Showing posts from March, 2019

How to Create More Space at Home

David Deem 714-997-3486
Longing for a larger living room, kitchen or bedroom? While you can't actually fake more space, you can create the illusion of it. Below are five ways to do just that.

Use large center items. Yes, you should have that overstuffed sofa even in a small room. The trick to it is minimization. Choose just one or two large centerpiece items, including large art on the walls and large potted plants.

Consider transition. If your small space leads into or off of another space, consider how the spaces transition into one another to give the illusion of more footage. Choose colors and design schemes that blend well. 

Avoid patterns. Limit the use of patterns in furniture and fabric to avoid a busy-looking space. If you want to add a pop of vibrancy, consider a loud color instead, like orange or red.

Don't block the windows. Big windows in your tiny room? Great! Utilize them by keeping them unobstructed. Frame them with plants, and skip the curtains.


LGBT Homeownership Lags National Rate, as Discrimination Fears Obstruct Progress

David Deem 714-997-3486
When it comes to homeownership, discrimination fears are impeding LGBT renters, who are concerned about navigating the process, and how their neighborhood would receive them, new research reveals.

According to the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals 3rd Annual LGBT Real Estate Report—in collaboration with Freddie Mac—discrimination is a fear for 46 percent of LGBT renters. Although the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS® bans discrimination due to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, federal law has yet to mandate those protections, and there are concerns about current policy.

“Fifty-eight percent of our members believe the current White House administration’s policies on LGBT issues are having a negative impact on the community’s confidence to buy or sell a home,” says Jeff Berger, founder of NAGLREP.

For home-buying LGBTs, common concerns include “how welcoming community and neighbors may…

Neighborhood Amenities to Look Into Before Purchasing a Home

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Kurtis Forster

If you're on the hunt for a new home, you need to be doing your homework. Research before buying a new home is absolutely crucial to ensure you're making the right choice. After all, you want to love your new place years into the future. Thus, you want to find a place that'll fit all your needs and won’t leave you wanting more.

Here are some neighborhood amenities you should look into before buying a home:

Schools and Conveniences
If you have kids, schools should be at the top of your list. Even if you don't have kids yet, but plan to in the future, having good schools in your neighborhood will make things easier down the road. You won't have to deal with your kids taking long bus rides or a shuffling of schedules to try to drop them off at the right time. Before buying, inquire about what schools are in the area and what their boundaries are.

Grocery stores, banks and shopping plazas within a five-mile radius can also make a …

Interest rates have fallen to 4.25%, the lowest level in over a year.

David Deem 714-997-3486

Gambling on Rates:
No matter what your age, or what kind of music you like, everybody has listened to and knows the lyrics to Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler.” “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run.” It is a song about a young man who stumbles upon gambling advice from a seasoned, old, veteran gambler “on a train bound for nowhere.”

So many potential buyers are just like the young gambler, they simply don’t know when they should walk away from the fence they are sitting on and cash in their chips. They are waiting to make the plunge into home ownership but are trying to “time the market.” Unfortunately, so many of these buyers, and homeowners waiting to refinance, have been sitting on the sideline and have already missed prior opportunities to cash in on excellent interest rates. Fortunately, rates are excellent once again.

Last week was a huge week for interest rates. The last several months have be…

Orange County Housing Market Summary 3-27-19

David Deem 714-997-3486
•The active listing inventory increased by 166 homes in the past two weeks, up 3%, and now totals 6,532. Last year, there were 4,609 homes on the market, 1,923 fewer than today. There are 42% more homes than last year.

•So far this year, 4% fewer homes came on the market below $500,000 compared to 2018, and there were 15% fewer closed sales. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is continuing to vanish.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 78 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 3%, and now totals 2,350, its lowest level for this time of the year since 2014. Last year, there were 2,538 pending sales, 8% more than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 84 days two weeks ago to 83 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 54 days last year.

•For homes priced…

Intergenerational Senior Living

David Deem 714-997-3486
Intergenerational senior living has been shaping the aging experience for quite a while, but developers today are thinking of new ways to increase the benefits and successes of this concept. Some now view it as a master-community planning model, which requires billion-dollar investments and massive acreage acquisition for a mixed community where older adults can live in residential units that are submerged in an “urbanistic” vibe. This model is concerned not only with housing constructs, but with the community around the residential units.

This new plan for intergenerational modeling comes from the tenets of New Urbanism, where the belief is that the surrounding environment matters for quality of life, economy, and public health. An ideal goal of this model is for older adults to be offered active lifestyles, surrounded by a vibrant, bustling community that is a mix of different ages and ethnicities.

Developers are approaching this model through mixed-use commun…

Costs of Wildfire Insurance Soar in California: Could This Impact Affordability?

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Liz Dominguez

Over the past two years, California’s fire-related damages have reached historic highs, bringing on added affordability challenges to those already living in one of the country’s most expensive states.

In 2018 alone, over 6,000 fires in the state burned through 876,147 acres. The Camp Fire proved to be the state’s most destructive wildfire, killing 85 people, destroying over 18,000 structures and demolishing an entire town.

Although 2017 sparked more fires, the damages were less severe, contained to 505,956 acres of scorched land. These latest figures, however, are much higher than the five-year average for California, 5,756 fires and 233,483 acres burned.

What does this say about the future?
“Several years of drought, millions of dead trees and grassland fuel and four consecutive years of devastating wildfires, including the deadliest and most expensive in our state’s history, have taken a toll on the availability and affordability of homeowners…

Is a Multi-Family House a Good Investment?


5 Ways to Help Your Home's Winter Recovery

David Deem 714-997-3486
Harsh winter weather can take a toll on your home. To keep everything running efficiently, and to decrease the likelihood of expensive maintenance musts down the line, consider these post-winter suggestions to help your home heal from winter.

Inspect windows and doors. Swift changes in weather can cause your window and door frames to swell and shrink, creating gaps for air to escape. While you're at it, inspect for any damage to screens or hinges.

Check your roof. Massive amounts of snow, wind and freezing and thawing can loosen shingles and create cracks. Have a professional inspect your roof before heading fully into a rainy spring.

Clear your gutters. Winter can wash debris into your gutters and clog them up, which can create backup, damaging your gutters and eventually causing a leak. Clean your gutters or hire a pro to come and do the job.

Reseal the deck and driveway. If it's been a few years since you've sealed your deck, porch or driveway, consid…

How to Show Your Home in Its Best Light

David Deem 714-997-3486
The perfectly staged home has every detail covered, from the art books on the coffee table to the hanging plant in the bay window. But whether your home is professionally staged or not, the magic of lighting can work miracles in showcasing your home in a completely new perspective. Here are some ways to utilize lighting to show off your home’s best attributes and cast a spell on potential buyers:

Landscape lights. Whether solar powered or the traditional variety, these subtle lights can be used for a variety of reasons—from illuminating pathways to providing a glamorous, sophisticated look when tucked in among plants. Off-season, when flowers and foliage are sparse, these lights help give your yard a warm glow.

Floodlights. A great way to illuminate your driveway, patio or backyard, floodlights also offer an added security benefit, which is always a plus to potential buyers. The smart varieties even come with cameras so that you can keep an eye on your home remote…

How to Decorate Your Kid's Room


Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Winter

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Katie Kuchta

Waking up your lawn can be challenging, and there is added pressure if you want to put a home on the market. Early spring is one of the best times of the year to make your home look great. This busy season coincides with an uptick in activity in the real estate market, making it that much more critical for you to get your lawn back in great shape.

Here are a few helpful tips for reviving your lawn after the beating it likely took this winter:

Feed It Well
Spring is the most critical time to give your lawn a boost. Winter drags on in many areas of the country, which can deplete a yard come spring. If you find yourself in this situation, try applying a quick-release fertilizer to prepare your lawn for spring. This fertilizer will get to the roots and green up your yard in a few days. However, be cautious when applying a quick-release fertilizer, as putting too much in one spot can kill your grass.

Other fertilizer options include slow-release fertil…

January New-Home Sales Slide 7 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486
January new-home sales underwhelmed, according to the Commerce Department:

New-Home Sales: 607,000
-6.9 percent from Dec. 2018-4.1 percent from Jan. 2018 For-Sale Inventory: 336,000
Months' Supply: 6.6

Median Price: $317,200

What the Industry's Saying

"These numbers indicate that builders who can produce housing at affordable price points in markets across the nation will be able to meet this sales demand that is generated by healthy household formations and solid job and wage growth." – Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

"The partial federal government shutdown and the harsh winter weather that affected much of the country both weighed on economic activity, but our bet is that buyers will prove resilient as winter turns to spring, and throw their hats into the ring with the benefits of falling mortgage rates, falling home prices and rising inventory. As the weather warms, accompanied by still-falling mortgage rat…

Decorating With Bold Colors

David Deem 714-997-3486
(Family Features)--From dark and moody to vibrant and bold, colorful design is gaining favor among homeowners ditching safe, neutral palettes to create more daring, dramatic spaces.

Decorating with deeply saturated colors can be intimidating. Explore these ideas to welcome more bold colors into your home and create inviting spaces for living and entertaining.

Walls of color. Say goodbye to beige and embrace the bold color trend by enhancing walls with hues that make a statement. The trick is to avoid making colors so loud that the space loses its stylish appeal. Bold doesn't necessarily mean bright, so look for muted variations of the shades you prefer. Also, remember that when it comes to design, there is such a thing as too much. If painting all the walls in a space will close it in or make it feel lost in the dark, try adding color in more subtle ways, such as an accent wall (or two), or painting the ceiling as your accent. Another option for implementing …

Find Financial Confidence For Your Home Improvement Project

David Deem 714-997-3486
Home improvement can be a costly endeavor. How costly? According to the sixth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey conducted by The Harris Poll, consumers plan to spend an average of about $9,000 on home improvement costs, the highest amount since the survey began in 2014. In addition, more homeowners this year will take on projects with major price tags. Those planning to spend $25,000 or more on improving their homes grew by 83 percent compared to last year. 

To help, LightStream offers three tips to help consumers take on a home improvement project with financial confidence:

Build the Budget: The first step is to price out the bigger expenses, like materials and labor, then move on to inventory everything you will need to complete your project, down to paint brushes and tape. Make sure to leave room in your budget for unexpected expenses.

Drill Down on DIY or Contractor: If you are willing to get your hands dirty, simple DIY-friendly efforts such as paint…

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Zoe Eisenberg

A garbage disposal is a clean and cost-effective way to manage waste. But what happens when your disposal starts to smell, gets backed up, or is otherwise in a funk? Below are five ways you can better maintain your disposal.

Baking soda bath. Once a month, pour a little baking soda and vinegar down your disposal. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush with hot water and turn the disposal on for 30 seconds.

Avoid troublemakers. Certain scraps and fibrous items should never make their way into your disposal, as they can jam up the blades. Peach pits, seeds, popcorn kernels, bones, onion skins and celery stalks are a few troublemakers you'll want to avoid.

Cold water flush. While instincts may tell you to flush scraps with hot water, you should actually use cold water unless you're cleaning. Why? Hot water will liquefy greases and fats you're trying to wash away.

Run water for 30 seconds. A simple splash of water won't do when washing dow…

Top Smart Tech to Integrate Into Your Home

David Deem 714-997-3486
It's no surprise that one of the most common predictions for the real estate industry in 2019 is the continued importance of technology. As smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices continue to increase in popularity and capability, smart home technology continues to grow at pace. New technology built specifically to simplify the lives of homeowners is introduced all the time, and it can be challenging to understand which applications might be worth a try.

Smart home tech, or home automation systems, gives users the convenience of easily monitoring and controlling their home systems remotely. Homeowners can turn on their AC, control their lights, unlock their front door for visitors, and more—all from the office or across the country.

Home automation systems can be wired into the structure of the house with a central control panel, or installed through external devices like electronic plug adapters or standalone sensors. The systems are connected over wi…

Consumers Looking Up Just a Little

David Deem 714-997-3486

After three months of consecutive decline, consumers are starting to feel better about the overall economic outlook for the U.S.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index® increased in February and now stands at 131.4, up from 121.7 in January, and the Present Situation Index—which is based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions—improved from 170.2 to 173.5. The index that measures consumers’ short-term outlook also improved—increasing from 89.4 last month to 103.4 this month.

Why the sudden shift toward positive territory? An easing of concern over financial-market volatility and an end to the government shutdown drama, for one thing.

"Looking ahead, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "However, according to The Conference Board's economic forecasts, the pace of expansion is expected to moderate in 2019.&q…

Orange County Housing Market Summary 3-13-19

David Deem 714-997-3486
•The active listing inventory increased by 72 homes in the past two weeks, up 1%, and now totals 6,366. Last year, there were 4,420 homes on the market, 1,946 fewer than today. There are 44% more homes than last year.

•So far this year, 4% fewer homes came on the market below $500,000 compared to 2018, and there were 15% fewer closed sales. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is continuing to vanish.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, continued its rapid rise in the past two-weeks, climbing by 184 pending sales, up 9%, and now totals 2,272, its lowest level for this time of the year since 2008. Last year, there were 2,417 pending sales, 6% more than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 90 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 55 days las…

Fannie Index: Confidence Flattens for Homebuyers and Sellers

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Suzanne De Vita
Americans' attitudes on homeownership have slightly softened, as appreciation in the housing market weakens, according to an industry measure.
The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), a gauge of housing market optimism, fell 0.4 percentage points last month, as buyer confidence remained stubbornly unchanged, and confidence on the part of sellers slid five percentage points. In February, 15 percent of homebuyers and 30 percent of homeowners were optimistic about their prospects.
Furthermore, Americans believe home prices are slowing. In February, 33 percent were confident prices will rise—a three-percentage point lift from January, but a 12-percentage point slip from Feb. 2018.
"The HPSI held steady in February, as consumers' continuing optimism about economic conditions seems to be balanced with softening attitudes toward the housing market," says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie M…

Top Signs of Termites, and How to Treat

David Deem 714-997-3486
Termites can be a nightmare for homeowners, creating stress, damage, and financial burden.

"Often called the 'silent destroyer,' termites can secretly hide and thrive in your home, property or yard without any immediate signs of damage for years," says Glen Ramsey, an Orkin entomologist. "U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion annually to control termites and repair termite damage – which occurs in approximately 600,000 homes each year."

According to Orkin, property owners can get termites from:
- Wooden structures, such as porches and decks, in direct contact with the ground.
- Stacks of firewood that lean against the house.
- Damp soil near foundations from leaking faucets, gutters or downspouts.
- Trees and shrubs in close proximity to the house.
- Above-ground locations in the house that remain damp enough to support termites without them needing to return to the moist conditions found in the soil.

Signs of a termite infesta…

Craving a Natural Lawn? Consider Organic Fertilizers

David Deem 714-997-3486
By John Voket

At the recent Northeast Organic Farming Association OrganiConn conference, great information was abundant in regards to helping home and property owners reap the benefits of lush lawns, marvelous mulch, bountiful blooms, and generous gardens.

Switching to organic fertilizers, it appears, is becoming quite a thing. And luckily, there are loads of qualified resources and advice on how to switch - or simply start fertilizing the way your property was intended to be.

Oregon State University Extension's Ross Penhallegon explains that organic fertilizers usually contain plant nutrients in low concentrations. Since many of these nutrients have to be converted into inorganic forms before plants can use them, they typically release more slowly, especially during cold weather when soil microbes are not as active.

But advantages of organic fertilizers don’t make a crust on the soil as inorganic fertilizers sometimes do, and they improve water movement int…

February Was a Big Month for Inventory

David Deem 714-997-3486
According to fresh findings from®, there's been an improvement in inventory nationwide—but what does that mean for this spring?

Compared to Feb. 2018, there were 6 percent more homes on the market this year, equaling 73,000 more listings, according to the Feb. 2019 report. Inventory in the largest markets opened up substantially, with the biggest leaps in the West: 125 percent more in San Jose year-over-year; 85 percent more in Seattle; and 53 percent more in San Francisco.

For homes in the $750,000 or more range, inventory picked up 11 percent year-over-year. The same couldn't be said for the $200,000 or less segment, with 7 percent fewer listings on the market.

The imbalance is an issue for millennials and others in the starter tier, who'll have less options in their search this spring.

For the most part, however, buyers will have an easier house hunt over recent years. With expanded inventory, homes are lasting longer on th…

Appealing Your Property Taxes? An Appraiser Can Help

David Deem 714-997-3486
Is there an error on your property taxes? Although uncommon, if your assessment is based on inaccurate information, your home can be over or undervalued. This can adversely affect your property taxes.

According to the Appraisal Institute, if you're appealing your assessment, an accredited appraiser can be a helpful resource. Your appraiser can coordinate with consultants and/or lawyers who specialize in taxes, increasing your odds of success.

"Homeowners should keep in mind that assessors are usually adept at spotting faulty valuations with values that appear to be unreasonably low," says Stephen S. Wagner, president of the Appraisal Institute. "That is why it's important to choose an appraiser who conforms to a strict code of ethics, such as one governing the actions of Appraisal Institute Designated Members.

"Homeowners should consider having an independent appraisal prepared and then present the appraisal report to the assessor bec…

Mortgage Rates at Standstill

David Deem 714-997-3486

Mortgage rates are at a standstill, making no movement in the past week, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The average 30-year, fixed rate is 4.35 percent; the average 15-year, fixed rate is 3.77 percent; and the average five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate is 3.84 percent.

"Mortgage rates remained mostly unchanged this week, while mortgage applications rose 5.3 percent from the previous week," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "The general decline in rates we have seen recently, combined with rebounding pending home sales, hint at a strong spring home-buying season."

30-Year Fixed
Averaging 4.35 percent, with an average 0.5 pointNo change from the prior week, and down from 4.43 percent the prior year 15-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.77 percent, with an average 0.5 pointDown from 3.78 percent the prior week and 3.9 percent the prior year 5-Year Adjustable
Averaging 3.84 percent, wit…

Closing In on 5-Year High: Homeownership Rate Ticks Up

David Deem 714-997-3486

Homeownership is inching up.

According to Census data from the fourth quarter of 2018, newly released, the homeownership rate rose to 64.8 percent—its highest since 2014, and building on an incrementally rising trend.

Looking at the prior year, in the fourth quarter of 2017, the homeownership rate was 64.2 percent, and compared to the last quarter, in the third quarter of 2018, the homeownership rate was 64.4 percent.

The clear homeownership leader is the Midwest, where the homeownership rate is 69.3 percent. Second is the South, where the homeownership rate is 66 percent, followed by the Northeast at 61.3 percent and the West at 60.9 percent. Notably, the biggest change was in the West, where the homeownership rate surged, up from 60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.

In keeping with trend, the highest homeownership rates are among whites (defined as "Non-Hispanic White Alone households"), at 73.6 percent, and those aged 65 and up, at 78.8 percent…