“Brandywine Expands Further into MF”

June 27th, 2013

GARDEN GROVE, CA-In a push to gain a stronger foothold in the multifamily sector, Brandywine Homes is developing a 34-unit rental community consisting of townhomes and flats on a 1.1-acre parcel at Hope St. and Westminster Ave. in southern Garden Grove. The firm is anticipating completion of the project in February 2014.

Designed by LSA Architecture, the community will consist of 12 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom townhomes and flats ranging from 771 square feet to 1,226 square feet. Amenities will include granite countertops and upgraded appliances. was unable to reach Brandywine before deadline to discuss the estimated construction costs, but a spokesperson for the firm tells us that the project does not have a name yet.

The community will be the second multifamily development for the Irvine-based homebuilder, which has largely focused on developing single-family infill projects designed to respect the architectural integrity of existing neighborhoods. In January, Brandywine broke ground on a 25-unit project on .887 acres near Dale St. and Stanford Ave. here. In addition to the Hope St. project, the firm has two more multifamily developments in the pipeline.

“We’re bullish on housing in general right now—both rental communities and for-sale housing,” said Dave Barisic, VP of sales and marketing for Brandywine, in a prepared statement. “Orange County continues to see healthy job growth, and it’s a place people want to live.”

While single-family detached homes are the company’s mainstay, Barisic explained that Brandywine has long wanted to diversify its offerings. “Expanding into the multifamily rental market is something we have been interested in for many years. It allows us to serve a population that we believe has been underserved in our core market area.”

As reported in May, Brandywine Homes has acquired 12 lots in the 2.2-acreEstates Pasadena community in East Pasadena. Construction of a dozen four-bedroom to five-bedroom houses will begin this month, with anticipated completion in May 2014.

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Brandywine Homes to Build Rental Community in South Garden Grove

June 24th, 2013

34 units will address need for affordable housing in heart of Orange County; Brandywine ‘bullish’ on multifamily and single-home market

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – June 24, 2013 – Brandywine Homes announces plans for a 34-unit rental community consisting of both townhomes and flats located on 1.1 acres in the heart of Orange County.

The new project – at Hope Street and Westminster Avenue in southern Garden Grove – will be the second multifamily development for Irvine-based Brandywine Homes, Southern California’s premier developer of single-family infill projects that respect the architectural integrity of existing neighborhoods.

“We’re bullish on housing in general right now – both rental communities and for-sale housing,” said Dave Barisic, vice president of sales and marketing for the 18-year-old homebuilding company. “Orange County continues to see healthy job growth, and it’s a place people want to live,” Barisic said.

While single-family detached homes are still Brandywine’s bread and butter, Barisic said the company has long wanted to diversify its offerings.

“Expanding into the Multi-Family rental market is something we have been interested in for many years,” said Barisic. “It allows us to serve a population that we believe has been underserved in our core market area.”

Brandywine broke ground on the development in late March, and completion is anticipated in February, 2014.

Designed by LSA Architecture, the new community will consist of 12 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, and 6 three-bedroom townhomes and flats ranging from 771 to 1,226 square feet. Amenities will include granite countertops and upgraded appliances.

Just miles from Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm, the community will also have quick access to the 22 Freeway and Westminster Avenue shopping centers and dining. Little Saigon is nearby, and residents’ children will have the opportunity to attend Garden Groves’ award-winning schools.

In January, Brandywine broke ground on a 25-unit project on .887 acres near Dale Street and Stanford Avenue in Garden Grove. In addition to the upcoming Hope Street project, the homebuilder has two more multifamily developments in the pipeline.

About Brandywine Homes

Brandywine Homes is a residential and multifamily homebuilder based in Irvine, Calif., that specializes in challenging infill development. Founded in 1994, the family-owned and operated company has built or developed almost 900 homes in 30 small- and mid-sized infill communities, revitalizing some of Southern California’s oldest and most established neighborhoods. Brandywine builds homes that respect and complement the heritage, values and architectural integrity of existing neighborhoods and the people who live there – making a positive contribution to the community.

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How Buyers Gain Advantage in a Seller’s Market

June 24th, 2013

by: Scott Schang,

Trying to buy in today’s low inventory market takes time and patience and buyers can use every advantage they can get.

Buying a home is not like wandering onto a car lot and picking up the latest make and model from your favorite manufacturer.

The housing market is volatile, it’s unpredictable and it usually favors one party or the other, the seller in a “seller’s market”, the homebuyer in a “buyer’s market”.

2013 is a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, the advantage comes from a lack of homes available for sale, in a market where there are many buyers in the market.

In terms of supply and demand, high demand and low supply drive up home prices as buyers compete for the few available homes on the market.

As a homebuyer, just trying to find your dream home can be a daunting task. Once found, expect lots of competition and a possible bidding war.

There are three ways a homebuyer can gain an advantage in a seller’s market.

1. Get fully pre-approved for financing.
This is the very first thing any serious buyer needs to do. A pre-approval means that you provide the lender with the following:

• 2 years history of income along with verification of on-time payments.
• 2 years history of employment in the same line of work.
• 2 years of income documentation – W2’s or full tax returns if required.
• 30 days of most recent pay stubs for all borrowers.
• 60 days of most recent asset documentation showing enough money to cover all closing costs and down payment.
• Have credit pulled and reviewed by a licensed loan officer.

2. Hire a Real Estate Agent that understands the market.
A real estate agent that is very familiar with the communities and areas you want to buy in is vital in a seller’s market.

Seller’s markets move fast. As soon as a home goes on the market, buyers that have the most up to date information will snap it up.

A good real estate agent also has good relationships with the selling agents in the area and can sometimes hear about homes coming on the market before the rest of the public hears about it.

3. Buy a New Home From a Builder
Buying a new home from a trusted builder can be your one stop shop that rolls all of your competitive advantages into one.

Financing – Most builders have relationships with a mortgage lender that they know and trust. This makes for a smoother transaction and quicker approval and financing process.

Experienced Real Estate Agent – Builders have experienced real estate agents on staff that are intimately familiar with the models, amenities and communities offered by the builder.

Available Inventory – Being a seller’s market, builders are building. By pre-purchasing a brand new home in a developing community, you eliminate the bidding wars, the competition and the potentially high cost of maintenance that comes with purchasing a resale home.

In addition to the many competitive advantages that buying new construction offers, the ability to choose the style, amenities, upgrades, fixtures and features of a new home is something that buying resale simply cannot offer.

Brandywine Homes will open three new home communities in Southern California in 2013:

The Orchards in La Mirada – Mid October
A 41-home community on the site of the former Alondra Center

Waverly in West Covina – Mid October
A gated community of 19 single-family homes

Estates Pasadena in Pasadena – Early November
12 lots in the 2.2-acre Estates Pasadena community in East Pasadena

For more information click here:

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After Almost a Decade of Delays, New Housing Development in La Mirada Breaks Ground

June 18th, 2013

Written by Tony Aiello
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

La Mirada~Although the city is basically built-out when it comes to new housing developments, there are still small-scale possibilities, even if they seem to take forever to culminate.

After nine long years, and countless delays, construction on The Orchards housing development in La Mirada began earlier this week at the site of the old Alondra Center.

The former outdoor strip mall located at Alondra Boulevard and Escalona Road was demolished in 2008.

Using bulldozers and other heavy equipment, construction workers were clearing debris and performing grading work on the land.

The 3.93 acre Alondra Center site was purchased recently by Irvine-based Brandywine after construction was stalled by a lengthy state environmental remediation process.

“We are very pleased to see construction begin on Brandywine’s new housing development in La Mirada,” says City Manager Tom Robinson. “Having such an experienced private developer invest millions of dollars into building new housing in our community reflects the strength of the housing market in La Mirada.” Read More >

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Green Living Tip: Waste not, want not

June 17th, 2013

How many times have you done something like this?

Bought a beautiful head of green cabbage at the grocery, intending to make an ultra-healthy meal with it – and ended up throwing it out (and feeling ultra-guilty) because it had grown moldy?

You’re not alone.

Every day, Americans waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl.
Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, says we waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce – in our homes, in restaurants and schools, and even at the farm — — at an annual cost of about $100 billion.

He points to a 30-year study, the Garbage Project, which found that as much as 25 percent of the food we bring into our homes is wasted. Bloom calculates that a family of four that spends $175 a week on groceries squanders more than $40 worth of food each week and $2,275 a year.
And it’s not just our pocketbooks that suffer.

Food makes up about 19 percent of the waste dumped in landfills, where it ends up rotting and producing methane, a greenhouse gas. Squandering so much of what we grow also wastes the fossil fuel that went into growing, processing, transporting and refrigerating it.

Considering the millions of Americans who don’t get enough to eat every day, the issue of food waste is also a moral one.
At his website, Bloom writes that in 2005, he had two experiences that opened his eyes to the problem of food waste:
“Volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen, a homeless shelter that rescues unused food from restaurants and supermarkets, illuminated the excess in those areas. Gleaning, or gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the field and distributing them to the hungry, illustrated the agricultural abundance that is often plowed under.”

But we can begin to do the right thing. Below, tips from Bloom and other anti-food waste crusaders:

  • Make friends with your freezer, using it to store fresh foods that would otherwise spoil before you have time to eat them.
  • Invest in special produce containers with top vents and bottom strainers to keep food fresh. Add a paper towel to the bottom of bagged lettuce and vegetables to absorb liquids.
  • Plan meals and create detailed shopping lists so you don’t buy more food than you can eat.
  • Don’t be afraid of brown spots or mushy parts that can easily be cut away.
  • When in doubt, throw it out, but also follow Bloom’s advice: “Try to give food the benefit of the doubt.”
  • Shop more, buy less. Resist buying the 20-pound bag of potatoes, even though it’s a great deal, if there’s a chance those spuds will sprout eyes before you can eat them. In the long run, it will probably save you a few bucks to hit the store more often, and buy only the perishable meat, dairy, bread and produce that you’ll use in the next few days. These tips, and those below, come from a CNN feature titled “Eatocracy.”
  • If possible, opt for loose vegetables and bulk bin dry goods, rather than pre-measured amounts, so you can buy just what you need. Your food will be fresher, you’ll waste less packaging and food, and you’ll spend less time wandering around your kitchen searching for the cause of the mystery smell.
  • Clean and trim your vegetables as soon as you get them home. They’ll last longer, and you’ll be more inclined to eat them or use them in recipes.
  • Put those cleaned veggies in containers in front of the fridge, so you’re more likely to grab them for a snack.
  • Store smartly. Keep a roll of tape and a Sharpie in easy reach and write the date on each container or bag to remind you when you bought it. Include meat, dairy and baked good purchases as well.
  • Store fruit separately from vegetables, as it releases ethylene gas that will cause vegetables to spoil more quickly.
  • Use every last scrap. Most of us throw out perfectly edible parts of plants, just because we don’t know better. Many chefs and gardeners know that the stems, leaves, tops and peels are edible or usable. Radish leaves, for example, rival arugula, escarole and mache for crunch and distinctive flavor. Sturdy cauliflower and broccoli stems can be shaved thin to sauté, roast or add raw crunch to salads and slaws.
  • Take vegetables that have begun to wilt (but don’t show any signs of mold or rot) and turn them into a stock, stew or soup. Put what can’t be salvaged into the compost bin.

And that entire head of cabbage you tossed? Next time, before you put it in your basket, ask the produce worker to cut it in half for you. Be realistic, in other words, about how much you’re really going to consume.

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June 5th, 2013

IRVINE, CA-As reported last week, local developer Brandywine Homes is planning its first multifamily development—the first of four apartment complexes it plans to build in the coming year. spoke with Brandywine’s VP David Barisic about why the firm decided to move into the multifamily sector, its plans for future multifamily development and how the move will impact Brandywine’s single-family development business.

Barisic: “We are targeting markets that are underserved with newer housing stock.”

“The move into multifamily development is not something that we recently decided,” Barisic tells “This has been a goal of ours for the past several years, but we have been busy in the for-sale market and had to get geared up for it. It’s a natural extension to what we do already—it’s just a different market.”

Barisic explains that the firm’s purpose is providing more-affordable housing to a population who is priced out of the market for buying one of Brandywine’s homes. “We’re just trying to expand our client base.”

Brandywine’s first multifamily development of 25 units breaks ground in January in Garden Grove, CA. Also in-the-works is a 34-unit Garden Grove property set to close in February, a 22-unit property in Buena Park, CA, that should close in January, and a 35-unit development in Vista, CA, for which the company currently owns the property. The Vista project is in the entitlement process and should be fully approved by June.

Barisic says the addition of a multifamily component shouldn’t impact the firm’s single-family development at all. “In addition to expanding the portfolio of what we do by building multifamily, we’re also expanding our home building.” The firm is on pace to double its production of for-sale housing in the coming year.

To gain an edge, Brandywine specifically targets markets that are underserved with newer housing stock, either for-sale or for-rent—namely, infill areas rather than master-planned communities. “If someone is looking for an apartment in an underserved market that wasn’t built 40 years ago, we’ll be the only game in town,” says Barisic. “We’re not looking at Irvine or South Orange County, but older areas of Orange and San Diego counties.”


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Brandywine Homes Set to Break Ground on 41 Two-Story Single Family Homes in La Mirada, Calif.

June 3rd, 2013

The Orchards development to be completed by fall 2014

LA MIRADA, Calif. -– June 3, 2013 — Brandywine Homes, one of Southern California’s most successful infill developers and homebuilders, will begin construction shortly on The Orchards, a 41-home community on the site of the former Alondra Center.

The two-story homes, which range from approximately 1,300 to 2,000 square feet, will begin pre-selling in July, with the new home models scheduled to open in September. Located on Alondra Blvd. east of Escalona Road, the community is expected to close out by the fall of 2014.

“The La Mirada market is extremely underserved,” said Dave Barisic, vice president of sales and marketing for Brandywine. “There hasn’t been any new residential construction in this market over a decade. We believe the demand will be high for these new homes.”

Read More >

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Green Living Tips | Lightbulbs: Which kind is bright for you?

June 3rd, 2013

Who would have thought you’d need instructions to change a lightbulb? In less enlightened times, all you had to do was pick the right wattage, screw the bulk into a fixture and flip the switch.

But now, brightness is measured in lumens and lightbulbs come in a variety of shapes and hues. They can be more expensive but save you money in the long run.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set out to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, vehicles and products. It requires most screw-in lightbulbs to use at least 27 percent less energy by 2014. Standard incandescent bulbs don’t pass the test – they turn about 90 percent of the energy they consume into heat – so they are being phased out.

As of Jan. 1 2012, 100-watt bulbs were no longer being made or imported but could be sold until supplies run out. The 75-watt incandescent met the same fate in January of this year and next year it’s lights out for standard 60- and 40-watt bulbs. The law exempts specialty bulbs, three-way bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant grow lights and others.

In the place of old-fashioned incandescents, are bulbs that burn much longer and use much less energy. Here’s a brief explanation to help you make the bright choice:

  • LED – light-emitting diode – use only 20%–25% of the energy of an incandescent. They are pricey — $10 – $30 each – but last 20,000 to 50,000 hours!
  • CFL — compact fluorescent lamp – sport the curly design. An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL uses about one-fourth the energy and lasts 10 times longer than a comparable incandescent bulb that puts out the same amount of light. Cost: $1-$250. CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so they need to be recycled.
  • Halogen: This type of incandescent bulb is about 25 percent more efficient and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Cost: $2-$3.

Most older lighting fixtures accept the newer bulbs, the Energy Department says. If in doubt, take the bulb you are replacing to the store and ask for assistance.

The Lighting Facts label on packaging gives you information to compare different bulbs. It tells you:

  • Brightness (in lumens)
  • Yearly estimated energy cost
  • Expected bulb life (in years)
  • Light appearance (how warm or cool the light will look)
  • Wattage (the energy used)
  • If the bulb contains mercury.

“It’s very important to read the packaging on all of these products to make sure you know that they’re going to work in your particular application,” an EPA official told the Web site Earth911. “So, unfortunately it takes a little bit more effort nowadays to choose a lightbulb.”

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