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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Suggestions for Fall Maintenance

Your Home – Fall Maintenance

Now that we’re preparing for fall and winter, it’s a great time to make sure that you are performing the routine maintenance on your home before the winter weather sets in. By regularly performing these simple maintenance tips on your home, you can avoid costly repairs down the road. If you own a second home or vacation home, don’t forget that it can be even more important to perform this maintenance to avoid any water or heating damage from happening when you’re not there.

Be sure to clean your windows and check your window seals to ensure they are free of dirt and debris. Dirty seals can cause drafts in your home and lead to higher energy bills.

Make sure you inspect your furnace before the colder weather sets in. Make sure the filters are clean and replace them if necessary. If you have not had your heating unit inspected this year, you may want to hire a professional to come inspect your unit before you use it.

If you are concerned with frost and colder weather, be sure to insulate your pipes.

Inspect your rain gutters to ensure that they are free of debris (you should clean your gutters every spring and fall to avoid costly water damage).

Check your smoke detector batteries while you’re at it to ensure they are working properly.

By performing these regular maintenance activities you can avoid costly water damage to your home and make the holiday season free of unanticipated stress.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day in San Diego

Another beautiful day. A day to honor those who have served our country, including my Father who served in the Air Force during the Korean War; and my Father-in-Law who served in the Navy during WWII.

My dad served stateside in California. He was in the Air Force and served as an accountant. And oh-boy did he have stories!
My father, Bill, served at Camp Stoneman in Northern California. They were responsible for processing service men and women overseas, and returning from, the conflict. They felt as if they were in the vortex of everything happening.
When he passed away, we found out he was entitled to a niche at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Pt. Loma (San Diego). We were proud that his country remembered and honored him with this benefit. His view is looking out to the Pacific Ocean, very near the picture shown.
My wife's father, Armand, served in the Navy during WWII. He was a hard hat diver and served in the South Pacific. He was stationed on a small island after the war, name Eniwetok, which became famous as an atomic test site. They would line up some worn out ships off shore to test the bombs on, and then line up the sailors on shore to watch the bombs go off!! Wow, what a sight. Few have seen so many bombs go off, so close.
Then the next day the Navy would have Armand dive on the bomb site and go down to asses the damage to the ships that had been sunk. Once he brought up a giant clam shell from the sea bed and shipped it home. My wife has 1/2 in our backyard, and her sister has the other 1/2 in her backyard. We swear it glows in the dark.
Needless to say Armand had a little glow going himself, and cancer eventually caught up with him. There is some bitterness that he was put in that position, but they really didn't know what they were doing. No, I am not a "believer" that government wouldn't try something funny, but in this case a little research showed that they were dragging U.S. Senators, Congressmen and other high ranking officials out to the islands, so they too could enjoy "the bomb!" They lined them up on shore, on ships, and in planes to watch the might and power of the US. So in this case I don't believe they knew what they were doing.
Armand too was remembered by his country and the Navy with honors. He too has a marker at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
So on Veteran's Day, we say "Thanks!" Thanks to you, and the rest of the Greatest Generation! You built a wonderful country to live in, raise a family in, and enjoy the highest standard of living in history. We owe it all to you. So, again, Thank You!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

San Diego County Emergency Notification Tip: Register Your Cell Phone to Your Home Address

The County of San Diego, in partnership with Twenty First Century Communications, Inc., has instituted a regional notification system that will be able to send telephone notifications to residents and businesses within San Diego County impacted by, or in danger of being impacted by, an emergency or disaster.
This system, called AlertSanDiego, will be used by emergency response personnel to notify those homes and businesses at risk with information on the event and/or actions (such as evacuation) they are asking you to take. The system utilizes the regions 9-1-1 database, provided by the local telephone company(ies), and thus is able to contact land-line telephones whether listed or unlisted. It is TTY/TDD capable. If the call is picked up by an answering machine, the system will leave a voice message. If the telephone called is busy or does not answer, the system will redial that number up to three times in an attempt to deliver the message.
Because the system uses the 9-1-1 database, only land-line numbers are in the system. If you have a Voice over IP (VoIP) or cellular telephone and would like to be notified over that device, or if you would like an email notification, you must register those telephone numbers and/or email address for use by the system. To register your VoIP, cellular telephone or email address, please fill out the registration form at: .
Each number and/or email provided will be added to the regional database. It is important to note that each number and/or email registered can only be associated with one address in the system. The telephone number you register will be called only when the address it is associated with is impacted by a disaster or emergency.
There is no better way to protect yourself than be ON THIS NOTIFICATION SYSTEM!!
It worked for my family. It worked for my relatives and it worked for my friends. If you are one of the thousands that are going to cell only for phone service, you must get that cell registered with the County system. Do it today! Again the link is:

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Halloween to Remember - Witch Creek Fires Continue

While most of the fires have been put down, the Witch Creek fire continues to burn in the east on Palomar MT. and nearby areas. It is anticipated that all fires will be in the mop up stage on Halloween, one cannot ignore the irony of Halloween and the Witch Creek fire colliding in San Diego this week.

Thousands have lost their homes. More have been injured, or displaced by one of the many fires in San Diego County. And then there are the victims of Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura. Truly a ghoulish coincidence.

Between now and Thanksgiving, let's focus on coming together and healing. No we can't rebuild the homes that fast, but we can start rebuilding our lives. We can reconnect with family and friends and strengthen those bonds with love. We can put this behind us and focus on a time of Thanksgiving, followed by a season of joy and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

I have heard some compare San Diego's Disaster Response to the response in New Orleans. While some comparisons are valid (most notably the difference in Federal Response) most are not fair to compare. Why? We, San Diego, did NOT have EVERY major road destroyed; ALL WATER gone; ALL SEWER gone; ALL ELECTRICAL gone; ALL GAS gone; ALMOST ALL INFRASTRUCTURE gone. Yes we had a major disaster, "A" major disaster. But we still had all the other resources to respond to the disaster.

I am so proud of how the emergency was handled. How the citizens of San Diego responded. How the inter agency efforts worked. How musicians and entertainers just showed up at shelters and entertained. That's the San Diego spirit!!!

Now if we can only get CalFire to get off their high horse and work with the Military, everyone in California would be safer.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Evacuations and Emergency Information

OK ... So you have been evacuated. When can you go back???
Here is the best link to see the most recent OFFICIAL information.
Once at their site, click on the most recent "Countywide Fire Map ..." This changes every 4 to 6 hours when they update.
When you open this map (save a copy to your desktop) you can see all the key information about the fires.
Read the "Map Key" to understand the color coding and symbols. This map is the OFFICIAL map of all fire information. You will see copies of this map on TV and in the newspapers.
When an "Evacuation Area" is declared safe to repopulate, the map will note it in Green. This just happened to my area in Rancho Penasquitos. So Hurray!! We are going home. And from my constant monitoring ... I know my home is safe.
These instructions will give you the best source of information, and a source you can update frequently.
Be Safe

Monday, October 22, 2007

If You Need to Evacuate ... What to Bring.

If you need to evacuate from a Fire Zone in San Diego County ... the following are the key items to pack and bring according to the Burn Institute. You can link to them using this link: Burn Institute

Here is the list:

Burn Institute News
October 22, 2007
Diane Sparacino858.541.2277


WHAT The San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association and the Burn Institute recommend the following Wildfire Evacuation Tips for residents of San Diego County:


(#1) MAKE A LIST OF IMPORTANT ITEMS Always keep sturdy boxes handy and make a list of important items you need to take with you during an evacuation:

• Prescriptions, medications

• Eyeglasses

• Important financial docs, tax records, photos, etc.

• Homeowner’s/Renter’s insurance policies

• Jewelry

• Pet, pet food, leash (and carrier, if possible)• Child’s favorite toy

(#2) PREPARE AN EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT If you have time, assemble an Emergency Supply Kit that includes items you’ll need in the case of an evacuation:

• Three-day water supply (1-gallon per person per day)

• Three-day food supply

• Change of clothing and shoes

• Blanket and sleeping bag

• First aid kit

• Battery-powered flashlight, radio, batteries


• Close all windows and doors in the house.

• Leave exterior lights on to help firefighters find your house through the smoke.

• Do not leave garden sprinklers on – it wastes critical water pressure.

• Park your vehicle facing out so you have the best visibility when you have to leave and drive with your headlights on.

• Designate one emergency meeting place outside the home and one outside the neighborhood where family members can all meet.

• If fire overtakes you, you are much safer inside the car than out.

**The keys to surviving a Wildfire are:

Defensible Space, Defensible Homes and EvaCheck Spellingcuation Planning.

SPECIAL NOTE: James Floros, Burn Institute Executive Director is available for interviews to discuss wildfire evacuation protocol and related wildfire information. To schedule a phone or on-camera interview, contact Diane Sparacino at the number above.

© Burn Institute.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Breakfast on the Pier - You Go!!! It's Great

You have GOT to go to this event!! You get all you can eat pancakes while dining on the Ocean Beach Pier.
What a great way to start the day. Come for the cakes, stay for the beach. You can get ticket in advance, but not to worry if you don't have the time. You can pay at the door!!!
Your donation helps support the Ocean Beach Christmas Food and Toy Drive. What could be better. You get the warm fuzzy of donating to a great cause ... PLUS the warm fuzzy of some of the best pancakes anywhere.
There might even be an adult beverage floating around!!
Bring your friends, bring your kids, bring your friends kids and be a real hero!
See you Sunday morning on the Pier!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bernanke Sends Mixed Signals

Well ... the pundits disagree. Leaving the rest of us wondering, "will the Fed drop the rate again???" Some say yes, some say no. Bernanke was speaking in New York yesterday and noted that there is still turmoil in the Mortgage Markets and Credit Markets. To see his comments click here: Bernanke. So we will need to wait and see if there are any further discounts to the Fed rate.

But remember, this rate will not DIRECTLY set the Mortgage Rate for lenders. The mortgage rate is more a function of the lenders ability to borrow money at a rate lower than you or me, and the mark it up to lend to us. So ... generally speaking as money gets cheaper for the bigger banks and lending institutions, they lower rates to be competitive and bring in new business.

Finally it is important to remember NONE of this effects qualifying (which is still based on your FICO and credit history) which determines IF you can get the loan at whatever rate they are offering. Also, you will still need to meet the Loan to Value / Closed Loan to Value (LTV / CLTV) ratios of the institution. Depending on your FICO, this can be anywhere from 70% CLTV to 95% CLTV. This is particularly critical when looking to REFI out of a bad Adjustable.

Go to Pink Flamingo Mortgage for more info on rates and terms.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Check Out Our Website Updates!!

We have updated the Pink Flamingo Mortgage website with new and improved content, including new articles on mortgages in San Diego County. We still have the Free Sign Up for Homefinders Club the most powerful tool on the web; and we still have our monthly Newsletters; but now we have more hotlinks and better page interactivity.
Check on Today's Rates or check what is available for sale at Pink Flamingo Real Estate, either way you will get the most up to date information available on the web.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Network Contact

ActiveRain Real Estate Social Network

Tools You Can Use!!

Homefinders Club is the most useful tool a buyer can sign-up for in their quest to find a new home and obtain the lowest cost mortgage. And best of all ... it is ABSOLUTELY FREE!! Go to Pink Flamingo Mortgage and click on the Homefinders Club logo to sign up, or just click on this hot link: Homefinders Club Sign Up and you will land on the sign up page.
Why are these tools SO useful?? Well that's pretty simple: Homefinders Club will help you shop the San Diego MLS and find the home of your dreams. You shop when YOU want to, not when the agents call. You can enter and change the number of bedrooms, square feet, and other factors as often as you want. You can set your "favorites" so that they system will keep working for you AFTER you log off. When a new home posts, matching your criteria, Homefinders Club will email YOU! You will know before 90% of the agents in San Diego.
Then when you find that dream home, one click will put your agent to work negotiation the price and another click will put your mortgage broker to work pre-qualifying your loan for the exact house you want.
Shop at lunch at work; shop at night in your PJ's (or nothing at all!!); any time you want to look at Real Estate, or shop Mortgages for a Refinance, HFC is always there waiting for you!! And remember ... IT'S FREEEEE !!!
Tell your friends to sign up; tell your neighbors to sign up; tell all your relatives to sign up!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Surfing a Turbulent Economy ... the Markets Up and Mortgage Rates are Down!

Have we hit bottom yet??? This is the question I am most often asked. Well it depends on your point of view. If you live in the more exclusive communities, I believe the answer is yes. If you live in the moderate to lower income communities ... maybe not yet.
But the market has rallied, the Fed did lower the rate and mortgages have followed suit and are down. For current mortgage rates go to Pink Flamingo Mortgage and see today's low rates.
In San Diego, the higher end communities have held steady. Some have even seen values rise a little. But other pockets in San Diego are down. Particularly the Downtown condo market. (Who told them to bring thousands of condo online all at the same time???) So where you live will influence how you see today's economy.
The Stock Market finished above 14,000 again, and looks like it will hold this time. But the Fed should look at another 1/4 to 1/2 point reduction in the Fed Rate to shore up this infant rally. Foreign markets have continued to drop rates and this has caused a weakening of the dollar. Good if you are an exporter, not good for the rest of us.
If the Fed helps us out a little more, this rally could start to turn the corner. Cheaper money will allow the banks to fund new housing starts with better mortgage rates. As sales pick up, value will begin to solidify and eventually start to rise. We have been through it before, but it never feels good while your in the middle of an economic stall.
The Presidential election should be good for the economy and rates. Incumbents like to see the economy growing, or else they might get tossed! So we will see what the future brings.