You may know NSDCAR REALTOR® member Bill Ims as 2017 chair of the Central Coast District Council representing Carlsbad. He also serves as emcee of the every-Wednesday morning NSDCAR marketing session for Carlsbad and Encinitas, as well as other NSDCAR events, including charity auctions. He also moderates political debates for various North County elections. Bill considers himself a founding member of NSDCAR since he was on the board of directors of the San Dieguito Association of REALTORS® prior to the 1994 formation of NSDCAR. He also is a recipient of NSDCAR REALTOR® of Excellence awards in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
But, did you know that Bill will perform the role of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in “Annie” for two weekends this December? The Star Theatre Company, a North County community theater company, will present the popular Broadway musical about a young orphan girl's adventures in finding a family at The Historic Star Theatre, 402 North Coast Highway in Oceanside. “We’ll have a cast of about 100 people and rehearsals will start right after Thanksgiving,” said Bill. “It’s a fun role to play FDR. I love singing and entertaining. I’ve been appearing in at least one play a year.”
But, did you also know that Bill, in 1965, when given the choice by the U.S. Air Force, selected to be stationed in the Mojave Desert? “I grew up in Baldwin, New York, in Nassau County, and we always dreamed of living in California,” Bill said. “I was given the choice of the Philippines, Minot in North Dakota, Oxnard in California or an FAA radar site in Boron. I selected Boron because it was the closest to Los Angeles, a reasonable goal for the time.”
Boron had a population of 2,253, according to the 2010 Census. “That’s just about the same number of people who lived there in 1965, it hasn’t grown very much,” said Bill.
During Bill’s four years in the Air Force, in addition to his military duties, Bill played guitar and performed with two other airmen in a contemporary folk trio called “The Villagers.”
“We traveled throughout the U.S. and sang a lot of songs from The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, songs like `This Train,’ `Leaving on a Jet Plane’ and `Tijuana Jail.’ It was during the Vietnam War, so, no, we didn’t do any war protest songs.”
When Bill completed his tour with the Air Force in 1968, he moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State College and earn a bachelor’s degree in history. He worked during college selling new cars for Lukens Pontiac in La Mesa. He used his sales commissions to buy his first home in Lemon Grove and a vacant lot on Mount Helix, which he sold a short time later at a small profit. “One day I realized that I was generating a lot of income for my real estate agent,” said Bill. “So, I said to myself, `If one customer can produce that many sales for one agent, then the real estate business is for me!’”
In 1971, he earned his real estate license, Bill said, thanks to an outstanding instructor. “I was so impressed with the instructor, that I knew someday I would like to have his job. Two-and-a-half years later, I was teaching at Anthony Schools, the largest real estate school in the state. Eventually, I was promoted to senior vice president for Anthony’s and remained there for 12 years.Prior to Anthony’s Bill spent a few years as a sales agent with Lyle Morton REALTORS® in the East County (Morton served as 1971 president for the East San Diego County Association of REALTORS®, prior to the 2012 merger with the Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS®; Morton passed away July 13, 2015, after losing his battle with cancer, he was 84).
Bill’s favorite Lyle Morton story goes like this: “One time, Lyle went on vacation for a week and he asked me to collect rent from his tenants while he was away. At the time, entry-level homes were selling for $20,000. When I talked to his renters, I asked them why they were still paying rent to my broker when they could be homeowners for nearly the same amount of money they were paying in rent? When Lyle returned from vacation, he called me into his office and he said all his tenants had given notice and asked me if I knew anything about it. I just shrugged my shoulders and muttered something like, `Strange timing, and, by the way, I opened seven new escrows while you were gone.’”
While teaching at Anthony’s, Bill earned his master’s degree in business administration from National University. At his graduation ceremonies in 1976, Bill delivered the commencement address.
In 1984, Bill joined the firm of Grubb & Ellis, managing the offices in Solana Beach, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. Then, from 1989 to 1994, Bill worked for a real estate training company, traveling around the country, delivering motivational speeches and sales seminars. “My schedule consisted of visiting up to three cities a week for two or three weeks a month, but I loved it,” he said. “I had the most fun when it was time to demonstrate cold calls to strangers. Using a speaker phone in front of a crowd of 200 or 300 people, I would call the local bank, a government office and even the IRS and demonstrate how the least-qualified people are often assigned to answer the phone. You’d be surprised how many sales people can learn from the mistakes of others.
In the mid-1990s, Bill spent 18 months fighting a frivolous lawsuit in “pro se.” “I chose to represent myself without an attorney because of my concern that few attorneys would be enthusiastic about court actions relating to their own profession,” Bill said. He won the case and was awarded damages from the plaintiff attorneys. Afterwards, he helped found the San Diego County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), a nonprofit that fights back against lawsuit abuse and promotes fairness to our legal system. Today, CALA (www.sickoflawsuits.org), with more than 200,000 supporters, is active in nearly every state.
Bill has his wife Lillian have been married for 33 years. They have four adult children, three daughters and a son. “We have a wonderful marriage,” Bill said. “Every day is a celebration!”
Bill has volunteered at several Casas Hogares homes for abused and abandoned girls in Tijuana, Acapulco and Ciudad Juarez. On several occasions, Bill has been selected by one of the girls as her “padrino” (sponsor or godfather in Spanish) at her Quinceañera, a party celebrating a young girl’s coming of age. “It’s very humbling and very special to serve in such a special role,” Bill said.
Bill has been involved with NSDCAR since its inception and he likes what he sees today. “I’m noticing a new invigoration, a new excitement from the members,” he said. “A career in real estate has never been easy, but the support and resources available today from the Association is playing a crucial role in helping our members be more successful than ever.”
Despite robust closed escrow sales in June, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) is reporting an impending slowdown in the state’s housing market due to shrinking housing inventory and suppressed housing affordability. C.A.R. said the state’s pending home sales is continuing a downward trend. Based on signed contracts, year-over-year statewide pending home sales fell for the sixth straight month in June on a seasonally adjusted basis. From C.A.R.’s 2nd quarter housing affordability report, released Aug. 9, only 29 percent of California households could afford to purchase the $553,260 median-priced home, down from 32 percent in first-quarter 2017 and down from 31 percent in second-quarter 2016. In addition, a minimum annual income of $110,890 was needed to make monthly payments of $2,770, including principal, interest, and taxes on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at a 4.09 percent interest rate. In San Diego County, C.A.R. said it would require a minimum qualifying annual income of $121,260 to afford a single-family home at the median price of $605,000. C.A.R. said just 26 percent of San Diego families are able to purchase the median-priced home. The monthly payment for the median-priced home, including taxes and insurance, would be $3,030. The overall median home price for all homes, including single-family, condos and townhomes, was $543,000 in June, said real estate tracker CoreLogic. Also, C.A.R. said 38 percent of homebuyers statewide are able to purchase a $443,400 median-priced condo or townhome. An annual income of $88,870 would be required to make a monthly payment of $2,220. Meanwhile, according to C.A.R.’s latest Market Pulse Survey, REALTORS® reported fewer floor calls and listing appointments in June but higher open house traffic than in May. Other findings from C.A.R. included: -- More properties are selling over asking price from a year ago, said C.A.R. In an online survey to more than 10,000 California REALTORS® to measure data about their last closed transaction, 39 percent of respondents said in June 2017 their last closed transaction sold over the asking price, compared to 35 percent in June 2016. In a year-over-year comparison of June 2017 and June 2016, 25 percent said their last closed transaction sold “at” the asking price and 36 percent “below” the asking price, compared to 28 percent (“at”) and 37 percent (“below”) for June 2016. -- For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price fell from 11 percent in June 2016 to 7 percent in 2017, the lowest since February 2014. -- When C.A.R. asked REALTORS® about the number of offers received for their last closed transaction, 74 percent said they received multiple offers in July 2017, compared to 72 percent in July 2016. -- When C.A.R. asked REALTORS® about their top concerns, 38 percent responded with “a lack of available inventory.” Declining housing affordability-high interest rates concerned 29 percent of REALTORS®, while inflated home prices/housing bubble was cited by 23 percent of REALTORS®. A slowdown in economic growth, lending and financing, and policy and regulations rounded out REALTORS®’ remaining biggest concerns. “A lack of available homes for sale continues to be the largest single factor influencing California’s housing market,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “With active listings 13.5 percent lower than last June, we’ve now experienced a full two years in which active listings have fallen on a year-over-year basis and the lowest inventory level this year. Would-be sellers aren’t listing their homes as many of them would also face an inventory challenge if they were to turn around and buy another property.” “While June home sales improved at a healthy pace, the growth in sales was primarily in the mid- to higher-end price ranges. In fact, sales in the lower price ranges were down significantly as a tight supply of affordable homes continues to plague the market and impede the sales of starter homes,” C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “This factor has disproportionately pushed prices higher at the lower end of the market, leading to eroding affordability that either prevents or delays first-time buyers from getting on the housing ladder.”
You may know NSDCAR REALTOR® member Leah Reynolds who has served as chair of the NSDCAR Oceanside District Council since 2015. Leah’s leadership with the Oceanside District Council motivated several dozen NSDCAR members to participate in a clean-up day at the Boys and Girls Club in San Marcos held in April. The NSDCAR volunteers used about 10 gallons of paint and repainted several interior rooms, including the Community Room, Computer Room and Game Room, as well as an exterior wall near the playground. “It’s important for REALTORS® to lead by example and demonstrate hands-on community involvement with a boots-on-the-ground volunteerism approach,” said Leah. Encore clean-up days are planned for Boys and Girls Club clubhouses in Oceanside and Vista this fall. “One of the NSDCAR board members, Kimberly Fell, contacted me about serving on the District Council,” said Leah. “She encouraged me to get involved with the District Council for Oceanside, which is where we lived for several years before we moved to Bonsall four years ago. It’s been a great experience and very enjoyable.” But did you know that Leah and her husband James bought a frozen yogurt shop in Bonsall so that their teenage kids could learn about how to be successful in business? It was February 2016 after the previous owners closed the doors on the yogurt shop at 5256 South Mission Road. “Our family frequented the shop when it was opened, it was a fun place for the locals to grab a sweet treat and kids from the dance studio to hang out,” said Leah. “My husband and I talked about it and we thought it would be good for the community if someone kept the place open. So, we decided that someone would be us.” “We reopened the shop March 2016 and renamed it Brain Freeze Froyo Bar. Then, we handed-over the operation of the store to our two oldest children, daughter Bailey (age 19) and son James (age 17). Hey, what better way to provide an education in life skills and critical thinking, plus teach the importance of ethics in business and customer service and relationships, than a hands-on experience like this. The experience for our kids has been priceless.” The Brain Freeze Froyo Bar is open from noon to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. “We still do Sunday dinner together before going off to work, whether it’s selling real estate or serving strawberry shortcake froyo topped with sprinkles.” Leah and husband James also are raising a third child, Charlie, age 10. This past Christmas, Charlie received a very special Christmas present, a car. “Charlie says he wants to grow up to be a mechanic, so we found a 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne that Charlie can work on to his heart’s delight. Don’t you think it would be better for a 10-year-old to work on a car instead of playing video games?” A San Diego native, Leah graduated from Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar (class of 1995). “My father was a broker so I grew up with real estate, licking envelopes and putting flyers on front porches,” said Leah, 40. “I knew eventually that I would work in real estate, it’s in my blood.” After high school, Leah earned a degree in merchandise marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. “I lived at home throughout college and rode the train to L.A. to attend classes,” she said. “I started working in retail at age 15.” Leah worked at Nordstrom and Ann Taylor before spending 14 years managing the Sweetpea Children’s Shop in Del Mar. “I got my real estate license 14 years ago and I’ve been a full-time agent the past seven years.” Leah and her family live on 2.5 acres with an avocado grove. “We recently planted Montepulciano grapes,” she said. Those are grapes used to make Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a red Italian wine from the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy. “We’re also big believers in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts,” Leah said. Son James spent five weeks this summer working as a counselor at the Boy Scout camp, Emerald Bay on Catalina Island. James is currently working on his Eagle project with a goal to earn Eagle in December. “Meeting new people and building lifelong relationships is the driving force of my business,” said Leah. “One of the reasons why I love real estate so much is because I’m helping families reach their goal of home ownership. It’s a very rewarding profession.” Leah said she appreciates NSDCAR because of the spirit of teamwork. “I love our Association because it’s where REALTORS® come together as one big team and we work together to build our local communities for the benefit of everyone. Plus, the staff is so personable and ready to answer any question they offer a strong support system. It feels good to be involved with NSDCAR, just like the taste of a large cup with cookies and cream, red velvet and peanut butter, all mixed together.” Yummy.
You may know NSDCAR REALTOR® member Marilee Lowe as a recent REALTOR® Award of Excellence recipient. She was honored for her longtime support of several community organizations in Fallbrook, her home for the past 33 years. Over the decades, Marilee has been involved with organizations that have helped disabled children and seniors. “It’s important for NSDCAR members to be involved in their communities,” Marilee said. But did you know that Marilee is a strong advocate in hippotherapy for children? Hippotherapy is horseback riding for handicapped children with various disabling neuromusculoskeletal medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism, spinal cord and brain injuries, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis and other sensory integration dysfunctions. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse. As a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy, hippotherapy can result in improved coordination, balance, muscle tone, body strength, sensory integration and self esteem. “The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of therapeutic horsemanship are many,” said Marilee. “The rhythmic motion and warmth of the horse stimulates and exercises the rider’s muscles increasing mobility. The riders can experience weight shift and trunk mobility as if they were walking on their own.” In 1985, Marilee became involved in REINS (Riding Emphasizing Individual Needs and Strengths), a non-profit therapeutic riding program based in Fallbrook. She served on the board from 1985 to 1989. When the program was close to closing in 1989, Marilee took it over and served as its volunteer administrator until 1995. “I moved the program here to Fallbrook, where it was wholeheartedly embraced by our community,” said Marilee, who is currently involved in REINS only as a donor. “I’ll never forget Jonathan who was a student at REINS,” said Marilee. “He was nearly three years old and had never said a word. He was autistic and uncommunicative. One day, he was riding on our bay mare named Heather and I was one of the side walkers. One of the commands for the horses are the words `walk-on.’ When one of us said, `Walk on Heather,’ Jonathan spoke up and repeated the words. It was perhaps the first words he had ever said in his life. It was a very emotional moment for all of us, especially his parents. When those things happen, you know that you’re making a difference and giving an opportunity for kids to blossom.” Marilee’s community involvement also has included serving on the board of directors for the Foundation for Senior Care, operators of a senior and adult day care center in Fallbrook. “I believe all members of our community deserve to be taken care of and honored and protected as needed,” said Marilee “This includes those who are advanced in years or disabled with some form of memory loss or dementia. These folks are looked after at the senior day care center. The Foundation also operates Care Vans which provide door-to-door transportation to seniors in need. Rides are provided to the day care center or grocery store or pharmacy or medical appointments. ” Marilee also is involved with two equestrian groups, the Fallbrook Riders Inc., and Vista Palomar Riders (VPR), two of the oldest horse clubs in California. She has served on the board of directors for both groups and currently serves as VP for the Fallbrook Riders. For VPR, Marilee recently organized a five-day ride and campout for about 50 members. The event was held at the Los Vaqueros Group Horse Camp at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. She is hosting a similar event for the Fallbrook Riders at the same Cuyamaca park site in late August. “There are miles and miles of beautiful riding trials around Lake Cuyamaca and the Cuyamaca Mountains,” said Marilee. “It’s a wonderful get-away time. As you can tell, I love horses and working in real estate with equestrian properties. I fell in love with Trigger (Roy Rogers’ horse). My first horse was a Christmas present at age 7. Her name was Chopper.” Marilee appreciates the convenience of the NSDCAR office in Fallbrook. “I love my North County board because the office is local,” she said. “They are a wonderful resource. The staff always knows the answers to my questions, and they’re very helpful. I can stop by for a visit without traveling to the big city of Vista.”
Elyse also chaired the NSDCAR’s YPN (Young Professionals Network) group for two years (2014-2016). Since 2015, she has served as a California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Director on behalf of NSDCAR. “Getting involved on a state level has been very rewarding,” said Elyse. “It takes time away from your business and home life but its all worth it. The education, the connections you make with fellow real estate industry professionals and the overall sense that you're making a difference.” But did you know that Elyse once ran in front of cars and stopped traffic at Interstate 5 and Manchester Avenue to protect a family of ducks? “Animals are my passion, and I've felt that way since as long as I can remember,” said Elyse. “A couple of years ago, I was all dressed-up and on my way to a dinner riding in a friend’s car when I saw a mother duck and her ducklings walking across the freeway. I yelled at my friend to stop the car. I ran in front of cars and stopped traffic while I guided the ducks back to San Elijo Lagoon.” Elyse, 28, is an active volunteer with several community organizations. “It’s really important for REALTORS® to give back in the communities where we work,” she said. She has volunteered with the Spay and Neuter Action Project (SNAP), a purpose-driven, 501(c)(3) charitable organization offer low-cost spay and neuter services in San Diego. She also has been involved with SNAP's Neuter Scooter Bus, a full-service mobile clinic staffed by accredited veterinarians who specialize in spaying and neutering cats and dogs. Elyse also has volunteered for the Feral Cat Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering and overpopulation of feral and abandoned cats through a trap-neuter-return (TNR) process. “We trap, neuter and then return feral cats to their outdoor homes where they are monitored by caretakers,” said Elyse. Elyse also has volunteered for the Community Resource Center (CRC), a nonprofit organization that works to end hunger, homelessness and domestic violence in North County San Diego. CRC’s programs include a domestic violence emergency shelter, hotline and prevention-education outreach, a therapeutic children’s center, professional counseling, legal advocacy, food and nutrition distribution center, homelessness prevention and rental and housing assistance. “All of CRC’s programs are designed to assist participants to successfully navigate their paths of safety, stability and self-sufficiency,” said Elyse. “I’ve been helping CRC since I was a freshman in high school. I help at their Encinitas facility in the Food Distribution Center, which is similar to a mini-grocery store.” An Encinitas native, Elyse graduated from La Costa High School (class of 2007). She then graduated from San Diego State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and media studies. While in college, she worked as a nanny for a North County family. After college, Elyse said she took several month-long trips throughout Europe and Asia. Among her favorite spots: Venice in Italy, Mykonos in Greece and Thailand. “I love to travel, especially traveling solo, which was new for me this year,” said Elyse. By herself, in January of this year, she visited eight countries, including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, France and Ireland. “You learn a lot about yourself when you travel,” Elyse said. “I’ve always lived in the North County, but it’s fun to travel and see the rest of the world.” In May 2011, Elyse had a life-changing dinner with Susie Nancarrow, who operates a real estate company where Elyse works. “I’ve known Susie my entire life,” said Elyse. “My mom used to take Susie's exercise classes at Frog’s in Encinitas and me and her three kids were in daycare there. Susie invited me to dinner. I had just, graduated from college and I was unsure about what I was going to do in life. At her house, I kept asking Susie a bunch of questions about real estate. Finally, she said, `Why don’t you use your marketing degree, work for me in my office and earn your real estate sales license?’ Right then, I decided on a career in real estate. The next day I signed up for the classes and ordered the books. Learning the business with Susie as my mentor has made all the difference in the world for my success.” Elyse earned her license in October 2012, and earned her broker's license in December 2016. Last September, Elyse, Susie and her 27-year-old daughter Hannah hiked Mt. Whitney, the highest summit in the lower 48 states. It took them 15 hours to climb the 22 miles to the 14,505-foot peak. This Labor Day, the trio plan to climb Half Dome, a granite dome at Yosemite National Park in California. Elyse’s other hobbies include yoga, tennis and playing the guitar. “I am honored to represent NSDCAR as a C.A.R. Director and be involved in the Association,” said Elyse. “NSDCAR is the best-ever Association. Our Association stands behind the members and offers outstanding educational classes so that our members can keep up with all the changes and still have jobs 10 and 15 years from now.”