Showing posts from April, 2020

Bring Peace to Your Bedroom

David Deem 714-997-3486
While world peace is a great idea, if you want to add a touch of calm to your life, begin with your bedroom. Your room isn't merely the place to rest your head, it's where you wake, and the vibe of your room can set the tone for the rest of your day. Below are five tips for bringing a peaceful vibe to your bedroom.

Choose calming colors. While red or orange may be your favorite fiery hue, when picking shades for your room, choose soothing, calm colors like light blue or a gentle gray.

Pick minimal patterns. Keep the fun, funky patterns for the living room throw pillows. Busy patterns can make us feel crowded and overwhelmed, so minimize zany patterns in your sleep space.

Clear the room of clutter. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom by keeping it clear of clutter, from laundry to oversized furniture. Spend a few minutes before bed each day storing any items you pulled out, close the closet doors, put the books back on the shelves and dive i…

How to Prevent Mold

David Deem 714-997-3486
Mold inside a house can cause serious health problems, including sinus irritation, congestion, headaches and respiratory difficulties. The health effects of mold are more serious in children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with respiratory problems.

Mold can grow in any moist environment, which makes a home a perfect breeding ground. Mold spores can accumulate on surfaces and travel through the air in a house. Here are some strategies to control the level of moisture in your home and prevent mold from taking hold.

Reduce Moisture Levels in Your House
Walk through your house and look for areas where moisture tends to accumulate. The bathroom is an obvious one, but moisture is also often found in the kitchen, laundry room, basement and around windows.

Remove laundry from the washing machine quickly to avoid the growth of mold. Hang bath towels to dry, and avoid leaving containers in the shower where they can accumulate moisture. Wipe down t…

Ways to Save Energy and Money

David Deem 714-997-3486

Cutting down on energy use is great for the environment. It can also save you big bucks. Alternative energy proponent IGS Energy suggests four green and easy ways to do both:

Minimize 'phantom loads.' The term 'phantom load' refers to the energy that an appliance or electronic device consumes when it is not actually turned on. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), some 75 percent of the electricity in an average home is used to power electronics while the products are off. A report from the University of California Berkeley says that phantom loads account for about six percent of all residential electricity consumption. You can eliminate phantom loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them or by plugging them into a power strip and turning the strip off when they are not in use.

Upgrade your appliances. When shopping for new appliances, look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy S…

New-Home Sales Hurting in March, But Overall Market Declines Could Be Slowing

David Deem 714-997-3486

March's new-home sales took a deep dive, according to the Commerce Department's monthly report this week.

The Breakdown

New-Home Sales: 627,000

- 14.8 percent below February 2020
- 14.6 percent below March 2019

For-Sale Inventory: 333,000
Months' Supply: 6.4
Median Price: $21,400

According to Zillow's new Real Estate Market Report, the second half of March experienced the biggest drop for home sales, but that decline levelled off in recent weeks, and the market is showing positive signs.

The report shows that pending sales peaked in the seven days leading to March 12, then fell due to the spread of COVID-19. They are currently 32.3 percent below last year's level.

In terms of inventory, for-sale listings increased by 3.3 percent in March, while new listings fell by 17.2 percent—total inventory has decreased 12.1 percent YoY.

What the Industry's Saying

"Real estate transactions and new listings have declined abruptly amidst the co…

What If I Need to Sell My Home Now? What Can I Do?

David Deem 714-997-3486

Every day that passes, people have a need to buy and sell homes. That doesn’t stop during the current pandemic. If you’ve had a major life change recently, whether with your job or your family situation, you may be in a position where you need to sell your home – and fast. While you probably feel like timing with the current pandemic isn’t on your side, making a move is still possible. Rest assured, with technology at your side and fewer sellers on the market in most areas, you can list your house and make it happen safely and effectively, especially when following the current COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You may have a new baby, a new employment situation, a parent who moved in with you, you just built a home that’s finally ready to move into, or some other major part of your life that has changed in recent weeks. Buyers have those needs too…

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree.

David Deem 714-997-3486

The uncertainty the world faces today due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many things to change. The way we interact, the way we do business, even the way we buy and sell real estate is changing. This is a moment in time that’s even sparking some buyers to search for a better deal on a home. Sellers, however, aren’t offering a discount these days; they’re holding steady on price. According to the most recent NAR Flash Survey (a survey of real estate agents from across the country), agents were asked the following two questions: 1. “Have any of your sellers recently reduced their price to attract buyers?” Their answer: 72% said their sellers have not lowered prices to attract buyers during this health crisis. 2. “Are home buyers expecting lower prices now?” Their answer: 63% of agents said their buyers were looking for a price reduction of at least 5%. What We Do Know  In today’s market, with everything changing and ongoing questions around w…

Uncertainty Abounds in the Search for Economic Recovery Timetable

David Deem 714-997-3486

Earlier this week, we discussed how most projections from financial institutions are calling for a quick V-shaped recovery from this economic downturn, and there’s research on previous post-pandemic recoveries to support that expectation. In addition, we noted how there are some in the business community who believe we may instead be headed for a U-shaped recovery, where the return to previous levels of economic success won’t occur until the middle of next year. Yesterday, Reuters released a poll of U.S. and European economists which revealed that most surveyed are now leaning more toward a U-shaped recovery. Here are the results of that poll: Why the disparity in thinking among different groups of economic experts? The current situation makes it extremely difficult to project the future of the economy. Analysts normally look at economic data and compare it to previous slowdowns to create their projections. This situation, however, is anything bu…

Smart Thermostats: Top 4 Expert Picks

David Deem 714-997-3486

Programmable thermostats let you set the temperature in your home and have the thermostat change it based on the time of day. What makes them 'smart' is that they can learn from your behaviors, let you control the climate remotely, show you energy consumption in real-time and even adjust themselves based on conditions like humidity.

You can tell them to shut off after you leave for work and spring back into action in time to ensure the house temperature is comfortable by the time you get home. Many models can be managed from your phone or a website.

If you’re thinking of upgrading to a money-saving smart thermostat, here are four models highly recommended by independent reviewers at BestReviews, WiseBread and LifeHacker:

The Nest Learning Thermostat
This model tops most lists and is backed by over 17,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The Nest is easy to use and install, and works with Amazon Alexa, the Nest App and other smart devices. It feat…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: April 21, 2020

David Deem 714-997-3486
•The active listing inventory increased by 161 homes in the past two-weeks, up 4%, and now totals 4,344. In the past four-weeks, 52% fewer homes were placed on the market compared to the prior 5-year average. Last year, there were 6,933 homes on the market, 2,589 more than today, a 60% difference.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 504 pending sales in the past two-weeks, down 32%, and now totals 1,080. In the past 5-years, demand has increased an average of 4%. The drop is due to the Coronavirus. Last year, there were 2,724 pending sales, 152% more than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County increased from 79 days to 121, a slight Seller’s Market (between 120 and 150 days). The increase is due to the Coronavirus. It was at 76 days last year, much better than today.

•For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 and 90 days) with an expected market time…

Forecast: COVID-19 to Drag Home Sales 15 Percent This Year

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Suzanne De Vita

As COVID-19 progresses, the economic expansion is starting to unravel, bringing down home sales this year, according to new projections released Wednesday.

The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group forecast 14.7 percent less sales this year, along with 9.3 percent fewer housing starts, as a result of the virus, its economic impact and social turmoil. Based on their projections, existing-home sales should sink to 4.54 million this year, down from 5.34 million in 2019.

In addition, the analysts amended their economic estimates, now anticipating GDP gains to reverse, both in the first and second quarters of the year—criteria fitting a recession. However, they also anticipate a considerable rebound in 2021, barring the mitigation of the virus. The forecast is, overall, still tentative.

"Our baseline forecast of a 3.1 percent contraction in real GDP in 2020 acknowledges the economic downdraft and, considering the unprece…

Smart Home Gadgets That Will Elevate Your Home

David Deem 714-997-3486

Technology seems to mutate with the speed of light, but is your home keeping up with the changes? Smarten it up with a few smart-home electronics that will boost safety, increase comfort and may even save you a few bucks:

Video Doorbell
The VTech Video Doorbell, about $115, lets you screen and even video chat with visitors before you answer the door. And the system takes a snapshot each time the doorbell is pressed, so you'll always know who came a-knocking while you were away.

Smart Door Lock
The August Smart Lock uses keyless technology to keep your home safe no matter where you are. From your smartphone, you can let guests in, check to make sure you locked up before you left, keep a record of who has entered and exited, and unlock your door from the driveway. Cost? About $220.

Home Automation
You can ease into wireless control of your lighting and appliances with Insteon’s Start Here Kit, about $125, before moving on to automating other househol…

Quick Fixes for Your Common Household Problems

David Deem 714-997-3486

It may seem like there's always something going on as a homeowner, from silencing a squeaky hinge to unclogging a temperamental toilet. But many household problems can be easily fixed without calling a repair service.

A can of WD-40, a toilet plunger and a bottle of vinegar are great basics to keep on hand for easing sticky fittings, clearing the toilet and making short work of common stains. Here are some simple fixes for common home problems that even the non-handy can handle:

Squeaky Floorboard
Banish that annoying squeak by sprinkling a little talcum powder over the noisy area and brushing it into the cracks.

Stained Tub
Removed stubborn stains by combining equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture into the stain with your fingers or a soft cloth. Let sit for a half hour, then rinse well with water.

Stuck Sliding Windows
Loosen stuck windows by spraying a little silicone spray lubri…

A Quick Breakdown of Your Homeowners Insurance

David Deem 714-997-3486

As new homeowners will learn, borrowers need to provide their lender with proof of homeowners insurance for the full value of the property (usually the purchase price) in order to be approved for the loan.

Typically, the standard insurance policy protects your new property and some possessions against damage or theft. But what, specifically, will it cover?

Limited Damage to the Home’s Interior and Exterior
Your insurer will compensate you for repairs or rebuilding costs resulting from fire, hurricanes, lightning, vandalism or other covered disasters. Damage that is the result of floods, earthquakes and/or poor home maintenance is generally not covered unless you have purchased ‘riders’ for that protection.

Loss or Damage to Personal Belongings
Clothing, furniture, appliances and most other home contents are covered if they are destroyed in an insured disaster. You can even get "off-premises" coverage that enables you to file a claim for lost…

5 Reasons to Paint Your Walls Gray

David Deem 714-997-3486

When it comes to painting your space, there are myriad options: bright and sunny yellow, the classic eggshell white, a soothing blue or a fresh green. But one color you shouldn't overlook when painting is gray. Below are five reasons why.

It matches. Gray is a fluid, flexible color that pairs well with a large variety of accents. This means you can swap out your color scheme over the years and keep the same paint job.

It's elegant. Gray is a classic choice for a wall. Whether it's a light smoky gray, a deep ash or a lavender tinted hue, gray doesn't seem to age out.

It's calming. Along with green and some shades of blue, gray has been shown to soothe and relax. This makes it a great choice for your bedroom.

It opens space. If you choose a light gray, the color can help create the illusion of a larger area. White is the typical choice for opening up a space, but if you're looking for a bit more personality, gray is the way to g…

How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

David Deem 714-997-3486

If you're the proud owner of a hardwood floor, you may be engaged in a constant cleaning battle. Hardwood looks best when it's buff and gleaming, but with a busy schedule, it can be hard to keep the floors sparkling at all times. Below are a handful of tips for quickly cleaning your wood floors.

Clear the space. This may seem obvious, but it's an often-overlooked step in the cleaning process. Clear your furniture (picking it up, not dragging it) so you can access the full plane of your floor.

Vacuum. Use a vacuum to pick up surface dirt and pet hair that will interfere with your mopping. If your vacuum has a crevice accessory, put it on and get in the tough to reach spots, like corners and baseboards.

Mop. Going with the grain, mop your floor from wall to wall, including your baseboards. If your floor is sealed with polyurethane, you can use simple dish soap for a little extra cleaning oomph.

Buff. Using a clean cloth or dry mop to buff t…

Pest Control Tips for Homeowners

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Brentnie Daggett Spring is here, and we aren't the only ones excited for longer days and warmer weather. Spring also means small animals, vermin and other pests are out and looking for food (and maybe some warmth on those cooler nights). It's time to take preventative measures and implement some pest control strategies to avoid unwelcome guests in your home. Pests can cause damage to your home if unaddressed, and even introduce disease to your family. Also, vermin can chew through walls, water lines and electrical wiring, which can lead to costly repairs and hazardous conditions. Here are some best practices to prevent critters from entering your home, and how to remove them if they do make it in: Deter It's key for homeowners to take preventative steps to keep animals from entering the home in the first place. Inspect your home as the weather gets warmer, paying close attention to the exterior of your home. Holes and cracks are ide…

Where Do Millennial Renters Outcompete Older Generations?

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist, Director of Forecasting, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Nationwide, 34 percent of the millennial renters can afford to buy the typical home compared to 40 percent of Gen X renters. However, the income gap between millennial and Gen X renters has been declining, and millennials actually outcompete older generations in some large local markets. According to an NAR analysis, in 30 percent of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, millennial renters are more likely than their Gen X counterparts to have the income to buy the typical home.

Here are the top 10 metro areas where millennial renters are outpacing older renters:

In these metro areas, the income for millennial renters is higher than the income for Gen Xers. Specifically, millennial renters earn, on average, nearly 20 percent or $8,000 more than Gen Xers. For instance, in the Boston, Mass. metro area, which includes parts of New Hampshire, the median income fo…