Showing posts from August, 2019

4 Alternatives to Wood Flooring

David Deem 714-997-3486
While nothing quite beats the quality and allure of hardwood flooring in a home, it is one of the most expensive options, and many varieties are difficult and costly to maintain. If you’re looking for the feel of hardwood, but not the price tag or the upkeep involved, here are four options that might do the trick:

1. Laminate wood flooring. Laminate consists of layers of particleboard with a sealed photographic layer on top. A good quality laminate can often pass for wood both in terms of how it looks and feels. That is why the price can vary from quite affordable to pricey for more high-end varieties. The installation process is the same as a wood floor, with each board joined through a tongue and groove joint. Keep in mind that while laminate is more durable than hardwood, if it is damaged, it cannot be sanded down and repaired the way actual wood can.

2. Engineered wood flooring. Very similar to laminate in that it is made of layers, the differ…

Cleaning House: The Ugly Truth

David Deem 714-997-3486

When it comes to housework, it’s not all fun and games. In fact, cleaning chores are a source of conflict for many Americans, according to recent research.

The results of a survey from TaskRabbit conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research revealed that 46 percent of Americans have gotten into an argument with a roommate, friend, family member or significant other over "the right way" to clean things - and a whopping 78 percent have had a fight about household chores in general.

The findings also highlighted that basic household chores are onerous for many Americans. Among the worst offenders? Laundry (31 percent), vacuuming (31 percent), and changing a light bulb (23 percent).

Most surprising, however, was how often we’re arguing about the best way to do things: 27 percent report heated debates about the right way to assemble furniture, and 23 percent are struggling over the best way to fold laundry.

Of course, frustrations also …

Quick and Easy Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Brentnie Daggett

Your home should be a sanctuary that feels welcoming and comfortable to both you and your guests—and that includes the outdoor space! The exterior of your property sets the stage for the rest of your home, sort of like a first impression.

If you're thinking of selling your home—now or in the future—curb appeal is exceedingly important and can impact the profitability of your sale. If your home's curb appeal could use a little love, the good news is that there are some easy and inexpensive ways to make major upgrades. Here are a few:

Keep the landscaping regularly maintained. Landscaping is like a haircut for your yard—even a minor trim can make a world of difference. Regularly maintaining your lawn will freshen up your curb appeal, and might even entice you to spend more time outside. Keeping a healthy grass height, controlling weed growth, trimming edges and hedging are all quick ways to keep up with your landscaping.…

New-Home Sales Tank 12.8 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486

July new-home sales sunk, according to the Commerce Department's latest monthly report.

New-Home Sales: 635,000
-12.8 percent month-over-month
+4.3 percent year-over-year

For-Sale Inventory: 337,000
Months' Supply: 6.4
Average Price: $388,000
Median Price: $312,800

What the Industry's Saying
"It is worth keeping in mind that new-home sales are not simply a reflection of demand, but perhaps more importantly of supply. If builders construct 10 homes, then at maximum only 10 new-home sales are possible. Single-family housing starts this year are lower by 3 percent. The median days to complete a new-home sale after completion has been reasonably swift in June at 3.4 months. Demand is clearly there; supply not. One way to help new-home construction is to lower the cost of construction. There are many angles, including zoning, land price and labor availability, but material costs are also important. To the degree that tariffs are filteri…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: August 27, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory decreased by 181 homes in the past two-weeks, down 2%, and now totals 7,307. The inventory reached a peak for the year of 7,601 four-weeks ago. Last year, there were 7,001 homes on the market, 306 fewer than today, 4% less. Two years ago, there were 20% fewer homes on the market.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 81 pending sales in the past two-weeks, down 2%, and now totals 2,548. Last year, there were 2,350 pending sales, 8% fewer than today. Two years ago, demand was 11% stronger than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County remained unchanged at 86 days, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 89 days last year.

•For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days) with an expected market time of 57 days. This range represents 38% of the active inventory and 57% of demand.

•For homes priced between $75…

Low, Low, Low Mortgage Rates

David Deem 714-997-3486
The declines keep rolling.

According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), average mortgage rates slid this week, in a critical help to the housing market.

"The drop in mortgage rates continues to stimulate the real estate market and the economy," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Home purchase demand is up 5 percent from a year ago and has noticeably strengthened since the early summer months, while refinances surged to their highest share in three-and-a-half years. Households that refinanced in the second quarter of 2019 will save an average of $1,700 a year, which is equivalent to about $140 each month."

In July, existing-home sales surged, boosted by low mortgage rates.

"The benefit of lower mortgage rates is not only shoring up home sales, but also providing support to homeowner balance sheets via higher monthly cash flow and steadily rising home equity," Khater sa…

Tips for Maintaining an Organized Home

David Deem 714-997-3486

This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments and, before long, the house is as cluttered as the calendar.

Fall is the perfect time of year to recommit to an organized household so you can keep the chaos contained. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.

Embrace routines. The idea of dedicating large chunks of time to organizing and tidying the house can be overwhelming. However, making time to clean as you progress through the day can help control clutter and keep the time commitment more manageable. Commit to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner each night. Set expectations for kids to pick up their rooms before bed. Before long, routines become productive habits that make a visible difference.

Purge the excess. Over time, nearly everyone collects too much stuff, and clutter is often more an indication of too much volume tha…

Homeowners Moving Forward on Renovations Despite Debt

David Deem 714-997-3486
More than two-thirds of U.S. homeowners who already carry significant debt are planning home renovations, with most intending to finance the projects with credit cards or personal loans.

The findings are from a new Freedom Debt Relief survey detailing American homeowners' plans for home renovations. The poll surveyed 1,028 U.S. homeowners with at least $10,000 in unsecured debt.

According to the survey, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of homeowners plan on renovating their home in the next five years—even though 60 percent say they are unable to afford needed upgrades to their house. Overall, 73 percent of homeowners planning home renovations intend to fully finance their home renovation project with a debt-based financial product:

38 percent plan on using a credit card to finance all or part of their home renovation.32 percent plan on using a personal loan.26 percent plan on using a home equity line of credit (HELOC).40 percent plan on usi…

Home Inspection Strategies: Tips From the Field

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Barbara Pronin

Home inspections are a big deal. They can reassure a buyer that the home they are purchasing is in good condition. They can uncover areas of concern. They can strengthen a deal, make a case for re-negotiation or, in worst-case scenarios, kill the deal.

That’s why, most agents say, both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent - and often the principals - should be present when the inspection is done.

“Whether I represent buyers or sellers, I consider my guidance through the home inspection process to be a key element of my fiduciary role,” said veteran agent Mina Steen, Better Homes and Gardens Kansas City Homes. “Attending the inspection helps me understand any issues that are found so I can help my sellers understand what needs to be addressed - and find good vendors and fair bids for corrections. I also encourage my buyers to attend - or I have them on FaceTime. It’s a perfect chance for them to follow along and learn where …

5 Ways to Ensure a Smooth Closing

David Deem 714-997-3486

Buying a house is a thrilling experience! But before you can cross the threshold, you have to get through the closing...which, unfortunately, can be a confusing and stressful process for many.

While every homebuyer’s situation is different, there are some steps everyone can take to make sure the closing goes as smoothly as possible:

Have cash available. Make sure you have extra cash that is easily accessible well ahead of the closing. You will need the cash to pay some of the closing costs, and be sure to build in a 10 percent buffer for final costs that come in higher than estimates.

Have all your documentation ready to go. Ask your lender and real estate agent to provide you with a list of every piece of documentation you will need for the closing. Make sure it is complete and gathered ahead of closing day, so that you have time to double check and troubleshoot as needed.

Preserve your credit score. Keep in mind that your loan approval was based …

Painting Tools of the Trade

David Deem 714-997-3486
Whether you're painting one accent wall or your entire house, preparation is key for nailing your paint job. Before starting any paint project, set yourself up for success by gathering all the tools you'll need:

Brushes or rollers: The tool you use to apply paint will have a significant impact on the finished look, so investing in quality brushes or rollers can make a noticeable difference.

Roller tray:If your project calls for a roller brush then a tray is necessary to allow for even distribution of paint across the roller and more even application. Consider investing in inexpensive tray liners that can be thrown away when the job is complete to help make cleanup easier.

Painter's tape: While every job is unique, they all start the same way – preparation. Before starting any painting project, it's important that you're choosing the right tape for your job, so you end up with a better result. For more sensitive projects like geo…

How-To Better Invest in Your Home

David Deem 714-997-3486
Many Americans own homes that need a little work. Whether you need to revamp a few fixtures or totally renovate, you want to make sure you're making the smartest decision for your style, and wallet. To help, HGTV host and real estate expert Egypt Sherrod offers the following home improvement insights, in partnership with LightStream.

Good bones add the most value. While personalization is important in creating your dream home, don't overlook the less glamorous—but essential—elements. You may not get as excited about upgrading your HVAC units as you do about making over a bathroom. However, tending to projects that improve the functionality and systems in your house often lead to a higher ROI compared to aesthetic-focused ones.

Choose "timeless" over "trendy". It's easy to be tempted into the latest trends during home renovations, like shiplap walls and waterfall countertops. They may be hot right now, but could beco…

Mortgage Rates Sitting Still

David Deem 714-997-3486

Continuing to hover at a low, mortgage rates sat still this week, with the average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate remaining 3.75 percent, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The average 15-year, fixed mortgage rate rose slightly, to 3.2 percent, while the average five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate slid to 3.46 percent.

"Mortgage rates have essentially stabilized over the last two months, which reflects the recovery and improvement in the economy from the malaise earlier in the year," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Going forward, the combination of low mortgage rates, tight labor market and high consumer confidence should set up the housing market for continued improvement in home sales heading into the late summer and early fall."

30-Year Fixed
Averaging 3.75 percent, with an average 0.6 point
No change from the prior week, and down from 4.6 percent th…

CoreLogic: Home Prices Rise 3.4 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486
In June, home prices rose 3.4 percent year-over-year, with a 0.4 percent change from May, according to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index (HPI™) report. Home prices are projected to rise 5.2 percent this year, the report shows.

Thirty-eight percent of the 100 largest markets are overvalued, a condition CoreLogic defines as when "home prices are at least 10 percent higher than the long-term, sustainable" trend, according to the HPI report; 38 percent are at-value; and 24 percent are undervalued ("at least 10 percent below the long-term, sustainable" trend). Across the 50 largest markets, 42 percent are overvalued, 42 percent are at-value and 16 percent are undervalued.

"Tepid home sales have caused home prices to rise at the slowest pace for the first half of a year since 2011," says Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. "Price growth continues to be faster for lower-priced homes, as first-time b…

Consider 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°, it means the camera can see everything in front of it, and to the sid…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: August 13, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory decreased by 113 homes in the past two-weeks, down 1%, and now totals 7,488. The inventory most likely reached a peak for the year of 7,601 two weeks ago. Last year, there were 6,893 homes on the market, 595 fewer than today. There are 9% more homes than last year.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 101 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 4%, and now totals 2,606. Last year, there were 2,394 pending sales, 9% fewer than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 91 days two weeks ago to 86 days today, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 86 days last year.

•For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days) with an expected market time of 58 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 t…

Where Are We Now? Data Shows Substantial Housing Progress Post-Recession

David Deem 714-997-3486 By Liz Dominguez
Since the recession, the U.S. real estate housing markets have undergone a significant transformation, creating a booming real estate industry that is almost unrecognizable to the one we had just a decade ago.
June marked the longest period of economic expansion for the country, reaching 121 months. What's happened in that time? According to a CoreLogic report, "The Role of Housing in the Longest Economic Expansion," the housing flip rate and home prices and rents are up. One of the biggest indicators of change, however, is the drastic dip in homes with negative equity. All of these improvements have been driven by several economic factors, such as low unemployment and rising GDP growth rates.
"During the last nine years, the expansion has created more than 20 million jobs, raised family incomes and rebuilt consumer confidence," says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. "The longest stretch o…

Hardwood vs. Vinyl Flooring: Which Is Right for My Rental Property?

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Brentnie Daggett

Replacing the flooring in a property is not only a huge investment, but also a choice that needs to have endurance under pressure. Selecting the right flooring for a rental property is much different than choosing flooring for your home—your rental property will be occupied by tenants who may not be as responsible as you when it comes to caring for the floors. Determining the right floors for your rental property should be a careful balance between durability, affordability and aesthetics.

Many rental property owners debate between choosing real hardwood floors and vinyl floors, and there are pros and cons to each choice. Hardwood floors are made of solid wood planks or strips, while vinyl plank flooring comes in thin, flexible strips that resemble traditional hardwood. Here are some important factors to consider before you decide on one or the other:

Consideration No. 1: Installation
One of the first things you should conside…

Considering an Inground Pool?

David Deem 714-997-3486

Swimming is a great form of exercise, and a pool at home can provide endless hours of summer fun for your friends and family. According to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, there are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States alone—but they can be a large investment. If you're considering the pros and cons of an inground pool, inground pool liners manufacturer LOOP-LOC shares the following tips:

Installation Process. Inground pools are always installed by pool companies, which are owned and operated by knowledgeable specialists. This completely takes the burden and responsibility off the pool owner, providing them with peace of mind in the process. However, the cost can vary depending on your area, so talk to pool professionals near you.

Safety. When it comes to the safety of inground pools, there are numerous precautions that should be taken. Safety covers, for instance, are placed over pools to prevent debris…

5 Big Myths About Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

Until it happens, most homeowners think of disasters as something that won't happen to them. Disasters can be as minor as a tree branch falling and breaking a few windows, or as concentrated as a pinhole roof leak slowly dripping water into a residence—causing mold or other ripple effects. Sadly, too many people who experience disaster on a large or small scale may find the trauma continues when it's time to file an insurance claim.

Paul K. Improta of Underwriters, Inc. offers the following myths involving typical homeowners coverage that could minimize re-traumatizing already shaken homeowners when it's time to file a claim.

Myth 1: Wear and Tear Is Covered
Fact: Coverage typically includes damage from fire, weather and theft, not damage due to general wear and tear or neglect. As a policyholder, Improta says it's up to you to maintain your home, including making routine repairs and protecting your home from pests.�…

Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Home Cool

David Deem 714-997-3486

When it's hot outside, heat can seep into your home and make it unbearable. However, there are sustainable, eco-friendly solutions to maximize comfort and cooling when the thermometer creeps upward without racking up an outrageous electric bill or large carbon footprint.

While some options for keeping your home cool involve an upfront investment, over time they'll save money, and the environment, for years to come. If you're looking for ways to cool your home during even the hottest days, consider these ideas from the experts at Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.

Adjust Ceiling Fans. Installing ceiling fans in your home can help keep temperatures moderate and cut down on your cooling bill. For best results, those ceiling fans should be adjusted seasonally. During warm weather months, fans should rotate counterclockwise at a higher speed to push air downward instead of up toward the ceiling, which can lead to a more comfortable…