Does Your Homeowner Insurance Cover Damage from the New Airline Electronics Rules?

April 24th, 2017

All politics aside, the latest U.S. travel policy is clear. Personal electronics larger than a smart phone are to be placed in checked baggage for flights to the US from such Middle East airports as Cairo or Dubai. Devices that need to be checked include cameras, laptops, tablets, game units, e-readers, and DVD players. But what happens when these devices are damaged inside baggage on your trip? You may be surprised to learn that your homeowner’s insurance covers you.

Ironically, the Transportation Security Administration advises packing fragile electronic devices in carry-on bags, which is what you’ve always done. But this suggestion is nixed by concerns that terrorists may use such devices as explosives on commercial flights. Unfortunately, such concerns don’t make your electronics any hardier, and if they’re damaged, here are your options. Read More >

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Homes For Sale: How To Choose a Neighborhood

April 17th, 2017

If you’re in the market for a home you’re not doubt thinking of what the home itself should have. A whirlpool bath, or granite counters, or a beautiful garden.

Sure, amenities are important. But it’s also important to focus on the right neighborhood. The best policy in home shopping is to choose an area that has everything you need and want. Then you focus on the specific homes and what you want within them.

Why? Well, neighborhoods vary. If you have children, the quality of a school district can have major impacts on the cost of homes. And that’s only one example. Neighborhoods vary in their safety, the number of parks, and just about any factor you could name. So, what’s the best way to choose the right neighborhood for a home? Here are 3 tips. Read More >

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What Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover: You Might be Surprised

April 10th, 2017

Homeowners insurance is an invaluable investment that helps to secure and protect your home, and the items within its walls. However, while insurance will protect your home from a variety of things such as theft, as well as fire and wind damage, there are many things that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover that often surprises homeowners. It is important that you are aware of what your homeowner’s insurance does cover, so that you are not surprised by a rejected claim. If you are wondering what homeowners insurance doesn’t cover, here are a few common things not covered by your insurance that homeowners find the most surprising. Read More >

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How to Allergy Proof Each Room of Your Home

April 3rd, 2017

Even in sunny Orange County, you look forward to spring because of the longer days and the blooming of trees and flowers. But with the season of colorful renewal comes plenty of pollen as well as mold spores wafting through the air. If you suffer from allergies, being outdoors can prove a major challenge as you sneeze and itch your way through major allergens.

While there’s nothing you can do about the outdoor onslaught, you can avoid problems inside your own home by following these allergy-proofing tips for each room. Read More >

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Top 10 Things to Do when Moving into Your New Orange County Home

March 27th, 2017

Congratulations on your new Orange County home! While we do everything we can to make home-buying as easy a process as possible, you still have to move in. And that’s something you and your family need to do on your own. To make that go easier, here are the top 10 things to do.

1. Inspect the home.
We know you’ve already gone on a walk-thru with one of our staff. And we do our best to make sure that the space you move into is spic and span. But it won’t hurt to go on a private inspection just before you move in. Make sure that we’ve adequately addressed any issues you initially pointed out. Look for any last-minute concerns that need to take care of, such as a spot of dirt here or a non-working smoke detector there. If you uncover any problems that you can’t address quickly, let the management office know. Read More >

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Home Security: Do-It-Yourself or Professional Services?

March 20th, 2017

Protecting your home, and the loved ones and cherished belongings within it is one of the highest priorities of home ownership. As recent as a few years ago, the term “home security” meant calling a company to come out and install an alarm system that would alert emergency services — and you — in the event of a break-in or a fire. However, that term has taken on a whole new meaning these days. Here is the run down of what home security means and the systems and services that are available for you.

Professional Services
You can still get a home monitoring system from the big-names in professional security. According to a report from Gear Brain, the companies generally charge a fee for equipment and installation ranging between $99 to $199. Often, however, these fees are reduced or waived for special promotions. They provide in-home consultations in order to identify vulnerable points in your home, and locate an area of the home with a strong cellular signal in order to place a wall-mounted or counter-top controller. Read More >

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There Are Both Benefits and Drawbacks of Buying a House with a Friend

March 13th, 2017

According to the 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, from the National Association of Realtors, nearly 400,000 couples who bought homes during that year did so outside of a traditional marriage. But is it a good idea to buy a house with a friend? It can be. Here is a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of such a situation.

As stated in a report from Money Crashers, many of the benefits of buying a house with a friend are financial ones. It may be easier to qualify for a home loan, as lenders will consider the combined income, and will take an average of your credit score. It will also be easier to come up with a good down payment if you’re both contributing. The longer you and your friend make mortgage payments together, Money Crashers adds, the more equity you build up, meaning that when it comes time to part ways, you can split that equity and both have money to put towards a down payment on your next home. One or both of you may also be able to deduct the interest of your mortgage from your taxes, which is particularly attractive to those with higher incomes. Not to mention, you’ll be saving money by splitting monthly expenses, maintenance of the home, and the cost of repairs. Read More >

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Working from Home: Staying Productive While Balancing Life and Work

March 6th, 2017

Telecommuting from home grants convenience for the worker while offering money savings for the company. In fact, the benefits have prompted at least 37 percent of U.S. workers to do it, according to Gallup. If you’re interested in joining this trend, here are a few tips for remaining productive while still balancing your life and work.

Make a space
To maintain work-life balance, you want to divide your office tasks from personal activities. Doing that effectively requires creating a separate space that you use exclusively for telecommuting, preferably one you can close off. If it’s the corner of a room, define it with a free-standing divider. A walk-in closet or entire room is ideal but only if you don’t mix family stuff in the same space. Read More >

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Is The Drought Over for Orange County?

February 27th, 2017

With so much rain falling in the past few weeks, gardens around Orange County homes are covered in green. Look toward the mountains and you may see plenty of white peaks. In fact, according to the California Department of Water Resources, the snow pack in the Sierra is running way above normal for this time of year.

With so much water falling from the sky, it’s sensible to ask: Is the drought over for the state? It depends on who you ask.

Orange County
The Municipal Water District of Orange County handles wholesale water supply and resource planning for much of Orange County, except for Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana.

They just put out a press release declaring the drought emergency over in the county, pointing out that 50 of the 58 counties in the state, including our own, have been under a “flood emergency.” The tremendous storms in December and January have left only a fraction of the state in extreme drought. In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought emergency and mandated state water reduction of 25 percent. Orange County exceeded those conservation measures. Read More >

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Who Is On Your Orange County Real Estate Team?

February 20th, 2017

Real estate transactions are not solo affairs. In fact, many individuals and groups are responsible for completing them legally and to professional standards so you don’t experience problems later on. Here are some of the professionals on your OC real estate team.

Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents represent you in the buying and selling process while handling most of the paperwork for you and dealing with many of the other people on your team. They will negotiate on your behalf in exchange for a commission. You won’t need an agent when buying one of our properties because our sales team offers you the best prices possible and takes care of seeing the process through. However, if you’re selling an older home, you will need an agent to represent you on that side of the transaction.

The lender, which may be a financial institution or mortgage broker who works with several companies, gives you the money to buy the home by arranging for loans that typically last 30 years. It’s generally a good idea to pre-qualify with a lender before you start the house hunt, so you know how much house you can afford. Read More >

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