What’s the Best Neighborhood in San Diego?

What’s the Best Neighborhood in San Diego?

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in San Diego. After all, when you’re within driving distance of the beach and have seventy-degree weather all year long, you really can’t complain no matter where you end up. However, this pandemic helped Courtney and I realize just how much we love living in our own neighborhood, Torrey Highlands

In this video, we take you on a little tour of Torrey Highlands and what makes our neighborhood so great!

One of the best things about our neighborhood is the location. Torrey Highlands is located just off the 56 freeway in North County San Diego. We are just twelve to thirteen minutes from Torrey Pines State Beach and super close to the 56. The 56 freeway is kind of like the center of San Diego, it pretty much divides North County and South County. And we’re in between the 5 and 15 freeways, too, which gives you access to the airport and downtown on either freeway. Torrey Highlands is so central to everything San Diego has offer, it makes our neighborhood one of the best places to be in our opinion!

We also have this big grassy space in the middle of the neighborhood where people hold block parties for Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, etc. You can also have movie nights here in the park, birthday parties, and all kinds of things. Next to the park, there’s also a canyon which is so pretty and fun to explore.

Torrey Highlands is comprised of four separate neighborhoods. We have Cabrera, San Lorenza, Avalon Point and Montellano. To the west of us, we have Carmel Valley and to the east of us, we have Rancho Peñasquitos.

One reason we both chose to buy in this neighborhood is the school district. We’re in the Poway Unified School District, which is an excellent public school system. You can also choose which elementary school you want your kids to go to. You can either go to Willow Grove Elementary or Park Village Elementary. Courtney’s kids have gone to all the schools here so she can tell you about all of them. Just reach out if you have questions!

Another interesting fact about the little pocket of neighborhoods where we live is that it’s home to just one office building. That is Intuit TurboTax and they employ a lot of people here. It’s a really nice campus. They’ve got volleyball courts and basketball courts back there. It generally seems like a really nice place to work, plus you’ll have time to go home for lunch!

Another cool thing about our neighborhood that you don’t get everywhere in San Diego are the views. A bunch of the homes in our neighborhood, Avalon Point, Montellano, Cabrera, all have some really good views. On a clear day you can actually see the ocean in the distance, looking off toward Torrey Pines State Reserve.

The hiking and mountain biking trails nearby are one of my favorite things about this neighborhood. It’s very secluded, quiet, and beautiful in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon. The canyon encompasses over 4,000 acres and even features a waterfall! When you’re in the canyon, you can’t see your house or any buildings nearby, so it just feels like you’re out in the wilderness. You can bring your dogs out here, too, but keep them on a leash because people do come through on horseback.

Also, make sure you don’t go out at sunset because you can easily get lost in the dark back here. There are mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and rattlesnakes living in the canyon, so just be aware of them and be smart.

We hope you guys enjoyed that quick tour of our neighborhood here in San Diego. This was our last video of 2020 and we want to say thank you to everyone who’s watched, read, or subscribed to our YouTube channel and blog. We also want to say thank you to all the people we’ve helped buy or sell a home in 2020. Truly, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! We appreciate all of you. If you’re thinking of making a move this year, just reach out and let’s get started. Here’s to a much better 2021!

Should I Buy a House in San Diego Right Now?

Should I Buy a House in San Diego Right Now?

Today on Off the 56, I’m going to talk about the housing market here in San Diego. I know we talk a lot about living in San Diego, but I never really talk about the housing market here and what to expect when you’re trying to buy a home in San Diego County.

First off, we’re in the middle of a pandemic as you know. When it first happened, I expected the market to get quiet and for the first month or month and a half, it was that way. Nobody was really moving here, but about two months in, it went gangbusters. Everybody was trying to buy a home here in San Diego. The problem is, a lot of people didn’t really want to sell their home during the pandemic, so the supply of homes for sale just wasn’t keeping up with the demand of home buying. This brought home prices up considerably this year. You can check out this article from the San Diego Union-Tribune for more information about home price growth in 2020.

Currently, home prices are up 8% year-over-year and economists are projecting another 8% growth next year as the Fed has promised that they’re going to keep interest rates low until about 2023. One big reason why the home prices are going a little crazy right now in San Diego is because of the low rates. Click here to check out current interest rates on Bankrate.com as you might be reading this a little later than I recorded this video.

Another thing that’s going in the San Diego market is that there’s multiple offers on everything. My last eight buyers here in San Diego, seven of them had multiple offer situations, and all, but one of them had to go over asking price to get the home. If the price is right, a home here will probably sell very quickly and with a lot of offers. So, if you’re looking for home in San Diego, just be prepared for that!

Another big reason I think the housing market is pretty strong here is that people can now live wherever they want. Not everyone, but a lot of people have these remote jobs. I’ve had many people from Silicon Valley move down here, New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. If your job allows you to live wherever you want, then San Diego is a pretty good place! It’s not the cheapest place in the world obviously, but it’s cheaper than Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and a lot of those other big cities.

Now, I’m not the type of guy that’s going to convince people to try to buy a home. I do think it’s a pretty good time to buy a home if you’re willing to stay in your house for five or more years. If you’re looking to only be in a house for two to four years, I don’t think it’s a great time to buy honestly because I think for the next two years the prices probably will still go up. Around 2023 when the interest rates finally start to go up and the economy is moving well, I bet you’ll probably see a little flattening of prices or maybe a small decrease in prices. So, it really depends on your situation. If you’re looking for your home for the next ten to fifteen years while your kids are growing up, then it’s a great time to buy and take advantage of the super low interest rates.

If you’re looking for a few tips on how to get your offer accepted here or where to look for properties in San Diego, here are my three best tips:

  1. Take a look at properties that just come back on the market. Usually back on market properties, they’re not going to have five or ten offers on them so you might be able to swoop in and get one of those. Also, look for ones that have been on the market for thirty or more days. Those are also ones that you’re not going to be competing with ten to fifteen people over.
  • If you’re in the right financial situation, it might make sense to waive appraisals, contingencies, buy the home as-is, offer over list price, etc. However, I don’t really recommend doing any of those things unless you absolutely have to, and you fully understand what you’re doing. For a new first-time home buyer, I would not recommend this strategy.
  • Another tip when you’re putting offers on a property is to write a letter to the seller, introducing yourself and saying, ‘Thank you for entertaining my offer’, etc. It does help a little bit. People, especially if they’ve been in the house for a long time, it really helps them to put a little name to the offer. Sometimes it’s not always about the money. Sometimes people want the house to go to someone that can take care of this house and will really appreciate the house the same way that they did.

Those are just three tips that I would recommend. Obviously, there are other ways to do it and you need to see how it feels for your specific situation.

I’ll try to do these market updates every once in a while, just to give you a pulse of the market here while not boring you with a bunch of numbers. Hopefully this is helpful! If you’re planning on moving to San Diego or already live here and are shopping around, I’d love to help you find your next home!

Haunted Places in San Diego

Haunted Places in San Diego

Welcome back to Off the 56 in San Diego where we’re getting into the Halloween spirit! Today we’re going to talk about the most haunted places in San Diego!

First on our list is the Whaley House. The Whaley family came to San Diego in the 1800’s. Thomas Whaley was the head of the Whaley family. In San Diego, the family experienced a string of tragedies and a lot of death. As a result, their house in Old Town San Diego is said to be one of, if not the most haunted house, in the United States. The Whaley house is even on the National Registry of haunted houses, so it’s a museum you can go and walk around in, too.

One of the first ghosts ever spotted at the Whaley house was Yankee Jim, who was hanged in the house. Visitors have reported seeing several ghosts at the Whaley House, including Regis Philbin! He claims he saw a ghost and when he tried to shine a flashlight on it, it disappeared.

Over 100,000 people visit the Whaley house every year, making it a big San Diego tourist attraction. Be sure to check it out, especially around Halloween!

The next on our list is not an actual haunted house, but the house where the movie Paranormal Activity was filmed in San Diego about 5 minutes from where we live in Rancho Peñasquitos. The director of the movie got the idea because he found weird things happening in his house while he lived there. Fun fact: I actually almost bought this house back in 2015, not knowing it was the Paranormal Activity house! I’m glad I didn’t buy that house because I am terrified of ghosts!

Next on our list is the William Heath David House, which is the oldest structure in downtown San Diego. It’s said to be haunted as it was used as a hospital back in the Victorian times, and a lot of people died in there. Nothing better than a creepy, haunted hospital, right? About as scary as it gets! So now there’s a Victorian woman and a couple who appears in a gown and a suit. Maybe they’re dressed for a party? Ask them to join you for a cocktail!

Next up is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in Point Loma. It’s over 200 years old, and it is known to be haunted. People have heard heavy footsteps throughout the lighthouse, as well as moaning and heavy breathing. There’s a discrepancy though over who the ghost might be. It could be the lighthouse’s last keeper, or it could be Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first Spanish explorer to visit the west coast of the United States. I kind of like the idea that it’s the old lighthouse keeper though – he’s probably a friendly ghost trying to protect the sailboats.

Next on the list is the Elfin Forest, a recreational reserve in the Escondido area. This one sounds super spooky because it’s a whole haunted forest! There’s this white witch myth, about a woman whose child and husband got murdered there, and now she haunts the woods trying to find them or the person who killed them. It’s a little Blair Witch Project kind of, so that’s super spooky – at night it would be really creepy! Some people also leave items out there like creepy masks, spooky stuff hanging from the trees, fake burials, and other weird stuff. A man claims he found ancient petroglyphs around his home, too.

Next on our list is the Horton Grand Hotel, which was built in 1870. It’s known to be haunted by its previous guests. Guests today have reported flicking lights, doors opening and closing, and hearing heavy footsteps. There are actually a couple haunted hotels in San Diego like the Grant Hotel. Again in 1870 – those 1850’s-1870’s were not good times here!

Last on our list is the Hotel Del Coronado. I don’t think these are ghost stories as these are real. The hotel opened in 1888 – again, spooky times in San Diego. The most famous ghost that haunts the hotel is Kate Morgan. She was a young woman who checked into the hotel and five days later, they found her on an exterior staircase of the hotel facing the beach with a gunshot wound to the head. They thought it was self-inflicted, but some people say it wasn’t. Her spirit still hangs around her room, 3327. I’ve heard they actually change the room numbers, so people don’t know what room it is. Sneaky and smart, Hotel Del! We want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! Hopefully you enjoyed this tour of Haunted San Diego. If you guys are ever planning to move to San Diego, we’d love to help you find your next home! We promise it won’t be haunted (almost promise)!

Beer Garden in Poway

Beer Garden in Poway

Today on Off the 56 we’re in the city of Poway to interview the owners of the new Beer Garden called The Hop Stop. The owners, Mark and Rebecca Saldivar, are two locals that actually live in Poway,so we’re going to try some of the food, some of the beer, and see what it’s all about – so let’s take a look!

Mark Saldivar (MS): Three years ago, Rebecca and I were at the Great American Beer Festival, I just had this idea we should open up a tasting room, a small one I said. One thing led to another and here we are now three years later with an open business, serving the community. In the middle of COVID-19! Though there were a lot of roadblocks to get here.

Rebecca Saldivar (RS): I’m the beer girl, I’m trying to broaden the scope of beers in Poway. I’m always thinking of beers that I’ve heard are fantastic or beers that I know are just not in Poway to bring here. I keep mental notes of what I see at different places around here, so I make sure to pick something different.

Chase, our Kitchen Consultant, used to work with me when I was bartending over at the Cork and Craft. He left to open up his own consulting business, we snagged him, and we scored! He’s been fantastic and he kind of curated the menu for us. Mark had a really awesome idea of a chimichanga brat, and that’s been selling like crazy!

MS: All the sauces Chase makes are kind of incredible. That’s the key piece, they’re not just off the shelf, he makes a lot of these. I think that’s the one thing we wanted for the Hop Stop sauce, we wanted a sauce that makes people come back. We call that the “comeback” sauce, I think what we did, too, was we wanted menu items that would appeal to the kids. Most families in our opinion, always lean toward where the kids want to go. My number #1 thing is “make sure they have beer, and I’ll be fine”.

RS: [Since we opened] it’s been awesome, way more than we ever expected. We knew our friends would come a lot. We have a lot of friends, I realized! But just the support in the Poway community has been fantastic! I have regulars now like this gentleman Richard, he’s amazing. He comes out every day in a Hop Stop hat or Hop Stop shirt. The community has just embraced us so we are incredibly lucky. That’s what we wanted and now that’s the reality, so it’s really cool!

I hope you’ll check out The Hop Stop this winter and let me know what you think!

Aside from the chimichanga brat, the Hop Stop also has wings, fries, salads, burritos, sandwiches, pizza, mac & cheese, burgers, and more on their menu. They also have a special kid’s menu for the little ones! They have an excellent beer list with a ton of local beers on tap like offerings from Burgeon Beer, Bagby Beer, Saint Archer, Newtopia Cyder, and more. Click here to check out what they have on tap right now. You can also book an event at their space! Know another local business that opened or is opening Off the 56? Or an organization in the community that could use a little extra love during the pandemic and would love to be featured on the channel? Let me know – I am always looking for new people to interview on Off the 56!

Best Burritos in San Diego North County

Best Burritos in San Diego North County

Today on Off the 56, we’re going to sample four California Burritos at four different restaurants to find the top California Burritos in North County San Diego. It’s an age-old debate, but one we’re going to attempt to settle today so follow along!

But before we get into our tour, let’s talk about where the California Burrito came from and what’s in it. First, who made it? Who came up with the idea to combine French fries with burritos in the first place? While the true origin of this uniquely SoCal food is still unclear, a few different places in San Diego claim to be the creator of the California Burrito.

What exactly goes in a California Burrito? Carne asada, which is marinated, chopped up steak, French fries (the main differentiating ingredient in the California burrito – which makes it delicious), cheese, sour cream, and sometimes guacamole.

With that out of the way, we can head to our first stop on the burrito tour, Mi Ranchito in Rancho Peñasquitos, CA. One of our favorite burrito places in the area and especially North County San Diego! Our California Burritos at Mi Ranchito came with carne asada, French fries, sour cream, fresh pico de gallo, and cheese. No guacamole, but still delicious. The fries were perfectly crispy and the pico de gallo was super fresh. The owner is so friendly, he’s always there, and it’s a family owned business. He actually gave us an extra side – he threw in some dessert nachos (he said they are vegan!). Whatever they are, they’re great.

Our next stop on the burrito tour is El Nopalito in Encinitas, CA. El Nopalito is close to Courtney’s heart, because the roasted salsa is hands down, the best salsa – you can drink it in her opinion! All you have to do is try it because you’ll be convinced. We actually picked up a tub of salsa while we were there! But back to the burrito: the carne asada is SO good, you can eat it alone. The burrito is perfectly grilled, has a crunch to it, and the guac is great, too! No pico in this one (but we were ok with that – sometimes simple is best).

The third stop is El Pueblo in Solana Beach. First impression: the fries are really good, we liked the amount of cheese, and the pico de gallo, but it took a while to get to the sour cream (if there was sour cream in there at all). We ordered a margarita because it was the only place that offered them during our burrito tour today. The tortilla, carne asada, and French fries were good, and the burrito overall was good, but we were really missing the sour cream on this one. We think there are better places to pick up a California Burrito!

At this point we wanted to go to sleep after eating three California Burritos – we don’t recommend doing this unless you are a competitive eater – but we powered through for Robertos in Del Mar! The view alone at Robertos makes it one of our favorite spots to get a California Burrito in North County San Diego. Located in the Torrey Pines/Del Mar area, Robertos offers views of the ocean and Torrey Pines State Park. This burrito is a little simpler than others on our tour: no guac and no pico. Just carne asada, fries, cheese, and sour cream. Simple, but delicious!

After four California Burritos and some regrets about eating so many burritos in one day, our top picks for Best Burrito in North County San Diego are:

  1. Robertos
  2. El Nopalito
  3. Mi Ranchito
  4. El Pueblo

Do you agree with our picks? Want to submit one of your own? Leave us a comment below!

If you’re ever looking for more food recommendations here in North San Diego, or specifically Off the 56, let us know. We’re planning to do another “Best Of” video about donuts, so stay tuned!

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