Popular Architectural Designs In Orange County

Orange County is home to a wide variety of architectural styles, but three schools of design are particularly popular in the area. Contemporary homes are perfect for modern living. Spanish Mediterranean homes invoke a feeling of Old World charm. Traditional homes, meanwhile, offer a classic look with plenty of curb appeal. Let’s take a look at each one of these styles in more detail!

Contemporary

While some people associate contemporary-style homes with cold, sterile spaces, the reality is that these homes can be incredibly inviting. Contemporary homes in Orange County are some of the most sought-after properties in the area, and it’s easy to see why. These homes combine the best of both worlds, offering sleek, modern lines and open floor plans while still maintaining a sense of warmth and comfort. Contemporary-style homes are perfect for those who want to enjoy all the benefits of modern living without sacrificing style or enjoyment. If you’re looking for a luxurious home that boasts all the latest amenities, a contemporary-style home in Orange County is an excellent choice.

Contemporary Home
Contemporary Home

Spanish-Mediterranean

Southern California is renowned for its Spanish-Mediterranean-style properties. These homes are characterized by their stucco exteriors, tiled roofs, and arched doorways. They often feature lush gardens with fountains and water features. Inside, these homes are warm and inviting, with exposed beams, hand-painted tiles, and wrought-iron fixtures. They are designed to bring the outdoors inside, with large windows and glass doors that open to patios and courtyards. This style of home is perfect for Orange County living, as it captures the essence of the region’s casual elegance.

Spanish-Mediterranean Style
Spanish-Mediterranean Style

Traditional

Traditional style homes are classic designs that have been around for centuries. These homes usually have brick or stone exteriors, shingled roofs, and ornate details. A traditional style home in Orange County is the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. These homes are designed to offer residents the best of both worlds, with all the modern amenities of a luxury home combined with the cozy feel of a traditional home. From the moment you step inside, you’ll be enveloped in an atmosphere of warmth and elegance. The spacious floor plans and high ceilings create a sense of grandeur, ideal for entertaining guests or simply relaxing with your family.

Traditional Homes
Traditional Homes

There are many other home architectural designs used in Orange County, so no matter what style you choose for your new home, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your unique preferences and needs.

We pride ourselves on being the go-to real estate company for high-end properties. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home, our team of experienced agents is here to assist you. We have a deep understanding of the unique needs of our clients, and we always go the extra mile to deliver outstanding results. If you’re ready to take your real estate experience to the next level, let’s chat! Our knowledgeable agents are ready to help you navigate the complex world of luxury real estate.

Andy Stavros

DRE #: 01408840

 

Phone:   949.290.0139

Email:    andy.stavros@elliman.com

 

Address The Stavros Group

 

12 Corporate Plaza #250, Newport Beach, CA 92660


The Stavros Group (949) 290-0139 Newport Beach, CA 9266

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Scandinavian interior design: How to Bring Scandi Style to your Home

Deciding on an aesthetic for your home can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Considerations include choices in furniture and colors, function and accents, personal touches, cohesiveness, home size, and more! Design can be a challenge for any homeowner, so where does one begin? There are a huge variety of well-known design schemes inspired from all over the world – a quick google search can easily bring you a plethora of results! Our featured design for today comes from Scandinavia – one of the most popular interior design methods of our time. This nordic design is rooted in earthen tones, high-quality craftsmanship, and functionality, with significant nods to minimalism. For more information on how to incorporate this design in your home, read on! 

Scandi style has impacted the world of interior design through its focus on functionality and minimalistic detailing. Minimalism has been on the rise, but who wants a home that feels more boring than stylish? There is a fine line between the two. Used in homes around the world, Scandi style is ageless and highly elegant. Natural and neutral materials (pale woods, wools/linens, leather, glass), tactile fabrics, metal accents, and high-quality craftsmanship elevate minimalism. Scandi style is all about the details.

When capturing Scandinavian-inspired themes in your home, consider colors in muted tones or shades of white, beige, or brown. Scandi style pairs gorgeously with earth tones and natural pieces such as wooden accent tables, woolen fabrics, and other earthy designs. Older pieces passed down through generations can often be incorporated into a purposeful style in your home. Wooden furniture (bed frames, dining tables, etc.) in particular – regardless of their color – can be shown off when the colors and accents surrounding them are simple. 

Draw focus to what matters to you. Do you have lovely china you wish was featured? Or maybe curtains with bold colors that always cheer you up? Scandi design balances your home and creates a gorgeous canvas in which to showcase the decor that matters most to you. In no way does this design need to be devoid of color or life, in fact the exact opposite is true. Blues, reds, and other vibrant colors ‘pop’ when combined with wood, metal, and earth tones. 

The Scandinavian interior design movement began in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland in the 1900s, and became a worldwide phenomenon by the 1950s. Scandinavian designs you may recognize include Alvar Aalto’s stools in Apple stores, the PH lamp series, the Egg Chair, the Spanish Chair, and the Finlandia glassware series. Who knew elegance could be so simple and yet effective? 

Where to Start?

If you’re wondering where to find Scandinavian inspiration, we recommend these two sites in particular:

The Nordic Nest is a Scandinavian company inspired to bring nordic design to homes across the world. 250 Brands

My Scandinavian Home “Niki started My Scandinavian Home blog in 2011 with a simple vision: to inspire like-minded people with ethereal Scandinavian inspired homes often with a vintage touch.”

Hopefully you feel more comfortable diving into the process of design. Home buying can be daunting, but there are so many other considerations that come after! Will you turn your home into a Scandinavian oasis? If so, enjoy the serenity, style, and simplicity of this gorgeous design, and always remember – personalized twists are what make a house a home!

WANT MORE ADVICE ON HOW TO SELL AND STAGE YOUR HOME?

Are you looking to sell your Orange County home? If so, it’s helpful to know what to expect and how to maximize your investment. Even moreso, it also helps if you have the best real estate listing agent in Orange County. At the Stavros Group, we are expert marketers with a proven track record of preparing OC real estate to net the best return.

Visit our seller’s page to start the no-pressure conversation and tell us more about your situation. We can help expertly price your home and work with you throughout the entire home selling process. Questions about Orange County real estate? Contact us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Most Amazing Homes | 56 N La Senda

Andy is joined by Jennifer Farrell, host of Most Amazing Homes, to show off the breathtaking, bluff-top property at 56 N La Senda.

JENNIFER FARRELL: We’re in Laguna Beach, California in a newly constructed modern masterpiece, where you’re not just looking at the ocean you’re in it. Let’s take a look!

JENNIFER FARRELL: So we’re here in Laguna Beach and we are at an ‘in the ocean’ home – tell me about this home.

ANDY STAVROS: So the house sits in the Three Arch Bay private gated community of just under 500 homes of brand new construction. The architect was Mark Singer – very well known here in Laguna Beach. [This home] was his last design unfortunately before he passed, but again just a warm contemporary feel that you’ll see once we get inside. 

JENNIFER FARREL: This is a multi-level home overlooking/overhanging the ocean… How many bedrooms and bathrooms, and how big is this house?

ANDY STAVROS: The house is just over 5,000 square feet with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, three levels, an elevator that takes you to all levels including the master… It really is one of those turnkey, lock and go homes.

JENNIFER FARRELL: Well I can feel the ocean breeze behind me, I’m dying to see the ocean view. Lead away! 

ANDY STAVROS: All right, let’s go.

JENNIFER FARREL: Wow, we’re not looking at the ocean we’re standing over the ocean. This is unbelievable, it’s a view that I think few people have ever seen. 

ANDY STAVROS: Yeah, it feels like you’re on a boat when you walk in… This is the time in a tour where I just stop talking, because everybody’s gravitated towards the view on the deck. I just allow people to take that all in, because it is breathtaking once you walk into this room.

JENNIFER FARREL: You know you’re right, it is like being on a yacht. Even the railings for the balconies are a horizontal metal, so it actually feels like we’re on an ocean liner. I love all of the contemporary beautiful lines here –  it’s a very clean color palette, very open space, without crazy high ceilings. Because the ceilings are not overwhelmingly high, you still get a feeling of coziness and intimacy in this house.

ANDY STAVROS: Right you do get the coziness. Because of height restrictions and view obstruction, you occasionally have to compromise high ceilings, but you still get a sense of openness to the house with the colors, the design and the finishes throughout. 

JENNIFER FARREL: I happen to love this portico that’s in the middle of the room. It’s such an interesting way to create an indoor veranda space, so you feel like you’re outside in an outdoor covered patio area, and yet you’re right in the middle of the house.

ANDY STAVROS: Right absolutely, and you’ll see a blend of the industrial look with the beams exposed but painted. I’m sure you can tell this house sits on bedrock, so much steel, it’s not going anywhere, and here’s just evidence to prove that it’s a solid house with a solid foundation that was just recently built.

JENNIFER FARREL: Well this home may not be going anywhere, but we are going somewhere – I’m dying to go in that kitchen.

ANDY STAVROS: All right, let’s go.

JENNIFER FARREL: Although I would love to say I’d be doing a lot of dishes here, I may just stand here staring out at the view.

ANDY STAVROS: There is a little bit of a distraction. You might burn your food as you’re cooking here, because you just want to gaze outside. 

JENNIFER FARREL: That is true, although there’s a lot to see in this kitchen itself. These counter tops are actually porcelain slabs, which means they’re as durable as a tile, but have the gorgeous look of marble. I also think that the surrounding caesar stone behind us makes a great counterbalance. The materials here are really nicely laid out.

ANDY STAVROS: Right, you’ll see the beautiful contrast with the wood grade finishes, the vertically opening white cabinetry, all the high-end appliances – gagging out melee, sub-zero refrigerators, etc. It’s a very functional chef’s kitchen.

JENNIFER FARREL: We have glass surrounding us. We have beautiful artistic touches, like that porcelain faux marble slab again and unique lighting which I’ve never seen.

ANDY STAVROS: Yeah, throughout the house the light fixtures are all unique, but complement each other. You can also see some of the same materials from the kitchen used here on the fireplace.

JENNIFER FARREL: Well this one’s definitely unique, because you have this frameless glass wet room that becomes part of the bedroom. It’s a very resort feel here.

ANDY STAVROS: Right, it gives you an open feel and who wouldn’t want to wake up every morning staring up the coast – from Thousand Steps Beach all the way down to Palos Verdes, Catalina Island, etc.

JENNIFER FARREL: The view here could not be more spectacular. I’d love to see the outdoor space.

ANDY STAVROS: You get 270 degree views in this home, with every room positioned differently. 

JENNIFER FARREL: I can’t believe we have a yard here!

ANDY STAVROS: Grass on the bluff front is rare to find! Today you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks. Out here there are multiple entertainment spaces, if you didn’t have enough upstairs; a spa, barbecue area, wet bar, more cooking space, etc. it’s a great level to be on.

ANDY STAVROS: In total the home is 5,041 square feet – five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, elevator, three-car garage, laundry on the ground level… It’s a really fantastic home for somebody that’s looking for a house that’s ready to go with no blood, sweat, or tears. Zero maintenance with a 15 year design and build process, priced just under 20 million.

JENNIFER FARREL: In this area that’s actually a deal.

ANDY STAVROS: We also dropped the price five million dollars, so it’s on discount.

JENNIFER FARREL: This is an amazing home and an unbelievable once in a lifetime property. Thank you so much, Andy.

If are considering buying or selling a home in the Orange County area, connect with us. See how our local, experienced and well-connected team can exceed your expectations. Let’s talk strategy! 

2022 Outlook + Feature in Most Amazing Homes ✨ Stavros Group

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Hi Friends,

What’s your favorite thing about living in Orange County? Is it the wide sandy beaches, the incredible mild climate, or just the coveted Southern California lifestyle in general? Whatever it is that draws you to this beautiful place, you aren’t alone! 

For the past 10 years, housing prices have been steadily rising in the OC. This is mainly due to the housing shortage and high demand for real estate. In September, the median sales price for a detached home was $1,101,508 which is more than 20% higher than the same time last year. However, we’re starting to see a dip in sale prices which is forecasted to continue through 2022. 

In addition to this, mortgage rates are also anticipated to increase in the coming months after a year of record low numbers.

What does this mean for you? 

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your dream home or a homeowner who’s considering selling, reach out to me. I’d be happy to get you started on the process and to help you determine what the best timing is for you to maximize your investment!

Warmly,
Andy Stavros

One of our listings was recently featured on an episode of Most Amazing Homes with Jennifer Farrell. Click above to watch as I walk her through this amazing blufftop Laguna Beach estate.

Is real estate a
hedge against inflation?


View Article

Forbes

See why buyers are willing to pay a premium for fully furnished homes


View Article

Mansion Global

56 N La Senda Dr

Laguna Beach


5 BD | 7 BA | 5,042 SQ FT
Offered at $19,995,000

Co-listed with The Altman Brothers


600 Powell Pl

Newport Beach


3 BD | 2 BA | 1,705 SQ FT
Offered at $2,250,000


25151 Rockridge Rd

Laguna Hills


6 BD | 7 BA | 6,420 SQ FT
Sold for $4,025,000

Copyright © 2021 Stavros Group, All rights reserved.
12 Corporate Plaza #250, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Douglas Elliman Real Estate


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Early Fall Fun in Corona Del Mar

Now that fall has arrived in coastal Orange County, get outside and have some fun at these upcoming events in Corona del Mar!

Located in the coastal city of Newport Beach, and famous for its fine beaches, Corona del Mar is a village for creating memories. From its tidepools and cliffside views, to quaint village shops, Corona del Mar will be a hit with the whole family. 

If you are looking for fall fun in the Newport Beach area, here are two great ways to celebrate the cooler weather with your family and friends. You can participate in or spectate the newly reignited community sandcastle competition hosted this Sunday, September 26th on Corona del Mar State Beach, and register to race in the 39th Annual Corona del Mar Scenic 5K on Saturday, October 2nd. 

59th Annual Sandcastle Competition at Corona del Mar

After a year-long hiatus, the Annual Sandcastle Competition at Corona del Mar is back! On Sunday, September 26th, join fellow sculptors in this sandy architectural showdown. An ode to art and creativity, this event is fit for all ages and a ton of fun to join or just watch! This year’s theme is “Explore the World” — a poignant contrast to the seclusion that communities and individuals have faced throughout the past year.

If you’re feeling artistic, gather your team and sign up on the chamber’s website or by calling (949) 729-4400. Families and architecture firms are welcome to compete, with entry fees based on category. This event is open to the public with attractions including castle viewing, food stands, sponsor competitions, and other beach-bound activities. Get together with those you love, and enjoy this commemorative day! 

39th Annual Corona del Mar Scenic 5K

On Saturday, October 2nd, a scenic 5K run and 2-mile walk will take place in the village of Corona del Mar! This is the 39th anniversary of this highly anticipated event. Beginning at 3001 Ocean Boulevard, participants will enjoy beautiful ocean views from atop soaring bluffs, while engaging with their friends, family, and their own competitive spirits. Park for free in the Corona del Mar State Beach parking lot, opening at 6am for event-day registration. Enjoy a brief warm-up leading into the start of the Men’s 5K followed closely by the Women’s 5K Race. A pleasant, inclusive 2-Mile Fun Walk/Youth Run begins at 8:45am, for those looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun with or without the kids. Later, the 1K Children’s Dolphin Dash is a wholesome way to end a fantastic day of racing and scenery.

To join, you can register online or walk-in on event day. Note that there is a small fee to register, which varies by event. Teams of 10 or more will receive discounts. To commemorate your experience, registration includes a Corona del Mar 5K anniversary t-shirt, race bib, swag bag, and access to the awards ceremony. Still not convinced? All registered participants will have access to the complementary Restaurant Row feast of local eateries (subject to COVID-19 restrictions), and an awesome post-event party — complete with live music, sponsors and vendors, and more. This historic occasion is one for the whole family. We look forward to seeing you there!

Corona del Mar Real Estate Agents

As your go-to resource for Corona del Mar, we love to share our knowledge of community events, neighborhoods, and of course Corona del Mar real estate. When it comes time to buy or sell a home in Corona del Mar, or if you just have questions about the Corona del Mar real estate market, please reach out for a free consultation at no obligation to you.

Contact us any time — we’re always happy to help!

Easy Ways to Make Your Corona Del Mar Home Green

Say you have an Corona Del Mar home for sale and would like to attract an eco-conscious buyer. Even if you live outside of the Orange County real estate market, there are myriad benefits to “greenifying” your home.

As you’ll soon find out, adding green updates to your home can save you thousands of dollars over time. Not only that, but you’ll be doing your part to reduce environmental pollution that harms the atmosphere.

Whatever your reasons for going green — whether you’re in the Orange County real estate market or elsewhere — you’re looking for updates that won’t take a toll on your bank account.

This precludes solar panels for the simple reason that they cost tens of thousands of dollars to install on your roof. And although solar energy is the endgame of going green — not to mention it’ll make your Encinitas home for sale look uber-attractive to prospective buyers — solar panels aren’t exactly affordable.

But no worries. There are other ways to make your home greener as you work towards the prospect of solar energy down the road. In the meantime, below is our list of five inexpensive ways to make your home green. These steps will add value to your home in the Corona Del Mar and Orange County real estate market, or anywhere else for that matter!

Conserve Water

One of the most inexpensive ways to make your home green is to start with your ceramic friend in the bathroom. Today’s standard toilet is guilty of consuming 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Granted, this figure is less damaging than the older toilet’s whopping 3.6 gallons of water per flush! But you can do even better. To conserve water and come up with an inexpensive way to make your home green, consider installing an affordable, high-efficiency toilet like this one.

This bad boy will save you more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. And here’s another bathroom upgrade for you: a low-flow showerhead that conserves roughly 160,000 liters of water each year, enough to fill a swimming pool that’s forty feet wide, twenty feet long and five feet deep. And now that you’re done with the bathroom, head on over to the kitchen where an energy-efficient dishwasher starting at around $399 will save approximately 4,000 gallons of water over its lifetime.

Conserve Energy

CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are a tad costlier than your traditional incandescent or halogen light bulb. But CFLs and LEDs possess a greater value over time. This is because they last up to 25 times longer and use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. When you look at it this way, CFLs and LEDs are actually inexpensive ways to make your home green. And if you’re feeling ambitious, throw in motion-sensor lighting while investing in energy-efficient bulbs. This way, your light bulbs can switch off automatically when you’re not at home.

Additionally, there’s an upgrade in the energy side of things that’s also an inexpensive way to make your home green. We mean, of course, a SMART thermostat that will optimize your heating and cooling system at home. With this nifty gadget, you can control your HVAC remotely from an app on your phone, which comes in handy when you head out of town and forget to switch off the AC. Oh, and if you’re curious to know how smart home technology can affect the sale of your home (in a good way), click here to read one of our previous blog posts.

Consider Insulation

Another way to conserve energy and gas at home is to insulate your walls, ceilings and attic spaces. Besides soundproofing against airborne sounds, insulation can also improve your home’s resistance to heat flow. The more R-value imbued in your insulation of choice (eg. fiberglass, Rockwool, foam, etc.), the cooler your home will be. This is particularly useful in the summertime when air conditioners propped on windowsills nationwide thrum collectively while blasting frigid air for hours on end. Then comes the astronomical bill from the electric company, much to your dismay.

So, to avoid this tragedy and find an inexpensive way to make your home green, you can insulate the walls and attic spaces in your home with eco-friendly insulation called “blown-in cellulose.” The latter is composed of 85% recycled material and is one of the least intrusive ways of insulating your home. Check it out and see if it’s the right fit for you. If not, there are plenty of insulation types out there to choose from.

Install An Electric Car Charger

If you own an electric vehicle or are considering getting one, you can make your home greener by installing an electric car charger in your garage or near your parking space. But, wait… this consumes energy, you think to yourself. And so far we’ve been admonishing you against this wasteful practice.

But consider the alternative: carbon emissions from transportation alone account for 15% of the global warming pie. In light of this information, consider your electric vehicle a “hall pass” in the energy conservation department. For less than $200, you can purchase a portable Level 2 charger to install in a jiffy. And if you need any further incentives to own an electric vehicle — or looking for other inexpensive ways to make your home green — there are plenty of government programs and rebates to make this a lucrative opportunity for you.

Revamp Your Landscaping

Another way to make your home greener is to strategically improve its landscaping. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends planting trees around your home that’ll capture the sun’s scorching UV rays and absorb carbon dioxide in the air. If you have south-facing windows (where sunlight is abundant throughout the day), some tall greenery in between these windows and the sun’s path can keep your home cooler in the summertime. Conversely, if your tree loses foliage in the winter, direct sunlight can keep your home warmer on those chilly days.

You can make your home greener on the inside, too. To find out how, check out our blog post on “7 Easy Houseplants To Liven Your Living Space,” no green thumb required! Finally, let us know if you have any real estate questions or needs as we are here to help.

Low Home Inventory: Why It’s Important to Have a Well-Connected Real Estate Agent

Do you often think to yourself, “Boy, I sure have a lot of extra time and extra money to waste”? If you, like basically everyone else looking to buy or sell a home, want to maximize your investment and minimize the time and stress involved in your real estate transaction, then the first and perhaps most important step is to find your agent. Preferably an experienced, well-connected agent!

This practical guide to real estate agent skills and responsibilities will help you choose an agent capable of delivering tangible results in the most efficient, effective manner. In a competitive market, relying solely on old-school information from sources such as MLS databases or word of mouth is not going to get you the best possible results.  

Real Estate Agent Skills: Marketing Matters

If you are selling your property, then a big part of your real estate agent’s responsibilities should include a comprehensive marketing plan. This is needed to maximize your listing’s exposure to prospective buyers.

A few key components of your agent’s marketing strategy should include:

  • 1. Home staging to maximize visual appeal and desirability — not required, but recommended if your time-frame and finances allow
  • 2. High-quality, professional photographs utilized in digital and direct advertising campaigns
  • 3. Virtual tours to offer convenience to both the buyer and the seller
  • 4. Open houses that are strategically scheduled and well-promoted

The success of these marketing initiatives is largely correlated to how well-connected your agent is. What good are shiny new photographs or beautifully staged open houses if the right eyes don’t see them?

The same goes for the other side of the coin, too. If you’re on the hunt for your next home or investment property, a well-connected agent is an absolute must. This is especially true in a low-inventory market as exists in Orange County. Your agent will be vital in helping you find exactly what you’re looking for, and making a strategic offer before the listing is scooped up by your competition. 

A savvy real estate agent also understands that the best marketing campaigns don’t only showcase their properties; they also showcase the agent. If you’ve lived in your community for a while, what names come to mind when you think of real estate? Chances are that if they stand out in your mind, they stand out in the minds of others, too. Take note — this is a sign of a well-connected agent. 

The Importance of Relationships with Other Industry Professionals

Put simply, the more well-connected an agent is, the more resources they have at hand to offer you.

Your real estate agent should have a broad network of industry connections to streamline the entire buying or selling process from start to finish. This includes different industry professionals and services, such as attorneys, mortgage brokers and lenders, inspectors, contractors, appraisers, stagers, painters, moving companies and more.

It will save you a wealth of time to have referrals to reputable, high-quality service providers that you’ll need rather than having to seek out each from scratch. At the Stavros Group, we go the extra mile by scheduling and coordinating all the vendors and their work, while you sit back and relax.

The most important industry connections for a successful real estate agent are with other agents. Whether they are within your own team or brokerage or community, other local agents can serve as your eyes and ears, your “boots on the ground.” They can provide valuable feedback after showing the home, and close agent relationships are particularly helpful when trying to buy or sell an off-market property. Agents talk and share information about current active and upcoming listings. This information is absolutely invaluable.

In a low-inventory, fast-paced real estate market, an agent who is well-connected with other agents can make the difference between securing the property of your dreams or missing out on it entirely. Every agent has a style and a process, so it’s helpful to hire an agent who both knows his or her colleagues well, and is held in high regard by the real estate community. These seemingly small professional connections can make all the difference in your transaction.

The Role of Relationships Within the Community

An in-depth understanding of the local community enables your real estate agent to effectively match your needs to the most suitable properties. This applies to things like desired neighborhoods, proximity to particular amenities, schools and more. A well-connected agent is especially helpful if you are not very familiar with the neighborhoods where you’d like to buy a home. 

As recently described in Forbes, “there is no way to put a monetary value on the expert advice of an agent who actually lives and breathes real estate in the neighborhood their business is focused on.”

A real estate agent creates an ecosystem of trust and communication through a strong presence and good rapport with other local businesses, organizations and professionals. They are able to cultivate valuable word-of-mouth referrals and connections, all of which helps in making your transaction a quicker and more successful endeavor.

Never Underestimate the Power of the Internet 

To be a well-connected real estate agent these days means being active across a multitude of social media platforms. We’re talking Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest… the more, the merrier!

But it’s not just about your agent’s number of social media followers; even more important is their responsiveness and online activity. Are they posting regularly and staying at the top of the feed? Do they reply to tags, comments, and questions? This sort of online etiquette is akin to responding to phone calls and emails. It contributes to (or detracts from) an agent’s overall reputation. 

Are You Looking for an Agent Who Ticks All the Boxes? 

Real estate agent skills and duties are expansive and varied. Picking the right, well-connected real estate agent to work with can truly be a make-or-break moment for your entire buying or selling process. 

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. A real estate agent’s role is multifaceted, but it should always include an expansive network of industry and community connections. 

If are considering buying or selling a home in the Orange County area, connect with us. See how our local, experienced and well-connected team can exceed your expectations. Let’s talk strategy! 

Buyer Beware: Red Flags to Look Out for When House Hunting

If you are thinking of buying a home, you have probably already begun your search. It’s easy these days, with up-to-date listing information available on a wide variety of websites. And it’s fun!

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of real estate, and it draws a lot of interest on TV shows and in-person open houses. Viewing and touring potential new homes means thinking of possibilities and dreaming about your future.

As fun as it is, though, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of house hunting — the perfectly staged rooms, the must-have features, the pool or kitchen you always wanted. Focusing too much on the aesthetics and amenities can lead you to miss some warning signs about a property, and a poor decision can lead to years of regrets.

We’re here to help you avoid making any costly mistakes in your home search. Read on for a quick guide on the red flags to spot when house hunting. 

No Photos in the Listing

The vast majority of homebuyers start their search online to get a feel for the market and their options. It’s a good way to get a glimpse of the types of homes available, their price, and which neighborhoods might suit you best. However, not all online listings are created equal. 

For example, if a listing has few photos (or zero photos), it’s probably not a good sign. Either the homeowner doesn’t want to show you what’s inside, or they don’t care enough to make an effort. Either way, chances are slim that it’s the right home for you.

Don’t just think about what’s shown in the pictures. Consider what’s not being shown.

Signs of Water Damage

Next, while touring homes, keep an eye out for signs of water damage. This can include cracking and bubbling paint, discolored walls and ceilings, pooling water, and moldy/mildewy smells.

Signs of water damage can be especially concerning because they can indicate damage to drywall, flooring, and structural components of the house, all of which may be very costly to remediate and repair. Worst of all, water damage can also mean the presence of toxic mold hidden throughout the house. 

Signs of Pests

Recent studies have shown that 84% of homes have some sort of pest presence. Typically, this means small, not-very-significant issues like the occasional bug or insect. However, if the home you visit while house hunting has obvious signs of a widespread infestation, you might want to think again.

Pest infestations can be tricky (and costly) to get rid of. Not to mention, most pests cause multiple forms of damage to a house. Termites chew through wood, rodents destroy materials and leave waste everywhere, etc.

As is the case with all these red flags, you might choose to simply move on and look at other homes. But if you really like some features of the home and think you can make it work, you can always negotiate a lower price, or ask the sellers to remedy the problem.

Obvious “DIY” Renovations

As you house hunt, work on your eye for spotting obvious DIY work. While there’s nothing wrong with a homeowner learning new skills and saving money by completing DIY repairs and updates, you can never be sure of the quality of their work. Additionally, the owners may have failed to follow the proper permitting process for a job. 

DIY repairs and renovations that violate the city coding laws could come back to haunt you, even if it was the previous owner who did them. More importantly, they may not be completely safe or sound.

Weird Odors

Weird smells are never a good sign while house hunting. Cleaning is an important part of the listing process, so if a home for sale still has lingering odors, they may be hard to fix or foretell deeper problems.

As noted previously, musty smells could be an indication of mold and mildew. Additionally, questionable smells could point to pests, pet accidents that weren’t properly cleaned up, rotting food lying somewhere and so on.

Similarly, if the home is covered in air fresheners, it might indicate lingering, foul smells. Of course, it could just be the seller and listing agent trying to make the home more inviting. But an excessive amount of scents could mean they’re trying to mask an unpleasant odor. 

Your Real Estate Agent is Also the Listing Agent

When looking for a house to buy, it’s always a good idea to hire a real estate agent. They can help you find the right house based on location, size, features, property size, etc. 

However, if your real estate agent is also the listing agent for the house you’re looking at, make sure that they have your best interests at heart. Agents are only people, after all. Most are good folks and they try to do right by their clients. But buying a home that’s also listed by your agent/agency can open things up to a conflict of interest. 

When you buy that listing, the agent makes double the commission since they represent both parties. If you have a good agent, this is not typically a problem. But an unscrupulous agent might be willing to withhold information or negative details about the home that might otherwise deter you from placing an offer.

The bigger lesson here is to work with an agent you trust!

Negative Drainage

When house hunting, it’s not just the interior of homes you should examine. You should also take a walk around the property to look for anything disconcerting. 

For example, take a look at the landscaping around the foundation of the house. Does the ground slope away from the house, toward the house, or is it flat? Ideally, the foundation should slope down away from the house to ensure positive drainage.

Negative drainage will drain water back toward the foundation, which can cause water leaks in the basement/crawl space, damages to the foundation, etc. All of these problems can be expensive and frustrating to deal with.

Questionable Roofing

The roof of a house is one of the most important components. It’s the primary defense for your home against the elements.

That means your roof is also the part of your home most susceptible to incurring damage. Inevitably over time, the wind, rain, hail, snow, ice and sun can break down a roof. 

If the roof needs to be replaced due to regular wear and tear, it won’t be covered by most insurance companies. This means the seller is less likely to invest in roof repairs or a replacement before selling. The last thing you want to do is buy a house that needs thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars in roof repairs. 

An Insanely Low Price

We all know the importance of comparing house prices while house hunting. Comparable sales are the chief way that home values are determined by appraisers and other real estate pros.

When a sale price seems too good to be true, it probably is. In other words, a super cheap home is likely super cheap for a reason. 

If the home sounds too good to be true, there’s likely something fundamentally wrong. This is more common in homes that have been listed on the market for more than four or five months. 

If you run into this situation, ask your Realtor to find out why the listing price is so low. Alternatively, you could place a contingent offer on the home based on the results of a home inspection. It will cost you some money to get answers, but at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with.  

Ready to Start House Hunting?

It’s exciting to house hunt and think of the possibilities in your new home! Just make sure you keep an eye out for the red flags listed in this article while house hunting. A home is a huge investment, and the last thing you want is for an oversight to come back and haunt you.

Whether you’ve been searching real estate listings for a while, or you’re just getting started or mulling your options, we’re here to help. Connect with us today to start the conversation and discuss your options to buy, or sell and buy, a home! We would love to help you achieve your goals and find a home that’ll make you happy for years to come.

How to Spruce Up Your Garden Before Selling

In 2020 alone, Americans purchased more than 5.6 million existing homes. Considering the unusual circumstances and rocky start of 2020’s real estate market, the uptick in home sales came as a bit of a surprise. As of mid-2021, we’ve seen a huge surge in home buying across the country, and sellers are enjoying significantly higher sale prices. If you are thinking of selling your home to capitalize on the hot market, it’s a good idea to make some repairs and improvements to get top dollar offers.

For some, that means bringing in professionals for a big renovation. For many others, that means a less-intrusive combination of smaller interior and exterior projects that you can likely handle at least partially by yourself. One of the easiest and best ways to boost your home’s value is landscaping, which increases curb appeal as the first thing prospective buyers see. The best thing is a garden update is relatively cheap, and you can do it yourself with a bit of elbow grease!

So, are you interested in gardening tips and tricks you can use before selling your home? Keep reading for our top picks to get your home’s exterior and landscaping in selling shape.

1. Deep Cleaning

From built-up grime, to dirt and mud, to scruff from kids and pets, your home’s exterior can easily become a mess. Just think: when was the last time you cleaned your exterior walls?

In a pinch, a garden hose with good water pressure will do for knocking dust and grass clippings off walls and pavers.

But if you really want a thorough clean, a power washer is the ticket. The super-pressured stream of water works wonders to peel away the layers of dirt and grime that accumulate over years of use.

Pay special attention to your walkways, since you might spot broken paver stones or cracked bricks that you can then replace.

2. Update Based on Your Environment

One of many benefits to owning a home is that it’s up to you what to grow outside. Many ecologists recommend installing plant species that are native to your region, which helps your landscaping thrive and helps you save on irrigation in dry climates. If you’re moving from the rainy Northwest or East Coast to the arid Southwest, planting the flora that you’re used to seeing may not work out very well.

The best course of action is to update your planters and garden with region-friendly plants, such as common drought-resistant plants for the Southwest. Not only does this ensure that you won’t waste time, money and water, but it also means your home’s exterior will make sense in the context of the local environment.

3. Trim Your Trees and Shrubs

A big one on the list of gardening tips before selling a home, and for home gardening in general, is taking care of trees and shrubs. An unhealthy tree or large plant, with dead or damaged limbs, can drag down your home’s curb appeal and turn off potential buyers.

Beyond that, poorly trimmed shrubs and trees can make the plants unhealthy as they spend extra effort to maintain parts that would be better served pruned.

On the flipside, neatly trimmed trees and shrubs send the message that you’re a conscientious homeowner, which bodes well for the rest of their tour through your home for sale.

4. Ditch the Ornaments

Personal style is all well and good, but it’s not recommended when the time comes to sell your home to someone else. As pleasant as they can be, not everyone loves wind chimes. Certainly not everyone loves garden gnomes or the magic-looking orbs sold at Home Depot and Amazon.

Point is, when you are prepping your home to hit the market, it’s highly recommended that you minimize the decor, especially things that may appeal to only certain tastes. For the best results, you want your listing to appeal to the widest swath of prospective, qualified and likely homebuyers. So, pack up the gnomes until you’ve moved on to your next adventure!

5. Embrace the Mulch

Whether you’re a beginner gardener or a talented green thumb, mulch is your friend. Mulch serves to trap in moisture after you water your plants, it prevents weeds and other things you didn’t ask for from growing, and it makes sections of your landscape look nice and neat wherever plants aren’t growing.

Mulch is cheap, easy to place, and gives your garden a clean and ordered look that will appeal to almost every buyer. Embrace the mulch!

6. Simplify

Some homeowners love a complex garden, filled with numerous assorted plant species that often require tender, individualized care. Trouble is, not everyone knows how to take care of plants, or wants to learn for that matter.

Now, if your garden is already beautiful and well-kept, there’s no need to make big changes before listing your home for sale. But if you are planning to spend money to refresh your home’s exterior before hitting the market, it’s a good idea not to go too wild. Keep it simple enough for buyers of all kinds — gardening-inclined and otherwise — to feel comfortable with the space.

If you know you’ll sell this year, work on a simplified garden plan that reduces the total plant species to a less imposing number. If possible, use plants that come with similar care requirements. You can use that as a selling point when it’s time to list, as it means a lot less work for the future owner.

7. Good Fences Makes for Happy Buyers

Fences aren’t technically part of your garden, but as a visual backdrop they are a key piece of the exterior puzzle, like a frame for a painting or photograph. Much like a shoddy, beat-up frame will detract from even the most elegant image, a rough fence will distract from the garden.

Before you get serious about selling your house, give the fences some attention. If possible, give them a fresh coat of paint or stain, and consider making repairs if sections of your fence are in worse shape.

8. De-Kid the Garden Area

This one depends on your community and potential buyer pool. If your home is located in a hot area of town where buyers may be younger and enticed by walking distance to nightlife and bars, then your potential buyer pool may be less enticed by a swing set or other play equipment on the lawn. Since you’re moving anyways, consider packing up the play set and moving it to temporary storage along with your other non-essential items.

If your home is in an area that appeals to young families, then the reverse is true. You can even consider making a play set optionally included in the sale, if you’d rather not break it down and move it with you.

9. Tidy Up

With landscaping, trees and shrubbery comes leaves, leaves and more leaves. Depending on the season, you may have more or less detritus littering your landscape, but inevitably there’s some on the ground at any time of year.

Before you start to host showings at your listing, head outside with a rake and tidy up all the plant refuse in your yard, plus any tools or unsightly items left over from landscaping, painting, etc. Just like the inside of your home, the outside should look neat and cared for before buyers have a look.

Gardening Tips and Tricks for Selling Your Home

Preparing your home for sale can be a big undertaking, but only getting your interior shape is not enough. Your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers will see, and there is added emphasis these days on outdoor living space. That’s why we compiled these gardening tips to help your home attract more interest and sell for the highest possible price.

At the Stavros Group, we’ve helped countless Orange County homeowners to sell for top dollar, and we have a broad professional network of trusted vendors who we utilize to take the heavy listing of home prep off your hands. It’s all part of our proven plan to help sell your Laguna Beach, Orange County or Newport Beach home without leaving money on the table. If you are considering selling your home, get in touch to start the no-pressure conversation and discuss your options.

Top 7 Tips to Get Your Home Ready For a Baby

With a baby on the way, you might feel overwhelmed by all the preparation needed to make your home safe and functional before the new family member arrives. You’re not alone. According to a new survey by Orlando Health, 40 percent of new mothers feel depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed following their baby’s delivery. 

Although it takes some work, preparing your home for a new baby ahead of time can actually help put your mind at ease. You’ll be able to focus solely on taking care of your baby instead of trying to find the right items that have gotten lost in cabinets, closets or under the bed. We’re here to help make baby-proofing your home easier and give you peace of mind.

Read on for our top seven tips on preparing a space and bringing baby home! 

Create Baby Stations

One of the most helpful things you can do to prepare your home for a new baby is to create baby stations throughout your home. Here are some of our recommendations: 

1. Changing Station

A dedicated area helps when trying to change a crying, messy baby! Consider including all of these items in drawers or baskets: 

– Unwrapped diapers (ready to grab and use)

– Diaper creams

– Wipes

– Clean clothes

– Towel

– Spit up cloths

– Trash can/diaper pail

– Hamper

– Toys to keep your baby occupied

Babies are usually wriggling and active when it’s time to change them. You’ll have your hands full keeping them still, so this is why we recommend including as many items as you think you’ll need. You can also keep a pre-packed diaper bag in this area for when you’re ready to hit the road. 

2. Feeding Station

The kitchen is where you might prepare formula for your baby, but of course you’ll also need a dedicated station for feeding, formula or not. Start with a comfortable chair in the nursery so that you can have privacy if there are guests in your home. Here are more items you’ll want to include: 

– Spit-up cloths

– Baby books if your baby is ready to fall asleep

– Nightlight or soft task light

– Bottles of water for mom

– Snacks for mom

– A small tv or a stand for an iPhone/tablet 

Feeding your baby takes some time, so it’s a nice opportunity to try and relax, listen to a podcast or catch up on your favorite show. 

3. Nighttime Station

Routines can help prepare your baby for sleep, especially if they’re fussy. By creating a nighttime station, you won’t have to search throughout your house to find items that will comfort your baby. Try including:

– Bedtime baby books

– Soft night lamp or nursery lamp

– Calming music

– Spit-up cloth

Baby monitor

We recommend setting your baby monitor in a dedicated space that gives a good view of your baby’s crib, like a nearby shelf or a dresser. To get the positioning just right, you might also consider installing a small shelf strictly for the baby monitor. 

Baby-Proof Your Home

Once you have some dedicated stations, your next step should be baby-proofing your home. We recommend baby-proofing sooner rather than later, as it’s hard to find the time once you have a crying and needy infant to manage! Here are a few steps to get started: 

4. Secure Furniture

Make sure that you install corner protectors on sharp furniture corners so that your child doesn’t injure themself as they grow and move around. You’ll also want to secure furniture to the wall so that it isn’t prone to tipping and falling. 

5. Electrical Equipment

Cover up unused electric outlets with covers. You’ll also want to do some basic cord management by bundling cords with zip ties and mounting them to the wall instead of in a tangle on the floor to prevent catches and snags.

6. Sleep Safety

When it comes to baby safety, making sure their sleeping area is safe is one of the most important tasks you can do. Make sure that the crib is free of stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets that your baby may suffocate on since they’re not able to control their bodies. You’ll also want the crib in your room until they’re one year old. 

7. Choking Hazards

Check your home for any small, loose items that may become choking hazards if your baby picks them up and puts them in their mouth. This can include items like pen caps, loose change, Legos, glass nick nacks, and a whole lot more. 

Hanging pull-cords for blinds can also pose hazards for your baby to play with. They can easily wrap around small necks or get caught on hands and wrists. Wrap them up, or invest in some cordless blinds. 

You’ll also want to do some research into houseplants. If they’re within reach of your baby or small child, they can easily be choking hazards. Some plants are also toxic for humans and animals, so make sure you’re only purchasing safe plants. 

If you find that some plants you already own are toxic, you can donate them to someone you know or place them in spots where your child will never reach.

Bringing Baby Home: One Step at a Time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do before your baby arrives, from home improvement projects to stocking up on all the essentials. However, if you keep a list of things to do and make progress one step at a time, you’ll be able to get things done without stressing more than you already might be!

On the hunt for a new home that’s perfect for your growing family? Connect with us today to begin your home search!