Showing posts from January, 2020

Are You Putting Things That You Shouldn’t Down Your Kitchen Sink Drain?

David Deem 714-997-3486

Drains and plumbing systems are designed to dispose of liquids, but many people mistakenly think it’s fine to put other things down the drain. Common foods, cooking byproducts, and household items can damage your pipes, leave you with clogs and expensive plumbing repair bills, and even affect human and animal health.

Foods That Are Dangerous to Drains
Greasy items, such as cooking oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, butter, margarine and grease left over after cooking meat, can congeal and block pipes over time. They can also combine with other things that go down the drain and form sludge that makes it difficult or impossible for water to get through. Pour grease, fat or oil into a jar, let it cool, then dispose of it in the trash.

Coffee grounds can be a problem because they aren’t completely water soluble. If they mix with grease or oil already in the pipes, the combination can cause a blockage.

Pasta and rice that go down the drain can absorb wa…

What Is the Good Neighbor Next Door Program?

David Deem 714-997-3486
If you are a public servant interested in buying a house, you may be able to save a lot of money if you purchase a property through the Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) program. That initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers designated single-family homes, including houses, townhomes and condominiums, to full-time police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers at 50 percent less than list price.

How Does the Program Work?
HUD designates specific geographic locations as Revitalization Areas based on household income, homeownership rates and Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgage foreclosure activity. HUD works with localities to designate new areas for revitalization. The department uses initiatives such as the GNND program to revitalize those areas by expanding opportunities for homeownership.

A limited number of homes are available…

4 Benefits of Buying a Home in the Off-Season

David Deem 714-997-3486
While the colder months are generally considered the off-season in the real estate market, many buyers find that it's the perfect time of year to purchase the home of their dreams. Here are some reasons to consider buying real estate in the fall and winter:

Fewer Buyers
More people choose to move during the spring and summer than at other times of the year; therefore, when you choose to buy in the colder months, you have fewer people looking at properties. This ultimately means you'll be up against less competition as you search for your new home.

Low Figures Accepted
When you buy during the off-season, you may be surprised that people accept your low bid amount. People don't want to wait long to sell their house, and they'll often settle for less during the fall and winter months. Most sellers who list their home in the off-season are highly motivated to sell. Since there are fewer purchases being made, you can also usually get ho…

Orange County Housing Market Summary:January 28, 2020

David Deem 714-997-3486

•The active listing inventory increased by 122 homes in the past two-weeks, up 3%, and now totals 4,023. Last year, there were 6,122 homes on the market, 2,099 more than today, or an extra 52%.

•Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 268 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 19%, and now totals 1,702. Last year, there were 1,435 pending sales, 16% fewer than today.

•The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County decreased from 82 days to 71, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 128 days last year, substantially slower 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 49 days. This range represents 35% of the active inventory and 52% of demand.

•For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 49 days, also a hot Seller’s Market. This range represents 18% of the active invento…

Housing Starts Swell, at Highest in 13 Years

David Deem 714-997-3486

In December, housing starts surged, escalating to a 13-year high point, according to the Commerce Department.
The Breakdown
Housing Starts: 1.61 million
+16.9% month-over-month +40.8% year-over-year Multifamily Starts: 536,000 Single-Family Starts: 1.06 million
Building Permits: 1.42 million
-3.9% month-over-month +5.8% year-over-year Multifamily Permits: 458,000 Single-Family Permits: 916,000
Completions: 1.28 million
+5.1% month-over-month +19.6% year-over-year Multifamily Completions: 357,000 Single-Family Completions: 912,000
What the Industry's Saying
"On a seasonally adjusted basis, housing starts jumped in December to their highest level in 13 years. Surprisingly, single-family starts increased relative to November even on an unadjusted basis—unusual at this time of year—and was driven by a rise in the South. While single-family permits are up almost 11 percent relative to last year, the level suggests that this jump in starts is…

SALT Update: After House Vote to Temporarily Eliminate Cap, Bill Awaiting Senate Vote

David Deem 714-997-3486
In late December, the House passed a bill, the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R.5377), that would temporarily remove the SALT (state and local tax) deduction cap, if approved by the Senate.

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in 2017, homeowners could deduct any amount paid toward state income taxes, local income taxes and property taxes. Due to the revamped tax law, however, the SALT deduction has been capped at $10,000 per return, or $5,000 for those married but filing separate.

The new bill would increase the SALT cap from $10,000 to $20,000 for those filing joint returns in 2019, and would eliminate the cap for the 2020 and 2021 filing years. Support of the cap has been controversial, with some lawmakers believing the deduction largely supports the wealthy, providing an unfair advantage. Others, however, believe the average earner with even a modest home can be negatively affected by the cap, as homes in states…

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Fixer-Upper

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Bill Gassett

A fixer-upper might have a lot more problems than you think. The last thing you want to do is purchase a home that ends up costing you more to fix than you calculated for. So before you spend a lot of your time and money on a fixer-upper, you need to know the questions to ask first.

Without asking the right questions, you could be buying a lemon—what was a moderately expensive project in your mind could quickly turn into a money pit! Here are five of the most critical questions you need to ask before putting up your earnest money deposit and purchasing a fixer-upper:

1. Is the Investment Worth It?
Deciding on whether to purchase a fixer-upper is a big deal. You need to make sure that it's an investment you're willing to commit to. If you have a contractor, they'll make you aware of the state of the home, and also give you a rough estimate of the total costs of fixing the house.

However, if you don't have a contract…

How to Start Your Own Food Garden

David Deem 714-997-3486
By John Voket

If this is the year you start growing your own food, it should be comforting to know there are many ways a first time gardener can reap a successful harvest - whether its a crop of tomatoes from a balcony flower box or a few rows of tasty fresh veggies straight from the back yard.

We've said it before - the most important thing you'll need if you're digging outside is a soil test.

A basic soil test assesses the levels of major plant nutrients, soil pH and micronutrients, according to Based on that, you can get recommendations on the amounts of limestone, fertilizer or compost, and other amendments you should add to your soil to best meet your growing needs.

Next, the University of Illinois Extension says follow these steps:

- Choose a garden site.
- Plan the arrangement of crops in the garden.
- Sketch a map of your garden area showing the location of each vegetable, spacing between rows and…

Tips For Using Power Tools Like a Pro

David Deem 714-997-3486

From quick DIY repairs around the house to contractors on the jobsite, power tools can make nearly any job faster and easier. However, having the know-how to put power tools to use is only half the challenge.

Take a safety-first approach to projects big and small with these tips from the Power Tool Institute, the leading organization for power tool safety resources, information and education.

Start with a safe workspace. Keep your work area clean and well lit. Cluttered benches and dark areas invite accidents. Do not operate power tools in explosive atmospheres or near flammable liquids, gases or dust. Power tools sometimes create sparks, which can ignite flammable materials. Also keep bystanders, children and visitors away when using power tools, as distractions can affect your control.

Be careful with battery power. Lithium-ion batteries have become more popular due to their higher efficiency, larger energy storage capacities, convenience and du…

4 Popular Areas Millennials Should Consider Moving To

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Anica Oaks

Younger adults who are part of the millennial generation often thrive in certain metropolitan areas. If you're a millennial who wants to make a positive life change, moving to one of these places could open doors to new career, friendship and romantic opportunities.

Here are four cities that are popular among millennials who want a change of scenery:

The largest city in the Pacific Northwest is home to the headquarters of some of the biggest companies in the world. You might have luck landing a corporate job with Amazon, Google or Starbucks. Spacious city parks and other open green spaces offer the perfect settings for millennials to go for jogs, dog walks and picnics.

The once-seedy Capitol Hill neighborhood is now a popular place for young people and features many trendy restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs. Pioneer Square is another great hangout spot for millennials and features some of the city's best bars a…

5 Home Areas to Purge in the New Year

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Zoe Eisenberg

While the new year is often a time of revitalized goals, it is also an excellent time for purchasing unwanted clutter and junk, Circle a weekend in the first few months of the year and plan for purging. The following areas are a great place to start.

Kitchen cabinets. Pull everything out of your kitchen cabinets and examine your items for frequency of use. If you have duplicates, worn items or well-intentioned gadgets you rarely use, pull them aside for donation or re-sell.

Linen closets. When was the last time you itemized your linen closet? Empty out your space and look for linens that are stained, damaged, faded or, in general, have seen better days. Cut them up into rags or store them for drop cloths for your next painting project.

Storage spaces. Storage spots--whether it's the attic, garage or that closet in the basement--are often packed with items that we really got let go of. Go through each storage space and be brutal…

2020 Design: Ways to Enhance Your Home in the New Year

David Deem  714-997-3486

By Wendy Dessler

The interior and exterior of your home have the potential for memorable design in the coming year. As the 20s of the 21st century are upon us, a combination of classic chic and modern savvy are combining to make new homes something to marvel at.

Here are a few different design families to help stimulate your imagination:

Mainstream Interior Decor Styles
A few interior decor trends you can expect to see include: kitchens firmly eschewing the "white" color stylings of years past; more floor plans including formal dining rooms; restrooms including seats that aren't just toilets; tile tub aprons making bathtubs look built-in to walls or floors; cheerful laundry room decor; and fully-wrapped powder rooms where decor encircles the space. Mirrors, designs, obscure paint schemes—many creative solutions exist here in terms of "wrapping" a space. It's not just powder rooms that get this treatment. Because of ho…

4 Resolutions for Home Improvements to Make in 2020

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Brooke Chaplan

With the New Year just beginning, it's time to think about resolutions to improve your life. Many people give up bad habits related to their health or finances while others start something new, such as taking a college class or changing jobs.

One of the most important improvements you can make this year involves your home. Make 2020 the year when you make key home improvements, such as these, that'll make it more valuable and appealing:

Foundation and Roof
Start with the basic essentials of your home. Check the foundation for cracks, settling or movement, and have those problems expertly assessed. Do the same for your roof to ensure adequate protection from the elements and to prevent interior damage from leaks due to excessive rain, snow or ice. Keeping these two areas secure will help to ensure your home remains sturdy for years to come.

To increase efficiency and save money on utility bills, schedule inspecti…

Is Your Home Vulnerable? Update Your Safety Now

David Deem 714-997-3486 By John Voket

Keeping yourself and your belongings safe is a worthy goal, and technology, along with adopting a few tried and true common sense practices, will help you and your household be much more secure.

Rebecca Edwards at says burglars strike every 25.7 seconds, so home security should be a top priority. She says intruders love sliding doors, so make sure yours are protected. It can be as simple as fitting a window bar or dowel in the track to keep the door from being forced open.

To further enhance security, Edwards says place lights around your front and back yards, along pathways, and near the garage and other outdoor structures. Make your outdoor security lights even more effective and efficient with:

- Motion-activated lights

- Solar-powered lights, which will also help you save money

- And putting outdoor lights on a timer

The team at says if you're considering adding a remote security camera or system t…

How to Clean Those Nooks and Crannies

David Deem 714-997-3486

By Zoe Eisenberg

Whether it's those slots in your wooden table or the gap between the counter and stove, some spaces are really difficult to clean. Consider the following to really detail every spot in your home:

Paint stick. Wrap a microfiber cloth around a clean (or at least dry) paint stick and slide it into your tight space to swipe up dust and debris. A clean sock can do the trick, too.

Wire hanger. Similar to the paint stick but for even smaller space, wrap a cloth or paper towel around a wire hanger and use it to gently remove grime from the smallest of crannies.

Compressed air. An eco-friendly can of compressed air can help blow debris out of small spaces - like the slots in your knife block - that seem impossible to access.

Vacuum accessories. Don't forget those handy brush accessories that came with your vacuum. Use them to get in to dust your fridge fan, that crack behind the couch, and more. DRE #01266522

First Time Buyers: What NOT to Do

David Deem 714-997-3486

By John Voket

If this is going to be the year you break out into your own place, you likely want to be sure your path is as clear as possible. First and foremost, buying one's first home is one of the most exciting - and challenging - life experiences.

To come out ahead, don't make any of the common mistakes that could put your home-buying experience in peril. The U.S. Farm Bureau ( advises first-timers against doing any of the following leading up to or during your closing:

Don’t Open New Lines of Credit. Taking on new debt, no matter how small, could throw off your debt-to-income ratio — a magic number in mortgage lending — and disqualify you.

Don’t Miss Bill Payments. In the stress of preparing to buy a house, it’s easy to miss a payment, but it could have serious consequences that will make you ineligible for a loan from certain lenders for at least a year, the bureau says.

Don’t Change Jobs. During the mortgage loan process, c…

How-To Prevent Injuries in the Kitchen

David Deem 714-997-3486

A large amount of home injuries happen in the kitchen, where fire and sharp objects lurk around every corner. To help, USAHS Occupational Therapy faculty member Dr. Terri Roberts offers these kitchen safety tips if you are going to make a holiday feast for your family:

- Always use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans. Keep an abundance of these in close reach so you're never tempted to swap for a dish towel.

- Do not leave food cooking on the stove unattended. Let that phone call go unanswered and the doorbell ring if necessary.

- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while cooking. Consider changing into tighter, safer clothing before you hit the kitchen to cook.

- Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen. If you don't have a door to the kitchen, use a baby gate to keep that curious pup at a safe distance.

- Be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially if handling meat. Remember to wash frequently between tasks to avoid cross c…

Orange County Housing Market Summary:January 14, 2020

David Deem 714-997-3486
·Despite the tremendous focus on the “trade war,” the international slowdown, impeachment, Brexit, and stock The active listing inventory dropped by 148 homes in the past two-weeks, down 4%, and now totals 3,901, the lowest level since January 2018. Last year, there were 5,911 homes on the market, 2,010 more than today, or an extra 52%.

·Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 156 pending sales in the past two-weeks, down 10%, and now totals 1,434. Last year, there were 1,165 pending sales, 19% fewer than today.

·The Expected Market Time for all of Orange County increased from 76 days to 82, a slight Seller’s Market (between 60 to 90 days). It was at 152 days last year, substantially slower 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 57 days. This range represents 35% of the active inventory and 51% of demand.

·For homes priced bet…

9 Ways to Beautify Your Backyard

David Deem 714-997-3486
By Conner Flynn

Whether you're considering selling your house or you want to improve the appearance of your current property, there are many ways to beautify your backyard. A well-maintained backyard can make you enjoy coming home to relax and make you proud when you have friends and family over.

Here are nine tips to help you improve and beautify your backyard:

Add a Custom Shed
If you have random lawn equipment out on your yard, it can be unflattering. When you build a shed, you have a place to store your gardening and lawn equipment.

If you already have a small storage shed for this purpose, consider adding a customized shed to your yard for entertaining purposes. Also, an outdoor bar would make a fabulous addition to a yard, where friends and family could gather and be merry.

Create a Walkway
Most people put stone walkways in the front yard but neglect to add them to their backyard landscaping. Use stone or pavers to create a walkway that&…

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…

Smart Steps for Healthier Entertaining

David Deem 714-997-3486
There’s so much to think about when hosting a party - the menu, the guest list, the ambience. But very rarely do we think about taking steps for you and your guests to stay healthy when entertaining, especially during peak flu and cold seasons. So when prepping for your next event, take the following steps recommended by GOJO, the inventors of PurellⓇ hand sanitizer:

Clean work areas before and after cooking. You may be great at clean-up after preparing food, but it’s also wise to disinfect your kitchen sink and countertops before you start cooking as well. Use a broad-spectrum, one-step surface disinfectant that is safe around children and pets, and has a rapid germ kill. To prevent cross-contamination, use paper towels instead of a sponge. 

Target frequently touched surfaces. Both before and after your party, disinfect high-touch areas, such as door knobs, handrails, light switches, refrigerator handles and remote controls. These are the things …