March 2014

San Diego’s Open Space Canyon Program and Parks

P1030353San Diego is home to over 340 parks found in our neighborhoods and near our beaches and throughout our inland areas. Here is a map of the traditional parks in San Diego – discover one close to you that you haven’t found yet! This interactive map seems to open best in Internet Explorer (and hey, that’s a lot of green dots.)

And here is a great map that falls under the jurisdiction of the COUNTY of San Diego and its parks – different from the city’s parks.

But beyond that, San Diego is very well known for a canyon around just about every corner. San Diego has the “Open Space Canyon Program” which support the undeveloped natural open spaces of our canyons for citizens to explore and enjoy. The city supports the various “Friends of Canyons” groups throughout the area that are made up of community members who are deeply devoted to the preservation of these canyons.

My favorite canyon open space area is right behind my house: Rose Canyon. Although I am not an official “Friends of Rose Canyon” member, I support that group for all the work they do in Rose Canyon to keep is fresh, clean, presentable and walkable. Rose Canyon is one of the greatest things going, just a few feet from my house. Completely unfenced, I can walk from my front door to an area that is a panoramic vista point of the whole canyon, then walk down an easy-to-navigate hill into the canyon itself. There, I have seen a family of skunks with the mother skunk in front and all her babies waddling behind her — single file. I have seen all kinds of unique birds, animals, critters and almost nothing foreign that doesn’t belong down there. It’s here where the coyotes live that I see walking behind my parked car once or twice a year. But hey, it’s OK — they came first (my house was built in 1976, when most of the surrounding properties were building on the southern edge of Rose Canyon).

A map of Rose Canyon is here. Park on Arriba Street just east of Camino Tranquilo, then get out of your car and walk straight south through a small green grass area, into an area that expands into a great field of wood chips. Keep going. You’ll see the canyon immediately in front of you. From the panoramic vista point, head left or right to go down the hill and head into the canyon to walk. I never walk alone anywhere, so bring a friend and some water and yield to nature which calls this area home. Camino Tranquilo is not shown on the map I included, but it’s on every city map and it is very close to the starting corner labeled Arriba Street. Once you see the green grass area, you’re where you want to start walking.

What’s the closest canyon to your house? Have you explored it? Here is a map of all canyons, and here is a little more information on the San Diego Open Space Canyon Program.

As always, Blend Real Estate is here to help you find or sell a home near any park or canyon. We work for you. How can we help?

Kimberly Dotseth, broker/owner

Blend Real Estate

(858) 452-2599

P.S. Today’s post photo was taken on a very cold and dark Fourth of July evening 2013 at a small park up above the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where you can park for free and throw a blanket down to watch the fireworks over La Jolla Cove.

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Farmer’s Markets in San Diego County

P1030623A quick update on the Farmer’s Markets lists for San Diego County: this seems to be THE definitive list of all farmer’s markets in San Diego, finally in one place.

The list is organized by the day of the week, then by the particular neighborhood market open on that day. Each location has its own click-able link, so studying them, enjoy and visit often!

Remember to bring: 1) cash, 2) small bills, 3) a couple dollars worth of coins, 4) your own bags and 5) some hand wipes in the car.

Some are more “farmer-y” than others. Some are more commerce with added things like jewelry and kitchen items (like UTC). All will have special bargains.

My favorite farmer’s stand is not on this list since it’s not really a free flowing market. If you’re ever taking Del Dios Highway from Rancho Santa Fe, heading east into Escondido and parts beyond, be sure to stop at the Lemon Twist Farm Stand at 8175 Del Dios Highway, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. Phone (858) 756-0826. This place is small but incredible and highly reliable. Everything there is outstanding, particularly tomatoes, apples and strawberries. It’s all grand! I always stop by if I am in the area and I know that night’s dinner will probably include a Caprese salad.

Kimberly Dotseth, broker/owner

Blend Real Estate

(858) 452-2599

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NEW LISTING: Rancho San Diego House For Sale ~ 1650 Emerald Point Court (Sold June 17, 2014)

1650 Emerald Point Court NOW FOR SALE 1650 Emerald Point Court
Asking price: $649,000
OPEN HOUSE Saturday, March 22, 2014, 1 – 4 PM

Open House
Market Stats
Single Family Home
Main Features
5 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
Interior: 2,897 sqft
Lot: 10,739 sqft
1650 Emerald Point Court
El Cajon, CA 92019

Kerry Garnett Kerry Garnett

Blend Real Estate
(858) 268-4733

Listed by: Blend Real Estate, Kerry Garnett

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Real Estate Photography – Making It Better

DSC_0032At Blend Real Estate, we pride ourselves on what we like to call nearly exquisite real estate photography, the pride and joy of — me. Before I was a real estate broker/owner, I was in commercial real estate but equal to that was my involvement in the arts. My background is layered and complicated in the arts in the most fun way: art student, photography student, darkroom worker, photography museum docent for twenty-years. College lecturer on how to get your art into galleries. Art collector. Then the deepest vortex of them all, fine art photography gallery owner & curator in the 1990s and into the 2000s as a private photo dealer. The gallery was the most fun (Red Venus Gallery in Little Italy in San Diego), and it was another outlet for me to expand upon my love of photography.

As the real estate business grew, so did my photography expansion. In my Instagram account, part of my bio is “camera buyer.” That is putting it mildly.

To have my own brokerage AND high-end photography equipment for my brokerage’s listings is about as cool as it gets for me. That’s the background.

Bringing us back to the topic of real estate photos now, we tend to be extremely compulsive. Count on upwards of 200 photos taken of your home.

We (well, I) insist on complete privacy. No one can be in the home while I am working, so I am free to be absolutely quiet and move things around and make extreme mental notes as to where it all went – then put it back precisely.

The photos are taken with a Nikon D5000 SLR camera body, a Tamron 10-24mm ultra wide angle lens and occasionally a Nikor 50mm lens. The other equipment is a large boom flash, a light diffuser which is mandatory, tripod and other various goodies too geeky to explain.

The photos are edited in Google’s free photo software, Picasa. When the discussion comes around to “What’s your favorite real estate tool,” people expect me to say a phone or iPad or computer or …. just anything but Picasa. But Picasa my answer. My business is far less happy and perfect without it.

We ask homeowners to make the house as clean as possible. When we enter (and I may have one person helping me), the biggest obstacle is seeing things that buyers don’t need to see in the finished product. So here’s what we typically remove from the view shot:

  • Everything on every counter. Every single thing.
  • Kleenex and all paper products
  • Hand soap
  • Trash cans
  • Often all bath towels unless brand new
  • Shoes
  • Shoe mats
  • Anything on tables
  • Remotes
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sofa decorations
  • Coffee table…everything goes
  • Knick-knacks
  • Books that aren’t already shelved. Shelves books will be fussed at in detail to make sure they’re perfect.
  • Pets – they tend to photo bomb every photo so they either are in every photo, or they’re with the homeowner on an outing. I have had it happen both ways.

Every single light in the house is turned on, including appliance lights.

Believe it or not, this all takes a lot of time and we don’t expect home owners to do any of this, as it’s unnatural. So we need about three hours to photograph a home that is upwards of 2,000 square feet. More house; more time. I always need at least three hours alone, even on a smaller place.

(Exception to the rules above: tenant-occupied properties. There, we only touch the trash and some small basics. We do NOT touch their belongings. The photo for this post was from a tenant-occupied listing.)

We will move everything humanly possible in a backyard, not limited to: basketball hoops if portable, toys, broken anything, trip hazards, trash, lawn items, mowers, — you get it.

The most amazing thing nature can gift me with in a photo shoot is sunlight. Streaks of sun in a window are a GIFT and I take it. Scheduled photo shoots around the best time of the day in the house is Question 1.

“When does the sun shine in your house best?” You’ll know the answer.

It’s hard to admit this, but I know how to make a house look better than it really looks in person. You’ll have to deal with that, buyers. My job is to make a property look amazing and I am going to spend hours compulsively working on this. If by some outside chance you’re a little disappointed when you get to the home because the photos were too good (you never know), then I am happy you came to tour the property.

I work for my sellers and believe me, they love my photos. If the photos generate interest, we’re halfway there. The language of the listing online is another artform that I shall save for another post, but they go hand-in-hand.

After a photo shoot, I will have notes for the sellers on little things I insist upon for this home during the listing. I will save those juicy little details for another post too, but they’re friendly and helpful and make a WORLD of difference in a buyer’s eyes. Some things are weird, but all are critical.

What can you do to help me on the day of photography? Besides keeping your house clean and as picked up as possible, just let me work in peace, so I can turn out a product that we’re both proud of.

No one loves real estate and photography more than me. I love it when my worlds collide. With very few exceptions, our listings sell in 6 – 13 days and I think the photography is why. Where’s my next assignment for real estate pictures in San Diego?



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