Before You Buy: How to Research and Compare Neighborhoods in Orange County

Corona Del Mar

If you’re in the market for a new home in Orange County, there’s a lot to consider. But one of the most important factors is choosing the right neighborhood. How do you know if a neighborhood is the right fit for your family? By doing your research! In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to research and compare neighborhoods in Orange County so you can find the perfect place to call home. Keep reading to learn more!

Define your needs and wants in a neighborhood

When it comes to luxury real estate, it is important to define your needs and wants before pursuing a property. Aspects such as being close to the beach, having a large backyard, and living in a quiet area are all important considerations when looking for the perfect abode. By thoroughly examining your lifestyle goals, lifestyle habits, and financial budget, you will be better able to decide what specific features your ideal neighborhood should have. Ultimately, this would lead you toward the property that best matches your unique preferences.

Do you want to be close to the beach, have a big backyard, or be in a quiet area?
Do you want to be close to the beach, have a big backyard, or be in a quiet area?

Research different neighborhoods in Orange County that fit your criteria

Exploring the many luxury real estate opportunities in Orange County can be an exciting experience. With a variety of desirable neighborhoods to choose from, it’s important to research each one and determine which best fits your particular criteria. Whether you’re looking for a coastal view or something more inland, there’s sure to be something perfect for you. Researching different neighborhoods in Orange County will help you find exactly what you’re looking for and lead you to build the perfect home or condo. Luxury living is possible with the right neighborhood and some careful research.

Research different neighborhoods in Orange County that fit your criteria
Research different neighborhoods in Orange County that fit your criteria

Compare the neighborhoods side by side

Orange County offers a wide variety of neighborhoods to choose from, depending on budget and lifestyle. While luxury real estate in Orange County tends to have higher prices, other communities offer living options that are still quite comfortable. In Orange County, you can find neighborhoods with low cost of living and shorter commute times for those that don’t want to be too far away from the local amenities. There are also plenty of high-end neighborhoods in Orange County that offer excellent schools, entertainment venues, and outdoor activities. Each neighborhood has its own special appeal and should be compared side by side to ensure you make the best decision for you and your family.

Consider things like cost of living, commute times, schools, and amenities
Consider things like cost of living, commute times, schools, and amenities

Make a decision on which neighborhood is right for you!

When choosing a neighborhood to call home, luxury should be at the top of your list. From luxury amenities like swimming pools and spas, to spacious living with breathtaking views, luxury neighborhoods truly offer something for everyone. Consider factors such as schools, entertainment options nearby, and safety before making any final decisions as these can have a major impact on your overall experience. Ultimately though, luxury neighborhoods provide an unparalleled lifestyle that can’t be matched. So take the time to research and determine which luxury neighborhood is best for you!

Make a decision on which neighborhood is right for you!
Make a decision on which neighborhood is right for you!

Now that you know how to go about finding the perfect neighborhood for your needs, it’s time to start your search. Research different areas of Orange County, compare them side by side and make a decision on which one is right for you. If you have any questions along the way, our team of experts are here to help. Contact us today for more information about activities, restaurants or real estate in the area.

Andy Stavros              

DRE #: 01408840

Phone: 949.290.0139


Address: The Stavros Group

12 Corporate Plaza #250,

Newport Beach, CA 92660




5 Top Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in Corona Del Mar

Corona Del Mar
Corona Del Mar

As a luxury realtor with years of experience in the Corona Del Mar market, I’ve seen many first-time homebuyers make common mistakes. To help you avoid these pitfalls, I’ve compiled a list of five tips that should help you make a smart and informed purchase.

Know your budget

Before you start your home search, it’s important to have a good understanding of your budget. This means figuring out how much you can afford to spend on a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and any other associated costs. Don’t forget to factor in property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

Figuring out how much you can afford
Figuring out how much you can afford

Do your research

It’s important to have a good understanding of the local real estate market, so do your research before you start your home search. Look at comparable home sales in the area, check out recent market trends, and take note of any local zoning laws or regulations that may impact your purchase.

Have a good understanding of the local real estate market
Have a good understanding of the local real estate market

Find a trusted real estate agent

A good real estate agent can help you navigate the buying process and save you time and money. Make sure you find an agent who is knowledgeable about the Corona Del Mar market, and who you feel comfortable working with.

You need to feel comfortable with who you work with
You need to feel comfortable with who you work with

Consider your long-term goals

When you’re purchasing a home, it’s important to think about your long-term goals. Consider whether you want to live in the property for five years, ten years, or longer. You should also think about whether you want to rent out the property, or if you plan on selling it in the future.

It's important to think about your long-term goals
It’s important to think about your long-term goals

Don’t skimp on inspections

Before you make an offer, it’s important to have the property thoroughly inspected by a professional home inspector. This will give you an understanding of any potential problems or issues with the property, and will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

Make informed decisions
Make informed decisions

Purchasing a home can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to approach it with caution. By following these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a smart and informed purchase. Remember, I am here to help and guide you every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Andy Stavros              

DRE #: 01408840

Phone: 949.290.0139


Address: The Stavros Group

12 Corporate Plaza #250,

Newport Beach, CA 92660




Top 3 Reasons People Decide to Sell Their Home

There are many reasons why people decide to sell their homes. Some people may need to move for a job, while others may want to downsize or move closer to family. No matter the reason, there are certain factors that influence a person’s decision to sell. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the top reasons people choose to sell their homes. We will also provide tips for those who are thinking about putting their home on the market.

Job Relocation

One of the most common reasons people sell their homes is job relocation. Often, when people are offered a new job in another city or state, they decide to sell their current home and buy a new one closer to their workplace. This can be a daunting task, as it involves not only finding a buyer for your home but also finding a suitable new home in an unfamiliar area. However, with careful planning and the help of a seasoned agent, it is possible to successfully navigate this process and end up in your dream home.

Job Relocation
Job Relocation

Downsizing, Upsizing, “Right-Sizing”

Downsizing or needing a larger home is another common reason people put their property on the market. As our lives change, our housing needs often change as well. In order to make a decision about whether or not to downsize, you need to take into account your lifestyle and needs. For example, if you have a hobby that requires a lot of space, downsizing may not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’re an empty nester who is no longer using all the rooms in your house, downsizing can be a great way to save money and simplify your life. Similarly, if you’re finding that your current home is just too small for your family’s needs, it may be time to start looking for a larger place.


Closer to Family

For many people, the decision to sell their home is fueled by a desire to be closer to family. Whether it’s because you want to be closer to your grandkids or because you’re tired of being so far away from your siblings, moving closer to family can be a big motivator in deciding to sell your home. But it’s not just about proximity – it’s also about feeling like you’re part of a community. When you’re close to family, you have people to rely on and who will be there for you in good times and bad. You also have built-in social support, which can be especially valuable as you get older. Many people make this same decision every year, and it can be a very rewarding experience.


Whatever the reason may be for deciding to sell your home, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our team of experts will work with you to develop a personalized selling strategy. We will take into account your unique circumstances and, thanks to our extensive experience in the industry, we are confident that we can get you the best possible price for your property. So, if you’re ready to sell, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We would be more than happy to help you through every step of the process. We’re dedicated to getting your home sold quickly and smoothly, so you can move on to the next chapter of your life.

Thinking Of Selling? We’re Here To Help

If you are considering your options to sell your home in Orange County, CA, our top luxury real estate team is here to serve. At no obligation, please reach out for a consultation to discuss your options and see how we can help you plan and execute a strategy to reach the best possible sale price for your property. Contact us today.

Andy Stavros              

DRE #: 01408840

Phone: 949.290.0139


Address: The Stavros Group

12 Corporate Plaza #250,

Newport Beach, CA 92660




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!


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


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 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



Address The Stavros Group


12 Corporate Plaza #250, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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

Contact Us

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!


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! 

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! 

California Reach Codes: How do they impact Residential Homeowners

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!

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

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

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

1. Hire Some Professional Help

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

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

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

2. Get Your Move Started Early

Procrastination kills the dream!

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

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

3. Find the Right Supplies for the Move

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

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

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

4. Pack With Rhyme and Reason

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

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

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

5. Organize and Schedule Your Move

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

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

6. Make Use of Storage if You Need It

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

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

7. Manage the Costs of Your Move

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

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

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

8. Take off the Time That You Need

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

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

9. Get Help From Friends and Family

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

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

10. Breathe and Relax

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

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

Put Together a Stress-Free Move

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

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

What Does Proposition 19 Mean for Homeowners and First-Time Homebuyers?

Closeup of tax wooden blocks on mallet at table in courtroom

Property tax laws are changing in California.

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.