The Pros and Cons of a Gated Community

Gray Concrete Pathway Besides Pink Flower during DayIf you’re unfamiliar with a gated community, it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a community of homes only accessible to residents and their guests. Usually gated off by a gate or wall, there is no access to the roadways without going through the gate. Before you choose a gated community, consider your lifestyle and whether or not the pros outweigh the cons.


1. Privacy

Most of the time, the only people around the community are those who live there with the occasional visitors or deliveries. You don’t get many, if not any, solicitors other than neighborhood kids raising money for school or sports fundraisers. So, if you happen to live in a community with a famous person (or you are one), you don’t need to worry about gawkers.

2. Community amenities

Like other communities, every gated one has a Homeowners Association. With the HOA comes:

  • Swimming pools
  • Private parks
  • Kid’s playground
  • Off-leash dog parks
  • Hiking trails
  • Jogging & biking paths
  • Exercise facilities
  • Community clubhouse
  • Golf course
  • Tennis courts

While you pay a fee for HOAs, to have all those amenities is totally worth it.

3. Great upkeep

The other perk of a HOA is the regular maintenance and landscaping of the common areas, roads, sidewalks, and curbs. In a gated community, because you are paying more, everything will look a lot neater and cleaner. You could even benefit from your own yard being maintained.

4. Less traffic

Because the community is gated, you don’t need to be concerned with speeders or frantic commuters. This makes your community extremely peaceful without the concern of engines revving or horns honking.

5. Confidence boost

Not only can a gated community instill some confidence in yourself, but it can instill confidence in your safety. You’ll have that extra sense of protection and well-being knowing your exclusivity keeps you enclosed. Not just that, but it can make you feel important socially.


1. More driving

Depending on your community’s location, you could be farther from schools, shopping, and hospitals. Everything you need access to is outside the gate.

2. Affordability

With all the great amenities comes a great price. Because of the community’s desirability, HOAs tend to cost more.

3. HOA rules

If you plan on enhancing your home’s exterior, you might not be approved. While most HOAs have rules to what you can and can’t do to your home, gated communities are stricter than others.

4. Delivery difficulty

Every home owner receives a unique code that opens the gate. When you order a delivery, if you give the delivery person the wrong code number, it might take a little longer for what you wanted to be a quick delivery.

5. Hosting parties

This is the biggest complaint with gated communities. Some communities require each guest to be registered ahead of time and be given a gate pass to get in. It’s more of a hassle than it would be at any other location.


Private Gated Estate in Cardiff!

If a gated community is something you’ve been looking for, check out my newest listing – a private gated estate in Cardiff! A lovely home, you would be located in the Composer district just blocks from the beach. Check out the listing at

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2018 Tax Season Cash Giveaway!

What could you do with an extra $1,000? With spring starting and the summer just around the corner, you could book a vacation or attend multiple concerts. The possibilities are endless:

  • Buy an iPhone X
  • Sail to the Caribbean
  • See Billy Joel live in concert 10 times or up close
  • Stay at Disneyland for 9 days
  • Invest it
  • Pay off some bills
  • High-quality coat
  • Luxury watch

Enter my drawing for your chance to win $1,000 cash! Below you’ll find an image for a flyer with the bottom portion saying: “Cut Here to Send”. All you have to do is fill out the entry and return it to me by mail, fax, or email before April 12th.

After that, the winner will be announced on April 13th!

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How Does the New Property Tax Portability Initiative Effect You?

Person Signing in Documentation PaperIn the 1980s, California voters passed Propositions 60 and 90 which provided property tax relief to senior citizens who were selling their existing residence and purchasing/constructing a replacement residence worth the same or less than the existing. This was able to happen by preventing reassessment of the property value, so it was meant to encourage those 55+ to “move down” to a smaller home but continue to pay the same amount of taxes.

Originally, Proposition 60 required the replacement home and the original to be located in the same county, and 90 allowed other counties to opt in if they so wanted to. The tax relief would have to be requested 3 years before the replacement property purchase.

There are many other stipulations, but as of this year, 11 of California’s 58 counties opted in to enable a transfer of property tax as mentioned above. This includes:

  • Los Angeles
  • Orange
  • Riverside
  • San Bernadino
  • San Diego
  • Ventura
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
  • Alameda
  • El Dorado
  • Tuolumne

In the next year, there is most likely going to be a ballot next year to further expand the portability of property taxes. Thousands of senior homeowners have been increasingly limited by the requirements of 60 and 90, which makes them feel forced to continue living in homes not suitable for them. This has also added to the state’s housing shortage for younger families looking for bigger homes.

The California Association of Realtors will most likely pay for the new initiative. The intention of the broadening/expansion of Prop 60 and 90 will be that all 58 counties would be included, not just the current 11, so seniors would be able to move far more freely and take their current tax base.

Want to learn more? Check out this informative article here.

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Pool Safety Act: What It Means

2 Girl's Swimming during DaytimeBack in October 2017, Governor Brown signed a bill known as the Pool Safety Act. As of the beginning of 2018, it is now affective. The reason they established this bill was related to the amount of deaths or life-altering injuries that occurred due to drowning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department of Public Health found that drowning was the 2nd leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 in California. Between 2010 to 2014, over 160 children between 1 and 4 suffered fatal drowning – a majority of them within residential pools. Between 2010 to 2016, over 740 children between 1 and 4 were hospitalized after drowning and the lead cause was brain damage due to lack of oxygen (asphyxiation).

The State Department of Developmental Services stated as of December 2016, they were providing care for more than 755 near-drowning victims with sever brain damage due to drowning.

Affective January 2018, Home Inspectors are now required to identify downing prevention safety features for a pool or spa when providing a home inspection service. According to the bill, your pool or spa needs to be equipped with at least 2 of the 7 drowning prevention safety features:

  1. An enclosure – a fence, wall, or other barrier needs to isolate the pool from access to the home.
  2. Removable mesh fencing – meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifications.
  3. Approved safety pool cover – meet design and performance requirements specified by ASTM.
  4. Exit alarms – must be located on doors that provide direct access to the pool or spa.
  5. Self-closing, self-latching device – any door that provides access to the pool must be self-closing and self-latching.
  6. Alarm system in pool – an alarm that will sound upon unauthorized or accidental entrance into water.
  7. Other measures – must be greater than or equal to the standards specified and approved by the ASTM or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The exceptions to the bill will include:

  • Public swimming pools
  • Hot tubs or spas with locking safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials
  • An apartment complex or any other residential setting other than a single-family home

If you want to read more on the specifics of the bill, head over to Inspect Rite where they have more information about the safety features and quote portions of the new bill.

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The History of St. Patrick’s Day

Green Club FlowerSt. Patrick’s Day celebrates the anniversary of the saint’s death, which is believed to have been on March 17, 461. For over 1,000 years, the Irish have celebrated this day as a religious holiday. So, how did it all begin?

Saint Patrick

Recognized as the saint and apostle of Ireland was born in Roman Britain but was kidnapped at the age of 16 to Ireland to be a slave. While he escaped, he returned to Ireland and has been credited for bringing Christianity to the people.

There may be a lot of myth surrounding his life, the most common story associated with him is how he explained the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the three-leaf clover – the shamrock.

Growth of St. Patrick’s Day

Since about the 9th or 10th century, Ireland has observed the Roman Catholic fest day of St. Patrick on March 17. However, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day happened in the United States when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City in 1762 on March 17th. It helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots.

Over the following 35 years, Irish patriotism grew among Americans immigrants. “Irish Aid” societies would hold annual parades. In 1848, many Irish Aid societies united their parades to form the official New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, it is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the US.

St. Patrick’s Day Around the World

People around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, especially through the US, Canada, and Australia. It is also celebrated in other locations like Japan, Singapore, and Russia. Until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. In 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture.

To learn more about St. Patrick’s Day, check out the History channel.

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Pros and Cons of a Homeowners Associations

Orange and Red Painted BuildingHomeowners Associations consist of residents on a board to help ensure your community looks its best. There are pros to having an HOA, just as there are cons.

Pros of HOA

Cons of HOA

1. Maintain Common Areas

A Homeowners Association will handle all the maintenance of common areas and repairs for any amenities outside the home. Depending on where you live, this could include: mowing the lawn, plowing snow, maintaining fountains/floral decorations. Their involvement depends on the type and size of the community.

2. HOAs Keep Uniformity

HOAs have a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions to regulate what a homeowner can and can’t do. This means you don’t have to worry about random colored homes, bad additions, no cars in the lawn, etc.

3. Mediate Problems for You

HOAs will mediate problems that you might have with a neighbor. If you have a complaint about noise or an overgrown lawn, you can report it to your HOA and they’ll send them a notice.

1. Recurring HOA Fees

A downside about an HOA is that membership with your home is mandatory, which means you’re obligated to pay the monthly or annual fees. Fees can be changed based on decisions out of your control, and they could be detriment to your resale if buyers don’t want to pay a HOA.Fees can range anywhere from $50-$1000.

2. There’s Red Tape

Having this uniformity could put a wrench in your own plans to add to your home. Any exterior modification needs to be approved by the HOA. This could include an second floor addition or even a play area for kids. You have to submit your plans in detail, and you have to wait before they approve it (which could mean adjustments).

3. This Could Be Overbearing

Since there are many restrictions, this leads to a lot of the choices for your home being made by your HOA. They will ultimately decide if you get to have a pool, what fence you can put up, the type of pet you can have, and if you can rent your home.

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The Reality Check to Selling Your Home

ashtray, book, condoYou may have spent years making your house the perfect for home for your family, but what you’ve spent time on may not be what other people enjoy. When it comes to selling, you have to have regard for your home as a buyer. Without this thought in your head, you can risk overpricing or failing to make repairs which leads to longer time on the market.

Interview Multiple Agents

Before you settle with a real estate agent, sit down with a couple to gather everyone’s advice to see who has the best “game plan”. Every agent has suggestions on how to prepare your home: repaint any wild colors, clear the linen closets of clutter, etc. The best insight comes from the ones who are always selling homes.

Hire an Inspector

Conducting a pre-inspection will help you find problems you didn’t know existed. You’ll eventually conduct an inspection at some point and learning about problems early could save you money. If a buyer finds a repair, they’ll ask for a lot more money than the cost of the repair.

Consult a Home Stager

A stager will provide you professional feedback on how your home currently presents itself and how to make it marketable. They will let you know if anything is dated stylistically and if it would put off buyers. In the end, you don’t have to follow their advice, but it could help you sell.

Visit Other Houses in Your Area

One thing sellers don’t realize is the buyer pool in their area. Looking at comparable properties and look at their equivalent price. This could even help you get an idea ahead of time on how many homes are on the market and how much money you’ll want to price yours.

Have Your Target Market Walk-Through

Think back on who you were when you bought your home. The area most likely still fits that demographic, so find friends and family members who fit it to tour your home. Then, they’ll be able to give an honest assessment on who you’re trying to appeal to.

Post Pictures on Social Media

Only 10% of buyers can see beyond presentation, according to Get multiple opinions from the public based on your Facebook and Instagram likes and comments. It could help you choose which pictures display your home the best.

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Homemade Cleaners for Spring Cleaning

Water DropThere are many reasons you might want to switch to homemade, whether you have pets, are cautious of the environment, or have people who are sensitive to chemicals. Here are a couple recipes for homemade cleaners, and a couple tips to keep in mind when making them:

  • Always mix solutions before applying
  • Best to mix window/shopper cleaner in spray bottle
  • To enhance your natural efforts, use greener equipment like vacuums recognized by American Lung Association and microfiber cloths.

Carpet Cleaner

First, simply sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet surface. Let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming the entire area.

Need to get out carpet stains? Use equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, then mix the solution. Scrub the stain with the paste and a toothbrush, blot with a wet towel, then let it dry.

Floor Cleaner

For wood floors, create a mix of:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Apply to wood floors with a mop.

For an all-purpose floor cleaner, you can mix equal parts water and white vinegar and use a mop to apply. Finish by using plain water on your mop to clean it up.

Wood Furniture Cleaner

Mix well together:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp distilled water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Apply to wooden furniture surfaces and then wipe solution off with a clean cloth. Buff it to bring out the furniture’s natural shine.

Window Cleaner

Simply combine equal parts water and white vinegar, then apply the solution with newspaper or streak-proof paper towels.

Oven Cleaner

Mix ½ cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water until it’s a paste. Coat the oven with the paste and let it sit for at least 12 hours, probably overnight. Wipe it away with a damp cloth.

For ovens with tough problems, you can spray a little white vinegar with it and wipe the area clean.

Shower Cleaner

Mix together 1 cup of white vinegar with 4 teaspoons of Castile soap (it’s made with 100% plant oils and no animal fats/chemicals). Apply to your shower and wipe clean. If you need more abrasive cleaning, try two parts baking soda and one part water. Apply it to tough stains and let it sit over night before rinsing it with clean water.

Drain Cleaner

Use ½ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of salt and pour the mix down the drain. Then, pour 1 cup of white vinegar heated to near boil down the drain. It will foam and bubble but allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Run hot water down the drain for one to two minutes after.

Grout Cleaner

Mix together equal parts white vinegar and water, then apply the solution to your grout with a spray bottle. Let the solution stand for a few minutes before you wipe the entire area. If you have stubborn stains, mix a paste composed of two parts baking soda and one part water. Apply this mix to stains and let it sit overnight. Scrub with a toothbrush and rinse. You can repeat as needed.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix 1 gallon of hot water and ½ cup of the liquid Castile soap. Add 10 drops of any essential oil and you can use this all-purpose cleaner for any needs. When you add the essential oils, start with a few drops and add additional as desired.

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7 Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Woman In Grey Shirt Holding Brown Cardboard Box1. Waiting too long to get started

In reality, you should be prepping to move at least 6 weeks in advance, so you have time to order packing supplies, donate/sell things you don’t want, and start using up items you won’t want to take with you like food, toilet paper, and paper towels.

2. Only meeting one moving company

Get quotes from at least three professional movers before settling with one. If you get these quotes in person, you will not only get an accurate quote but then you’ll be able to see how comfortable you’ll be working with them. If costs are your main concern, check if the moving companies charge you a flat rate rather than by the hour because things like traffic or flights of stairs can jack up the timed price.

3. Not measuring your new home

You don’t want to pay to move furniture just to find out it won’t fit in your home. If you don’t have a copy of the floor plan, take the measurements yourself.

4. Haphazard packing job

Packing the items yourself can reduce moving costs but organization is important. Not only will labeling the boxes help but labeling the rooms to help movers can help like whose room is whose.

5. Not getting insurance

Even the professionals can break things. The good news is that most companies are required by the law to provide a basic coverage, about 30 cents per pound per item for in-state and 60 cents for interstate move. For this type of coverage, you won’t receive a check for the full cost you paid, but a replacement cost based on the coverage limits. Many companies offer additional insurance for “full-value protection”.

6. Incorrect timing for your move

Between May to September is moving season since kids are out of school. You might want to be more flexible if you have that opportunity to move between October and April because it could help costs. Moving on a weekday is also less expensive.

7. Not claiming discounts

Many companies will offer moving discount rates for different groups of people like AAA members, military personnel, or seniors. Make sure you do your research for the best possible deal.

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Home Maintenance Tasks You’re Missing

apartment, architecture, cabinetsThese may seem like daunting tasks, but they could save you money and extend the life span of expensive appliances. Do you complete these tasks?

1. Clean the fridge drip pan

You may not know it, but your fridge has a drip pan. It should be cleaned every once in a while because it can cause mold growth. Remove the panel from the bottom of the fridge and follow the defrost drain line to the pan it empties out into. Gently pull the pan out, dump any excess liquid in the sink, and clean with an all-purpose cleaner.

2. Flush the water heater

You should be flushing your water heater because you can have sediment build up, which leads to corrosion, reduces efficiency, and shortens the heaters life span.

You’ll want to turn off the electricity or gas to the heater first. Then, open the bathroom hot water tab and let it run to lower the temperature in the heater. Shut off the cold-water valve, then put a bucket under the water heater. Open the valve and drain until the water is running clear without any sandy stuff. Once it’s clear, you can return everything back to normal.

3. Reseal grout

Whether its your floor tile, the bathroom tile, or countertops, you should be resealing every year. Most grout is made with sand and cement which absorbs water, bacteria, and stains.

Apply grout sealant and wipe off any excess. Wait 15 minutes before you apply a second layer. Clean off any more excess from the tiles. Let it cure for 24-48 hours, then test it with water (which should bead).

4. Test for water leaks

Testing for leaks can save you money on your water bill and eliminate the possibility of damage behind the walls or in hard-to-see places. Take the water meter reading, then avoid using water for a few hours. After 2 hours, if the reading changes, you might have a leak.

5. Reseal stone countertops

If you have granite or marble countertops, you should be sealing them every year unless you have pre-sealed counters. To test whether they are pre-sealed, or to test if the sealant is wearing off, put water on the countertop. The quicker is absorbs, the more porous it is, which means the more frequently you need to seal it.

To seal, wash the counter tops with a mild soap and water, wipe it dry, then apply the stone sealer. Let it sit for 15 minutes and wipe away any extra.

6. Wash the dryer lint screen

You may not know, but your dryer lint screen can get clogged with residue from dryer sheets and fabric softener. This can block the air flow and lead to less functioning dryers or fires. Soak it in water and dish soap meant to remove grease and oil. Gently scrub it with a soft brush, rinse, and let it air dry.

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