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Best Family-Friendly Activities In San Diego

Posted By Mclain

San Diego is one of the best places in the world for families. With great schools, near-perfect weather year-round, and ample activities, parents will always find fun ways to keep their children engaged. Whether you’re moving to San Diego, currently live in San Diego, or are just visiting, there’s always something to fill your calendar. Here are some of the best family-friendly activities in San Diego:

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San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is synonymous with San Diego, and it’s a great place for all ages. Every year, the San Diego Zoo schedule is chock full of activities geared towards children. For example, the KinderZoo program is for children between 3 and 5, and it allows adult members to take the children for a special visit through the zoo before it officially opens for the day. This way, they aren’t overwhelmed by the crowd and get a more personalized visit.

 

With Zoo Corps, teens can talk to animal caretakers about what it’s like to work with the animals and gain better insight about the inner workings of zoo life. Animal photography workshops, early morning panda experiences, and plenty of other programs and activities ensure your children are never bored.

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SeaWorld

SeaWorld San Diego is a staple in the city. Spread out across nearly 200 acres, SeaWorld is chock full of educational programs, amazing marine life and aquariums, interactive exhibits, and beautiful scenery. Every step you take at SeaWorld has been carefully thought out. Upon entry, experience the interactive Explorer’s Reef—a true underwater adventure where children can touch harmless sea animals. The Ocean Explorer section caters to young children with simple rides and fun animal encounter exhibits. For older children, don’t fret: there are roller coaster rides suited to them, too. To truly round out your SeaWorld experience, visit their website to learn more about current attractions and special exhibits. This way, you can create a schedule and map out your journey through the park.

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LegoLand

LegoLand is one of the most popular San Diego attractions. The resort is expansive, and consists of a water park, aquariums, and hotel options. Visitors can even bring mini lego figurines to trade with members of the staff. There are plenty of rides and attractions to keep your little ones thoroughly entertained. Over in the Adventure’s Club, take your young ones on a lego journey through ancient Egypt, the Amazon rainforest, and the Arctic circle. On Explorer Island, let your children assume the paleontologist role dig up “dinosaur bones” from the sand.

No matter what your child likes to do, there’s something at LegoLand for them.

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Seaport Village

Seaport Village is a 14-acre waterfront complex near the San Diego Bay. Everything you could possibly need, you’ll find here. This includes four fine dining restaurants along the waterfront and 13 casual eateries. If you want to shop, there’s plenty of that, from a shop devoted entirely to magnets of all shapes and sizes to another shop dedicated exclusively to socks. And there are plenty of events, too—particularly over the summer. Live music Sundays bring together popular local musicians. Get them an ice cream cone overlooking some of the most amazing views in the city. And don’t forget to let them ride on the historic carousel built in 1895.

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San Diego Model Railroad Museum

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is currently the largest operating model railroad exhibition in the world. This unique museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of railroading through a series of unique, expansive displays. The miniature world of trains is a pleasant sight to see, and does a great job of showing the art of model railroading and educating visitors on the history of railroads in California.

 

The Toy Train Gallery is a special section for children, and features an interactive layout with state-of-the-art lighting. Museum volunteers are readily available to answer any questions you have about the space, or about the stories behind the railroad display. There’s also a small garden, cafe, and photographic museum in the same building.

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The New Children’s Museum

The New Children’s Museum is all about inspiring children to play, be creative, and have fun learning. Art is the foundation that this space is built upon. Full scale art installations are available for kids to explore. In the Sandbox Gallery, your kids will get a multi-sensory experience where they can play in the sandbox. The Work of Sound is an immersive attraction, built like a treehouse for kids to explore. They can wander through passageways, discovering hidden corners and games. This is an adventure wonderland that your kids will love.

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Coronado Island

Coronado Island is situated in the heart of the San Diego Bay, and has a little something to offer everyone. The golden Coronado Beach has won multiple awards, and with mild waves, it’s perfect for family fun. Over at the Hotel Del Coronado, you can explore the tide pools during low tide tides. There’s also a sunken ship, plenty of ice cream shops, biking stations, paddleboard rentals, and so much more. This is the perfect place to enjoy a nice summer day.

 

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Summer Movies in the Park

Summer Movies in the Park is a great opportunity for you to lay back in the grass and watch fun, family-friendly movies during a night under the stars. Check the website for an up-to-date movie calendar. This summer, expect movies like “Ralph Breaks Into the Internet,” “Jumanji,” “The Sandlot,” and much more. There are different locations throughout the city, each playing a new movie. Don’t forget your chairs, blankets, and picnic materials!

 

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Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center has plenty of activities for children—and you’ll enjoy them, too. There’s no other place in the city that gets kids more interested in science in a fun and unique way. In the Tinker Lab, kids can put together all types of creations that they dream up, with dozens of fun materials at their disposal—learning a little about mechanics and engineering in the process.

 

There are over 100 interactive exhibits, including an IMAX film adventure that takes children around the world. In Kid City, children can explore some of the most interesting scientific concepts in unique, unforgettable ways. The Cellular Journey exhibit allows kids to explore human cell biology using virtual reality fly-throughs. Check out the website to map out your favorite exhibits.

How to Get Your San Diego Home Off the Market Fast

Posted By Mclain

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San Diego is a great place to be selling a home. There are countless things to love about this area: from near-perfect weather year-round to sprawling wineries and innovative craft breweries to the beaches and nature that spread from neighborhood to neighborhood. With so many great attributes, consider the market on your side: what’s not to love about purchasing a San Diego home? However, if you want to get your home off the market fast, there are several steps you can take to ensure it happens. Here are a few ideas:

 

Put Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes

One of the first things you should do if you want to get your home of the San Diego real estate market fast is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Of course, this might seem easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. This means thinking about what they want; many buyers want a home that’s ready to move in out-the-box. They simply don’t have the time or money to spend thousands of extra dollars or several weeks at their disposal.

 

There’s a bit of psychology involved at this point. If you pay attention to retail buyer psychology, you’ll notice that there are some key points that can be applied to the real estate market, too. For example, today’s consumers react to the “free shipping” perk strongly. If a product were listed as $10, and shipping was an additional $4.99, that product would be less attractive than a product that was $14.99 and included free shipping.

 

As you can see, the same psychology can be applied to the real estate market. It doesn’t take much to make small renovations to your home in order to appease the buyer mentality. Not only will this make your home more attractive to buyers, but will give them that “free shipping” feeling—knowing that little to nothing needs to be done when the purchase is made gives many buyers a sense of relief.

 

Historical Designations

San Diego is chock full of historically designated homes; it has more than 1,000 properties dedicated as a historical landmark. Some have even been recognized on a federal level with a  National Historic Landmark designation. If your home has one of these special designations, use it to your advantage. If this is your case, highlight it in your listings, and make it a standout feature during showings. Designations have major property tax reductions, and this is something new homeowners would be happy to hear.

 

Leverage Marketing Power

Marketing helps generate buzz around your property, and gets people coming into your home for a viewing. And to really help your house stand out, you can sprinkle a bit of guerilla marketing into your strategy. The fact is, many people simply put their listing up and hope it will do all the work for them. They adopt the “if you build it, they will come” approach. But in reality, if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you should go the extra mile to attract them. There are plenty of ways to do this.

 

For starters, why not create a drone video of your property? A drone can showcase the beauty of your land in a complete picture—something standard photos fail to do. And your drone video can do much more than showcase the home: it can showcase the neighborhood and nearby attractions, too. For example, if your house is located near the beach, a drone can beautifully demonstrate that proximity, immersing the viewer in the area and giving them an up-close look at what it would be like to live there.

 

A real estate agent will help come up with marketing ideas that have proven results, but there are some wildly creative ideas that just might work for you and add a layer of uniqueness to the sale. One couple allowed interested buyers to move into their home for the weekend, giving them a firsthand idea of what it’s like to live in the area and in the home. Mere weeks later, the couple ended up receiving an offer from the family who trialed. Other unique ideas include:

 

  • Leverage influencer marketing
  • Consider unique open house ideas
  • Host community events
  • Connect with local businesses and post flyers
  • Send beautifully designed postcards to target buyers

 

Understand Today’s Buyers Climate

Putting your home on the market might be a smart idea given the current buyer’s climate: now more than ever, potential buyers are willing to make an offer. For many years, San Diego has been a traditionally difficult market to penetrate. But real estate research marketing company, CoreLogic, learned that there was an 11% dip in home purchases.

 

“It’s a good time to get in there,” Mark Goldman, a San Diego loan officer, told Channel 10 San Diego. “There’s more of a selection of homes to purchase, and there’s probably sellers who are more willing to consider offers maybe a little bit below their list price, and so forth.”

 

According to him, in the current climate, buyers aren’t forced into putting down a huge down-payment, creating a more comfortable environment for them to make offers. And overall, Southern California has seen a decent enough drop in home prices to accommodate buyers without compromising sellers.

 

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

To get your home off the market fast, a real estate agent is necessary. Choosing the right real estate agent may take a while, but it’s worth the time and effort. Many sellers make the common mistake of simple searching Google for phrases like “best real estate agent” and run with whatever appears on the top pages of Google. Your research should go beyond a standard Google search.

 

As a seller, you should speak to several agents and conduct an informal “interview” with them to better understand whether it’s a compatible fit. Your goal here is to determine whether the agent has sufficient experience in the real estate market. Many real estate agents have extensive knowledge particular San Diego neighborhoods, too, or with dealing with specific types of homes (such as those with a historic designation). As you speak to them over the course of a couple weeks, you’ll also learn more about their communication style and how it aligns with yours.

 

Here at McClain, we’re well-versed on all things San Diego, and enjoy working with locals to help get their homes on and off the market fast. If you’re buying or selling real estate in San Diego, contact us to see how we can help!

Q1 2019 Market Report in San Diego

Posted By Mclain

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San Diego’s market is currently doing fairly well. Last month, we published an article about how the city was finally shifting to a buyer’s market. While San Diego has been a historically difficult market to penetrate, private reports have found that there’s been an 11% dip in purchase prices.

The Q1 2019 Market Report in San Diego shows more promise for investors in the rental industry. Rental rates have increased slightly from $2.67per square foot to $2.69 per square foot.

During the first quarter of 2019, the office market was strong. According to the report, “A diverse employment base, combined with a well-educated population and a paucity of ground-up spec development, has set the San Diego office market on firm footing.”

The average vacancy rate lowered slightly, from 9.51% to 9.61%. Construction in San Diego has also lowered significantly. During Q1 2018, nearly 350,000 square-feet of office space was under construction, and nearly 220,000 square feet in deliverables. With limited spec construction and low vacancies, it’s ultimately helped San Diego’s rent growth for investors. Furthermore, occupation hovers near post-reception highs.

And lastly, according to the Institute for Supply Management, national industrial indicators include 119 consecutive months of overall economy growth, and 30 months of manufacturing employment growth.

At the end of Q1, vacancy in the county hovered around 5.1%, a 17-point basis increase from last quarter. Direct vacancy comprised 4.7% of inventory, and sublease vacancy was 0.4%. According to the research and forecast report from Colliers International, Campus Point/Eastgate (10.4%) and Carlsbad (10.1%) were the only submarkets with double-digit vacancy rates. The increase in Carlsbad’s vacancy was driven by new construction completed in Q1, while Campus Point/Eastgate’s vacancy was concentrated exclusively in life science and wet lab space.

Of the major market areas countywide, only North County had vacancy over 6%. This market will see its vacancy drop as new construction in Carlsbad and Oceanside continues to absorb over the next nine months of the year. East County was the tightest submarket with an overall vacancy of 1.7%.

San Diego Events Happening in May

Posted By Mclain

With the Spring in full bloom, May marks a time where bright colors take center stage with the beautiful backdrop of San Diego’s rolling hills and coastal views. Enjoy the start of the season by breathing in a field of fresh flowers, watching colorful butterflies dance around you, and feasting on the city’s most delicious tacos. Here are a few events in San Diego that you should know about this month:

The Flower Fields

Dates: May 1st – May 12th

Admission: $9 – $18

 

The hillsides North San Diego County transforms into a colorful blanket of flowers and fauna every Spring, producing one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are dominated by fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers. Get here while you can for a fabulous photo op—these flowers only bloom for 10 weeks every year, from March through May. To celebrate this burst of color, you can explore gardens, a greenhouse, an antique tractor wagon ride, and much more.

Butterfly Jungle

Date: March 23rd – May 12th

Admission: Free with Safari Park admission

 

Experience the magic of butterflies at the San Diego Zoo this month. The Butterfly Jungle is a special exhibition where butterfly species from all over the world fly free in a greenhouse surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors will be able to use the provided butterfly guide to determine which butterflies are near them. This fluttering barrage of color is the perfect ode to Spring.

San Diego County Fair

Starting this month, the 2019 San Diego County Fair is in full effect—and it will be “Ozsome.” This year, the theme is the classic tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Get your friends or family ready and skip down the yellow brick road towards some fantastical rides and themed vendors. Be sure to check out their event calendar for a lengthy list of great performing acts that will take place at the Fair throughout the summer. And lastly, don’t forget to take a panoramic photo of the Pacific Ocean while on the Ferris Wheel!

Ramona Rodeo

Date: May 17th-19th

Admission: $10 – $100

 

Get into Western moden at the Ramona Rodeo. Here, you’ll see some of the greatest cowboys around show off their moves, at one of the most hospitable ranches around. All the proceeds from this event go back into the non-profit Rodea Park. The event will be hosted at the Ramona Outdoor Community Center and features a 5,000-square-foot pavilion, an An Olympic-sized equestrian arena, and 4,000 stadium seats.

San Diego Magazine’s 2019 SWEAT presented by White

Date: May 18th

Admission: $45

 

Presented by White Claw Hard Seltzer, this is San Diego Magazine’s annual fitness event, SWEAT, and it’s the perfect time to break a sweat. The event brings together some of the most well-known fitness studios and healthy brands to leave several short fitness sessions throughout the day. There are several fitness workshops to choose from: yoga, recovery stretch, and barre, among others. After workouts, guests can visit the Live Well Lounge to enjoy shopping, drinks, and healthy brunch bites. You’ll also get the chance to meet emerging wellness brands, listen to live music, and collect swag bags. Go to their website to check out different classes being offered and purchase tickets.

 

SoCal Taco Fest

Date: May 18th

Admission: $25 – $125

 

Southern California is known for their delectable selection of Mexican cuisine, and the SoCal Taco Fest is the place to experience it. Over 25 restaurants will come to the Waterfront Park for San Diego’s biggest taco festival. While you feast on tacos, sip on drinks at the Milagro Cantina Margarita Tent and catch some entertainment with Lucha Libre wrestling.

 

The market is finally shifting to a buyer’s market

Posted By Mclain

Image source: The Crazy Tourist

Last year, a headline on a local San Diego news station read: “Making it in San Diego: Slowing Housing Market Could Create Buying Opportunity.” This was good news for both local and out-of-state potential movers. After all, San Diego has notoriously been a difficult market to penetrate for yearning buyers. However, a report from CoreLogic, a real estate tracking company, found that there was an 11% dip in homes being purchased. At the same time, the home appreciation rate slowed down 4.6% year over year.

“It’s a good time to get in there,” Mark Goldman, a San Diego loan officer, told Channel 10 San Diego. “There’s more of a selection of homes to purchase, and there’s probably sellers who are more willing to consider offers maybe a little bit below their list price, and so forth.” He also added that qualifying families who have just a few percent of the home’s value to put down have a much greater chance of getting an offer accepted in today’s market.

As a whole, Southern California has seen its biggest drop in home prices than in the previous three years, making this an ideal buyer’s market. With low interest rates and a waning housing market, it’s best for buyers to take action sooner rather than later.

A survey of over 200 business economists believe that there will be another recession by 2020—or by the end of 2021 at the latest. With a possible recession on the horizon, potential homeowners looking to make a move should consider their possibilities. When interest rates fall, affordability falls.

Many realtors believe that today’s marketing situation is similar to what was happening over in North California during 2004, when housing prices spiked before businesses became aware that they would have difficulty hiring out-of-staters.

Here’s how Alex Wang, a real estate agent in the Bay Area, described that period of time: “Homes were being sold at record pace in 2000 and between 2004 to 2006. The two recessions in the last 10 years pushed DOM to above two months, even up to three. Though desirable homes in good neighborhoods will always sell quickly, the housing bubble inflated everything, which resulted in a flood of overpriced homes during the crisis and pushed DOM upward.”

It can be difficult for people who aren’t familiar with real estate markets, trends, and data to make a decision about when to proceed with such a major life decision and huge financial transaction. A great real estate can lead you in the right direction. Here at McClain, our goal is to help you make the most informed and educated decision possible. We understand that this is a big deal—we’ve been in your shoes before, and have helped many other buyers discover what’s right for them, and when it’s right for them.

Now, if you’re an out-of-stater who doesn’t have much knowledge about what’s going on over here in San Diego, here are a few amazing reasons to consider transplanting:

The Amazing Weather

San Diego is known for its temperate weather year-round. On most days, you’ll be able to walk around with a light sweater. And in the summer, you can of course expect warmer weather. The average temperature for the year is around 63 degrees; if you plan on moving into this city’s it’s a great time to get rid of some of those heavy winter clothes and make some room in your closet.

Close Proximity to Mexico

If you’re someone who likes to travel or enjoys the idea of a quick family trip, then you’ll appreciate San Diego’s close proximity to Mexico. The nearest Mexican city is Tijuana, and it’s just a 30-minute ride away from San Diego. That means that within less than an hour, you can you can completely immerse yourself in a new culture. If you love wine, check out Valle de Guadalupe, the Napa Valley of this region, which produces 90% of the country’s wine.

There Are Plenty of Farmer’s Markets

San Diego is one of the best places in the world to live a healthy lifestyle. On any given day, there are plenty of farmer’s markets for you to enjoy. If you’re wondering why, consider this: San Diego has more small farms than anywhere else in the entire country.

Diverse Nature

Whether you like caves or beaches or mountains, there’s something for everyone. Prefer the bustling downtown scene or the scenic views of residential neighborhoods like La Jolla? The same applies for activities, too. Whether you like surfing, golfing, paragliding, sailing, hiking or biking, there’s ample opportunities to do all sorts of activities for you and your family.

Get In Shape

If you love an active, healthy lifestyle, San Diego is a place that makes it that much easier to have. This is easily one of the best places in the world to balance your physical and mental health, and spearhead a perfect work-life balance. From beautiful state parks to a myriad of hiking trails, parks, and beaches, there’s no shortage of opportunities to have fun and stay fit.

Craft Beer Scene

If you enjoy a nice, cold craft beer, San Diego is the town for you. The city is home to roughly 150 different breweries, each offering a variety of flavors from local and regional areas. Check out San Diego magazine’s list of top 10 breweries for inspiration on where to get started if you’re looking for a place to check out.

San Diego Events Happening In April

Posted By Mclain

April is a great time to be in San Diego. Whether you’re a San Diego native or happen to be visiting during this sunny Spring month, there’s no shortage of activities you can partake in. And that’s part of the great charm of what San Diego has to offer. There’s a reason why this is a city that charms everyone that visits. Here are a few amazing events happening in April that you won’t want to miss:

 

San Diego Crew Classic

Dates: April 6th & 7th

Admission: $12 – $15, students and children free

At the San Diego Crew Classic, you’ll find over thousands of athletes, gathered from more than 100 colleges and universities across the country. This competition is home to future Olympians, and it’s an event you definitely won’t want to miss. For many, this event is the highlight of their competitive rowing career. And this event isn’t just about rowing: it’s a great time for spectators to enjoy the competition while socializing, eating great local food, and sipping craft beers from some of San Diego’s best breweries. Rowing takes place on the beautiful shores of Mission Bay.

La Jolla Concours D’Elegance

Date: April 12th – April 14th

Admission: Prices range. $30 – $450

La Jolla Concours D’Elegance is a demonstration of the finest automobile gems. During previous years, the event has showcased vehicles like British marques, American sports cars, woodies, Italian marques, and even horseless carriages. Expect to find over 150 amazing restored vehicles, all lined up spectacularly against a Pacific Ocean backdrop. On the Concours lawn, guests will also be delighted by a vintage aviation show, featuring the finest restored aircrafts.

Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks

Date: Sunday, April 14th, 2019, 9am-5pm

Admission: Free

Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks is hosting its 40th annual event for San Diego sportfishing. The mission statement of the company of is that it hopes to help everyone learn more about the Port of San Diego and what it can offer. Fishing seminars will teach fishing enthusiasts to learn more about the “how tos” of fishing locally from industry experts and San Diego fleet experts.

There’s also a “Kids Fishing Adventure” event, aimed at kids between the ages of 4 and 12. Children will have a chance to wet a line and make a catch. A Cooking Center will show off demonstrations on how to properly handle, store, and cook fish. Lastly, expect $3 boat rides around the Bay for a day, a gourmet galley of food, and a fleet of boats.

Mission Federal ArtWalk

Date: April 27th & 28th

Admission: Free

This year will mark the 35th annual Mission Federal ArtWalk, taking place in the streets of Little Italy. Expect more than 300 artists, spanning across 17 blocks. Bringing in artists from around the world, you’ll find craftsmanship using various materials, interactive art installations, live music, and dance performances.

 

Every medium of art is covered here: photography, fine jewelry, glass work, sculptures, and much more. Artist & Craftsman Supply will host a special event where guests can join together to create an abstract painting using Jacquard alcohol inks, Ampersand panels, and POSCA acrylic paint markers. And there will be plenty of food trucks available for eating, too.

La Jolla Half Marathon & Shores 5K

Date: April 28th, 7am – 11am

Admission: Half marathon, $120; 5K, $50. Entry includes a technical fabric short sleeve shirt, half marathon and 5K finisher medals, complimentary Ballast Point beer in the beer garden, and several other perks.

There’s a reason why La Jolla translates to “crown jewel,” and you’ll get an up close and personal view to understanding why. The La Jolla Half Marathon is one of the most beautiful in the world, with picturesque views along a scenic coastal route. The race starts at Del Mar Fairgrounds, followed by a challenging climb towards the top of Torrey Pines State Park.

After you reach the Torrey Pines mesa, you’ll follow along the La Jolla Shores residential area, eventually finishing at the beautiful La Jolla Cave. Less experienced runners have the option of running a shorter route via a mostly-downhill trail, which still follows along most of the scenic route of the full marathon.

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival

Date: March 9th – April 28th. Check website for hours.

Admission: Free with SeaWorld admission.

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival celebrates the best craft beers from local breweries, as well as international cuisine made with fresh ingredients from local farms and vendors. Gourmet offerings come straight from Dave McHugh, SeaWorld San Diego’s Executive Chef. Expect over 50 mouthwatering food choices, which you can pair with different varieties of brews while watching live entertainment.

San Diego Earth Fair

Date: April 28th, 10am – 5pm

Admission: Free

The San Diego Earth Fair is an annual environmental fair held every year in Balboa Park. This year marks the event’s 30th official event, and every year, it attracts around 60,000 visitors. Expect a major food pavilion, a children’s activity area, several entertainment venues, special theme areas, and over 300 exhibitors. Each exhibitor represents a different environmental organization, from wildlife preservation groups to ecotourism companies.

The overarching goal: to help visitors learn more about how they can make small and big changes to preserve the integrity of the Earth. You’ll find extraordinary vegetarian cuisine at the Food Pavilion, dozens of artworks made from recycled and eco-friendly material at the eARTh Gallery, and an eHome exhibit area that shows you how you can use technology in the home to push the eco-conscious agenda.

Uncorked: San Diego

Dates: April 6th, 1pm – 5pm

Admission: Generation admission, $60; VIP admission, shorter lines with special pours from select wineries and an extra hour of tastings. All tickets include wine tasting.

This wine festival celebrates over 200 types of different wines from around the world. And that’s not all: at this event, you’ll find gourmet trucks, lawn games, a live DJ, and much more. Bring your own beach chairs and picnic blankets for the perfect scene to sip some global wines and eat great local cuisine.

Julian Gold Rush Days

Dates: April 6th & 7th

Admission: Free

Julian Gold Rush Days is the perfect celebration for family. The mission of the event is to help both visitors and residents alike better understand the history of San Diego and California and its relationship with the discovery of gold. The event takes place at The Julian Farm and Orchard in Wynola, an old fashioned mining camp. There are plenty of activities you’ll find here, including gold panning, hayriding, archery, and candle making.

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent In San Diego

Posted By Mclain

Main image source: The Balance Small Business

There are over 16,000 real estate agents in San Diego, and finding the right one is imperative. With so many real estate agents in the area, each are running their own marketing campaigns to attract new leads. They’re using online ads, direct mail postcards, and even putting on sponsored events. As a result, it can be difficult to cut through the noise to find someone that’s right for you.

The right real estate agent can help you quickly buy or sell your home. The wrong agent can hurt one of the most important transactions of your life. Although the stakes are high, many buyers and sellers don’t put careful enough consideration into the process. After all, real estate relationship isn’t all about sales. It’s also about customer service, management, and advisement. With that in mind, here’s how to choose the right real estate agent in San Diego:

Look Into Previous Clients

An agent’s previous client pool offers great insight into their expertise. A good agent is happy to provide you with details about people they’ve worked with. One area you want to focus on with past buyers is what the asking price was and what the selling price was. This gives you a ballpark understanding of how an agent handles negotiation in favor of the buyer. For homeowners who are selling, you’ll want to know more about the type of properties they’ve sold in the past. Ideally, you’d work with an agent who has sold homes that are similar in value and property type. If possible, you should contact previous clients to get some firsthand knowledge into what their personal experiences were like. Would they recommend the agent? What did they enjoy about their experiences? These are the things you’d want to know.

Take a Look at Current Listing

An agent’s current listings are a solid indicator of the type of homes they’re working with. Pay attention to how they present themselves on the Web, and how they market their listings. A listing that’s descriptive, has great photos, and is well thought out, clearly demonstrates that the agent puts thought and careful attention into their work.

Check Their License & Credentials

Once you’ve narrowed down your potential real estate agents, it’s time to look into their real estate records.

When conducting your research, you’ll also learn more about how experienced a particular agent is. Just like any other profession, there are several credentials available for real estate agents. When agents take specific classes in real estate sales, they receive designations in those areas. Here a list of several designations:

Certified Residential Specialist (CSR) has completed additional training to handle residential real estate

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) has underwent speciality training to be able to better assist senior buyers and sellers

Certified Commercial Investment Member is the gold standard in commercial and investment real estate

Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) is a group of certified professionals who can offer expert advice on property and land-related matters. This membership is by invitation only.

NAR’S Green Designation is a specialist that has underwent specific training to better understand green and eco-friendly features in the real estate market

Although you should always ask the agent directly, you can take further precaution by contacting the California State Licensing Authority to see how long a particular agent has been in business.

Ultimately, your goal is to work with an agent with verifiable knowledge about working with homes in a specific area and within a particular price range.

Interview Multiple Agents

You should speak to 2-3 different agents to get a better feel for which you’ll work better with. Your first meeting with an agent should feel like an easygoing counseling session. Although you’re there to interview your agent, your agent is also there to ease you into an otherwise complicated process. Here are a few ideas of questions you can ask your potential agent:

  • How long have you been working in real estate?
  • What’s your average list-price to sales-price ratio?
  • What is your ratio of buyers to sellers?
  • What San Diego neighborhoods do you specialize in covering?
  • What should I expect from you in terms of communication?
  • Do you have references I can contact?
  • If I’m asked to sign documents, can I review them ahead of time?

 

And just as you’re asking your potential agent questions, a good agent asks you some questions as well, and will explain how each question pertains to the real estate buying or selling process. If you start to feel more confused than when you arrived, it’s probably not a good fit.  Here are a few questions you can expect from your agent:

  • What does your dream home look like? What’s your budget?
  • What time frame are you looking at to buy or sell?
  • What expectations do you have for an agent?
  • Have you ever worked with a real estate agent before and if so, what was your experience like?

Of course, the questions they’ll ask depend on whether you’re buying or selling, and their questions should match your current scenario.

Keep in mind that although experience is important, there’s so much more to an agent than that. An agent’s experience shouldn’t be the end all, be all. You should also factor in comfortability and chemistry. Often, you’ll notice straight away when an agent doesn’t have the right chemistry with you, or when their initial meeting doesn’t make you feel comfortable.

It’s important to listen to your gut during this time. For example, perhaps they seem a little confrontational, brute, hurried, or unsure. These can all be turn-offs for anyone looking to buy or sell. No matter how great their resume is, you’ll be spending several weeks with your agent, and you should get along with them very well from beginning to end.

Watch Out for Red Flags

When you start working with real estate agents, there are several red flags to watch out for. Sometimes, an agent will look good on paper, but doesn’t perform nicely in person. For example, let’s assume you’re a buyer speaking to three different agents. You know that each agent is looking at the same data and trends, and is using that information to come up with the most accurate home value. If an agent prices too high, this is usually a red flag. Homes that are too high on the market take longer to sell, and this could indicate that the agent is greedy, unrealistic, or cannot accurately read the data.

Another red flag for sellers is if your agent charges you for a Comparative Marketing Analysis. The CMA compares your home to similar homes on the market that have sold over the previous few months to few years. A great agent considers this analysis a part of their real estate routine, and will do it for free.

Keep an eye out for signs of unprofessionalism. Showing up late or consistently canceling isn’t signs of a busy, sought after agent; it’s a sign of someone who cannot manage their time, doesn’t prioritize yours, and is putting too much on their plate in hopes of a bigger payout. Similarly, if you notice that you’re spending too much time communicating with their assistant, they’re probably too busy for you.

Ask About Other Real Estate Professional Services

Real estate agents who have worked in the field for quite some time have built relationships with other professionals in the real estate industry. They should have trusted connections with reputable vendors. This includes contractors, lenders, inspectors, and title companies. This way, you’re able to choose from several options when you require those third-party services. When they provide you with a list of these vendors, be sure to ask why they chose them.

If you notice the term “affiliated” on any the listed vendors, chances are the real estate brokerage receives a commission when those services are rendered. While this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, it could mean you’re paying an unnecessary premium. Look for transparency in your agent; they should be able to explain any affiliations without you having to pry.

Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About San Diego

Posted By Mclain

There’s plenty more to San Diego than the renowned San Diego Zoo and Comic Con. In this land of sea and sun, art, culture, and nature come together to entrance any visitor. Whether you’re a San Diego native or a first-time visitor, there’s so much about San Diego that’s bound to impress you. Still, there’s much more to this California city than meets the eye. Here are nine things you didn’t know about San Diego:

Image source: Shockingly Delicious

Biggest Producer of Avocados in the US

Ever wonder why so many California-inspired sandwiches have avocado? That’s because avocados are a big deal in San Diego—the city produces more avocados than any other place in the country. Singer Jason Mraz actually owns a 5.5 acre avocado farm in the city.

Fallbrook, an area just outside of the city, is the avocado capital of the world, and the Fallbrook Avocado Festival celebrates the local produce. There are also more farms in San Diego than any other city in the United States (roughly 7,000). A popular restaurant called Ponce’s is known for great tasting guacamole, so be sure to add it to your list.

Image source: Mintz Levin

It’s One of the Most Beautiful Cities in the World

San Diego is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Pete Wilson, former mayor of San Diego and governor of California, referred to San Diego as “America’s Most Finest State” and some consider it “birthplace” of the state. When you’re in this city, it’s evident why: from sprawling vineyards to great outcroppings and bluffs to beautiful beaches, there’s no shortage of beauty to see.

Image source: San Diego Airport

Busiest Airport in the Country

If you’re planning on visiting San Diego, you should probably know that San Diego has the busiest one-way airport in the country, and second in the world—right behind London Gatwick. Visitors should be prepared for a little congestion, but as you can tell from the influx of people visiting, it’s well worth it. Furthermore, despite the heavy traffic, San Diego is ranked as one of the top three airports in the country. The ranking was based on data from the Federal Aviation Administration and several other statistical groups. Security wait times, WiFi strength, and restaurants and retailer availability were strong suits.

Image source: NBC San Diego

There’s a Tony Hawk Day

San Diego is considered a “skater heaven.” Tony Hawk and Olympian Shaun White were both born here, and Tony Hawk still resides in the neighborhood of Encinitas. And city officials declared May 29th Tony Hawk Day. And it wasn’t just because of his skills on a skateboard; he’s also been heavily involved in local philanthropic work. The Tony Hawk Foundation has raised over $5 million to fix and build skate parks around the country.

“So to see skateboarding come so far and especially to see San Diego embrace it—I mean, this skate park has been here a really long time; it was one of the first public parks—it’s a testament to San Diego and the belief they have in our culture,” said Hawk said when he was presented with the city holiday.

Image source: Maritime Museum of San Diego

The Star of India Lives Here

San Diego is home to The Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship. This ship was built in 1863, has completed 21 circumnavigations around the world, and has survived potentially disastrous events, like running aground in Hawaii and getting stuck in the ice in Alaska. The Star also had a tough beginning with a harsh cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, and its first captain passed away at sea. Since then, it’s lived up pretty well. Some of its world voyages lasted up to a year. Today, it’s a California Historical Landmark and a United States National Historic Landmark. You can visit the ship at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, although it sails once per year, so be sure to check in with the museum to determine its availability.

Image source: Passport of San Diego

There Are Dozens of Ancient Egyptian Artifacts

The San Diego Museum of Man is home to the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, and arguably one of the most important collections in the world. For instance, there are only six painted coffins in the world, and one of them is at the Museum of Man. The Museum has been standing for over 100 years, and other Egyptian artifacts include figurines and burial masks. You’ll also find the Lemon Grove Mummy, which has an interesting story behind it. In 1966, two San Diego teenagers went over to Mexico in search of mummies and stumbled upon two that were hundreds of years old. They buried them in a friend’s garage, and the mummies weren’t found until a renovation was underway 14 years later. Upon discovery, the mummies were moved to the Museum of Man.

Image source: Broadway San Diego

Broadway Worthy Shows

When you think about musicals or Broadway, images of New York might come to mind. But San Diego is also home to many great shows. Two home theatres—La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe—have sent more shows to New York City than any other city in the country. According to the San Diego Tribune, stage insiders and producers know San Diego as “theatre town,” and this has regarded the city as one of the country.

Image source: Birch Aquarium

It’s Home to the Largest Oceanographic Museum

Although the San Diego Zoo gets all the attention, there’s another animal kingdom in the area. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the largest oceanographic museum in the USA, and it calls San Diego its home. There are more than 5,000 fish here across over 60 habitats. The UC San Diego aquarium sits perched on a bluff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, a node to the magical marine life that lives here.

Exhibits change from time to time, but there’s still plenty to see. For example, the Sea Dragon exhibit will unveil during summer 2019, and gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of different species of seahorses. There’s also a comic-book inspired oddities exhibit that reveals all the wild, weird, and crazy plants and animals that live in the water.

Image source: SanDiegoVille

You Can Pay For Really Bad Service

The city is home to Dick’s Last Resort bar and restaurant, where staff are as rude as possible to the visitors. This restaurant chain is known for hiring staff to be as obnoxious as possible. The restaurant decor is wacky, with picnic style tables, and each server has its own brand of bad experience.

Guests come here for great food and expect to be insulted and put in some pretty awkward situations. For instance, there are no napkins placed at the table, and when guests ask for them, servers throw the napkins in their direction. This is a pretty unique experience that you’ll have to be in the mood for, but it’s one you won’t forget!

9 Luxury Adventures You Can Have In San Diego

Posted By Mclain

Image Source: Visit California

San Diego is an amazing place for food, culture, and nature. And what’s especially great about it is that it’s a place that caters to all types of budget and activity preferences. No matter what you like to do, or how much money you’ve got in your pockets, there’s something for you in this sunny city.

If you want explore all the luxury that San Diego has to offer, you’re in luck. There are plenty of luxury adventures you can embark on. Whether you’re cruising along in exotics cars or getting chauffeured across California’s original wine country, you’ll never forget these incredible experience. Here are nine ideas to get you started:

Image source: La Jolla

Go On a Sunset Balloon Ride

Private sunset balloon rides give couples and groups beautiful 360-degree views over Del Mar, and even as far as Mexico. While there are a handful of viable balloon ride companies in the area, California Dreamin’ is one of the more well-known excursion companies. Their hot balloon experience has been profiled in Sunset magazine, thanks to jaw-dropping sunset views over the beautiful Southern California wine country that sprawls in all directions. Reach out to the company if you’re interested in celebrating a special occasion. For example, the company arranges a balloon-ride gourmet birthday cake for birthdays.

Image source: Travel Channel

San Diego Winery Tour

San Diego is known for its lengthy list of amazing winery tours, and there’s certainly no shortage of options available. San Diego Beer, Spirit, & Winery Touroffers a world-famous winery tour where guests can hop aboard a train and enjoy breathtaking coastal scenery along San Diego, stopping to explore local wineries and taste rooms, and taking a light lunch break of Italian cuisine.

The company also offers chauffeured winery tours, where you’ll be picked up and dropped off directly at your home, stopping to visit three local San Diego wineries and taste about 18 different wines. The chauffeured tour also offers a behind-the scenes look at the winemaking process and a lavish fruit and cheese platter.

Image source: Twitter

Drive an Exotic Car Around San Diego

If you’ve ever dreamt about driving in an exotic luxury car, but don’t quite have the funds to get one of your own, then San Diego Prestigeis the place for you. This luxury car company allows visitors to try their hand at a variety of vehicles, including: a Lamborghini Aventador, a Ferrari 458 Spider, a Corvette z06, a Mercedes G Class, and much more. Each “tour” comes with an introduction to the cars, a short driving course, mileage and gas for 3 hours of road time (you can try several cars and get 30 minutes each for up to six different cars), and GoPro usage. Passengers can join along on the fun free of charge.

Image source: Flagship Cruises

Sail on a Private Yacht

Right from San Diego, you can charter a private yacht to set sail and be well on your way towards an amazing adventure. There are plenty of options for you to choose from: Mai Tai San Diego Yacht Rentals, San Diego Bay Cruises, San Diego Luxury Sailing, and Luxury Liners are all great options.

From super yachts with full-beam master suites and en-suite bathrooms to to the smaller luxury yachts suited for intimate evenings, there’s no shortage of options available. Combine your luxury private yacht outing with an equally exciting activity. For example, because of San Diego’s coastal waters, you’re likely to be able to go whale and dolphin watching not far from shore. You can also opt for an overnight experience with a sunset sail.

Image source: La Jolla Mom

Go On a Safari Excursion

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most renowned in the world. It has a long, storied history with a modest beginning: the zoo was started with just a small lion that was left behind by a failed zoo owner. Dr. Harry Wegeforth didn’t have much public support, but was given $9,000 from one philanthropist to build a fence for its small but growing family of animals. Today, it sits on 100 acres and is the largest—and arguably best—zoo in the world.

Not only can visitors take a stroll through the San Diego Zoo, gaping at rare animals like the Giant Panda, but they can opt for additional excursions that cost a little extra money. The San Diego Zoo Safari Parktakes you on a wild safari ride in the back of a safari caravan, where you’ll drive through miles of open land and gape at wild animals. Rhinos, antelopes, lions, giraffes, African birds, and much more surround you. If you have a bigger group, you can even go the extra mile and book a caravan for yourself and your group.

Image source: Addison

Have Dinner at Addison

There are only two restaurants in Southern California that have achieved Forbes Five Star status—and San Diego’s Addisonrestaurant is one of them. They’ve also earned AAA Five Diamond status for nine years in a row. This restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine in a sophisticated setting at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, a Mediterranean-themed hotel nestled in San Diego’s Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu is available for $250. The menu changes frequently depending on the season. The Winter Menu, for example, includes dishes like caramelized sablefish with toasted kale and scallion and duck a l’orange with pistachio and beets.

Image source: Corporate Helicopters

San Diego Helicopter Ride

If you really want to bask in all of San Diego’s glory, opt for a private helicopter ride from Corporate Helicopters. The company has been flying over San Diego for nearly three decades, and guests will see a once-in-a-lifetime birds-eye view of San Diego staples like the La Jolla caves, downtown San Diego, Mission Bay, the historic USS Midway, SeaWorld, San Diego Bay, and much more.

There are different types of tour packages to choose from. For instance, the Surf & Turf tour is an hour long private helicopter ride that takes travelers along the city’s best coastal attractions. There’s also a 3.5 hour wine tasting flight that stops for winery tour, flying over rugged mountains and vineyards.

Image source: Golf Advisor

Attend Golf at Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines is the official U.S. Open golf course that’s attracted some of the biggest talents in the golfing world. Playing golf here is certainly a luxury. A half day of golf schoolwill cost $450 for the first golfer and $280 thereafter, and includes nine holes on your choice of South or North course, 90 minutes of private instruction, 1 hour of on-course golf instruction, carts, and clubs. A full day includes lunch at the Lodge at Torrey Pines—an award-winning luxury resort overlooking the golf course and ocean.

Image source: Visit Oceanside

Go Skydiving Near the Coast

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, skydiving in San Diego just might be the luxury adventure you’re looking for. Gojump Oceansideis the only tandem skydive operator in Southern California that offers ocean views during the entire jump. With a full ocean view during your entire freefall, you’ll leave with unforgettable memories. If you’re still up for more adventures after your dive, there are plenty of nearby attractions and downtown San Diego is just a 30 minute drive away.