real estate agent

The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer tips!

Are you ready to stop renting and start owning your own home?  A survy of 400 real estate professionals found that these are the most important tips for homebuyers. Here they are!
1. Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety, overall condition of your new home.
2) Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
3) Direct all communications with the seller through your real estate agent.
4) Get the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.
5) Include important contingencies, such as financing, and property inspections with your offer.
6) Come up with a realistic wish list – what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood, and amenities.
But here’s the top property for homebuyers: WORK WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT!
Real estate agents are…
– Pricing experts! Agents will know if a house is overprices or underpriced.
– Financing Whizzes! Agents can help you understand your many financing options.
– Master Negotiators! Agents can get you the price and terms and conditions you want.
– Skilled House Hunters! Agents know of unlisted homes for sale and have personally visited many listings.
-Paperwork-tacklers! Agents can easily tear through 100 pages of closing documents.
For more tips about home buying, or to schedule a consultation, contact me today!
Your Local Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 619-250-4541  |   Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
CalBRE #01443193
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Avoid These 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

According to the dictionary, a mistake is an error resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness. While we can’t do anything about carelessness, when it comes to counseling first-time homebuyers, the real estate agent is a tremendous resource to help overcome knowledge deficiency.

That homebuyers lack knowledge about the process only makes sense when you understand that shopping for a home may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. Certainly, it’s not something most Americans do frequently. The process is foreign and the pitfalls are hidden. This is why it’s so important to find the right real estate agent to assist you along the way.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not Being Clear About Money

Going into a home purchase with your eyes closed to your finances is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the process. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, yet that’s what you open yourself up to when you are ignorant about where you stand financially.

If you are unsure about your credit-worthiness, order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. By law, Americans are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months. You can order your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Look for errors on the reports and dispute any erroneous information. Pay off what you can to help lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Then, see a lender to determine exactly how much you can borrow for a home.

Finally, when you have that figure, don’t be tempted to shop for homes priced at the limit. Give your post-purchase budget some monthly wiggle room by purchasing at the middle of the price range, or a bit more.

Mistake 2: Not Being Clear About Your Wants and Needs

While you may not get everything on a wish list, it’s a good idea to compile one – especially if more than one person will be living in the home.

Understand that your wish list isn’t set in stone and you can plan on it changing once you start viewing homes. During the home-shopping process, you will get a better idea of which items are feasible with your budget and which will have to be struck from the list. Knowing what you want and need in a home is vital to your long-term satisfaction, so it’s worth the time it takes to sit down and make a list.

Don’t neglect the neighborhood wish list either. Do you need to be close to public transportation? If you’d like a family neighborhood with lots of kids for yours to play with, put that on the list.

The bonus to getting clear on your wants and needs is that when you share the list with your real estate agent, your time won’t be wasted by viewing homes that don’t fit your criteria.

Mistake 3: Not Reading the HOA Documents

If the home you decide to make an offer on is managed by a homeowners association, you’ll be presented with a stack of paperwork to read over and approve. These are the HOA documents and, although terribly boring, they hold a wealth of valuable information that you must be privy to before making the final decision to purchase the property.

These documents govern how you can use your home, and they give you an idea of how much and how often your fees might rise. You’ll learn about common and ongoing problems the association deals with and how financially solvent the association is.

Don’t be like the couple that purchased a condo without reading the HOA documents and found out, three days after closing, that they – along with all the other homeowners – were being assessed $7,500 to remedy construction defects.

If you don’t feel that you can read and understand the information in these documents, it’s important to hire an attorney to help you wade through them.

Mistake 4: Making Big Changes

The best part of the home-purchase process is that point during the transaction when inspections are complete, all the contingencies have been removed, and it feels like smooth sailing to the close.

Unfortunately, this is a danger zone for rookie homebuyers. This is typically when they start picturing themselves actually living in the home and the urge may be overwhelming to shop for furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.

Just before closing, many lenders perform what is known as a “soft pull” of your credit reports. It’s called “soft” because it doesn’t impact your score in any way. It’s the lender’s way of making sure all the circumstances under which it approved the loan haven’t changed.

Any big changes you make, such as large purchases or getting a new job, may derail or delay the purchase. If the new debt you’ve taken on is substantial enough, it may change your debt-to-income ratio and you may be forced to reapply for the mortgage.

Keep your pocketbook closed and remain on your current job until you walk away from the closing table.

Mistake 5: Waiving the Home Inspection

Although foregoing a home inspection was unthinkable a few years ago, in a seller’s market where multiple offers are common, it’s tempting to agree to waive the home inspection as an incentive for the seller to pick your offer. It’s also not very wise.

A professional inspection, even of a newly constructed home, may be the only way you’ll know whether you’re buying a lemon or a plum – a money pit or a smart investment.

When you forego a professional home inspection, you’re essentially buying the home “as is.” Without the inspection contingency, the buyer waives his right to ask for repairs or money to make the repairs.

Waiving the home inspection is never worth the risk.

Knowing how much home you can afford is paramount to a successful home purchase. Making the decision to remain within a certain budget, doing all you can to clean up your credit to get the lowest interest rate possible, and becoming clear on your desires and expectations all help to make the home-buying process as error-free as possible.

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

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Stephen NIssou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNIssou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

3 Easy Home Improvement Tips to Sell

Forget, for a moment, about market trends and interest rates. At any given time, no matter the state of the economy, someone somewhere is selling their home. In any market, homeowners can up the odds that a home sells as quickly and as profitably as possible by giving it a facelift.

Sellers should focus on home improvement projects that either add value to the home or that attract buyers’ eyes and pique their interests. Make them forget any other houses they viewed and want your house instead.

Don’t randomly select home improvement projects based on your own tastes or suggestions from friends, either. You won’t be the one living in the home, after all. Research houses in your community and compare features and appraisals to get a better idea what people in your area want. A swimming pool may be a popular upgrade in a Southern suburb filled with young couples and families, for instance. But in the North, a hot tub will have greater appeal. A community with older people, no matter where in the country, will probably value a car port or garage over a pool or spa.

Here are three home-improvement project categories that almost anyone can tackle without a large capital investment.

1.Boost Your Curb Appeal

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. When potential buyers drive up to your home, if they don’t like what they see immediately, they may not get past the exterior to find the great things inside.

It’s not about planting expensive trees, installing fountains or other fancy upgrades. In fact, some of the most value-added outdoor home-improvement projects cost little to nothing, except for your time. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) suggests some of the following property improvements:

Get out your pruning shears: If your home is on the market, keeping the lawn mowed is a given. Keeping plants and flowers watered is also essential. Pruning trees, shrubs and other greenery is more easily overlooked, but it is one of those touches that will make your home stand out. Follow a pruning guide, like the one provided by Better Homes and Gardens, to get the most out of your efforts.

Dig into some mulch: Mulching is another often overlooked landscaping project with a tremendous impact. It helps conserve moisture, protects roots, discourages weeds, and other benefits. You can choose between all-natural mulches and decorative mulches, such as stone. You can even use compost that you create yourself or mown grass and fallen leaves.

Show off your green thumb: Purchase outdoor containers that complement your home’s style and plant something unusual or interesting, NAR suggests. Place plants on the patio or around the home’s entrance to immediately create a more appealing exterior. Plant bright flowers and foliage to provide a splash of color.

Clean up your home’s exterior: Spend a weekend cleaning your gutters, windows and especially your siding, among other exterior items. Rent or purchase a power washer for a very affordable price to really make your home shine.

  1. Add a Coat of Paint

Like a wash and wax for your car, a new coat of paint makes anything look better and brighter. To improve your home’s value and attract buyers, consider a fresh paint job, inside and out.

The “safe” advice is to choose neutral colors, such as beige and off-white, and to avoid vibrant or gender-specific hues such as orange, purple or red. However, safe isn’t always the best bet, argues real estate agent Todd Kroepel. “Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and décor … ignores the fact that most buyers lack the ability to visualize the home differently,” he cautions. Don’t be afraid to add splashes of color and a touch of texture—it can be good to leave a dash of style evident.

Consider painting an accent wall in your living room with a contrasting color, or add some texturizing product instead. Adding hand-painted borders in the bathroom, by using stencils that run vertically or horizontally, is another classy touch.

Before painting, outside or in, ensure that the surface is clean and properly prepared. Use a primer to cover previously unfinished areas or bare wood, to better cover over dark or bold colors, or to block out stains. Inside your home, sand surfaces slightly if you don’t use a primer, to help paint adhesion.

  1. Update the Kitchen or Bathroom

Everyone appreciates a well-put-together and comfortable bathroom or kitchen. Renovations to these two rooms usually generate buyer interest and offer a high rate of return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Updates don’t always require a large expenditure and a messy, lengthy remodeling period either. Some of the simplest things can change the entire feel of the room. Do as much, or as little, as you choose—just don’t get too attached to the results.

Replace sink and bathtub fixtures: Switch out generic faucets and handles for newer, better-quality hardware. Think about using brass for a startling contrast, or select a style completely different from the current one.

Install a new sink: As long as you’re replacing faucets and such, why not replace the bathroom or kitchen sink as well?

Refinish the cabinets: Solid wood responds well to sanding and refinishing with stain and a polyurethane top coat, or even paint. Newer cabinets often require refacing with veneer instead. Veneer kits make the job fairly simple: Adhere the material to the cabinet box (the portion left after removing doors and drawers) and then purchase new drawer fronts and cabinet doors to complete the makeover.

Upgrade your countertops: Replace laminate with stone, tile or even a concrete countertop. If you have old ceramic tile, clean or regrout to refresh the look.

Add lighting and accessories: Think in layers when it comes to lighting. Adding accent lights or task lights in any room of the house makes it more visually appealing. Other little touches include changing door knobs, light switch and outlet covers, or installing ceiling fans or a medicine cabinet. Consider swapping old light switches with dimmer switches or energy-saving, programmable lighting controls.

Highlight energy-savers: Speaking of saving energy, programmable thermostats, upgraded insulation and proper weatherproofing are music to many home buyers’ ears.

While you can hire professionals to do the work for you, rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself will increase the amount you recoup when you sell your home. Each project will increase the value of your property, no matter where you live, and help you sell your home faster.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy. #100, El Cajon, CA 92019

Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772

Email Stephen@StephenNissou.com
Cal BRE # 01443193

Protect Your Home While It’s On The Market

Ready to sell your home? Besides dusting every nook and cranny and pulling weeds from the garden, don’t forget to protect yourself and your home when it’s on the market! Here’s a few ways on how to protect your home while it’s on the market so that you can feel more at ease.

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Hide the Valuables
Don’t keep high-end valuables visible in your home while it’s on the market, including jewelry, collectibles and other items that are easy to steal. Keep a safe in the home with the valuables locked up, or secure a safe deposit box at your local bank to keep them in while your home is for sale. Another thing to hide? Your social security number, bank information, blank checks, prescription medications, and anything else that someone is able to snatch while undetected.

Inform your Neighbors
Had an open house or buyer showing? If you’re not returning home directly after, inform the neighbors to check to be sure the doors were locked in the home. This will keep your home safe from unwanted visitors who know your home is for sale.

Accidental Property Damage
Potential buyers want to know the ins and outs of your home. Many will want to test the appliances and facets for functionality. Will they remember to turn off the gas burners and the bathroom sink? Avoid property damage that’s caused by fires, water damage and other threats by asking your realtor to communicate these concerns to the selling agent. The selling agent can double check to be sure everything is OFF before leaving the property.

Gun Safety and Dog Bites
You might think your gun is well concealed in your bedroom closet or nightstand, but potential buyers will poke around to get an idea of storage space. If you keep a gun in your home, make sure it is unloaded, locked in a gun box and completely out of sight. It will prevent accidental injuries and theft. And if you’re a dog owner? It’s best to remove the dogs from the premises. It will make your home more appealing to non-animal lover and eliminates the threat of dog bites. If you can’t remove your pets from the home, secure a crate that can be placed indoors or out, so that the animal is safely contained during the showings.

Slips, Trips, Falls
If someone gets hurt on your property, they may hold you liable and sue. Since potential buyers aren’t familiar with your home, make sure to prevent inquiries and lawsuits with preventative measures such as; repairing loose and uneven flooring (check porches and decks), remove ice and snow from the walkways and steps, secure rugs with non-slip padding, keep hallways and stairwells clear of clutter, and make sure your home is well lit (both inside and out).

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com

CalBRE # 01443193

How to Clean and Maintain Your Gutters

Your gutters take care of your house, but who’s taking care of the gutters?

Cleaning and maintaining your gutters is just as important as changing the oil in your car.

Why Gutters Need Cleaning

When your gutters get clogged, you’ll see waterfalls pouring from their edges in warmer weather, and icicles glittering along the bottom in winter. That’s not the worst of it. Improperly cleaned and maintained gutters can lead to:

Water leaks inside your ceiling and adjoining walls: Water exerts a tremendous amount of pressure. Like most things, it will find the path of least resistance. For some homeowners, this spells water damage inside the ceiling and walls (which leads to further problems).

Siding issues: Invading water can lead to mold and rotting wood – not what you want inside your home’s walls. Unfortunately, by the time the damage becomes obvious, it’s typically too late.

Damaged or detached gutters: The weight of waterlogged debris can cause gutter attachments to give, resulting in a fallen gutter.

Basement and foundation damage: Water is relentless. If it doesn’t drain away from your house properly, it can flood the basement or crack the foundation. It won’t get better without repair.

Tips for Cleaning Your Gutters

Most homeowners need to clean their gutters twice a year. First, in October, or when the trees are almost done shedding their leaves. Late spring is another good time, if a second cleaning is needed. If they haven’t been cleaned for a very long time, the job may be more difficult. Keep several tips in mind when cleaning gutters:

Wear leather gloves and long sleeves while cleaning your gutters to protect your hands and arms. You may encounter sharp edges, hidden screw ends, or other hazards.

Spread plastic sheeting over shrubs and decorations you do not want exposed to the cleaning.

Position a wheelbarrow, trash bin, tarp or plastic sheeting on the ground under your work area. Throw the debris onto the tarp instead of carrying a garbage bag up the ladder with you.

Set up your ladder on a stable area near a corner of the house (close to a downspout). Never stand above the third step from the top of a ladder or reach more than a couple of feet to the sides to prevent falling.

Avoid resting the ladder against the gutters. Use standoff stabilizers (ladder horns) to keep the weight off the gutters if needed.

Starting at the corner downspout, work away from it, scooping out any leaves, dirt and debris.

Scrub inside the gutter, if needed, with a soft- or wire-bristled brush.

Flush the gutters, using a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle in order to create water pressure. Move the water through the gutters and out the downspouts.

Snake any downspout that appears clogged.

Clean the outside of the gutter, using hot, soapy water, and wash away any splatter or spills on the siding.

Gutter Maintenance and Repair

Slow down the debris accumulation in your gutters to make maintenance and cleaning easier. Some repair and maintenance tasks you may be able to perform yourself include the following:

Adjust the gutter slope if water doesn’t flow readily and the downspouts are clear. Gutters should run downhill toward the downspouts at a rate of ¼ inch per 10 feet of travel.

Install mesh screens or a leaf-catching system. If you decide to buy one of these systems, be sure to get a type that can be easily removed when it’s time to clean the gutters.

Check the gutter system every time you clean it. Look for rust, leaks, or loose connections. Watch for signs of water leaks into the house, dry rot of surrounding wood, or other damage.

To fix small holes, leaks or loose connections, use silicone caulk or gutter sealant as directed.

If your house is taller than two stories, consider hiring a professional. Get estimates from three companies before choosing the one you want to work with.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou
NIssou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
Direct: 619-250-4541  |   Office: 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

Choosing a Kitchen Sink to Match Your Style and Budget

If you’re remodeling your kitchen on a budget – or equipping a new kitchen and haven’t a clue where to start – focus on the kitchen sink. Yesteryear’s limited selection of cast iron and stainless steel can’t compete with today’s stylish, modern sinks.

Simply choose the mounting type and style, then select the material. A new sink will transform your kitchen.

Kitchen Sink Mounting Types and Design Options

In general, your kitchen sink will either rest above or attach beneath the kitchen counter. Understanding installation types, styles and terminology will help you find the sink you really want.

Surface-Mounted Sinks: Surface-mounted sinks drop into a hole made in the kitchen countertop. If the sink is rimmed, it features an exposed flange that meets and seals to the countertop. Self-rimming sinks, on the other hand, lack the flat flange, using rounded outer edges to rest on the countertop instead. Both are fairly simple to install and work with most countertop materials.

Under-Mounted Sinks: For a kitchen countertop that looks seamless, consider an under-mounted kitchen sink. The countertop still features a cutout to accommodate the sink, but instead of dropping through the counter, it mounts to the underneath. The effect is a sleek counter surface. It’s considered a low-maintenance design that looks especially good with modern interiors. Under-mounted sinks work best with solid counter materials like stone and concrete, not moisture-permeable countertops like laminate.

Tile-In Sinks: As the name suggests, a tile-in sink is surrounded by a tile countertop. The sink drops into a hole, like a surface-mounted sink. The difference is the height: Once the tile is installed, the sink rim is actually flush with the surrounding countertop. This makes cleaning the countertop a breeze and calls attention to the beauty of your tile, rather than the sink basin.

Integral Sinks: Some people mistakenly call these “Corian sinks,” but Corian is just one integral sink and counter manufacturer. Integral sinks are made of the same material as the countertop and fused to it, presenting a seamless appearance that’s also easy to keep clean.

Farmhouse Sinks: Another popular kitchen sink style is the farmhouse sink. Rather than referring to how the sink mounts, it’s a design that features a front apron panel. It’s a stylish look that highlights the sink itself. Farmhouse sinks may be under- or surface-mounted, and even tiled-in.

How Many Bowls Do You Need?

Bigger isn’t always better. When selecting your new kitchen sink, consider the size of your kitchen and your work habits before settling on a bowl size or number. Most sink styles are available in single and double bowls, and sometimes triple as well. One bowl may be smaller than the others, especially with triple bowls, which often sandwich a smaller bowl between two larger ones.

Single-bowl sinks work best for smaller kitchens (less than 150 square feet). Triple bowls are the ultimate luxury, allowing you to stack dishes to dry, have dishes soaking, and still peel vegetables in the third basin.

Sink Materials

Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is easy to clean, reasonably priced, and strong. Look for the gauge (thickness) of the steel and the sound-deadening ability. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, making it more durable. Spray coatings and special pads on the bottom of the sink reduce noise. Choose a satin finish, rather than a mirror finish, to lessen scratching. Look for varying bowl shapes for added style.

Cast Iron – Cast iron sinks are coated with enamel and come in a variety of colors. Cast iron is heavy, but a bigger issue is that it chips and scratches easily. Exposed iron will rust, requiring replacement or repair. Also, cast iron doesn’t keep water hot for very long. It’s favored for the glossy finish and stain resistance. Use cast iron with farmhouse sink styles for authenticity.

Composite – Composite sinks encompass three specific types: quartz composite, polyester/acrylic composite and granite-based composite. Of these, the polyester/ acrylic composites are more budget-friendly and provide a shiny look. Quartz composite sinks are more durable. Composed of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler, they resist damage and also come in various colors and finishes. Granite-based sinks are a higher-end choice and offer the greatest scratch and chemical resistance of any sink material.

Take your time when shopping for your new kitchen sink. Look online and at various stores to get ideas and find the sink you’ll love.

Check out our Pinterest page  to see sinks we love! http://www.Pinterest.com/NissouRealty

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
619-250-4541 DIRECT   |   619-873-2772 OFFICE
Email: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

Just Listed in Alpine, CA! 3 Homes on 1 Lot!

Home off Japatul Rd in Alpine, CA, 91901!

3 Homes on an 11.5 acre lot!
Offered at: $375,000 – $419,000
Rare Find!! Zoned A72 and Duplex. 3 homes on a 11.5 acre lot! Cute 3 bed, 2 bath home and an adorable single story house with a beautiful setting to enjoy the quiet and the beautiful views! Unit B is a 2bed/1bath double wide, currently rented for $700/month but valued at $1295. The 3rd home is a 1 bed/1bath single wide. All homes are private and placed apart from the others. Build your dream home on the lot!
2nd lot next door is also available, See MLS #150009041. Package deal for both is $560,000.
To schedule a private viewing of these homes, and for additional information, please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office; 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen NissouNissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
619-250-4541 Direct  |   619-873-2772 Office
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

Suburban, Urban, or Rural: What is Right For You?

If you’re unfettered by a particular job in a particular locale, deciding where to live isn’t as easy as it may seem. Often, a batthel ensues between our heads and our hearts. And the real estate mantr of “location, location, location” does nothing to help us decide which location we might prefer – the city, the suburbs, or a rural setting.

Whether you think that life on a farm is right for you or a penthouse view may be more to your liking, let’s take a look at suburban, urban, and rural enviornments to see if we can shake loose a decision.

Suburban

iStock_000007466198XSmallAh, the ‘burbs. Although Circero referred to the hillside homes of Rome’s wealthy residents as “suburbani,” the suburban boom exploded in the U.S. during the 1950s, a by-product of both World War II and the baby boomer generation.

Returning soldiers, waving their G.I Bill authorizations (now known as the VA loan), were met by more-than accommodating land developers, such as William Levitt, creator of the so-called Levittowns on the East Coast. Since these developments were located just outside the city, they were typically less expensive for veterans than renting a home inside city limits – thus their popularity.

By the 1960s, uburbanites made up one-third of the nation’s population, according to the history channel. Today, the trend is reversed, or so says Time’s Leigh Gallagher. She cites the “endless sprawl” of subrbia as one of the reasons “more and more American’s don’t want to live there anymore.”

The most significant characteristics of the suburbs are:
Subdivisions
Shopping malls
A greater population dentisyt and fewer agricultural acres than rural areas.

Examples of suburbs include Canoga Park in Los Angeles, Bayside in New York and Oak Park in Illinois. Smaller cities have suburbs as well, such as the many outlying areas of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The suburbs are ideal for those who want a small-town vibe with big-city amenities, a quick commute to work in the nearby city, and a yard of their own.

Urban

downloadUrban is a word that connotes different things to different people. It can mean grunge, crime and congestion, or it can bring up images of energy, camaraderie and anonymity.

Urban areas are crowded. In fact, that’s part of the definition of a city: An increased density of humans and their structures make up the urban jungle. The 2010 census tells us that 82 percent of the country’s population lives in urban areas.

A study published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that all this congestion plays havoc on a city dweller’s internal clock. “The researchers say these changes to their biological rhythms could lead to more health problems and shorter lives. The study also found that city living makes us active for longer and less rested,” according to The Independent. Weigh that problem, however, against the stress of a long commute from the suburbs and it may all work out in the wash.

Examples of major urban areas include New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Medium-sized cities include Fort Wayne, Ind.; Cape Coral, Fla. and El Paso, Texas.

Urban areas are generally more expensive than rural areas, with higher food, housing and transportation costs. Cities are ideal for people who crave convenience, proximity to other people and instant gratification.

Rural
rural-livingIf it’s not a city and it’s not a suburb, and there are plenty of wide-open spaces, you are in a rural community. In fact, 98 percent of the United States is considered rural, yet only 25 percent of our population lives there.

Experts break down rural areas into villages, with a population between 200 and 800; hamlets, with populations less than 200 and isolated dwellings with just one or two buildings for a family – such as a farm.

Rural areas offer solitude and less crime than you’ll find in both urban and suburban settings. Agriculture is the primary industry here, so if you fancy yourself a rancher or farmer, this might be the ideal location for you.

Although most Americans live in cities, most of the world’s population lives in rural areas, according to National Geographic. Rural areas tend to be less expensive compared to urban and suburban areas.

Examples of our nation’s rural areas include Alpine County, Calif.; Lincoln County, Mont. and Addieville, Ill.

Deciding where to live has to do with your budget, your job and the type of lifestyle you’re seeking.

Downtown, the lights are bright and the hustle and hum may be soothing to some. Others crave dark, starry nights and the sounds of wildlife. Still others want the best of both of those worlds and choose the spot in between.

Life is full of compromises and the debate over which offers more – suburban, urban or rural – will continue. In the end, it all comes down to individual preference.

So, which is right for you? Comment on the blog and let us know! When you’re ready to look to buy a home in the area that’s right for you, do not hesitate to contact me!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
Direct: 619-250-4541   |   Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com

CalBRE# 01443193

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Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring_Cleaning_Tips

With our busy lives day to day, we never realize just how much clutter and grime can build up in our homes. With spring in the air, now is a better time than ever to clean and refresh your home just the way you always intended! Efficiency is key here, so be sure to start with a list and prioritize from room to room, or even by project. With this timeline, you’ll be able to stay on track and the task won’t seem so daunting.

Begin with the kitchen cabinets. Organize your items into four groups by emptying out every cabinet and diving them into these four groups: keep, relocate, donate, or toss. Clean and wipe down shelves and doors, and use a vacuum for all those nooks and crannies. For the items you’ve decided to keep, be sure to dust and clean them.

On to the pantry, check expiration dates of all the foods, and if the packages are well sealed so that they do not diminish. If you have an abundant amount of canned foods, consider donating them to a local food bank.

Clean and disinfect your sink (and don’t forget to use the correct product for the type of sink you have.) Clean and shine the faucet, and clean/deodorize your disposal.

When cleaning your oven, be sure to use the appropriate product for the appliance you have in your home. If your oven is the self-cleaning type, use the clean cycle, and once it’s cooled down, wipe the inside of the oven down thoroughly, including the racks.

The stove and the hood are typically next on the list, after your oven. Clean the exterior of the hood and remove the exhaust filter to clean it. Be sure to soak the exhaust filter in very hot, soapy water, then clean with a scrubbing brush and rinse/dry thoroughly. Sometimes, your filters can be placed in the dishwasher (be sure to check the manual before doing so.) When cleaning your stove, start by taking removable parts off like the knobs and the grates, then wash or soak in hot water. Clean and shine the surface of the stove with a safe product that won’t scratch. Sometimes, using a soft cloth to clean is all you need.

For the dishwasher, clean and shine the outside panel, and wipe the edges to remove food particles. Add ¼ cup of bleach to a dish cycle to clean and kill the bacteria that is inside your dishwasher.

Like the pantry, remove everything from your refrigerator and toss the old, expired foods. Don’t forget that you should make a shopping list of what foods need to be replaced if expired. Clean the shelves and the bins with warm, soapy water and then organize the items back the way you want them. To absorb odors, place a new box of baking soda inside the fridge and have it opened.

When cleaning a room, always clean the floors last. Vacuum what you can and be sure that before you start, the vacuum has a fresh bag or clean canister. Always be sure your floors are dry before replacing any rugs.

We get it, closets can be extremely overwhelming. Evaluate your space for functionality and decide if you need to move or add shelves, or a bar for hanging clothes. Make a list and plan for any type of modifications. Categorize the contents of your closet as you go, and put them in four groups: keep, relocate, donate, or toss. Vacuum, dust, and replace only the items you want to keep.

Finally, the least fun area of the house to clean, the bathroom. Clean ceilings and walls so mold doesn’t form, scrub the shower walls and floors with the right bathroom cleaner, then thoroughly rinse and dry. If your shower curtain has seen better days, update the look with a new one. Polish the shower head, the knobs, and the drain, then clean under the sink and medicine cabinets. Dispose of old medications correctly. Then polish mirrors, glass, and faucets, and clean the sink and toilet. Finally, always keep cleaning products and tools available in the bathroom so that it’s easy to touch-up and clean daily.

For more tips, check out our Pinterest Page – Nissou Realty.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 619-250-4541 |   Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
www.StephenNissou.com

Home For Sale in Old Rancho San Diego!

Turnkey ready home for sale in Old Rancho San Diego! A 1 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,881 sf home with 3 car garage with plenty of parking in the driveway for guests. Granite countertops in kitchen with fresh paint. Community features 2 pools, basketball courts, tennis courts, and two parks! Elementary and High School are within walking distance. This is a great home to raise a family and is on a quiet street. Downtown La Mesa, Target, 24 Hour Fitness, Edwards Cinema, Sushi, Italian, Mediterranean, and many more restaurants nearby.

Seller is entertaining offers between $399,000 – $449,000.

For more information, and to schedule a time to view the property, please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office: 619-873-2772
Email: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
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Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen NIssou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193