June 6, 2018

Client Letter for June 2018

Hi Everyone!

So, I am sitting at Elevator Brewery and Draught in Columbus, Ohio enjoying their amazing craft beer and short rib macaroni and cheese.   I am not just savoring the food, I am also reflecting on the thrilling Cavalier’s victory and advancement to the NBA Championship.  Lucky me, I watched game 7 of the eastern finals with a roomful of Cavalier fans right here in Ohio!  Also, I had the BEST or second BEST meatball I have ever had.  It was veal but it was real…delicious by Marcella’s Restaurant.  Yup, I can rhyme.

I have to tell you, Columbus is kind of boring and they dress funny.  On Memorial Day I walked the city streets and (no exaggeration) saw a total of 7 people over the course of an hour.  It really shuts down out here and yes 5 of 7 were dressed funny, that’s like a 71.4% funny dress ratio.  I am not picking on Columbus, just calling it as I see it.  They probably think I dress funny too.

As I fly back tonight, I will research our current and future real estate markets.  I anticipate many more houses hitting the market in June and prices evening out.  Buyers will get pickier before making offers and negotiate more aggressively.  Great homes at proper market pricing will sell fast.  While that sounds obvious, this is the time of year where sellers start pricing too high and ignore the winds of market change.

After reviewing recent economic data, I strongly believe the Fed will raise interest rates again in June.  I would be bold and guarantee it based on the ultra-low unemployment, but the new trade sanctions being put forth by Trump may introduce economic doubt.  If they do raise federal interest rates, I do not see it impacting mortgage rates significantly this time around.  Right now rates are kissing 4.75% or more, especially if the buyer’s closing costs or mortgage insurance fees are included in the rate.

In wrapping up, I have been getting calls from clients wondering if we are hitting a peak in the market.  I don’t believe so at this time.  I see a calming down of double digit appreciation to more traditional rate of appreciation.  However, if you are waiting to time the market, no one gets it perfect except by accident.  If I had a rental that I didn’t want long term, I would give this market a hard look and likely sell it.

Thanks to all my wonderful clients and for your referrals.  I am going to miss some great clients, all of whom had me sell their homes but moved out of the area, state or country.  Joe and Marie, Dylan and Courtney, Dale, Margie and Randy, Keith and Rosalinda – you will all be missed.  Thank you for your business and trust.  If you ever need anything for family, neighbors, or even for your next move – give me a call!


Stefan West, aka Mr. Murrieta

Posted in Client Letters
Jan. 17, 2018

January 2018 Mr. Murrieta Client Letter

“Raindrops are falling on my head…”  Here I am, all dressed up in a suit and tie yet I gave my umbrella to my wife.  So while I may be a gentleman, I will be the WET gentleman at a real estate class today.  C’est la vie.  My inconvenience pales in comparison to the gratitude in my wife’s eyes as she scored my umbrella.

Since this is my first letter of 2018, I should have started with Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  If you are like me, you love the holidays BUT it’s really nice to put away Christmas and charge into the New Year.  So in that spirit... I am back in the gym on my gimpy knee (recent ACL/MCL surgery) and ran into a Murrieta real estate client who asked about the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

What a great topic for this month’s letter!  Many people are concerned the new tax law will negatively impact Murrieta home values.  That remains to be seen but here are key changes homeowners should know:

·         There is now a cap of $10,000 for state income tax and property tax deductions

·         You cannot deduct mortgage interest beyond the interest on a $750,000 acquisition loan debt

·         You can no longer deduct mortgage interest on equity debt (equity line)


Many Murrieta home owners with higher special assessments won’t be able to deduct their full property taxes and, due to low interest rates, aren’t deducting a lot of loan interest.  So instead of itemizing, they’ll get:

·         A standard deduction increased to $12,000 for single, $18,000 for head of household, and $24,000 for married tax payers (this will benefit many with low interest rates and definitely renters!)

·         An increased child tax credit to $2,000 per child with phase out increased to $400,000


The bottom line is there are both pluses and minuses but many Temecula and Murrieta homeowners will benefit more if they have lower property taxes and interest rates.  Renters will definitely benefit from the higher deductions thereby enabling them to buy homes in the future versus renting.  Adding to this is the recent raising of loan limits across the board (conventional, FHA, VA) that should further drive our home market higher in 2018. 


Stefan aka Mr. Murrieta


P.S. Enjoy the rain.  What’s better than falling asleep and waking up to that wonderful sound?

Posted in Client Letters
Jan. 15, 2018

Fun Upcoming Events for January 2018


Fun Upcoming Events for January 2018


Little Women the Broadway Musical-

Beginning on January 11th through the 21st, the Old Town Temecula Theatre will hosting the musical Little Women. This is a fun event that the whole family will enjoy! Don’t miss out and be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time . Go to the Old Town Theatre’s website for more info and for ticket prices.


Wednesday Nights and Salsa Bachata-

Looking for something different and fun to do?? Well try taking Salsa lessons over at Pechanga on Wednesday nights. This is FREE and lessons start at 8:30 every Wednesday. This would be a great way to meet new people and to have a fun date night with someone special. Go to Pechanga’s website for more info.


Monster Jam-

It’s that time of year again when Monster Jam is back at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Saturday January 20th gates open at 5:00 pm and tickets are on sale now. Don’t miss out on this fun family event that the kids are sure to love! Tickets start at $15.


San Diego Restaurant Week-

Restaurant week returns Sunday January 201st through Sunday January 28th. With over 180 participating restaurants you’ll want to take advantage of this great opportunity to try new place at a reasonable cost. There will 3 course prix-fixe dinner menus for $50 and under per person and 2 course prix-fixe lunch menus for $20 and under. What a great time try that new place that you’ve been wanting to try.


Old Town Temecula Farmers Market-


Don’t forget that every Saturday morning head down to Old Town Temecula for one of the best Farmers Markets around. With dozens of local growers and merchants this is sure to get your weekend off to a great start. Make sure to go hungry as there as tons of samples and food vendors selling delicious homemade treats.

Posted in Local Events
Dec. 4, 2017

December 2017 Client Letter

 There I was, stuffed to the gills in Lake Arrowhead on Thanksgiving night.  With a shaky hand and a sweaty brow, I finish that last bite of dessert.  Whew!  I take pride in the fact that I finish what I start…even if it hurts a bit.  As I leaned back in a combination of food pleasure and pain, I glance at a text message and see that someone has sent me a picture of them already hanging Christmas lights.  Seriously?!

It’s not even the day after Thanksgiving!  Sometimes I want to drop-kick my brother Andy.  Let’s face it...we all have some type of Andy in our life.  Or maybe YOU are the Andy in your family’s life ?.  But, ready or not, now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are wrapped up, Christmas is clearly on its way.

Now, I love Christmas like I love bacon.  It just makes everything better.  People are nicer, evenings start earlier, fireplaces are lit, the air smells woodsy, and we connect with our families in a magical way that only happens once a year.  It is a time where the real gift is looking back at the year with remembrance and appreciation of all we have in our lives and then getting excited of what’s to come in the future.

Taking that view in real estate, we have a lot to appreciate from 2017.  This past year we had an excellent market where interest rates stayed low and housing grew by more than 5%.  While national politics certainly gave us a lot to talk about, they didn’t negatively impact one of our dearest assets…our homes.

Looking ahead, 2018 just received a major Christmas present.  Conforming loan limits, which were marginally raised in 2017 from $417,000 to $424,000, have been raised again to $453,000.  This near 7% increase that will enable homes valued above $400,000 to increase in value.  It will also allow people to refinance and combine 1st and 2nd loans into one conforming loan and lock in a low interest rate.  Lastly, it will really help our military families using VA loans by allowing them to purchase higher priced homes.

So I see bright days ahead for real estate and my neighbors here in Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and Menifee.  We are lucky to have such a wonderful place to live, work, and raise our families.  My team and I truly wish you and your family the very best this season and in 2018!


Stefan aka Mr. Murrieta


Posted in Client Letters
Dec. 4, 2017

December 2017 Local Events

Upcoming Events for December 2017



Santa’s Electric Light Parade-

Friday December 1st, head down to Old Town Temecula for the annual Santa’s Electric Light Parade. Get there early to save a spot for the family. This year’s theme is Community Pride. The parade starts at 7:00pm. Be sure to bring plenty of blankets in case it’s chilly!

Santa in Old Town-

For the month of December during the weekends, come down to Pennypickle’s Workshop to visit with Santa. 

Breakfast with Santa- 

Saturday December 9th, take your little ones and enjoy a breakfast with Santa at the Temecula Community Recreations Center. There will be carolers and pictures with Santa. Be sure to pre-register for this event since this does fill up quickly. This event starts at 8:00pm and ends at 1:00pm. 

New Year’s Eve Grape Drop-

December 31st from 6:00 to 1:30pm the annual Grape Drop will take place at the Civic Center. Welcome in 2018 Temecula style with live music, vendors, and kids activities. You can buy wristbands for $5 which gives kids access to unlimited games and activities. 



Santa Stops-

Between December 4th and December 13th, Santa will be making his yearly rounds through Murrieta to the designated “Stars” Remember to bring your canned goods and unwrapped gifts for children that will be donated to those in need this holiday season.

Donuts with Santa-

Saturday December 2nd at 9:00am head over to Town Square Park for donuts and juice with Santa. There will be a holiday craft for the kids to do. Space is limited so be sure to make reservations. 

Festival of Lights & Tree Lighting- 

December 2nd the city of Murrieta will host the Festival of Trees and Tree Lighting. There will be full sized decorated trees that will line the park, all of which will be donated to families in need. Moana, your favorite Disney princess will also be there along with seasonal fun, carriage rides and more! The City Tree will be lit at 6:30pm. 



Posted in Local Events
Nov. 28, 2017

November 2017 Market Update for Murrieta

As November comes to an end I hope you all enjoyed the start of the Holiday season with a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. I spent Thanksgiving week up in Lake Arrowhead with my family. In this month’s market report, I will be pulling the numbers from the month of November for the city of Murrieta and comparing them to October. As always my stats are based on single family residences, with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths. 

Number of Active Listings in November: 219

Average Murrieta List Price in November: $517,203

Number of Homes Sold in October: 137

Average Sold Price in Murrieta: $466,220

Average Days on the Market: 40

Right away I am seeing a large decrease in the number of active listings on the market. In October we had 275 homes on the market and currently we have 219.  That’s a difference of 20%! The price that homes are being listed for had dropped slightly from $522,609 to $517,203. 

Now looking at the sold numbers for the city of Murrieta, I can see that number has remained steady with 139 in September and 139 in October. The average sold price has gone up from $441,025 to $466,220 last month. The average number of days that homes are on the market is 40 days currently, which is an increase from last month’s average of only 28 days.

We are seeing the normal slow down in the real estate market with Holiday Season here. As usual it should pick back up after the New Year only to really regain strength again in the spring.  If you would like to get a free no obligation market evaluation of your home please give me a call and I would be happy to provide one to you. Have a great Holiday Season and be sure to check back in the months to come as I will continue to update my site with current market stats for the city of Murrieta and the surrounding areas. 

By: Stefan West – AKA Mr. Murrieta

Posted in Market Trends
Nov. 8, 2017

Fun Events for November 2017


Patriotic Salute to Veterans:

Saturday November 11th head over to the Civic Center in Temecula from 6pm-9pm. Bring your blankets, chairs, and community pride and enjoy the music of the Temecula Valley Symphony. This is such a great way to salute those who so selflessly fought for our country.

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Pond:

On Monday November 27th from 7pm-8:30pm, head to the Temecula Duck Pond for a fun night kicking off the holiday season with the annual Christmas tree lighting. Enjoy a treat, visit from Santa, and a festive performance by Resonate.

A Christmas Carol:

Beginning on November 30th, the Old Town Community Theatre will be preforming A Christmas Carol, a classic story by Charles Dickens. Ticket prices vary and be sure to go to the website for more dates, times, and to purchase tickets.


Veterans Day Parade:

Saturday November 11th head over to Old Town Murrieta to get your spot for the annual Veterans Day Parade. The parade begins on Washington Avenue at 10am with a spectacular flyover and the National Anthem. Don’t miss out on this great way for the community to come together and show our appreciation to all our veterans!

San Diego

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival:


November 12th-19th, San Diego is having their annual wine and food festival. This is an international showcase of the world’s premier wines, spirits, culinary personalities, and gourmet food.  Don’t miss out on this fun event to try some amazing food from all over the world!

Posted in Local Events
Nov. 8, 2017

November 2017 Client Letter

Happy November 2017!  As is the norm, I am already planning that I am going to get all my Christmas shopping done in November this year.  It never happens but someday I will actually accomplish this lifelong goal.  This could be my year!  By the way, I strongly recommend www.slickdeals.net for some great deals this holiday season.  You can get some gift ideas for that hard to buy for person.  I usually scan the front page but then go into the Hot Deal forum.  Give it a whirl.

This is also the time of year that the weather cools and we all start thinking about the upcoming holidays.  The speed of life slows down a bit…if we allow ourselves to enjoy it.  The same slowing typically happens in real estate.  Often more casual buyers decide to wait until the New Year and many sellers elect to put homes on the market in January in order to enjoy the holidays.

Ironically, this makes November and December one of the most interesting times for sellers to list a home. The reduced supply of homes on the market means less competition.  Also, the remaining buyers are usually very dedicated and want to close in order to enroll children into new schools over the winter break.   Values do level off from summer highs but good homes sell quickly if they stand out or offer an excellent value.

As for our market so far in 2017, we have gone up just over 5% in the local area with the average sales price moving to over $400,000.  That great gain is due to short supply, improving economy, and buoyed by the increase in the FHA loan limit this year which was raised to $379,500.  If you include the mandatory 3.5% down, that means FHA is good up to $393,000 for purchasing a home.

The great news is most economists are predicting another 5% appreciation in 2018 for our local area.  Should you find yourself thinking about selling and want to know the value of your home or my thoughts on the long term market, just let me know.  Thank you for all your referrals and continued long term business.


Stefan aka Mr. Murrieta


Posted in Client Letters
Nov. 7, 2017

November 2017 Market Trends Report for Temecula

Fall is in the air and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The holidays are among us and this is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I love the cooler temperatures and changing season. In this month’s market trends report for Temecula, I will be pulling the current numbers for the city of Temecula and comparing them to the month of October. As always, my stats are based on single family, detached residence, with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths.

·         Number of Active Listings in November: 218

·         Average Temecula List Price in November: $586,413

·         Number of Homes Sold In October: 147

·         Average Sold Price in Temecula: $489,707

·         Average Days on the Market: 40

Starting off, I can see that there is a decrease in the number of active listings in Temecula. We currently have a total of 218 homes on the market and a month ago there were 236. Starting to see the number of listings start to decrease which is no surprise this time of the year. The average price homes are being listed for is $586,413. Not much of a change in the list price from last month.

Moving onto the sales we’ve seen over the last month. In October, Temecula had 147 homes close escrow with September at 149. The average Temecula sold price was $489,707. These sold numbers are holding steady and not seeing much change. With the holidays being just around the corner, things tend to be pretty mellow in terms of homes being listed. Typically sellers decide to wait until after the New Year before selling and buyers will sometimes do the same. However, with that being said this does make it interesting for sellers who do decide to list their home since they don’t have as much competition and will more than likely sell quickly.

If you are looking to purchase a home or just want to know where your home value is at, please give me a call and I would be more than happy to help with any of your real estate needs.


By: Stefan West AKA Mr. Murrieta

Posted in Market Trends
Oct. 4, 2017

October 2017 Client Letter

Fall is almost here.  Ah…my favorite part of the year.  While we still have some heat coming our way, I have thoroughly enjoyed the recent cool temperatures and incredible sunsets.  No making fun of me.  I like sunsets and sometimes girly cooking movies (umm No Reservations, Chef, 100 Foot Journey cough but NOT Eat Pray Love – Ugh, hated it…a lot!).  Also, just to give you the 411, there might be some goofy notes coming from me as I enjoy these last months of 2017 and indulge in my vast enjoyment of the season J.

This time of year is also when I start thinking about all the projects I want to accomplish before the New Year.  One big project involves all my past clients and their home valuations.  I recently invested in new, whiz-bang technology to provide specific home values to all clients, neighbors, family and friends.

Essentially, I will be creating new and individualized neighborhood and square footage specific searches for all my clients.  The new software integrated at the www.MrMurrieta.com website will send monthly reports showing recent home listings, price changes, pending sales, and homes sold.  Unlike generic searches, this will be VERY specific to your own home and just the streets around you.  It will also highlight sales in color codes of Green, if trending up in value, and Red if trending down.  

It will take a while to roll out as each search will be done one at a time, using mapping, neighborhood models, year built, tax info, etc.  Once done, it will faithfully report to you monthly.  This is the best way to stay on top of home values and days on market.  You will also be able to access pictures inside and out.  There is no work for you or wasted time jotting down an address, performing a web search, etc.  I had a few clients beta test this and they loved it.  I hope you will too.  This is to provide you the best information, not to replace service.  Should you ever need to sell or a professional valuation, just give me a call.

In closing, I want to wish BIG congratulations to Tracy & Jennifer, Maggie & Mario, Stevan & Catherine, Roz, Tyler & Samantha, and Monisha & Michael.  Thank you for your business, trust and referrals.  They are greatly appreciated!


Stefan aka Mr. Murrieta


Posted in Client Letters