Fans of Coastal San Diego

This site is for the many fans of coastal San Diego, those who have lived here for years, as well as those new to the area. Here you can learn more about the different communities, the many things to do and places to visit in and around San Diego, share your experiences, and ask for advice and recommendations for restaurants, shopping, visitor activities, places to live, and more! Buyers thinking about moving here will find lots of information to help, too!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More on Housing in San Diego - Part 3

It's been a little time since I shared my thoughts about the housing here in San Diego, so after a stiff cup of coffee and allowing myself some time to wake up, I decided to write a bit more on this subject.

1. Mello-Roos - well, what the heck is that? First time I saw this in the MLS when I started my California home search back in Boston, and it said "no Mello-Roos." I wondered what was missing? Was this a good or bad? I had never seen a Mello-Roos before; was it unique to Southern California? Do they import them? Or do they grow wild? I did some on-line research to figure it out, and learned it was a fee you sometimes had to pay in newer subdivisions (often in undeveloped areas) where a Community Facilities District has been created. The CFD allows for financing to cover the costs of certain improvements (e.g., streets, sewers and other basic infrastructure, police and fire protection, ambulance services, schools, parks, museums, etc.). The Mello-Roos, a special tax, is collected from each resident in order to pay off the financing; the tax is not based on the value of the property. And that could be in addition to a Home Owner's Association (HOA) fee. The good news is that the Mello-Roos will stop in the future once the bond (if issued) is paid off, although sometimes a reduced fee may be levied to cover the cost of maintaining the improvements.

BTW the name comes from the co-authors of the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, Senator Henry Mello and assemblyman Mike Roos.

2. Subdivision Names and Gated Communities - Getting used to all the subdivisions and the names has taken some time. It certainly helps you to keep track of where certain people live, or to give directions, or to figure out how much money someone has or if they are worthy of being your friends, and as a Realtor you want to sell in certain subdivisions if you can. What was so different is the sheer number of them, and the manner in which the names are emblazoned on the gates on some fancy stone edifice at the entrance. And if this is a gated community, this is where they hide the electric eye that lets in residents, or the magic keypad that will allow visitors to gain entrance if you are lucky enough to have been given the secret code. Or, if you are REALLY lucky, you have a guard in a nice little gatehouse who decides if you can pass or not, depending on the kind of car you drive or who you know. Certainly there are subdivisions in the Boston area, as well as gated neighborhoods, and condo buildings have names, but New Englanders tend to be a bit more conservative, so you don't see the blatant advertising quite so much.

3. Views (SEE PHOTO ABOVE, looking at the Batiquitos Lagoon and the Four Seasons in Carlsbad) - amazing how different the views are here as compared to the Northeast and the many options (panoramic, city lights, ocean, lagoons, greenbelts). It's not just the ever-present greenery and palm trees, which are such a pleasure compared to many months of gray and brown ugliness during Bostonian winters (although the foliage changes in fall cannot be matched here!!), but the hills and mountains as well. Having a view absolutely becomes a much more important criterion than in New England, and ties into increased value as well, of course. With the topography and all the trees in the Boston area, you just don't get the types of long-range views you do here. Here, so many more homes are oriented toward the ocean and have views, even though distant ones. And it certainly plays a much bigger role in marketing. Of course having a view can be marred by having to look at or listen to the freeway. And they build homes and condos right along the Massachusetts Turnpike and other highways (that the East-coast word for freeway) back East too, so if you DO have to look at traffic, why not at least have a great view!

After all that, my brain is tired, plus it's time to move on to other things on the to do list. More later...


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Jeff Dowler (RE/MAX Associates): Real Estate Agent in Carlsbad, San Diego County, California on