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.
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!
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:
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!
Most homeowners are aware that their home must be compliant with building codes, but many have no idea about reach codes. Progressive states, like California and Oregon, have recently added reach codes into their general building codes, to address hot topics like energy efficiency.
For homeowners who don’t plan on starting any big renovation projects, reach codes are not yet relevant. For homeowners currently building their homes, renovating their homes, or intending to do so, construction must be compliant with these codes. Even for homeowners selling their home, they have to submit an energy report.
What are these reach codes? What is their purpose? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Reach Codes?
In some areas, reach codes are also called “stretch codes” or “above codes.” They are codes that go above and beyond the standard statewide building codes.
These reach codes must be proven necessary in a few ways before they’re written into enforceable statues.
They should be proven ways to increase energy-saving, more so than the existing city or state codes. They should be proven to be compatible with common construction practice. They should also be enforceable, as in something that can actually be checked by an inspector.
What Is Their Purpose?
Reach codes exist to improve the energy-savings within a community. Although city and state building codes already attempt to incorporate more energy-efficient legislation, the desire to go above and beyond is often driven by local sentiment. It can also be driven by the financial incentives of energy-efficiency.
Reach codes also serve the purpose of continually driving construction toward more energy-efficient practices. It takes time to educate the community about how to build in accordance with these codes, so making gradual changes sooner helps to have a large impact over time.
Examples of Reach Codes
Reach codes exist in pockets throughout the United States. One example of a reach code can be seen in Piedmont, California.
In this municipality, the reach code primarily affects new construction, renovation, and home sales. Piedmont’s reach codes are particularly prohibitive of any new gas line hookups for homes.
In this example, home improvement projects that increase the roof size must also include a solar panel installation. Any renovation that costs over $25,000 must upgrade insulation or heating system electrification, and any project that costs over $100,000 must include both of these upgrades.
What Areas Are Affected?
Energy codes are widespread in California, even in Orange County. These California communities take building codes a step further by adopting reach codes to additionally improve energy savings. Throughout California, around 38 municipalities have adopted these codes.
If you are interested in learning more and seeing reach codes in place throughout California, you can view a handy interactive map at this website.
How to Be Compliant
When you are in the market to buy a new home, it’s critical that you due your due diligence. That includes understanding how compliant your potential new home is with the local building and reach codes, before you close a deal. Code violations could affect the cost of future renovations, and even your success in selling the home later on. On the bright side, reach codes are a sign of more green things to come.
If you’re curious about reach codes, how they impact your situation, or if you have any other questions about buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your real estate expert team at the Stavros Group for a no-pressure consultation. We’re happy to hear from you!
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.
Throughout the past year, the real estate housing market began slowing down, especially in the older demographic. Older people were less likely to buy or sell a home than younger generations.
Over the course of two years, the California Association of Realtors put together a plan known as Proposition 19 (or commonly, Prop 19). The overall goal of this proposition is to motivate older homeowners to buy and sell their property.
Prop 19 offers tax incentives to older California residents who buy a new home, but with these benefits come a few drawbacks. To balance the tax breaks of Prop 19, it includes higher property taxes for others.
Could you benefit from Proposition 19? Here’s what you need to know about California’s new Proposition 19.
What is Proposition 19?
Proposition 19 is a proposed tax change that Californians voted to approve in 2020. Two parts take effect on February 16th and April 1st of 2021.
The proposition offers a mix of tax changes designed to assist elderly individuals, some people living with disabilities, and natural disaster victims. Proposition 19 will also raise property taxes for those inheriting a second house to use as an investment property.
How Older Californians Will Benefit
California’s Proposition 19 proposes that seniors — those aged 55 and over — can receive a tax incentive when they buy a new home.
When you buy a new home, you’ll have to pay property taxes based on the home’s current value. If you buy a more expensive home, your property taxes will increase accordingly.
Proposition 19, however, waives this property tax increase for homebuyers who are 55 and older. Rather than having to pay a higher property tax for a new home, they can pay a much lower property tax. Starting April 1st, older residents have the opportunity to buy a home of equal or lesser value and enjoy the same tax benefits as their old home.
The reason behind this is to address the surge in prices and value. The longer you own a home, the more tax benefits you can enjoy from lower property taxes on its older assessed value. Your home may rise in value, but your property taxes and tax bills remain the same.
When you sell, you’ll likely earn a nice profit, but you’ll face higher property taxes and fees when you buy a new home at a higher assessed value. This is a major reason many older generations are hesitant to sell and move into a new home.
Proposition 19 will make buying and selling real estate an easier decision for older generations. Elderly homebuyers have an opportunity to buy a home and enjoy these tax benefits.
Another goal of Proposition 19 is to help alleviate the lack of housing for aging adults. Currently, there isn’t enough available senior housing to accommodate everyone. The ability to buy a new home at a lower tax value can help with this shortage.
What If Someone Buys a More Expensive House?
Do these property tax benefits extend to those buying a more expensive house? The answer is yes, but not it’s not as progressive as it would be if you bought a house of equal or lesser value than your current home.
Imagine you bought a house 30 years ago for $600,000 and today, you can sell it for $1 million. The new house you’re looking to buy costs $1.2 million.
When you buy this new home, your property tax will be based on the sum of your previous home’s old assessed property value, plus the difference between the sale price of your old home and the purchase price of the new home. The property tax value you’d pay would be $800,000 (ie. $600,000 + $1.2 million – $1 million).
This tax break has a limit of three uses. Buying and selling a fourth time will cause your property taxes to rise to today’s market value
Others Who’ll Benefit
Proposition 19 isn’t solely for assisting elderly people. Those living with severe disabilities, and those who lost their home in a natural disaster, can also benefit. Like seniors, those who survived natural disasters, such as earthquakes or wildfires, can enjoy many of the tax benefits offered by Proposition 19.
The additional tax revenue generated by Proposition 19 can help natural disaster victims, as well as generate funds to help fight wildfires.
Younger buyers, and the real estate industry as a whole, will also see benefits as more homes are put on the market that may previously have been held tight by seniors. Many real estate professionals throughout California and the country are supporting Proposition 19. But more than the benefits it offers to the health of the real estate market, many count on this new law to help Californians in need.
How Proposition 19 Balances the Tax Benefits
Unfortunately, Proposition 19 doesn’t conjure these tax advantages out of thin air. To balance the lower property tax on seniors who relocate, younger generations will have to pay higher property taxes on any home they inherit from their family. But only if they intend to keep the inherited home as a second house or a rental property.
Over the past ten years, children and grandchildren who inherited property from older family members benefited the most from California’s property tax laws. When they inherited a property, even as a second or third property, they could continue paying the same tax rates as their parents or grandparents, essentially locked in at a lower assessment.
This inspired many young beneficiaries to use the property as an investment. They could rent out the property at current market rates, while paying taxes based on an assessment that was anything but current.
Proposition 19 aims to eliminate this property tax break for those who plan to use the property as an investment. First time buyers who inherit a property and use it as their primary residence can continue paying the same tax rates as their parents.
Adjusting these tax breaks would generate enough tax money to offset the new tax breaks granted to the elderly, natural disaster survivors, and those with disabilities. This part of the Proposition took effect on February 16th, 2021.
Will Proposition 19 Affect You?
Proposition 19 aims to assist the elderly and others who need help in California, while also generating tax revenue for schools and natural disasters. If you are a senior looking to move, or a younger individual inheriting a home to live in, you can enjoy the benefits that Proposition 19 provides.
Have questions, or are you looking to buy or sell a home? Let us know! We’re happy to help you and anyone you send our way to make the most of your real estate goals.
According to one study, about 91% of Americans decide to “spring clean,” giving a fresh revitalization to their home as nature does the same outside.
But what about the other months? There are plenty of valuable tasks you should add to your home maintenance schedule to ensure that your house runs efficiently and smoothly. Home ownership saves money in the long run compared to renting, but only if you keep things in good condition.
So, what can you do to maintain your home, inside and out, throughout the year? Keep reading to find out!
When the cold of winter is gone, this season of new life is the perfect time to bring a breath of new life into your home as well.
We recommend that you start with your HVAC system.
If your house has central cooling and/or heating, the spring season is the perfect time to call a professional out to check on it. You should get it checked and serviced about twice a year.
They’ll be able to see if there are any issues that could soon cause it to stop working. If there are damages, they’ll schedule a time to fix it as well. But while they’re there, they’ll make sure that they service the machine and clean it.
In some cases, they’ll even clean the ducts and the vents as well. All of this will cost a few hundred dollars, but you will see some savings in increased efficiency and keep your home more comfortable throughout the year.
Your home’s plumbing is hidden and easy to forget — until something goes wrong. You should also check out all the pipes in your house on occasion to see if maintenance is required. Check under the sinks and around the showers to see if there is any leakage. It might be leaking only a little bit, which is hard to notice unless you’re looking for it. But preventative maintenance is always easier than a full repair job.
One sign that your pipes are leaking is if you find water stains on the wall. If the walls are dripping, or if you see water damage in your floor or ceiling, you should call a plumber immediately.
In addition to your pipes, you can also check the toilet and the flapper inside that plugs the top tank until you flush. The flapper tends to wear down over time. Once it’s worn down, your toilet will run more, causing water waste and frequent noise. Check your plumbing and fixtures regularly to catch small problems before they grow!
Spring is the perfect time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors are critical in ensuring your prompt response and safety to any fires or carbon monoxide leaks that occur, so you should check them at least once a year and change the batteries. Again, this is the kind of thing that you may not actively think about much, but it will quickly be top-of-mind if something bad happens.
It’s better to check them now than be forced to in the middle of the night when they all start beeping to tell you the battery is low — or worse, dealing with the fallout of device malfunction when you need them the most.
After spring comes summer, a season perfect for outdoor checkups and maintenance. Why not make the most of sunny weather and clear days? There’s plenty to do, after all.
For example, you can start with a checkup of the landscape around your home.
Trim overgrown hedges and tree branches. Get rid of any foliage encroaching on your home, over pathways or into utility lines. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can reimagine your home’s exterior by planting new flowers, trees, bushes or succulents.
Decks and Patios
You should also look at your patio or deck to see if it’s still in good shape. If you have a wooden deck, you might find that it needs to be resealed to avoid future water damage and more costly repairs. If your patio is getting grimy with dirt and muck (as all do over time), you can rent a power washer from a big-box store to give it a nice, deep cleaning. Power washing is incredibly satisfying — truly one of life’s hidden pleasures — and we highly recommend it as a way to cheaply refresh your hardscape. Depending on the model and attachments, you can also power wash an old car, exterior siding, fences and more! Just be sure to do your research first, as the wrong setup could do more harm than good to grandpa’s trusty old Buick.
And if you DON’T have a patio or deck, now would be the perfect time to remodel part of your home and install one! Outdoor living spaces have always been popular, and for good reason. In 2020, the trend has exploded due to more people spending more time at home. A lush and comfortable exterior has never been more appreciated, and when the world opens up again you will love having guests over to enjoy your new space.
Cracks, Chips and Structural Problems
While you’re outside, take a good look at your home’s exterior to make sure everything is in decent condition. You may notice that there are cracks in the stucco, chips in your paint, or problems with the roof. Any of these issues could pose bigger threats down the line, and it pays to stay vigilant. The name of the game is preventative maintenance, so fix any issues before they grow and while the weather is good!
In the fall, you’ll of course have those typical fall tasks like raking leaves and strategically placing festive gourds for decoration. But those leaves don’t just fall on the ground, unfortunately.
If you see your lawn covered in leaves, that’s a good indication that your gutters are filling up with them too. It’s not the most glamorous job, but the fall is a good time to haul out your ladder and clear your gutters (or pay someone else to do it, we don’t judge!).
In addition, the fall is a good time to make sure that your heating system works — before the cold front comes in and you have to go to bed with five different blankets! Once you know your heating system is working fine, you should also make sure that your home is sealed properly. This way, you can make sure that all the heat you generate actually stays in your home, saving energy costs and keeping things cozy.
If you discover that warm air is leaking out, you can purchase sealers, insulation, or even install new windows or doors. Many older homes have outdated windows and doors that would actually save money over time by being replaced with newer, more energy-efficient versions.
If you have a fireplace, make sure that you check that as well. Clean out the flues and check around for any hazards that could spark a fire that you don’t want.
It’s not too common in Southern California, but perhaps the most widespread winter problem around the country is frozen pipes. If you live in high elevations, or if you have a vacation home where weather gets cold, this is something you need to consider.
When the water in your pipes freezes due to the cold temperatures outside, it can stop your flow of water (which is bad), but it can also damage and even crack the pipes (which is worse).
Once that ice in the pipe melts, it can burst and fill your home with icy cold water. Obviously, this is an issue, so make sure that you drain and shut off all of your outdoor faucets before the cold weather comes.
Pipe insulation is one good solution, and so is leaving a trickle of hot water running. Before you go to bed, leave your faucets on with a small stream of hot water to make sure that your pipes won’t be clogged with ice.
Discover More on the Best Home Maintenance Schedule
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re making your home maintenance schedule. Depending on the design and features of your home, there may be many more that you should add to your checklist! Take a look around and think about what might need work and what might cause problems down the line. It’s always cheaper and easier to act sooner rather than later.
For any homeowner, proper maintenance can help you get the most out of your home while you live in it, and it will keep things in good shape for when it comes time to sell. If you are thinking of selling your home, get started on maintenance now, and start looking for a great real estate agent who can help you determine the repairs and improvements that will yield the best return on investment. (That happens to be one of our specialties!)
If you need a recommendation for a home repair vendor, or if you are wondering about Orange County real estate market and how best to sell your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help!
We all know the reasons that people buy a home — more space, more freedom, swapping rent payments for equity — but the reasons why Orange County homeowners sell their homes can be more complicated… right? Not quite! In fact, the reasons an Orange County homeowner might sell their home boil down to six simple points: the six “D’s.”
You undoubtedly know some of the six D’s already, but first let’s test your real estate IQ, if you don’t mind. I bet you do know the three most important things in determining the price of real estate. Sure you do! Let me jog your memory and give you the first one: location. Yes, location is the first and most important thing to ask in real estate. Where is the property located?
How about the second and third most important factors involved in pricing a property? Give up? Number two is location, and — drum-roll please — number three is… location! Yes, the three most important factors in establishing the value of a property are location, location, location. Sound familiar? Of course, other factors certainly come into play, but the point of repeating the word “location” three times is to emphasize that the true value of a property — the real property, the land, not the house itself — is based on where it is located more than anything else. Structures are built, they age, they are repaired and replaced, but the land is forever. That’s price in a nutshell.
So how about selling? Do you think you know why real estate is put on the market? Can you pinpoint the “six D’s” of real estate? Let’s try to do this together. This time there’s no gimmick (the same word doesn’t repeat six times), but each word does start with the letter D. They are easy.
Reasons to Sell: The Six D’s
1. The first reason a property is put on the market is Death. When a death occurs, many times the house is sold, or at least the option of selling is considered. Death is unfortunately a very difficult time in life, but it’s one we all must face with our loved ones.
2. The second D is Divorce. Again, this is an emotionally stressful time. A divorcing couple will often choose to sell rather than negotiate for one party to stay in the property.
3. The third D is Disability, yet another difficult situation. Homeowners facing disability are often met with the very challenging prospect of selling in order to find more suitable accommodations.
4. The fourth D is Decrease in Income. This can be due to many things, including the loss of a job, a cut in pay, one spouse quitting to stay at home with the kids, and so on. The inability to keep up with expenses is another major reason why homeowners might put their home on the market.
5. The fifth D is Distance. This can mean that there is too great of a distance between the homeowner and a new job, between the homeowner and a child or grandchild, or between the homeowner and sunshine! When a homeowner decides that there is too great a distance between their home and happiness, it’s time to put the home on the market.
6. The sixth and final reason for a property being listed for sale is Default. A default occurs when mortgage payments have become too difficult to handle. This can sometimes be related to any of the first five D’s, including loss of a job, a health crisis, death or divorce. Upon default, a property is typically sold on the market via a short sale, or even lost in foreclosure.
That’s all six D’s! How did you do? Did you guess them all? I’m sure you got at least a few.
Think about all your friends, family, and colleagues who have sold a home. Chances are, you can fit the motivating factors behind their home sale into one or more of these six categories. Who knew that the real estate business could be reduced to just nine letters! The three L’s (Location, Location, Location), and the six D’s (Death, Divorce, Disability, Decrease in Income, Distance, Default).
Choosing Your Orange County Real Estate Agent Matters. A Lot.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Orange County, you may be wondering what difference this all makes. How can one real estate professional or another influence the outcome of your transaction? When it comes to the three L’s, a good or bad agent makes no difference at all — the property is located where it is located. In regards to the six D’s, however, an experienced and thoughtful real estate agent makes all the difference.
Whether you are in the midst of a death in the family, a lost job, a divorce, or any of the other six D’s, each of these situations can be incredibly taxing and stressful. It is of the utmost importance to work with a caring, knowledgeable, determined real estate agent to get the job done with the least amount of additional stress. You don’t need more fuel in the fire! The right real estate professional can make all of the difference between having a smooth transaction with minimal stress and a nightmare that drains more of your precious time, energy and money.
Managing stress in a real estate transaction comes down to experience, knowledge and care. You can pick a realtor for a variety of reasons, but the realtor can’t change the location of your property. It is more important to pick a realtor that has the wisdom and the character to help you get the results you need.
Your agent needs the experience to know how to navigate the complicated trail of legal paperwork in real estate, how to call people back and to take responsibility as a professional in the business. You need an agent who tells you honestly how the system works and then holds your hand through the entire process. You need an agent who would prefer to see your dreams become reality, rather than make a quick buck. Through the difficult “D” moments in your life, you will absolutely need an agent with the wisdom to guide you and provide the tools to make the right decisions. Your co-workers and neighbors need that as well. Why should anyone settle for less?
We Help Orange County Buyers and Sellers
At The Stavros Group, that’s what we provide. We’ve sold hundreds of homes in Orange County, and helped as many buyers and sellers through some of the biggest decisions of their lives. After successfully closing so many deals, we know his business, and we’ve seen it all. We know how to delve through a contract with a fine-tooth comb to catch little things that other agents might easily miss. We know how to market your property and expose it locally and globally through multiple marketing platforms. We know how to negotiate contracts to get you the best deal possible. Most importantly, we know how stressful your life can be during these times, and how important this six- or seven- or eight-figure transaction is to you.
Right you, you or someone you know may be experiencing one of the six D’s of real estate. It is unfortunate if it is one of the stressful D’s, where the pain and sorrow of the situation necessitates a sale. Let us help you, your loved ones, or your friends through this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and start a no-pressure conversation. Let’s get to know each other. We’re ready to listen.
Maybe more than anything else, your home determines your quality of life.
It’s what makes our job as real estate agents so rewarding: every closed sale marks the start of a bright, new chapter for our clients.
It’s also why, during these months of home-bound living, Google searches for “home improvement” have shot through the roof, and why Home Depot’s stock has risen 30% year-to-date.
With mortgage rates at historic lows, Orange County homebuyers are jumping at the chance to upgrade their living arrangements and improve their quality of life.
Coupled with a low supply of listing inventory, this increase in buyer demand has coaxed Orange County closing prices to new heights. We expect this trend to continue into a busy fall season.
Maybe you’re just looking for an incremental upgrade to your lifestyle. Given the smoky skies, we recommend investing in an air purifier and changing your HVAC filters.
If you feel it’s time for a bigger change, we’re happy to help! It’s a unique time with lots of opportunity for both home sellers and buyers. Let us know your real estate goals, and let’s talk strategy.
Marilie Bunce Stavros Group
FROM THE BLOG
Mortgage rates are at a record low — what this means for you View Blog Stavros Group
Amid a sweltering heat wave, the Orange County housing market is red-hot too. Much like your valiant AC unit, home sellers and their agents are working overtime to meet a blaze of unforseen demand.
Last month, Orange County listings spent an average of 16 days on market. That’s a 36% decrease from July 2019. Sales prices are higher than ever as supply struggles to keep pace, and OC homeowners find themselves in an enviable position.
Today’s fast-paced market can be attributed to a few things. Record-low mortgage rates have empowered buyers, and social distancing has shifted their priorities. Pent-up demand is being released. Plus, real estate remains a relatively safe bet in a time of economic uncertainty.
Buyers want more space to cook, to school, to play and to relax. They want views of nature without leaving the house. Our newest listing certainly fits the bill.
Meet 2675 Riviera Drive.
A 13,000 SF estate in the ultra-exclusive Abalone Point (seen above) in Laguna Beach’s guard-gated Irvine Cove enclave, featuring unmatched views spanning nearly 300°.
See below for more info.
Whether you are in the market to sell or to buy, for an ultra-luxury oceanfront estate or a cozy suburban retreat, there is opportunity for everyone. But you have to be fast to make it happen.
If you’re interested in making a change to your living arrangements, or if you have a question about the market, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help.