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Housing assistance grants for homeowners and renters affected by the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires

Through a $1 million gift from the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, C.A.R. is offering disaster relief grants up to $2,000 per household to provide assistance with mortgage relief or temporary housing, such as payments on the mortgage of a primary residence that was burned in a fire, lease or rent payments on replacement housing, or payments to a temporary shelter.

Grant details:

  • Relief assistance is limited to a maximum of $2,000 per applicant household. Deadline for application submission is June 30, 2019, contingent on the availability of funds.
  • Assistance is for housing relief only; other expenses including mortgages on property other than primary residence, vehicle purchase, rental, repair and or mileage are ineligible for reimbursement under this program.
  • Documentation requirements: proof of residency, proof of lease/ownership, proof of damage/loss.
  • One application per household.
  • Grants are available only for applicant’s primary residence.
  • Recipients of other financial assistance (FEMA, charitable groups) are eligible.
  1. Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)
  2. Link to online application

If you are in the Los Angeles area, have any questions or real estate sales or financing needs, feel free to contact us www.crestico.com/contact

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Protect yourself and your belongings in case of fire

Protect yourself and your belongings in case of fire

Fire season is officially upon us here in Southern California.  With thoughts of fire season, come thoughts of insurance and whether we have the appropriate coverage to cover our belongings.  Most insurance policies require that you provide an inventory when you file a claim.  Your inventory will need to include proofs of purchase such as receipts and often insurance companies will also ask for pictures of the items that have been lost.

Photographical inventories are regarded as the most exhaustive and reliable form to evidence the condition of the items before the loss.  Insurance agents will often advise that a color photograph is take, in good lighting and labeled.  A good way to ensure that you receive appropriate coverage is to include a purchase price and date with the photo and sometimes even a family member or other person to validate that it is an actual photo taken by you.  Include items in and around your home and take care to include items in vaults, safes and safe deposit boxes. 

It is not enough to make the inventory, but also to have several copies of it (both electronically and in paper), should you need to provide it to insurance agents.

Finally, make sure to keep this inventory list up to date and include new purchases or gifts as you get them. 

While sentimental value can not be replaced by insurance, taking these steps should ensure that you receive meaningful compensation for the physical items you have lost.

 

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Three Steps to a Healthier Home

Three Steps to a Healthier Home

Cleaning your home doesn’t have to be hard. There are some natural, effective ways to clean your home. If you want to drastically improve your health, your family’s health and your pets’ health, you need to implement some changes within your home, but they’re a lot easier than you think. With just three changes, you will be feeling much better.

 

Indoor Air Quality

The home’s air quality is often worse than the air quality outside the home. This is primarily caused by the lack of ventilation in the home. Allergens and other substances become trapped in the home, and they build up. The home needs proper air flow to evacuate allergens and other pollutants. That said, it’s good to open up the windows and doors every once in a while. Using a fan within the bathroom and other parts of the home helps to lift out air along with allergens from the home. If your home doesn’t have an attic fan, now would be a good time to invest in one. However, check with a contractor whether this is a smart solution for your particular roof style.

 

To avoid toxic fumes, it’s best to build a home with “green” materials. An open layout of the house helps to improve air flow. HVAC systems, ceiling fans and floor fans can also help to increase air flow within the home. Using these methods, along with opening windows, will help to expel poor air, allergens and mold. Mold growth significantly decreases using this method of air ventilation as well because it reduces humidity in the home, and it provides an exit point for mold spores.

 

Cleaning the home with natural products also reduces the amount of toxic fumes and chemicals within the home as well. Baking soda can be used to scrub the tub, remove burnt-on residue from pans, serve as a laundry booster and effectively deodorize many parts of the home. Distilled white vinegar helps to remove stains from laundry, kill germs, clean glass, and it helps to clean a variety of surfaces.

 

Professional Cleaning

Keeping the home clean helps to prevent illnesses and help boost the immune system. There are many places for dirt and dust to hide. Within dust, dust mites gather, and they leave their fecal matter behind. People are allergic to this, and they are allergic to other substances if they’re immune systems are not strong. Pets and people track in dust and debris, which get trapped in the carpet. Another issue in the home is mold. Mold spores cause numerous problems for people, and it tends to hide in porous surfaces, like grout. When people suffer from weak immune systems, they’re more susceptible to illnesses. This means that an endless supply of people walk around tired, thinking they need coffee or sugar to keep them going, when they really just need their homes deep-cleaned. Hiring a professional company for carpet cleaning, tile cleaning and duct cleaning can make a drastic difference in the home.

 

Sunlight

 

Sunlight has an amazing ability to kill microorganisms that could otherwise cause problems for the family. Some of the sun’s ultraviolet rays help to kill certain types of bacteria. Sunlight also prevents mold growth, so where you’re able to allow for sunlight to permeate your home, take advantage of it. Sunlight is also helpful in killing viruses. While you’re opening up windows, keep curtains and blinds drawn. Take advantage of the sun throughout the day. You’ll say on lighting costs as well. Certain health industries have started taking advantage of using ultraviolet light to effectively kill a host of germs as an extra step in sanitizing everything.

 

You can’t eradicate everything harmful from your home, but you can give your immune system a fighting chance by naturally cleaning your home. Implement the steps above, and take time to boost your immune system internally as well. Eat well, drink water, exercise and get full sleep cycles in to help your body stay healthy.

 

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The Important Home Costs To Budget For

The Important Home Costs To Budget For

 

There are many costs associated with owning a home, and first-time home buyers often do not fully understand or budget for these costs. A home is likely the most expensive thing you will ever own, and repairs can be astronomically expensive. Even small maintenance items add up over time and can strain your budget. This guide will focus on four hidden costs to homeownership that homeowners need to budget for.

 

Closing Costs

When buying a home for the first time, many people forget about closing costs. Fortunately, as the buyer, you are not responsible for paying a commission to your real estate agent. However, there are fees associated with closing, and they can be substantial and varied. These fees include title fees, taxes, real estate attorney fees, inspections and survey fees, among others. There may also be additional documentation required, such as when your home is part of a homeowners association. This is all in addition to the purchase price of the home and any modifications or updates you want to have done. You can generally expect to pay two to five percent of the home’s purchase price in closing costs, and will need to budget for this expense.

 

Property Taxes

Property taxes vary widely based on where you live. They are usually assessed by a local municipality, such as a county, and some areas have much higher property tax rates than others. It is also possible for a property to be taxed by multiple jurisdictions, such as when your property straddles the border between two counties. Before you buy a home anywhere, it is important to calculate what your property tax burden will be. Factor this number into the amount of home you can afford when looking to buy. Always stay updated on changes to legislation, which can strongly impact property taxes. Also remember that because the property tax amount is based on the value of your home, it can and does vary from year to year. In most cases, property taxes are due once a year, the date on which varies from state to state.

 

Insurance

Homeowners insurance is much more expensive than renter’s insurance, and much more complicated. For example, buying an older home might actually increase your insurance costs because of older systems such as plumbing and heating which are more likely to catastrophically malfunction. You also need to consider special coverage if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters not covered by normal homeowners insurance policies, such as a floor zone or an area prone to earthquakes. This isn’t insurance you can go without because the risks of getting caught without it are far too high.

 

Updates

Updates can increase the value of your home as well as add features you want and will use. Updates can be as simple as painting or as complex as major renovations. It is important to come up with a plan for how you want your house to look and what costs will be associated with these updates. Look at average prices, such as swimming pool prices, to determine how much you might need to budget for each update and the associated maintenance and installation costs. To save money, you can do multiple updates over a length of time rather than all at once. You can also wait for good deals to come around so the updates will cost less overall. For example, decks, sunrooms and patios are not as popular in the winter, so contractors often offer discounts to encourage people to buy. This benefits contractors because it means they don’t have to lay off workers in the off season.

 

Homeownership is often an expensive undertaking and a major financial investment. Homeowners and homebuyers need to ask questions and fully understand all fees, taxes and maintenance costs they might be responsible for once they purchase a property. If you properly budget for these costs, however, they will not catch you unaware.

 

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How to Remodel Your Home to Have a More Relic Feel

How to Remodel Your Home to Have a More Relic Feel

When remodeling your home to give it a more vintage feel, there are some tips that can help you get the look you want and save you money at the same time. By doing the remodel yourself, you may be able to find deals on genuine vintage items at a lower cost than the faux vintage items an interior designer might use. Additionally, consider these suggestions for making your home look more traditional and feel inviting to your family and your visitors.

Lighting Décor Really Drives the Ambiance Home

One of the most important concerns in choosing décor for your home is how it will contribute to the overall theme. By selecting period-appropriate lighting, you can reinforce the idea that your home is a step back in time. Today, many lighting companies recreate vintage looking appliances that work on today’s power consumption and energy conservation requirements. You may find gas lanterns that have been refurbished to provide electrical lighting or antique lamps that have been rewired and rated efficient for use in the modern environment.

If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, don’t give up in frustration. Many lighting companies will take on custom orders, if you contact them and describe what you want. Suppose you have old lanterns and you want them rewired and updated for today’s standards. You can request an estimate from a local lighting company, or you might prefer to go to a certified electrician to do the job for you. Either way, a little research will uncover options you might not have otherwise considered.

Color Helps Create Authenticity

Suppose your remodeling is almost done and you have all of the furnishings and décor to give your home a vintage look from your favorite era. All that’s left to do is slap on some paint. Easy enough, but, if you’re not careful, the color you choose could throw off that authentic feel completely. That’s because each era has its own color palette.

For instance, the 1900s saw a culture rebelling against the industrial revolution, so most homes were dressed in soft and neutral hues. It was also the heyday for Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic take on architecture. Everything from structure to color was intended to create a calming effect and help to take people away from the dirty, bustling industries now overcrowding Main Street. The best colors to use for this era are pale pinks, ivories, light greens, and soft oranges.

It may take some research, but you can find the best color schemes for whatever era you’re hoping to recreate. If you are trying to give your home a vintage look, why not go the extra mile and ensure you’re using the best color choices?

A Word About Moldings and Fixtures

By adding crown moldings and wainscoting to any wall or door, you can enhance the beauty of the room. In a darker room, add white wainscoting to create contrast, while also choosing a style that enhances the vintage theme of your home’s redesign. Adding wainscoting to wine cellar doors can help them stand out and create a focal point in the room.

Similarly, it’s important to select the right fixtures and tiling for your home. Much like the lighting, many manufacturers create vintage fixtures that are functional and adapted for modern homes. They’re most commonly found in big chain hardware stores or online, but you may also be able to find genuine vintage fixtures in antique stores or at flea markets. In selecting the right fixtures, pay special attention to the texture and character of the items to ensure they’ll enhance the theme of your home.

Tile flooring can also be found in a variety of styles, many speaking to decades gone by. If you’re uncertain what to choose, traditional black and white tiling is an excellent default choice. It has often been used for kitchens and bathrooms in a number of eras. You might also choose rustic-looking wood tiles or stone tiling, depending on your chosen era.

Conclusion

When remodeling your home to fit a specific theme, special care has to go into every aspect of the redesign. Many of your fixtures, lighting appliances, and décor may best be found at yard sales, antique stores, and flea markets, while hardware stores offer a wide selection of moldings and wainscoting. In paying attention to the smallest details, you can create an overall ambiance that may even exceed your dreams.

 

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Having Your Dream Home Is Cheaper Than You Might Think

When you think about buying your dream home, you might assume that it’s really only something that you can dream about. After all, it might seem impossible that you will ever have the money to purchase the perfect house. However, this does not have to be the case. In fact, you might find that you are actually closer to owning your dream home than you think.

Consider Going Smaller

One option that can help you achieve your dream home on a budget is to go a little bit smaller. Of course, this does not mean that you have to purchase a tiny house. Instead, though, you can consider choosing a floor plan for a home that is slightly smaller than what you had originally envisioned, especially if you don’t have a big family and don’t truly need a ton of space. If you go with a smaller home, you could find that you have more in your budget for all of the luxury upgrades that you have been wanting. You could budget granite or marble countertops, new floors, or even a backyard pool or hot tub. It’s easy to get free estimates for the costs of these by looking local. For example, you could try searching “inground custom pools Naples”, to find a local professional for a consultation. As an added bonus, if you go with a smaller house, it will probably be a lot cheaper for you to heat and cool, and you will not have to worry about having as much space to clean, either.

Fix Up Your Existing Home

Even if your existing home is far from your dream home, this does not mean that you have to sell it. You could find that with a little bit of imagination and a whole lot of hard work that your current home could actually be turned into your dream home. You might be surprised by what a good remodeling contractor can do with your existing home, and you could be able to do a lot of the work yourself to stick to a budget as well. Then, you will not have to worry about the cost and aggravation of selling your home and buying another house. Instead, you can make major changes to your existing home that can make it something that is a little closer to the house that you have been dreaming of. As an added bonus, you will not have to worry about uprooting your family and moving to another home, which can be a particularly good thing if you have children.

Work with the Right Building Contractor

If you are thinking about building a home, it is important for you to work with the right building contractor. If you choose a good building contractor, he or she can talk to you about your budget and all of the things that you want in a home. Then, he or she can help you make adjustments and can help you determine where to splurge and when to save. This can help you get the home of your dreams without going over your budget, and you can ensure that your home is exactly what you wanted.

As you can see, even if you think that you and your family are a long way away from owning the house of your dreams, this might not be the case at all. Many people are actually surprised by how affordably they can fix up their own homes or build new homes if they are willing to put in a little bit of effort. If you explore these different options, you might find that they can help you get the home that you have always wanted. Then, you can finally have the home that you have always dreamed of, but you will not have to worry about going totally broke in the process.

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