Palos Verdes Peninsula Mandated Water Use Restrictions

Palos Verdes Peninsula Mandated Water Use Restrictions

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Palos Verdes homes owners are searching for ways to conserve water.  Governor Brown issued an executive order calling for a mandatory statewide water use reduction of 25% and the State Water Resources Control Board has been drafting regulations proposing that the Palos Verdes Peninsula which includes four cities and lots of green space, reduce their water usage by 36% beginning June 1, 2015.  They will reevaluate the percentage of reduction in February 2016.

All consumers in our area will be given an individualized water budget that will state the amount of water they may use each month without incurring higher costs.  It will based on the units of water that the residential customer used in 2013.  This should appear on your water bill soon and can be obtained now at the www.calwater.com website.  A drought surcharge will be applied to each CCF used above your allotted budget with charges of $9.54 per unit exceeded.

There are several reasons you can appeal your allotment – health or safety reasons, economic needs, additional occupants or if you have already significantly achieved long term water savings.  To appeal, go to www.calwater.com/appeal.  You will also be able to bank the unused units of your water allotment for use in future months going forward.  The water restrictions now put in place require that landscape irrigation be no more than three days a week.  No hardscape watering, no water fountains except with a recirculating system, no washing of motor vehicles unless using a shut off nozzle, no watering for 48 hours after measurable rainfall, no filling or re-filling of pools/spas except to maintain operating levels and after structural repairs.  If you are notified of a water leak you must repair it within five business days.

According to California Water Service, Palos Verdes Irrigation Schedule is between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.  Even Street Addresses may water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Odd Street Address may water Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Water waste violations are: 1st reported violation –  you will be given written notice to install a real time water measurement device; – 2nd reported violation you will be given notice plus a $5o fee; – 3rd reported violation you will be given a notice plus $50 fee and 4th reported violation you will be given written notice plus authorization to install a flow restriction device on your service line.

If you are looking for some conservation or rebate ideas, here are just a few being offered by Cal Water: High efficiency clothes washer rebates, smart irrigation controller rebate, water smart turf removal rebate and the water use efficiency evaluation program.  Also to help save water around your home Cal Water has partnered with FreeSprinklerNozzles.com for single family accounts, and they are giving away free spray nozzles. Click here for Cal Water forms with rebate information, and information on how to get your free sprinkler nozzles.

Photo above courtesy of Arvin Designs.

Palos Verdes Beaches Make Honor Roll List Again This Year!

Palos Verdes Beaches Make Honor Roll List Again This Year!

California has the most beautiful beaches along its coast, and Palos Verdes homes owners have some of the cleanest beaches right here on the peninsula to enjoy.  On June 17, 2015, Heal the Bay reported that Palos Verdes beaches and coves are in the current top Honor Roll 2014-2015 list for California.  This means that our local waters have received grades of A & A+ throughout the year.  Heal the Bay assigns weekly grades to more than 440 sites along the West Coast for summer dry-weather water quality and to another 60 locations that are on year round monitoring.  Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy and clean.  They use science, education, community action and advocacy to pursue their mission.

Heal the Bay published their first Beach Report Card in 1990 that covered about 60 locations in Los Angeles County.  At that time, beach goers knew little about the health risks of the water around them.  Since that time, there is a great deal more information to help keep pollution and sewage spills off our local beaches.

The Beach Report Card (BRC) is based on the routine monitoring of beaches by local health agencies.  They collect water samples checking for bacteria that indicate pollution.  The better the grade on the beach means the lower the risk of illness to beach goers.

The Beach Report Card program is funded from grants from different foundations.  Volunteer groups and outside funding are constantly needed to ensure this program continues to minimize the pollution of our beaches.

To read more about Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card program click here.

To read my prior article on Heal the Bay beach report card click here.

Photo courtesy of Portuguese Bend Beach Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Join PVE – CARES Senior Program At Palos Verdes Golf Club

Join PVE – CARES Senior Program At Palos Verdes Golf Club

Palos Verdes Golf Club - Front

PVE-CARES Senior Program will be hosting their lunch and learn program “Cinco de Mayo” at the Palos Verdes Golf Club on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.  Palos Verdes homes owners over the age of 65 can join this program which was established to assist residents who want to enjoy living in their own homes as long as possible.  PVE-Community Assistance & Resource for the Elderly & Seniors (CARES) offers many events showcasing City services for seniors – from updates on security issues, how to notify the police department when leaving on vacation, to local assistance in health care and medical needs.  Members will receive information, sent directly to them, regarding all the activities.  The City of Palos Verdes Estates established this program to assist seniors with phone calls, home visits, resources from handy helpers and educational programs.

“Cinco de Mayo” is open to both new and existing PVE-CARES members and will include an introduction/update on the senior services.  Join them at the PV Golf Club at 11:00 a.m. to enjoy lunch and learn what PVE-CARES can offer you or a senior you care about.  Police, Fire, Neighborhood Watch and many other organizations will be on hand to answer questions about PVE senior services.  This event is free and open to all residents.

Please RSVP to the Community Relations Officer McCullough at 310-378-4211.

To read my prior article on PVE-CARES click here.

Photo courtesy of Palos Verdes Golf Club

Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2015

Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2015

Palos Verdes home courtesy of Arvin Design

How do you get the highest sales price for your Palos Verdes home?  A realistic listing price is important in addition to decluttering/staging along with possible home improvements.  Which home improvements and remodeling projects give the greatest return on investment?  For owners of Palos Verdes homes (and Los Angeles County) who choose upscale remodeling, the top three projects for 2014-2015 are a little different from last year.  The remodeling project with the highest return on investment is Window (vinyl) replacement at a 108.4% return (wood window replacement had a 93.9% return), followed by Garage Door replacement at a 103.1% return and both Grand Entrance and Siding replacement (fiber-cement) at an 89.4% and 89.6% return according to Remodeling Magazine’s “Remodeling 2015 Cost vs Value Report” (www.costvsvalue.com).  Curb appeal is important to buyers who are getting the first impression of your home.  In the midrange category, steel entry doors receive the number one return on investment at an outstanding 149.7%!

Of the top 13 upscale remodeling projects with the best return on investment for Los Angeles County, 6 are under $25,000 and include both vinyl & wood window replacement, siding replacement (foam-backed vinyl & fiber-cement), garage door replacement and grand entrance.  A Master Suite Addition which is the most expensive at $266,900 only nets a 54.1% return.

Owners of Palos Verdes real estate remodel for different reasons, like the need for more space, to improve the functionality of specific rooms and to update them.  Kitchen and bathrooms are usually the most expensive remodel as plumbing and/or appliances need to be moved and/or replaced.  There is no specific report for Palos Verdes homes but there is a Remodeling 2014 Cost vs Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) for Los Angeles County which is broken down into Midrange priced projects and Upscale priced projects.  When you  open on the download button (www.costvsvalue.com), choose Pacific and then Los Angeles –  you will be prompted to register before gaining access to the report.  When you click on the project name (i.e. Bathroom Remodel) you can then read the features of that price range to compare to your own.

Remodeling just for resale rarely nets you a dollar for dollar return.  Most remodels are done for the enjoyment of the homeowner (who still wants to maximize their return when they do sell).  My experience is that most buyers are looking for newer kitchens, bathrooms, master suites and nice yards.  Curb appeal is also important because it is the buyer’s first impression of the home.

To read my prior article on Cost vs Value 2014, click here.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Palos Verdes Free Holiday Tree Pick Up

Palos Verdes Free Holiday Tree Pick Up

Christmas Tree

Palos Verdes homes owners are fortunate to have free Christmas tree pick up after the holidays.

Palos Verdes Estates residents are scheduled for pick up of their Christmas trees beginning December 26 through January 16, 2015.  This year, service will be provided during your normal weekly trash pickup.  Trees will be removed from your normal trash enclosure or trash area.  After January 16th, however, you are responsible to cut and bundle your tree securely with twine or rope and leave it in your trash area.  Stands and all decorations including tinsel must be removed.  Lightly flocked trees are acceptable.  Fore more information you can contact Athens Services at (888) 336-6100.

The City of Rolling Hills will be recycling their trees as part of their regular trash pick-up program.  Just put it out on your regular green trash day, and the trees will be picked up from December 26 through January 16, 2015.  Remember to remove everything from the tree including the stand; flocked trees will be picked up also.  For more information, contact Waste Management at (310) 677-6500.

Rancho Palos Verdes will be recycling trees as part of their regular trash pick up from December 26 through January 16, 2015.  Once again, remember to remove everything from the tree.  This year, they will also offer free extra trash collection during those dates.  However, you must place the extra trash bags next to the gray trash cart.  For more information contact EDCO Waste at (310) 540-2977.

Rolling Hills Estates will be recycling trees as part of their regular trash pick up from December 26 through January 16, 2015.  All trees must have everything removed from them including the stand before pick up.  For more information call Waste Management at (310) 800-774-0222.

To read my last article on Holiday Tree Pick Up click here.

 

Winter Water Saving Tips

Winter Water Saving Tips

Photo of Bluff Cove courtesy of Arvin Design

Even though it has rained all day, Palos Verdes homes owners can begin to implement their winter water saving tips.  Make sure that you have your sprinklers turned off, and you can put buckets or large clean containers in areas where the run off is the strongest.  Also always redirect downspouts so as to capture the water.  This water can be used for your garden or plant areas.  We have cooler weather in these winter months and your lawns and plants do not need as much water as other times of the year.  It’s also a good idea to adjust your irrigation controller to avoid over watering.

The California Water Service Company is asking customers to reduce water use by 20%.  Although this number may seems like it would largely impact our residential usage, at this time of year and with a little help from conservation practices, it is within reach.  Some of the more known conservation areas that will help include kitchen faucet aerators, high efficiency shower heads, hose nozzles, bathroom faucet aerators and toilet leak tablets.  To get a conservation kit that includes the items listed above go to www.calwater.com/kit.

Cal Water is also offering rebates and incentives when you purchase water efficient devices.  They have a high efficiency toilet rebate, high efficiency clothes washer rebate, smart irrigation controller rebate and outdoor water saving devices.  To learn more about these rebates and others go to www.calwater.com/rebates.

For more information on kits, programs and rebates go to www.calwater.com or call (310) 257-1400 for more information.

To read my last article on conservation tips click here.

Photo of Bluff Cove courtesy of Arvin Design

 

 

Taking Care Of Your Palos Verdes Home

Taking Care Of Your Palos Verdes Home

courtesy of Arvin Design

I am often asked by Palos Verdes home owners what they can do to increase the value of their home.  Here are some great maintenance ideas which will increase home value:

Is Your Home Older Than Its Years?
By: Lara Edge  Published: October 14, 2013
Would you throw away $20,000? You are if you’re letting your home age faster than it should. Here’s a simple maintenance strategy to keep your home young.
You know how Dr. Oz says that if you keep your body fit and your mind nimble, you’re likely younger than your chronological years? The same principle applies to your house.
An out-of-shape house is older than its years and could lose 10% of its appraised value, says Mack Strickland, an appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, Va. That’s a $15,000-$20,000 adjustment for the average home.
But good maintenance can even add value. A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University finds that regular maintenance increases the value of a home by about 1% each year.
So if you’ve been deferring maintenance, or just need a good strategy to stay on top of it, here’s the simplest way to keep your home in good health.

Focus on Your Home’s #1 Enemy
If you focus on nothing else, focus on moisture — your home’s No. 1 enemy.
Water can destroy the integrity of your foundation, roof, walls, and floors — your home’s entire structure. So a leaky gutter isn’t just annoying; it’s compromising your foundation.
Keeping moisture at bay will improve your home’s effective age — or as Dr. Oz would say, “real age” — and protect its value. It’ll also help you prioritize what you need to do. Here’s how:
Follow This Easy 4-Step Routine
1. When it rains, actively pay attention. Are your gutters overflowing? Is water flowing away from your house like it should? Is water coming inside?
2. After heavy rains and storms, do a quick inspection of your roof, siding, foundation, windows, doors, ceilings, and basement to spot any damage or leaks.
Related: How to Tell if You Have a Drainage Problem
3. Use daylight savings days or the spring and fall equinox to remind you to check and test water-related appliances like your washer, refrigerator, water heater, HVAC (condensation in your HVAC can cause leaks) or swamp cooler, and sump pump. It’s also a great time to do regular maintenance on them. Inspect any outdoor spigots and watering systems for leaks, too.
4. Repair any damage and address any issues and leaks ASAP.
Don’t procrastinate when you spot minor leaks or drips inside your house. Ongoing small leaks can slowly erode pipes and fixtures, and even cause mold and mildew issues you won’t notice until it’s too late.
Say you’ve got a bit of cracked caulk around the kitchen window. It may not seem like much, but behind that caulk, water could get into your sheathing, causing mold damage and rot. Before you know it, you’re looking at a $5,000 repair that could have been prevented by a $4 tube of caulk and a half hour of your time.
To help you with this routine, we have several guides with specifics and tips:
How to Prevent Water Damage
Inspecting and Maintaining Your Roof
How to Inspect Windows and Doors for Leaks
Spotting Foundation Problems
How to Help Your Appliances Last Longer
Caring for Siding
Once you settle into a routine, it becomes easier to handle other maintenance tasks, which will only do more to protect and enhance your home’s value. Plus, you’ll get to know your home better, which will help you spot other one-off problems, such as termites and other wood-destroying insects, that can cause costly damage.
If You Want to Take Home Maintenance to the Next Level . . .
If you’re a geek about home maintenance like we are, and you want to do more than water patrol, these ideas will help you keep your house in great shape.
Give yourself an incentive to do maintenance. Maintenance is your springboard to sexier projects like a kitchen remodel or basement makeover. So plan a room-per-year redo. This way you’re maintaining, fixing, and improving. For example:
In your basement:
Check for dark stains that could signal plumbing leaks. If you find any leaks, fix them.
Check your ductwork for leaks that are wasting energy.
Clean the lint out of the dryer vent. The machine will last longer, and you’ll help prevent fires.
Caulk and seal basement windows to stop air leaks.
Once your space is moisture sealed, you can start converting it into a family room or other livable space.
Add a basement ceiling.
Brighten it up with paint.
In your kitchen:
Clean out all the cabinets, then wipe them down. It’s a great way to purge and get organized.
Take a good look under your kitchen sink. Remove all the wastebaskets and cleaning supplies to help you spot any leaks, and fix them.
Pull out the fridge to give that yucky alcove a thorough cleaning. Check the drip pan for moisture that can spawn mold growth.
Update cabinet hardware and adjust hinges if necessary.
Re-caulk the seam between your backsplash and wall to keep moisture out. To give your whole kitchen a low-cost facelift, how about a new backsplash?
Re-paint the walls using paint with a tough, semi-gloss sheen that stands up to repeated cleanings and resists moisture.
Keep a maintenance fund. Some sources say you should save 1% to 3% of your initial house price annually to pay for maintenance. On a $200,000 house, that’s $2,000-$6,000 a year. Yeesh, that’s a big nut.
Alternatively, make it a goal to save enough money to do a major replacement project, so the bill won’t catch you off guard. Probably the biggest single replacement project you’ll have is your roof or siding.
You can build up this fund over several years by paying yourself a monthly assessment — whatever you can manage. Keep it in a separate account to avoid the temptation to tap it for hockey tickets or other impulse buys.
If you need to replace the roof before you have a fund, an equity loan is an option. But consider very carefully.

If you’re practicing maintenance in the way we’ve outlined here, you won’t need $2,000 per year to manage your home’s natural aging process. Some routine tasks, such as cleaning rain gutters and changing furnace filters, could cost you $300 or less per year.
Your house takes care of you — not just for shelter but as a financial asset. Return the favor and keep it hale and hearty by caring for it with regular maintenance.
Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

 Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Preparing Your Palos Verdes Home For Sale

Preparing Your Palos Verdes Home For Sale

Palos Verdes home courtesy of Arvin Design

I read a great article below with excellent ideas on preparing your Palos Verdes home for sale.  I am a great believer in having a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale and have written articles in the past which can be accessed by clicking here.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale
By: G. M. Filisko  Published: February 10, 2010
Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time.
Many buyers today want move-in-ready homes and will quickly eliminate an otherwise great home by focusing on a few visible flaws. Unless your home shines, you may endure showing after showing and open house after open house—and end up with a lower sales price. Before the first prospect walks through your door, consider some smart options for casting your home in its best light.
1. Have a home inspection
Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.
2. Get replacement estimates
If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.
3. Make minor repairs
Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems—sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets—as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.
4. Clear the clutter
Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.
5. Do a thorough cleaning
A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service.
If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.
Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Palos Verdes Real Estate Sales August 2014 For Palos Verdes Homes

Palos Verdes Real Estate Sales August 2014 For Palos Verdes Homes

Palos Verdes Real Estate chart August 2014 showing active, pending and sold Palos Verdes homes 90274 and 90275

Palos Verdes real estate sales for August 2014 for Palos Verdes homes indicates a significant decrease in sales compared to July.  67 Palos Verdes houses sold in August which decreased from the 87 homes sold in July and is just about the same as the 66 homes that sold in August 2013.  There were 70 Palos Verdes single family homes pending in August which increased from the 57 homes pending in July.  The number of active Palos Verdes homes for sale in August decreased to 2181 homes from 231 homes in July.  This is the first decrease in inventory of homes for sale since December of last year.

Average sales price for Palos Verdes homes sold in August increased to $1,649,000 from $1,550,000 in July and was up from the $1,477,000 in August 2013.  Price per square foot for Palos Verdes houses that sold/closed escrow in August increased to $607 from $553 in July.  Average days on market in August was 53 days which  decreased from 69 days in July.  Months of inventory (months it would take to sell existing inventory at the current rate of sale) increased to 3.3 months in August for Palos Verdes homes for sale compared to 2.7 months in July.  A “normal” market is considered 6 months of inventory and Palos Verdes real estate “months of inventory” is significantly lower indicating the continuing high demand for Palos Verdes homes.   Entire charts can be accessed by clicking here or on the “Statistics” tab above.

Currently, there are 221 single family Palos Verdes homes for sale.  89 Palos Verdes houses are in escrow (43 homes have pending sales and 46 homes are accepting backup offers).  Additionally, 16 homes have sold/closed escrow in the first 11 days of August at an average sales price of $1,780,250.

To read last month’s report on Palos Verdes Real Estate sales, click here.

Chart courtesy of Trendgraphix, Inc.

Palos Verdes Homes Owners Visit Family History Centers

Palos Verdes Homes Owners Visit Family History Centers

Census Taker courtesy of Palos Verdes Library District

More and more Palos Verdes homes owners are interested in their family history.  The internet has given us the ability to learn about our ancestors and Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States.  Internet accessibility seems to be luring us into the past whether it be to learn about extended families, or who lived in my house before me, or just when did my family arrive in this country.

The Family History Center located at the Palos Verdes Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancho Palos Verdes has found that so many of us are interested in this information that they now are staffed with trained volunteers on Thursdays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., to help residents fill in the branches of their family trees.  Whether you are quite “techy” or more of the “old school” type, there are seven computers that are loaded with premium genealogy sites where you can get plenty of data.  Lots of families feel that knowing their past history makes them feel more a part of an extended family.  In addition to the staffed hours, the Center is also open each Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., (until 3:00 p.m. during the Summer) and on the last Sunday of the month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  For more information on the Family History Center call (310) 697-3264.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is located at 5845 Crestride Road, Rancho Palos Verdes.

The Palos Verdes Library District also offers a genealogy service to Palos Verdes homes owners.  Go to the library’s homepage, www.pvld.org, click on the Online Resources tab, then under Genealogy & Local History, click on either Ancestry Library (this database can be used in the library only) or Heritage Quest Online (this database can be used from your home) and input your PVLD library card number.  You can search for ancestors in the complete set of U.S. Federal Census images from 1790 to 1930 through these two resources.

To read my previous article on Palos Verdes homes owners Family History Search, click here.

Photo courtesy of Palos Verdes Library District