FAQs about properties:

Why should we read your property and personal FAQs?

Because I want you to be educated about the real estate market and understand who I am. If you read through all of these FAQs you will have a better basis to understand the local real estate market and you will have a better sense of who I am. If, after reading through these FAQs you still have questions just give me a call but be aware of personal FAQ # 8 below.

What kind of properties are available and what should I expect?

The range of oceanfront properties in Encinitas is really quite broad. Prices and availability will depend upon the following factors:

A) Whether you are buying a condo, twin home or house: Condos offer the least amount of exclusivity and houses the most. On the other hand, condos can give the owner turn key, walk away capability. Generally speaking, houses appreciate much faster

B) The size of that structure: While bigger houses often sell for more they can also sell for less per square foot, so don’t look at a dollar per square foot as your only analysis.

C) The orientation of the structure on the lot: Some structures are placed on the lot such to maximize the view and others are placed on the lot to maximize the yard. Still, others are placed on the lot such that they maximize the livability of the structure in the view of the developer. Each lot is different, each structure is different. Each needs to be independently evaluated.

D) The condition of the structure: Believe it or not there are local properties on the ocean which are nearly 100 years old. Heck, the Spanish missions date back 400 years! So yes, different properties will be in different conditions

E) The degree to which the interior has been remodeled or requires remodeling: This is a different concept than structural condition. Also, every buyer has a different concept of what constitutes an interior in good condition, needing a remodel or needing to be completely gutted.

Lots of times a property that is in very good but not perfect condition will not sell while an identical property in rotten condition sells immediately. This is because the buyers for that particular property recognize that they will need to do a remodel and they don’t want to pay for any interior improvements which they are just going to have to rip out.

F) The desirability of the floor plan: I have seen 2600 ft.² properties which felt like 1300 ft.² and floor plans that I knew nobody would want. I have complained on more than one occasion that architects should just simply call me to find out what today’s current buyers looking for instead of trying to guess at it.

G) The depth of the site: Many times a deeper lot can accommodate a larger structure than a wider lot of the same dimensions. This is because the greatest building setbacks are from the street and the edge of the bluff. Otherwise, floor area ratio and lot coverage ratios rule the day.

H) The width of that site: Obviously, a wider lot offers a wider view, but not always. Depending upon the neighboring structures a wider lot can still find its view channeled between those neighboring structures such that a much narrower lot but without those immediately proximate structures might offer an equal or even wider ocean view.

I) The topography of the site: A site that declines from the street to the beach offers greater potential for better views over the entirety of the property. On the other hand, if the topography of the site inclines from the street to the bluff there is often the opportunity for low-grade development, which can, in turn, defeat floor area and lot coverage ratios with the net result being that a larger structure can be built on the lot.

J) The geology of the site: Some lots have outstanding and very stable geology, some lots have lower seawalls, some have upper bluff retention systems and some have all 3 traits. I’ve often said that seawalls are like changing the oil in your car: you may not need to do it but it can’t hurt. Conversely, you may not need to change the oil in your car! You should just simply ask your mechanic (me)

K) The existence or proximity of beach stairs: Generally speaking, having private beach stairs is very desirable and can add significant value to the property. Further, depending upon the structure serviced by the stairs themselves will have different values. For example, stairs to an 8000 ft.² house will have a greater intrinsic value than stairs to a “beach shack”. Sometimes being close to public beach access is just as good or even better. I have my own beach stairs and they are a pain to maintain

L) The type and age of adjoining property use: Including across the street and around the neighborhood: if all the neighboring properties are newer, larger and aesthetically pleasing then the subject property picks up some value. Also, proximity to neighborhood attractions such as five-star restaurants, the post office, etc. count for something.

Each one of these factors will have a direct impact on the overall desirability of any individual property. Some of these factors taken in conjunction with other factors can have a ”multiplier” effect and increase values more than if taken alone.

Okay, so what then is the general price range I can expect for the different properties?

Generally speaking an oceanfront condominium (and we’re talking true oceanfront here, with unfettered sit-down whitewater ocean views) sell for in the range of $800-$1200 per square foot depending upon those factors listed above.

Also, twin homes are generally available in the range of $1000-$1400 per square foot with the trick here being that private garages, private beach stairs and other more exclusive uses can make them more desirable and hence more expensive than their smaller true condo brethren. But be aware that as the size of a unit goes up quite often the value per square foot will go down so a larger duplex might sell for less per square foot than a smaller condo.

Individual single-family houses can range all over the place from $1000-$2000 per square foot depending upon those factors listed above. As each factor is considered, each factor will have an impact upon the value and desirability of a property and may in fact, if other factors are present, result in a compounding or multiplier affect increasing the desirability and value of the property beyond that which it might possess alone if those other factors were not present.

So how do I know how much I should pay and if I’m getting a good deal or not?

This is exactly why the buyer of an oceanfront property should deal with a broker who also specializes in oceanfront property. The truth is that I get calls all the time from appraisers asking me what a property is worth, whether the appraisal is for purchase, refinance or estate valuation purposes. Yes, you can pay for an appraisal but it’s far better just to go straight to the source and ask me what it’s worth. Nobody can argue the comps with me. Nobody. And I feel sorry for anybody who tries.

Is it true that oceanfront property cannot be insured?

No, there is no truth to that whatsoever. All the major insurance carriers are currently insuring oceanfront properties. I really have no idea where this rumor came from but it continues to pop up from time to time. Pay it no mind.

Personal FAQs:

Who are you?

I’m a real estate broker who has been specializing in oceanfront properties for 32 years now. Yes, I also deal in other non-oceanfront and commercial properties as well as undertaking “charity” cases as the need to arises, but my predominant focus has been on oceanfront and coastal properties.

What areas do you work in?

Generally speaking, I deal in Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff, Carlsbad and Solana Beach. Although I have often sold properties in Oceanside and Del Mar and also once as far away as Long Beach! I prefer to focus on my immediate geographic area because that allows me to have a greater command of the subject matter and do a much better job for my clients. You want that. You want a local broker. You want me!

So why should we choose you instead of some other broker?

Simply because I know the market, the market trends, the inventory, and the right questions to ask better than any other agent. I know what each and every individual property sold for but perhaps, more importantly, why it sold for that amount. Precise and unique knowledge is priceless. Let me demonstrate that for you sometime.

Do you own oceanfront property yourself?

Yes, I do. I have a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 2000 ft.² townhome with a pool, a private garage and private stairs to the beach.

Do you handle leases?

Yes, but only on an individual basis and usually only when I represent the owner of the property. I generally do not handle short-term or rentals at all.

How much can I lease my property for?

I couldn’t tell you that until I actually saw the property. Other factors to consider include the lease length, whether you will take pets in your property and the time of year that you would like to lease your property.

Can you value my estate for me for tax purposes?

Yes, I can do that. And what’s more, my valuation can be done as of a specific date and will be more accurate than if you pay an appraiser thousands of dollars. Happy to do it, too.

Do you mind if we call you just to pick your brain?

No, that’s perfectly fine. I understand that some people are uncertain of what they might want to do with their property and they just want to talk to somebody who really knows what the heck is going on inside out and backward in the oceanfront real estate market. Just be certain that you tell me in no uncertain terms that you are not going to list your property with me so that I don’t get a negative impression of you.

In these cases, honesty really is the best policy and you are far more likely to get an honest and direct answer from me if your upfront and truthful with me. Nothing is more disappointing than people who parse their words because they think that if they tell me the truth I won’t be willing to help them. I don’t care who you are – you need my help, you got it! Don’t try to lead me on with false promises.

And you should be aware that after 32 years of selling real estate I have become so finely attuned to body language and tonal inflections that I instantly become aware of a person’s true intentions. Please don’t try to put one over on me: it’s indecent of you and insulting to my intelligence, professionalism, and capabilities.

What kind of people call you?

Believe it or nuts I get the most calls from other brokers and appraisers who want an opinion or advice of some kind. Yes, this takes up a lot of my time but it’s also very flattering that I am the person they go to when they need help. A lot of brokers call me to sell their houses when the time comes because they know they’ll get honest advice and that I care about my clients.

Think about that: brokers call me.