Live-In Home Staging: Yes, That’s a Thing

Many homeowners hire a home stager to impress buyers with what can be done with a vacant home. However, some homeowners are deciding to take it a step further so the home doesn’t look too staged but rather looks genuinely lived in, but in a fashionable and spotless way. Yes, many sellers are hiring people to live in their house while it is on the market. Basically, this is how it works: the staging company finds someone who can move into your home bringing their most attractive furniture. The staging company arranges the furniture perfectly and the people who live there take care of all the cleaning and upkeep of the property and leave the house whenever there is a showing!

These live-in home staging managers don’t get paid to live in the homes but they do get the benefit of living in very posh homes for usually only a third of the market rate. The people who promote this service and use this service strongly believe that buyers are more drawn to homes that are occupied and lived in by a real person rather than just a nicely staged empty shell of a home.

Learn more about this crazy real estate practice here:

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Eight Warning Signs Your Landlord May Be Breaking the Law

It’s easy to feel like something happening with your landlord is unjust or unfair, but is it illegal. Legal versus illegal actions on the part of the landlord or tenant can be a blurry line since landlord-tenant laws differ a lot from state to state. However, as Trulia puts it “the best way to protect yourself from an unscrupulous landlord is to know your tenant rights.” If you see any of these eight warning signs, then you ought to look at your landlord a little closer:

  1. Your landlord won’t let you see a Certificate of Occupancy
  2. You landlord asks if you were born in another country
  3. You’re expected to pay a nonrefundable deposit
  4. The security deposit is overly-expensive
  5. The terms of the lease don’t sound right
  6. Your landlord comes by unannounced
  7. Your landlord raised the rent in the middle of the lease
  8. Your landlords want to sell (and wants you out)


Check out the original article to find out why these are warning signs that your landlord may be breaking some laws:

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11 Houses George Washington COULD Have Slept In

Happy President’s Day everybody! Hopefully you got the day off.

We all know those real estate clichés that make us feel like we might burst if we hear the phrase “location, location, location” one more time. There actually exists a lesser known and much older real estate cliché that has to do with one of our founding fathers and is, therefore, related to President’s Day. According to Smithsonian Magazine, our first President George Washington, while fighting in the Revolutionary War, “spent the night in so many inns and private houses that ‘George Washington Slept Here” became a cliché.”

Now, the eleven houses that lists in this article don’t actually make that bold claim but they are old enough that it is very possible he COULD have slept in them. They all speak to the fact that people knew how to build homes very well in the 1700s as they are all from that time period, still standing, and actually move in ready. It’s truly amazing how these homes are in better shape than many homes of more recent vintages.

Check out the homes here:

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Most Expensive Homes Sold in 2016

Yesterday, I shared with you the top five least expensive homes sold in San Diego County in 2016 and today I bring you a much more envious topic: the top five most expensive homes sold in San Diego County in 2016! Most of the priciest homes in SD County are located in La Jolla and they are quite different from the homes on yesterday’s list.

The fifth most expensive home went for 14 million dollars and for good reason. This is a gorgeous ocean front home with separate guest quarters, five parking spaces, six bedrooms, and eight bathrooms. Next, was an 8,692-square-foot home which sits on a bluff overlooking a cove. This 7-bedroom, 10-bath home went for 15 million!

The next home sold for 15.2 million. Apparently, a reasonable price to pay for 50-foot glass walls which feature panoramic ocean views. An 18,500-square-foot Point Loma home which has seven bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, two game rooms, a gym, an elevator, a 7,000-bottle wine cellar, six car garage, and spa went for 17.7 million. That gorgeous Point Loma home might be my personal favorite.

Last but the opposite of least is the most expensive home sold in San Diego in 2016. This home which features a media room, a veranda, an outdoor shower, an oversized gourmet kitchen, and a spa sold for a whopping 18 million dollars! Pocket change, am I right?

Check out all the picture here:

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Least Expensive Homes Sold in 2016

Now San Diego County is known for being a pricey place for real estate, but what about those “dirt cheap” places? There had to be a few in San Diego! Well there are and the San Diego Union-Tribune gathered up the five least expensive homes sold in San Diego County in 2016. You will not believe what these places are like. I guess some people really like fixer-uppers!

Most of the major deals can be found in Jacumba or Palomar. The fifth cheapest one is a 370-square-foot, yes 370, cabin that was built in 1927. At the time of sale, it had mice, needed electrical repairs, and even the floors were uneven.  This little cabin even has an outside shower…and I don’t believe the luxury kind. That fixer-upper went for $85,000. Not too shabby.

The next one of the list is a previously bank-owned property near Campo Indian Reservation. It is 1,215-square-feet and built in 1954; it sold for a mere $77,629. The second cheapest property sold in SD is a little bright blue 629-square-foot home right across from Jacumba Public Library. This 1925 home went for only $57,000.

Finally, the absolute cheapest home sold in San Diego County was a mere $45,000 and only on the market for 20 days. With two beds and one bath, depending on your perspective it could be called quite a steal.

See pictures for all of them here:

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Small Business Seminar in Encinitas

Have you been considering starting your own business? It is a daunting task expecially if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully, San Diego County Library and San Diego Law Library have partnered with the City of Encinitas to bring us a Small Business 101 seminar so that you can talk to an expert about how to get started. This seminar is completely free and is open to anyone and everyone who is interested in starting their own small business in the city of Encinitas. There will be a panel of experts at the seminar who will address issues such as business registration, permitting, legal aspects of business structures, and accounting practices. The seminar will be taking place on Thursday, February 23rd from 2-4 pm at Encinitas City Hall. For more information check out the flyer below!

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DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts for Kids and Adults

Today is Valentine’s Day. How many of you forgot? It is a common occurrence for husbands, wives, and parents to wake up on February the 14th to the stomach-dropping realization that they have not prepared a gift for their spouse or valentines for their child to bring to school. I have been there. So here are a few ideas for quick, do-it-yourself valentine’s gifts and crafts for kids that you can gather up in a jiffy this morning or afternoon. It’s never too late!

  • Have your kids make some homemade candy necklaces for their friends. These are super easy and quick but kids still love them.
  • Sew some patterned fabric on a heart shaped pillow!
  • Make a mini art piece with string art. The supplies are minimal, requiring only string, a board, and nails or thumbtacks.
  • Handmade decorated champagne flutes using glitter or other craft materials.
  • Etched wine glasses for you and your valentine with pet names, inside jokes, or cute phrases on them.
  • Have your kids hand out heart shaped play dough to their classmates as the perfect twist on classic valentines.
  • “His” and “Her” throw pillows!
  • Hand dyed bouquet of flowers so you can be original.
  • A gorgeous doily dream catcher.


Get all the tutorials for these DIY items here:

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The Worst Mortgage Advice Buyers Believe

Getting a mortgage is always a daunting task, even if you’ve done it many times before. It is even more so when it is your first time. What’s worse is that when it is your first time getting a mortgage you will receive tons of advice from good intentioned people. But no matter how good their intentions are, their advice can be dead wrong. Compare the advice you’ve heard from friends and family to this list. If it’s on this bad advice list from then don’t listen to it. These are worst bits of advice new buyers actually believe:

  • “Don’t bother getting pre-approved for a mortgage.”

This ia bad advice because pre-approval could really help avoid a lot of issues down the road. While pre-approval doesn’t seem “official” for our finances, it can help you get the upper hand if there are several offers on a property you want!

  • “Get your mortgage from the bank where you already have an account.”

Even though this might be the most convenient option, it may not be the wisest. You need to shop around for your loan in the same manner that you shop around for the perfect home. Try to find the place that has the best customer service, the easiest application process, terms that work best for you, and competitive rates!

  • “Don’t bother reading the fine print.”

This one is so obviously bad advice but it, sadly, still needs to be addressed because people still ignore the fine print. If you don’t read those tiny important clauses, they could end up costing you a lot of money. Read all the documents very carefully and closely.

  • “Always go with the lowest interest rates.”

This one actually sounds wise and practical; however, the lowest interest rates around can sometimes have serious strings attached. Very low interest rates are usually found in adjustable-rate mortgages which can be tricky. If rates go down, then you could get a sweeter end of the deal but if you get an adjustable-rate when rates are low then a sudden rate increase could result in a significant payment shock.

  • “Borrow as much as you’re approved for, even if you don’t need it.”

You should always strive to live slightly below your means because you never know what financial surprises are around the corner. If that’s true, then why set yourself up for a higher mortgage than necessary? You are simply asking for financial heartache. Make a budget to determine what monthly payment you would be comfortable with and don’t stray off of that.


Check out the original article here:

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Valentine’s Day for All Those “Singletons” Out There

I am a strong believer in giving yourself gifts and learning how to have fun on your own. When you love yourself, and are comfortable with yourself then life is so much more satisfying. So, this Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or not, you should learn how to treat yourself well. Here are some things you can do on Valentine’s Day if you are single (and even if you aren’t single but want some quality “you time”):

  • Make a date with your close friends
  • Or perhaps a date with the couch for some good Netflix binging time
  • Cook a nice and fancy meal for yourself
  • Or order take-out so you don’t have to cook for once
  • Just out of a relationship? Maybe do something that they never wanted to do…
  • Go to one of those wine and painting classes
  • Color at home with a glass of wine
  • Book a massage or another spa treatment
  • Have a DIY spa night at home
  • Buy something frivolous just for you

Here are some great ideas on what you can buy for yourself:

  • Sparkling wine and chocolate
  • Aromatherapy essential oils and candles
  • Faux fur pillows that are super comfy
  • Luxurious perfume
  • Fancy glasses like brand new champagne flutes
  • Fun coffee mugs
  • Flashy noise cancelling headphones
  • Bubble bath or other at-home spa materials


For some more ideas, check out these articles:

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Organize Your Closet so You Can See Everything

I don’t think I can be the only one who struggles to have everything in sight when I am picking an outfit in the morning. If I can’t see it then it’s like a I don’t own it so I don’t wear it. Some other people have shared that they also have this constant organizing dilemma so I thought I would look to see what I could find online that might help. I came up with a great list of tips for each clothing article type, how to store them so they are easy to see and not hidden in the corner or covered up by other items.

Shoes: If you have a very small closet then you may need to use some DIY storage boxes but you can tape a picture to the outside so you know which shoes are in which. If you have a medium to large space, then you should put a narrow bookcase in your closet so your shoes can be closer to eye level. You could hang heels on the wall using many different types of racks that you can get at the store or make DIY.

Sweaters: These pieces of clothing can end up at the very bottom of drawers where you forget you even own that particular sweater. The problem is if you do hand them up, it can stretch them out making weird lumps on each shoulder. This article shows you how to hang them so they don’t do that. Also, if you own too many they can squish together so much on the rack that you can’t see them individually. In the article on Apartment Therapy, they have a link to amazing Hanger Space Makers that separate your clothes on the hangers so you can actually see them!

Accessories: Scarves. Hats. Belts. Now these can be hard to organize so they are visible because they are smaller and more likely to get lost or hidden amongst the piles. Try using cheap shower rings from the dollar store and hang those on a regular hanger and twist the scarves around them so they don’t become tangled. You could also attach a curtain rod to the back of your closet door and use that for scarves and belts.

Check out the article for even MORE ideas:

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