Showing posts from November, 2019

Warm, Cozy and Eco-Friendly: Home Improvements for Winter

David Deem 714-997-3486

Blustery winds raging outdoors may leave you struggling to find a balance between making sure your family stays warm and maintaining an Earth-friendly home. Keeping your home cozy and honoring your sustainable sensibilities can actually go hand-in-hand.

Making green upgrades to your home can add value, too. These sustainable home improvements can go a long way toward boosting your comfort so that you have an inviting oasis to linger where you're well protected from the elements.

Carpeted floors
The sleek, clean look of wood or tile flooring is in high demand for many homeowners. However, carpet can actually provide help with climate control that goes beyond a softer, warmer surface for your bare feet to tread. Carpet can act as an insulator and help keep a room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If carpeted flooring isn't consistent with your style or budget, consider adding substantial area rugs to rooms that could use some e…

Houseplants Can Brighten Winter Blues

David Deem 714-997-3486 By Barbara Pronin

No matter the size of your home, there’s nothing like a mix of well-chosen houseplants to add style to your living space and brighten your mood, especially in the dark days of winter.

Positioned on a windowsill, perched on top of a bookcase, or purposefully placed on a counter or in a corner, a healthy plant adds visual interest and pop to any room. Better yet, many houseplants—even flowering plants—are easy to maintain with very little time and effort. Some moisture, a bit of potting soil and plant food, and just a little light is all it takes to keep them happy.

Gardening experts suggest a few varieties that tend to do well in most environments:
- Pothos, heartleaf philodendron, snake plant and dieffenbachia do well in low-light conditions.

- Jade plants, most species of cactus and the variegated leaf croton will thrive with a few hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis.

- If you’re looking for color, choose begonia, bromel…

How to Host a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

David Deem 714-997-3486
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, you’re most likely taking care of all the necessities to make sure your loved ones have a memorable holiday. From cleaning and decorating your home, to prepping for a stand-out meal, serving as host means taking on a seemingly endless to-do list...and an inevitable dose of stress.

So how do you manage to enjoy Thanksgiving when you’re hosting? According to restaurateur and social media influencer Rosalynn Daniels, it’s all about time-saving strategies. Try some of Daniels’ tips so you can actually participate in the day and relish the time with family and friends:

Start in advance. Sit down and think about all the things you can do in advance. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish, so get started on preparations this week.

Plan the meal. If you haven’t gotten your recipes and grocery list together yet, do so today! If you're buying a fresh turkey, check for availability as soon as possible.

Make spac…

Smart Safety: Is Your Home REALLY Child-Proof?

David Deem 714-997-3486

Most parents of young children have done their due diligence child-proofing the home. However, it's sometimes tough to spot certain safety situations in advance.

"As a busy, working parent, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to find the time to tackle any home project," says Safe Kids president Torine Creppy. "But safety starts at home, and if parents can combine child-proofing with holiday planning, they'll create a home that's festive, and, more importantly, one that's safe for kids."   
Here are six spots you may have missed when child-proofing your home:

Burns and Scalds. Each day, nearly 300 children ages 0 - 19 are seen in emergency rooms from burn or scald injuries, many of which come from the kitchen. Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of tables and counters.

Button Batteries. Each year, more than 3,300 button battery swallowing cases are reported to U.S. poison control centers. Keep i…

7 Tips for Successful Downsizing

David Deem 714-997-3486

While moving is an exciting time, downsizing your home—especially if you've lived in it for a long time—can be stressful and frustrating. How can you slash your belongings to fit in your new space?

Rita Wilkins, "The Downsizing Designer," has decades of experience in helping empty nesters feel lighter, freer and happier. Below, Wilkins offers her top seven steps.

Remove. It's cathartic to start letting go of some of the things you've been holding onto. Pairing down before you downsize will help you have fewer boxes and less stuff to worry about when you move.

Redecorate. Make rooms work for your new lifestyle. Moving furniture around can give you a new perspective. Buy a new sofa or repaint; refreshing your rooms will lighten your spirits.

Repurpose. Your life has new priorities, so how do you want to make use of the extra space now that the kids are gone? This is your chance to turn that extra bedroom into a home office, gues…

Easy Home Accents to Upgrade Your Space

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Rebecca Tillsman

With each season comes new trends and styles in interior decorating. While it's fun to explore ideas and revamp a home, it can be costly and become outdated within months.

If you're itching to refresh your space without overdoing it, home accents are the best way to change a room with minimal effort. Here are a few ideas to swap out when you're looking for a new look in your home:

Hang Prints
Prints are an inexpensive way to decorate your space. Whether you buy online or print them out at home, hanging them with modern picture frames is an easy way to enhance a room. By choosing a quality frame, it'll be easy to swap out prints every couple of months without replacing the frame itself—something that can become costly.

If you're on the artistic side, try painting or creating your own piece to hang up, as engaging with art has been shown to improve stress and memory. Another tip to keep in mind is that if you…

Mortgage Rates Rise as 2020 Comes Into Focus

David Deem 714-997-3486
Mortgage rates rose this week, with the average 30-year, fixed rate up to 3.75 percent, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®).

"The modest uptick in mortgage rates over the last two months reflects declining recession fears and a more sanguine outlook for the global economy," Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, says. "Due to the improved economic outlook, purchase mortgage applications rose 15 percent over the same week a year ago, the second-highest weekly increase in the last two years. Given the important role residential real estate plays in the economy, the steady improvement of the housing market is a reassuring sign that the economy is on solid ground heading into next year."

30-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.75 percent, with an average 0.6 point
Up from 3.69 percent the prior week, but down from 4.94 percent the prior year

15-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.2 percent, with an average 0.5 p…

Fair Housing Act Proposal Will Affect Housing Discrimination Cases

David Deem 714-997-3486

Commentary by Desirée Patno

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently introduced a proposal that will affect the 2013 Disparate Impact rule, which created uniform standards for the application of disparate impact, referring to policy that has discriminatory effects despite the intention of the policymakers. In brief, the new rule will place the burden of proof onto the plaintiff in housing discrimination cases, which could make such lawsuits more difficult.
Fair Housing Act and Disparate Impact Rule Initially passed in 1968, the Fair Housing Act intended to promote equality in the housing sector by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status.
An amendment was made in 1974 to include women, and, as a result, a greater share of women have experienced more economic and social benefits due to improved access to housing opportunities. While the act prohibit…

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home

David Deem 714-997-3486 By Cary Teller Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home. 1. Using Traditional Light bulbs If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home's bottom line. 2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune.…

On a Budget? Tips for Decorating

David Deem 714-997-3486

You've scrimped and saved to buy your first home, and moving in was sweet. But now it's time to decorate and your pockets are empty. What can you do on a shoestring?

Plenty, says Pat Hanley, a d cor consultant with a home improvement store in Boulder, Colo. "For many young couples, the first order of business is often to make the home their own," Hanley said. "That is, a space that reflects their taste and lifestyle and not the taste of the family that just moved out."

To do that, she suggested, begin with clean, bare walls. Wallpaper removal supplies are inexpensive and efficient, and bare walls in a light, neutral color will give you a fresh palette on which to work.

Next, focus on one room at a time and note the many ways you can bring them to life without spending a fortune.

Kitchen Paint or re-stain dull kitchen cabinets and/or update the pulls with new hardware. Replace old ceiling fixtures with new designs or ce…

How to Measure for an Area Rug

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Lorrie Browne, RISMedia Guest Columnist

Area rugs are the crowning touch to wood and tile flooring. They add warmth, beauty and color to your room, not to mention how good they feel under your feet. But there's nothing worse than ordering a rug, laying it down and then realizing it's a little too big or too small. So before you start searching, it's a good idea to figure out what size you need. It will help narrow down your choices and give you confidence in your purchase.

Here are some room-by-room guidelines:

Dining Room
Measure the dining room table and then add 54" to the length and the width so chairs can be moved in and out without slipping off the rug.

Living Room & Family Room
Measure the perimeter of your entire furniture grouping and deduct 24" from the length and the width. This will allow the front legs of sofas and chairs to be on the rug and anchor the seating area. If one side faces a fireplace or TV, th…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: November 19, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory decreased by 387 homes in the past two-weeks, down 7%, and now totals 5,534, its lowest level since May 2018. Last year, there were 7,218 homes on the market, 1,684 more than today, or an extra 30%.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 53 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 2%, and now totals 2,328. Last year, there were 1,776 pending sales, 24% fewer than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County dropped from 78 days to 71, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 122 days last year and climbing, completely different than today.

•For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days) with an expected market time of 48 days. This range represents 38% of the active inventory and 56% of demand.

•For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 58 days, also a hot Seller’s Market. Thi…

Considering a Video Doorbell? Read This First!

David Deem  714-997-3486 By John Voket

Smart home lovers likely rejoice at the continued flood of smart house accessories on the market, one of which are video security doorbells.
According to the experts at Alarm New England, installing a doorbell camera can help secure your home and eliminate risks associated with opening the door for strangers, and law enforcement agencies across the nation are generally in support of the devices as a tool for reducing crime.
The site offers these additional points to review before you buy:
Resolution Most doorbell cameras max out at 1080p resolution, and the higher the resolution, the sharper the image, generally speaking. 
Night Vision Night vision capabilities will allow you to clearly see who is at your door even when it's dark out, giving you security 24/7.
Field of View If the video doorbell you are considering says it offers 180 degrees, it means the camera can see everything in front of it, and to the sides, wh…

Should You 'Go Pro' With Holiday Decor?

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

Homeowners across the country are thinking about how they're going to dress up their properties for the upcoming winter holidays. An annual reminder from the folks at Christmas Decor may help.

In addition to helping homes look fabulous during the holiday season, the company's main goal is to save property owners from serious injuries—and their properties from structural damage, devastating fires and electrical hazards.

Kathleen Neave of Christmas Decor by Neave Decor in Stamford, Conn., says professional decorators can achieve results that most property owners can only imagine—without any risk to the owner's life or limbs.

In addition, Neave says holiday lighting specialists offer professional-grade lights and accessories that are certified for outdoor use, and they install that decor securely and safely to minimize the risk for property damage and electrical fire.

For those who opt for do-it-yourself decorating, here a…

Is Your Family Safe From Lead Poisoning?

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

While October marks National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW)—a federal initiative sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—it's important to keep this top-of-mind regardless of the time of year.

The CDC says that lead paint has been banned for use in house paints in the United States since 1978, and even though increased awareness of the risk of lead poisoning and primary prevention efforts have helped decrease the rate of lead-poisoned children, nearly half a million children living in the U.S. have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their development and overall health.

In addition to paint and dust inside their homes, the CDC says children can also be exposed to lead that may be found in the soil around the outside of homes, and even from the toys they play with. Fo…

Can You Recycle Used Paint?

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

It's been a full decade since the PaintCare, a national nonprofit organization created by paint manufacturers, began providing consumers with a convenient network of locations where they can recycle postconsumer (leftover) paint, stain and varnish. Still, many homeowners don't know about this valuable outlet.

The program is funded by a fee on sales of new paint and remitted to PaintCare by paint manufacturers to handle paint collection, transportation, processing and public education.

Part of that public education campaign involves providing the following tips to consumers:
Buy right. Many people have leftover paint because it’s not easy to know how much to purchase in the first place, so get help estimating the right amount of paint needed for your projects by visiting for a list of paint calculators to help you paint smarter.

Store right. An unopened can of paint can last for decades if it is stored in a dr…

Is It Time to Call a Plumber? Be Aware of These Signs!

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Virn Del Valle

Poor plumbing conditions in your home can escalate to bigger problems such as flooding and accidents. On top of that, you'll most likely find your monthly water bills with exceeding charges.
Avoid these troublesome and costly issues by keeping your home's plumbing system properly functioning all the time. Fix plumbing issues before they become a real threat. Here are clear signs that will tell you it's time to call a plumber:
Low Water Pressure Leaks, piping issues and outdated fixtures are among the primary causes of low water pressure. This occurrence provides inconvenience in both households and business places, slowing down the performance of any task that uses water on a daily basis. When faced with poor or inconsistent water pressure, don't hesitate to call a plumber right away to fix the problem.
Slow Draining Slow draining in your bathroom or kitchen sink may indicate clogging down the pipes. While some …

Home Seller Tips: How to Make Your Property Look Its Best Before Showings

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Lizzie Weakley

When you're ready to put your home on the market, make sure it looks its very best in order to outshine the competition.

While there are many things you can do to enhance your property, here are four of the most important aspects to highlight when attempting to attract buyers:

Appeal reigns supreme when it comes to attracting prospective buyers. They're looking for an attractive residence that'll present a welcoming façade and inspire pride in ownership. Inspect the interior and exterior of your home from a buyer's perspective. Every room and space inside, as well as the lawn, walkways and outbuildings, should be aesthetically appealing with coordinated colors and designs. Mismatches in structure or decor are usually a turnoff to those seriously interested in purchasing a home.

Everything should be orderly. Get rid of trash, debris and weeds that can make the property appear uncared for. Unused …

Mortgage Rates Relax, Back Down to 3.69 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486

The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate relaxed this week, back down to 3.69 percent, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®).

"After a year-long slide, mortgage rates hit a cycle low in September 2019 and have risen in six out of the last nine weeks due to modestly better economic data and trade related optimism," Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, says. "The improvement in sentiment has been one of the main drivers behind the surge in equity prices and will provide a halo effect to consumer spending heading into the important holiday shopping season."

30-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.69 percent, with an average 0.5 point
Down from 3.78 percent the prior week and 4.94 percent the prior year

15-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.13 percent, with an average 0.4 point,
Down from 3.19 percent the prior week and 4.33 percent the prior year

5-Year Adjustable
Averaging 3.39 percent, with an average 0.3 poi…

3 Tips for Removing Dead Trees From Your Property

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Brooke Chaplan

Getting rid of dead trees is more complex than many people realize, and you could run into an array of issues if you aren't careful. Luckily, with the right equipment and a solid plan, you should be able to get that dead foliage off your property before you know it. Here are three things to keep in mind when removing dead trees from your property:

Don't Start During Inclement Weather
Removing dead trees is extremely hazardous during certain times of the year. If there are high winds or the tree is covered in snow, then you should probably put this project off for at least a few weeks. That being said, a little bit of rain could actually help you out. The rainwater is going to saturate all of the soil around the tree, and that'll make it much easier to pull out the roots. You can also soak the ground with a garden hose if you're carrying out this project during the dry season.

Always Use the Proper Safety Gear

Fed Cuts Interest Rates, But Could Press Pause on Downward Trend

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Liz Dominguez

Last Wednesday, the Fed announced another anticipated interest rate cut, the third since July, and again by a quarter point to the 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent range.

The Fed will continue to watch the economic landscape, which it says has a "strong labor market" and "activity that has been rising at a moderate rate," and expects to proceed as planned to sustain growth.

"We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the state of the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a post-meeting press conference.

There could be a shift in future policy, however—wording removed from the Fed's statement indicates it may pause rate cuts.

Consumer sentiment for rate cuts is largely positive, according to a new Fed Rate Survey from WalletHub. Ahead of the Fed's announ…