before. These services aren’t just for work, however. You can use them to get in touch with family from around the country, and even schedule a “virtual reunion” to catch up and check in with each other. This can be a recurring event, letting you stay connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic. You may even grow closer as a family despite the distance.

Museum and Zoo Tours

Even though museums and zoos are currently closed to the public, a number of high-profile museums and zoos have started offering virtual online tours for free. You can go online and view great works of art, watch animals relaxing during their downtime, and even see unique things like puppies getting to run wild in an aquarium. On top of these custom experiences, many zoos and similar facilities have webcams focused on specific exhibits that you can check out throughout the year.

Learn Something New

To help families pass the time, many online learning platforms are offering extended free trials so that people can pick up new skills or learn interesting things while in self-isolation. On top of that, some teachers and experts are streaming free courses on Zoom and other platforms as well. There is a wide range of content available for both kids and adults, meaning that there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Start (or Join) a Book Club

Reading is a great way to pass the time, and you can share that with the family by starting a family book club. The premise is simple: Everyone picks out a book, and once a week you get together and discuss what you’re reading. Even younger children can participate; let them pick out a book that they want you to read, and at the meet-up you can let them show off the book and tell everyone about it.

If you want a bit more social interaction with your book club, you can also look into online book clubs that are a bit closer to traditional book club offerings. These can have members from across the nation or around the world. Some of them operate on dedicated websites, and others use social media groups. Either way, there should be options available for most readers.

Listen to a Story

Even if you don’t feel like doing all of that reading, there are a good number of authors and celebrities doing podcasts and videos in which they read a variety of books or stories. Quite a few of these are aimed at children, but some of them are more tailored to adults as well. Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) has even recently launched a video version of his podcast Levar Burton Reads with a wide range of content.

A Night in at the Movies

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be able to take the family out to see some of the many movies that would be in theaters right now. But that’s not possible now that all the theaters are closed. So instead, movie theaters are adapting. Special digital rentals are now available for recent box-office hits that ordinarily wouldn’t be available for rental yet, so that a wider audience can enjoy them. And some movies that were scheduled for early summer release, such as Trolls World Tour, are also making their debut via digital rental. So pop some popcorn and enjoy these new and recent blockbusters all from the privacy and safety of your own home.

Attention Landlords! - City and County of San Diego COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium


City and County of San Diego COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium

On March 16, 2020, California Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 as updated on March 27, 2020 Executive Order N-37-20. This Order suspended any provision of state law that would preempt or otherwise restrict a local government from imposing limitations on residential and commercial evictions on the basis of non-payment of rent due to financial hardship from a substantial decrease in household or business income, or due to substantial out of pocket medical expenses caused by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. This Executive Order effectively put the burden on individual cities to enact their own emergency ordinances to temporarily restrict evictions during the time frame of the order. This means that landlords will be required to carefully review the applicable county or city ordinance for each location in which they own property in order to determine how to proceed with regards to tenant evictions, since every county and city ordinance could be slightly different.


On March 25, 2020, the City of San Diego passed emergency Ordinance Number 21177 which implemented a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions due to non-payment of rent arising out of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out of pocket medical expenses due to the Corona Virus.  In the City of San Diego, if a tenant provides written (email, text, or letter) notice to the landlord on or after March 12, 2020 stating that they cannot pay rent due to substantial financial impacts directly related to COVID-19 (ie/ loss of job, business closure, loss of wages, loss of job, etc.), the landlord cannot evict that tenant, send 3 day pay or quit notices, or charge late fees between March 12, 2020 through May 31, 2020. Under the ordinance, the tenant is required to provide documentation to the landlord to prove they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts of COVID -19 within one week of sending the notice that they can’t pay. Documentation the tenant can provide includes any of the following: (i) employer termination notice, (ii) payroll checks, (iii) pay stubs, (iv) bank statements, (iv) medical bills, (v) signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining tenant’s changed financial circumstances, (vi) or gross sales statements or certified profit/loss statements for commercial tenants. If the tenant fails to provide this evidence to the landlord within this 7 day period, the landlord is permitted to move forward with evicting the tenant if they do not pay rent when due. If however, a tenant timely complies with the written notice and documentation requirements of the ordinance, the tenant shall have up to 6 months from March 25, 2020 to pay back the unpaid rent to the landlord. 


On March 24, 2020, the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego passed a Resolution also temporarily halting all commercial and residential evictions in the unincorporated areas of the County. If the tenant provides written notice to the landlord within 15 days of the date rent is due (starting on or after March 4, 2020) or by April 8, whichever is later, that the tenant is experiencing financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 and cannot pay rent, the tenant cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent through May 31, 2020. The tenant then has 14 days from the date of the notice to provide documentation to the landlord in support of the tenant’s financial hardship situation. If the tenant fails to provide supporting documentation in this 14 day period, the landlord can proceed with eviction due to non-payment of rent. A tenant who timely provides the information above is given up to 3 months (from June 1, 2020) to repay the deferred rent. The County grants the tenant the right to submit an additional request with supporting documentation to the landlord, for a one month extension on repayment. This means the tenant would get up to 4 months from June 1, 2020 to repay the deferred rent and the landlord would be required to permit this extension. Any extension request beyond the 4 month repayment period is up to the landlord’s discretion. The landlord cannot charge late fees from March 4, 2020 through May 31, 2020.

It is important to point out that the monthly rent due by the tenant is NOT WAIVED under either ordinance, it is just deferred. This means the commercial and residential tenant is still responsible for payment of rent during this time, but the landlord is just restricted from being able to evict for such non-payment during the period of the ordinance.  It would be wise for landlords to keep open lines of communication with their tenants to discuss repayment plan options for deferred or partial rent, and to enter into written lease amendments for any agreed upon re-payment plan to contractually lay out the dates for repayment.

Other Cities in the County of San Diego that have enacted eviction moratoriums which are not addressed in this article:

City of Chula Vista – Enacted 3/17/2020

City of Oceanside – Enacted 3/26/2020

City of La Mesa – Enacted 3/17/2020

This article is specific to the laws of the State of California and is intended for informational purposes only. This articles does not constitute legal advice.  For specific questions related to this article please contact attorney Ashley M. Peterson

San Diego Real Estate Weekly Update

Fixer Upper Money Pit

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Open House Today on Nice Starter One Bedroom Condo


Tips for Surviving a Remodel


Remodeling your home is a major project. Most people don’t realize just HOW major of a project it is until they’re deep into it, however. If you aren’t careful, a remodel can cover everything with dust, throw off your day-to-day plans and leave you feeling more frazzled than you’ve ever been. More than one homeowner has found themselves wondering, well before the job was complete, why they ever decided to undertake such a monumental task. Whether you’re already hip deep in a remodel or you’re just considering one, here are a few ways to keep you from experiencing this same sense of mid-remodel regret.

Start Small

While it’s tempting to launch into a full remodel and get everything done at once, taking the time to prioritize certain aspects of the remodel can make it much less disruptive and easier to control the budget. Consider which issues are the most pressing as well as which would be the most difficult to pull off. Avoid projects that are excessively difficult such as moving plumbing unless there’s a good reason to take them on. Prioritize everything else so you can complete each project in turn and move in on the big picture over time.

Respect the Construction Zone

Remodeling creates a LOT of dust, debris and noxious odors. Many contractors will put up plastic sheets and take other precautions to try and keep all of this out of parts of the house where they aren’t working, but there’s only so much that can be done in this regard. Try to plan your time at home so that you aren’t there during the worst of the noise and fumes. Pick up an air filtration system or two that you can put near the work areas to grab as much dust as possible. Pack up belongings that you don’t want exposed like you would if you were moving, putting them in boxes and sealing them with tape. This lets the remodel proceed as quickly as possible without giving you such a huge mess to clean up afterward.

Stick to the Budget

One big issue when remodeling is that the budget tends to spiral out of control. Once you get going, you may find that there are extra bits of spending that are needed to finish the job. There’s also the temptation to upgrade some of your plans since the newer version wouldn’t cost that much more. Unfortunately, changing your plans or upgrading your purchases can really add up over time. Make a budget for what you want, add about 20% to 25% to account for the unexpected, then stick with it. If there’s anything that you REALLY want to upgrade but aren’t sure that the budget can handle it, save it until as close to the end as possible before authorizing the cost.

Talk It Out

Communication with your contractors is a key component to making it through a remodel unscathed. This doesn’t mean that you should require them to report every little thing back to you, of course; unless there’s a problem that they need your insight or authorization for, you’ll be best served to let the pros do their job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in and see how things are progressing, especially if you need to structure part of your day around the work that’s being done. Talking with your contractors regularly helps you to plan your life better around the remodel and saves them the trouble of tracking you down when they need to check with you about something.

Find the Right Remodeling Contractor

Perhaps one of the biggest things you can do to make your remodel more survivable is to hire the right contractors from the start. HomeKeepr can match you up with the best people to get the job done quickly and without any more disruptions than absolutely necessary. Sign up for a free account today and see how we can help you change your remodel from dreaded to done.  Contact me for next steps on buying, selling or to estup a HomeKeepr account.

Coming Soon: San Marcos Townhouse

We will be listing a beautiful San Marcos townhouse in the coming weeks.  More details to follow.

Call or text us on 619-728-5640 or send out a message.


3 Reasons Why It Might Be Time To Buy a Home in San Diego

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If you have been paying attention to the San Diego real estate market lately you probably already know that the market has been slowing down.  While this news has been not so welcome to potential home sellers, this is good news for many buyers who have felt priced out of the market or unwilling to participate in highly competitive offer situations which became the norm during what essentially was a sellers market between 2012 and 2018.  During this period many buyers grew frustrated and opted to stay on the sidelines and wait for a better time to realize their dream of home ownership.  Well that time just might be now.  If you have been thinking about buying a home but have been on the sidelines during the recent sellers market here are 3 Reasons Why It Might Be Time To Buy a Home in San Diego:

Reason #1  Mortgage Rates Are Still Super Low

Mortgage Rates have been on a wild ride lately and they have been coming down since late 2018.  This volatility in rates has created an opportunity to capitalize on a weakening real estate market.  Your mortgage interest is a crucial component to your home purchase and right now the rates are attractive.  This might not be the case a year from now however, so you may want to make a call to your lender to see what you qualify for and what loan options are best for you.  

Reason #2  Renting Sucks

If you are renting right now you probably don't like it.  You are always subject to a potential rent increase every year and are forced to adhere to strict policies enforced by management companies and landlords.  To make things even worse you could at any moment be given a 60 day notice by your landlord who wants to sell the property and effectively kick you out of your home at a time that may not be convenient for you.  And good luck finding a good deal on a rental these days because the rental market in San Diego is very competitive.  Bottom line renting sucks and owning your home is a more stable and secure financial position to be in.  

Reason #3  Sellers Are More Willing to Negotiate

The pure sellers market is over and you now have more leverage to negotiate a deal.  The inventory of homes to choose from is increasing, price reductions are more common, and there a fewer multiple offer situations to contend with.  These factors contribute to a more favorable environment to negotiate better terms with motivated.  Bottom line you can get a better deal now that the market conditions have changed.  

Careful of Outdated Advice


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