Showing posts from June, 2019

5 Things You Can Do to Welcome a New Neighbor

David Deem 714-997-3486
Being happy at home is not just about your house and yard, it’s about your neighbors, too. And when someone new moves in next door, it stands to change your well being...for better or worse. That’s why taking a few proactive steps with new neighbors can be so important for setting the stage for a long and pleasant relationship. You don’t have to become best friends, but coexisting peacefully is a priority, so try these steps to start things off on the right foot:

Introduce yourself right away...without being invasive. It may seem obvious, but in today’s isolated age where we value our privacy, we often tend to keep our distance for too long. So don’t delay in making a simple introduction to your new neighbors—but don’t be invasive. No need to invite them over, just a simple hello and welcome to the neighborhood will do. Let them know to feel free to knock on your door or call should they need anything.

Take care of any border mess. If you’ve been …

Home Sellers: 4 Things to Replace Before You List Your Home

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Meghan Belnap

It's rare that a person can put a home on the market without doing any work. While you might have been concentrating on the big changes before you put the for-sale sign in your yard, it's important to remember the little things, as well. Below are four things you should consider replacing before you put your house up for sale:

Adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to liven up the look of your home. If you have the time and ability to do so, repainting both the exterior of your home and all of the rooms is a good way to go; however, if you're limited on funds, make sure to repaint any area that has seen significant wear and tear.

Broken Locks and Handles
If there are a number of broken locks and handles in your home (with which you have grown accustomed to dealing with), these can be major problems for new owners, especially if they make a prospective buyer feel unsafe. As such, it's a good idea…

5 Tips for Selling a Summer Home Quickly

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Seth Tilton

For many potential homebuyers, it's hard not to fantasize about owning a dreamy summer home this time of year. With that in mind, let's look at five tips for agents selling vacation homes:
Leverage technology, but be realistic. For many potential buyers, the ideal summer getaway is at least a plane or half-day car ride away. And while technology has made the remote buying process easier, statistics still tell us that most people are not willing to buy sight-unseen. Encourage your clients to engage with you on apps like Marco Polo and FaceTime, not as a replacement for seeing things in person, but as a time, money and travel saver for tying up loose ends after they've seen (and liked) the property for themselves.
Know what rents and what doesn't. Sure, investing in a second home of any sort is a big investment, but for buyers willing to supplement their personal stays with short-term rentals, knowing what "sell…

Amid Cloudy Outlook, Fed Keeps Rates the Same

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Suzanne De Vita

Amid graying economic factors and global tension, the Federal Reserve left rates the same on Wednesday, aligning with the broad consensus, but, importantly, leaving open the possibility of a rate reduction.

"The [Federal Open Market] Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes, but uncertainties about this outlook have increased," according to the Federal Reserve's statement.

In considering cutting interest rates, the Fed is hoping to keep momentum strong. In March, the agency indicated an intent to postpone raising rates this year, chiefly due to inflation lingering short of its target. In May, employment gains and pay stagnated—but, with historically low unemployment, as well as other encouraging indicators like spending, there are fair odds of routing a slowd…

How Credit Scores Impact Your Interest Rate

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Bill Gassett

We should all make sure we look after our finances, especially when a home purchase is on the horizon. Your financial well-being can have a huge impact on the interest rate you'll end up paying on your mortgage. Most lenders, whether U.S.-based or not, are going to check your financial status before they even start talking about prevailing mortgage interest rates. In other words: Your credit score really matters!

It all starts when you get your first job or credit card. These days, many leading credit agencies take into account credit cards controlled by parents, as well. As long as your credit card has your name on it, you will have started what can only be described as your "credit career." It's vital to look after your credit if you want to pay less for future loans such as mortgages.

Your credit score can have a dramatic effect on being able to achieve the lowest home mortgage interest rates. While interest …

6 Questions to Ask Your Lender Before Getting a Mortgage

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Miron Lulic

Asking the right questions when shopping for a mortgage is crucial, and failing to do so could cost you thousands.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "How many mortgage loan applications am I going to fill?" You can save a significant amount of money long-term by investing in mortgage comparison shopping. For instance, the spread in 2018 for the highest and lowest mortgage rates was approximately 1 percent (3.95 percent vs. 4.94 percent). That's a pretty narrow range, historically speaking. In 1981, the mortgage rate spread was nearly 3 percent (14.8 percent vs. 18.63 percent). Even a 0.5 percent difference on a $300,000, 30-year mortgage can save you enough money to buy a 2019 Subaru Legacy in cash and still have enough left over to keep the gas tank full for a year ($31,600).

Incidentally, interest rates can vary by more than half a percent, even for people with good credit, depending on which lender y…

Single-Family Rents Rise 3 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486

According to CoreLogic's April 2019 Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), rents are up 3 percent year-over-year.

"Slowing price appreciation started to take hold of the home sales market a year ago…but, that's not the case for the single-family rental market, which has seen steady rent increases," says Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. "While the housing market is cooling, home prices remain high in some of the nation's top metros. This may be contributing to the growing rental demand, as many potential buyers are being priced out of the market." DRE#01266522

Orange County Housing Market Summary: June 23, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory increased by 14 homes in the past two weeks, nearly unchanged, and now totals 7,493, the highest level since September 2014. Last year, there were 6,105 homes on the market, 1,388 fewer than today. There are 23% more homes than last year.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 15 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 1%, and now totals 2,661. Last year, there were 2,699 pending sales, 1% more than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 85 days two weeks ago to 84 days today, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days) and the highest level for this time of the year since 2011. It was at 68 days last year.

•For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 and 90 days) with an expected market time of 61 days. This range represents 39% of the active inventory and 54% of demand.

•For homes priced between $750,000…

Tips to Protect Your Home from Termites

David Deem 714-997-3486
As the spring sun begins to shine, we all look forward to putting this season's very wet weather behind us. According to pest experts, the wet winter will be a perfect breeding ground for pests, and termites are no exception. Long considered one of the most prevalent and damaging pests in the South, termites will cause more than $5 billion in property damage this year alone. And that damage, says Arrow pest expert Shay Runion, is not usually covered by homeowners' insurance. Runion encourages homeowners to learn more about termite control to protect their most important investment.

Subterranean, drywood and Formosan termites are the most common termites found in the South. These termites usually become active in early spring, as soon as temperatures begin to heat up and continue throughout the summer. Once they enter the home, termites can tunnel 24 hours a day through cracks in concrete, wood, carpeting, floors and wallpaper.

Runion exp…

Beautify Your Landscape Lawn & Garden Tips

David Deem 714-997-3486
The warm weather, longer daylight hours, and blooming tree buds can mean only one thing: spring and summer have finally arrived. Now, with winter behind us, it's the perfect time to head outdoors and freshen up the yard. Beautify your landscape with these easy tips:

Add a "Recession Garden" - An estimated 43 million people are expected to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year. Growing your own produce can save your family a large amount of money on groceries each year, and some say that fresh, homegrown fruits and veggies taste better than those purchased at the store.

Befriend the Birds - Consider including a birdhouse, birdfeeder or birdbath in your landscape this spring. Not only will it lead beautiful wildlife to your yard, but it will also serve as a nice decoration. If you're on a budget this year, you can easily make a homemade birdfeeder by rolling a pinecone in peanut butter and birdseed.

Plant a …

7 Tips to Make Vegetable Gardening Easier Than You Think

David Deem 714-997-3486
It's no secret that more and more people are looking for ways to stretch their dollars, so this may be the year to consider planting a vegetable garden.

"Planting a productive and relatively fuss-free garden may be easier than you think," said Howard Rossiter, a garden department manager in Fullerton, Calif, "And you'll likely be rewarded with armloads of vegetables from spring through early fall."

The trick, said Rossiter, is careful planning and making the best use of space.

For beginners or veterans, he offers the following tips for successful vegetable gardening:

Sunshine is essential for healthy veggies. Locate your garden where it will get at least six hours of sunlight a day/ In partially shady locations, you'll probably have more luck with leaf crops like lettuce and spinach than with sun-loving tomatoes and melons.Till the soil and improve it with generous amounts of compost, sphagnum peat moss or other or…

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

David Deem 714-997-3486

Whether you're looking to prepare your home to be sold or just looking to lessen your carbon footprint, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers the following suggestions for making your home more energy efficient:

ENERGY STAR appliances. When buying or replacing appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Federal ENERGY STAR-rated appliances are designed to use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard appliances and save an average of 30% over standard models. The up front cost is usually higher, but the payback over time should be well worth it. Look for dishwashers, induction cooktops, refrigerators, and front-loading clothes washers.
Induction Cooktops. Rather than heating the cooking surfaces, the magnetic induction process turns the pot into the heating element. Food is heated more quickly and to precise temperatures. Cooking with magnetic induction is 90 percent efficient, as compared to resistance electric at approxima…

Tips for Tidy Home Maintenance

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Barbara Pronin

There's no trick to knowing when the water heater springs a leak or when the air conditioner fails to keep you cool. But regular maintenance is cheaper than repair or replacement, and there is a good chance you can avoid untimely failures by performing a routine home maintenance check twice each year, summer and fall.

Here, according to home improvement and remodeling expert Bob Vila, are ten potential trouble spots you can keep under control with regular, bi-annual maintenance checks:

Roof and siding check the roof, the siding, and around vents and chimneys for signs of cracking and/or leaks. Repair as needed.

Gutters Clean the leaves out of gutters and drain pipes and b sure they drain away from the house.

Fireplace Clean out the ashes. In the fall, consider professional cleaning and close the damper. In the spring, if the home is not air conditioned, open the damper for better ventilation.

Filters Clean or replace as needed …

Protect Your Home From Fleas

David Deem 714-997-3486

Every once in a while, your home, or the home you want to buy, can get infested with fleas. These little vampire-like creatures actually spend very little of their time on your pet; the female flea prefers to lay her eggs in dark, damp places such as cracks in the floor or a corner of the basement. The flea lays up to 20 eggs at a setting and may deposit as many as 400 during her lifetime.

It takes only about a week for the eggs to hatch into small, white, toothy-mouthed worms. This larval form feeds on feces, debris, hair and vegetation. Each larva then spins a cocoon and pupates for a period that can range from seven days to a year. The adult flea then jumps onto your pet to feed and the cycle starts over again.

If you find fleas inhabiting your carpets and furniture, begin your treatment with a thorough cleaning. Frequent vacuuming of the house, especially pet areas, is necessary to keep fleas at bay. Pay special attention to dark, damp place…

Create the Backyard Retreat of Your Dreams

David Deem 714-997-3486

Livable space may be traditionally confined to a home's interior, but the growing popularity of outdoor living design suggests that homeowners are broadening the definition to make the most of a home's total footprint.

An outdoor patio is a natural extension of the home, offering additional seating and, with the right amenities, a way to enjoy meals and entertainment al fresco. After the sunlight fades, features powered by propane - like full outdoor kitchens, patio heaters, fire pits, flame lighting and more - can keep the fun going well into the night.

What constitutes the perfect outdoor living space is as varied as homeowners' personal tastes. A simple seating arrangement with a fire pit or water feature may be ideal for one, while expansive hardscaping and a fully equipped outdoor kitchen can best meet the needs of another.

Stop dreaming and start planning with these ideas for the features that can transform your plain backyard …

Housewarming Gifts They Will Really Love

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Barbara Pronin

A bottle of wine or a basket of fruit are almost always appreciated gifts. But if you’re visiting friends in their first new home, you may be casting about for a little something that’s more original.

Buzzfeed, a lifestyle maven for adventurous millennials, and Good Housekeeping Magazine suggest seven original housewarming gifts your friends will really love:

A zip code accent pillow. Personalized with their very own zip code, this cute accent pillow is available in several colors and sizes. It’s made by Sweet Houligans Designs, available on Etsy for about $25.

Cutting board map. A colorful map of the newcomers’ area on a super cool and practical cutting board they will use for years. Available from Uncommon Goods for about $50.

A good bottle of olive oil. Every cook needs it. Surround it in a basket with some good pasta, sauces, and a bottle of chianti and you may get invited back for dinner.

An attractive wine rack. The new homeo…

Late Hiring For a Hot Summer Project? Don't Get Burned!

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

The fastest way to crush the anticipation and excitement over a new homeowner's first significant improvement project is by hiring a bad contractor. And with home improvement season in full swing, many reputable contractors have already lined up jobs weeks and even months in advance. This increases the chances of attracting potential contractors who are still looking for work - and sadly, too many are ready and willing to take your money with no guarantee you'll ever see the results you hoped for when you paid whatever upfront costs your contractor has required to book the job.

But there's loads of advice to help homeowners to avoid the likelihood of getting scammed or ripped off - and information of any recourse you might have by visiting the Federal Trade Commission's website.

Before You Hire a Contractor, the FTC recommends:

Get estimates. Get written estimates from several firms, and don’t automatically choose th…

Prep Your Plumbing Before Leaving for Vacation

David Deem 714-997-3486
Heading out of town this summer? Good for you! But before you pack your bags, consider prepping your plumbing.

"As vacationers embark on their trips, it's easy to get so focused on the destination that they can lose sight of their return," says Richard Hart, co-owner of Harts Services. "Before even leaving, it's important to take a few small precautions to avoid returning to any plumbing disasters back at home. That's the last thing you want after a relaxing time on the beach, in the mountains or wherever you choose to go."

Hart advises that residents take the following steps to prevent any plumbing disasters from taking place while they are away from their homes:

Turn off the water main valve – Water damage from a pipe leak or burst is among the most damaging plumbing issues one can have while away from home. A significant leak that flows unchecked for days can do massive amounts of damage. To avoid this, just tur…

How to Actually Fit Your Car in Your Garage

David Deem 714-997-3486

Even though research reports that nearly 80 percent of all Americans have either a garage or carport on their property, just 30 percent use the space to actually house their vehicle. If you’re like the majority, that’s because there’s just too much other stuff taking up all that space.

With a little bit of time and effort, however, you can get your garage in tip-top shape with these nine organizing tips from Erie Insurance:

Free up floor space by nailing angled wooden brackets to the wall. Use the brackets to hang lawn chairs, shovels, sports equipment and other bulky items.   

If your garage is a sea of roving sports balls, hook a few bungee cords into a secure surface and use them to corral basketballs, soccer balls, beach balls and the like into neat piles. 

Organize your yard tools by rolling up a PVC tube and placing some screws into the spot where the edges meet to create a tool slot. 

If small objects like nails and screws are littered …

Millennial Mortgages: With Lower Rates, Refinances Rise

David Deem 714-997-3486

With average interest rates shrinking, millennials are moving to refinance, according to the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker, recently released.

From March to April 2019, the average 30-year interest rate slid from 4.75 percent to 4.61 percent, Ellie Mae's report shows. Concurrently, conventional refinances rose 4 percent—to their highest in more than a year—and closings on refis shortened to 36 days, a three-year low.

"Interest rates continued to drop in April and millennials jumped on the opportunity to refinance," says Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of Strategy and Technology at Ellie Mae. "The significant drop in time to close shows homebuyers were motivated to close refinances while rates were low, and that millennials are showing increased maturity as a home-owning demographic."

According to Ellie Mae, both FHA and VA refinances rose 1 percent. For a conventional refinance, the average FICO score was 745; for an…

Identifying Your Kitchen Style

David Deem 714-997-3486
With so many different styles of kitchens and cabinets, sometimes it can be hard to decide on a favorite. While you may see kitchens in a variety of styles and find them all beautiful in their own way, finding inspirations for your dream kitchen often requires sorting through many different considerations.

Aside from the look of each style, many aspects must be considered such as its compatibility with the rest of the home and whether it will endure the test of time. 

With the variety of options available, it can sometimes become more of a hassle than a fun improvement on your home. However, these different kitchen design styles can help you decide what suits your home while also fitting your personal style.

Transitional. Transitional styling blends the comfort and warmth of traditional design with the clean profiles and understated colors of the contemporary look. The result is often gracious, streamlined spaces that radiate harmony. Taking adva…