October 14th, 2015 at 10:12 am

oceanfront properties

Thinking of buying a home on or near the California coast? Or maybe a place in the hills with an amazing view of the Pacific? Perhaps a cabin near a stream that flows into the ocean?

Before you take the plunge, bear in mind that a “lifeguard” of sorts is standing by to oversee many aspects of living within sight of the water: the California Coastal Commission (CCC).

Established in 1972 and made permanent four years later, the Sacramento-based commission’s mission is “… to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance environmental and human-based resources of the California coast and ocean for environmentally sustainable and prudent use by current and future generations.”

See that shining sea

How that mission is enforced has evolved over the years. Coastal access and unobstructed views remain high on the list of concerns that can potentially affect homeowners even miles from the nearest shoreline.

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September 21st, 2015 at 10:00 am

How to be a good neighbor

How neighborly are you? Do you know the family that lives next door? Did you welcome the couple who moved in across the street a few weeks ago?

September is Good Neighbor Month, so we encourage everyone to reach out and make friends (or at least attempt to!) with their neighbors.

This sounds pretty straightforward, but you might be wondering how exactly how you should introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met before and know nothing about. It’s actually pretty easy to do. Here are some of our suggestions:

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September 16th, 2015 at 10:00 am

Find open houses near you

Spend less time searching for open houses and more time attending them. Each Thursday you’ll receive complete information by email about upcoming open house events throughout Southern California.

Subscribe today for your weekly Open House Alert.


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September 7th, 2015 at 9:30 am

home buying programs

Think you can’t become a homeowner? Think again. Did you know programs are available to help you purchase your home? Some of the biggest hurdles, such as saving for a down payment, can be supplemented through government-run programs. We’ve outlined below a few reputable programs and tools to check out if you’re in the market for a new home.

  • Mortgage assistance search through the California Association of REALTORs®. Use this search tool to identify potential down payment assistance programs in your area. The tool will review municipal and state-level websites to find a program that works for you. Begin your search here. (more…)

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August 26th, 2015 at 10:00 am

historic properties

Thinking of buying that vine-covered Victorian in Ventura? The Spanish Colonial Revival in Santa Monica? The cute Craftsman cottage in Coronado?

Owning a historic home can be a labor of love, complete with admiring neighbors, official recognition, and significant tax breaks. Or it can be a constant repair job, a money pit with little or no return on investment – which often can just be sweat equity.

If you’ve found a historic home in California and are committed to living in it, or fixing it up as a rental or investment, there are two words you need to know: Mills Act. This state law, enacted in 1972 and administered by the state Office of Historic Preservation, allows cities to enter into contracts with the owners of historic structures. These “historical property contracts” require a reduction of property taxes in exchange for the continued preservation of the residence.

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