Lawnmower Trade-In Event | May 9, 2015

2015_Lawnmower Trade-in Flyer16th Annual Lawnmower Trade-In Event

County Supervisor Ron Roberts and the Air Pollution Control District invite you to Save Green, Be Green, While Cutting Green!

The 16th Annual Lawnmower Trade-In Event, taking place May 9, 2015 at 8AM at Qualcomm Stadium, is a great opportunity to trade-in old gas-powered lawnmowers for a new rechargeable electric lawnmower at a very low cost of $99.99 + tax. These new lawnmowers normally cost approximately $420, so this is an excellent deal!

For more information, click the image to view/download a PDF or visit or call 619.531.5544.

Green Scene: What’s smarter, buying or leasing solar panels?

Energy costs seem to be steadily on the solar panels on roof of houserise. Concurrently, due to increasing marketing and decreasing installation costs, photovoltaic (PV) systems, or solar panels, are becoming more popular nationwide.

Depending on the neighborhood, one can easily see more homes of all sizes with roof-top solar panels. The benefits of solar panels are clear. Free energy from the sun, lower utility bills, and less dependence on public utility providers make solar panels hard to argue against.

Yet with the increasing popularity of solar panels, some homeowners, depending on how they acquired a PV system, are finding an unexpected obstacle when they go to sell their home, which can end up costing them money.

When homeowners consider installing solar panels, they generally have three options:

Purchase – Panels are bought outright, or financed.

Lease – Panels from the solar company, often with zero down payment, then a set monthly lease cost.

PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) – Similar to a lease, but with some money upfront, then a set electric rate.

There are benefits to a lease or PPA in that the homeowner does not have to worry about maintenance on the panels. Additionally, these options open up solar energy to many more homeowners who may not wish to purchase the panels.

When it comes to owning solar panels, there is evidence they increase the value of a home. A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluded, on average, each kilowatt of installed solar energy garners an estimated $5,900 premium in value at the time of sale.

With solar leases, however, some homeowners, at the time of sale, are finding their solar panels are costing them money and causing headaches. Like any lease, solar-leases are under contract for a specific amount of time. If the homeowner decides to sell, the home buyer must qualify on their own through the solar-lease provider.

Prospective buyers of homes with a solar-lease will need to have stellar credit. If they do qualify, but are financing the purchase of the home, the added cost of the lease may actually exceed the monthly amount their lender originally approved, thereby killing the deal. At that point, the home seller has the choice to either look for a new buyer, or lower the home’s price to make the deal work, as some homeowners are finding recently.

Despite the possible difficulties caused by a solar lease, they are not something a homeowner should fear. Unfortunately, many consumers are not being thoroughly educated about the pros and cons of purchasing versus leasing.

Solar is certainly an excellent tool to increase the energy efficiency of a home, however it is not the only tool. There are many options of varying degrees of complexity and investment available to a homeowner as well as rebates and incentives to offset costs.

It is crucial that someone considering installing solar educate themselves to find the system that works best for them.

Originally posted at

Taste of Mission Hills 2014 | San Diego, CA

Taste-of-Mission-Hills-2014The 3rd Annual Taste of Mission Hills will be taking place Tuesday, October 14, 2014 5-9PM.

This is a very exciting event currently featuring nineteen different venues in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. Each venue will be offering a ‘taste’ from their menu, which is a great way to try out a new restaurant in one of San Diego’s premier dining locales.

Tasters will also benefit from free trolley transportation provided by Old Town Trolley, which will run a continuous loop running along India St, West Washington St, Goldfinch St, and Ft. Stockton Dr. up to 9:30PM.


Advance sales are available at our office:

928 Ft. Stockton Dr., Ste. 217 San Diego, CA 92103

or at:

The Front Porch
928 Ft. Stockton Dr., Ste. 101 San Diego, CA 92103

Tickets can be purchased for $20 (cash only) at one of the above Ticket Sales Locations or $25 on the Day of the Event. Buy in advance to save!

Tickets can also be purchased online through Purchasing in advance and in person at one of the above locations will allow ticket holders the ability to avoid any waiting at Will Call.




  • Brooklyn Girl
  • Café Bleu
  • Cake- Your Local Bakery
  • El Indio
  • The Front Porch
  • Gelato Vero Café
  • Harley Gray Kitchen and Bar
  • Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria
  • Maison en Provence
  • Meshuggah Shack
  • The Patio on Goldfinch
  • The Red Door
  • Rubicon Deli
  • Saffron
  • Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe
  • Shakespeare Pub and Grille
  • Starlite
  • Venissimo Cheese
  • The Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge.
  • ‘Taste’ drink specials will be served too.


California State Will Impose Fines for Wasting Water

DroughtUnless you have been living under a rock–a very dry rock–you may have heard that California is currently experiencing a severe drought.  Different measures have been taken to conserve our valuable resource, but one of the most recent attempts to curb water waste was taken just last month by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Last month, the Board agreed to impose statewide fees of up to $500 for instances of water waste. In this case, they are trying to target urban outdoor water usage. The restrictions are for things like watering landscape to the point of water running off into the street or on the sidewalk, or washing a car with a hose without a shut-off nozzle.

From the language in the new emergency regulation, the Board seems to be leaving up the fines to the local agencies and not necessarily blanket the entire state with the same exact fine structure. This makes sense when considering that not every part of California is going to face the same exact water conservation challenges.

So before you water your yard, rinse off  your driveway, or wash your car, be sure to read up on the regulation so as to avoid a fine, but more importantly do your part to conserve water during this time.

[Image credit Flickr: 22746515@N02]

The Importance of a ‘Green’ MLS

California has a goal that all new home construction, by 2020, will be required to be Zero Net Energy (ZNE). There are many definitions as to what a ZNE building is, but the general consensus means that the building produces and consumes an equal amount of energy. This ambitious plan is just a few years away, and yet for existing home sales, many current Multiple Listing Services (MLS) do not have many property fields, if any at all, associated with certified green homes or homes with green features.

These green fields could include anything from a green home certification by a third party such as Build It Green or LEED, or they could include any number of easily recognized green features such as solar panels and gray water systems to less well known features like passive solar design or advanced framing techniques. Not familiar with some of those terms? That’s ok, because you are not alone.

In San Diego, REALTORS® have just a small handful of items in our MLS that we can select from to indicate a green feature of a home. For a potential home buyer searching or a REALTOR® trying to market their client’s home with green features, this makes the task incredibly difficult with so few tools. Searching for a home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths is easy, but what about a home with professionally air-sealed ducts for a family with an asthmatic child? Green features, after all, are not only about saving money and conserving resources; many can potentially impact the health of the inhabitants.

Referring back to the 2020 goal for all new residential construction to be ZNE, not having a wide range of green fields in the MLS now is setting ourselves up for a difficult transition, if not failure. There is an understandable lack of knowledge on both the consumer and industry levels as to what green features are and their correlating value. Personally, I love ‘green topics’ and have earned the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Green Designation, but I constantly am finding myself learning about products and systems that are new to me.

The information found in green fields in the MLS provide a solution by helping educate home buyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and appraisers, through familiarization with the terminology, features, and systems of a certified green home or a home with green features. Another important result will be the ability for the entire industry to track the value of these features. If an appraiser, who reports on the value of a home, looks at two comparable properties in the same neighborhood, but one sold for more due to its green features, then that is an important distinction.

To help further this solution, I am currently a member of the Green MLS Working Group, formed by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), comprising of REALTORS® like myself, lenders, home inspectors, contractors, and CSE staff. Together we are in the process of analyzing other MLSs, which have already implemented green features and compiling our own master list of fields we would like added to San Diego’s MLS. It is a step-by-step process to discuss the importance of a given field as related to the uniqueness of San Diego, while also being mindful of scenarios where a feature would need to be verified, and by whom, because any changes or additions must ultimately be vetted by the board of the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS®, (SDAR).

So, in conclusion, what can you do? Education is key:

  • If you are a home owner… Try learning one or two ways you can add a green feature to your home. CSE, or a NAR Green Designee are both great resources for this.
  • If you are a potential home buyer or seller that cares about this topic… I encourage you to seek out a real estate agent who is a NAR Green and are both great places to search.
  • If you are a real estate agent… Tell your local REALTOR® association you want green fields in your MLS. is an excellent place to find support to help in your own area.

As we move forward, many green features will turn from optional features to standard requirements. It is important to stay ahead of the curve by educating ourselves, which begins with access to basic information.

[Cross-posted to LinkedIn]

Charity Giving by Shopping on

Did you know that it is now possible to give to your charity of choice simply by shopping on  If you would like to donate to charity, but cannot always find the funds to do so, this is a great way to do so without spending anything extra. now has a feature called AmazonSmile, which donates a percentage of your qualifying purchases to your selected charity. logoThere is a very extensive list of charities to choose from, so chances are either your favorite charity will be an option, or if not, you’ll be able to find a cause you would like to support.  I love this idea and the fact that it can’t be any easier to donate by just buying items you might already be planning to buy.  The only caveat, is you have to shop from and not the regular link.

The following from Amazon’s website explains more about the program and how to use it:

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to AmazonSmile to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.

Can I change my charity?

Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”

What charities can I choose from?

You can choose from almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations.

What if my selected charity does not register to participate in the AmazonSmile program or becomes ineligible?

If an organization does not register to participate or becomes ineligible, you will have a chance to select a different organization or we will redistribute donations earned among other organizations receiving donations.

If I represent a charitable organization, how can I learn more about registering my organization for AmazonSmile?

Go to to learn how to register your organization to receive donations.

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations. Special terms and restrictions may apply. Please see the relevant promotion for complete details.

Can I receive a tax deduction for amounts donated from my purchases on AmazonSmile?

Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.

How can I learn more about AmazonSmile?

Please see complete AmazonSmile program details.