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Erica Bass' Blog

By Erica Bass | Agent in San Diego, CA
  • Overly Using On-Trend Decor

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chula Vista, Remodel & Renovate in Chula Vista, Design & Decor in Chula Vista  |  July 28, 2011 11:19 PM  |  4,874 views  |  2 comments

    I recently blogged about my latest Tiffany Box Blue/Robbin’s Egg Blue Decor obsession, which has not since died down- only grown- but while browsing Otay Ranch(Newer Chula Vista) inventory today; I found a new home for sale by a builder, a model home. Drenched in my beloved Robbin’s Egg Blue decor. Please note these are strictly my opinions, but I believe it’s safe to say in the majority of situations that, “Less is More”. Subject property in question; Having a dining/living room combo + two separate bedrooms painted the same on-trend color is almost always a NO;


    Chula Vista Otay Ranch Model Home

    Chula Vista Otay Ranch model home loving the Robbin's Egg Blue Decor!


    One room, fine trend away, but even if it’s not on trend, typically you don’t uniform your house unless it's within a neutral palatte. And of course, to each their own, but when selling, and especially a model home when interior designers enter the picture- I kind of wonder what happened here? Not to mention the 3rd bedroom with subtle lime colored walls(that’s fine), but notice the Robbin’s egg blue bed spread? Yes… too much. Don’t get me wrong, gorgeous property BUT…. When selling- gear towards all audiences.

    Sure this home could work fine for the average buyer, hey they may even fall in love with it. But picture a masculine say- father & son buying together… some see what they are buying then, not what it could be, as easy as a furniture and paint swap. Not to mention prices near $300k + HOA & Mello Roos nearing $600 total/month- typically mostly discerning buyers in this spectrum. So paint neutral, and if speciality(themes/trend colors)- don’t uniform it, it can come off as unappealing or overbearing!

    For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com
  • Bad Property Photos... Why?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego County, Home Selling in San Diego County, Curb Appeal in San Diego County  |  July 7, 2011 11:03 PM  |  2,648 views  |  15 comments

    Every agent logs on to the MLS(Multiple Listing Service), every day- week days at least- to view inventory. Millions of buyers look online for their new home. “A picture is worth 1,000 words”.

    So why is it that agents take bad(horrible) pictures of properties, and only take one nonetheless, and showcase their listings that way? If you’re going to make the effort to take one of the front of the house, can’t you at least make it a good one? Example:

    Our local MLS recently enforced the requirement that agents must submit at least one property photo to their listings within 48hours of inputting the listing. (Crazy right? That this even needs to be a rule) Before this regulation; some agents would just input listings without photos. No idea why, but it was a terrible disservice. So now our MLS enforces the rule or else there will be a fine to the agent, which shouldn’t even be necessary if your job title is a real estate agent. But nonetheless, it’s necessary, and lately something even more crazy but I suppose may be a product of the agents who before didn't even input at least one photo- I have seen a good handful of listing photos in the few dozen or hundred listings I browse through daily- showing a Google map screen shot of the front of the property… Google map screen shots- you know when you google an address and can see the property via aerial view, street view, etc? Some agents are now saving those images and using them as their listing photos. It’s really sad to say the least. Case in point:

    San Diego Home for Sale

    This is a photo from an actual Active listing in our MLS right now in the 92114 zip code. I put the black border around it to show the uncropped white space around the photo. By the way, this is a traditional sale that's now been on the market 40+ days.

    Enough with the rant; SELLERS- Typically when you have more pictures of your property it gives buyers a better idea of the property, and makes them more curious to see it in person- put it on their list, or scratch it off! When you hire your agent, ask them how they are going to market your home? Ask them to show you the photos they take/are going to use, and for them to show you the MLS listing for your home once you put it on the market. Now consider this- If your house looks not so nice, needs some TLC, or even even looks terrible inside- great, photograph it and market the house to investors wanting to be handy and fix it up! If it is nice inside- also great, change your descriptive wording and include all of the best photos and show it off! On the other hand, if you can’t access the interior of the home(perhaps due to problematic tenants, etc), take a street photo, side photo, and a photo perhaps of a nearby attraction. But if you fail to, and only showcase the one photo, many people will just click right past this listing and not give it a chance.

    There are tens of thousands of tutorials and quick tip websites out there to help with minimally sprucing up your home if you are worried about photographing it in the right light, what to move, show, etc. And your agent can give pointers also. Even if you’re in a tough situation and selling your home as a short sale, use a little elbow grease and make your property as appealing as possible for photos… it will go a long way! One may protest that they are losing their home what’s the point? But if you’re a short sale in better condition/appearance, chances are you will go through less buyers, less showings(less stress), and the buyers that originally offer on your home will be more likely to stick with you instead of cancelling months down the line because they found another- better- house in the meantime.

    *A no-cost fix up is simply staging your home by de-cluttering or re-arranging your furniture in an appealing way.

    For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com
  • Serramar La Mesa

    Posted Under: Home Buying in La Mesa, Home Selling in La Mesa, In My Neighborhood in La Mesa  |  June 26, 2011 2:34 PM  |  2,023 views  |  No comments

    For the most part, La Mesa is an established community that consists of “older” single family homes with the occasional new construction scattered throughout the two zip codes 91942 & 91941. The one exception of the only larger newer subdivision community in La Mesa is Serramar — a tract home community consisting of 228 homes with nine two-story floor plans ranging from 2,077 to 4,264 square feet. The first phases were released in 2005, and the final homes were completed in 2007.

    Our team just listed this gorgeous Plan 6 property(4BR/3.5BA/3,384sqft), Bank Owned and move-in ready, with a list price $34k under the last model match that sold in early June at $600k.

    3815 Sacramento Dr, La Mesa. Large, Move-in Ready & Priced to Sell

    L-R; Foyer, Bonus Room, Formal Living Rm, Serramar La Mesa

    Serramar offers properties with many premium view locations, no mello-roos, HOA’s under $200/month, and an excellent central location near the 94 freeway and a 15 minute drive to Downtown San Diego. Builder sales have been done for quite some time now, but properties here regularly come on the market, but are typically quick to sell as Serramar has become sought afterdue to all the factors mentioned above.

    To view the listing sheet w/more info & stats, CLICK HERE- or for more info regarding any other homes for sale in the neighborhood, contact me today!

    Serramar La Mesa Driving Directions

    Take Hwy 94 to Massachusetts exit. Proceed north from offramp. Turn right on Waite and left on Murray Hill Road. Serramar is on the right hand side as you approach the top of the hill.

    Serramar Floorplans Sizes Range from Approximately 2,077 to 4,264 square feet. 3 to 6 bedrooms, 2.5 to 5 baths

    For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com

  • Santee Road Improvements

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Santee, Home Selling in Santee, In My Neighborhood in Santee  |  June 12, 2011 2:00 PM  |  1,734 views  |  No comments

    Santee Open HousesI’ve been spending a lot of time in Santee lately, working with clients in the area, holding open houses weekly at the Canopy Park @ Riverwalk Community(See Here), and while I’m always in the area anyways meeting family or running errands- it’s growth & new construction still amazes me.

    Santee is a great starter neighborhood and community to establish your life in. It’s grown so much and yet still maintained a great vibe. With growth, something that has continued to require attention but has been lacking are some of the main roads in the city needing maintenance and re-paving. Low and behold, the City of Santee recently released news of yet another major project(Since their 52 to 67 was recently completed)- Major Street Repair Throughout the Zip Code Being Completed:


    When I was in high school(West Hills), driving home on Mission Gorge, especially after the rain, was a mess, especially due to the potholes. Years later and they’re still here, just with new patching here and there, so this news of the road improvements are going to be a huge sigh of relief for commuters in the area.

    Santee Houses for Sale

    Per Santee’s website, construction is beginning this year, and they are selecting the streets that are the most desperate to begin with first. Very glad they chose Fanita. I’ve sold a few properties around Fanita and this road improvement should help improve values and overall quality of life for residents.

    “www.Santee.CA.us- The initial phase of work, estimated to cost $4.7 million, is expected to begin in July 2011. The bulk of the work will be applying rubberized asphalt to road surfaces. But repairs will also be made to storm drains, concrete sidewalks, curbs, gutters and the installation of pedestrian ramps. A second phase of road improvements is expected to cost $1.8 million, bringing the total price tag to approximately $6.5 million.

    The following streets are included in the first phase:

    •      Fanita Parkway
    •      Lake Canyon Road (Fanita Parkway to Carlton Hills Blvd)
    •      East Glendon Circle Neighborhood
    •      Rumson Drive
    •      Carlton Hills Boulevard
    •      Mission Gorge Road (Cottonwood Avenue to Riverview Parkway)

    The City’s Development Services Department is planning to host a public meeting in late June to provide residents with more detailed information and answer questions about the project. In the next few weeks, informational flyers will be mailed to residents along the project boundaries.”

    For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com

  • Paint Cans & 'Elbow Grease' vs. Home Value

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Diego County, Home Selling in San Diego County, Design & Decor in San Diego County  |  June 9, 2011 11:37 PM  |  2,171 views  |  1 comment

    I’ve had home decor on my mind for a while now. Of course I see it every day and can write a post daily on something new I see or love, but paint colors are always on my mind. They can make or break a house. And let’s face it, a big factor is keeping current with the trends. This yes can get old, and point blank, when you’re a homeowner staying put, maybe you don’t want to “keep up with the latest”- which is valid reasoning by the way.

    But when you are selling, whether it be a regular sale or short sale, flip or bank-owned, colors go a long way. 99% of buyers buy on emotion(In my opinion). Show them a house with bright red and yellow interior walls they think “ahh! Ronald McDonald. So much work needs to be done here; Erica I hope you have a good cheap painter for us?” They’re mentally tallying thousands of dollars they will spend prior to even moving into the home post escrow. As a rule of thumb, I always tell buyers, almost all houses will need new carpet + paint. Not a big deal most of the time, but strangely when we see crazy colored walls the mental numbers seem to sky rocket. Paint the home on your own if you have the time and patience, usually you'll save thousands vs. hiring someone else to do the job.

    I have more “outrageous” real life examples, but will count on good old HGTV for prime simple examples;

    Not too Extreme but Not as Ideally Neutral as it Should BeDarker Mustard Color Walls vs.

    Lighter Neutral Walls Exude Welcoming Charm
    Softer Cream/Greys

    Before putting your home on the market, even if it’s a short sale, use a little elbow grease and spruce up… it will go a long way! One may protest that they are losing their home what’s the point? But if you’re a short sale in better condition/appearance, chances are you will go through less buyers, less showings(less stress), and the buyers that originally offer on your home will be more likely to stick with you instead of cancelling months down the line because they found another- better- house in the mean time.

    Traditional sellers- you may love your lime green walls, and I’m sure they’re great, but buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the space. Some can see the potential and their own ideal colors, some can’t. Neutral colors go a long way and can help optimize the full value of your home while selling in today’s market!

    *P.S. Not to get overly picky, but sometimes bare white walls can be just that- too bare! They can project starch coldness and not welcoming warmth. Great neutral picks are creams, tans, greys.

    For my blog directly, Visit: 

  • How Low Can We Go?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Diego, Home Buying in San Diego, Home Selling in San Diego  |  June 2, 2011 8:18 PM  |  1,223 views  |  4 comments

    A common misconception I often come across are buyers and sellers not knowing how to gauge values correctly. Whether it be buyers deciding what a property is worth and what price to offer, or sellers deciding what price to list their home for sale at. A large factor of the current San Diego market are distressed properties; Short sales, & foreclosures. Many buyers new to the scene have the perception that they can get amazing deals on these distressed properties, and that they sell for tens of thousands less than what they’re currently worth, or that you should always offer lower than asking price.

    Don’t get me wrong, sometimes ‘amazing’ astounding deals happen, but I often come across buyers asking how low they can offer on a property; “what percent lower is the norm to come in at?”

    I’m compiling a quick list of what to expect when offering on properties in the ‘competitive’ price ranges:

    • As a general rule of thumb, realize that every property and sale is unique and different and there is no- at least not in San Diego- percentage amount that you should offer less than a seller’s asking price. The best way to determine value is by looking at the recent sales either in the complex(condos), neighborhood, or zip code. Base your research on comparable size, condition and features the property has to offer.

    • The list price or asking price is just that- the asking price. Often with distressed properties sellers price the properties lower than they’re actually worth to stimulate demand and activity for the property, which in turn creates a multiple offer bidding war, and the property ultimately sells for higher than the asking price. When approaching a situation such as this one, gauge your offer on the recent sales in the neighborhood. For example: House #1 is a foreclosure with 4bds/2.5baths, average condition- sold three weeks ago at $360k. House#2 is a short sale, just listed, identical floorplan as House#1, also in average condition, seller prices it at $304k.  Do you really think $304k is realistic when the model match JUST closed for $360k? This is a prime example of when a short sale seller lists the home lower than it’s worth to stimulate activity, and I can almost guarantee there will be multiple offers on this House #2 that go much higher than it’s asking price of $304k. I know, it’s hard to grasp about paying higher than what someone is offering something at. You have to change the way you look at the situation and realize that is a seller strategy, and by offering more in this scenario- you’re not over paying, you’re paying what it’s worth.

    • Closing Costs: If you are writing closing costs into your offer to be paid by the seller- assume that the seller looks at this as a decrease in their net. Just because you offer full price on a property or a little above asking price, if you are asking for a whole closing costs credit, this in the big scheme does not equal to a full price offer to a seller.

    • Now on another note: distressed sales do effect traditional sales. Often sellers refuse to consider distressed sales as adequate comparables. The bottom line is that if the distressed property is comparable to the subject property, even though it’s a distressed sale, it will effect surrounding values in the neighborhood.

    • Supply & Demand: This one may be the most simple, it’s as easy as Economics 101- if there are a ton of similar properties for sale/on the market in one area, expect prices to decrease. If there are hardly any properties for sale in the area, usually the demand and value increases.

    • Market Time: Has the property been on the market 1 week or 4 months? Typically sellers are more anxious to negotiate the longer the length on the market.

    • Lastly, don’t always believe what you read on Zillow.com or Trulia.com regarding a property’s specific value. These are computerized estimates, or as Zillow says, “Zestimates”. They base values off of size and proximity. They don’t differentiate communities, condition, etc. Many factors are left out during these computerized valuations.

    The bottom line, as mentioned above; is that all properties and circumstances are different. Ask your Realtor for the current market value of your home when selling, or if you’re considering writing an offer. It is easy to get distracted by the media, what your friends and family told you, but if you are buying or selling now, the numbers don’t lie :).

    For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com

  • East Chula Vista, “Future Site Rapid Transit Corridor” Signs

    Posted Under: Traffic & Public Transportation in Chula Vista, Home Buying in Chula Vista, Home Selling in Chula Vista  |  May 1, 2011 10:42 AM  |  2,370 views  |  No comments
    Over the past few years of just being in the area, or showing property in East Chula Vista, myself and my clients have noticed signs namely along the East Palomar median that state “Future site Rapid Transit Corridor”. I tried doing some research in 2009, but wasn’t able to come up with much info after a buyer had asked me about it in regards to what exactly the future site was.

    Left to Right: 1) A Monet townhouse w/greenbelt on the right. 2) The Rapid Corridor Signs. 3) Aerial View. 4) Greenbelt View

    Later we found ourselves looking at the townhouses in the beautiful Treviana community, where they were very interested in a 1700+sqft 3 level end unit on Caminito De La Cruz that bordered the serene greenbelt which divided the complex with the neighboring Monet Community. Long story short they didn’t end up buying there, and fast forward to today I was recently showing units in the Mer Soleil community to other buyers, and was questioned once again about the median signs.

    There is now much more info available online about the Rapid Transit Corridor project. I’ve always personally questioned the greenbelt being used as a divider between Monet & Treviana, since it’s not something very common for condo complexes in the area, there’s no fencing between the 2 complexes- just the grass, and since it just dead ends at the 125 SBX(SouthBay Expressway)… But thought it was a great thing for residents; nice for a walking trail and for kids to play around. Come today after more research- surprised to find out finally what those median signs mean, and that this area is a future site for a SANDAG Bus Transit Route…

    The plan is for the large East Palomar median and greenbelt area in between these 2 complexes to be a pathway for buses to commute on and cross over the 125 freeway, leading to the Otay Ranch mall, and onto the Otay Mesa border crossing.

    I started reading through the controversy of this future development and see a lot of pluses and negatives. This future construction could give it a nice urban feel and provide many other advantages, but what a change it will be for current and future homeowners and residents in the area who oppose it.

    On a whole other topic- there are now quite a few units being sold in Treviana currently by the city of Chula Vista, targeted only to First time home buyers that meet certain income requirements, and in turn leave deed restrictions and shared equity stipulations on the property. And on the other hand, brand new units just completed in 2011 are being sold by the builder after a few years break in construction during the market down turn. All in all, there is quite a bit of activity going on in this development. 2bedroom units in both Monet & Treviana are currently at the low asking around $140k+, and go up to about $330k for the new and larger 4bedroom floorplans in Treviana.

    treviana pix

    Treviana Chula Vista; Homes, Pool & Entrance

    Not to be confused though, I still think these communities are great properties, with nice floorplans, amenities, and affordability. Treviana consists of 212 townhomes in the Lomas Verdes community within Chula Vista. Lomas Verdes showcases five parks totaling 14 acres with walking trails. Treviana has its own fitness center featuring LA Gym Equipment, along with a 25-yard lap pool, playground, and expanded spa and restrooms. And Monet next door offers great 2story style townhomes with 1 and 2 car garages.

    More info from the SANDAG website regarding the BTR advantages:

    “The South Bay Bus Rapid Transit project will be a 21-mile rapid, reliable, and high-frequency transit service between the Otay Mesa border crossing and downtown San Diego via eastern Chula Vista. The BRT project is expected to be in service in early 2014. This new BRT will provide access to regional employment centers in downtown San Diego, the Otay Mesa Business Park, and the future Eastern Urban Center, as well as serving residential communities in Chula Vista and National City.”

    It does sound great, but I do know that my buyers in 2009 would have NEVER even considered the unit on Caminito De La Cruz because of their location preferences, had they had any idea that there was potentially a BRT project in the works.

    Whether you live in the area or not- what are your thoughts about the future BRT(Bus Rapid Transit) project? Share your thoughts in the comments section, or send me an email today. Or, if you or someone you know is interested in these properties, please contact me, as I’d be happy to give you a tour.

    For more information & Links on the progress of the future Sandag Bus Transit Route:

    For my blog directly, Visit: 

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