Showing posts from September, 2019

Ask the Expert: What Are the Effects of Excessive Heat on Homes?

David Deem 714-997-3486
Today's Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president and CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: According to the Washington Post, this past July of 2019 was the hottest July ever on Earth! We know we must protect ourselves, our loved ones and our pets from staggering heat, but what is it doing to our homes? What are some of the places in or on the exterior of our homes that could experience heat damage?

A: The first item you are likely to notice with your naked eye is exterior paint damage. Bubbling, chipping, flaking paint is quite common to see after extreme heat and sun beat down on the home all summer. These can cause openings and cracks that then lead to moisture and mold damage. Ask for a mold inspection if you suspect this is happening to your home to make sure you halt the mold and reverse it where it is.

Is there anything to be done to prevent this in the future?
There are new products under development constantly to comba…

Housing Starts Surge 10.2 Percent

David Deem 714-997-3486

At the close of summer, construction reignited significantly, according to the Commerce Department, with August builds netting 1.36 million starts, up 10.2 percent month-over-month and 6.6 percent year-over-year. Of August's 1.36 million starts, approximately 424,000 were in the multifamily sector, and 919,000 in the single-family space.

Approvals for builds jumped, as well, 7.7 percent from July and 12 percent year-over-year, at 1.42 million permits. Approvals in the single-family space totaled 866,000, 4.5 percent higher than in July, and approvals for multifamily starts totaled 509,000.

Additionally, completions grew to 1.29 million, an increase of 2.4 percent from July and 5 percent year-over-year. In the single-family space, completions rose to 945,000, up 3.7 percent from July. Completions on multifamily starts totaled 338,000.

"This solid report is in line with our latest survey on builder sentiment," said Greg Ugalde, chair…

5 Reasons For Fall and Winter Solar Installations

David Deem 714-997-3486
The season for solar does not end with the summer. According Headline Solar, while many people assume solar panels are only effective on long, sun-filled summer days, installing a solar energy system in the fall and winter can save homeowners money. Jared McKenzie, CEO of Headline Solar, offers the following insights.

Improved Efficiency = More Power from Less Light
The quality of solar panels continues to improve exponentially, meaning they can generate more power with every hour of daylight. If the sun is out, even behind clouds, you're generating power. Germany has some of the highest usages of solar power on the planet, but they have long, dark winters. Solar panels produced there are top quality and American homeowners can benefit from that. Plus all electrical systems are more efficient in colder weather.

When Construction Season Slows, Prices Drop and Permitting Speeds Up
As long as there is no snow on the roof, a good installer can get…

Rent Out of Reach for Many Low- and Middle-Income Workers

David Deem 714-997-3486

Commentary by Desirée Patno

It's difficult for low-income renters throughout the country to afford a modest one- or two-bedroom rental home, according to findings from the National Low Income Housing Coalition's (NLIHC) Out of Reach 2019 report. The national housing wage, or the hourly pay rate a worker would need to afford a rental home, is $22.96 for an average two-bedroom rental home and $18.65 for a one-bedroom.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which means that a worker earning minimum wage would need to work 127 hours per week, which would equate to having three full-time jobs, in order to afford a two-bedroom rental home. To afford a one-bedroom rental home, a minimum-wage worker would need to work 103 hours per week.

There are currently only 4 million rental homes that are affordable and available to the nation's 11 million extremely low-income renter households below the poverty rate, leaving a shortage of 7 millio…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: September 24, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory decreased by 137 homes in the past two-weeks, down 2%, and now totals 6,860. Last year, there were 7,207 homes on the market, 347 more than today.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, downshifted considerably in the past two-weeks and decreased by 127 pending sales, down 5%, and now totals 2,401. Last year, there were 2,167 pending sales, 10% fewer than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County remained increased from 83 to 86 days, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 100 days last year, a much slower market.

•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 56% of demand.

•For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 72 days, a slight Seller’s Market. This range represents 19% of the activ…

Sell Your Home Faster With These Five Staging Tips

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Patty McNease, VP of Brand Marketing for

Because you only get one chance at a first impression, it’s critical for everything in a home to look its best. When potential buyers look through a house, they need to be able to visualize themselves living there. Staging is a great way to showcase a home’s assets by organizing and decorating it in the most visually appealing way.

Staging can be very beneficial to selling a home. In fact, according to the NAR, 83 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. If you’re not sure where to get started or if your sellers don’t have a large budget for staging, here are five staging tips to get started.

Highlight Key Areas

If your clients are trying to spend the minimal amount when staging, encourage them to only focus on key rooms that are most influential in the sale of the home. A recent NAR report stated that “the most common…

Fueling Your Power Equipment: Know the Right Way to Do It

David Deem 714-997-3486
Ready to DYI a few outdoor projects with a new or infrequently used power tool? Make sure you’re well informed about how to properly fuel your machinery for both optimal efficiency and maximum safety.

According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), before homeowners start up their mowers, trimmers, blowers, power washers, etc., they need to conduct a complete maintenance check, including finding out the right type of fuel to buy. OPEI recommends taking these four steps before filling the fuel tank:

1. Read the owner’s manual. Sounds basic, however, many times we’re too excited about a new piece of equipment to thoroughly read the instructions, and with older equipment, we tend to think we already know it all. However, now is the perfect time for a refresh to find out the manufacturer’s fueling recommendations and make sure you’re using the type of fuel specified.

2. Make sure the fuel already in your equipment is fresh. If you’re pullin…

Drain Maintenance: Dos and Don'ts

David Deem 714-997-3486

Your drains impact the overall health of your home, yet it's likely that you rarely stop to think about them unless something is wrong.

"Most plumbing problems are totally preventable," says Tommy Webber, owner of T.Webber Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric.  "Knowing what to do and, most importantly, what not to do can really alleviate a lot of stress and save both time and money."

Below, T.Webber offers the following best practices with regard to drain maintenance.

Do minimize the amount of food that gets washed down the kitchen sink. A few leftover crumbs here and there are bound to end up going down the kitchen sink when you rinse your dishes after eating. As much as possible though, try to scrape all of the food you can out into a garbage container before rinsing your plate.

Do regularly apply natural cleaners to your drains. It's best not to regularly use harsh, chemical cleaners on your drains. However, mainta…

Do More Than Store: 4 Ways to Use Your Empty Garage

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Anita Ginsburg

As hard as we try, it often seems like there's never enough space for everything we want to do. However, if you're a homeowner who finally won the war on clutter, you might be wondering what to do with a now-empty garage.

Here are four great ideas for what you can do to transform your garage:

Home Gym
If you want to work out but hate schlepping to the gym, turn your empty garage into a versatile home gym. Depending on which types of exercise you prefer, you can look online for inexpensive pieces of equipment. You can check out local yard sales or look online for gently used equipment. You can also invest in mats, free weights and whatever else motivates you to work out.

As your family continues to grow, you might find yourself with less wiggle room. If your garage is suitable, you can transform it into a kids' sanctuary where they can play in the sand, have painting stations and even play on a few low-sitting…

10 Gutter Facts You Should Know

David Deem 714-997-3486
How important are your gutters? According to gutter company The Brothers Who Just Do Gutters, pretty important! Below are 10 facts about your gutters they think you should know, from gutter history to maintenance and more.

- The first people to incorporate gutters on their dwellings was the Indus Valley civilization, the area that is now Pakistan and northwest India. Their clay brick gutters date back to approximately 3000 BC.

- The Romans brought gutters to Western civilization when they introduced them to Great Britain in 47 BC.

- Gargoyles are essentially gutters with faces. These structures were originally designed to direct water away from the side of the buildings they were installed on.

- Before the 1980s gutters were commonly featured on automobiles to prevent drivers and passengers from getting wet when they exited the vehicle.

- If gutters are not maintained properly, they can trap moisture and rot the wood boards of your home’s roof a…

Pool Maintenance 101 for New Pool Owners

David Deem 714-997-3486
Are you the brand new owner of a pool, or currently considering adding a pool to your property? While pools can bring you and your family hours of endless fun in warm weather, it's important to know the basics of pool ownership. To help, removable pool fence manufacturer LOOP-LOC discusses basic pool knowledge for new pool owners.

Organize Your Files. While it may not seem like this is a part of pool care, it is crucial that you keep every manual, receipt and any paperwork that comes with your pool. By organizing them and keeping them in a place where you can easily find them, whenever you have to fix something in your pool, whether it be you or a handyman,  you will have no issue figuring out what parts are needed for the situation. Also, with smartphones in each of our pockets, it is wise to take a couple of photos of key information involving the pool in case you misplace documentation and need the information in a pinch. By doing all of t…

Homebuyers Torn: Should I Buy, or Hold Off?

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Suzanne De Vita

Are homebuyers making moves, or sitting it out? Both narratives take, a new report shows.

According to August data from®, there are buyers locking in low mortgage rates today, and buyers delaying due to economic uncertainty.

How do we know? The movement of prices and supply. According to, in August, inventory slid 1.8 percent year-over-year—a first in the past year—and the median national price rose 4.9 percent.

However, comparing month-over-month numbers, the median price reversed 1.8 percent—the biggest fall for that period since 2012, and a likely marker of uncertainty.

"The state of the housing market as we head into the latter half of 2019 is a tug of war between increased affordability and economic anxiety," explains George Ratiu, senior economist at "We're starting to see this tension play out in our August data. On the one hand, lower interest rates have given buy…

What Household Chores Top Your September Shortlist?

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

The transition period between summer and fall is the perfect time to begin planning priority chores around the house before buttoning down for winter. There is no shortage of advice on what to do, and how to accomplish the most important "September shortlist" things around the house and yard.

According to, chores to keep you on track this month include: 
- Cleaning heat ducts and registers, and replacing air filters.

- Patio furniture cleaning before you bring it inside and store it for the winter.

- Line up chimney sweep cleaning services now before they’re all booked.

- Order firewood and stack it away from the house to prevent pest infestation.

Over at, homeowners are directed to accomplish energy-saving items, including:

- Insulating your hot water heater with a new or replacement fiberglass insulation blanket..

- Preventing energy leaks from electrical outlets by install…

Why You Need to Update Your Home Before Listing It

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Anica Oaks

A home purchase is often the biggest investment a person will make in their life. When the time comes to sell your house, you want to get the best price possible. If you explore one of the many real estate sites online, you'll notice that many homeowners make a point of updating their homes before selling.

Here are a few of the many reasons why people modernize their homes before listing them:

New Buyers Don't Want to Immediately Remodel
Major remodels can create a state of chaos in a home that most new homebuyers would rather avoid. Additionally, the costs involved in buying a new home, moving and settling a family into a new space can be significant. They may not be able to do the remodeling projects that are needed for a significant period of time. Buyers will look more favorably upon and be willing to shell out more cash for a home that already has many improvements taken care of.

Strategic Updates Attract More Buyers

Pests Causing Property Damage? 4 Warning Signs to Look For

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Megan Belanp

If you've noticed unusual signs of damage around your property, pests may be to blame. Rodents, insects and other types of pests can wreak havoc on properties and cause unforeseen damage that ends up resulting in costly repairs.

Here are four signs that are indicative of pests causing damage in your home:

Unstable Floors
The sudden feeling that the floors in your home are unstable could be a sign of a pest problem. This may be especially true if you have hardwood floors that are damaged because of termites. You might notice the boards curling on your floor as damage persists. Flaking and crumbling may also become noticeable as your floors continue to deteriorate from the damage. Crushed-looking wood at structurally significant points can be another obvious sign of a pest problem.

Tap Test Failure
Damage that's impossible to see can sometimes be detected by performing a tap test on wood surfaces around your home. Wood that&#…

Orange County Housing Market Summary: September 10, 2019

David Deem 714-997-3486
•The active listing inventory decreased by 310 homes in the past two-weeks, down 4%, and now totals 6,997. It was the largest drop so far this year. Last year, there were 7,070 homes on the market, 73 more than today. Two years ago, there were 19% fewer homes on the market.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 20 pending sales in the past two-weeks, down 1%, and now totals 2,528. Last year, there were 2,162 pending sales, 14% fewer than today. Two years ago, demand was 4% stronger than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County remained dropped from 86 to 83 days, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 98 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 56% of demand.

•For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expe…

Big Fall for Mortgage Rates, at Lowest Since 2016

David Deem 714-997-3486
In a big fall from last week, the average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate sank to 3.49 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®)—a low not seen since 2016. At the same time, the average 15-year, fixed mortgage rate slid to 3 percent, and the average five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable mortgage rate slid to 3.3 percent.

"Mortgage rates continued the summer swoon due to weaker economic data," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "While economic growth is clearly slowing due to rising manufacturing and trade headwinds, economic fundamentals are still solid for U.S. consumers. The unemployment rate is low, housing affordability is improving, homebuyer demand is rising, and home price growth is stable."

30-Year Fixed

Averaging 3.49 percent, with an average 0.5 pointDown from 3.58 percent the prior week and 4.54 percent the prior year 
15-Year Fixed

Averaging 3 p…

Survey: If a Downturn Hits, Homebuyers Plan to Wait It Out

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Suzanne De Vita

As the conversation on the possibility of a recession swells, homebuyers plan to postpone their search until the storm subsides, according to a new® survey.

In the event of a slowdown, 56 percent of buyers could delay their home search, according to findings from the survey. When asked their expectations regarding timing, 36 percent pegged the recession in 2020, 17 percent said in 2019 and 14 percent said in 2021. Notably, 17 percent were uncertain—a feeling likely motivated by unknowns, such as global tensions and the trade war.

Still, there is growing positive sentiment, according to responses to the survey. Approximately 44 percent believe the next recession will not be as damaging as it was in 2008—a boost from 40 percent earlier this year. Twenty-two percent, however, fear a Great Recession repeat.

According to analysts at, the cycle is turning—but anticipate a dissimilar outcome.

"Economic ac…

Don’t Put These Items in the Dishwasher

David Deem 714-997-3486

If you’re like most people, you’ve come to rely on your dishwasher to clean a multitude of kitchen items. But despite the convenience and deep cleaning the dishwasher offers, not everything can be safely cleaned there. Here is a list of items that should never be cleaned in your dishwasher:

Your carving and steak knives. Dishwashing detergent can dull the blades over time, and the heat of the water and drying cycle can loosen the handles. To preserve the form and function of these knives, wash them by hand with warm, soapy water.

Certain plastics. If your plastic items don’t say “dishwasher safe,” do not put them in the dishwasher, as they most likely won’t stand up to the heat. Even for dishwasher-safe plastics, put them on the top rack where they’re further away from the intensity of the heat source.

Nonstick cookware. Most nonstick cookware is coated with Teflon, a substance that won’t stand up to the heat of the dishwasher and will, therefore, …

Bathroom Heaven: Creating a Spa Oasis

David Deem 714-997-3486
Transforming your bathroom into a personal home spa allows you to come home to a relaxing environment every day. By making space and removing clutter, along with adding decorative touches, you can achieve a stylish spa-like atmosphere in the comfort of your own home.

Whether you enjoy the understated, nature-inspired colors or the calming atmosphere, a spa-like bathroom can be beautiful, welcoming and relaxing. Escape the ordinary with these cabinetry ideas from the experts at Wellborn Cabinet:

Float your vanity. When it's time to retreat, a spa-like bathroom promises sanctuary in its design. Floating vanities mount directly to the wall, providing more floor space and creating a streamlined look. By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger while allowing for height customization. 

Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this po…

5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Plumbing System

David Deem 714-997-3486
You likely think of recycling, food choices and transportation reduction when you think of eco-friendly behavior. But what about your plumbing?

"You don't have to overhaul your plumbing system to have an impact on your wallet and the environment," says Joseph Giannone, owner of Joseph Giannone Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. "When it's time to replace a toilet, sink or washing machine, consider low-impact models that use less water to get the job done. It might be a little more expensive, but it won't take long to recover the cost once you start saving money on your water bill every month."

New equipment is one reliable way to save money, but you don't have to splurge on a full bathroom update to have a noticeable effect. A few simple habits can reduce the amount of water you and your family use, and just remember to look for eco-friendly features when it is time to replace outdated fixtures.

To help…

6 Essential Tips for Selling a House 'As-Is'

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Wendy Dessler

Selling your home without fixing it up first presents potential challenges for some homeowners. For others, it may open up different opportunities. Selling a house "as-is" can be a good thing. It all depends on your approach to selling it.

Here are six essential tips to help make the sale a smooth transition:

Flexibility Is the Name of the Game
Flexibility is really important when you decide to sell a house "as-is." You're asking buyers to purchase your property without making any changes to it. There may be serious problems that need to be corrected, so being flexible is definitely in your best interest.

In situations like this, people are looking to purchase a house inexpensively. For this reason, it's unlikely that you're going to find a buyer willing to pay the exact price you're looking for. However, you always have the ability to negotiate to try to get a higher price.

Don't Be Afraid …