Johnson Ranch Open Space

The Central Coast offers an abundance of outdoor opportunities.  Located at the intersection of South Higuera and Ontario Road, Johnson Ranch is easily accessible to trail enthusiasts.  Covering 242 acres, the 3.5 mile loop is of moderate difficulty, attracting runners, hikers, mountain bikers, as well as the occasional unicyclist…can’t imagine navigating the terrain on a unicycle, yet the folks who do make it look easy!  It is a well-maintained, fun trail with rolling hills and beautiful views.  If you take a few minutes to read the sign posted at the base of the trail, you will learn about the history of the property along with information about the diverse population of wildlife. Aside from cows grazing, I’ve seen snakes, lizards, hawks, deer, foxes, and once upon a time ago, a family of wild boar.  I’ve attached a topography map showing the course.  Experience it clockwise or counter-clockwise, it’s a different experience each time.  Hope to see you on the trail!




“The Bottom Has Been Set!”

After returning from Sacramento earlier this month to attend the (CAR) California Association of Realtors business meetings, there has been a lingering trend that has emerged throughout not only San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast, but seemingly the vast majority of the state. “The Bottom Has Been Set” was the primary theme of the presentation given by Mr. Joel Singer, the CEO and Executive Vice President of CAR, one of the largest state trade organizations in America.

The combination of record low interest rates, increasing affordability, growing consumer confidence, and the declining inventory of homes for sale have been the primary drivers of the current shift in the real estate market we are experiencing today. Entry level buyers are now facing more competition that ever for the shrinking supply of the available homes. Sellers in most market segments that price their homes aggressively are receiving multiple offers in the first week. In some extreme instances buyers are up against as many as 40 other offers for a single home.

Based on the fundamental economic model of price determination of goods in the market, if demand remains constant while the supply decreases, this will lead to a higher equilibrium price. The inverse being true when there exists a glutton or oversupply of goods without sufficient demand, ultimately bringing the equilibrium price down. That being said, if the current climate in the Real Estate market continues we will see upward pressure being put on prices resulting in the much needed steps to recovery and ultimately see legitimate appreciation in values.

If you are looking to buy or sell in this market it is in your best interests to hire an active, professional Realtor to enure your ultimate success. Call us today and experience the difference!

You can also find Renier on YouTube Facebook Twitter

Keep up on your Credit

Solid credit has always been essential when applying for a home mortgage. Today it’s even more critical as banks continue to tighten their requirements. A low credit score doesn’t mean you won’t qualify, but it does mean you won’t get the best rate. According to, someone with a credit score of  720 may expect a rate of 3.7% on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage while the same mortgage for someone with a score under 650 could result in a 5.2% rate. That translates to a payment hundreds of dollars higher each month. If you do have a few kinks in your credit, don’t despair, there are steps you can take to improve your score. The process may take a few months to a year so start working on it now.

Start by obtaining your free annual credit reports at then identify what needs to be improved. There are great resources available to help you with this such as counseling courses through the  Department of Housing and Urban Developement.

According to FICO, the primary factor in your credit score is your payment history which makes up 35 percent of the score. That is followed closely by the amount owed which comprises 30 percent of your total credit score. I was surprised to learn that paying off debt that is already in default won’t help your score as much as paying off debt in good standing. Late payments seem to be the credit kiss-of-death.

There are lots of little tips and tricks to give your credit score a few point boost. One being to register online at Among other things, registering with the site will eliminate pre-approved credit cards from filling your mailbox.

The bottom line is, keeping your credit score up will give you the best opportunity at attaining the most house for your money.

Mortgage Rate Update – May 28

Last week, the three major stock indexes had their best weeks of the month, despite the fact the Dow (-74.92 points), S&P 500 (-2.86 points) and Nasdaq (-1.85 points) all dropped on Friday. Weekly gains were small and did little to reassure traders during what is on pace to be the worst month sine 2010. The markets have their eyes fixed on Europe: the Greek political situation and European debt. The next date to monitor will be the June 17 elections in Greece. As discussed in previous weeks, the elections could bring in candidates that oppose the austerity measures agreed upon by Greece in its debt deal with the EU. Should these candidates roll back the austerity measures, it is possible Greece could ultimately withdraw from the Euro.

Here in the US, we saw a number of positive economic indicators last week, but not good enough to spark markets that are severely dampened by European debt. Following is a summary of the top indicators from last week (as seen in our Market News blog):

– Existing home sales increased in April (3.4 percent) up from March (2.8 percent drop).

– The median sales price of existing home sales in April rose 10 percent year-over-year. This rise is likely a reflection of fewer discounted, distressed home sales to investors.

– Refinance applications rose 3.8 percent last week, and purchase applications dropped 3.0 percent.

– New home sales rose 3.3 percent in April.

– Jobless claims retreated, bringing the four week average down to 370,000, which is close to March lows.

In response to concerns about the stability of the Euro Zone, the dollar has gained strength against the Euro and the US bond market has been very busy. Interest rates remain at record lows, after no change week-over-week. We are advertising our 30-year fixed at 3.5 percent (3.551 percent APR) and the 15-year fixed at 2.750 percent (2.917 percent APR). See HERE for more rates.

Memorial Day Weekend on the Central Coast

Memorial Day weekend is always a busy weekend here on the central coast. Our campgrounds get full, vacation houses are booked months in advance and hotels burn the neon NO VACCANCY lights. These weekends always remind me of how lucky we are to live here. We live where people vacation! With that being said and I thought I would share with you some cool places you might want to check out if you are one of our lucky visitors. I know most people prefer to relax, but if you are anything like me, you want to explore.

There are lots great hikes and trails to ride your mountain bikes on but I will only share a couple for now. If you have never been to Montana De Oro, then now is your chance. The main trail has to be my favorite. The trail takes you along the bluffs with breathtaking views the whole way. If you like bring along a picnic lunch with you, there are benches at the end of the trail or you can picnic on one of the secluded beaches. Just be on the lookout for the trails down to the beach. The other trail I recommend would be Black Hill in Morro Bay. This is a shorter more strenuous trail but the view from the top is well worth it. You can see all of Los Osos, all of Morro Bay and out to Cayucos. Black Hill is located right behind the Morro Bay golf course. Trust me this trail won’t disappoint. If hiking is not what you are looking for then I suggest you get out on the bay. There are a few Kayak rental shops in Morro Bay and depending on the weather they might be quite busy. I suggest you call ahead and reserve a spot. The earlier the better if you want to get bay as smooth as it can be. Another great way to get out on the bay is an SUP. That’s right SUP; it stands for Stand Up Paddle board. Check out Central Coast Stand Up Paddle for details on rentals. You can find links the website below.

While you are here make sure you check some of our cool local shops. One spot I think everyone should check out at least once is the Forever Stoked Gallery on Quintana in Morro Bay. All the art is done by local artist that used to sell all their products in local surf shops until finally opening their own gallery earlier this year. Once there you will find amazing art work and all around great people. One other great local shop to check out would be Azhiaziam. The company has been getting national notoriety in the surf world but it all started right here in Morro Bay. They have a new shop right on the embarcadero. I will post a link to their website as well.

All in all I hope you everyone enjoys there stay here on the central coast whether it is temporary or permanent. I want everyone to remember this weekend that without our Soldiers past and present that fight for our freedom everyday none of these wonderful experiences would be possible. Say Thank You to our Vets this weekend and enjoy this wonderful land we call home. Thank You to all the Troops out there! Happy Memorial Day!!


They’re Back – Multiple Offers….Not Again?

Multiple Offers are back!  The Keith Byrd Team agents at Patterson Realty meet every Tuesday to discuss the current market conditions, rates, new listings, and sales.  One point highlighted by each agent was that our client’s have been out bid on multiple properties.  Not just one time but, several times.  This makes for a discouraged and frustrated client.  So, what’s changed?  SLO county inventory is low, rates are low, and buyer confidence is up.  Therefore, we are taking the time to educate our clients on the necessary steps to be successful in this market. If you’re wanting to get in to this real estate market, it’s important take the readiness steps:

1.  Get yourself pre-approved – a pre-qual letter. 2. Know your budget.  3. Select one agent to represent you. 4. Be prepared to bid higher than the asking price. 5. Be decisive – if you hesitate, you’ll miss the opportunity for a specific property.

San Luis Obispo County Rate Update – May 21

Last week, we discussed the European debt situation, and how it could touch the U.S. economy. One week later, uncertainty about European debt is weighing notably on markets. Since we reported that the Dow hit its highest level since 2007 on May 1, it has fallen nearly 1,000 points. The culprit for this volatility is partially uncertainty about Europe, but the drop has been bolstered by lukewarm U.S. economic indicators (sluggish employment and certain manufacturing reports). When I asked Dan Podesto (co-owner and host of our KVEC radio show Mortgage Matters) about all of this, he responded:

“Sure, data hasn’t shown huge amounts of growth, but it is still growth. I try to remind people that the economy is like a large ship, and it requires time and effort to change directions. A large ship doesn’t bank immediately, and neither does a $16 trillion dollar economy. The news is still positive, if slow, growth. Now is not the time to panic.”

In response to slumping stocks, the bond market has shot up, bond yields have dropped, and interest rates fell. Last week, the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield closed at 1.706 percent, the lowest on record, which spurred interest rates on to new record lows.

I looked back through our website archives to find what we wrote about the European debt issue in the past, and I found this quote from Jason Van Dyke’s article published on January 19, 2012

“Interest rates are also getting some help with all of the financial turmoil we have been seeing coming out of Europe the last few months. As unsettling financial news comes out of Europe, investors in the U.S. get a bit nervous about their investments. And as investors get nervous about their riskier stocks, they move some of their money into safer bond investments, bringing bond prices up and dropping yields. When bond prices increase, interest rates decrease.”

I could have simply copied this paragraph and used it for today. Five months later, the market is still dealing with the uncertain European debt situation, but remember that the stock market can be too reactionary, and it also tends to make the biggest headlines. Big drops from the Dow due to concern about Europe is not the kind of information to use when forming opinions about the U.S. economy. What we do know for certain is this: job growth continues to be positive, manufacturing is strong, retail sales are still moving upward, and the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is still on pace for 2.0 percent growth. We are even speculating that the housing market could soon turn around (See: Why home prices might be nearing an improvement). We are not in a recession and are still moving through a slow, steady recovery.  

Over the past week, the 30-year fixed (3.500 percent, 3.551 percent APR) and the 30-year fixed high balance (3.625 percent, 3.700 percent APR) both logged improvement of between 3/8 and 4/8 of a point, which dropped the APR on already record low levels. The 30-year FHA (3.500 percent, 4.347 percent APR) and 30-year VA (3.500 percent, 3.515 percent APR) also dropped. The 15-year fixed remained at last week levels (2.750 percent, 2.917 percent APR), but keep in mind these were already at record lows. The refinance window is open for thousands in savings. Give us a call for a free, quick and easy conversation about your finances – 805.543.LOAN.


The Ongoing Dredging Project….  The Army Corp of Engineers dredging boat- The Yoquina- is back for a bit more work.  For the moment- it is docked at our pier-

The mouth of the Morro Bay harbor requires periodic dredging to maintain a seafloor deep enough for semi- large vessels to be able to safely enter our harbor.   In late 2009-2010, we had the full dredging project underway for numerous months.  Sand and silt from the mouth of the harbor was dredged up and piped onto the beaches just north of Morro Rock. The beaches were re-built while clearing the mouth of the harbor. Prior to the 2010 dredging project, the last major dredging project was in 2001.



Great San Luis Obispo Salon Experience

Let’s be honest, after 8 hours in a desk chair, day after day, your back can really start to hurt. Personally, I’ve been having back pain for a while, but didn’t know what to do about it.

I finally decided to do something about it, and scheduled an appointment for a massage at Kim & Co. Salon in San Luis Obispo. Their massage therapist, Jason Knox, was so professional and excellent at what he does. He was able to target every muscle in my back that was hurting, and I left feeling amazing! Whether you are looking for a massage therapist to see on a regular basis, or someone to see while vacationing here on the Central Coast, I highly recommend Jason. You can contact the salon at 805-541-5424 to schedule an appointment.

(The one hour massage was $70, which is a bargain for this area, and they were able to get me in on the same day that I called!)

More than eye candy

These beauties are eye catching … and every bit as delicious! Hayashi Fruit & Vegetable Stand doesn’t look like much from the road, but it is brimming with the BEST strawberries on the Central Coast!  Not to mention, they have a vast selection of fruits, veggies, honey, jams, flowers, candy, and other treats.  Located on Highway 1, this is definately an Oceano perk!

Hayashi Fruit & Vegetable Stand, 2876 Cienaga St, Oceano, CA  93445,  (805) 489-3440