Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Tucked Away Wonder--Shadow Hill Park (Santee Parks Part 8)

This eastern Santee park is tucked away in the Shadow Hills neighborhood off Woodside Road on the east side of Highway 67. It is located, off of Woodside Road, at 9161 Shadow Hill Road, between the newer Black Horse Estates and the Sky Ranch subdivisions.

The Shadow Hill Park, like many in Santee, features benches where you can just sit and enjoy the sunshine on a warm day or rest under the shade of a tree. Young children race about the large playground equipment. For the adults and teens, there is basket ball and tennis courts. People can barbecue on grills, plan parties under the covered gazebo. or just share a sack lunch on a picnic bench. Air jumps are also permitted with plenty of green space for children to run and play.

You will find a small bridge leading to a set of benches and a few trails to explore. Time to get away and enjoy another one of the Free Santee Parks.

For more information go to the Santee City website or for more information about other Santee Parks see my blog series on Talkin Real Estate.

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (619)258-8585 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stroll Down Mast Park West Trail (Santee Parks Part 7)

One of the newest trails in Santee opened in May 2011. It is an extension of Mast Park. The Trail head is a half-mile-long located just south of Carlton Oaks Boulevard just off of Carlton Hills Boulevard.

You can access the trail on the west side of Carlton Hills Boulevard or you can enter park the Mast Park west end parking and walk under the bridge where the Boy Scout Troup 51 has painted several nature murals leading you to the trail entrance.

The finely fenced walking trail weaves through a thickly wooded area that leads to a shaded bench area where you can rest, or just to enjoy a veiw of a river pond where ducks wade and feed off the natural wildlife.

The trail ends at Carlton Oaks Golf Course, where one day there is hope to extend the trail. In the future, Santee,San Diego and the San Diego River Conservancy hope to create a system of trails for bicycle and pedestrian corridors, along both sides of the river from the East County to the rest of San Diego.

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Rock Park--West Santee Neighborhood Park (Santee Parks Part 6)

If you live in the west end of Santee, you will want to visit this five-acre neighborhood park with entrances located off Mesa & Prospect and also on Arlette St. adjacent to Chet F. Harritt Elementary School. Not only does this Santee Park offers lots of fun activity areas including basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, it has gazebo picnic benches, grills, two playgrounds and an open green space.

The park like many of the Santee Parks, it is dog friendly with special time for off leash playtime: Monday through Friday, dawn to 9:00 a.m.
The park is also the home of the City’s summer day camp. A modular building (CSD-1) in the northwest corner of the park has served as the recreation program classroom.

One of the other exciting activities, that many of the Santee Parks permit, are Air Jumps.

Before or at the end of you visit to this park, you will want to hike on one of the Trailheads to the Mission Trails Regional Park located next to the park .

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Friday, October 21, 2011

Woodglen Vista Park, a Neighborhood Park Geared to All Ages (Santee Parks Part 5)

When I look back over the years of living in Santee, my family has spent many hours at the Woodglen Vista Park, located at 10250 Woodglen Vista Drive, Santee, CA 92071, just behind Cajon Park Elementary. As toddlers and young children, my sons romped around on the playground equipment and enjoyed exploring the large lush green areas and trees.

As my sons grew older, we played games of tennis on the two courts; they played friendly games of basketball on the full size basketball court; and in the spring, they practiced or played on the baseball/softball field.

In their adolescence and teen years, when they took to biking and skateboarding, they spent many hours doing their flips and tricks in the Skate and BMX Park.

We celebrated many family birthdays under the large picnic pavilion. On the weekends and during the summer, people enjoy grilling on the barbecues preparing meals to enjoy on the picnic tables.

Recently, the park fenced off an area where owners can relax in chairs and watch their dogs run free off their leashes.

While there is a lot of activity at this park, it is spread out over 10 acres allowing for even people looking for solitude to find it. This is a great neighborhood park to visit and enjoy some time with one another or by yourself.

For more information about the park, visit Woodglen Vista Park.

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Santee Lakes an Outdoor Heaven & Fun Run September 24th (Santee Parks Part 4)

If you are looking for a tranquil place to fish or a place to enjoy some quality family time, you need look no further for an outdoor heaven.

Fifty years ago Padre Dam Municipal Water District created the popular 190 acre Santee Lakes by recycling waste water into seven lakes. The focus of the Lakes is Recreation, Restoration, and Re-investment.

Besides fishing, where you only need a low cost fishing permit for the day, Santee Lakes has a menu of outdoor opportunities such as boat rentals including row boats, kayaks, canoes, peddle boats; Camping with 300 full hookup RV campsites and the recent addition of 10 cabins on or near the lake; picnic areas for large and small groups; playgrounds; and even a Sensory Gardens for the sight impaired. Please see the Santee Lake website for more information.

You won't want to miss the second annual Lap the Lakes 5K Run/Walk and 1/2 mile Jr Fun Run on Saturday September 24,2011, hosted by the Santee Lakes Foundation. For more details go to the Santee Lakes Website for details.

If you haven't visited this haven for outdoor activities, you will need to do it today. Even if you just take a stroll or feed the ducks.

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mast Park a Hidden Neighborhood Jewel (Santee Parks Part 3)

This park is located at 9125 Carlton Hills Blvd, Santee, CA . The park entrance is just behind the Carlton Oaks Plaza business center and Santee Llibrary at the corner of Carlton Hills Boulevard and Carlton Oaks Boulevard. The park is open dawn to dusk and features a large playground, a basketball court, an extensive trail system, a sand volleyball court and an equestrian trail.

At first you might be concerned about what looks like a small parking lot, but keep driving and you will find more parking below the main lot.
On my recent visit, I discovered that the park now has a fenced off-leash dog area where dogs can romp freely.
Besides walking along the natural habitat areas and extensive trail system surrounding the park; in the past, I have used the park for birthday picnics. We celebrated on picnic tables under sheltered gazebos with restrooms nearby. The park offers plenty of trees and green areas as well Barbecue Grills for hot dogs. If the play equipment and a basketball court aren’t enough, Air Jumps are also permitted.

A delightful park to visit. For more information on this park and others visit Santee Parks.

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cool Off at the Santee Aquatics Center (Santee Parks Part 2)

Children bored with summer? Need some low impact aerobic exercise? But don’t have a pool. The City of Santee has joined with the Cameron Family YMCA to offer year round swimming and pool activities to the general public, as well as the YMCA members.

For a small fee, the general public can enjoy the Santee Aquatics Center that has a 25 meter by 25 yard training pool, an activity pool with a play structure, water slide, water exercise area, and locker rooms.

For those like myself, who have an aversion to sweat exercise, you can enjoy a good aerobic workout in the Water Exercise classes, or just swim laps. The lap pools are separate from the water structure and slides.

Families with children can enjoy hours of splashing and playing on the slide and the water structure. Children under age 7 must have an adult in the water. Maximum two children to one adult.

You can't miss the colorful Santee Aquatics Center located at the Cameron Family YMCA, 10123 Riverwalk Dr., Santee, just east of Cuyamaca St. You will want to visit the Santee City’s website to see the current schedules.

For more information about programs offer at the Cameron Family YMCA and City of Santee Aquatics Center call (619) 449-9622 .

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mission Trails Regional Park—Urban Nature Escape (Santee Parks Part 1)

When buying a home, schools and parks are always important. Santee has a number of parks that I would like to share. This is the first part of a ten part series on the parks of Santee.

While Mission Trails Regional Park is not truly a Santee City Park, a portion of the nearly 5,800 acre park is located at the west end of Santee located off Mission Gorge and Father Junipero Trail and is one of my favorite parks to visit.

Centrally located, Mission Trails Regional Park provides a quick, natural escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Mission Trails Regional Park has been called the third Jewel in the City of San Diego Park System.

In particular, this park is one that I often get calls from buyers searching for homes in the area. People love to stroll through the trees, perhaps watch a few birds. Others like to hike along the 40 miles of trails that include open space and rugged hills, including Cowles Mountain. Others bike across the Grassland trails. Families love to visit the Old Mission Dam, and watch the waterfall, cross the river bridge or enjoy a picnic lunch. Mission Trails Regional Park has something to offer everyone, including Fido on a leash.

Opened in 1974, Mission Trails Regional Park has become one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Originally used by the Kumeyaay, the park is the site of the Old Mission Dam, built to store water for the Mission San Diego de Alcala.

Campers visit Kumeyaay Lake, for a weekend of primitive camping with nature, where they might see the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo bird.

You will want to visit the state-of-the-art Visitor & Interpretive numerous informative hikes Center, For more information and Trail and Habitat maps visit .

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Slippery Slope of Dual Agency

Many buyers deliberate seek out the agent selling the home to represent them. They believe they have a better chance of getting their offer accepted at a better price and terms. Some first time home buyers don't understand that they don't pay for their representation, the seller normally pays the commission. But is it a wise decision? While many agents can do dual agency fairly, it is often like being the divorce lawyer for both parties.

Representing both sides is legal in California, and the California Association of Realtors tries to educate buyer and sellers with the Agency Disclosure that defines the agencies. However, Dual Agency can be a slippery slope and not always in the best interest of both parties. In comparison to separate representation, dual agency involves a higher number of law suits.

Conflict of Interest. While it is legal, the Agent's interest may be the priority. Normally the listing agent splits the commission with the buyer's agent. In the case of dual agency, all of the commission goes to the listing agent. Some sellers will try to negate this by negotiating a lower commission for a dual agency situation, but it is worth the risk of stepping over the regulated agency boundaries.

In most cases, the transaction is also easier for the agent.  They spend less time calling and emailing, communicating and negotiating with another agent, who is busy and can never be reached. Also, the agent spends less time faxing or scanning forms to be signed by the other party.

Confidentiality. Since the agent is representing both sides and knows everything about both parties, confidentiality can be hard to maintain. For example, I had buyers once who found out they were expecting and reconsidering their decision to buy a two bedroom, when their adolescent would have to sharing a room with the baby. At the same time, the excited sellers were prematurely heading to another state to search for a new home.

Less Satisfied. Often both parties feel like the other party got a better deal. Even though the agent strives to please both parties, some little nagging devil sits on their shoulder whispering that the agent favored the other party and "they got a better deal."

So having your agent represent both sides, may not always be in your best interest.

Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro, GRI®, SFR
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can't Eat Your House: Buying After a Short Sale

With the economy the way it is today, a lot of people are getting in the mindset of why try to pay the mortgage when you are losing the house anyways. For some people this may be true. You can't eat your house.

However, for those who are able to keep up your house payments and undergo a short sale, your credit will not suffer as much and you will be able to buy another house sooner.

While the average short sale seller has to wait 2-3 years to buy another home, there are some home loans out there for certain sellers, who can buy immediately based on the criteria below:

• have not missed a house payment
• can prove steady employment for the last 2 years
• have a credit score at least 640

When I looked at these criteria, I wondered who might qualify since most banks require the short sale sellers to have legitimate financial hardship to qualify for a short sale. Financial hardships normally include job loss, divorce, unaffordable rising interest rates, job relocations, health problems, etc..

However, there may be circumstances where some people who are still making their house payments such as in the case of a job relocation or going through a separation or divorce, where financial hardship is imminent, but they still manage to squeak by.

For those who fall under the criteria above, there is now an alternative home loan program to consider after rolling over one those bumps in life. For more information contact me.

--Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct: (619)258-8585