California Home Prices: A History [Infographic]

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San Diego Housing Market Update: It’s Been a Good Year

The numbers are up! Here’s the latest news on the San Diego Real Estate market, brought to you by the San Diego Association of Realtors, hosted by George Chamberlin, Executive Editor of The Daily Transcript and Donna Sanfilippo, President of SDAR.

Key highlights include a 20%+ increase year over year in single family attached (condos / townhomes) and a 16%+ increase in single family detached homes.

If you’re still on the fence about buying, think about getting in before mortgage rates start to rise and prices go up even further.  Give me a ring if you need help searching for a home in San Diego.  Just renewed the license this past summer (8 years as a Realtor!) and I’m looking forward to 8 more.San Diego Gaslamp Sign

Happy Birthday Will!

Dear William,

As you turn two years old today, you should be proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far.  Similar to my post for you a year ago, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites:

  • a total of 5 trips ‘back east’, Cape Cod was a regular stop for you on 4 of those trips
  • 2 trips to Texas to see your grandparents there (and numerous visits from them to San Diego)
  • you’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Aquarium, and several hours of the Pacific Coast Highway
  • you’ve swum in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean (and a few fresh water ponds in Cape Cod)
  • you can count to 20 in two different languages and count to 10 in a third
  • at only 16 months, you could correctly identify all the letters of the alphabet
  • you can say your ABCs in both English and French
  • you can run really fast
  • you never want to get off of the swings at the playground
  • you’ve been to Sea World, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and Disneyland
  • one of your first (and favorite) words was “outside” – for good reason – you love to be outside
  • you can sing several songs start to finish
  • your favorite foods are oatmeal, yogurt, “yummy” bears (also known as vitamins), and pancakes
  • you’ve discovered rock and roll
  • you know all your colors
  • you had your first trip to the emergency room (sadly, we don’t have a video from this evening)
  • you’ve starred in a (minor) motion picture trailer
  • you’ve become very curious, taking things apart and putting them back together
  • you’re a great dancer
  • you’ve been boating
  • you’ve walked around our block at least a hundred times
  • you love water
  • you can play the guitar
  • you always stop and smell the flowers
  • you’ve almost mastered the downward-facing dog (see below)
  • you have a great sense of humor
  • you’ll be a great big brother!

Most of all, you’ve made your mother and me laugh out loud every single day for the past two years.  Your smile is infectious, your dance moves unmatched, and your love for others an example for us all.  As Daniel Tosh would say, “and for that, we thank you.”

Here’s to another great year.  Happy birthday, buddy.

Love always,

How’s the Market? Lessons from 3 Recent Short Sales

“Should I buy a short sale?”

I’ve heard that question a lot lately.  Dreams of scoring a killer deal on an incredible home that would otherwise be out of your price range have attracted home buyers who might otherwise be sitting on the sidelines.  Combine the promise of 2003-era (and before) pricing with historically low mortgage interest rates (between 3.75% & 3.95% as of this writing), and buying a home sounds like a great option for many.

In fact, the world-famous investor Warren Buffett just this week said he would buy a couple hundred thousand single family homes as an investment if it were practical.

So just what is a “short sale?”  Basically, a short sale is when the owner of a home owes more on the loan than the home is worth and asks the lender to accept less than what is owed as a payoff to the loan.  You can learn all you need to know about short sales here, but for this post I’ll stick to my recent experience in the San Diego market.

Chapter 1 – Downtown San Diego Condo
A buyer was looking in the 92101 area (downtown and Little Italy) and found a great 1-bedroom condo in a great complex.  We made an offer that same day and waited to hear back.  Since this one was priced very well for San Diego, it’s no surprise that we go beat out by an all-cash offer.  In fact, there were two other all-cash offers on the table.  With our financing (even with 20% down), we didn’t stand a chance.

Lesson learned:  Jump on it while you can.  We could have made an offer when this place was first on the market, but we instead waited for them to drop the price.  Lately, I’ve encouraged my buyers to be ahead of that price drop, which has been a more successful approach.  In this case, we’ll continue to hunt for that great deal, but will certainly pounce as soon as we see it.

Chapter 2 – North County San Diego
A buyer late last year was interested in finding a single family detached home in North San Diego County – specifically, Carlsbad.  We looked at several homes and finally found one that was a perfect fit for their growing family.  We made a quick offer the very night we saw the property in person, and got a fast response from the seller.  The offer was $10k less than the list price, and we later learned that there were several other offers in a range that was only about $10k less than where we were.

Lesson learned:  You’ve still got to pay for the really good ones.  I’m not saying you have to over-pay – only that when you see a property in great condition in a great neighborhood, don’t be surprised if your lowball offer gets rejected.  The San Diego real estate market is still somewhat tight, and there are a lot of people who have been waiting in the wings for quite some time.  If you see a home you love, step up and make a solid offer.

Chapter 3 – North County San Diego
I had another buyer interested in a home in South Escondido that was on a 1+ acre lot, huge yard, sparkling pool, and the home itself was in great shape.  Again, I encouraged them to make an offer slightly above the asking price, since we recognized that even above the list price it was still a fantastic deal.  This one has been a waiting game – over two months and still no approval from the short sale lender.  Luckily, my buyers are in a position that they can wait it out – especially for a deal like this.

Lesson learned:  Be ready to wait.  Everyone thinks they’re prepared to wait during the short sale process.  Lenders tell us that 60-180 days is the “norm” for getting approval and closing on a short sale.  Once you get past 60 days and still haven’t heard anything, believe me, you will start to get antsy.  You will wonder if this purchase will ever happen.  Be patient, be prepared to wait, and have faith.  In my experience, I haven’t seen a ton of short sales that don’t get approved.  Instead, it’s the buyer who changes their mind and causes the deal to fall apart.

Seems like I’ve been busy on the weekends a lot lately.  The buzz around San Diego is that the market is definitely heating up, and my recent experience supports that idea.  If you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy a home, this certainly may be it.  Don’t let these interest rates and prices pass you by.

7 Facts About Content Sharing on the Web

It’s no secret that the American Marketing Association hosts great events to educate, support, and connect marketing professionals.  I’m continually blown away by the quality of the content I get at each of the events, and this past week was no exception.  [Disclaimer: I’ve been an AMA member since 2008 and currently serve as VP of Membership for 2011-2012]

Thursday’s event featured Kristin Kovner, Senior Director of Marketing, AOL Advertising.  Kristin’s presentation, “Is Content the Fuel of the Web?” included recent findings from a case study done by AOL and Nielsen on internet users’ habits and attitudes on the major social networks.  In a nutshell, she broke down what types of content people share, with whom they share it, and on which social networks this is all taking place.

Here are my top 7 takeaways from Kristin’s data-filled presentation:

  1. Email is not dead.  Despite what some people will tell you, email is still the most popular place that internet users share content.  66% of internet users share content by email, as compared with only 28% on our beloved social networks.
  2. Industry-specific conversations get the most love.  Research showed that 60% of social media posts (mainly Facebook and Twitter) that are industry specific include an explicit brand mention.  Tweets from industry-specific conversations contain a link to some type of content (usually product information) a remarkable 73% of the time (as compared with only 42% of the time for conversations not related to a specific industry).
  3. 99% of people sharing via social networks are sharing via multiple platforms.
  4. Social network sharers are 17% more likely to be femaleexcept on Google+ (which wasn’t included since this study was done in Q1 of 2011).
  5. People tend to share with their close networks of trusted friends – not publicly (despite Facebook’s continued efforts to make privacy settings so confusing you don’t know who you’re sharing with).  This one may be a little harder for power users on Twitter to understand, since they sometimes tend to broadcast everything to everyone.
  6. Only 4% of shared content links back to a company website.  This one is important.  Businesses have to realize that conversations about their brands are happening in places other than their site and most of it never sends consumers to a company URL.
  7. Marketers can capitalize on people’s sharing habits in two ways.  1). Produce branded, sharable content (think videos with your products in them that are easy for people to share – like the Coca-Cola happiness machine campaign); and 2).  Be present with display advertising when the conversations are taking place away from your website (think display ads on YouTube for viral videos not produced by your company/affiliates, but related to your product or industry).

All in all, it was a great presentation – a flurry of numbers, but great information for those of us looking to “engage” consumers where they interact most.  The full report (along with other great research presentations) can be found on the AOL Advertising site.

Does anything above surprise you about how content is shared on the web?

My Blog: A Year in Review

Last week marked my 1-year anniversary of starting my own personal blog.  Since I’ve actually stuck with it and kept somewhat of a regular schedule, I now have a lot to look back on.  Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, and linked to my blog this year.

My Family at Grand Canyon - Sometime in the 80s

When I started my new blog, I set out with only a couple of specific goals:

  1. Write about subjects that interest me, such as marketing, technology, social media, travel, music
  2. Write at least one post per month.

As for the first goal, this one was easy.  I find a lot of interesting things on the web and I like to stay current on the newest social media trends.  I didn’t write much about music (besides recapping the concerts I’ve attended), but maybe I’ll do more with that in the next 12 months.

With 34 posts under my belt, goal number two was easily met.

So what were my favorite posts?

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

My personal favorite (mainly because it includes a strong reference to the movie Caddyshack) was my short blog on Klout, the new service that measures online “influence.”

My most visited post was written about what we can learn from the Chilean miner rescue from a leadership standpoint.

I also enjoyed writing (and re-reading this week) all my posts about my family and travel.  Honorable mention goes to my posts on marketing and related events I’ve attended.

So where will the next year take me?  Who knows.  I just hope you’re able to come along for the ride.