San Diego is recognized as one of the finest communities in the world for living, vacationing and retirement. As a result of that well-deserved reputation, real estate in San Diego remains some of the highest-priced and most stable in the United States, making many homes conservatively worth a half million dollars on the low end. Because of this concentration of wealth in one area, it’s advisable that San Diego homeowners do their best to protect their real estate.
Homeowners ought to consider creating a trust. This means finding a reputable trust attorney in San Diego to look at the situation of your real estate holding. Holding property in the name of an outside entity will shield homeowners from personal liability and will also protect the assets from creditors. These are important factors considering the fact that the large amount of equity in many San Diego homes expose homeowners to liens, judgments, and the like which -over time – can extract that equity slowly but surely. By owning a home in the name of an entity, should there be an accident resulting in personal injuries and a subsequent lawsuit, damages would be limited only to the one property and would not extend personally to the owners.
Additionally, the creation of a revocable or irrevocable trust would create a circumstance where the owners could reside in the property for the duration of their lives while their beneficiary would inherit that property by operation of law at the time of their death. A number of shrewd homeowners take advantage of the creation of such a trust so that probate may be avoided at the time of their death. Inheritance taxes are also a factor, and could be avoided if the property is placed into a trust for a beneficiary. Only under the guidance of an experienced trust attorney can such measures be taken to protect an asset with such a large amount of equity.
Beyond the aforementioned instruments which should be considered by homeowners in the San Diego area, regular property maintenance is a must. There are certain items that wear out over time that homeowners should have repaired or replaced when necessary. The roof is the primary item that typically needs replacement within 10-15 years of purchase. Homeowners are advised to perform regular roof maintenance and to check their gutters. Keeping the roof in tip-top condition is important in that it is the last line of defense from the elements, because minor issues, like a leak in the roof, could lead to damage to the wood in the attic and in the walls. More issues, like mold, can then develop which are also expensive repairs. Homeowners are best served to keep their roof in top form so as to avoid such costly expenses.
Additionally, maintaining the landscaping of the property is important for protecting property values. Trimming and pruning weeds, grass and plants on a regular basis is imperative since San Diego has some of the best weather in the world, which causes quick growth in good plants and weeds alike. Unsightly property can lead to a decrease in the value of the home due to “curb appeal” alone. It is important that homeowners regularly maintain their grounds to keep their property in pristine condition.
Homeowners should also pay attention to walkways to ensure they are not cracked or broken, as this is a tripping hazard. If there are trees growing anywhere on the property, be aware that roots may grow upwards and crack sidewalks and walkways. Masonry repairs such as these are expensive, and these conditions can be avoided with routine property maintenance.
On the interior of the home, make sure you regularly maintain the floors and windows. Windows may become cracked or clouded over time and care should be taken to clean them regularly. Carpets should be replaced every 8-10 years and hardwood floors are certainly recommended, as is tile because they are easier to maintain and clean.
Basements should be cleaned at least once a year so that humidity does not build up because excess humidity can cause mold. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in your basement area and, if you have carpeting, consider removing it and laying down a hardwood or tile floor.
Make sure that all toilets are secure and not leaking. The same goes for bathtubs, sinks, and faucets, as leaks can lead to the need to replace wood that becomes saturated and swells with water. Again, this can also lead to mold.
By taking these essential steps, homeowners can ensure that their property maintains its value through the years. Protecting your assets from the wear and tear of daily use is imperative, as is the protection of those assets from potential creditors and judgments. In the end, the best way to find out what you need to do to protect your assets is to consult with a reputable San Diego trust attorney today and discuss all of your rights and remedies, so that you can rest assured that your interests have been best represented and protected.