Packing It Up: Tips and Tricks for a Stress-Free Move

Moving is a double-edged sword. While you probably can’t wait to get settled in your dream place and start a new chapter in your life, you also likely have a lot of stress and anxiety heading into the process.

With some tips for a stress-free move, you don’t have to worry about losing your head. The tips in this article will show you how you can guarantee a stress-free move.

1. Hire Some Professional Help

Hiring a professional can help get rid of the stress of a move. By leaving it to some pros, it is a lot easier to relax, since you won’t have to worry about putting together all of the pieces yourself.

Since this is what they do for a living, you also get more of a guarantee that the job will be done properly. This means not having to worry about items breaking or being mishandled during the move.

While it will cost you a bit of money, you can’t put a price tag on the peace and stress-relief that you get by hiring movers.

2. Get Your Move Started Early

Procrastination kills the dream!

Of course, it’s difficult to get excited about your move if you stress yourself out by waiting too long to get started. You will bring back the stresses of school all-nighters — and unnecessarily so.

You have plenty of time to plan out every part of your move. So start early and make it fun instead of anxiety-inducing.

3. Find the Right Supplies for the Move

If you’re going to plan a move, you also need to be sure you have the right supplies.

Start by finding boxes and other containers that will store all of the items you are moving. Choose boxes that are sturdy and not likely to crumble or allow your belongings to break. You can purchase quality moving boxes from your local hardware store.

You can also look into specialty containers, such as hard plastic containers. Buy boxes and containers that fit together like a puzzle, so it’s easy to arrange them in your truck.

4. Pack With Rhyme and Reason

Handling your move becomes easy and stress-free when you learn how to pack.

If you have a uniform way of packing things, it’s easier for you to get them on and off the truck. You will remember where things are, and this will make it easier for you to get set up at your new place.

Go room by room and get organized about the way you pack things up. By having a strategy, the move will be as stress-free as possible.

5. Organize and Schedule Your Move

It’s best to have a schedule for every part of your move. Set the dates on your calendar and give yourself plenty of time leading up to the move to pack things up, turn your utilities on in your new place, talk to some movers, and other parts of the move.

Scope out your new home as well to see if there are any traffic patterns you should know about. Get to know the neighborhood so you can figure out the best place to park so you can unload.

6. Make Use of Storage if You Need It

Having some rental storage space is also an excellent way to make your move easier. When you have storage, it gives you some time so that you don’t feel rushed with the move.

You can rent a storage unit while you are packing up your current home so that you can move into your new home little by little. Find a storage rental company that has affordable monthly rates, along with the best storage space for your needs.

7. Manage the Costs of Your Move

You need to handle the financial part of your move as well. A price tag that you have trouble affording is one of the biggest areas of stress when you’re moving.

The easiest way to manage your costs is to first figure out what you can do on your own, and what you need professional help with. If you are hiring any kind of professional help, you should get some price estimates from three different movers.

You should also shop for the most affordable moving equipment and supplies so the price doesn’t become too inflated.

8. Take off the Time That You Need

Don’t make the mistake of trying to do too much. Working a full work week right before or after a move can also make the move more stressful than it has to be.

Take some time off from work so you can plan out your move, go room by room, and check and double-check every part of it. You will thank yourself that you took time off when you can get a good night’s sleep before the move and have clear thoughts and low anxiety.

9. Get Help From Friends and Family

Don’t hesitate to lean on the help that friends and family members can provide. It would surprise you to see how much work you can get done when you have people by your side.

If you have kids, getting family members to watch them at certain parts of the move can also decrease stress because you’re only focusing on the task at hand — not the temperament of your little ones.

10. Breathe and Relax

Breathe! It’s easier to relax when you have your mind made up that you aren’t going to let stress get the best of you.

Control what you can control, and give yourself permission to just live in the moment and let the move play out how it’s supposed to.

Put Together a Stress-Free Move

You can enjoy a stress-free move when you follow these tips. Since moves can be one of the more stressful things that you do, you will be glad that you had these tips at your disposal.

We are happy to hear from you. Take time to connect with us when you need some real estate help.

The Importance of Interest or: How I Learned to Love the Fed

The year is 1984, and despite Orwellian predictions to the contrary, nothing seems to be going poorly at all as you amble down your tree-lined street. A neighbor cheerfully hollers across the road, but with Purple Rain cranking through your Walkman, you can’t quite make out what he said. Nudging the headset off one ear, you hear him repeat, “Howdy neighbor!” Well, howdy, yourself!


You’ve rented here for quite a while. It’s a sleepy little suburb with friendly folks and good schools. For years, you’ve saved diligently with the goal of making an offer on one of the charming homes for sale that you see every day on your walks. Browsing the Yellow Pages and consulting with friends, you finally found a real estate agent who you can trust. Now all that’s left is to get approved for a mortgage! Considering your outstanding credit, the lender is willing to make a deal—thirty years fixed at a low rate of just fourteen percent!



Today’s Rates are Hard to Beat

It may seem crazy to young homeowners and aspiring buyers, but throughout the 1980s the national average mortgage interest rate was well into the double digits. Recession and inflation starting in the late 70s prompted drastic measures from the Federal Reserve who cranked up interest rates to even as high as twenty percent. Since then, and especially after the financial crisis of 2008, the average rate has seen a precipitous decline. After years of wavering around four percent, the notion of a thirteen or fourteen percent mortgage is unthinkable to most new and would-be homeowners.


Let’s compare an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in August 1984 with August 2019:

  • Loan of $200,000, 30-yr fixed
    • August 1984 avg rate: 14.47%
      • Total cost over lifetime of mortgage: $879,962
    • August 2019 avg rate:  3.62%
      • Total cost over lifetime of mortgage: $328,154


In 1984, your mortgage would cost over four times the amount borrowed over the course of the loan. Whether you’re bearish or bullish on the economy as a whole, with a little perspective it’s abundantly clear that home buyers have it very, very good these days. As an extreme example, the stark contrast illuminates how important  interest rates are in a home purchase.


Using more recent and normal examples, the current average still beats recent rates including just last year. In August 2018, an average fixed-rate loan of $500,000 would cost you $917,389 over 30 years. One year later in August 2019, you would save nearly $100,000, at $820,386 over 30 years. That’s a huge difference and huge savings after a rate drop of less than one percent (4.55 to 3.62%).



Use Low Interest Rates to Your Advantage

So what does this all mean? First off, it’s clear that buying a home when rates are low is the most effective strategy to ensure that you’re getting a good deal. Both buyers and sellers benefit when rates are low, as buyers can afford to borrow more money for less overall cost. When buyers can afford bigger and better homes, competition is increased across the market, listings garner wider interest, and ultimately sellers receive higher offers and closing prices. All at essentially no extra cost to the buyer, because their money simply went further at a lower interest rate.


This also means that homeowners who purchased recently could be eligible to save big by refinancing an existing mortgage above current rates. According to analytics firm Black Knight, four out of five mortgages originating in 2018 are at least 0.75% higher than today’s rates. Additionally, they found that most mortgages from before 2004 could have rates lowered by about 1.75%, leading to massive savings.



We’re Happy to Help

Inevitably, the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and the market will retract to some degree. Of course, nothing about the economy happens in a vacuum, and there are always countless extenuating factors. So we’ll skip making bold predictions. Instead, we will simply recommend this sage old advice: “Get while the gettin’s good.” Rates are nearly as low as they can be, and real estate is entering its most active time of year. If you’ve been thinking of buying or selling, now is an excellent time to do so! Give us a call to find out how we can help.

The Interesting History of Balboa Island You May Not Have Known

Close to Newport California, Balboa Island is part of the interesting and dynamic history of the region. During the later decades of the 19th century, Newport Bay was a hub for exports, and the area soon developed a reputation for its thriving commercial trade and shipping businesses.


By the early 1900s, some of the small waterfront communities that sprung up in the area were divided up, and real estate promoters traveled around to tout the sports in the area.


Many plots were sold to residents in Pasadena, and as a result, many longtime residents of Balboa Island have considerable connections with people in Pasadena today.


At this point, Balboa Island was still just a sandbar, but William Collins gave birth to the modern-day Balboa Island after using his dredge to cut up a channel and piling the sand on a mud flat between 1908-1909.


Another man, Joe Beek, spent much of his lifetime dedicated to the island, and secured a ferry contract in 1919 to shuttle cars between the island and Balboa Peninsula. Beek later served as Secretary of the Senate of California.


Here are a few interesting historical facts about Balboa Island as is grew into what it’s known as today.


The First Lots Sold for Cheap: Collins originally sold lots on the island for just $25.00. A sale came with a promise that utilities and ferry services would soon start up on the island. At this point, the island was just a summer vacation spot since there was no gasoline or electricity.


Development Grew in the 1910s: Balboa Island became part of the City of Newport Beach in 1916, while the Balboa Island Improvement Association started up in 1918. The Association was a powerful tool in the process to get utilities and other amenities, like streetlights and paved roads, on the island.


Many Movies Were Filmed on the island: During the 1920s and 1930s, a number of films were shot on the island, and the Coast Guard even used the spot during World War Two.


A Number of Bridges Have Served Residents: One of the original bridges to the island, during the 1920s, was two lanes of wood. In 1929, a concrete bridge was constructed that served residents for a little more than 50 years. By 1981, the concrete bridge was replaced with a modern structure that also had walkways.


The Boy Scouts Had an International Event in the Area: In 1953, the Boy Scout’s International Jamboree was conducted where Newport Center and Fashion Island rest today. A number of tents were pitched near Palisades Road, which was later changed to Jamboree Road in homage to the Boy Scouts.


Balboa Island is Thriving Today: Jamboree Road is now a major road that runs through Newport Beach and finishes on the Island. Over the past few decades, Balboa Island has rapidly grown into a destination spot that’s also home to families, retirees, students, and even a few celebrities.


Now, some of the lots on the island sell for millions of dollars. Big City Feel…Small Town Charm: Despite the massive growth, Balboa Island still has a small town feel despite the massive changes in the island’s infrastructure. Many visitors come to the Island to enjoy the scenery and weather, while also taking in the sights and sounds of a tranquil beachside community.


Are you thinking of buying a home near Balboa Island? Click here to contact the Stavros Group today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

10 Family Fun Activities in Laguna Beach

With lots of sun, nice weather, and a relaxing atmosphere, Laguna Beach is a great way to experience Orange County. It’s also a very family-friendly destination since it features a variety of interesting attractions, tasty restaurants, and beautiful accommodation options.


Here’s a list of 10 fun activities for families in Laguna Beach.


1) Ride on the Trolley: Get a good feel of Laguna Beach by hopping on the trolley on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the spring. At this time, the ride is free and gives you a great way to see some of the area’s hot spots. Plus, it’s a good way to shuttle your family to some of the best destinations in town.


2) Try Local a Dessert: Laguna Beach is well-known for its tasty gelato and ice cream, and there are a multitude of shops selling both near the beach. Get some sweet treats and stroll around the beach while taking in the warm weather. Or grab some ice cream and a meal to have all the ingredients for a picnic out on the beach.


3) Visit Some Cute Sea Lions: Laguna Beach is home to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, a rehabilitation facility that is specifically designed for seals and sea lions. Visiting this attraction is a good activity for all members of the family since you have a chance to see some of the animals up close and learn more about conservation efforts in the area.


4) Go Hiking And See the Scenery: California’s inviting climate makes hiking and walking a great activity for the family. Aside from great beaches, Laguna Beach is also home to some great inland wilderness. There are a number of kid-friendly trails to explore, like the Dartmoor Boat Canyon Trail, that also presents plenty of opportunities for great photos.


5) Explore the Local Sea Life: The shoreline around the beaches in the area feature different tide pools that host a plethora of local sea life, like snails, starfish, and anemones. Let your kids explore in and around these pools to learn more about these (harmless) examples of sea life. Just be sure not to take anything since the pools are protected habitats.


Click here to check out Laguna’s best beaches!


6) Go Kayaking: The ocean near Laguna Beach is a great spot for kayakers of all ages (and skill levels). There are a number of rental agencies to choose from, and many of them have tandem options as well. This makes it easy for you to paddle while your kids sit safely in the middle seats.


7) Listen To Live Music: Laguna Beach’s Bluebird Park is a hotspot for local music on Sundays in the summer. Bands come and play as part of the city’s Music in the Park event, and it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Otherwise, come check out the park to play frisbee, soccer, or just enjoy the expansive green spaces.


8) Learn About the Area’s History: A trip to the Laguna Beach Historical Society is a good opportunity for you and the family to understand the area’s history. The Murphy Smith Bungalow is an authentic dwelling that was built in 1923, and visitors can literally see the humble beginnings of Laguna Beach up close.


9) Check Out the Art Scene: Laguna Beach has a number of art festivals, galleries, and museums that also offer kid’s workshops and classes, along with gallery tours and open studios.


10) Check Out Diver’s Cove: Nestled right alongside the south end of Picnic Beach, Diver’s Cove is home to a variety of sea life and safe beaches for younger children to explore. The surrounding area is also replete with unique natural rock formations.


Once your family is ready to go to Laguna Beach, keep these exciting destinations and activities in mind to make your trip a fun one!


Are you thinking of buying a home in the Laguna Beach area? Click here to contact the Stavros Group today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

Spring Happenings in Newport Beach

Catch the Whales While You Can

Step outside of Newport Bay and you are stepping into one of the largest marine protected areas in southern California. Forward thinkers wanted to protect this rich ecosystem for future generations of marine life.


April is wrapping up the most spectacular of the sights along this 15-mile stretch of marine sanctuary. This area allows whales and dolphins to migrate freely, and it means spectacular views for the mammals on two legs who want to see them.


The most spectacular is the Gray Whale, which makes the longest migration of any marine mammal. Literally tens of thousands of gray whale are migrating right now along the Newport Beach coastline. During the summer they are feeding up north in the Bering Sea, but as the weather turns colder there, they begin their long journey and delightfully pass through Newport Beach on their way to the lagoons of Baja California. If you are out on the water, you can sometimes glimpse 4 or 5 whales cruising their way south. But it’s not only the gray whales making a traveling statement: other whales take part of the journey along with them, including finback whales, humpback whales, minke whales, along with several species of dolphin. So it’s the perfect time to see one of nature’s most spectacular sights in the water, and enjoy the most beautiful coastline in southern California.


Just Cruisin’

There are a number of companies who will take you out on the water to watch the whales, or enjoy a magnificent Pacific sunset, and April is a great month to get out on the water. Here’s a thought: no one enjoys Tax Day, April 15th, so the Royal Princess Yacht is offering two Caribbean Party cruises that day to make you forget your troubles. There is a daytime and evening cruise with a Caribbean theme, including buffet and dancing. The rum may make you forget all about those pesky tax returns!


Breathe Deeply: Private Gardens Tour

The next Saturday, April 21st, just a daffodil’s throw away in Corona del Mar is the 22nd annual Private Gardens Tour. You can mingle with artists and musicians as you make your way through several glorious private gardens. The tour includes a light lunch at the Sherman Library and Gardens. All the proceeds from the tour are going toward the PCH Frontage and Entrance Redesign Project. Plans for the conceptual design have been drawn up, in keeping with the history and style of the Library and Gardens. Once the official fundraising campaign is launched the plans will be unveiled. The private garden tours start on April 21st start at 11:00am and end at 4:00pm.


Newport Beach Film Festival



The ending of April will signal the beginning of the Newport Beach Film Festival.  It is one of the leading film festivals in the United States, and bring to Orange County the finest classic and contemporary films from around the world. The film festival spans 8 days, and will show a variety of studio and independent films, as well as a Family Film Series suitable for all. You might even get the chance to see what may become next year’s Oscar contenders and tomorrow’s classic films before anyone else has had the chance to see them.


All Aboard!

“A Sailor is an Artist Whose Medium is the Wind” — Webb Chiles


Also at the end of April: the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. This 125 mile overnight race is a perfect mix of good times, fun and adventure. Everyone is looking to take home the silver! Some racers may head offshore for stronger winds; others will sail the rhumb line to finish first. There are more than 50 trophy categories and numerous classes. If you sail a monohull, multihull or cruiser, this race is for you! You will find first time racers and those experiences sailors who don’t mind teaching you a thing or two. It starts Friday morning at 11:00am.


“May your anchor be tight,

Your cork be loose,

Your rum be spiced,

And your compass be true!”


As you can tell, The Stavros Group loves this part of the world, and we want to share it with you! There is so much to do here in Orange County, and we’ll love to call you neighbor! Contact us if we can connect you with the home of your dreams.!


March Happenings in Corona Del Mar

Crown of the Sea


Corona del Mar: “Crown of the Sea.” It is a beautiful neighborhood within the city of Newport Beach, California, and we love it here. Before the 1920s, Corona del Mar was a tiny village: one you could only reach from the peninsula by a small boat when the tide was high enough. The only other option was crossing a muddy dirt road at the Irvine Ranch. But now, it is a coveted spot along the Pacific Coast, home to many trendy shops and restaurants.


Corona del Mar generally is all the land on the seaward face of the San Joaquin Hills, from Avocado Avenue south to the city limits. It is known around the world for its beautiful beaches, cliffside views, tidepools and quaint village shops.


The most historic real estate in Corona del Mar was built in the early 20th century and consists mostly of closely-spaced, free-standing, single family homes along the Pacific Coast Highway. Other developers came along later, building mostly sprawling California ranch style houses overlooking the ocean.


Corona del Mar’s Beaches


The beaches here are nothing short of fantastic. “Big Corona” is a perfect family beach, with mild waves for younger swimmers. “Little Corona” is just a few blocks south and has a wonderful tidepool. Corona del Mar’s beaches are the perfect spot if you are into snorkeling or scuba diving. Salt Creek Beach Park is just below the Ritz-Carlton, and has one of the best swimming beaches in Orange County. Then, you can hit the grassy parkland along Corona del Mar’s Main Beach, where you can watch a pro volleyball match or a pickup game of basketball.


Get Your Green On


When you are ready to get out of the water, we love the Sherman Library and Gardens. Started in 1955, the site is just more than two acres, and it is a gardener’s paradise, filled with gorgeous plants displayed among an immaculate garden setting. You can see everything from desert plants to tropical vegetation. The patios and conservatories are linked together by expansive brick walkways, and beds blooming with seasonal flowers and gurgling fountains. It is just beautiful, and open to the public every day except for major holidays.


Let’s Dish the Dirt


While we’re talking horticulture, one of Corona del Mar’s popular stops is at Roger’s Gardens. The expert horticulturists here offer workshops on a wide variety of topics. You may be moving to Corona del Mar from a different part of the country, and need to know more about the climate here and plants that flourish in our area. They can teach you how to be a successful gardener whether you are planting in pots, bowls, baskets, containers, or an extensive flower bed. The workshops at Roger’s Gardens can get your thumb just a little bit greener.


Where’s Trigger?


If you love horses and horseback riding, you will want to know about Crystal Cove Beach. This trail provides a perfect opportunity for loop style rides. The park landscape is unique in that it is almost all open grassland and hills with few trees. The trails are enjoyed by bike riders as well.


We love this area in Orange County, and our team of real estate experts would be delighted to show you the home of your dreams. The Stavros Group is widely recognized as the go-to source for buying and selling premium luxury real estate along the world-famous coast of Orange County. We would love to work with you!


Top 5 Reasons to Move to Newport Beach

What’s Not to Love?
Newport Beach has it all: perfect weather, incredible beaches, a bustling harbor area, major events throughout the year, and some of the best shopping you will find anywhere.


Eighty-seven thousand residents call Newport Beach home. We have the benefit of nearly perfect weather year-round. Look up the work “temperate” in the dictionary, and it will probably have a picture of Newport Beach. September is our hottest month, with an average of 73 degrees. January only gets down to 56 degrees. If you want to hit the water, August is the best month to do it, when the average sea temperature is 69 degrees.


Let’s Take a Look Around
Newport Beach is not so much a city but a collection of villages, each with their own distinct style and vibe. Come to Newport Beach and our team at Stavros Group will show you:


Balboa Peninsula and “the Wedge” which consists of a 3-mile stretch that has Newport Harbor on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The Wedge is one of the best bodysurfing sites in the world. When the swell comes in you can catch surfers and boogie boarders in action: many come from as far away as Hawaii and Australia to catch the 20-foot waves. Not into body surfing? We hear you! Then lace up your shoes for one of the areas most popular boardwalks, the Ocean Front Walk. If you like to cook, head to the Dory Fishing Fleet, where local fishermen bring in their fresh catch of the day. Head a mile to the south of Newport Pier is the Balboa, which includes a pier, a Fun Zone, and historic pavilion. You can catch a ferry boat ride to Balboa Island from here.


Balboa Island is actually three islands in one: Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and Collins Island. Balboa Island is just filled with charm: the main street is called Marine Avenue and is lined with restaurants, art galleries, and unique shops. If you want to get your steps in, this is a great place to do it, as “The Island” has fantastic walking paths that encircle the perimeter.


Fashion Island and Newport Center offer some high and mid-rise office space as well as one of the most exclusive outdoor shopping and restaurant destinations in southern California.


Lido Marina Village is a great destination for shoppers who like waterfront dining, stores, the historic Lido Theater and breathtaking views of the harbor.


Mariner’s Mile is aptly named for the yacht brokerages, marine supply stores, terrific restaurants, and the gorgeous Balboa Bay Club & Resort. It is all things sailing, and is located between the Arches Interchange and Dover Drive.


Corona Del Mar is Spanish for “The Crown of the Sea.” If you are looking for a beautiful spot to see the sunset, or you are wanting that perfect place to test-drive your new camera, Corona Del Mar has you covered. The Corona Del Mar State Beach and the Robert E. Badham Marine Conservation Area, Lookout and Inspiration Points offer some of the best views of the Pacific Coastline, and the entrance to Newport Harbor. Walk a few blocks in to the downtown area and you will find trendy shops and restaurants.


Newport Coast combines new and old. It was annexed into the City of Newport Beach in 2002, and includes new homes, upscale hotels, and the Pelican Hill Golf Course. Oh, by the way, the Pelican Hill Golf Course was rated the #1 golf course in the world by Conde Nast. If you are looking for incredible coastline views, go to the Crystal Cove State Park, which includes three miles of coastline, and historic restored homes from the 1930s.


Looking to Buy?
At the Stavros Group, we know practically every inch of Newport Beach and pride ourselves on helping our clients find the perfect place to call their new home. Contact us so we can show you this wonderful area we love!