5 Free Things to do in Orange County this week, Sept. 24-30

Why sit home because you don’t want to spend any money? Here are five free things you can do this week.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 24

Enjoy a concert at the Newport Beach Public Library’s Fall series of Sunday Musicales with a free 3 p.m. performance by Four Hands One Piano, a piano duo of Lucy Nargizyan and Marina Grozdanovi, in the Central Library Friends Room, 1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach. Learn more:949-717-3800 , ext 2 or newportbeachlibrary.org.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 28

Take in the Wacky Magic Show at the Yorba Linda Public Library, 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in the community room. Presented by David Skale. Location: 18181 Imperial Hwy. Yorba Linda. Learn more: Ylpl.net.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 29

See “Beauty and the Beast” (the live-action 2017 version) at Seal Beach Movies in the Park. Movies start at sunset, at Eisenhower Park next to the pier. Bring your chair and blanket. Learn more: moviesintheparksb.com

SATURDAY, SEPT. 30

Take a free nature walk with a bird talk, led by naturalist docents at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Thousands of birds make Bolsa Chica their home year-round and also when they’re on migration. The walk takes place the last Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. Meet at the south parking lot, across PCH from the entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Get there early and carpool because the parking lot is small. Learn more: amigosdebolsachica.org

Walk with a Naturalist 9-10:30 p.m. Join naturalists at O’Neill Regional Park and learn about the animals and natural world of Trabuco Canyon. This is a light-to-moderate walk on mostly paved roads. The walk is free, parking is $5. Contact:949-923-2260 . Location: O’Neill Regional Park. 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon. Learn more: ocparks.com/parks/oneill

View Original Article Here

Did your child’s high school rank among best in U.S. News & World Report?

via OC Register

001.cdmcheating.JS

Corona del Mar High School ranked as the 40th best public high school in California in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings released this week.

Three schools in Irvine cracked the top 100 statewide again this year: University High at 46, Northwood High, at 68, and Beckman High, at 74. University and Northwood are in the Irvine Unified School District, and Beckman is in the Tustin Unified School District.

Troy High School in Fullerton came in 69th – up from its 97th spot last year. Orange County School of Arts, in Santa Ana, placed 72nd in the state, four paces ahead of its No. 76 ranking last year.

Noticeable in its absence was Oxford Academy in Cypress, a magnet school that has consistently ranked among the top schools in the state and even in the nation for the past decade.

“We believe there was some kind of glitch,” said Michael Matsuda, superintendent for the Anaheim Union High School District.

There were no drops at Oxford in any of the metrics the magazine considers, and in some cases, Oxford ranked even higher, Matsuda said. Last year, the school was second best in the state, and 16th best in the nation.

U.S. News was unable to compute the school’s college-readiness index because Common Core data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics did not include necessary information, such as grade 12 enrollment numbers, said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News.

Other Anaheim Union districts schools that typically garner silver and bronze medals got none this year and according to the rankings, some of the data also appears to be missing from the magazine rankings published online, said Manuel Colón, the district’s chief academic officer.

Only two of Anaheim Union district’s high schools netted a silver medal: Kennedy, ranked 298 in the state, and Cypress, ranked 236.

No Orange County school ranked among the top 100 nationally.

Whitney High School in neighboring Cerritos ranked top in the state and 19th best in the country.

Another area school that ranked high was the California Math and Science Academy, part of the Long Beach Unified School District, which came in as 10th best school in the state.

The magazine evaluated nearly 20,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Analysts looked at various measures, including whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for students in that state and whether disadvantaged students – black, Hispanic and low-income – were outperforming disadvantaged students in the state.

Another consideration was how well schools prepare students for college, based on scores of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. For the first time, graduation rates were added as a measure.

“Parents should look at multiple indicators always … but certainly the U.S. News and World Report is another benchmark of how healthy a school district or specific school is,” Matsuda said. “In this case … there was a mistake.”

Interior Design & Staging | The Boutique Real Estate Group | Orange County Real Estate

April 25th, 2013
By Kathy HoughtonThe Boutique Real Estate Group
Via Real Estate Staging Association

Real Estate Staging is the art of preparing and showcasing residential real estate for sale.

It is a systematic and coordinated method in which knowledge of hyper-local real estate, home renovations and creative design principles are applied to attract the vast majority of buyers to a prospective home.  It is part of our teams marketing strategy and an essential part of our teams philosophy in preparing a home for the market in Orange County.

Preparing a property properly involves cleaning, de-cluttering, updating, and repairing, while showcasing the true potential of the home through furniture placement, accessories, art, color and light to create visual appeal to the vast majority of buyers.  They way people live in a home is very different than the way we “sell” a home.

Staging shows buyers the true potential of the home. Buyers view professionally staged listings as “well maintained” and “model-like.”

Our team believes staged homes not only photograph better but also look better in person and will ultimately sell faster.

Thinking about selling?  Give us a call today and we would be happy to give you a staging consult on your home.

BW-1

Why Better Technology Means Better Service

By Jeremy Lehman

The Boutique Real Estate Group

 

When you think of real estate, the last thing that comes to your mind is probably technology. Technology has come a long way in the past few years, but unfortunately, the real estate industry tends to lag behind the curve. Sometimes decades behind; have you seen our MLS?

Today, our team employs an industry leading approach to improving response time, customer service, client convenience, and business management using mobile technology and cloud based applications. We work closely with vendors to help tweak their products or even create new ones that can help our team and clients enjoy a painless process of signing documents, accessing property information, communication, scheduling activities, sharing documents, and more. Our team is on the cutting edge of using technology in real estate. Every member of our team is equipped with an iPhone, iPad, Laptop, and mobile internet connection, allowing us to work from anywhere at any time.

Our listings receive a best in class marketing campaign with HDR photography, HD video, HD V-Tours, professional graphics & design, staging & interior design individual property websites, and even floor plans; creating maximum exposure and ultimately a maximum price. We use social media, blogs, and the most visited real estate websites to promote our listings, open houses, and interact with potential buyers. We’ve also created online groups of the top agents throughout Southern California to share listings with the agents that actually do business. Our use of video has received national accolades & recognition, but better yet, gives potential buyers the #1 thing they’re looking for. Listings with videos tend to sell for more money and faster than listings without. Our open house events are almost always packed with potential buyers and curious neighbors. To take advantage of the opportunity, we use an iPad application to track the visitors, follow up with property information, and notify them of any future price changes. We’ve also been able to assemble a big list of interested buyers for the neighborhoods we service.

Our clients can expect a quick response, the convenience of signing contracts via your mobile phone/tablet or computer (some transactions require “wet” signatures), maximum exposure for your property resulting in a maximum price, regular updates and communication and  market updates. We know technology does not replace service, skills, and knowledge, we just use to better serve you. Our agents are all proven industry experts as well.

Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended for Another Year

Struggling homeowners who are considering a short sale or modification will be eligible for tax relief in 2013.

The “fiscal cliff bill” passed by Congress on January 1 included a provision to exclude borrowers from paying taxes on debt forgiven through a short sale, foreclosure, or loan modification.

Known as Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, the act was scheduled to expire December 31, 2012, but received an extension for another year.

Industry experts and political leaders from all sides expressed support for the act’s extension.

In November, 41 state attorneys general wrote a letter urging U.S. House and Senate leaders to extend the act, arguing the act’s expiration would take away from the effectiveness of the national mortgage servicing settlement.

Through the settlement, state and federal officials reached an agreement with five of the largest servicers over “foreclosure abuses.” The settlement requires the servicers to provide $20 billion in consumer relief to struggling homeowners.

As of September 30, a report from settlement monitor Joseph Smith found servicers provided 21,833 borrowers with $2.55 billion in relief through first lien principal reduction modifications, which averages to about $116,929 in debt forgiveness for each borrower.

If the act did not receive an extension, borrowers who received relief in the form of forgiven debt would be liable to pay taxes on the debt.

The Center for Responsible Lending and the Financial Services Roundtable also wrote letters asking Congress to extend the act.

 

5 Real Estate Trends to Look For in 2013

Posted By The KCM Crew On December 27, 2012, www.kcmblog.com

 

Predicting trends during volatile economic times in American is no easy task. However, we are going to give it our best shot. We strongly believe these are the five real estate items we should keep an eye on in 2013:

Demand for Housing Will Continue to Surge

The housing market has turned the corner and there is no reason to believe that buyer demand will not maintain momentum throughout 2013. Household formations shot up to boom-time levels in 2012 and are projected to increase at even a faster rate over the next twelve months. A lack of inventory will be more of a challenge to sales increases than will a lack of demand.

Generations X and Y Will Prove They Believe in Homeownership

Contrary to what many have hypothesized over the last few years, young adults (18-35 year olds) are just as committed to homeownership as previous generations. Recent studies have shown:

  • 43% already own a home
  • 72% see homeownership as part of their personal American Dream
  • 93% of those currently renting plan to buy a home

This, along with the increase in household formations mentioned above, makes us believe that 2013 will be the year that many of these young adults will jump into homeownership.

Prices Will Continue to Increase

Pricing of any item is determined by supply and demand. Demand for housing will remain strong throughout 2013. At the same time, the supply of homes ready for is shrinking in many parts of the country. Outside of a few states that still have challenges with large inventories of distressed properties (NY, NJ, CT, IL for example), prices will appreciate nicely.

Even in the areas that are still dealing with high percentages of foreclosures and short sales, prices will not tumble dramatically. The increase in demand will absorb much of this inventory. In these areas, prices will either flatten or perhaps soften to a small degree.

Move-Up Sellers Will Return in Great Numbers

Perhaps what many will find as the biggest surprise of 2013 will be the return of the ‘move-up’ seller. Over the last several years negative equity has prevented many of these sellers from moving up to the house of their dreams. However, with prices recovering, more and more of these sellers will realize that now may be their greatest opportunity to make the move to a lifestyle they always wanted.

With home prices expected to increase and more stringent mortgage qualifications (QR and QRM) scheduled to be announced this year, we believe that the first half of the year will bring many of these sellers/buyers to the market.

The Consumer Will Demand That Their Agent Be an Expert

Real Estate professionals who have invested the money, time and energy to truly understand what is happening and why it is happening will separate themselves from their competition and do very well this year.

Those who take that next step of learning how to simply and effectively communicate the market to their clients will be seen as experts. These industry leaders will dominate their markets.

HARP 3.0 | Underwater on Your Home? | What’s New in 2013


2013 is fast approaching – the election is behind us – and the housing market is looking to break out, but, there is still  help needed for our current homeowners moving into 2013. Many homeowners are still underwater and unable to capitalize on low interest rates.  This is why congress, on its published it’s “To-Do List” ,  moved the refinance topic into the #2 slot.  Obama’s “To-Do List” .   Obama realizes there is a lot of work to be done in turning around this market for the majority of Americans. The main issue the president is dealing with are those non- Fannie/Freddie and FHA loans that fall outside the current HARP guidelines.

 

The current administration has put into place some fabulous programs to help current and document providing homeowners refinance their mortgages; HARP and HARP 2 along with the FHA streamline refinance program.     The Harp 2 success numbers are starting to build with the second round of adjustments made to the programs.  HARP 2 numbers .  The reducing/capping  of lender add on fees (Loan Level Price Adjustments or LLPA’s), increasing the Loan-to-value (LTV) limits, including working with PMI companies, and streamlining the LP & DU underwriting systems with Fannie and Freddie, have opened the HARP program to more homeowners.  Despite all of that success, there is still plenty of room for improvement.  The big one is – What to do with all of the Non- Fannie & Freddie loans that currently don’t qualify for the HARP 2 program?   Those are the sub-prime loans of the 2000 – 2007 time frames, the Alt-A loans, and the Jumbo loans (loans above 417k at the time ). There are plenty of willing and able borrowers who can be helped by HARP 3.   If HARP 3 were to be passed, it could fill the gap for those borrowers –  and this program is picking up stream in this administration.  Keep in mind this so called “HARP 3 “ program started during the Obama State of the Union address. HARP 2 and HARP 3 information .

 

Given the track record of how the current administration has worked  with federal mortgage refinance programs, I see a very good chance this bill moving forward in congress.  I think it’s safe to say both sides agree that the key to recovery is jobs and housing.

 

Here is an example of what it could look like . What HARP 3 could look like very soon

 

The million dollar question is – Will it pass, and when will it pass?    Given the amount of attention, the prior success HARP 2 had over the original HARP, and the amount of homeowners still left to save, I predict it happens in Q1 and right after the Debt Ceiling/ Fiscal Cliff shenanigans are over.

 

Special Thanks to Scott Nicholson of PrimeLending for putting this post together and allowing us to share it.

 

Scott Nicholson | Production Manager | Prime Lending | snicholson@primelending.com | 562-225-0769

 

Listen Tonight | Raj Qsar on Agent Caffeine | BlogTalk Radio | 6pm

LISTEN LIVE TO AGENT CAFFEINE THURS NOV 8, 9pm ET 6pm PT HERE!
Raj Qsar of Orange County Premiere Real Estate will join us to discuss using video to market and sell properties. We’ll hear the down and dirty on storyboarding, budgets, the process, strategy. Everything you always wanted to know about video and were afraid to ask. Raj Qsar is Principal & Owner of Premier Orange County Real Estate. With more than 15 years of sales, marketing and leadership experience, Raj has achieved this outstanding level of production as a result of his unsurpassed commitment for providing superior representation to his clients. As a Local & National speaker, Raj has traveled the country educating Real Estate Professionals on the value of Technology & Social Media. As a recent Ambassador for Agent Reboot in Orange County and as a Featured Speaker at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, Raj continues to make his mark across the country in today’s ever- changing market.

The All New 2013 Land Rover Range Rover

 

The All New 2013 Land Rover Range Rover

Raj Qsar

 

Land Rover says that the platform on which the 2013 Range Rover is built is completely new and that it’s the first sport-ute with an all-aluminum uni-body structure. That structure, weighs just 61 percent as much as the predecessor’s uni-body. The front and rear sub-frames also are built completely from aluminum, and have been redesigned from those of the previous model. At the scales, the American-spec 2013 Range Rover should weigh 700 pounds less than did the outgoing ute, giving it a mass of about 5150 pounds. That’s roughly a hundred pounds less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and around 200 pounds less than a Mercedes-Benz GL450 weighs.

 

Although it’s a clean-sheet design, the fourth-gen Range Rover looks quite a bit like the outgoing vehicle. Influence from the Evoque is clear, from the swept headlights to the backwards-sloping roofline and streamlined door handles. It’s unmistakably Range Rover, but we worry that the Range could relive the experience of the 2003–2009 Jaguar XJ: a superb, clean-sheet-designed, aluminum-intensive vehicle that was largely passed over by consumers because it looked too much like its predecessor.

 

A leather-covered dash follows a minimalist aesthetic, with just a few physical knobs and as many controls as possible recessed into the surface. With the trapezoidal display screen, the whole cabin looks like what you’ll find in the Evoque, only larger and presumably more opulent. It’s a nice—dare we say Scandinavian—contrast to the busy, upright panel in the outgoing Range Rover. Rear-seat legroom is up 4.7 inches from the old SUV; that’s important for this SUV’s intended image as an alternative to the Mercedes-Benz S-class for the rich and chauffeured.

We are super excited to see this Luxury Sport Ute on the streets here in Orange County, California and really looking forward to our first test drive.

Check out the Global Reveal here and around the world videos here.

 

Photos from RangeRover.com
Technical Information from CarandDriver.com