Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2016
Four Holiday Lists To Avoid
December is a busy month for so many reasons, not the least of which are the holidays. With a lot of fun to be had and so much that must be done during the month or at least by months end, "to do" lists and lists of lists abound.
To help you reduce stress, have fun, and contribute to the joy of the season, here are four lists to avoid during the holidays:
List 1: Avoid being added to the "must buy a gift for" list of friends and family who aim to buy real estate in 2017 or who are struggling to afford the real estate they own.
The best gift you can give a wanna-be homeowner or a financially-stressed property owner is to stop them from spending hard-earned cash or incurring credit card debt to buy you a gift you probably dont need. Debt reduces the borrowing power of home buyers and puts unnecessary financial pressure on already struggling owners. Intercept friends and family before they hit the mall or online shopping sites. Suggest that, instead of buying gifts, you exchange no-cost promises or experiences:
Sharing Promises: Enlist their help in achieving a goal that youre struggling with and offer to do the same for them. For instance, if youre trying to stop smoking or want to start visiting the gym, and they are attempting to cut back on eating out, make written promises to each other for a two-week stretch this month or next. During the two weeks, you can keep in touch in any way that would help each other stick to their promise and develop a good habit to carry into 2017. Sharing a step toward achievement of a goal is a wonderful gift to give and to receive. Use your imagination to apply this idea to a situation that would suit your family.
Sharing Experiences: Suggest they accompany you somewhere you or they have always wanted to go, preferably a free event or local natural wonder. Select a time that makes sense in December or January and exchange cards or calendar posts to confirm. Time is a most precious gift.
List 2: Avoid being added to holiday party lists without an exit strategy.
Before you accept invitations to parties, dinners, or events, decide how you are going to get home safely. If you wont abstain from drinking or using intoxicants, bring a designated driver as your plus-one, book a two-way trip with a for-hire car service, or sign up for a ride home with the local designated driver service to get you and your car home safely.
List 3: Avoid making lists of extravagances to buy or go further in debt for if you need to start 2017 with less debt or at least the same amount of debt that you have right now.
Media continues with spend-spend-spend hype, but put your personal goals and finance realities ahead of someone elses marketing. DIY gifts - kitchen specialties, photos, wood art, fabric treats - are on trend, so get creative. Shared experiences or traded skills are also great gifts. Offer to show a friend how to do something theyve always been fascinated by. Donate your time or skills to a local charity in the name of someone youd like to gift. Give a family member something special of yours that they have always loved. What else can you think of that takes thought, caring, and sincerity but is not simply more debt. Listen to the chat about unappreciated gift cards and "must be returned" presents to inspire your new gifting >
List 4: Avoid making a New Years Resolution List.
Why start the year listing many things you should do but probably wont? Instead, zero in on one thing - big or small, to do or to end, one-time or a habitthat you really believe will make a difference in 2017 and do it Have fun in December deciding on that amazing action, so youre cheerfully ready to jump in and make 2017 dynamite
> Full Story
Replacement And Disclosure Of Plumbing Fixtures Required
If they havent done so already, California owners of single-family residences have slightly less than thirty days to replace any noncompliant plumbing fixtures on their property with water-conserving ones.
This requirement is the result of a state Senate bill SB 407, Padilla that was signed into law in 2009. The bill spelled out a number of requirements and restrictions going forward from the time of its passage until its last mandate -- dealing with multi-family and commercial property -- that takes effect January 1, 2019.
So, what are the noncompliant plumbing fixtures that need to be replaced? That is spelled out in section 1101.3c of the California Civil Code.
"c Noncompliant plumbing fixture means any of the following:
1 Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
2 Any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush.
3 Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
4 Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
Of course, many homes are already compliant. Federal law has required such fixtures be sold since 1992.
SB 407 also contained a disclosure requirement that comes into effect January 1, 2017. It is stated at section 1101.4c of the Civil Code. "On and after January 1, 2017, a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property shall disclose in writing to the prospective purchaser or transferee the requirements of subdivision b [that all noncompliant fixtures be replaced] and whether the real property includes any noncompliant fixtures."
The required disclosure has two parts. First, the seller -- not the agent -- must tell the buyer that the law requires that the property have compliant plumbing fixtures. Secondly, the seller must tell the buyer whether the property has any noncompliant fixtures.
Currently, there is some potential for confusion and/or uncertainty here.
Probably the most important matter has to do with point-of-sale requirement. That is to say, "Does the law mean that escrow cannot close unless all noncompliant fixtures are first replaced with compliant ones?" No. As a 2012 article Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures provided by the California Association of REALTORSCAR states, "There is nothing in the law that requires the installation of water-conserving fixtures as a condition of sale."
Note, though, that some local jurisdictions counties or cities may have their own ordinances dealing with these matters.
More than a few people have noted that the existing statutory disclosure document the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement, or, commonly, TDS already contains a question regarding Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures. It is the last "check box question" in the three column array at Section II A. of the TDS. The box is to be checked if the subject property has water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Does checking the box suffice to meet the new disclosure requirement at Civil Code 1101.4c? No.
For one thing, the TDS check box format does not meet the requirement that the seller inform the buyer of the law requiring compliant fixtures. Secondly, it does not inform the buyer of the existence of any noncompliant fixtures. Suppose you had a low-flush toilet, but not a water-conserving shower head. How would that information be conveyed via the check box format?
At this point, CAR, through its Standard Forms Advisory Committee has proposed to add a question to its commonly used, but not legally mandated, Seller Property Questionnaire SPQ. This would ask the seller, in a yes-or-no format, if he or she is aware of "Plumbing fixtures on the Property that are non-compliant plumbing fixtures as defined by Civil Code Section 1101.3."
While this would satisfy part of the new disclosure requirement, it would not comply with the requirement that the purchaser be told that the law mandates that all such fixtures be replaced.
To do a proper job of making the required disclosure, it is probably going to be necessary for brokerages, and perhaps local REALTOR associations, to craft a separate disclosure form.
Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way. His email address is .
> Full Story
6 Great Holiday Decor Ideas To Amp Up Your Curb Appeal
Stumped about how to make your home stand out at the holidays for all the right reasons?
You dont have to clean out Home Depots inflatable character aisle to make it festive. A few tips can take it from plain to just plain amazing.
1. Highlight your architecture
Have some great architecture to work with?
"Edging the roof, windows and doors makes your homes own charming features stand out big time," said House Beautiful.
2. Take advantage of your landscaping
Net lights make decorating so easy your little kids can do it, and when laid out over hedges, they bring a festive look with minimal effort and expense. If you have trees in your front yard, wrapping the trunks in net lights brings the beauty without the pain of having to weave lights around individual branches. Hanging icicle lights or snowflakes from random branches is a great finishing touch.
3. Spread the love
Gates, fences, front porches, and walkways are great opportunities to extend your dcor and call attention to the propertys features.
4. Dont forget about your front door
A simple wreath is an easy way to set a welcoming holiday tone, and the choices are endless, whether you go with store-bought or decide to make your own. But, its just the beginning of the inspired ideas for your front door.
"Giveyour front door the city glam you loveby filling lanterns with shiny ornaments, and adorning with a black and white polka dot ribbon how very Kate Spade of you, as in this outdoorvignette from Dimples amp; Tangles," said Elle Dcor.
5. Christmas trees arent just for indoors
How about bringing a Christmas tree up to your front door...and then leaving it there. Just be sure to use weather-proof ornaments.
If you dont have room for a full-size tree, this mini-version - replete with wrapped gifts wrap empty boxes if youre worried about theft creates a charming vignette, especially when paired with the ribbon-wrapped garland surrounding the door.
6. Have a ball
How fun are these lighted chicken wire balls? Theyre a surefire way to make your home stand out at the holidays. "Placing various size balls of light across the lawn is an innovative Christmas yard decoration idea everyone loves," said Christmas Lights Etc. "By wrapping Christmas lights around chicken wire balls, you can create a whimsical scene in your yard that leaves everyones jaws dropping. All you need for this DIY Christmas decoration is chicken wire,strings of LED mini lights, and wire cutters. HGTV has an easy DIY tutorial so you can make them yourself.
DIY Home World
> Full Story