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Celebrating Green

Celebrating Green

Usually when people talk about living a healthy lifestyle, they emphasize diet and exercise, not their home. But, according to OC Realtor Magazine (March/April 2018), people should get their home certified green because it can sell for 9 percent more than homes that are not certified. That's a great reason to celebrate green.

If that insight got your attention, and you want to research how to make your home green and sustainable, but you’re not sure where to start, read on.

First, know that small steps can make a big difference. Small steps could include: plugging holes, patching or replacing roofing or siding, add weather-stripping around doors and windows.

You could install skylights: Artificial lighting accounts for 40 percent of your home’s energy use. Skylights bring natural light in (especially windowless rooms), and that can dramatically reduce electricity cost. Plus, skylights that open help ventilate a home, which can save money on air conditioning.  More good news: there are Energy Star qualified skylights, which can trim a home energy bill by 7 to 15 percent.

You could rehab parts of your home with sustainably harvested woods, reclaimed lumber, or salvaged fixtures.  Or, you could embrace one of these money-saving, energy-efficient options:

  1. Use Energy Star appliances, which can be 20-30 percent more efficient.
  2. Use an on-demand water heater.
  3. Insulate walls, attics and other spaces to keep heat inside and cold out (and vice-versa).
  4. Insulating a garage door can decrease the amount of cold or hot air that is let into your home from common walls.  An upgraded, environmentally friendly garage door adds curb appeal and has a 91.5 percent ROI.
  5. Replace single-pane windows with double or triple pane windows.
  6. Replace your grass for cash: reports that turf removal will save 44 gallons of water per square foot per year, which translates into more money for you. says spending as little as 5% of your home’s values on landscaping may result in an ROI of mush as 150%.
  7. Develop a green wall with live plants.

Living Wall's

Reduces noise & energy cost, while improving air quality

If you wish to do a "Green Renovation," visit That site is sponsored by the Department of Energy, and it provides state-by-state breakdowns of incentives and rebates.

If you’d like to have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified home, visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Green Home Guide. There you’ll find free resources and recommendations on its LEED guidelines.

One last thought: If each of us comes up with one sustainable goal, together, we can improve our environment, and that's another good reason to celebrate green.

OC Realtor Magazine (March/April 2018)

7 Tips For A Successful 2018

7 Tips For A Successful 2018

With more then 15 years of real estate success, and after closing thousands of transactions, and managing countless expectations ... we’ve learned a thing or two about real estate. As we transition into the New Year, we thought you – renters, homeowners, investors – might appreciate our top 7 tips with successful real estate investing. 

They represent cornerstones of our business values, priorities, and they can be applied to every level of real estate investing, i.e., buying your first home or investing in a 16-unit apartment building.  Here they are, in no particular order.

(1) Work with people who share your values

Craig Martin, TNG Real Estate's broker, rooted his company's values with a pay-it-forward mentality via volunteering, mentoring, or donating. Why?  Because years earlier Craig worked as a Youth Counselor he discovered the true value of talking, connecting, and supporting people.  Craig realized that connection can help strengthen a person, a family, a neighborhood, a community.  Ultimately, this tip applies the golden rule; do onto others as you wish them to do onto you.

(2) Set SMART goals (Specific. Measurable. And Relevant, Timely)

Specific goals define the type of investment. Let’s say you want to manage an AirBnB or a VRBO, so you'll buy an investment property for short-term rentals.  Okay, then your Measurable goals would include researching elements that affect short term rentals: neighborhood, property taxes, crime, amenities, rent, and natural disasters.  And a Relevant goal would be buying in a city that allows VRBO and AirBnB rentals.  And if you’re buying the rental property through a 1031 Exchange, you must be aware of Timely requirements:

  • Identify a property within 45-calendar days post closing of the first property.
  • Purchase the replacement property within 180 calendar days.

(3) Love is in the details

This tip applies to managing paperwork and property maintenance, and this tip can make or break your real estate investment success.   For example, paying attention to little property maintenance details means to tighten drawer knobs, change the HVAC filter, test the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and clean the garbage disposal. You need to love those little details because they help spot potential problems.  Click on "Property Management" for a free annual calendar "To Do" list.

(4) Organize your paperwork

No matter if you are buying or selling real estate, organized financial paperwork is critical for success. Plus this little details reduces stress and manages expectations.  If you're a homeowner, one organizational tip is to distribute household paperwork into five categories:

·       Personal information – Education, military records, family documents, etc.
·       Property records – Tangible assets: home, cars, boats, snow mobiles, etc.
·       Medical records – Health history, with prescriptions, Medicaid, Medicare, veterans benefit info
·       Estate documents – Wills, trusts and your wishes for distributing personal property, funeral
·       Financial information – Bank statements, credit cards, investments, tax records plus employment records and pension information.

If you're a real estate investor, click on "Record Keeping" to read a post by Bigger Pockets. It  provides a few great tips on how to Manage and Organize Your Real Estate Investment files.

(5) De-clutter

A de-cluttered home sells better then a cluttered homes ... need we say more?  To learn how to de-clutter, click on the "Becoming Minimalist" and read a post that offers these four tips:

  1. Give away one item each day, or
  2. Fill one trash bag and donate it to a local thrift store, or
  3. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge; throw away 12 things. Donate 12 things. Return 12 items to their proper home, or
  4. Use the Four-Box Method; put items in either a trash, give away, keep, or relocate box.

No matter what method you use, your first de-cluttering goal is to get started.

(6) Be Realistic

Realistic investors know how to manage expectations. Here's one tip they use.  Let's say an investor wants to sell a rental property to buy another one in a different state.  First, they will apply SMART goals and study market conditions for both states.  If they find an ideal property to buy, and they need to sell their rental property (during a buyers market) in 30 days, their listing price needs to be realistic. That means not listing it above market value. Why? Well, that’s a unrealistic strategy for a quick sale.

(7) Teamwork divides the tasks and doubles the success. ~ Anonymous

Even the savviest investor has a team of agents, escrow officers, lenders, transaction coordinators, notary, inspectors, marketing experts, appraisers, and other investors. Together they seek ways to be part of the solution, and that solution is to successfully close real estate transactions. 

We hope the above insight helps strengthen your confidence in real estate investing, no matter if you're buying your first home or selling your last investment property. We’re here to help.  If you have questions or thoughts, "contact us."  Thank you for reading, and we hope 2018 brings you the best of life.

Real Estate Trends: August 2017

Real Estate Trends: August 2017

For those interested in the latest real estate market updates, we'd like to share a 14 page report from Pacific West Association of REALTORS.  Read on for a synopsis from page one ....