Homeowners Insurance Reviews


The top 10 hottest luxury real estate markets in the world – Luxury buyer activity is stepping up in 2017

The world’s luxury real estate market is showing an upward correction as global stock markets surged in early 2017 and political uncertainties slowly clarified.

Prices of million-dollar-plus homes increased by approximately 2 percent across the globe in 2016, according to Luxury Defineda whitepaper by Christie’s International Real Estate (CIRE) released this month.

The report revealed a number of insights related to local and international luxury markets, including which cities experienced a luxury boost, withdrawal or made the list of hottest high-end real estate locales for the first time, along with juicy trends that modern wealthy buyers are currently gravitating toward.

Hong Kong unseats London

CIRE’s Luxury Index, which evaluates a market’s overall prices and relative luxuriousness, revealed Hong Kong as the world’s top ranking city for luxury real estate, unseating London for the first time, while New York came in third place. Their top 10 list for the Luxury Index was as follows:

1. Hong Kong

2. London

3. New York

4. Los Angeles

5. Singapore

6. Sydney

7. San Francisco

8. Paris

9. Toronto

10. Miami

Miami experienced a slight decline, dropping from seventh place to 10th due to a decrease in sales activity, an influx of new development condos and a sharp rise in inventory supply.

The market in South Florida is seeing well-priced properties sell successfully, but price reductions are becoming more commonplace, according to the report.

Moving up in the world were San Francisco in seventh place and Toronto in ninth.

Buyer movement post-election

The most important driver for luxury homebuyers and sellers during unsettling periods is the return of consumer confidence and the perception of stability, the report noted.

According to a survey of more than 200 global luxury agents of the CIRE network, 21 percent reported that the election outcome had resulted in increased sales.

“Nearly half of the high net worth individuals in our market were sidelining cash until the election was over,” said Kevin M. Leonard of Illustrated Properties in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “We are now seeing that cash being injected into the luxury real estate market.”

Hall Wilkie of Brown Harris Stevens in New York noted that national elections temporarily weakened Manhattan’s property market, and the impact was exacerbated with million-dollar-plus sales dropping by 3 percent annually.

The drop was worse at the higher end, with an 8 percent decline in sales over $10 million.

Things seem to be looking up, however.

According to the CIRE’s research, in Manhattan, the number of contracts signed for properties over $5 million were up by 28 percent in January and by 43 percent in February.

U.S. cities’ performance in hottest global markets

CIRE’s report also offers up its Luxury Thermometer rankings for the first time, which take both growth and demand into consideration to pinpoint the hottest real estate luxury markets:


1. Toronto

2. Victoria, British Columbia

3. San Francisco

4. Austin, Texas

5. Charleston, South Carolina

6. Auckland

7. Paris

8. Portland, Oregon

9. Sydney

10. San Diego

Toronto claimed the top place with almost double the number of million-dollar-plus sales recorded than the previous year, followed by Victoria, British Columbia.  San Francisco came in third and, making it to the Luxury Thermometer for the first time, Austin, Texas, ranked fourth; followed by Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston is benefiting from a buoyant local economy and an influx of millennial buyers at the entry-level luxury price point, with strong growth in sales and prices in 2016, the report said.

Portland, Oregon, was ranked no. 8, and San Diego earned a spot at no. 10 for the first time.

Portland Oregon




Thank you to Inman.com for the article:  http://www.inman.com/2017/05/16/the-top-10-hottest-luxury-real-estate-markets-in-the-world/?utm_source=inbrief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inbrief&utm_content=20170516%2BNTHSMI%2Bimage%2B1


WASHINGTON (March 30, 2017) — On September 30, just six months from today, the National Flood Insurance Program will expire. The National Association of Realtors® is working closely(link is external) with federal regulators and members of Congress to strengthen the program(link is external) and clear the way for a private market to take hold; NAR has also issued a series of principles(link is external) to improve access and affordability for consumers.

But Realtors® warn the program’s September 30 reauthorization deadline is a threat to consumers.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, believes that expiration would deal significant damage to current policy-holding property owners, as well as threaten property sales and the broader housing market.

Brown said that Realtors® see the NFIP’s importance every day in their lives and in their business and made the following statement:

“When the NFIP expired in 2010, over 1,300 home sales were disrupted every day as a result. That’s over 40,000 every month. Flood insurance is required for a mortgage in the 100-year floodplain, but without access to the NFIP, buyers simply couldn’t get a mortgage or vital protection from the No. 1 cause of loss of property and life: flooding.

“This problem affects far more than coastal communities, and prospective homeowners aren’t the only ones at risk. Policyholders in over 22,000 communities across the country depend on the NFIP to protect homes and businesses from torrential rain, swollen rivers and lakes, snowmelt, failing infrastructure, as well as storm surges and hurricanes. When that lifeline is cut off, the NFIP can’t issue new policies or renew existing residential or commercial policies that expire. That means current home and business owners may find their most important asset unprotected.

“Last year was the third largest claims payout year in NFIP’s history, costing more than $4 billion. While there were five billion-dollar floods, including Hurricane Matthew, four of the five were inland, and the largest single event was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in August, just one year out from the NFIP’s expiration date.

“The NFIP isn’t perfect, and reforms are needed. We will continue working closely with everyone involved to achieve those reforms.

“Good work has been done in Congress, at FEMA and elsewhere to clear the way for those efforts. We thank leaders on both sides of the aisle for all they’ve done up to this point. Now, it’s time for action. Congress has six months to do the right thing and pass a long-term reauthorization of the program. We’re hoping they do just that.”


Thank you to Ali Nayab
Finance of America Mortgage for this info!


Consumer confidence surged to a 16+-year high in March. Consumer optimism is supported by a strong labor market and a positive economic outlook.
The GDP increased 2.1% in the 4th quarter, signaling economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for more than 2/3rds of U.S. economic activity.
Some Fed members made comments this week supporting more than 3 rate hikes this year. The majority still favor a gradual approach to increases though.


Pending home sales rose 5.5% in February, a 2.6% increase year-over-year. Warm weather and potentially higher interest rates have been said to be the cause.
Home prices roared to the highest levels in nearly 3 years as demand remains strong. Tight inventory continues to be an issue, supporting increasing prices.
Warm winter weather also has led to a surge in new home construction. However, homebuilders are struggling to find enough workers to meet demand.


  1. Declutter– This is probably the most important tip on the list. This creates more visual space for potential buyers and also gives you a head start on packing. This includes eliminating extra furniture in rooms that feel overcrowded, organizing drawers and closets (buyers will open EVERYTHING), and clearing off kitchen & bathroom countertops.
  2. Clean, Clean, Clean!– Always make sure your home is clean before showings. This includes not cooking heavy foods that may turn off potential buyers. Who doesn’t love the smell of a clean home?
  3. Remove Personal Items– Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the house. By removing family photos, sports memorabilia, and graphic art, it will allow potential buyers to picture their belongings in the home. It also gives your family an extra level of safety by removing as much personal information as possible.
  4. Paint– A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color always makes an excellent return on your investment. This is one of the most cost-effective improvements that a homeowner can make.
  5. Landscaping– Freshly trim shrubs and plant a few colorful flowers for extra curb appeal. Since the front of the house is often what many buyers see first, you want to be sure that the curb appeal on your home is flawless. This also includes things such as power washing your deck.
  6. Maintenance– Fix all items that need repair. This includes servicing HVAC systems, changing air filters, replacing light bulbs, and fixing that leaky faucet. Don’t give buyers a reason not to purchase your home!
  7. Consult with a Professional Stager– Having your home staged to look appealing to buyers can absolutely make a difference, especially if your home is vacant.

If you would like a personal consultation on getting your home ready for market, please contact me!  I have a full book of concierge services to offer – gardeners, painters, stagers, housecleaners!

Thank you to :  Stephanie Rorrer, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Vienna Real Estate Specialist for this great summary!



The City Council will review five iterations of rent control which include mediation, mandatory lease, apartment inspections, just cause evictions, and rent control.

Please attend the meeting which starts at 6:00 tonight, March 21,  at city hall OR write notes/call our City Council members to voice an opinion.




Mayor and City Council Contact Information

Helene Schneider
(805) 564-5323
Jason Dominquez
Councilmember – District One
(805) 564-5324
Harwood “Bendy” White
Mayor Pro Tempore
(805) 564-5321
Randy Rowse
Ordinance Committee Chair
Councilmember – District Two
(805) 564-5325
Gregg Hart
Finance Committee Chair
(805) 564-5319
Cathy Murillo
Councilmember – District Three
(805) 564-5322
Frank Hotchkiss
(805) 564-5320
3 Steps to Prepare Your House for Sale
Looking to woo and win potential buyers? The little things make all the difference.
Editor’s note: Putting your home on the market is no small decision. And listing before you’re really ready can hurt your chances of selling your home for its full worth. This week we’re giving you a headstart on prime selling season with plenty of tips and advice for preparing your home to hit the market ready for a successful sale.
Planning to sell your house this year? Don’t be overwhelmed by all the details involved in preparing it to go on the market. Set aside a couple of weekends to do the work, and follow these three simple steps. Then, be ready to make a great impression on potential buyers and cinch the deal.
Step 1: Clean and declutter
It may sound obvious, but the importance of cleaning and decluttering cannot be overstated. Here are some ideas to make this process nearly painless.
*Get rid of clutter before cleaning. This is the time to purge your house of unwanted and unnecessary items. In addition to donating items to charity, you might consider giving them away through Craigslist or neighborhood sharing groups. Recyclers are often willing to pick up and haul away large metal items for free. The goal is to make your house a clean slate before you get down to cleaning.
*Deep clean your house. This step will probably involve the biggest time investment. Get the whole family involved if you can! Think of this as a pumped-up spring cleaning. Pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms, and clean the inside and outside of your windows – this makes a striking improvement in the overall appearance of your house.
*Organize closets, cabinets, and drawers. In this case, out of sight is not out of mind. Many potential buyers will open cabinets and closets, because they are thinking about storage space. If your storage areas are clean and organized, it will send a signal to buyers that you take care of the house.
Step 2: Make DIY repairs
Take care of these problems before you show the house for the first time. These are all fixes that you can do yourself.
*Fix any leaking faucets and running toilets.
*Replace caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks.
*Repair walls and repaint them in a neutral, generally pleasing color that complements your home.
*Fix cracked or broken windows.
*Replace or repair damaged window screens.
*Replace burned-out light bulbs.
Step 3: Go for curb appeal
First impressions are a big deal. You want potential buyers to be charmed by the outside of your house so they look forward to coming inside. Extend your pumped-up spring cleaning to the outside of your house, too.
*Trim bushes, shrubs, and trees. Make sure vegetation isn’t touching your roof or siding.
*Repair broken downspouts and gutters.
*If it’s appropriate for your yard, apply new mulch, river rock, and/or pea gravel. This can do wonders for your landscaping and provide immediate curb appeal.
*Clean and repair concrete areas, such as driveways and walkways. Be sure to eliminate any oil or grease stains, and clean out any weeds coming up through the cracks.
*Dress things up a little bit. If it’s seasonally appropriate, put out some pots of annuals, which will maintain their color for the season. Freshen up your doorstep with a new welcome mat. Make sure the house numbers are easy to see, and in a style that complements your home.
With just a moderate amount of effort, you can make your house beautiful and welcoming, both inside and out.
Thank you to :

By Jane Drill and Zillow for this article.

Just Sold, with multiple offers,  March 1, 2017 for $550,000.

This is a beautifully updated 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath Villas West condo conveniently located near Calle Real shopping, Kellogg Elementary school, bus lines and more.

Upgraded recently, this sunny, single level condo features bamboo floors, ‘never been used’ stainless steel appliances, low flow toilets, vaulted ceilings.  The entrance is at ground level with access from both the carport and an exterior door.

Upgraded recently, this sunny, single level condo features bamboo floors, ‘never been used’ stainless steel appliances, low flow toilets, vaulted ceilings.  The entrance is at ground level with access from both the carport and an exterior door.

This popular HOA  includes water, hot water,  pool and clubhouse.


Property Listed by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Patrice Rossi and Lisa Walters!  Escrow with Janice Bowie at Chicago Title!  Great team!

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.


Although markets were closed on Monday for Presidents’ Day, stocks once again hit new highs this week as traders expect the economy to continue improving.
Unemployment filings continue to reflect labor market strength. Although up slightly this week, jobless claims have the lowest 4-week average since 1973.
The minutes from last month’s FOMC meeting show the Fed could be looking to raise policy rates soon. The decision will depend on data for jobs and inflation.



Existing home sales surged to a 10-year high in January. Demand remains strong as buyers shrug off increasing prices and higher mortgage rates.
A survey of 30 analysts by Reuters predicts home prices will rise at almost double the current rate of underlying inflation and wages over the next few years.
Small investors buying homes to flip or rent remain a strong part of the market. Last year, 37% of homes sold were acquired by buyers who didn’t live in them.

Thanks to Ali Nayib for these graphics:    Ali Nayab
Finance of America Mortgage
VP of Sales
NMLS #276327
(619) 209-7201