La Habra Movies in the Park May 18-Oct. 12
Join the Recreation staff for an outdoor, family-friendly movie on Friday nights. Participants should bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and can enjoy food vendors and the Bamboo Kids Club. Movies begin at dusk.
Time/Place: See website for schedule.
Contact: www.lahabracity.comNewport Beach Jazz Festival June 1-3
A star–studded lineup of musicians, delectable food and drink selections, and dancing on the lawn. The festival kicks off on Friday night featuring Michael Lington with Kenny Lattimore at the Hyatt’s Back Bay Amphitheatre. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival heads to the Back Bay Golf Course for two jam-packed days filled with the finest smooth jazz, R&B, funk and soul!
hyattconcerts.comRare Vintage Air VW Show June 2
Bring your VW to the Rare Vintage Air VW d’Elegance to kick off the Prado & Classic weekends. We have great raffle items from our sponsors. We are also having a 50/50 raffle. Grinderz will have great food, soft drinks and beer on site at a discount price.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Old World Village, Huntington Beach
Family Fun & Wellness Fair June 2
Free health screenings and checkups while enjoying good food, live music, and informative offerings from the exhibitors. Families will enjoy the various entertainments such as live music performances, face painting, prize giveaways, and more!
Time/Place: 9am-2pm / Pretend City, Irvine
Contact: 949-428-3900 / www.pretendcity.org/healthfair
San Diego Rail & Sail June 2
We will motor coach to SJC to board an Amtrak train for a coastal ride to San Diego’s waterfront shops and restaurants at Seaport Village and the “Headquarters,” with time at leisure for lunch on your own. Choose to spend the afternoon exploring the USS Midway or enjoying a San Diego Harbor Cruise.
Time/Place: 8:30am-6pm / Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, Mission Viejo
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.cityofmissionviejo.org
Be More Healthy Expo June 2
Health and wellness related exhibitors will showcase their products and services to thousands of potential customers. Free admission! Open to the public.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Seal Beach Pier
Mission Viejo Film Festival June 2
Each screening will present films that meet the run-time guides for each category: “Short Films: High School”, “Short Films: College/Indie” and “Music Videos” The following five awards will be presented – the Mark Jennings Award, City of Hope Award, People’s Choice Award, The MV Award, and the Mayor’s Award.
Time/Place: 4-8pm / Saddleback Performing Arts – McKinney Theater
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.missionviejofilmfestival.
Corona del Mar Scenic 5K June 2
Whether running the 5K course, participating in the 2-mile Celebration Walk, or simply cheering the kids on in the Youth and Dolphin Dash series, all registered participants are hosted to a complimentary restaurant row feast of local eateries. Don’t miss the festive post event party complete with live entertainment, unique sponsor and vendors, awards ceremony and more.
Time/Place: 6am / Ocean Blvd & Heliotrope Ave.
Huntington Beach Concours Classic Car & Motorcycle Show June 2-3
A fun event where car lovers and enthusiasts can come to enjoy themselves, while knowing that they are also helping a worthy cause, The Huntington Beach Library Children’s Resource Center. It is rated # 1 in California, please help us keep it that why by attending this year’s event.
Time/Place: Sat 9am-2pm, Sun 9am-4pm / Huntington Beach Central Park
Contact: 714-904-5034 / www.hbconcours.org
Dino Days June 2-3
There will be fun for the entire family with a walking DINO tour of a life-size moving T-Rex, Velociraptors and a Dilophosaurus. Wristband includes dinosaur tour, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon artist and unlimited games.
Time/Place: 10am-2pm / Nature Park, Lake Forest
Contact: 949-273-6960 / www.lakeforestca.gov
Fantasea of Quilts, Quilt Show June 2-3
Traditional and non-traditional style quilts will be on display. It brings together the “best of the best” in quiltmaking, with aisles of displays, retail exhibits and more. Opportunity quilt: Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows with Kaffe Fassett Fabrics, $1 per ticket or 6 for $5. $10 and parking is Free! Auction is at 1 pm on Saturday.
Time/Place: SOKA University, Alisa Viejo
Contact: 949-547-6961 / www.beachcitiesquilters.org
Lost & Found Vintage Flea Market June 3
Unique, curated, and rare vintage finds! Not everyone knows this, but The LAB stands for “Little American Business” and that’s exactly who we are and what we strive to support.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / The LAB Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa
Tustin Street Fair & Cook-Off June 3
The event features a one-day Chili Cook-Off, salsa competitions, craft booths, non-profit food vendors, commercial vendors, entertainment, kids area, music, family friendly contests, wine & beer booths, family plaza and carnival attractions.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Old Town Tustin
Contact: 714-573-3326 / www.tustinchilicookoff.com
Celebration of the Arts June 3
Dozens of artist’s exhibits and sales, including paintings, photography, ceramics, mosaics, jewelry, sculptures, wood carving, glass art, mixed media and cultural activities. This is a family friendly event offering free activities for all ages, sharing the creativity & talent of our community.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / Thomas Lasorda Jr. Memorial Field House & Hurless Barton Park, Yorba Linda
Contact: 714-996-1960 / www.artsyl.org
Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction June 8-10
The auction event will provide the electric atmosphere of auction in the round auction block and also provide enthusiasts an outstanding destination to bring the whole family to experience their passion of classic cars.
Time/Place: 9am / Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
Laguna Niguel Summer Concerts June 8-Aug. 10
Bring your family and friends to enjoy a night of music under the stars! Food and dessert will be available for purchase from gourmet food trucks.
Time/Place: Crown Valley Community Park, Laguna Niguel
Contact: 949-425-5100 / www.cityoflagunaniguel.org
Annual Pier Swim June 9
Get yourself in shape, practice your stroke, learn the motions of the waves and you’ll be in good company when the pier swim arrives. Join or watch this annual tradition as groups of swimmers from 12 years old and up swim approximately 1/2 mile around the Huntington Beach Pier. $25 entry fee.
Time/Place: 7am / Huntington Beach Pier
Contact: 714-960-8870 / www.huntingtonbeachca.gov
Dana Point ArtFest June 10
An outdoor, top-quality juried art and music event that brings artists and community together. A free community festival of fine art, live music, food, and more.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Dana Point Lantern District
Flag Day Retirement Ceremony June 14
The City of Rancho Santa Margarita is proud to offer an opportunity for residents and guests of all ages to honor the American Flag with this observation and flag retirement ceremony. The ceremony is held to destroy properly – by burning – worn, damaged or otherwise unserviceable American Flags in a dignified manner in accordance with The United States Flag Code.
Time/Place: 7:45-8:30pm / Bell Tower, Rancho Santa Margarita City Hall
Chili at the Beach June 16
Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Tasting Contest. In addition there will be children’s activities with kid’s games and entertainment, all benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley. Attendance is free with unlimited chili and salsa tasting tickets.
Time/Place: Main St & PCH, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-536-8300 / www.hbdowntown.com
Summer of Mud Run June 16
Celebrate summer by running (or come cheer on the runners!) the approximate +5k course beginning and ending at Irvine Lake. You will get wet and you will get muddy. Be sure to bring towels and a change of clothing.
Time/Place: 9am / Oak Canyon Park, Silverado
Fête de La Musique June 16
Held in conjunction with “World Music Day” to celebrate the coming of summer each June. The festival is celebrated worldwide on, or near, the beginning of summer. LBSCA has crafted its Fête de la Musique to promote Laguna Beach performing arts through live music by singers and musicians.
Time/Place: 1-4pm / Downtown Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-492-0883 / www.lagunabeachsistercities.
Summer Solstice Garden Gala June 16
An evening “under the stars” with an evening of exquisite food, fine wines, & moonlight dancing in beautiful gardens. This annual event raises vital support for the living and historical collections of the Fullerton Arboretum.
Time/Place: Fullerton Arboretum, CSUF Campus
Contact: 714-278-4792 / www.fullertonarboretum.org
Newport Beach Art Exhibition June 16
Artists, 18 years of age or older, may submit one or two original works of art to be displayed and judged. Entry fees are $30 for one entry and $40 for the maximum two entries. Categories include Painting: Watercolors and Painting: Oils and Acrylics, along with Photography and 3D Art.
Time/Place: 1-6pm / Newport Beach Civic Center
Contact: 949-717-3802 / www.newportbeachca.gov
Wags n Wine June 17
Great Food, Terrific Wine, Silent & Live Auction, Opportunity Drawings, Live Entertainment, Dancing, Dog Adoptions, Pooch Pageant & More! Raising money for Waggin’ Trails – rescuing dogs (and other animals) from certain death in our shelters or bad living situations ensuring they get placed in a forever home.
Time/Place: 1-5pm / Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-328-8661 / www.wagsnwine.com
Summerfest June 21-24
Carnival rides, vendors, food booths and the famous FV Classic Car Show, great entertainment, and beer garden. Preview Night on Thursdaywhere all rides are $1.
Time/Place: Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park
Contact: 714-839-8611 / www.fvsummerfest.com
OC Pride 2018 June 23
OC Pride celebrates the 10th annual OC Pride LGBT Parade and Festival. This event celebrates OC’s LGBT community for the opportunity to gather and show their pride.
Time/Place: 9am-6pm / Downtown Santa Ana
Contact: 657-234-7802 / www.prideoc.com
Doheny Surf and Art Festival June 23-24
A two-day celebration of the Southern California surfing lifestyle! Menehune Surf Contest, Surfers Vendor Village, 60’s Surf Contest, Tandem Exhibition, Surf Tricks Contest, Kona Beer Garden (with wine and spirits, too), Live Music, Polynesian Dancing, Great Food, Healthy Living Demonstrations, Surfer’s Art and Collectibles, Classic Longboard Exhibit, Classic Woody Car Show and MORE!
Time/Place: Doheny State Beach
A Taste of Greece June 29-Sept. 2
Art! Three stages of live music and entertainment! Cheap beer and wine! Outdoor eateries and cafes! Free hands-on art classes and daily art demonstrations such as glassblowing!
Time/Place: 10am-10pm / 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-494-3030 / www.sawdustartfestival.org
In the spring of 2018 in Palm Springs, California, a diverse collection of real estate innovators, leaders and influencers gathered to hammer out a manifesto for changing the real estate industry. They were guided by the mandate of creating a better and more certain consumer real estate experience.
Incentivize real estate agents to focus on quality and service over volume and sales by obsessing over the needs of the consumer to drive innovation and best practices.
2. Simplify the process of buying and selling a home
Toll Brothers Inc. is adding another high-end housing development to its Orange County portfolio.
Its latest addition, a 47-lot site in Yorba Linda, will likely be one of its highest-priced local communities, which is saying something for the Horsham, Pa.-based builder, whose local developments’ homes top $2 million.
The builder, whose market value is about $8 billion, recently reached a deal to buy the Stonecliff Estates development site in Yorba Linda, roughly 30 acres on the northwest corner of Lakeview Avenue and Bastanchury Road. It’s a little more than a mile northeast of the Richard Nixon Museum and Library.
The site was listed for sale a few months ago by Sal Provenza and Curt Crandall at the Irvine office of land brokerage WD Land.
It traded hands for about $44 million, a little under $1.5 million per acre, or nearly $940,000 per lot, among the highest per-lot prices for an OC housing development site not along the coast.
The land was technically bought by an undisclosed land banking firm that will sell the lots to Toll Brothers in phases, according to Provenza.
Stonecliff Estates has been in the works for nearly a decade and was sold by an entity listed in marketing documents as Bastanchury Holding Co. LP.
The sellers are affiliated with Kuwait Finance House, a large Islamic banking firm that was one of the initial equity investors in the development, according to Provenza. The property is believed to be its only OC land investment; it also has some commercial property holdings in the Los Angeles area, he said.
Toll Brothers, which bills itself as the country’s largest luxury homes builder, is no stranger to Yorba Linda (or OC, where it’s now selling at 16 different projects), and has built a few developments in the city over the past three years.
Its latest, the 119-unit Enclave project, is about a half-mile from the recently bought property. It opened last year with prices near $2 million, and was about half sold as of a few months ago, according to brokerage data.
Stonecliff Estates will likely have a higher price point, thanks to some of the largest lot sizes—about a half-acre, or a little more than 20,000 square feet—for a recent OC housing development.
Most of Toll Brothers’ other area luxe homes in Irvine and other parts of OC have lots in the 6,000- to 12,000-square-foot range. Its Alta Vista development in Irvine’s Orchard Hills community, for example, with some homes priced at nearly $3 million, has lots of about 11,000 square feet, according to WD Land.
Homes at Stonecliff Estates were envisioned to be a little more than 4,000 square feet to nearly 6,000 square feet on the half-acre lots under the prior ownership group’s proposed designs, which Toll will likely tweak.
A community opening should be in about nine months, according to WD Land’s Provenza, who previously worked on land acquisitions for Toll Brothers.
Record Year, Rents
Apartment construction in OC is projected to reach an all-time record this year, according to a new multifamily research report by the local office of Marcus & Millichap.
Nearly 7,500 units will be completed at large apartment projects across the county, a record level and one that will increase OC’s base of rentals by 3%, the report said.
The heavy development is having a slight impact on vacancy rates, which have ticked up to 4%. But that hasn’t slowed rental appreciation, which has also risen 4%. Average monthly rents now stand at $1,972.
Construction should keep pushing on into next year. There were nine apartment projects with more than 300 units under way in Anaheim and Irvine combined at the start of the fourth quarter, and two projects, each larger than 500 units, were going up in Huntington Beach, the report said.
via Property Spark
These real estate brokerages are reaching thousands of people by using the power of social media.
Before, going into the list, we would like to say that these real estate brokerages do not have to be our clients, subscribers or followers.
Furthermore, we did not solicit any real estate brokerages before the research or writing of the lists.
Here’s how the Real Estate Brokerages are selected:
Initial Research on Real Estate Brokerages
We looked at hundreds of popular Real Estate Brokerages across North America. We found these real estate brokerages through different mediums including:
• Facebook Search
• Instagram Search
• Twitter Search
Inclusions and Ranking (Objective Data)
Once we had our list of popular real estate brokerages. We looked at objective data regarding the real estate brokerages’ social media presence, including the following:
• Facebook Page Likes
• Instagram Followers
• Twitter Followers
• Facebook Post likes, comments, shares and views (for videos)
• Instagram Post likes and comments
• Twitter favorites and retweets
Inclusions and Ranking (Subjective Data)
Finally, we make sure that all the real estate brokerages who made the final 30 have a great social media presence based on subjective variables, including the following:
• Brand image (quality of graphic design, pictures, videos)
• Value of content (how useful the content is to followers)
• Content mix (the mix of different types of posts)
With that being said, let’s get into the top list! Enjoy!
#10: The Boutique Real Estate Group
“Inspired by purpose, driven by passion”; that’s a motto we definitely want to hear from a real estate brokerage company. The Boutique Real Estate Group knows how to engage their followers on social media as they provide luxurious and dreamy photos of property interiors and exteriors.
via tres online
June 6th, 2017 – Raj Qsar, owner/principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California shares his unique journey into the real estate profession. Unique is an appropriate term, as no other guest has traveled the path Raj details. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so tune into Episode 97 of The Real Estate Sessions and enjoy.
We caught up with Raj to get his take on the advantages of being an independent broker and what other indies should watch out for in the coming year.
What do you see as the biggest benefit to being an independent broker?
Ability to adapt, change and execute quickly and the freedom to create & curate stories from the ground up.
What are your best tips and tricks for building your client base?
Real life networking and using technology to become more efficient.
What do you see as the most important trends (good or bad) that independent brokers should be keeping an eye on in the coming year?
Good: The merging of multiple techs into one platform.
Bad: So much “copying” and not enough creation.
Here are a few innovative tips to garner engaging local content
You can’t open a trade publication these days without seeing an article urging real estate professionals to generate content in order to build their brand and get more business. It makes sense — who buys and sells houses? People. What do people like? To be enlightened, informed and entertained. That’s what great content does.
Many real estate professionals ask whether content creation has any real tangible benefits in getting homes sold. Top producers tend to look at the bigger picture. Tim Smith of Smith Group Real Estate says, “High-quality marketing increases the perceived value of the property.” In other words, when you make a video about a house, you’re saying to the world, “This place is worth it.”
“When we show up at a property with a truck and equipment and actors and a tent, it causes curiosity within the neighborhood,” said Raj Qsar, principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. “It gives us a way to connect with the neighborhood on a hyperlocal level. Then they tell their friends and family about the house, and word gets out. It’s a long-tail plan.” Let’s face it: Nothing makes a seller happier than to see their home being given the star treatment.
“There’s a misconception across the industry as to why people do content marketing,” Qsar said. “Video is not just for the one listing — we make our video evergreen so it can live forever.”
And it sure doesn’t hurt to have an amazing video to show in your next listing presentation, either.
But for many Realtors, the thought of creating content tends to generate more guilt than inspiration. What kind of content should you be making? And how in the world are you expected to write a script or learn to edit video when there aren’t even enough hours in the day to generate leads and get deals done?
Good news: You don’t have to do it yourself. Here are four options to get great content.
1. Beef up your team.
Most brokerages that are serious about content creation begin by hiring in-house creative talent. “Content marketing needs to start with the leadership and culture of the brokerage,” Qsar said. “If the brokerage takes control and hires an in-house team, it only makes the agents and the brokerage more successful.”
Smith Real Estate has created a core in-house marketing team. They started out using outside production studios to generate their marketing materials but decided to bring production in-house in order to have more control over the creative product. “Outsiders don’t have direct communication with the sellers like we do,” Jade Schuck, public relations and marketing coordinator, said. “When the production is done in-house, we know the home, and we can do a lot more with the money.”
Pacific Union built an entire in-house journalism department to bring their clients the latest news via their blog. “We decided we had to become a journalism company,” CEO Mark McLaughlin said. And it worked. Back in January 2012 their blog had “zero traffic.” Now they have 5,800 unique users on their blog every month. McLaughlin puts this in context. “We sold about 5,700 homes last year. So, that means we have about as many people at our blog every single month as bought homes in a year … so we feel it’s a really relevant tool for our real estate professionals.”
2. Supplements are good for you.
Even with a strong in-house team, most brokerages bring in freelancers or even full production companies to round out their marketing team for larger listings.
“The content is all us, 100 percent,” said Qsar, who employs an in-house team that includes a social media manager, director of creative design, cinematographer and editors. They do bring in specialists as needed, such as drone operators and hyperlapse photographers, but they’re careful to set and maintain the creative tone and direction themselves.
The real estate team knows the home best, so it’s crucial that whenever you outsource, you communicate with the production company to convey the key selling points of the home and any details about the target demographics.
Schuck said when we get a listing, their process begins with a brainstorming session where they distill the essence of the home’s personality. Then they create different packages of marketing materials based on the sales price. They bring in freelancers with special skills as needed.
Schuck offers some advice for smaller real estate offices whose budgets might not allow an in-house production team: “Use your network to find good people to help.”
3. Be a patron of the arts.
If hiring a marketing team doesn’t work for you, there are other options. Any given neighborhood is packed with creators who just love to make content. They eat, sleep and breathe journalism, storytelling and photography. They’re constantly churning out videos and articles, blog posts and photographs. All you have to do is find them, and then work out a deal that works for both of you.
Try these sources:
Local bloggers: They know your neighborhood and what makes it significant. See if you can sponsor their work by making a small contribution. Being quoted in an article about the five best kid-friendly restaurants in town makes you an instant local expert.
School newspapers and videos: School newspapers can always use a few extra bucks to give their kids’ reporting a boost. Help them out and your name might be the one that shows up when prospective buyers search for their dream schools.
Filmmakers and videographers: In these days of YouTube, everyone from your babysitter to your mortgage broker has a script for a Web series somewhere on their hard drive. What they often lack is funding to get it made. Provide that and voila, you have yourself a grateful content creator who will mention your name, and maybe even give you a cameo role.
4. Ask your audience.
Another way to get great content is perhaps the most obvious: Just ask for it. User-generated content (UGC) is the buzzword, but what it means is getting your network to share their own photos, videos, articles and lists.
Consider holding a contest for the best photos of your local dog park, or give a shoutout to local bands to write a song in honor of your hometown. Then all you have to do is curate the best and put it online. People will come to your site to check out the latest and greatest — and they’re sure to notice your listings along the way.
At the time of this writing, Trails West Real Estate had just announced a competition asking students to create the best video about living in northwest Montana. They’re offering $12,000 to the winning school’s video and technology departments. This is a great way to get lots of content for your money, while becoming known as a local expert and supporter of the community. It’s likely we’ll see more and more content competition like this in which everyone comes out a winner.
The industry agrees that offering great content is the ideal way to engage your audience more deeply and for longer periods of time. That translates to leads, listings, sales and clients for life. Now you have some ways to get your hands on amazing content while keeping your focus on what you do best: selling real estate.
What unique ways have you found to generate content? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.
via Fox News
When you think of a $10 million home in Southern California, the first neighborhoods that probably come to mind are Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, and perhaps the Hollywood Hills or Malibu.
The town of Yorba Linda, home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, located in northern Orange County, probably didn’t even make your top 20 list of elite enclaves, did it? That’s why the Pinnacle House comes as such an intriguing surprise.
What could be so special about a house that isn’t on the beach and doesn’t have a prominent ZIP code? Plenty, you’ll realize, just as soon as you find out who built it. Carlito Jocson is the corporate executive chef and vice president of Yard House restaurants, a popular chain with locations throughout the U.S. and endless taps of beer.
If you’ve ever been to one, you know the chain is tremendously successful, so the veep would likely spare no expense in creating a dream house anywhere he wants. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jocson hired David Streshinsky of DKY Architects to design a modern dwelling with Hawaiian influences, mixing the elements of steel, clay, fire, and water. In fact, as some of the best California homes do.
The house comes with a feng shui appraisal from feng shui expert Jessie Kim, which states, “The Pinnacle House is a great example of incorporation of Feng Shui elements.The strongest Feng Shui elements of this home — water, fire and wood — will provide its occupants with Power, Fame and Great Reputation. … When balance is achieved with these elements, a feeling of harmony and uplifting energy will be felt by anyone walking through the home.”
For all the good karma built into the house, size still matters. The airy home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 8,320 square feet of space. It is strategically situated on a 3.1-acre lot on one of the highest peaks in Orange County. “There’s ample room for a helipad,” remarks Raj Qsar, who is the estate’s listing agent along with his partner Christina Boladian.
But you actually don’t need a helicopter to get around, because the property is quite conveniently located. Set in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Yorba Linda (not to be confused with the Hidden Hills area of Calabasas, which is cluttered with Kardashians and pop stars), the Pinnacle House is only 10 minutes from Angel Stadium, Disneyland, and the Honda Center. It’s about 40 minutes from Los Angeles and 25 minutes from the beach.
Of course the executive chef of a prominent restaurant chain is going to build extraordinary cooking and dining facilities in his home, and this one has several: a huge indoor show kitchen with professional-grade appliances, an adjacent 1,200-bottle wine room, a full-service outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven and a wok range, and a 12-person dining room with spectacular sunset views of the hills.
Adding to the feng shui philosophy of the home, the water features like the zero-edge, floor-level pool and the waterfall in the entryway flow from the outdoors in.
“We were able to install these beautiful sliding doors that open right up and disappear, and allow the bedroom to be indoor-outdoor. The thought process was, I wanted to wake up in the morning and jump in [the] pool straight from the bed,” Jocson says with a laugh.
“This home is very serene and has the feeling like you’re getting away,” he continues. “You can think better, you can think clearer, it’s just a wonderful place.”
Qsar believes that a buyer who values that type of lifestyle will find the property priceless, and that $10 million is a steal.
via David Glenn
Nothing quite defines the American dream like homeownership, and that’s true for homes of all shapes and sizes. For those of you who want to really invest in your abode, the luxury market might be for you. Luxury homes are currently defined as homes with a multi-million dollar price tag. Though that qualification does not always need to be met if the home is possessed of certain features such as location, amenities, etc. Luxury homes are always homes that are unique and original, and they include amenities such as a Home Theater, private elevators and car lifts, cutting edge technology and more.
What is especially important in the luxury market is the ability to adjust the home to a particular homeowner’s individual needs. There’s a big difference between what’s considered luxury in Los Angeles and in Houston,
and the market responds to that. Many luxury homes are focused on security, with gated entrances, motion detectors, and secure buildings to make homeowners feel safe and secure, as well as grant peace of mind. Aside from practicalities, there are a few standard features that most luxury home buyers look for.
Firstly, location. As with any real estate purchase, location is perhaps the most important consideration. Most luxury homes abide in gated communities or closed buildings, in what are considered elite neighborhoods. Luxury apartment buildings are equipped with incredible views, a full time staff, and concierge service. Luxury homes are equipped with private locations, stunning vistas, and plenty of room to grow.
Depending on where the home is located, outside can be just as important as inside, with decks and pools playing a big part of a luxury lifestyle. Californians are more likely to be drawn to a house with a pool, while New York residents and other city dwellers are more interested in a room with a view.
Quality is also key. Luxury homeowners want quality in everything, from the floors to the walls. Many choose exotic or imported woods and tiles to finish with, and that alone can bump up a price tag. In the kitchen especially, custom cabinetry is a must, and homeowners want the install to be perfect.
Another amenity that appeals to most luxury buyers is a Home Theater. These rooms often come equipped with a large screen, custom lighting and sound, a mini-kitchen or refrigerator, and often a popcorn maker, to lend that movie atmosphere to your home.
Homeowners are also beginning to embrace an entire wet room instead of a simple shower or bathtub. Many of these rooms have multiple shower heads, as well as a place for seating and luxurious flooring. They are considered one of the most popular luxury features, for the relaxation value alone.
Open floor plans are also a must, just like in the suburban real estate market. However, luxury homes often have extremely high ceilings of twenty feet or more, along with the use of counters or cabinetry to separate the living and eating areas. The floor plans are fully customized as well.
Wine cellars are also becoming a more usable space, with room for entertaining and serving guests directly in the cellar itself. This use of smaller space is creative and whimsical, and allows hosts and their guests to be more focused on the current conversation then perhaps they would be in the rest of the home.
There’s also a focus on technology in the home, especially in the kitchen, where smart appliances are quickly gaining popularity. Many homes can be fully synced to a mobile device, like your ipad, that you can use to control everything.
So what’s most important in a luxury home? Real estate always focuses on location first, but after that, most of the requirements are left to homeowner’s individual taste. With the luxury market expanding as it is today, there are no shortages of opportunities to fully customize a home and make it yours. It’s said that “A man’s home is his palace”, and the luxury market provides the chance to make that statement very true indeed.
Are you prepared for the big one?
I am not a California native. I came to California in 1986 for my father’s career. We moved to Arcadia in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. Coming from Wisconsin, we were not prepared for the heat. Nor, would I learn, were we prepared for earthquakes. I still remember very vividly where I was when the 1987 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake hit. I was getting ready for school… out of nowhere, dishes were flying out of cabinets and the floor was seemingly gone beneath my feet. My mother grabbed my sister and I and we all ran outside. I wish I could find words to appropriately explain what I saw…the earth was flipping, side-to-side. Earthquake, you say, mom? What’s that? I was only 7 at the time, and coming from the other side of the country, we never spoke of such things. Tornados? All the time. Needless to say, we were ill prepared – no extra water or canned food on hand, no extra clothing, batteries, blankets…nada. It was a very serious quake, with several deaths and many homes destroyed.
Fast forward 7 years, we are living near Northridge, CA. We must have had a knack to follow where the next big earthquake would be. My mother and I were living alone in a condo, on top of a subterranean parking garage. I was awoken at 4:31 am by being physically thrown out of my bed onto the floor. I looked up and saw a huge free-standing mirror about to crash over me…instinct told me to roll under my bed while the mirror shattered where I had just lain. The intense noise, not just the shaking, is what was so terrifying about this quake – I screamed the entire time, as did my mother, neither of us hearing anything from the other. As we got our bearings and cautiously went downstairs, we had no idea what had happened. How big was that? Is there power anywhere (not here, obviously)? As we scrambled in the dark, I am still thankful that my mom had just recently decided it was time for an ‘earthquake kit.’ We had water, food, blankets, a flashlight, radio and extra batteries. We sat in our doorway for probably close to 3 hours, listening to the battery-powered radio in the dark, trying to find out how bad the quake was, getting tossed over and over with aftershocks. We stayed in the house for over a week with no power or clean water, until the fire department finally made its way to us. To let us know that we couldn’t stay. While the Northridge quake was a 6.7, the ground acceleration of that quake was one of the highest ever recorded in an urban area, making it feel more like a quake in the 7.5 range.
Looking back on both quakes, I am so thankful that we were more prepared for the second quake. Nothing can prepare you, really, for the disorienting feeling of having the earth beneath you come to life, and rock your senses silly. After this most recent La Habra quake, we are reminded yet again that we live in ‘earthquake country’ and most of us are embarrassingly unprepared for the aftermath of a good shake.
Here are some tips for an effective earthquake kit. Some things to remember: you may not have access to water, electricity or emergency services for a few days, if not more.
1. Water. The single most important item you’ll need. Another option: steri pen. Will sterilize water from any source. You’ll need at least one gallon per day per person in your house.
2. Food – canned food (don’t forget an opener), boxed food that has a long shelf life. Pastas, canned tuna, canned vegetables, etcetera. Camping food is another good option.
3. Camp stove and fuel, along with utensils.
4. Whistle, in case of need for rescuers.
5. Extra set of clothing & shoes.
6. Emergency cash, in small denominations
7. Tool kit (to turn off gas/water)
8. Copies of your vital documents.
9. Tarp, plastic bags – in case of rain. Or, if preferred, a tent.
11. Toys – if you have kids
12. Lanterns, flashlights & batteries.
13. Portable radio – don’t think your cell phone will work. You need the good ol’ fashioned antenna radio.
14. Solar panel for charging any items that might still work.
15. Portable power generator. There are solar versions out there as well. Most generators run on gas, and if there is a main break at your local station, no-can-do. There are other personal preference items you can bring, of course, but try to make your kit as accessible as possible. It should be in a waterproof container, easily accessed OUTSIDE. Do not keep it in your garage – you’ll probably not be able to access it if the damage is severe.
Nothing, like I said, will prepare you for the moment a large earthquake hits. The fear and adrenaline are intense and the disorientation is dumbfounding. But, your preparedness for the moments right after a quake can make the comforts of home enough to get you through mother nature’s moody behavior.
To connect with Melissa Sims please email her at Melissa.Sims@TheBoutiqueRE.com