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San Diego Real Estate Blog

David Crowell


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 47

Great Garage Sale Tips…

by David Crowell

Great Garage Sale Tips…

 Ready to get rid of clutter?  Use these tips to hold the best garage sale ever:

 Plan ahead and publicize everywhere.  Use, word-of-mouth, emails to friends, and spend some time on legible signs that guide people to your home.

 Get your kids to donate items and participate in the sale.  Team up with neighbors so you’ll have more to offer.

 Arrange items by category (books, clothes, etc.) and put some of your sure-to-sell items up front (in the driveway) to draw customers in.

 Make sure every item is clean and reasonably priced.  A rule of thumb is one-half to one-third of the original price, depending on the item.  Be prepared to negotiate – everyone wants a bargain.

 Get some music going (plus snacks) to keep things lively. 

Q.  I’m seeking financing to purchase a home.  What questions should I ask a mortgage lender to get the best deal on a home loan?

A.  Before you meet with the lender, learn important financing terms such as origination fee, discount points, and lock period.  This way you’ll be prepared to ask relevant questions.  Here are some examples:

• Will I be charged an origination fee?  If so, how much?
• Will I be charged separate discount points?  If so, how much?
• Will I be charged any of these separate fees:  processing, document preparation, underwriting, tax service, or flood certification?
• Will there be additional fees at closing?
• Is there a lock period with this loan?  If so, how long?
• Are there any penalties if I pay off the note early?
• What is the interest rate I’ll be charged, and is it fixed or variable?
• What term (length) of loan provides the best payment for my budget?

For definitions of these terms and more financing tips, ask for my Free Consumer Report called “7 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Financing Your Home.”  I’ll send a copy right to you.

How To Keep A Clean House: A Guide For Pet Owners

by David Crowell

How To Keep A Clean House:
A Guide For Pet Owners

Four-legged friends are part of the family, but wouldn’t it be nice if they also did their part in keeping the house clean?  Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to keep fur, fluff, and dander at bay.

Contain the fur.  Encourage pets to lay on old towels or sheets placed on the floor or furniture.  Thoroughly and frequently vacuum.  Use lint rollers to pick up stray hair at a moment’s notice. 

Keep paws clean.  Before pets come in from outside, dip paws in room temperature water and dry them off. 

Stay stain free.  If a pet throws up or urinates on the floor, clean it up quickly.  Blot stains, absorbing as much liquid as possible; do not rub.  Apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid mixed with one cup of tepid water. Rinse by blotting as well.

What should I know about owning investment property?

by David Crowell

Q.  What should I know about owning investment property?

A.  You can make a successful investment by avoiding these mistakes:

• Being an absentee owner.  Visit the property often and talk to your tenants to get feedback.  If you bought a house as a “passive” investment, you may want to hire a property management company.
• Not having adequate insurance.  Work with an insurance professional who will see that you are covered. 
 Not charging fair rent.  A REALTOR®  who is an Investor Specialist can help you decide what is reasonable for the property.
• Selecting unreliable tenants.  Check all references and credit histories.  Good renters will help you generate positive cash flow you can use to reinvest and lower the property payment. 

Want to learn more ways to save money?  Ask for my Free Consumer Report called “How To Avoid 8 Dumb Mistakes Even Smart Investors Make.” 

Q.  I tried to sell my home but didn’t get any good offers.  What should I do differently to get it sold?

A.  After re-evaluating your home’s price and condition, you need to revisit your marketing plan.

 Do the pictures of your home on the Internet really show your home to its best advantage?  Did your home get seen by as many potential buyers as possible?  To help you pump up the plan, you should hire not just a REALTOR® but a home marketing expert who knows how to show your home’s greatest features and how to get your home more exposure.  A Home Marketing Expert knows the best strategies to sell homes fast and for the most money possible.

To learn more about how to sell your home the second time, call and ask for my Free Consumer Report called “4 Tips To Guarantee Your Home Sells The Second Time.”  I’ll send a copy right over to you.

What should I know when buying my first home?

by David Crowell

Q.  What should I know when buying my first home?

A.  Buying your first home is a big step, and making mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars.  Here are three you should avoid:

• Not having a professional home inspection.  Review the report carefully so you don’t buy a home with serious issues, such as pests, mold, or water damage.
• Not doing a “walk-through” before closing.  Visit the property after all the furnishings have been removed so you won’t have any surprises later.
• Not understanding the contract.  A REALTOR®  who serves as your “Buyer’s Representative” will help you understand your responsibilities and guide you through the process.

Want to learn more?  Ask for my Free Consumer Report called “Top 10 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid.”  

Q.  Can I use a financial gift from a friend or relative as a down payment when buying a home?

A. Yes.  In fact, 1 out of 4 first-time homebuyers uses a gift to make the down payment.  Tax law allows gifts of up to $14,000 a year without tax consequences to the giver or recipient.  (The amount is adjusted annually so check publication 950 for the current figure.) 

You could get a gift from two parents or two friends (for $28,000) without the givers paying a gift tax.  Using a gift for a down payment helps you buy a home even if it’s not Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-approved.  The best advice is to contact a knowledgeable REALTOR® and discuss this subject before you start looking for homes.

For more information, ask for my Free Consumer Report called “4 Quick Ways To Buy A Home With Little Down.”  I’ll send a copy right to you.

Q.  Are there any secrets to finding the right home at the right price with the right financing?

A.   Lots of homebuyers waste time and money by not doing their homework before going home shopping.   Here’s what you should do:

• Analyze your NEEDS before you start looking.  Make a list, including price range, size, general location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
• Know what you WANT in your next home.  List the features you’d like to have and rank them in terms of importance.  If you have a spouse, set your priorities as a couple.
• Understand how much home you can afford.  Become familiar with your “payment-to-income ratio” and your “debt-to-income ratio,” two guides bankers and mortgage lenders use to determine how much loan you can afford.

For more home buying tips, ask for my Free Consumer Report called
“8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Buying Your Next Home.” Call me and I’ll send a copy right over to you.

Add More Space In Your Closet

by David Crowell

Add More Space In Your Closet

 Is your clothes closet (or your teenager’s closet) a “hot mess”?  (See definition in left column.)  Try these ideas to make it more functional.

• First things first:  Empty out your closet and donate or consign everything you haven’t worn in the last two years. 
• Install closet organizing products available at stores such as Lowe’s and the Container Store.  Sales people can help you choose the right pieces.  Save time by inviting a friend to help!
• Neatly stack folded clothes on shelves using inexpensive shelf dividers (see stores above).  Stack no higher than 10 inches. 
• Hang scarves/belts/purses on shower curtain rings attached to a wooden hanger.
• Get piles of shoes off the floor.  Try an under-the-bed container.
• For a quick fix, buy a small dresser or a bookcase from a garage sale or thrift shop and put it inside your closet.

How To Make Your Neighborhood A Safer Place

by David Crowell

How To Make Your Neighborhood A Safer Place

 Whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve been living in your home for years, you want your neighborhood to be safe from crime for you and your family.  Take these actions to make it even safer.

 1) Safety is a team effort, so get to know your neighbors.  Who works during the day?  Who has kids?  Who is retired?  Maintain a list of home/cell/work numbers so you can call each other if you see something suspicious.  For example, some thieves pose as movers.  If you see someone at your neighbor’s house putting flat screen TVs and computers in a truck, don’t assume it’s a legitimate activity.  Call your neighbors to check, especially if they aren’t home.

 2) Work with your police or sheriff’s office to launch a Neighborhood Watch Program.  It unites law enforcement and citizens to reduce residential crime.  To find an existing program or learn how to start one of your own, go to

 3) Improve your neighborhood lighting.  If you don’t have adequate street lighting, join with your neighbors in turning on your outside lights every night.  An effective and inexpensive idea is to place sensor-activated lighting around the outside of your home, especially entry doors and garages ($20 – $80 at Home Depot or Amazon).  

 4) Talk to your neighbors about home security systems.  Visit a site such as for information on a variety of systems.     You can get basic ADT monitoring, for example, for $37 a month plus $99 for installation.  Some insurance providers offer a discount if you purchase a complete security system.  The site also offers an excellent Home Security Checklist (click on Learn and Home Security Resources).

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 47