3 Things to Consider About Buying a Cottage

Buying a second home is an exciting prospect in a person’s life. It allows for a great deal more comfort and convenience, and makes for a significant contribution to a homeowner’s lifestyle. It’s common for homeowners weary of perusing through the various houses for sale in the Bay Area to seek the comfort of a remote cottage. While this might seem attractive to the homeowner with a penchant for the great outdoors, there are a few things to consider before making a decision.


Defining Exact Needs


Before even considering a cottage as the next major residential purchase, it’s important to first define one’s exact needs when it comes to the new home. A person’s preferences and lifestyle must be taken into account here. How often will the cottage be used? Will the owner be prepared to take on regular maintenance tasks for themselves? Does the owner tend to entertain friends often or do they prefer time spent privately? What is the maximum distance that a homeowner is willing to travel between their main place of residence and their cottage? Will the cottage be used all year round, or will it be rented from time to time when it isn’t being used? While it’s great to have extra funds to be allocated to buying a new cottage, many people have essentially wasted those extra funds on a cottage they never use, because it doesn’t match their lifestyle. It’s in all homeowners’ best interests to avoid this situation before it occurs by analyzing exact needs and making an informed choice.




As always, location trumps most other factors when it comes to real estate. Accessibility and environment contribute greatly to the value of a country house or cottage. Generally, buyers tend to seek out a comfortable cottage in an area where they can enjoy nature while having access to necessary conveniences such as a grocery store and medical facility within reasonable driving distance. As is the case with any real estate purchase, it’s important to take location deeply into account, visiting the area in person several times, before making a commitment.




Finally, it’s important for homeowners to assess whether or not the cottage is affordable in the first place. There are significant fixed costs that come with owning a second property: taxes, heating, internet, telephone, electricity, water, insurance, in addition to the time and money investment for upkeep and commuting. Of course, the lawn will need to be cared for, and the cottage will necessitate certain key renovations over time. Before getting fixated too strongly on the idea of buying a cottage, it’s important for homeowners to do the proper calculations and come up with a reasonable figure that they can afford to spend.



5 Ways to Turn an Ordinary Home Into a Smart Home

San Diego real estate listings exhibit a growing trend of home’s featuring select “smart” features. The innovation of smart technology is the future of comfort, after all, so it’s only natural that its applications would extend to a place of residence. While we’re not exactly at the stage of having a futuristic house that’s essentially as cognizant as we are, there are certain highly valued home comforts that technology affords us. The following lists 5 key, innovative technological applications that can instantly make a home seem significantly more intelligent.


Automated Lighting


Smart sockets and light bulbs are available at most home hardware stores to get homeowners started on their futuristic residential transformation. By using these products, a home’s lighting can essentially regulate itself according to the time of day, ambiance, weather, or other settings personally assigned to the system by the homeowner. Even if the homeowner isn’t at home, the lighting system can essentially turn itself on in order to feign the homeowner’s presence and effectively deter burglars. These systems, of course, can be configured remotely from a homeowner’s smartphone.


Sentient Alarm System


Alarm systems can be formatted to work with the manual locking and unlocking of the doors in a home. This can be configured through a single application which can be programmed so that the door of a home unlocks automatically at the exact same time every day. This is a feature that can be accessed virtually anywhere in the world.


Smart Lawn Watering


Homeowners can configure their home’s lawn watering system to work directly with their smartphones. Some lawn watering applications come with data related to weather, soil type, and plant dryness, allowing the sprinklers to function with maximum environmental efficiency.


Smart Thermostats


Smart thermostats connect to radiators, and the two work in tandem in order to fully optimize a home’s energy consumption. Additionally, these thermostats can serve to better control the home’s interior temperature. Smart thermostats can be controlled and configured from a person’ smart device or computer, and allow the homeowner to remotely activate and regulate their home’s air conditioning or heating system. This is a perfect solution for homeowners who own a weekend getaway house and want to get the A/C running a few hours before they arrive.


Intelligent Sound Systems


Homeowners can significantly vamp their home listening experience up with the implementation of a smart sound system. Gone are the days of having to go to a certain room in the house to hear a certain song. These multi-room audio systems and their smart speakers allow homeowners to listen to whatever music they like, in the exact room of their choice, without having to worry about getting a toe caught on a grouping of entangled wires.



4 Advantages to Working With a Real Estate Broker

There’s a good reason why the overwhelming majority of home buyers and sellers opt for the services of a real estate agent when transacting a home: namely because competent, experienced real estate brokers provide consumers with the best possible chance of finding or selling their home on their own terms. To expand on that, here are four advantages to working with a real estate broker.

Legal Documentation

As is easy to understand, there’s a great deal of legal documentation that goes with a real estate transaction. If transacting the exchange on their own, buyers or sellers might fall short in honoring all of the necessary legal documents. Thankfully, real estate brokers necessarily have a command of all the legal documentation necessary for the transaction of a home. This saves buyers and sellers from a great deal of stress and worry.

Peace of Mind

When dealing with a real estate broker, clients are assured that they are selling or buying at a price that’s deemed fair in local market standard. Brokers have access to a wealth of knowledge on the real estate market; their resources go far beyond what a client can accumulate by doing their own research. This is aside from the considerable experience that real estate professionals bring to the professional exchange. All said, buyers or sellers assure themselves the best possible outcome when dealing with a real estate broker.

Increased Visibility and Traffic

While the choice of entrusting a broker with the transaction of a home is, of curse, up to the discretion of the home seller or buyer, it makes particular sense from the seller’s point of view. Basically, when working with a real estate broker to sell a home, sellers allow themselves to benefit from the broker’s considerable network of collaboration, which can consist of thousands of other real estate brokers and their buyers. This means that buyers are working with resources that would have otherwise been impossible to acquire if they dealt with the transaction themselves. Ultimately, this translates to a significantly increased chance of having the home sold quickly and for a fair price.


Bay Area real estate brokers offer their clients protection throughout the entire transaction. When working with an experienced real estate broker, clients are effectively joining forces with a competent expert who is governed by the code of ethics implicit in his or her trade. Essentially, this means that a real estate broker is obliged to honor strict collaboration rules and laws that were put in place to protect the position of the buyer or seller. Again, when dealing with a professional real estate broker, prospective clients are giving themselves peace of mind that they simply won’t get if they choose to take the transaction in their own hands.

The Art of the Deal: 3 Key Tenets of Negotiation

When it comes to the difference between a successful transaction and a failed one, sometimes it all comes down to how well the negotiations were carried out by the real estate professional. For this reason and a few others, it’s important for homeowners to choose the right broker to deal with; when times call for serious verbal fluidity during negotiations, buyers can lean on the expertise of their agent to seal the best possible deal.

A Solid Market Understanding

It’s important to keep in mind that most brokers have access to a wealth of tools that give them privileged knowledge of the local real estate market. Essentially, this means that they’ll likely always be a step or two ahead of the seller during negotiations, at least in terms of market understanding. This sort of direct access to local market insights is largely in a real estate broker’s favor. Competent real estate brokers are fully acquainted with the intricacies of their market, and clients can bet that they’ll come to the meeting ready to lay those facts on the table.

Detached From Emotions

During negotiations, competent real estate brokers remain fully detached from their emotions. This is somewhat easier for a real estate agent to do than a buyer, since they aren’t dealing with their own home and thus have less of a stake in the matter. Aside from that, experienced real estate agents have participated in enough negotiations to understand that bringing emotions to the table will only serve to hamper the broker’s position of power in the exchange. If the client is feeling a surge of emotions during negotiations, it might be best to hold off on commenting for a while and trust the broker’s guidance through the exchange. Prior to the negotiation, it’s important for the buyer and broker to communicate openly regarding the upcoming “game plan”; there should be no room for missteps or errors due to miscommunication prior to the meeting.

A Creative Flourish

Any veteran San Diego real estate professional will tout the veritable artistry involved in the negotiation process. There are a myriad of factors at play during a negotiation that aren’t immediately discernible to those looking in from the outside. For instance, when the two parties reach difficulty in coming to an agreed price, it’s necessary to be creative and find a solution “outside of the box” in order to proceed. Here is where the broker’s experience and creative flourish come into play. For instance, a possible solution to an impasse might be the addition of a desirable appliance or piece of furniture in the price, or perhaps the agreement by the seller to subject the home to certain attractive renovations before finalizing the deal. Additionally, brokers can play with the occupancy date in order to accelerate the final handshake.

A Basic Overview of Industrial Design

A buyer browsing the market of homes for sale in San Diego will more than likely run into a great deal of industrial style homes. It’s no secret why – the industrial design style has risen sharply and significantly in recent decades. This “ultra modern” style is so classified because it perfectly encapsulates what seem to be today’s main design priorities: open spaces, neutral colors, and functional furnishings. Here is a basic overview of the industrial design style.

Where it Came From

The origins of industrial design date all the way back – unsurprisingly – to the industrial revolution. In the past few decades, Western designers and architects have found a wealth of inspiration in the traditional industrial style, and it has progressively been used in modern residential and commercial applications. Industrial design has always been characterized, in part, by the authentic, robust materials that contribute to its aesthetic. These materials, while lush, sharp, and current, are also built to withstand the test of time. The industrial design style is simultaneously an attractive, popular design option as well as a tribute to the industrial age.

A Factory Look

Of course industrial design is characterized by its “factory” reminiscent aesthetic. Factory furniture is replete, with contrasting, more homely furniture items added to the mix, such as study chairs, metal lockers, furniture on wheels, and traditional wooden stools. The fundamental tenet of the style is to repurpose rugged furniture to allow for comfort, aesthetic allure, and efficiency.


Fundamentally, industrial design repurposes old objects reminiscent of the “blue-collar” days and repurpose them for modern use. Essentially, there is very little that is off limits when it comes to industrial design. Any room in an industrial home can feature items or pieces of furniture that were dug out of a hidden section at a flea market or pawn shop. In fact, industrial designers flock widely to pawn shops, procuring hidden gems as accent pieces. These include forgotten typewriters, storage boxes, or barber’s mirrors. Industrial designers are encouraged to take advantage of old, rusted appliances or tools and repurpose them accordingly.

A Modern, Vintage Flair

A distinguishing characteristic to note of industrial design is its centralization on big open spaces. Again, this is largely reminiscent of the commercial world of the industrial age, where factories were built to be vast and open. Those factories also had a tendency to expose the structure’s piping and wiring, a trend that has also followed modern residential and commercial industrial design. Homeowners opting for this design style are encouraged to factor raw materials and weathered finished, as these will better match the sober furniture and accent items that are central to the aesthetic. Go-to materials for industrial design include wood, concrete, metal, steel, and zinc.

4 Things Every Pet Owner Should Consider Before Hosting an Open House

When looking to buy into the Bay area housing market, home buyers are usually prone to using their senses to help them make their final decisions. Which is why setting up an open house with very scented candles, bright colors, or over-stimulating designs are not the best idea. Although they might not believe it, homeowners who have had animals for a long amount of time can actually be at risk of not selling their homes in a time-efficient manner. The following are 5 things every pet owner should consider before hosting an open house.

Where Their Pets are Going to Go During the Visit

Homeowners with both large and small pets are going to benefit from finding a safe place to hide their animals on the day of their open house. This is because during an open house, interested home buyers are going to be walking around a house, opening doors, and leaving them open. This can cause an animal to have direct access to the front door, which can cause them to run away and get lost. More than that, having a large dog present at the showing of a house can cause home buyers to become fearful and uncomfortable viewing the home. Worst of all, having a large dog present during a visit can cause an attack to happen, as a dog might feel as tho it is their responsibility to protect their home from intruders.

How to Get Rid of Animal Smells

Homeowners who share their homes with beloved pets are usually too familiar with the smells that are all around them. As a result, they fail to recognize that their home has a certain animalistic smell to it. When getting ready for an open house, homeowners should find someone to babysit their animals one day prior to the visit. Doing so will give the homeowner enough time to air out their homes, clean their fabrics, and place air fresheners around their home.

How to Hide the Visible Signs of Animals

It is important for a homeowner to hide all visible signs of animals during an open house visit. This means cleaning and hiding litter boxes, hiding chew toys, dog beds, food and water bowls, etc. Home buyers like thinking that there are no pets in a home as this ensures them that no pet-related defects (like scratches) are present.

How to Make the Home Allergy Friendly

There are some home buyers that are going to be allergic to animals, and since losing a potential buyer to allergies is not an option, home sellers need to clean their homes prior to the visit. Passing a broom and vacuum can reduce the effects of allergies.

4 Ways to Fight Odor in a Home

San Diego real estate agents know the importance of presenting a nice smelling home to prospective buyers. Even homeowners who aren’t planning on putting their property on the market anytime soon would benefit greatly from having a fresh, odor-free home. Here are 4 tips on improving a home’s scent.


Smell-Proofing the Refrigerator


While it’s advised that homeowners clear their fridge and scrub it down periodically, strong odors tend to persist unless they’re specifically focused on. When getting rid of odors in a refrigerator, vinegar is the go-to solution. Simply mix a solution of hot water and vinegar and wipe down the fridge’s entire interior space. Allow the solution to sit for up to 20 minutes before wiping it dry with a cloth. Additionally, homeowners can place lemon-halves in all corners of the refrigerator, allowing them to sit in the fridge with the door closed for a few hours in order to fully replenish the appliance’s interior space.


Doing Away With Cooking Odor


It’s no secret that cooking certain foods can lead to noticeable, persistent smells lingering in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the home. Foods such as garlic, fish, and brussel sprouts, while delicious to eat, don’t carry the most welcoming of smells. Thankfully, there’s a solution for that. When boiling vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, or brussel sprouts, homeowners can add some whole nuts such as hazelnuts or walnuts to the boiling water. This will allow the nuts to absorb the food odors as they are released. When cooking fish, homeowners can add some slices of fresh ginger to the frying pan while the fish is cooking.


Masking Cigarette Odor


Homeowners looking to minimize cigarette odor in their home have a variety of scented candles to choose from, and these will fight off a variety of odors aside from those derived from cigarettes. However, there’s a more cost-efficient home remedy homeowners can employ here. By simply pouring a small amount of vinegar onto a wet cloth and shaking it for a short amount of time in a room that smells of cigarette smoke, the odor will be significantly reduced.


Refreshing the Microwave


Just because microwave zaps food particles inside it with incredible energy, that doesn’t mean that food odors are effectively zapped away in the process. The fact is that microwaves, particularly those used several times per day, tend to grow into a source of unpleasant kitchen odors. If the odor seems to have gotten out of hand, and the interior of the microwave seems to have become encrusted through repeated use, the solution is simple. Mix a cup of water with the juice from a whole lemon and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once done, any dirt accumulation inside the microwave will be easy to wipe off, and the only scent within it will be pleasant and lemon-y.



3 Ways to Prevent Landlord Issues

Homeowners in the position of having to sell their home quick for cash will likely end up renting in an apartment complex while they look for their next long term place of residence. Apartment leasing is quite different from home owning in a variety of ways. Lessees have to deal with the other people living with them in the building and, of course, they have to deal with the landlord. This can be an easy thing to do or it can be an incredibly difficult one, depending on the situation at hand and the landlord in question. In most cases, the problem can be resolved or avoided completely by paying attention to the following measures.


Pay the Rent on Time


Those renting an apartment simply must pay the rent on time, every single month. It’s a lessee’s main responsibility, and it by no means should be taken lightly. It’s helpful for the lessee to put themselves in the landlord’s shoes here; the landlord, who has worked for a long time and has spent a lot of money to acquire the property, is entirely dependent on his or her tenants to make their investment worth it. In vetting potential tenants, the landlord does his or her best to ensure that only responsible candidates are considered. Once the initial trust is broken, a landlord has every right to take issue with a tenant. Avoid the tension entirely by paying the bills fully and promptly each month.


Be Honest


Honesty is a fundamental factor in all relationships, including the one between the lessee and the landlord. If, for instance, the tenant expects that he or she will be late on the rent, it’s important to communicate that to the landlord as soon as it’s observed so that some sort of arrangement can be set up. Of course, it’s also important for the landlord to be honest with the tenant, however this is something that the tenant won’t be able to control. What is in control is his or her own personal honesty, which is something that should be exercised in all cases.


Be a Respectful Tenant


Apartment living comes with a certain set of requirements on behalf of the tenant. Namely, the tenant must not be loud early in the morning or late at night, and they must be amicable and respectful when encountering other tenants in the hallway. Essentially, the tenant should behave in a way that sets an example for the other tenants. If a tenant is behaving rudely when encountering those living in the building with them, or they refuse to take the garbage out on garbage days, the landlord has every reason to take issue with the tenant.

The Pros of Buying a Standalone Home



While condos tend to offer homeowners the convenience of living in proximity to city services without spending an inordinate amount of money, they tend to sacrifice a considerable amount of personal privacy in doing so. Despite the walls that separate condo units from one another, the fact remains that everyone who lives in a condo is part of a community of others, so complete privacy isn’t really an option. Buying a standalone home, on the other hand, means that the homeowner lives only with him or herself as well as the family.




Owning and maintaining a home comes with a great deal of pride. It’s a significantly more ‘adult’ residence than a condo, since the homeowner is directly responsible for maintaining every facet of the home, from the yard to the roof. If the homeowner fails in his or her routine maintenance tasks, the home will eventually deteriorate, which means that homeowners need to take it upon themselves to keep it running smoothly. Operating a smooth, well-oiled home offers well-deserved pride to the owner, which by itself can make owning a home worth it.




While there are some truly gigantic condos available on the market, any real estate broker in San Diego will tell buyers that homes by and large tend to offer more walking room than condos. This is especially a priority for buyers with large families, as children need a lot of space to run in around in for them to exert pent-up energy.




Speaking of children running around, there’s no better place for them to do it than in a backyard. While most condos tend to have a balcony, they won’t come with a backyard unless they’re located on the ground floor. Even at that, the backyard is usually shared with other condo owners. Meanwhile, a standalone house has a full, private backyard that the owner can do what they please in. Whether it’s enjoying a day spent by the pool, or relaxing in the gazebo with a hot cup of coffee, backyards offer a ton of enjoyment that homeowners can take advantage of.


Configuration Options


Buyers opting for standalone homes can enjoy the freedom of being able to do anything they want to their homes, any time at all. Whether the homeowner wants to break down a wall to extend the kitchen, or if they want to build one near the living room to allow for a studio, the sky’s the limit when it comes to a standalone home’s configuration options. Meanwhile, condo owners are strictly limited by the condo’s specific conduct ruleset in terms of the renovations that they are allowed to make.



3 Signs That It’s Time to Put a Home Up for Sale

Putting a home up for sale is a deeply personal thing. Some people simply need to sell their San Diego house for a variety of reasons, while others are more passive and open to staying in their current home for as long as possible. For the homeowner who is unsure of whether or not it’s time to find a new place of residence, here are a few signs that it’s time to move onto something new.


The Home Seems Dull and Unexciting


If the homeowner is completely happy with their place of residence and wouldn’t change much about it, there’s little to no reason to put the house up for sale on the market. If, on the other hand, the home seems increasingly dull to the homeowner, it might be time to take the plunge and put the house up for sale in order to move into something new. While a home is fundamentally used as a shelter from the outside world, it should also be a place of comfort, enjoyment, and fun. If the homeowner is bored of even the paint on the walls and the same streets that they’ve been living around for so long, it might be time to put the place up for sale.


The Place is Becoming Unaffordable


Whether it’s because the homeowner’s salary has recently taken a turn for the worse or if their credit has led to a spike in mortgage payments, there are several reasons why a home has grown to be unaffordable. In any case, if the homeowner cannot afford to pay the bills on time, it’s best to move into a more modest dwelling. Owning a home should be relatively stress-free; the last thing that homeowners should be worrying about is whether or not they’ll be able to afford the place they live in for long.


Noticing an Attractive New Home


Even if the homeowner is generally content with the place they’re currently living in, there’s no reason why an upgrade shouldn’t be approached if ever it pops up. Given the currently sporadic state of the real estate market, new homes are being added constantly, and old homes are dramatically dropping their prices in order to compete. Savvy buyers who aren’t deeply rooted in the home they’re currently living in should keep a constant eye on the real estate field, even when they’re not necessarily “in the market”. This way, once an attractive, affordable listing is noted, the homeowner can respond instantly by putting their home for sale and looking into the new property. Great opportunities only come by rarely, and they should be jumped on as soon as they are noticed, lest they disappear for good.