Month: September 2014

Rent VS Buy

The ultimate real estate question for many – is it more effective to rent or buy a home? I get this question more often than you think when working with new clients. Many are torn about what to do and what’s most cost effective for their wallet. I’ve broken down the differences between renting and buying, so you make the decision!


There are so many reasons why people rent. However is it worth it in the long term? Renting means you’re “borrowing” the home. It doesn’t necessarily belong to you. It’s like leasing a car – you’re only borrowing it until your lease is up, then you have to give it back in the same condition that you originally received it in. Before you do anything to the home, you have to ask the landlord to approve the project. This could be anything from building a new patio cover, to changing the A/C unit, to painting the bathroom that light shade of blue you’ve always wanted. If the landlord doesn’t approve of it, you can’t do it. In addition, you never see the equity- someone else is always benefitting. The home doesn’t belong to you, therefore someone else is benefiting. Buying a home is a lifetime investment, and if you’re renting the home, you don’t get any of those benefits.


It’s yours. You’re not borrowing the home – you flat out own it. What could be better than that? You can make changes and alterations as you with. You don’t need to ask for approval from anyone (well, maybe you’re significant other…) and you can decorate and design how you please. What’s better than that? You are able to entertain guests how you like, and have as much privacy as you wish. Plus, you get those great income tax advantages you don’t get when you’re renting. And those pets…all yours!

For more rent vs buying tips, please email us at! Leave a comment and let us know how we can help you buy a home!

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy, #100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Office 619-873-2772
CalBRE # 01443193

San Diego Restaurant Week is Back!

Rest WeekIt’s back! Possibly one of San Diego’s favorite weeks is here for the second time this year- Restaurant Week!

September 21st, 2014 marks the beginning of San Diego’s Annual Restaurant Week! From the 21st to the 26th, enjoy 180 restaurants that have a special menu just for you!

Experience lunch and dinner courses in 12 regions throughout San Diego county! You don’t even need a ticket or pass to participate- just dine out as much as your belly can hold in as many participating restaurants from January 19th-24th.

A two-course lunch start from $10, $15, to $20.00 for two. A three-course dinner begins at $25, $35, and $45.00!

Check out information about the week long event, along with restaurants that are participating on their website here:

Happy eating!

Your Local San Diego Real EState Expert,


Fall 2014 Home Design Trends

If you’re like me, you’re already thinking of how to retire your spring and summer home and get it ready for fall! So if you are ready to get out of that summer funk, and “fall” into a new home design for a while I’ve got you covered with these predicted Fall 2014 Home Design Trends!

Interchangeable Accents

Instead of settling on one fixed look, it looks like trends are heading towards a versatile neutral base and big-impact accents. A popular predicted color for fall? Chameleon! (Not to be confused with the  Pokémon character, either!)

Glamour It Up

Move over white walls, 2014 is all about drama and glamour! So dark walls in black and greys will be the perfect backdrop for fall, and easily transition into winter! Add in some metallic accessories and a crystal chandelier, and you’ll be good to go!


With an overexposure to vintage in 2014, one of a kind pieces are highly sought after. And what’s not to love about vintage pieces, especially when you have guests asking “where did you get that?!” Vintage pieces go great with all that glam on the walls, too.

Goodbye, Beige

With all those interchangeable accents and vintage pieces, it may finally be the end of beige…we hope.


Blossoming Prints

Tried and true fabrics are popping up all over fashion this year. Mix them with other graphic patterns for a very modern look!

Metals and Metallic

Remember that we’re glamouring it up for fall? Mix and match metallic (like silver and gold) with a  little bit of metal to really get the look you’re going for!

It’s All About That Navy

Navy blue has been a huge trend so far this year. Once we get into the cooler months, you’ll want to darken the place down a bit. Navy hues and patterns will be all the rage this fall. From rich, saturated colors to bright, vibrant shades, keep it constant even until next spring!

Have a trend you just love?! Email it to me and I’ll feature it on our blog!,

And for more fall trends, check out my Pinterest page at


Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,


Just Listed in Beautiful Jamul!

3110 Vista Diego, Jamul, CA 91935

$475,000 – $550,000

3 BED, 3 BATH, 2639 SQ FT.

Looking for a beautiful home full of privacy? With a large deck to enjoy the gorgeous mountain views and sunrise/sunsets, this 3 bed, 3 bath, 2639 sq ft home is sure to please everyone! Listed for $475,000-$550,000, this home is nestled in Jamul. Enjoy an open floor plan with large living room, master bedroom and large kitchen! 3 miles from Rancho San Diego!
For more information please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Office 619-873-2772
Cell 619-250-4541
For complete listing details please visit:
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Design: FOYERS

Are you looking to add some fizz to your foyer? First impressions matter so when you’re ready to re-design your entryway, look at it from the viewpoint of someone who has never seen your home before.


Define the space with a bold color to exude a warm welcome. Be sure that the color ties in with the rest of the adjoining rooms. Try to keep the space clear of any type of furniture so that the space has a feeling of openness and feels larger.

Accessories are important. Be sure that lighting is prominent in the area by adding a fun chandelier or table lamps on an entry way table. Add a mirror on one of the walls to open up the space and make it feel larger. If you have a few mirrors you love put them together in a fun cluster to make the space more inviting.



Buffet and console tables are in right now for entryways. Add a small three-drawer chest or console table against a wall to add depth to the space. Or if you have a large entryway, add a round table in the middle of the room. You can then put a floral piece in the center.


There are so many different ways to enhance your entryway. Take a look at more inspirational photo’s we just love and see more on our Pinterest Page –

Your Local Real Estate Expert,



What is a Contingency?

Think of the word “contingency” as akin to “if.” When a homebuyer signs a contract agreeing to the purchase of a home, she is saying, “I agree to purchase this home for this amount of money if …” The “if” is the contingency.

Contingencies are those items that must come to pass before the sale finalizes. The list of possible contingencies is endless – you could tell a seller that you’ll purchase his home if his dog turns into a pig, sprouts wings and flies away. You could do that, although you probably wouldn’t get the house.

Contingencies in a real estate contract also represent steps along the way that allow the buyer to back out of the deal without losing her earnest money deposit or incurring a lawsuit.

Contingencies may be scattered throughout a contract. Let’s take a look at some of the more common real estate contract contingencies.

Loan Approval

This is generally the first contingency listed in the contract. For instance, in the California Association of Realtors® Residential Purchase Agreement, it is on page 2, paragraph H(2).

It begins by stating that the buyer must act “diligently and in good faith” to obtain the loan described on the previous page. “Obtaining the loan(s) specified above is a contingency of this Agreement unless otherwise agreed in writing.”

This particular contract goes on to mention that obtaining and providing a deposit, and payment of the down payment and closing costs, are not considered contingencies, but buyer obligations. At the end of this clause is a standard 17-day time period to remove this contingency, but the buyer is free to shorten or lengthen this time period in a space provided on the form.

The loan approval contingency is one that the seller’s agent will scrutinize when first going over your offer, and for good reason. The seller will be removing his home from the market if he accepts your offer and taking a chance that your loan will come through. The longer you take to get loan approval, the longer his home is off the market. If you end up being denied the loan, the seller has lost valuable marketing time.

Most contingencies work this way: Even if the contract states a time period, the buyer can choose a time frame that is more to her liking and hope the seller is OK with it.

Home Inspection

The home inspection offers the buyer an opportunity to determine, through the help of a professional, if there is anything wrong with the home’s structure and major systems. It is a visual inspection only, so don’t plan on finding out if there’s something brewing behind the walls.

Most inspection contingencies state that you have the right to back out of the contract if the results of the inspection aren’t satisfactory. Others may state that you can back out if the seller refuses to remedy any problems. Decide ahead of time how you want your inspection contingency worded.

If the inspection turns up items in need of replacement or repair, you can ask the seller to fix the problems, todeduct the cost of the repairs from the price of the house, to credit you back the money to fix them (if the lender allows this) or you can walk away from the purchase and receive your earnest money deposit back.

In some parts of the country, other inspections are customary, such as wood-destroying pest inspections in California and subsurface sewage treatment system and well inspections in Minnesota. Each of these represents a contingency.

Sale of the Buyer’s Property

It’s often an immense juggling act to sell one house before you close on another. In these cases, buyers frequently make the purchase of the new home contingent on the successful sale of their current home.

Whether a seller will accept an offer with this contingency depends on a number of factors. In a seller’s market this contingency is typically rejected. When there are few buyers competing for homes, however, sellers are more motivated to accept less-than-ideal offers.

The seller’s personal situation may play into his decision as well. If he needs to sell his home quickly, he may reject your offer, or counter it, asking for the contingency to be removed from the offer.

Inspection of HOA Documents

If the property you hope to purchase is in a community with a homeowners association, you will be provided with a mountain of documents. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) – These include pet policies, parking rules, rules for the use of on-site amenities, exterior décor, landscaping restrictions and more.

The HOA Budget – This includes important information about where the money goes and whether the reserve account contains enough money to meet emergencies.

HOA Board Meeting Minutes – The meeting minutes will let you take a peek behind the scenes and find out what type of issues the board generally deals with, what actions they have taken against homeowners, and if there has been any discussion about raising fees or levying special assessments.

Governing Documents – Sometimes called bylaws, these documents let you know how elections are run, how a homeowner can go about getting a seat on the board, and the length of each member’s term.

You’ll need the time to read through each document carefully, especially to determine if there is any pending litigation against the HOA or the developer. If there is, your lender may deny the loan.

Ensure that you are provided adequate time to either read the paperwork yourself or have your lawyer go over it.

Appraisal Contingency

Unless you are paying cash for the home, the appraisal contingency is second in importance only to the loan approval contingency. The appraised value of the home represents the maximum amount of money the lender will give you. If the lender’s appraiser determines that the home isn’t worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it, you have several options:

Ask the seller to lower the home’s price to the appraised value.

Increase the amount of your down payment to reduce the loan amount.

A combination of the first two; the seller reduces the price and you add more cash to meet the appraised amount.

Ask for a new appraisal. This only works if the appraiser made mistakes or if you or the seller can add information that the appraiser didn’t take into account.

Walk away from the purchase.

Your real estate agent is your best source of information on the various contingencies in a real estate contract. Follow your agent’s advice about staying on task during the process so that you can formally remove the contingencies by the dates specified.


Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,



Home For Sale in Jamul! 4 BED, 3 BATH!

3107 Calle Allejandro, Jamul, CA 91935
MLS # 140048357

4 BED, 3 BATH, 3485 SQFT.

$775,000 – $839,000

Come home to this 4 bed, 3 bath, 3485 sq ft stunner nestled in beautiful Jamul!

 Enjoy a large wrap-around porch to sit and look at the beautiful morning and evening views. With a vast kitchen, enjoy a 6 burner stove, large center island, and more! Master bedroom has an extra 16×12 room that can be converted into an office. Large living to with open floor plan! Enjoy a large pool area with large BBQ, great for entertaining and gorgeous views. Pool area also has surround sound!
For more information or to schedule a private viewing, contact STEPHEN NISSOU at:
Office 619-873-2772
Cell 619-250-4541























Your Local Real Estate Expert,
#Realtor #realestate #SanDiego #Jamul #SanDiegoRealtor #SanDiegoRealEstate #ElCajon #KWEC #KellerWilliamsRealty #KellerWilliamsElCajon #KWRealty #StephenNissou #NissouRealtyGroup

Cash VS Financing


Should you pay cash for real estate if you can? Or is it best to finance your home?

Have a financial game plan. Does owning a home free and clear fit into your financial picture? And if so, will buying the home with cash now affect you in the future? If you plan for the future now you can help avoid any downfalls later. Paying cash for a property makes sense if you are trying to avoid paying for any loan fees or settlement costs.

So what to do? Evaluate your circumstances before buying any house with cash. Make sure that you have enough cash reserves to cover- funds set aside for retirement, emergency funds in a savings account, insurance for health, life, and disability.

Paying cash for a property can limit your liquidity, especially if you have kids you are sending to college or assisting elderly relatives with living costs. And don’t forget that a home without a mortgage is a home without a tax deduction. It might just make more sense to use your cash to pay off non-deductible credit obligations than putting that cash into a home.

And finally, as yourself how does a mortgage factor into your investment financial picture. Are there other investments that could be of greater financial yield with a similar amount of risk?

Before making any decision, it’s wise to consult with a financial professional to help you evaluate the dollars and sense of buying a home with all cash. In today’s world, where many homeowners are cutting back on expenses rather than incurring new ones, owning a home free and clear may just be financially and mentally liberating.


Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,


Selling Your Home: 3 Must-Knows Before You List

Sometimes the hardest part of selling a home is making the decision to sell it. Our homes give us roots, provide sanctuary, house memories and, hopefully, give us some financial security. It’s a huge decision to sell a home.
Once made, however, additional decisions will come fast and furious, so take some time now, before the frenzy, to understand three salient points about the successful sale of a home in today’s real estate marketplace.

What is Market Value?

One of the most challenging aspects of selling a home is determining the list price. Many homeowners will go online to find homes nearby that are for sale and base their price assumption on those that are most similar.
The list price of a home, however, is a fantasy. It represents an amount of money the seller thinks, or hopes the home will bring. Until the home sells, he may be right or he may be wrong.
Buyers set market value for homes. What a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer pays for a home is the home’s true market value. Therefore, when pricing a home for the market, one must always look at the sold prices of similar homes nearby.
This is the method both real estate agents and appraisers use when determining a home’s market value.

First Impressions Matter

Think back to when you were house hunting. Were there houses that you arrived at that you just couldn’t bear to get out of the car to look at? Chipped or peeling paint, sagging window and door screens, and overgrown or dead landscaping do not make a good first impression.
Before you do anything else, clean your house, inside and out. Make cosmetic repairs, especially outdoors where the house makes its first impression. Even if it’s merely a new coat of paint on the front door, shiny new house numbers and some fresh mulch in the planting beds, it may help folks want to see more.
Don’t neglect the interior either. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some websites with ideas on how to declutter and stage the home.

Don’t Attempt This on Your Own

I know what you’re thinking: Of course a real estate agent is going to tell me not to take the for-sale-by-owner route. So, I won’t ask you to take just my word for it. Let’s look at the cold, hard numbers.
First, only 9 percent of homeowners attempt to sell their homes without the aid of an agent, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Of those, almost half said they took this route because they were selling their home to someone they knew.
The next most commonly stated reason that a homeowner gave for not using an agent was that he or she didn’t want to pay the real estate commission. That’s understandable when one isn’t sure exactly what an agent does to get a home sold. Once you get a look at that list, you’ll understand that you definitely get what you pay for.
You should also take into consideration the fact that a home that is for sale by the owner is considered a bargain to most homebuyers. Many will walk in expecting you to kick back some of that money you’re saving by not using an agent. This is why, according to NAR, homes sold by agents sell for 16 percent more than those sold by owner.
Selling a home is a big deal and, thankfully, something we don’t often do. When it’s time to sell yours, start with the basics, as outlined above, and you’ll be ready to list your home before you know it.
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Parkway, #100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Office 619-873-2772   |   Cell 619-250-4541   |

CalBRE # 01443193

Do I Have To Sell Before I Buy

originalThe ultimate question in real estate for buyers: Do I have to sell my existing home before I buy a new home? It’s not uncommon for home buyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their existing home.

If you buy something and the clock starts ticking on selling the home you currently occupy because you need that money to close on the house you are ready to purchase. During the time that the market is scary-slow and sales are plummeting, this could be a scary proposition. So you sell first….

But what if you can’t find anything you like in the neighborhood you want. Are you prepared to rent?

It’s a tough decision to make. Realtors alike will say that you should sell your home and then start shopping for a new one. But in the current housing market, with multiple offers being the norm and the average time a home on the market is about 30-40 days, the process is now reversed. Realtors are their clients to start buying first, knowing that their home will sell quickly and easily.

Ultimately it comes down to your view of the market. You want to buy first, you have to be confident that your home will sell.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,