What Are The Top Reasons to Own a Home?

The Top Benefit of Owning a Home is Equity

One of the benefits of homeownership is that it is a “forced savings plan.” Here’s how it works: You make a mortgage payment each month. Part of that payment is applied to the principal balance of your mortgage. Each month you owe less on the home. The difference between the value of the home and what you owe is called equity.

If your home has appreciated since the time you purchased it, that increase in value also raises your equity. Over time, the equity in your home could be substantial. Recently, CoreLogic revealed that the average homeowner gained more than $65,000 in equity over the last 5 years.

Unlike last decade, homeowners are no longer foolishly tapping into that equity. In 2006-2008, many owners used their homes like an ATM by pulling equity out to purchase new cars, jet skis, or lavish vacations. They were pulling out cash (equity) from an appreciating asset, and then spending it on rapidly depreciating items. That is not happening anymore.

Over 50% of Homes Have at Least 50% Equity

The number of homeowners that currently have at least 50% equity in their home is astonishing. According to the Urban Institute, 37.1% of all homes in the country are mortgage-free. In a home equity study, ATTOM Data Solutions revealed that of the 62.9% of homes with a mortgage, 25.6% have at least 50% equity. That number has been increasing over the last five years:Benefits of owning a homeBy doing a little math, we can see that 53.2% of all homes in this country have at least 50% equity right now. Of all homes, 37.1% are mortgage-free and an additional 16.1% with a mortgage have at least 50% equity.

These three strategies reduce your mortgage principal, granting you an equity boost in your home.

1. Maximize your down payment – Low down payment options make homeownership accessible for many families who can’t afford 20% down. But just because you’re approved for a 3% down payment loan doesn’t mean you can’t put down 5%, 10%, or 15%. A larger down payment helps you build equity faster and could end up saving you thousands of dollars in interest over the course of your mortgage.

2. Take out a shorter mortgage – Most homeowners choose a 30 year mortgage to keep their monthly payments low. However, you’ll typically pay less interest and gain equity more quickly with a 15 year mortgage, making it a better overall investment. Also, just like the down payment, if you can’t go from a 30 year all the way down to a 15 year term, try 20 or 25 years instead.

3. Prepay your mortgage – A lot can happen over the course of a 15 or 30 year mortgage. When your family earns raises or promotions that increase your income, funnel that money into your mortgage payments. Any extra money you put towards your home can go directly into your principal payment and reduce the overall interest you pay on your home. It will also lower the debt on your credit report and help build equity in your home.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is different than renting. When you own, your housing expense (the mortgage payment) comes back to you in the form of equity in your home. That doesn’t happen with your rent payment. Your rent helps build your landlord’s equity instead.

If you are wondering “How Much is My Home Worth” you can check your home’s value here: https://www.greatersandiegoareahomes.com/evaluation, or reach out to us today for a comprehensive market analysis.

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com

What Home Buyers Need to Know About HOAs

When searching for a home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.

According to a recent article on realtor.com,

“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”

An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),

“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you’ll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”

It’s important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different, and they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required for homeowners. These fees can vary based on the property size, the number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.

The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.

The same article continues to say,

“After your offer to buy a home is accepted, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community’s CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can’t live with, you can bring it up with the HOA board or just back out of your contract completely (and keep your deposit).”

Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.

There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.

What Home Buyers Need to Know About HOAs

Bottom Line

When you’re looking at a potential property to buy, let’s get together so you have a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. This way, you’ll feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com

Just Listed! 2518 Via Pisa, Del Mar CA 92014

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2518 Via Pisa, Del Mar CA 92014 – Del Mar Home for Sale

Listed by Glen Henderson – San Diego Realtor – View the full details at www.2518ViaPisa.com or call today for a tour 619-500-3222. Premier Homes Team – www.MyPremierHomes.com

Just Listed! 15914 Sequan Truck Trail, Alpine

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15914 Sequan Truck Trail, Alpine – Home for Sale in Alpine CA

Listed by Glen Henderson – San Diego Realtor – View the full details at www.15914Sequan.com or call today for a tour 619-500-3222. Premier Homes Team – www.MyPremierHomes.com

Just Listed! 540 Palomar Avenue, La Jolla

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540 Palomar Avenue, La Jolla – La Jolla Home for Sale – Glen Henderson

Listed by Glen Henderson – San Diego Realtor – View the full details at www.540Palomar.com or call today for a tour 619-500-3222. Premier Homes Team – www.MyPremierHomes.com

Should I Stage My Home When Selling?

Should I Stage My Home?

There are so many decisions that need to be made when selling your home. You have to decide when to sell it, who to hire to sell it, what price to set, and on and on. Part of what makes selling inherently stressful is the ongoing decision making required.

Another question that might need to be answered is: “Should I stage your home, or sell it empty?”

Like so many real estate questions, the answer to this one is, “It depends.” Comforting, right?

The reason why there is not necessarily a clear answer here is that there are benefits and drawbacks that come with each option. Which one you ultimately choose will need to be based on your own preferences. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and go from there. Selling a home empty vs. occupied has it’s positives and negatives as well.

What is Staging a Home?

Before you can even start to make a decision, it will be helpful to know what a staged home is in the first place.

If you have ever walked through an open house or a home for sale and seen a perfectly designed interior, with everything placed just so, you may have witnessed a staged home. 

A staged home is one that is filled with things to make it more appealing to potential buyers. There are professionals who specialize in staging homes for sale. They may bring in furniture, appliances, paintings, curtains—everything needed to create a particular look. Once they are finished, the home appears to be lived in. Many sellers feel this look is preferable to a big empty house.

Staging a home has become quite popular with builders across the country. They will have a “model home” which is used to showcase their options and craftsmanship. Staging puts the frosting on the cake by making the house feel like a home.

For some buyers, staging can help them conceptualize better how they will plan out their own furniture. For the average homeowner, professional staging may not be necessary. If you live in a gorgeous home to start with staging will make a negligible difference.

What’s important is that your home is prepared for the sale. An effort should be made to have it looking it’s best before the for sale sign hits the lawn. The prior reference has some simple staging tips to help your place looking acceptable.

Some Highlights:

    • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Profile of Home Staging.
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    • 62% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market.
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    • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
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    • The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.

Final Thoughts

There are many decisions that need to be made when selling a home. Some sellers will need to decide whether to sell their home empty or staged. We look at all factors to help our sellers make the best decision.  We also work together with San Diego’s top staging company. They provide excellent service and have the best prices in all of Southern California.  If you have questions about staging or selling your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.  

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com

4 Tips for Making a Competitive Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call ‘home,’ and you’ve finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Below are 4 steps provided by Freddie Mac to help buyers make offers, along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Determine Your Price

“You’ve found the perfect home and you’re ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair.”

Based on your agent’s experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood or the condition of the house and what you can afford), your agent will help you to determine the offer that you are going to present.

Getting pre-approved will not only show home-sellers that you are serious about buying, but it will also allow you to make your offer with confidence because you’ll know that you have already been approved for a mortgage in that amount.

2. Submit an Offer

“Once you’ve determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller’s real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways in which you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! A licensed real estate agent who is active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer.

3. Negotiate the Offer

“Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.

Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller or even cancel the contract altogether.

4. Act Fast

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in his or her market on your side is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dream of homeownership a reality!

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership in 2019

When we consider buying an item, we naturally go through a research process prior to making our decision. We ask our friends and family members who have made similar purchases about their experience, we get opinions and insights, and we read reviews online. There’s no difference when considering a home purchase!

Most home buyers start by listening to the news to hear what is being said about the real estate market. They check with family and friends about their experience. They spend time online reading reviews about their desired neighborhood. All are wondering where home prices are headed in 2019.

The challenge is that comments from the news and those closest to us can contradict the data and reports. One source says one thing, while another source says something completely different.

There is a group of homebuyers that are not allowing comments about an upcoming recession to interfere with their decision to buy a home. According to a survey by realtor.com®,

Nearly 70 percent of home shoppers this spring think the U.S. will enter a recession in the next three years, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to close on a home…Despite the fact that they foresee an economic downturn, they generally expressed confidence that a future recession will be better than 2008 for the housing market.”

The report provides more insights from the survey:

    • Nearly 30% of the active home shoppers* surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020.
    • 56% of shoppers believe home prices have hit their peak.
    • 41% believe housing will fare better than in 2008.
    • 45% of home shoppers feel at least slightly more optimistic about homeownership.
    • 33% reported no impact on their feelings about homeownership.

Homebuyers are aware and making decisions with their eyes wide-open. As the report mentioned,

“The fact that some [36%] home shoppers expect the next recession to be harder on the housing market than the last recession suggests that they are buying homes with eyes wide-open and very sober, if not slightly pessimistic, views of the housing market.

This is a stark contrast to the years leading up to the last recession when ‘irrational exuberance’ was more common and yet another reason to expect that the next downturn will be very different for the housing market than the last.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering buying a home, let’s get together to help you understand our local market and determine if buying a home is the right choice for you now.

*Active home shoppers are those consumers who responded that they plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less.

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com

Lower Interest Rates Helping First Time Buyers in 2019

Economic gurus got one part of the mortgage forecast for 2019 correct. We’re certainly seeing a volatile year for rates.

What they didn’t see coming: Mortgage rates tumbled in March, the biggest one-week fall in a decade.

Now—instead of seeing mortgage rates edge closer to 5.25 percent, as some had predicted we’d see in 2019—we’re looking at an average 30-year rate near 4 percent.

The rate drop comes just in time for the spring home-buying season and will make monthly payments less expensive.

“This drop in rates is going to give the housing market a boost. It could help to make people come back into the market and consider buying a home.”


Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets for Quicken Loans.

Mortgage rates have fallen by a full percentage point since late 2018. Going back four months or so, most forecasts weren’t expecting mortgage rates to drop as low as 4 percent for borrowers, Banfield says.

“This is a surprise to a lot of people,” Banfield says.

The average 30-year rate was 4.1 percent as of late March, the lowest rate since Jan. 2018, according to Bankrate.com data. But rates started to rebound a bit upward in early April. The average 30-year rate went back to 4.29 percent as of April 3, according to Bankrate.com.

By contrast, the average mortgage rate was 5.1 percent as recently as mid-November, which was a seven-year high, according to Bankrate.com. The average was hovering around 4.75 percent as 2018 drew to a close.

We’re talking about some real money here for homebuyers. Take a $200,000 mortgage. The mortgage payment for principal and interest would drop by about $120 a month if your rate is 4.1 percent instead of 5.1 percent on a 30-year mortgage, according to Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

For the mortgage alone, the payment would be about $966 month at the 4.1 percent rate. It’s sort of like getting more than one month free each year.

For a homebuyer who was priced out of the market last spring, the lower rates could help get them back in the game.

Being able to lock in a 30-year fixed rate near, or even below, 4 percent helps put some “wind in the sails of homebuyers from an affordability standpoint,” McBride says.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage remains the dominant loan for middle-class borrowers, particularly first-time homebuyers.

“This is a very attractive rate, which will lift the key spring home selling season.”


Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

How attractive? Well, it’s just a notch above the record low of 3.5 percent in late 2012. And if you go back 30 years, homebuyers were looking at an average 30-year rate of 11.13 percent in early April 1989, according to Bankrate.com’s data.

To be sure, many younger consumers cannot afford some of the homes on the market now, as prices keep going up in some markets. For-sale signs aren’t flooding the landscape, so the lack of available homes remains a problem. In some cases, too many buyers continue to be chasing too few sellers.

Lower interest rates would make payments more affordable and offset some high prices. But the drop in mortgage rates won’t solve all problems.

“It is not going to take a first-time buyer from a small home to a big home, but it does definitely have a small effect on purchasing power.”


Tim Gilson, associate broker for Keller Williams Domain and the Gilson Home Group in Birmingham, Mich.

But given the competitive nature for some well-priced homes, Gilson says younger buyers may still want to consider the benefits of having a good down payment.

“Cash on hand is the element that will put a buyer in a better position,” he says.

Here are some points to consider if you’re shopping for a mortgage.

Research First-Time Buyer Programs

“Virtually all banks (and some non-banks) have some form of first-time homebuyer programs.”


Keith Gumbinger, vice president for HSH.com.

You might be able to get some sort of subsidy on a down payment, perhaps a reduction on closing costs. Or maybe some lenders offer a mortgage to first-homebuyers through a relaxed credit score or some more wiggle room relating to how much debt you’re carrying relative to your income.

Quicken Loans, for example, notes that you may be able to qualify with a median FICO score of 580 or higher for a Federal Housing Administration loan to get a home or to refinance an existing loan.

Gumbinger says an FHA loan is a favorite of first-time homebuyers, as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does not use risk-based pricing. In some cases, first-time buyers can find programs that offer a mortgage with down payments for 3 percent or 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

“Some of these changes reflect the reality that first-time homebuyers find it challenging to find an attractively-priced home. A smaller down payment can mean a larger mortgage and higher monthly payments. Many of these programs look to soften that impact,” Gumbinger says.

Flagstar Bank, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, rolled out its Destination Home product in March, which offers the option for a zero-down, 30-year fixed mortgage to consumers who have credit scores of 600 or higher and meet other criteria. There’s no private mortgage insurance involved.

To qualify, the borrower or the property must meet some low to moderate income guidelines. The mortgage can be made for a home in a low- to moderate-income census tract in markets where Flagstar has bank branches. Or a low- to moderate-income borrower can purchase in any tract, as long as it’s a county where Flagstar has a banking presence. The maximum loan amount varies by state. The rate on the Destination Home product will vary based on the market. Recently, the annual percentage rate was 4.756 percent.

“We’re seeing a robust start to the spring with this product,” says Beverly Meek, first vice president and Community Reinvestment Act director for Flagstar.

Flagstar also has a gift program that offers up to $2,500 in certain markets. That gift program can help a buyer overcome the hurdle of a down payment or closing costs, depending on the loan product and other factors.

Consumers need to understand that many different homebuyer programs exist and will vary by bank and non-bank, as well as by state, Gumbinger notes. HSH.com lists a variety of state-backed homebuyer programs.

It makes sense to shop around and talk to different lenders about the mortgage options that might be available to you. Look into options for locking in a low rate, too, in case interest rates shoot up unexpectedly.

A variety of options exist. Quicken Loans has a RateShield product where someone can lock their rate for up to 90 days. If rates dip by the time they commit to a home, the shopper would get that new lower rate. Unlike some other rate locks, Quicken says a purchase agreement is not needed to lock a rate with RateShield, so consumers can shop with more certainty.

Expect a Few More Hurdles

The Federal Housing Administration is toughening up its standards for mortgages made to homebuyers with small down payments, low credit scores and high levels of debt. More than 28 percent of mortgage approvals made in the first quarter of 2019 had a credit score of less than 640.

Lenders expect that there will be some tightening of credit, particularly for buyers at the margin who may be taking on riskier loans. Nearly 83 percent of FHA home-purchase loans made in January went to first-time homebuyers, according to FHA. Just under 40 percent went to minorities.

The tighter standards would impact those who have the weakest financial profiles—FICO scores under 640 with debt-to-income ratios above 50 percent.

Gumbinger notes that loans with the lowest credit scores tend to default at a much higher rate. He says lenders are afraid that if they issue too many loans that later fail, HUD will no longer allow them to write FHA-backed mortgages.

“The FHA change does mean greater scrutiny,” he says, noting that higher-risk applications would go through a manual underwriting process.

“It’s fair to say that some buyers won’t be able to get a loan until their financial profile improves a bit,” he says.

To be fair, a low credit score and high levels of debt going in significantly increases the risk of a loan failure. Consumers don’t want to end up dealing with the “emotionally difficult loss-of-home foreclosure process,” either, he says.

“Better to wait and try again at a later time to help improve the odds of success,” Gumbinger says.

The financial crisis—and housing market crash in 2008—led to greater disclosures for consumers and more scrutiny.

“While there are a number of low-down payment, and even some no-down payment, loan options in the marketplace,” McBride says, “do not confuse this with the wild, wild West days of 2004-2006 when exotic and creative mortgage products got mainstream homebuyers into trouble.”

Step Back and Do More Research

If your budget is tight or your credit isn’t great, it may be best to start out talking with a HUD-approved housing counselor. See www.hud.gov.

Beth Martinez, who works on financial and homeownership education for the Michigan State University Extension in Detroit, says a HUD housing counselor can help a consumer improve a credit score over time by identifying trouble spots. There may be ways to spot errors and figure out ways to reduce or eliminate outstanding debt.

“It can take from a few months to two years to improve a credit score,” she says.

But it could help many entry-level buyers and others get a mortgage.

“Improving a credit score improves the chances of being approved for a mortgage loan and can lower the interest rate that the consumer qualifies for,” Martinez says.

©2019 Detroit Free Press
Visit Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

2 Trends Helping to Keep Housing More Affordable

Two positive trends have started to emerge that impact the 2019 Spring Housing Market. Mortgage interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate loan have dropped to new lows, right as reports show that wages have increased at their highest rate in decades!

These two factors have helped keep housing affordable despite low supply of houses for sale driving up prices. First American’s Chief Economist, Mark Fleming, explains the impact,

“Ongoing supply shortages remain the main driver of the performance gap as the housing market continues to face an inventory impasse – you can’t buy what’s not for sale.

 However, an unexpected affordability surge, driven primarily by lower-than-anticipated mortgage rates, rising wages and favorable demographics, has boosted housing demand.”

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for most of 2018 before reaching their peak in November at 4.94%. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates last week came in at 4.20%.

Average hourly earnings grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in March, up substantially from the 2.3% average pace seen over the last 10 years.

These two factors contributed nearly $6,000 worth of additional house-buying power for median households from February to March 2019, according to First American’s research. Fleming is positive about the prolonged impact of lower rates and higher wages.

“We expect rising wages and lower mortgage rates to continue through the spring, boosting housing demand and spurring home sales.”

Bottom Line

Low mortgage interest rates have kept housing affordable throughout the country. If you plan on purchasing a home this year, act now while rates are still low!

 

Brought to you by San Diego Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker, Glen Henderson.  Glen has been a San Diego Realtor for over 16 years and has been involved in over 1,000 home sales throughout San Diego County.  Contact him today with any questions at 619-500-3222 or visit Premier Homes at www.MyPremierHomes.com

If you would like to Search Houses for Sale in San Diego, visit www.GreaterSanDiegoAreaHomes.com