10 GREAT Reasons to Buy a Home in 2013


1.        Quality of life – a home provides stability and security for you and your loved ones, and membership within a community of neighbors.

2. Pride of home ownership – a home is a personal haven, a place that you can decorate, shape, and share over time because it’s yours.

3. Excellent affordability – lower home prices combined with low interest rates means there are tremendous opportunities for buyers.

4. Historically low interest rates – around 4 percent in the U.S. gives better purchasing power to those who qualify.

5. Appreciation potential – your home investment can grow in value.

6. Equity buildup and debt pay down – homeowners enjoy an average net worth of approximately $184,000 vs. $4,000 for renters.

7. Leverage – where else can you buy an investment of this magnitude with 5-10 percent down?

8. Tax deduction advantages – property tax and mortgage interest write-offs (in Canada, home owners gain a tax benefit upon selling).

9. Tax exemption – up to $500,000 per married couple or $250,000 per person on sale of a primary residence in the United States (no tax upon sale in Canada).


August – 2012 – Lowe’s Home Benefits Guide

Lowe’s Inside Out

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Inside Out

Monthly Home Improvement Tips



Happy August Amy

The sun is about to set on summer. Have you completed all of the items on your home improvement checklist?

Take advantage of the last of the long days to spruce up your home. Visit Lowe’s to find everything you need to turn your summer dreams into reality. From expert advice to outdoor furniture, to lighting options and everything in between, Lowe’s has you covered.

– Amy Wright, REALTOR® | contact me

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Pros’ guide to replacing patio spacers

Q: The wooden spacers separating the concrete sections of our patio need to be replaced. Each piece is 7/8 inch wide by 48 inches long. The depth varies because each piece has decayed at different rates. It doesn’t look like any of the pieces were nailed or secured.

Door clues can pinpoint home’s construction date

There’s a little parlor trick I like to pull when I’m doing consulting at people’s homes. I ask them what year their home was built, and before they can answer, I quickly stop them with a raised hand.

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5 great options for shading your yard

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As the summer sun beats down, there’s nothing better than finding a little refreshing shade. Creating areas of shade around your home pays big benefits in lots of ways.

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Stop foundation issue from killing sale

We bought our home last year. It was a fixer-upper, but our home inspector found no major problems. After spending $75,000 on renovations, we put it on the market and had a buyer in just three days. But the buyer’s home inspector found a foundation problem that our inspector had missed.

Read more »


Mortgage rates post second week of gains

Mortgage rates have moved higher off of record lows for the second consecutive week amid signs that the U.S. job market is stabilizing, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac.

Read more »


Cons of early mortgage payoff

DEAR BENNY: I owe $13,000 on my home and would like to pay it off.
Read more »

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August – 2012 – Real Estate Trends

AUGUST – 2012 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and Realtor.org reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.

Please click here to view the AUGUST – 2012 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.

Here are 10 facts the IRS wants you to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Expires in 2012

  • No closing cost
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  • No property taxes
  • No Insurance


Here are 10 facts the IRS wants you to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

San Diego has seen it’s share of short sales since 2007. If you purchased your home between 2001 and 2008 you are most likely upside down in your mortgage. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 has provided an opportunity for many to get out from under the house debt which far exceeds the market value. WWW.DREAMHOMESMATCHMAKER.COM has helped many homeowners get out of sticky situations through a short sale. This is not recommended to everyone, and you should consult a tax attorney/accountant to review your specific situation.

1. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. Refinanced debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes – for example, to pay off credit card debt – do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the qualified debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans do not qualify for the tax relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax relief provisions – such as insolvency – may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit http://www.irs.gov. A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.

You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to determine if the cancellation of debt is taxable. The ITA tool is a tax law resource that takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions

Del Mar is home to the highest LEED rated house

Del Mar can call itself Green! They are the proud home of California’s highest LEED rated house. Del Mar Restoration owned by Laura Parker renovated Parker’s own home without setting out for the #1 designation. She has just commenced a new project, a horse farm rennovation in Rancho Santa Fe. Once complete, it will hold the title of the 1st and only LEED certified property in the Ranch. There are pictures of the Del Mar project available online at www.greendelmarhome.com Parker has obviously raised the bar on ‘Going Green’, and given great attention to the possibility of becoming LEED certified with new construction. Lots of new home builders in San Diego have offered opportunities to ‘green’ your home with solar panel upgrade packages, etc. The Community of Del Sur has made a point to being environmentally conscious in their development. Their community Center, the Ranch House, is also LEED certified. Though they have not come close to reaching the new benchmark set by Parker. Hats off to you Laura!


The opportunities to go green don’t require a full conversion/rennovation/remodel, or new construction. You can start anywhere and build upon those measures to reduce your carbon footprint. There are “Green Homes” available for sale throughout San Diego who have take advantage of using reclaimed materials and increased energy efficiency.


Parker in front of her Del Mar Home

How you can use IRA money to invest in Real Estate

Direct your IRA $$$

San Diego 2nd Home — Part of Your IRA?

Some San Diego Retirement Portfolios Include Second Homes

San Diego Second Homes: Legitimate IRA Investments?

Investors are still shaking off the memory of watching what happened to their IRA stock portfolios during the nightmarish global financial crisis. Even the groggy recovery that’s been under way ever since has featured the kind of stomach-churning drops that drive investors to the Pepto-Bismol.

So it’s not surprising that some have been searching for alternative assets that could grow tax-free within their retirement accounts. And lately I’ve been hearing from more clients who are asking about the possibilities in real estate, including San Diego second homes and even vacant acreage.

You read that right: real estate is a little-publicized yet entirely legal vehicle for IRAs! Right now, when prices are at bargain-basement levels, investing for the long run in what many see as the most ‘real’ of all holdings certainly is an opportunity worth looking into. Nevertheless, there are some big cautions.

First off, let me emphasize that my area of expertise is real estate — not financial advice. Anyone who is serious about placing real estate in their IRA will absolutely need expert financial and tax advice. Yet, if what you read below makes sense, you should call me about rental property opportunities in San Diego.

They will explain that traditional IRAs can not include real estate; only ‘self-directed’ IRAs are eligible (although they are fairly easy to open or steer existing IRA assets into). Despite the fact that some extra freedom is granted such accounts, when you ‘self-direct’ an IRA, you are subject to some very firm prohibitions. In the case of a real estate investment, just one of those is that you can’t use the investment (for instance, if you purchased one of our San Diego second homes) for your own benefit until you retire. In other words, your pretty little cabin by the lake can be rented out, but you or your family can’t spend the weekend there. You also can’t hire yourself (or a company you own) to manage it. And if brother Fred wants to vacation in it (even if he would pay rent for the privilege), you have to tell him no.

The general idea is the same as with any IRA: you or family members cannot benefit from account assets until you retire. That makes perfect sense, because the funds used in it have been contributed tax-free, and any gains are appreciating tax-free. Still, if you can secure a non-recourse loan, that might allow you to effectively double your investment dollars.

The penalties for not following the rules make that not worth even thinking about. That means that most everyone will probably want to use an administrator or custodial firm with real estate experience. But for those who find second homes or other income-producing San Diego properties, the prospect of building a tax-free revenue stream within a self-directed IRA is certainly intriguing. It could mean the Pepto-Bismol stays on the medicine shelf.

I hope you will think of me whenever you decide to discuss the current prospects for any San Diego real estate investment. I’m standing by!