Showing posts from July, 2019

Easy Steps to a Buzz-Worthy Backyard

David Deem 714-997-3486
If your backyard is a bit on the boring side, but the idea of landscape design or an expensive deck redo is overwhelming (and beyond your budget), take heart! By sprucing up just a few key areas, your outdoor environs can go from basic to breathtaking in no time. Consider these six strategies from inground pool-cover manufacturer Loop-Loc:

1. Get rid of clutter. A lot of what gets in the way of a beautiful backyard is all our extra stuff. Sort through gardening tools, kids' toys and extra plant pots, and sell, give, or throw away anything you no longer use. Organize the rest in the garage or a shed so that it’s out of eyesight.

2. Add movement. Sometimes, all you need is a statement piece to produce some oohs and ahs. Try a comfy porch swing, outfitted with pillows and blankets. It’s sure to become a favorite spot for you and your guests alike.

3. Utilize water. The effects of a water feature are both beautiful and restorative, appealing to the…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: July 30, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory increased by 40 homes in the past two-weeks, up 0.5%, and now totals 7,601, the highest level for 2019. In the month of June, 11% fewer homes came on the market compared to June 2018. And, so far in July, it is down by 6%. Last year, there were 6,759 homes on the market, 842 fewer than today. There are 12% more homes than last year.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 44 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 2%, and now totals 2,505. Last year, there were 2,393 pending sales, 4% fewer than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 92 days two weeks ago to 91 days today, a Balanced Market (between 90 to 120 days) and the highest level for this time of the year since 2011. It was at 85 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 62 days. This range r…

Keep Your Home and Wallet Cool This Summer

David Deem 714-997-3486

With summer temps soaring, your home and your bank account may take a hit. To help, Consumers Energy offers the following tips to help reduce summer energy use, and ease the financial strain of sky-high cooling bills.

- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you're home and higher when you're away. You'll typically save 1 to 3 percent on cooling costs for every degree you dial up.

- Clean your air conditioning filter regularly. Dusty filters can make your appliance work harder, wasting energy.

- Install a smart thermostat and program it to start your air conditioner shortly before you get home. Consumers Energy offers rebates of up to $100 on Wi-Fi enabled thermostats.

- Seal leaks in your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could save up to 30 percent on annual energy costs by doing so. Inspect and seal around doors, windows, recessed lights and attic hatches.

- Keep cool with fans. A ceiling fan cools fast and cos…

Feng Shui Rules for Your Bedroom

David Deem 714-997-3486

The Chinese term “Feng Shui” literally translates to “wind water” and is present in both natural and man-made environments. When infused into an interior design concept, however, Feng Shui is intended to restore balance and healthy flow into a home, and in the case of the bedroom, a sense of peacefulness for a better night’s rest. In order to optimize Feng Shui in the bedroom, follow these rules:

Avoid exposed beams. If possible, don’t set up a bedroom in a room with exposed beams. If you must, don’t place occupied furniture (like your bed) within the exposed beams.

Get rid of clutter. Clutter impedes energy flow, so be sure to reduce the mess in your bedroom.

Proper bed placement. Make sure the top of your head is against a solid wall. If that’s not possible, make sure it’s a wall with a closed, draftless window. This will prevent energy, or Qi, from flowing above your head and disturbing your sleep.

Place the bed flush against the wall. If this is…

How to Keep Central Air Bills in Check

David Deem 714-997-3486

Here’s an eye-opening fact: For every degree your raise the set temperature on your central air, you’ll save about 3 percent on your utility bill.

But despite that important bit of information from the Department of Energy (DOE), it can be difficult to convince the other members of your household to raise the temperature on a sweltering day. Energy Star, a joint federal program run by the DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency, recommends the following schedule for your central air:

• 78° F when you’re home
• 85° F when you’re at work or away
• 82° F when you’re sleeping

If these settings prove to be too high for your comfort, lower them by one degree at a time, allowing the house to reach that temperature before adjusting it down further. Conversely, if you’re comfortable at the above temperatures, go ahead and raise them further. Remember, 3 percent savings for every degree higher you go!

Should you not have central air and be relying on …

Planning to DIY Your Kitchen Floor? Here's What You Need

David Deem 714-997-3486

Redoing your kitchen floor on your own is an ambitious undertaking that can be accomplished with the right supplies, tools and know-how. Whether you want to redo your floor by yourself to save money or simply for a sense of accomplishment, there are several ways to get the job done.

Here are several things that you will need in order to complete your DIY kitchen flooring project:

Exact Floor Measurements
Your entire project could wind up in chaos if your floor measurements aren't correct. The floor measurements will determine the sizes and shapes of the tiles you'll need, along with where they're placed. If the shape of your floor is square or rectangular, you can get the correct measurements by taking the length and width measurements and multiplying them by two. For a floor with a more unusual shape, you'll need to divide each section into rectangular units with string or other markers, and then add the measurements of each unit…

5 Clean Bathroom Hacks

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Zoe Eisenberg

Love a sparkling clean bathroom but scant on time? While you should do a deep bathroom clean every other week (or more, depending on the size of your family), the following tips can help you keep the space sparkling throughout the week until your next thorough scrub.

Keep a rag in the shower. Hang a cleaning rag in the shower to wipe down the surfaces after you bathe. At the end of the week, toss the rag in the wash to keep it clean.

Time that toilet bowl clean. Headed to the bathroom to wash up? Add some toilet bowl cleaner to your toilet, tackle a 2-3 minute task like brushing your teeth, then scrub the bowl before you hop in the shower.

Clean your shower head. It's easy for residue to cake over shower heads over time. To fix this, grab a plastic bag (check for holes first!), fill it with vinegar, tie the bag over the shower head and secure with a rubber band. Head off to work, and when you return, your shower head should spa…

The Housing Affordability Crisis Is a Problem We Can Solve, Says NLC Report

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Liz Dominguez

Across the U.S., several markets suffer from an affordable housing crisis. It impacts millions of Americans every day and weighs heavily on the industry. Some of the biggest obstacles? Racial discrimination, out-of-reach markets, rising rates and demanding lending requirements make the American Dream an impossible feat for a huge portion of the population.

The National League of Cities (NLC), an organization that looks to assist city leaders in building stable and affordable housing across all communities, has proposed several ways to tackle these challenges. In a recently released report—Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing—NLC outlines the state of housing in the U.S. and how to tackle the affordability crisis.

"The United States has a housing crisis. In cities and towns nationwide, access to housing—particularly access to safe and affordable housing—continues to be a major concern and increasingly serves as one…

Staying Steady During an Earthquake: Proofing and Safety

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Liz Dominguez

Earlier this month, the community of Ridgecrest, Calif., quite literally trembled as it experienced a series of earthquakes, one of which was the largest to hit Southern California in almost 20 years.
On July 4, a 6.4 magnitude quake struck near Ridgecrest—along the Eastern California Shear Zone and 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles—and was followed by a 7.1 quake in that same area on July 5, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Since then, thousands of aftershocks ranging widely in magnitude have occurred; experts expect these to taper off soon.
One death involving a man pinned under a vehicle is still being investigated as possibly linked to the earthquake. The powerful shocks, while sporadic for the area, left the region relatively unscathed save for gas leaks, fallen chimneys and some mobile homes that shifted off their foundations, according to the Los Angeles Times. Nevertheless, conversations surround…

Pricing Your Home When Ready To List

David Deem 714-997-3486 By Andrew King

There are so many moving parts to track when real estate brokers come up with a listing price.

All the features of the property, the comparable sales in the neighborhood and the latest market trends are just a few of the data sets that ultimately go into the equation. Sometimes prices are determined as part of a broad strategy to entice certain kinds of buyers (like the Wal-Mart-inspired $498,000 price tag) or they’re designed to trigger a bidding war.

Eventually, most listing prices will come down to two questions:
What will someone pay for the home?
At what valuation will the property be appraised?
While the first question is obvious, the second one often can be overlooked in the crowded mix of moving parts. If not properly factored in and planned for, an appraisal that’s misaligned with a broker’s expectation could put the whole deal at risk if the buyer is using a mortgage.

Appraisers are assigned by lenders, but they are comp…

3 Steps to Maximize Your AC Efficiency

David Deem 714-997-3486
With the sweltering summer season upon us, many are turning to our trusty AC units to keep us cool. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact our bank accounts - but it doesn't have to.

"It can get much more expensive to keep a cool home when temperatures reach the 80s and 90s," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating. "Finding little ways to make a home's cooling more efficient can add up to significant savings over the course of a few months."

Petri recommends residents utilize the following tips in order to cool their homes without breaking the bank on energy bills:

Consider home efficiency upgrades and maintenance. Double-paned efficiency windows or a solar fan for an attic can be relatively inexpensive upgrades that will keep a home's air conditioner from working as hard. Also, check seals and weather stripping along doors and windows and replace as necessary. This will prevent cool air from …

4 Areas of Your Home That Likely Need a Touch-Up

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Anita Ginsburg

Regular maintenance is an ongoing process for every homeowner. Keeping up with smaller projects is essential if you want to avoid major problems down the road.
With a little bit of preventative maintenance, you can ensure that your home remains beautiful and efficient for years to come. Here are several areas of your home that are likely in need of some attention:
Roof A well-constructed roof should last for at least 30 years, but some of the shingles will need to be replaced well before that. Replacing damaged tiles is immediately going to improve the appearance of your home, and that simple project could help you avoid serious water damage. As a general rule, tiles and shingles need to be replaced if they are curled, cracked or bent. You also need to replace any metal flashing that is bent or warped.
Exterior Walls Putting a fresh coat of paint on your home can have a huge impact on its curb appeal. While you can paint your own home…

6 Storage Solutions for Small-Space Living

David Deem 714-997-3486
Whether you’ve got a rustic cabin in the country or a streamlined pad in the big city, your current living situation may not involve lots of square footage. If that’s the case, becoming super savvy about storage is a must. Here are six organizational solutions for your small space that will help house your belongings without making your environment feel cramped or cluttered.

1. Buy containers that double as furniture, such as storage ottomans that can be tucked under a table when not in use then pulled out for extra seating when needed, or a vintage steamer trunk or wooden crate that also stands in as a cool coffee table.

2. Think outside the box and place a piece of strategically selected furniture in the bathroom, such as a small chest of drawers or a tall, but not too deep, shelving unit. Use the piece to house towels, bed linens, shower supplies, cosmetics and any other items appropriate for the bath and boudoir.

3. Fill up a large bookcase …

Orange County Housing Market Summary: July 16, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory decreased by 39 homes in the past two weeks, down 1%, and now totals 7,561. In the month of June, 12% fewer homes came on the market compared to June 2018. Last year, there were 6,579 homes on the market, 982 fewer than today. There are 15% more homes than last year.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 87 pending sales in the past two-weeks, down 3%, and now totals 2,461. Last year, there were 2,454 pending sales, similar to today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County increased from 89 days two weeks ago to 92 days today, a Balanced Market (between 90 to 120 days) and the highest level for this time of the year since 2011. It was at 80 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 64 days. This range represents 39% of the active inventory and 55% of demand.

•For homes …

Confidence in Housing Levels as Rates Steady

- David Deem 714-997-3486

With expectations of lower mortgage rates, confidence in the housing market is stabilizing, according to the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), newly released.

In June, the HPSI retreated 0.5 points—down from May's near-record, but only slightly.

"Growing expectations that mortgage rates will remain steady suggest improved stability for housing affordability and helped keep the HPSI relatively flat this month," says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

According to Duncan, confidence is fluctuating market to market, and appears to be correlated to home prices.

"Regional variations in housing optimism appear to be tied to a divergence in housing affordability," Duncan says. "For example, home purchase sentiment is higher in the Midwest and South than in the West and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast, where the lack of entry-level inventory and the resultant strong pri…

How-To Throw BIG Parties in SMALL Spaces

David Deem 714-997-3486
By John Voket

Whether its a cozy condo in Boston, or a sunny Los Angeles flat with a virtual patch of yard, there are plenty of ways to squeeze a LOT of party into small spaces.

Graham Averill at has a few ideas, starting with downsizing your grill. Averill says forget that whale of a grill - you'll crave the space you'll save!

Averill also says instead of offering a full bar, save space (and money) by whipping up a signature cocktail — something you can make in big batches ahead of time. Then just set a pitcher featuring your best mixology, an ice bucket, glasses and cocktail napkins on a small folding butler’s tray.

Accommodate guests on a small deck or in a tiny yard by creating zones: Your bar goes in one corner, a small table of appetizers in the other, and a cooler of beer is sandwiched next to the grill so people have to come talk to you while you cook. Keep seating, tables, food, etc. around the perimeter of you…

5 Tips for Moving with a Pet

David Deem 714-997-3486

Whether it's across the street or across the country, moving can be a stressful and chaotic time for your family. This can be especially true for your four-legged family members, who don't understand what's happening. Detailed planning and foresight can help alleviate some of the hassle and make relocating a more positive experience for everyone.

"Moving with a pet requires careful planning to help ensure a smooth transition for the whole family," says Dave Bradey, vice president of people and organization at Mars Petcare North America. "As someone who recently moved with two dogs, I can't tell you how valuable it is to have access to pet-friendly public areas throughout the moving process."

Consider these tips to help make your move with your pet as smooth as possible.

1. Check In with Your Vet – Ahead of a move, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy and up-to-date on all…

4 Top Modern Methods of Investing in Real Estate

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Meghan Belnap

Investing in real estate can be a great way to earn some extra money for yourself. You can put the money that you make from real estate into a retirement fund, your children's education or another important life expense. Here are four ways to invest your money in real estate that could pay off handsomely in the end:

Buy a Family Rental Home
Whether you want to purchase a single home or multiple houses to rent out to tenants, investing in a rental property is one of the best ways to earn continuous income. You can choose to rent to families on a short- or long-term basis. It's important to establish rental terms with your tenants and specify these terms in a lease or another type of agreement.

Split Homes Into Stratas
Another way to capitalize on your real estate investment is by turning single-family homes into stratas so that multiple families can rent a single property. This will only work if your rental home is large en…

Getting to the Bottom of Your High Electricity Bill

David Deem 714-997-3486
You can budget for your grocery bill, and you know that by getting rid of a couple of those premium channels, you’ll be able to reduce your cable bill. But somehow, your monthly electricity bill remains a mystery. Here are some reasons why your bill may be high, and what you can do to reduce it and regain control:

The obvious energy hogs.
The biggest drains on electricity are obvious culprits: air conditioning units, the electric water heater, the clothes dryer and the stove. That’s because it takes a lot of energy to change temperature, whether you’re cooling off a hot room, making wet clothes dry or baking a cake. According to, water heating accounts for approximately 18 percent of residential energy consumption, and residents spend about $29 billion a year in the U.S. just on air conditioning alone.

So when it comes to these big-ticket appliances, think carefully about your usage. Here are some simple ways to cut back:

- Use cold wa…

Vacuuming Your Pool? Consider These Best Practices

David Deem 714-997-3486
With pool season in full swing, pool owners are likely taking on the task of weekly pool cleaning. If you use a vacuum to clean your pool, keep the following best practices in mind, from pool lining manufacturer LOOP-LOC.
Clean the filter. Before vacuuming, the filter must be prepared. Be sure to clean the filter thoroughly before assembling or connecting the vacuum. The filter should be clean to prepare for the debris that will come its way during the vacuuming process.

Assemble the vacuum. The equipment must be set up properly for the most effective cleaning to be done. This means connecting the extension pole and vacuum hose to the vacuum head. After the vacuum is in one piece, be sure to get all the air out of the hose. To sink the hose and remove the air, extend the pole and put the vacuum head into the water. Be sure to slowly reel the hose down into the water, pushing it in as water fills the hose. While this may seem tricky, once practice…

Protect Your Home From Summer Risks

David Deem 714-997-3486

The warm summer months can bring external risks to your property, from swells in heat to high wind and rain from hurricane season. It's best to be prepared and avoid any midsummer headaches.

"A home is like a vehicle in the respect that it needs a tune up to handle the change in seasons," says Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims Christopher O'Rourke. "Now is the time to prepare property for the intense summer heat, and one important step is to contact an insurance agent to assess coverage before you suffer a loss."

O'Rourke advises property owners to prepare for the following scenarios.

Tree branch drops. Parking a vehicle under a tree for its shade might seem like a good idea during the summer; however, the phenomenon called "tree branch drops" caused by extreme heat can cost you money. If a tree on your property extends over parked cars, you're responsible for any damage they cause i…