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5 Inspiring Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2021

We’ve all spent a lot more time at home over the past year. And for many of us, our homes have become our office, our classroom, our gym—and most importantly, our safe haven during times of uncertainty. So in 2021, it’s no surprise to see that designers are emphasizing soothing color palettes, cozy character and quiet retreats.

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Tax Saving Tips with Home Ownership 2021

Did you know that buying a house is more than just a fun, cool place to live? In this video, I’m going to walk you through the tax advantages and other great benefits of owning a home. I’ll explain why buying a house is the best investment you can make for your future.

Tax Benefits Of Home Ownership

Have you ever had a CPA, your parents, or your grandma repeatedly tell you to buy a house? One of the reasons they’re giving you this advice is because they understand the tax benefits of owning a home versus renting.

The very first tax benefit that you need to know is that 100% of the interest on your primary residence loan is 100% tax-deductible. Let me show you how this works.

Let’s say Larry makes $150,000 a year. Over the last 12 months, he’s paid $15,000 of interest on his loan. This means that Larry will be taxed at $135,000 income versus $150,000. Why? He can write that $15,000 worth of interest that he paid off, making his taxable income reduced by $15,000.

Interest is not the only thing that is tax-deductible. Larry also paid $8,000 in property taxes that he was also able to write off. That $135,000 taxable income will then go down by another $8,000. In this example, Larry’s taxable income went from $150,000 down to $127,000, saving him a boatload of money just by being a homeowner.

Making The Most Of Your Investment

At the end of the year, your lender is going to give you a summary statement that shows the amount of interest you paid on your loan. It’s up to you to either take that to your CPA and make sure they file it for you or save money and do it yourself. Either way, it’s important if you want to get your taxable income way down.

Additionally, the year that you purchased your home probably has other tax deductions. There may be several other items that you can give to your accountant—or file yourself if you’re that good—that’ll ensure you get a further reduction in your taxable income. Make sure you take those to your CPA.

Your largest tax advantage when owning real estate is capital gains. If you live in your home for two years or more, you get up to $250,000 capital gains, tax-free, as an individual. If you’re a married couple, you get up to $500,000 capital gains. Those are excellent reasons to be a homeowner.

Is It Time For You To Buy?

Buying a house is exciting—and part of that excitement is tax savings. I hope this helped you understand some of the great tax savings that are associated with owning a home. If you have any questions about any of these advantages, please give me a call at (619) 925-2322. You can also email me, too, and remember: I’m here as your resource and happy to help!

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How Steve Got His Dream House In Hillcrest On A Budget

Are you looking to buy your dream home but aren’t sure if you can find the perfect place for your budget? In this video, we’re going to look at a case study example of how you can make a smart investment even in a competitive market. I’ll share how I made “Steve”’s dream of getting a single-family home in Hillcrest under $500,000 possible.

Steve’s Story

A few years ago, Steve said to me, “Chris, get me a single-family house in Hillcrest. My budget’s $500,000.” As if that was totally possible! But guess what? Today, he’s living in it.

One of the reasons I love being a realtor is because of stories like this. Steve wanted to buy his dream home in Hillcrest, but he was limited by a budget of $500,000. In this neighborhood, that is a tough budget. I get crazy requests from buyers all the time, and this one was right up there because Hillcrest is not an inexpensive neighborhood. I was pretty darn sure it was not going to happen for that budget. Fast forward to today and Steve is living in his dream home—all because we saw an opportunity and we took it.

Everybody in real estate wants to make a wise investment, and the ones who are truly successful take the time to learn and study the local real estate market they’re wanting to buy into. Or, they just work with a really good realtor who knows all of that for them. But even if I could find such a tall order as a single-family home under $500,000 in Hillcrest, I knew that we would have a lot of other competitive offers. If you’re familiar at all with the San Diego market in the last 5 years, you’re well aware that almost every home gets multiple offers.

I was getting prepared for this situation and also preparing Steve. Once we saw the right property come on the market, we jumped on the opportunity right away.

Getting The House

I knew that we had to fight to be the first ones on this property, as the price range in a very desirable neighborhood would cause fierce competition. We needed to be first and, if not first, at least in the first group of offers. Once we saw the property, we put in our offer immediately. As I suspected, though, we were one of four, other offers.

This means the property had a total of five offers within two days. I knew negotiation was going to be crucial, so I took a little time to research the agent in this case. I found some common ground, and I shared with him some really important credentials that we, as realtors, can get through our education. In the end, that’s what won the day.

The first thing I wanted to do was to build rapport, and as soon as you do that, you start building respect. And as soon as you get respect, you know that your offer is going to be taken seriously. In this particular case, the other agent and I completely hit it off, not only personally but professionally, in terms of our professional and educational experience and credentials.

The best part was our offer wasn’t even the highest price, but from the listing agent’s perspective, it had the highest chance of closing. He knew that I had what it took from his personal experience and education to make the deal happen. You see, in real estate, when you buy smart, you make money—and the story doesn’t end there.

A Wise Investment

A few years later, Steve did so well on his dream home that he was able to take some money out of it. He used that money as a down payment on an investment property, which a few years later in the same neighborhood, he sold to make an even greater profit. This allowed him to pay off his dad, who gave him the original loan for the single-family home in Hillcrest under $500,000.

It was such a huge series of wins for him, and that’s exactly how you should approach real estate. Not only can you find a great place to live and have the lifestyle you want, but it’s also something that’s going to make you money. That will help build your wealth in the future.

So, the next time someone tells you that real estate isn’t the best investment, take it with a grain of salt. I hope Steve’s story has given you a little hope. While we both didn’t have much hope in the beginning, working together and scouring the market allowed us to find him his dream home. Not only did we find him his dream home, but it made him a boatload of money that he was able to translate into an investment purchase years down the road. He was able to then sell and pay off loans that helped him buy the first place, and he still has a nice, six-figure equity.

If you would like any more information on how to become a smart investor—not only to find a home to buy, live in, and have the lifestyle you want but as an investment home as well—please give me a call. You can contact me at (619) 925-2322 and I’ll be happy to connect with you. And remember, make sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss a future episode of All About San Diego Real Estate!

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Selling Your Home For Top Dollar With The Right Marketing Plan

Did you know that getting your home sold for top dollar takes more than sticking a “For Sale” sign in the ground? In this video, I’m going to walk you through all the steps that we take to list, market, and expose your home to thousands. While most realtors simply list your home on the MLS and wait for a buyer to come, I’m going to explain my marketing plan that will get your home sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time.

The truth is, there are many ways that you can sell your home today. You might not even need a realtor. If you want to sell your home for top dollar in the fastest way possible, though, then this information is for you.

Professional Pictures And Video

Before we list and market your home, we need to dress it up, declutter it, and depersonalize it.  Once it’s show-ready, we need to get professional photographs and videos done—and I do mean professional. Shots with your cellphone is a big no-no. You need to have it done professionally with professional equipment and professional lighting, showing the highlights of your home in the best possible way.

The reason this is important is that the statistics speak for themselves. Photos with HD enhancement sell for 45% faster and 75% closer to list price. The reason for this is simple. Would you go out and see a home in person that just looked okay online? Of course not; why would you waste your time?

Let’s step outside of the world of real estate for just a second to illustrate. Let’s talk about online dating (of which I know nothing about, but you’ll get the concept). It’s kind of like finding a profile online; it speaks to you or it doesn’t. You’re going to either swipe left or swipe right. It’s the same with house eye candy. We want to take pictures of rooms that trigger emotions like bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. These are the rooms that people fall in love with and the reason people make bookings to see them.

In addition to high-quality pictures, we’re going to take a professional video walkthrough tour of your house. This will give people a sense of actually walking through your home. The one thing that photographs lack is the ability to feel the flow of a house, so live-action video is important. Video helps your home stand out from the herd, especially because not every listing has it. Your home will stick out in people’s minds.

Showcasing Your Home Online

Once we have all the pictures and videos of your home that we need, it’s game time. We want to find the right places online to showcase your home. Since most searches begin on Zillow, Trulia, Redfin,, and, these are the site where we’re going to focus our advertising of your home.

One of the other really important places we’re going to showcase your home with these professional photographs, videos, and descriptions is the MLS. This is because we need to market to the realtor community as well. Since the vast majority of all buyers are represented by realtors, we need to make sure that they get first notice as well. We also want to make sure we have the information in the MLS correctly. The most important features are things like school districts, restaurants, shopping, access to highways, and commute times to downtown. This information needs to be accurate, as it will help people see your home where they’re looking.

Once we’re done with our initial, big online marketing push, we’re going to hit the social media platforms. This includes the sites where people are looking, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It’s very important to get that social media platform strategy in place, as your video will especially shine there.

The Importance Of Signage And Showings

Signage is also very important. It lets your neighbors know your house is for sale, though they might not be looking on the MLS or anywhere else online. Rather, they might know somebody who would really love being in their neighborhood. Nobody is a bigger cheerleader for your neighborhood than your neighbors. Signs let them help you.

The first two weeks is a crucially important time when we have your home on the market for sale. We need to have events such as virtual tours and open houses, either virtually or safely in-person. To maximize the new-kid-on-the-block energy in the first two weeks, we need to promote your home to the most amount of eyeballs possible.

Your Tailor-Made Marketing Plan

Every home is unique. Your marketing plan is going to be tailor-made to you depending on the needs, benefits, and features of your home and your neighborhood. I hope this gave you an idea of some of the amazing things that we do to get your home sold. We don’t just put a sign on the ground, list it on the MLS, and hope for the best. We create a plan to make sure we maximize your return on investment.

If you have any questions about how I can help you sell your home with my super-duper awesome marketing plan, please reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you!

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The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Realtor

Are you thinking of selling your home and wondering if you really need to hire a realtor? In this video,  I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of hiring a realtor so you can make a decision that’s best for you. Because selling a home is one of the largest financial decisions a person will ever make, it’s important to consider if and how hiring a realtor can provide you with any advantages in the home selling process.

The Pros And Cons Of Hiring A Realtor

Because there are many moving parts and behind-the-scenes work that go into selling a house, many people find hiring a realtor necessary to navigate the process. Others wonder if they can simply do it themselves. Here are some factors to take into consideration to help you decide for yourself.

Paperwork And Disclosures

Did you know that in San Diego we have all kinds of local area disclosures that people need to be aware of? For example, military ordinances, earthquake fault lines, and flood zones are a small example of things people should know about—but often don’t. By the time you get finished writing a contract, you’ve probably signed about a hundred documents that all have legal repercussions, liabilities, and responsibilities you may not fully understand.

The purchase agreement alone, for example, is anywhere from 25 to 40 pages—and that’s on the short side. This is only the purchase agreement; you then need to add local air disclosures, natural hazard disclosures, and seller property disclosures for another 800 pages. However, if you’ve recently bought or sold property here in San Diego and have buckets of time, you might not need a realtor.

Facilitating The Transaction

Another pro of hiring a realtor is the facilitation of the transaction. There are so many different aspects that go into selling a house, particularly here in California. Believe it or not, facilitating these kinds of transactions is a full-time job. For example, when you are selling your home on your own, you are responsible for the marketing, the showings, and the feedback. When you get your home into contract, you then have to worry about organizing the inspection and making requests for repairs with different professionals, which can include foundation people, the plumber, the electrician, and the roofer. Next, you have to worry about the appraisal, negotiating any difference between an appraised value and a contract purchase value.

If you know how to do all these things from facilitating the transaction until the end, you probably don’t need a realtor.

Realtor Commission

Aside from the previous two pros of hiring a realtor to sell your home, we do need to mention a con. It’s a common one that most people want to know: what is it going to cost? The real question you should be asking yourself is not what the realtor commission is, but rather if the realtor that’s involved in your transaction is worth the cost. When you hire a realtor and you pay a commission, it’s an investment. If you invest in a realtor, will they give you a return on investment? A good realtor should yield you a much better sales price than you could get on your own, which will cover their commission and then some.

Should You Hire A Realtor?

I hope this gives you some great insights into the pros and cons of whether or not to hire a real estate agent. It really shouldn’t be a question of if you should hire a real estate agent—rather, it should be which one? The first thing you need to do is understand what your realtors’ roles are. The second thing you need to do is find the right one. Hiring the right real estate agent can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make while hiring the wrong real estate agent can be one of the worst decisions. If you have any additional questions about how to sell your home, I would love to talk to you. Please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to connect!


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How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar

Did you know that getting top dollar for your house doesn’t mean starting with the highest price? In this video, I’m going to explain how properly positioning your home will get you the most money on your sale. By starting with the right price, description, and marketing, you’ll sell your house in record time while walking away with the largest profit possible.

How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar

While everyone wants to get the most money for their home, there’s a strategy for making this happen. A common question I get is, “Can we start our price way up here?” While it might seem like the right way to get top dollar, pricing high is not a good idea. When selling a home, it’s important to position the property to target and attract the ideal buyer. We do this by positioning.

Properly Positioning Your Home In 3 Ways

Most people have never heard of positioning their home for sale. What does this entail? Positioning is how we make your home appear to buyers, and having an action plan for this before listing is vital. There are 3 main ways we’ll position your home—the most important of which is price.


Pricing your home right the first time is the most important thing that we can do to get the most money. Doing so will minimize your market time, allowing you to have the best chance of getting your desired price. If your house accumulates too much market time, you’re going to end up getting low ball offers. This is a situation that nobody wants.

To better explain, imagine you’re in the position of the buyer. Would you be more likely to give a lowball offer to a brand new property on the market or one sitting on the market for a long time? Too much market time usually means one of two things: either the seller is being unreasonable about price, or there’s something wrong with the house. The buyer may be pricing the property too high, or the house has major issues that are turning buyers off. 

When you’re the new kid on the block, however, everybody is going to rush to see your property. The first few weeks that your house is listed will be critical, and we need to get the most amount of eyes on the property. This will result in more showings and a faster sell time. Since people don’t want to miss out on something new, they’ll be more likely to make an offer before someone else has a chance to take it away from them.

Another thing to consider when pricing your home is the way people search online. Prospective buyers tend to search in price range blocks, usually in increments of $25,000-$50,000. If we think buyers will search up to $400,000, $425,000, or $475,000, we want to make sure we price accordingly to get the most number of eyes on the property. Getting as many buyers as possible to look at your listing during these early weeks is key.

Listing Description

The second way we’re going to position your home properly is through its description. In other words, we want to capture the attention of the ideal buyer for the property. The “remarks” section in the listing is a really important place for advertising your house. It’s where we get to tell your home’s story.

For example, if we were selling an investment property, we would be talking about financial terms—like cash on cash return or net operating income. On the other hand, if we’re marketing a single-family home in a great school district, we’re going to be talking about features that appeal to families who have or are thinking of starting a family. 


The third and final piece of proper positioning is marketing. We need to market your home where your buyers are going to be hanging out. An aggressive agent—or politely aggressive Canadian-American agent—is going to go after the buyer actively. They’ll do more than just put a sign in the ground and hope that the buyer comes magically to you.

As you can see, proper positioning is vital to get the most value when we sell your house. Listing your home on the MLS is one thing, but marketing it, positioning it, and getting top dollar for it is another. If you would like to get a politely aggressive marketing plan for your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help!


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How Much It Really Costs To Sell Your House

Have you decided to sell your house but are wondering how much it’s going to cost you? With all of the packing, moving, and adjusting, selling your house can be stressful. What’s even more stressful, however, is not knowing how much you’re going to pay. In this video, I’m going to walk you through all the costs associated with selling your home. By knowing what your closing costs are upfront, you’ll have the upper hand in negotiations and will know exactly how much you’ll walk away with at the end of your sale.

How Much It Costs To Sell Your House

The most important number you need to know when selling your house is not just what the buyer pays for your home. Surprisingly, its the amount of money you put in your pocket when you walk away from the transaction. To better understand what this number will be, you’ll need to consider some common closing costs.

Title Fees

One of the first closing costs you’re going to see is title fees. These fees are essentially what you’re paying the title company to change the title over to a different name. This includes any fees and taxes associated with that switch, such as unpaid liens. In short, this process changes the name on the property from who used to own it (you) to who’s going to own it now (the buyer). Wherever you buy property in the United States or Canada, there’s going to be title fees. It’s an inescapable part of the process.

Tax Proration Fee

The next fee you’re going to see is a tax proration fee. I personally learned about this the hard way when seeing an unexpected, large fee on my home sale. The tax proration fee is the amount of property taxes that are left during the calendar year period that you, the homeowner, haven’t paid yet. You will be responsible to pay your taxes up until the day you own the property. From that day moving forward, the property taxes will be the burden of the buyer.

The tax proration fee is calculated out daily, and it ensures that you pay up until the day that you close. After that, you’re done. You can walk away, and everyone’s happy.

Transfer Fee

Another fee you’ll be responsible for is the transfer fee. This is a county tax, usually calculated as a certain dollar or percentage per every $1,000 of the purchase price. This fee goes towards a variety of county line items that your taxes pay for—and that comes from property sales. One of the biggest items you’ll see on your closing statement (or prepared seller net sheet) is going to be your loan payoff amount.  If you’re lucky and don’t have much left on your loan, it will be small. If you have more, it will be the amount of your unpaid mortgage balance.

Real Estate Commissions

If you decide to hire a realtor, the next fee you should expect is the commission for your realtor. The seller actually pays for both the buyer’s and seller’s side of commissions. This then gets split evenly between the buyer’s broker and the seller’s broker. When you purchase a property, you don’t have to pay commissions.

Included in the realtor commissions on the seller’s side is everything that’s needed to sell your home. All the activities in the pre-listing stage—including photography, videography, drone photography, print marketing, and internet marketing—will be covered, as well as a portion for the buyer’s agent. The commission fees will be consolidated into a single line item.

Your Total Seller Closing Costs

Once you subtract all seller closing costs, you’ll then have a number that will be your walkaway total profit. From the sale price of your home, you’ll need to account for commissions, tax prorations, and all the other fees we discussed. In real estate, everything is based on a percentage of the sale price. The higher the sale price of the home, the more the closing costs are going to be as well.

If you’d like to get an idea of what it would cost to sell your home, please feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to give you a seller’s net sheet so you can see what your bottom-line, walkaway take-home figure will look like. This will give you the best idea of how much money you’ll keep in your pocket after you sell your house!


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