How to Save For a House

Saving for a down payment may be the most daunting step to buying a home. It takes time, patience, and for most, a lifestyle change. These simple tricks will help you buckle down on your savings and turn your dream of buying a home into a reality.

Timeless Coastal Charm + Nautical Coastal Home Decor  -lots of pics and ideas from Southern Living:

Cut Unnecessary Spending

Thankfully, saving up for a mortgage doesn’t have to be as grueling as your ramen-eating college days! A great way to cut costs and begin saving is to pin point money siphons that you barely notice. For example…

  • Nix your cable and stick to an online streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu!
  • Start cooking meals at home, and cut back on eating or drinking out to 1 time per week. Your bank account and waist line will thank you!
  • Utilize all the beauty that San Diego has to offer by canceling your fitness membership and bringing your exercise outside.
  • Gas usually isn’t cheap in San Diego. Plan errands, work, and leisurely activities accordingly to make the most of each tank of gas.
  • Take advantage of SDG&E Reduce Your Use days! You can earn rewards toward your monthly bill by saving energy! Learn more about the program here.
  • Save your loose change and turn them into cash at the bank or with Coinstar! Coinstar charges a fee for turning your loose change into cash, but if you choose a gift card, you can hang onto all your money! Pick a gift card to Amazon or a grocery store you normally shop at to put your saved money back into something you already need, rather than choosing a gift card to a clothing store or restaurant.

Open a Savings account

When it comes to saving money, opening a savings account can be very beneficial. You will earn interest on your money and can easily track how you are progressing towards your goal. Make sure to set up a recurring transfer from another account (for example, the one where you put your paycheck) to your savings. This is a great way to ensure you’re setting aside a little bit of each paycheck without having to think about it. If the money’s not available, you won’t spend it. Saving a small amount of the money you earn every month can really add up over time if you are consistent with your efforts!

Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card

To qualify for a mortgage, you need to have credit. A credit card allows you to build good credit, but did you also know it can help you save money? Before opening a credit card, make sure you thoroughly research their rewards program-many will give you cash back on everyday purchases like gas and groceries! Apply these cashback rewards to your credit card bill to make the most out of your card! Just be sure you pay your credit card on time, pay more than the monthly minimum, and watch out for annual fees.

Get Help!

If this is will be your first time buying a home, you can take advantage of the FHA loan program to pay a lesser down payment. You may still have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), but depending on your situation, putting less than 20% down on a home may be the smart choice.

If you or your spouse have ever served in the military, you will want to check out the VA and CAL-VET loan programs.

You may also be eligible for down payment assistance programs.  The programs usually provide help to people below the area median in the form of a low interest loan or grant. If you have a higher income, do your research! Certain programs also offer assistance for higher-income households. Visit to see available resources in San Diego.

Finally, your most important resource to help you save for a down payment and determine your mortgage eligibility is to meet with a lender. They will be able to look at your situation, determine where you are, and give you advice to get where you need to be to purchase your San Diego dream home!

We can help you become a San Diego homeowner! Our agents have helped thousands of people become home owners – contact us today to get started!

Recipe: Rosemary Monkey Bread Stuffing


What You Need: 

  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. rosemary focaccia, cut into 1″ to 1 1/2″ cubes

How To:

  1. Cook onion and celery in butter in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; cool 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock and eggs until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in focaccia (if you can’t find rosemary focaccia, use plain and add 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary).
  2. Transfer to a buttered 9″ springform pan. Bake at 375 degrees F until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cook 5 minutes; run a knife around outer edge of stuffing, then remove ring. Serve warm.

Restaurant of the Moment: Village Mill Bread Company

3545 Del Mar Heights Road
San Diego CA 92130


This little bakery is truly a hidden gem in Carmel Valley! It’s no wonder they’ve consistently been voted Best Bakery for the past 15 years. They make everything from cookies to muffins to cinnamon rolls to granola to pies and of course, various kinds of bread.

You can stop in to buy a whole loaf of bread or a treat from their display case. Everything is baked fresh daily. If you arrive too early in the morning, their cookies won’t have cooled enough to be iced yet!

Village Mill Bread Co. is one of the few places in San Diego that serves pumpkin muffins year round and their muffins are truly some of the best. Actually, all of their baked goods are the best! They always have samples available which is a great way to find a new favorite. They also have a frequent buyer card which is a great deal if you frequently stop in.

Visit their shop at the Del Mar Highlands shopping center from Monday-Sunday!

Pinteresting Five: Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Hosting a meal for the whole family or just for a few close loved ones? Here are some ideas for your Thanksgiving table ideas to inspire you to make it a holiday to remember!

All images via our Pinterest






2016 Thanksgiving Dinner San Diego Guide

It’s almost time to prepare for Thanksgiving again! Everyone wants to enjoy a feast and make memories, but some don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen preparing for it. We’ve gathered a list of a few of the best restaurants and hotels that would be more than happy to make your Thanksgiving a special one!


George’s California Modern

You can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at California Modern courtesy of executive chef Trey Foshee and chef de cuisine Jonathan Bautista! This wonderful dinner includes a 3-course meal consisting of Diestel turkey breast, Niman Ranch roasted pork loin, plus Chino Farms strawberries, black sesame semifreddo and mochi cake. This will only be served on Thursday, November 16. Visit their website here!


A.R. Valentien

Eat at the Lodge’s signature restaurant this Thanksgiving! Enjoy freshly made cuisine from world renowned chefs with your entire family and friends! For more information about A.R. Valentien, visit their website here.


Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar

If you are looking for a more of a romantic atmosphere with your significant other this Thanksgiving, this restaurant is perfect! Enjoy a candlelit dinner this Thanksgiving with delicious entrees! Visit their website here for more information.



Enjoy a luxurious, eight-course thanksgiving meal prepared by the world renowned chef, Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a unique dinner combination of classic Thanksgiving dishes paired with chef’s specials you can’t get anywhere else! For more information, visit their website here.


Marina Kitchen

Enjoy a farm to table style dinner this Thanksgiving at Marina Kitchen! This is the perfect place to enjoy a family meal with delicious food options for both parents and children. Enjoy Thanksgiving classics such as squash, roast turkey, ham and assorted fruits in this cozy and serene restaurant. Visit their website here!


Mister A’s 

Enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with an breathtaking view of the San Diego Skyline! Sit back and relax while expert chef Stephane Voitzwinkler, creates Thanksgiving courses with her own unique twist! Check out their website here.


Millle Fleurs 

This Thanksgiving enjoy Chef Martin Woesle’s specially curated three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving menu, which includes palate pleasers like a Musquee de Provence pumpkin risotto and oven roasted Diestel Farm turkey with all the fixings! For more information, visit their website here.


Carne Prima 

Enjoy a three course Turkey dinner which includes a starter, turkey, and chef’s special desert! Click here for more information.


Grant Grill 

This Thanksgiving, the US GRANT Hotel is serving up two unique dining experiences. Choose from a four-course turkey dinner or an all-encompassing Thanksgiving Buffet from executive chef Mark Kropczynski! For more information, visit their website here.



Have a 3 course Thanksgiving meal at Coasterra! Choose from main course choices of  free-range Sonoma turkey or an 8 oz. center cut filet mignon! More information on their website here.

Recipe: Maple Pecan Baked Brie


What You Need: 

1 (8 ounce) round brie cheese
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
sliced baguette, graham crackers, apple slices (for serving)
How To:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place brie on a small baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until softened. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While the brie cools, heat maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved; stir in pecans.
  4. Pour over the brie and serve immediately.


San Diego Real Estate Report: October 2016

October’s San Diego real estate market in review: As of October 2016, the average detached home in San Diego County sold for $555,000, up 6.7% from the previous year.


As of  October 2016, the average attached home (including condos, townhomes, and twinhomes) in San Diego County sold for $365,000, up 7.4% from last year.


The average detached home in San Diego spent 41 days on the market.


Condos, twinhomes, and townhomes in San Diego spent an average of 35 days on the market.


As of October 2016, we are in a seller’s market. On average, a seller of a detached home in San Diego County receives 96.9% of the original list price at the close of the sale.


As of October 2016, the owners of attached properties (condos, twinhomes, and townhomes) retained 97.6% of the original list price.


The inventory of homes in San Diego County is still low, which is consistent with what we know that inventory is tight and also that late fall and winter are not the preferred time for sellers to list their homes.


The supply of attached properties continues to decline.


Are you interested in seeing this breakdown for your San Diego community or zipcode? Let us know!

Restaurant of The Moment: East Village

East Village

628 s coast highway 101
Encinitas, ca 92024

Situated in Encinitas on the 101, East Village is a hot spot to North County locals. The urban design and casual “vibe” of the diner compliments it’s impressive California-Asian inspired food and drink menu.

Although we are sure that each menu item is drool-worthy, our favorite East Village menu item is the “Monk’s Stone Pot.” The stone pot base is very simple, consisting of your choice of white or brown rice topped with veggies, over-easy egg, and a drizzle of their signature hot sauce, all served together in a super heated stone pot. Although unnecessary, you can increase your bowls deliciousness by adding your choice of special toppings such as tofu, pork, rib-eye, salmon, and kimchi. Our favorite is the salmon, but none will disappoint!

Be sure to treat yourself to this diner the next time you are in Encinitas, and don’t forget to utilize the signature hot sauce. East Village’s website calls its monk’s sauce “the new ‘it’ sauce, better that all other sauces combined!” We couldn’t agree more!



Design Trends: Black Countertops

Black is synonymous with powerful, sleek, and commanding. Installing trendy black countertops helps accentuate other colors used in your kitchen or bathroom design, while giving the space a cool and contemporary feel.

All images via our Pinterest


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