Home Lovers: Outdoor Showers

Because we live by the beach, we are seeing outdoor showers in almost every new construction home, and a good portion of older homes, as well. Here are some things to keep in mind for outdoor showers: 

1. Makes Going To The Beach Easier

This of course is the obvious one. It keeps the sand and salt outside, where rightfully it belongs and not on your couch, floor or furniture. You can also use it to wash off your beach toys, surfboards, paddlebaords, chairs, etc. If a full shower isn’t for you, a foot shower  can accomplish the same. 

2. Awesome For Kids

Even if they haven’t been at the beach, if they have been rolling around in the mud, or playing outside, they always seem to appreciate the outdoor shower, given the right weather outside.  

3. Great for Dogs and Gardening

This is a great option to using a hose for your dog or gardening tools, or your hands and feet after gardening. The shower also makes it less messy of a task when washing the dog off. (And hopeless keeps the wet dog smell outside!) 

Given all the positives, it is also important to remember the contrary. The water bill can definitely rise, they are expensive to install especially living by the beach because of the salt water and corrosion, and you must be consistent with cleaning the drainage. 

Check the photos above for some favorite outdoor showers we have come across.

Home Sellers: Due on Sale Retrofit Requirements

If you are a property owner interested in selling, there will be some things about your home and city you will want to get acquainted with prior to putting it on the market. While you want to deal with the aesthetics, as well, you will also want to consult with your city to see what are the requirements you need to complete in order to sell your property. These are called “Due On Sale Retrofit Requirements”. 

With understanding and completing these items, it gives buyers less room to either ask for a credit and renegotiate the price. 

Here are some examples of what certain city requirements may be: 

Smoke Detectors 

C02 Detectors 

Double Strapped Water Heaters 

Seismic Gas Valves 

Low Flow Toilets 

Low Flow Plumbing Fixtures 

These are just a few that we see common in South Bay cities. As the owner, you will want to consult with your realtor or the city to make sure you are in compliance. 

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Home Lovers: In Love With (Freestanding) Tubs

Home Lovers: In Love With (Freestanding) Tubs

If you are doing a bathroom remodel and want to add a freestanding tub, there are some things you are going to want to take into consideration. 

Tub Size: 

Figure out how much space you have, not only in your bathroom, but also in your house with door ways, hall ways, and stairwells, since you will need to transport the tub. 

Consider who will be using the tub and for what uses. This will give you an idea of size and type, based on adults versus children, and simple bathing versus long baths. 

Tub Styles: 

There are different tub styles to accommodate bathroom designs and decor. From modern, to pedestal, to plinth. Soaking tubs are more conducive for longer baths, while slipper tubs are higher on one end which makes it more comfortable for resting. 

Tub Materials: 

Acrylic: Lightweight and comes in a variety of designs. 

Cast Iron: Heavy, and great for a restored home with an old-fashioned design. 

Copper and Stainless Steel: Easy to maintain, and add a pop of design to your bathroom. 

Stone: Extremely heavy, so its important to make sure your floor can support such a heavy tub made out of materials such as marble or granite.

Where To Buy: 

Waterworks

Home Depot 

Signature Hardware 

Lowes 

Wayfair 

And of course…Amazon

Head over to our contact page to reach out to us for any other information of contractors for remodels and installations. 

*Images provided by Google. 

South Bay Lovers: Fourth of July Firework Shows in the South Bay

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The South Bay is an amazing place to celebrate the Fourth Of July. With (hopefully) good weather, it doesn’t get much better than being by the beach. Check out below where you can catch some of the firework shows and some special events: 

Redondo Beach: 

The annual Redondo Beach Fourth of July celebration is held at Seaside Lagoon beginning at 2 PM. There will be live bands, activities, food, drinks, dancing and plenty of activities for children. The firework show will begin at 9 PM and can be seen from all along the Esplanade. 

Torrance: 

Torrance will be doing a 4th of July event at the Toyota Sports Complex. You will need tickets to get into the venue and you will have to order them in advanced. They can be picked up at the James Armstrong Theatre at the box office (3330 Civic Center Drive). For more info call 310-618-2930

El Segundo: 

The El Segundo celebration will begin at 10 AM at Recreation Park (401 E. Sheldon Street). All day entertainment such as water balloon tosses, pie eating contests, and live music will be taking place. Fireworks begin at 9 PM. To buy tickets or reserve seats, call 310-524-2700

 

Events: 

4th of July 5K:

The 22nd annual 4th of July 5K will be in the Riviera Village in Redondo Beach. The event will start at 8 AM and they anticipate about 5,000 runners this year. The post party will be held at Rock&Brews. 

Palos Verdes Estates Independence Day Celebration:

Beginning at 9:30 AM at Malaga Cove School, Palos Verdes Estates will celebrate their  4th of July celebration that includes a kids bike parade and Apple Pie Contest. It is open and free to the public, held at 300 Paseo Del Mar. 

Hermosa Beach IronMan: 

A South Bay classic event that rounds out the morning with a lot of entertainment to start your day. Its definitely our most unique event where competitors run a mile, paddle a surfboard a mile, and then drink a 6-pack of beer. The first to complete this (and hold the alcohol down) wins! The festivities begin at 9 AM in Hermosa Beach if anyone is interested in joining 1,000 other people watch this event play out. 

Other Events: 

Many neighborhoods, streets, and restaurants across the South Bay all have their own events during the Fourth Of July, as well. Check in with Baleen Kitchen, Shade Hotel Redondo Beach, Abigail and Alta House, and Naja’a Place just to name a few for other festivities.

South Bay Lovers: Farmer’s Market Schedule

Redondo Beach 

Redondo Beach Pier: 

Location: 309 Esplanade Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Day & Time: Every Thursday, 8 AM to 1 PM 

Riviera Village: 

Location: 1801 S. Elena Avenue Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Day & Time: Every Sunday, 9 AM - 2 PM 

Hermosa Beach

Location: 34-36 Pier Avenue Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Day & Time: Every Wednesday, 11 AM - 4 PM 

Manhattan Beach 

Location: 326 13th Street Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Day & Time: Every Tuesday, 11 AM - 4 PM

Palos Verdes

27118 Silver Spur Road Rolling Hills Estates CA 90274

Day & Time: Every Sunday, 8 AM - 1 PM

Torrance

Location: Charles H. Wilson Park

Day & Time: Every Tuesday and Saturday: 8 AM to 1 PM 

Home Sellers: Details Prior To Closing Escrow

Selling a home can be stressful between the showings, open houses inspections, and paperwork to name a few, a few details prior to moving to your new home can be left behind. Check out our quick guide below of some things you won’t want to forget prior to moving! 

1.Shut Off Utilities / Services

Once all the buyer’s contingencies have been removed, you should start preparing for the next phase of the escrow closing and moving process. As the seller, you are contractually required to leave the utilities on through the close of escrow. That being said, contact the correct utility companies and coordinate with the buyer to have them changed into the buyers name. Also, make sure to remember to do the same for the cable company, wifi company, alarm systems, and gardener and pool man, if necessary. 

2.Change Mailing Address

Typically, when you sell a home you are moving to a new address. If you are moving and not renting back for a considerable amount of time (or Hugh Hefner who has permanent residency for the remainder of his life), you will want to coordinate with the post office to change your mailing address. 

You can either do so by going into your local post office and picking up a Mover’s Guide or go online here: https://www.usa.gov/post-office

3. Organize Keys/Remotes

As the seller knowing all the ins and outs of the home, you will want to make sure the new owners have a seamless transition. Make sure to organize all of the keys and remotes to the home. This may include separate keys for entrances, gate openers, garage openers, mail box keys, common area keys if you live in a complex, etc. 

4. Take Inventory and Donate or Sell

Prior to moving all of your belongings, its a good time to figure out which items to move to your new home, get rid of, donate or sell. In this time period, you should take inventory and separate everything out, then you can coordinate the correct moving trucks, schedule a donation pick up, or an estate sale. 

5. Schedule Movers

Once you have parted ways with the items you don’t want to move, its best to coordinate with a moving company to come take a look at your items to give you a quote and set a date. This way, you aren’t left with any surprises with the price and you can make sure to let them know about any items you think should be handled with care. 

Home Buyers: Details Prior to Closing Escrow

We know the escrow process is tedious with all the paperwork, inspections, deadlines, etc, but there are few things that you need to remember prior to closing escrow to make sure the transition into your new home is as smooth as possible. 

1. Schedule Utilities: 

Make sure to transfer the gas, electricity, water, trash, and other utilities into your name at your new address. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are without power or gas for a few days, so make sure you coordinate this with the current homeowners. 

2. Change mailing Address

We recommend doing this at least two weeks prior to you taking full time occupancy at your new home. It can take a few weeks to implement into the mailing system, so you want to make sure you are doing it in advance enough so you aren’t constantly retrieving mail from your old home. 

You can do so by going to to your local post office and requesting a Mover’s Guide or Online here: https://www.usa.gov/post-office

3. Schedule Locksmith:

You will most likely want to re-key your new home. You don’t know who the previous owners gave keys to and you will most likely want to make sure all the locks throughout the home are cohesive. To make the process seamless, you will want to schedule the locksmith to come at the same time you officially get the keys to your new home! 

4. Schedule Movers:

Unless you are buying furnished and all you need to bring is your toothbrush, we recommend hiring movers well in advanced. Make sure you have them come to your home and give you an estimate on the current furniture you have. This way, you can get an idea of things you should move and items you should donate or sell. 

5. Schedule WiFi and Television Provider

First, you should do some research as to which providers operate in your new location. After getting some pricing, schedule them to come out. Often times they can’t be scheduled for weeks at a time, or cancel last minute so it is important to prepare for this. 

If you’re thinking about moving or buying a new home, head over to our contact page and we can set you up with a step by step guide as to how to minimize your stress and make the process go as smoothly as possible. 

Home Lovers: Best Drought Resistant Plants

With more and more people transforming their yards from grass to drought resistant, we figured it would be a great idea to give some ideas of drought resistant plants we have found that thrive in the Southern California climate. 

1. Sunset Strain: Originally from California, this plant can grow up to a foot high and 10 inches wide. Called the “Sunset Strain” because it bursts with Sunset colors such as yellow, peach, salmon, orange and pink. They thrive best in rocky soil. 

 1. Sunset Strain: Originally from California, this plant can grow up to a foot high and 10 inches wide. Called the “Sunset Strain” because it bursts with Sunset colors such as yellow, peach, salmon, orange and pink. They thrive best in rocky soil. 

2. Nasella Tenuissima: This is Mexican feather grass that grows about 2 feet tall and wide. Its very popular in landscaping for the blonde flower heads it develops in the summer and how it waves in the slightest of breezes. It thrives best in sunny environments with low watering. 

3. Salvia Clevelandii: This shrub is a type of California Blue Sage that grows about 3-4 feet tall and wide with violet flowers that bloom in the summer time which have a fresh scent. This plant has very low water maintenance and thrives best in a full sun environment. 

4. Helitrotrichon Sempervirens: Also known as Blue Oat Grass, it can grow to 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. This grass has blue-gray leaves that are thin and spikey. The flowers bloom in summer and it works best planted in the sun or shade, and requires very little irrigation. 

5. California Fuchsia: This plant ranges in colors from white, pink, orange and red with gray or green foliage. It is low growing, and extremely tolerant which makes it great for ground cover. Once the flowers bloom, it is very popular amongst hummingbirds. 

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Drought resistant yards are a great and aesthetically pleasing look for rentals, as well as a personal home to decrease water consumption, and gardening costs. As we are not landscape architects, we highly recommend you consult with one as every yard, soil, and climate is different. Head over to contact page to get in touch with us for a local landscape recommendation. 

Home Lovers: Design Ideas For Small Bathrooms

As a home owner, seller or buyer, you may feel constrained in what you can do with a small bathroom, or not sure how you can get the most value out of the space. Check out some ideas we have seen lately that not only make the space look and feel bigger, but ultimately add value.

1.     Use subway tiles all the way up to the ceiling. The design is aesthetically pleasing and makes the shower look larger.

2.     Install a clear glass, frameless shower door. This makes the shower look like usable square footage and allows you to see wall to wall, making the space seem bigger. A clear glass door, as opposed to a shower curtain or a frosted glass door, is particularly important when there is a window in the shower. The clear glass will allow the light to shine through the bathroom.

3.     Use a floating vanity. This will free up floor space, which will visually seem like it is freeing up square footage.

4.     Open Counter Space: Don’t over clutter the already small counter space. Utilize the cabinetry in the bathroom or hall way. Open and de-cluttered counter space will make the bathroom feel more open.

5.     Built In Shelving: Utilize tight spaces to install built in shelving for linens. This will allow you to manage your vanity cabinet space better to use for other necessary bathroom products.

Check out the photos above where we have found small bathrooms utilized and designed best.

South Bay Lovers: Movies Filmed In The South Bay

In honor of Hermosa Beach dedicating April 30th as “La La Land” Day, we decided to see what other notable movies have been filmed in the South Bay. The South Bay has been a top location choice for many moves, TV shows and commercials. In addition to the close proximity to Hollywood and many studios, each community and beach is second to none.

Check out other movies that were filmed in the South Bay! 

1. Entourage: The Movie. Parts of this movie were filmed in Palos Verdes, specifically at a private residence over looking the ocean. This was featured in the scene where Vince wanted to do a private screening of the movie he decided to direct. 

2. Step Brothers. We have good news and bad news. Bad news is that the Catalina Wine Mixer wasn’t actually filmed in Catalina. The good news is that it was filmed in Palos Verdes! Specifically, it was filmed at the Trump Golf Course. 

3. La La Land. Most recently, La La Land was filmed on the Hermosa Pier, and The Lighthouse Cafe. They represented Hermosa Beach so well, the mayor has declared April 30th “La La Land Day” and will be installing the same lights the line the pier, as seen in the scene with Ryan Gosling singing “City of Stars”. 

4. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End. Did anyone happen to see The Black Pearl pull into the Redondo Beach King Harbor and think, “Wow this feels like a scene straight out of Pirates Of The Caribbean?” Well, that’s because it was. The Pirates took over Redondo Beach and again for the sequel At World’s End

5. Transformers. Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and cast and crew took over the AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach to film their yellow Camaro turn into the “Bumblebee” autobot for the first time.

Its great to know that our little coastal community that so many of us consider a hidden gem gets the recognition it deserves. 

Home Lovers: Mid-Century Modern Design

As a lifetime South Bay resident, I have always appreciated the mid-century modern homes I would come across due to their light and bright feel and always incorporating nature. This style was built largely between 1945 to the 1980’s with an emphasis on an open floor plan concept, large windows and bringing the outdoors in. 

Architects that prompted this style of architecture fled Nazi Germany which prompted the build after World War II. A few of these notable architects include Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. After the war, materials such as steel and plywood became commonly used, thus eliminating bulky load bearing walls and creating a more open concept floor plan within homes. 

Mid-century modern design has been adapted in not only residential property, but also commercial, industrial, and furniture. Our office located in the Riviera Village is that of a mid-century modern design with a flat roof, straight lines, large windows and open floor plan. 

This style has recently become more popular and appreciated in our market, with sales in Redondo Beach beginning in the $1,400,000 range and upward. A local architect that took to the mid-century modern design and built quite a few in our community, was Henry Friel who also designed Tony’s On The Pier. 

Check out the photos above for some amazing California Mid-Century modern homes. Head over to our homepage to look at some current South Bay homes on the market. 

Home Buyers and Sellers: Home Security Technology

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it is important to implement security measures to protect yourself and your belongings. In addition to an alarm system, there are other devices that can be useful. Here are a few we have found beneficial below: 

  1. Nest Cam: $199 |  The Nest Cam will send you updates directly to your smart phone each time it detects noise, or motion. It even specifically states if it spots a person. With a paid subscription, the video and activity alerts will be stored in your account. Nest provides cameras for both indoor and outdoors. 
  2. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock: $229 | This lock is Bluetooth activated by your Smartphone. It also can be used with a FOB, or a tradtional key with Smartkey technology built in. This allows you to grant or deny access to people coming into your home, as well as create an approved list of people. It will allow you to minister each time someone has accessed the home, additionally, you can lock or unlock your door remotely. 
  3. Roost Smart Battery: $35 | This Smart 9V battery for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms lasts for 5 years and will notify you on your smart phone prior to the battery running out. It will also send you a notification straight to your phone if the alarm goes off, even if you are not home so you will be able to call 911, if necessary. 

When you buy a new home, or are selling your home, these are important measures to put in place. They allow you to keep an eye on your home at all times, and be fully aware of those entering and leaving. 

Contact us if you would like any further recommendations for your home. 

*Click on the item names or pictures to be directed to Amazon product pages.

Sellers: Importance of Professional Photography

You only get one chance at a first impression. 

Most homebuyers, and by most we mean 92%, are searching for their homes online prior to seeing them in person, according to realtor.com. This means that the first time a home buyer sees your home is through photographs. From this, they will then decide if they want to go out and see your home in person. 

This is exactly why professional photography is important. These photos will give a potential buyer not only a first impression, but also, a lasting impression of your home. 

Here are a few of the reasons why we find it to be such a necessity and provide it for every single listing: 

1. A professional photographer will capture the home in its best light and accurately, whether that be the lighting, room size or paint color. 

2.  The right angles compliment a home, inviting potential buyers to the layout and floor plan, as well as showing the details of the home prior to even needing to go out and see it in person to see if it works for them. 

3. Professional photos, at different times of the day including day time and twilight, along with staging, create a mood and environment that allows the buyer to imagine themselves living there.

4. Quality photos allow your property to stand out from the other homes on the market, giving the property a better representation, which in turn generates further reach and gains wider interest. 

Most importantly, statistically, homes with professional photography have sold quicker and faster than homes that have not implemented this in their marketing plan. Every single listing of ours is provided with professional photography and a comprehensive marketing plan unique to each property. Head over to our contact page to get in touch with us and here more about our market strategies for our listings! 

Sellers: Escrow Timelines Part II

As the final week of escrow approaches, mostly everything is set in place on the seller’s end and the rest is up to the buyer, the lender, Escrow Officer and Title Rep/Officer to ensure the remainder of the transaction goes smoothly. 

Three Days Prior to Buyer Signing Loan Docs: Buyer must sign his Closing Disclosure (CD) sent by the lender. This gives the buyer a breakdown of all the information regarding their loan so there is not any surprises prior to signing the loan docs. The CD has to be signed at a minimum of three business days prior to signing loan docs. 

Three Days Prior to Close of Escrow: Buyer will sign the loan docs and wire transfer their remainder of the downpayment into escrow. Escrow will need the executed grant deed from you as the seller prior to requesting buyer’s funds. 

1-2 Days Prior To Close Of Escrow: Lender will review loan documents, ensure everything is signed and dated properly. After their review, the lender will wire the remaining funds into escrow. 

Day of Close Of Escrow: The fully executed grant deed will be recorded at the County Recorder’s office. Recordings begin at 8 AM. Title will send confirmation to the Escrow company who will then prepare to close the file and do the necessary disbursements. The Escrow officer will follow the instructions based on the original Escrow Instructions with what to do with your proceeds whether it is to mail you a check, or wire transfer the funds. 

Every transaction is vastly different, and run way different from each other based on each individual deal, financing involved and negotiated purchase agreement. This is just a quick run through of the normal steps of closing an escrow where financing is needed. 

If you have any questions regarding the selling process, please head over to our contact page and we would be happy to answer them. 

Sellers: Escrow Timelines Part I

Sellers: Escrow Timelines Part I

Congratulations! You accepted an offer on your property and you’re thinking, NOW WHAT? 

The new norm for escrow periods are typically in the 30-45 day range with a few being at the 60 day mark. Within the first week, there will be a considerable amount of paperwork to fill out. Including disclosures regarding the home, property questionnaire, agency disclosures just to name a few. 

Day 1: Once escrow has opened, the escrow officer will mail you your specific escrow instructions. Included in the package will typically be your grant deed to notarize, escrow instructions to initial and sign, commission instructions, a tax 593C form, Statement of Information and pay out documentation. The seller must get these documents back to escrow in a timely manner in order for escrow, title and the lender to process.

Day 1 - Day 3: You should receive a confirmation from escrow that the buyer has placed in their Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). 

Day 1 to Day 17: The buyer will be doing their due diligence and investigations on your property. Its important to make sure your home is ready and available for the buyer in this time period. You as the seller must also keep on all the utilities through the close of escrow. 

After the buyer has completed their inspections and investigations, the buyer could send in a Request for Repairs which will either be asking you to repair an issue or give a credit based on the findings of their inspection. After this has been settled, the buyer will remove their inspection contingency, thus making the EMD go hard. This means they cannot pull out of the transaction without losing their deposit, unless it does not appraise or they cannot get the loan. 

Day 17+: If the buyer has an appraisal contingency in their offer, the appraiser will come out to the property usually within the first 3 weeks. As a standard of California law, every home must be properly fitted with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and the water heater must be double strapped. The appraiser will be checking for this. During their visit, they will be taking notes on the property, measuring square footage, and lot square footage to make sure it matches the tax assessor information. 

Day 21+: After the appraisal, assuming the buyer is able to secure financing, they will be able to remove their loan contingency. 

Within the last 5 days of Close of Escrow: The buyer will do a final walk through to make sure the property is in the same condition as when the offer was made, as well, to check if all the necessary repairs were made from the Request for Repairs, if any. Assuming its goes well, they will sign one of the final forms known as the Verification of Property. 

The Close Of Escrow timeline will be detailed in the next post. Head over to our contact page if you have any further questions. 

*This is an overview and typical terms and timelines for California Real Estate transactions if there is a loan involved. These are not definitive as each transaction is negotiated different.