Check out Vince Vaughn’s Gorgeous California Home

Vince has decided to sell his spectacular Colonial in the heart of Flintridge!

Sitting proudly on approximately 3/4 of an acre this gated estate features 5 bedrooms ,6 baths and is a classic. The grand entry and staircase opens to the living room and formal dining room which is perfect for entertaining. The gourmet, fully equipped kitchen has a butler’s pantry, two dishwashers, desk area, large prep space, center island and breakfast area. It adjoins to the light filled family room which opens to the covered brick patio, salt water pool, lush lawn and sport court.

A rich paneled library, guest room or office, laundry room and powder room complete the first floor. All 5 bedrooms have their own beautifully remodeled baths. The Master is truly a retreat with an enormous walk in closet, spectacular bath with soaking tub, steam shower and views of the yard. This home has an attached three car garage with plenty of storage and drive thru option to the yard.

The quality, craftsmanship and detail is exceptional!. More details:  http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/4319-Woodleigh-Ln_La-Canada-Flintridge_CA_91011_M16095-03511

FEATURED LISTINGS

Homes for sale across Orange County that you might like as much as we do.

Newport Beach | $14,990,000

Bonnie Trent
949.854.7173

Coto de Caza | $10,995,000

Lyn Chadwick
949.280.2109

Corona del Mar | $6,750,000

Bruce Miller
949.689.8686

San Juan Capistrano | $4,295,000

Liz Hansche
949.295.9373

Corona del Mar | $3,998,000

Mina Maghami
949.874.4020

Laguna Beach | $3,450,000

Paul Bihari
949.910.3970

Laguna Beach | $1,850,000

Dana and Denise Hansen
949.500.9607

Anaheim Hills | $1,798,888

The Geronsins
714.602.3557

Huntington Beach | $1,798,888

The Geronsins
714.602.3557

San Clemente | $1,600,000

Ulnick Group
949.370.7140

Laguna Niguel | $1,390,000

Tom Tomaiko
949.228.0606

Irvine | $1,310,000

Julie Tran
714.657.8558

San Clemente | $1,179,000

Candy Flock
949.584.6291

Laguna Niguel | $935,000

Parvaneh Rezaee

949.584.4450

Laguna Niguel | $839,900

Ralph and Denise Kuhns
949.887.9985

Quick Ways to Make Some Shade, But Don’t Forget: Trees Are Best

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

If you prefer a drier cool, as opposed to the misters we mentioned yesterday, read on to find some quick ways to make some shade. Plus, get some tips on getting shade with some quick-growing trees.

Immediate relief

Umbrellas, awnings, and quick-assembly patio tents are quick, although sometimes costly, methods of creating shade instantly.

The ubiquitous patio umbrella—found even in grocery stores for $30—can either stand alone upright or offset, or slip into a hole in your patio table.

Choose an umbrella that tilts, so you can block the sun at any angle. Or get one that’s fabulous, like Frontgate’s Rimbou Lotus Shade, which looks like a giant palm frond. (Cost: $1,795.)

Retractable awnings, a permanent feature of older southern homes, are traditional shade makers for outdoor areas up to 12 feet from your house. Motorized awnings take the fuss out of opening and closing. Depending on size and what kind of bells and whistles they come with, awnings typically cost from $400 to $3,000.

Portable awnings are my favorite, because they make shade wherever, not just areas close to the house. SunSetter’s Large Oasis Freestanding Awning, measuring 16 ft. by 10 ft., can provide 160 sq. ft. of shade. (Cost: $1,549 manual; $2,099 motorized.)

A cloth gazebo (aka patio tent or canopy) is another option that’s great for entertaining. You can go simple and inexpensive ($50 for Target’s Outdoor Patio Pariesienne Gazebo Canopy, though online reviews indicate you get what you pay for). Or you can step it up with the Garden Oasis Lighted Gazebo, complete with lights and netting for $700 at Sears.

Long-term re-leaf

Growing shade trees is the greenest—and slowest—way to block the sun on patios and decks. There’s nothing as cool as sitting under the shade of an old oak tree.

If you can’t wait 20 years for a little shade, plant a quick-growing variety which, in tree language, means it grows a couple of feet or more each year. You can rush the process by paying more and buying big trees, and you’ll see a return on your investment. Here are some species to consider.

  • American Elm: (Zones 2-9) Grows rapidly up to 100 feet tall and 120 feet wide. Adapts to varied climates and soil conditions.
  • October Glory Red Maple: (Zones 4-9) Provides a 35-foot spread and grows to 40 feet high.
  • Sawtooth Oak: (Zones 4-9) Dark green summer foliage turns yellow to brown in fall. Wildlife will love its acorns.
  • Chinese Pistache: (Zones 6-9) Wonderful wide canopy and grows in all but the coldest zones.
  • Natchez Crape Myrtle: (Zones 7-10) Lots of long-blooming white flowers and cinnamon-colored bark.

How do you block the sun from baking your patio or deck in summer? Did you plant a tree a few years back that is now rewarding you with lots of shade? We’d love to know!

Take Back Your Energy Bills — Energy-Efficiency Measures that Work for You

By: Christina Hoffmann

You know that 10 or 20 pounds that you just can’t seem to lose? You do the right thing — eat kale or log time on the StairMaster — but the weight clings. You feel powerless.

It’s like that with our energy bills, too. Eighty-nine percent of us think we’re not using as much energy as we did five years ago, and almost one-half of us think our homes are energy efficient. But 59% also say our energy bills have gone up, according to consumer research by the Shelton Group, a marketing and advertising agency that specializes in energy-efficiency issues.

Call that the Snackwell’s effect, says Shelton Group CEO Suzanne Shelton. Basically, we’re saying, “I bought these CFLs so now I can leave the lights on and not pay more. I bought a high-efficiency washer and dryer because I want to do more laundry without paying more. I ate the salad, so I can have the chocolate cake.”

Unfortunately, that disconnect has led to defeat. We feel victimized by our energy bills and powerless to the point where we’re making fewer energy-efficient improvements. In fact, Shelton’s research shows consumers made only 2.6 improvements in 2012 compared with 4.6 in 2010.

Until the day we all get energy dashboards in our home, we’re here to help you understand why your energy costs are where they are and how you can take back your energy bills.

Hint: You need to do four or five energy-efficient things to see a difference; one or two won’t cut it. But — good news! — they don’t cost much to do.

Energy bills chart

Related: Are Smart Meters Dangerous?

Why Do We Feel Victimized?

We don’t know what we’re buying. Energy is the only product we buy on a daily basis for which we have no idea how much we pay until a month later, says Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation, a research and policy-making nonprofit focused on improving buildings’ energy efficiency.

Energy costs are going up. Inflation is mainly to blame. Your bills are projected to rise on average 2% per year through 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the research arm of the energy department. Expect about 3.4% per year if the economy gets sluggish.

Other trends pushing up our energy usage:

  • A growing population means more homes.
  • New homes are getting bigger, though our families are getting smaller, according to the Census Bureau.
  • We’re plugging in more devices (computers, smart phones, tablets, X-boxes, plasma TVs) per household — and not unplugging them. (More on behavior later.)

In fact, for the first time, energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting accounts for more than heating and cooling, according to EIA.

Still, overall consumption is pretty flat through 2040, thanks in part to:

  • Appliance efficiencies.
  • Population migration to dryer, warmer climates in the South and West.
  • People living in multifamily rather than single-family situations.

We make assumptions.

Assumption #1. Unless a home is old — more than 30 years — we figure it was built to code, which requires a certain amount of energy efficiency. But building codes change pretty regularly, so even newer homes benefit from improvements, says Lee Ann Head, vice president of research and insights with the Shelton Group.

Assumption #2. We think utilities are out to get us: They’ll jack up prices no matter what we do. Shelton’s research shows consumers blame utilities above oil companies and the government. But keep this mind: To get rate changes, utilities must make a formal case to public utility commissions. They’re also on the hook to pay for such things as:

  • Infrastructure upgrades put off for years
  • Efficiencies
  • Equipment repairs after bouts of nutty weather
  • Consumer rebates

Another reason rates seem stuck is because utilities bundle fuel, service, and delivery fees together.

Assumption #3. Our expectations for energy savings are out of whack. When the Shelton Group asked consumers what they would expect to recoup if they invested $4,000 in energy-efficient home improvements, they said about 75% to 80%.

Sorry, unless you invest in some kind of renewable energy source like geothermal and solar, you won’t see that kind of savings. If you do all the right things (we’ll tell you about the best five later), you could expect a 20% to 30% reduction, Head says, particularly if you don’t succumb to the Snackwell’s effect.

What does 30% translate into? $660 in savings per year or $55 per month, based on the average household energy spend of $2,200 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Assumption #4. Many of us don’t know how to make the biggest impact on our homes. That’s why we sometimes replace our windows first, when that should probably be fifth or sixth on the list of energy-efficient improvements, Shelton says.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in new windows. They feel sturdier; look pretty; increase the value of your home; feel safer than old, crooked windows; and, yes, offer energy savings you can feel (no more draft).

But if you spend $9,000 to $12,000 on windows and save 7% to 15% on your energy bill, according to DOE data, when you could have spent around $1,000 for new insulation, caulking, and sealing, and saved 10% to 20% on your energy bill, you made the wrong choice if your only reason for the project was reducing energy costs.

The real reasons for getting new windows are “emotional rather than financial,” Shelton says.

The 5 Things You Should Do to Show Your Bills Who’s Boss

1. Caulk and seal air leaks. Buy a few cans of Great Stuff and knock yourself out over a weekend, sealing penetrations into your home from:

  • Plumbing lines
  • Electricity wires
  • Recessed lighting
  • Windows
  • Crawlspaces
  • Attics

Savings: Up to $220 per year, says EPA

Related: The Biggest Air Leak in Your Home You Don’t Know About

2. Hire an HVAC contractor to take a hard look at all your ductwork — are there any ducts leaking that need to be resealed? — and give you an HVAC tune-up.

Savings: Up to $330 per year, for duct sealing and tune up, says DOE

3. Program your thermostat. Shelton found that 40% of consumers in her survey admit to not programming their thermostat to energy-saving settings. She thinks it’s even higher.

Savings: Up to $180 per year, says EPA

Related: How to Program Your Thermostat to See Real Savings

4. Replace all your light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs. We suggest LEDs, which have fewer issues than CFLs (namely, no mercury), and although expensive are coming down in price. We’ve even seen a $10 model.

Savings: $75 per year by replacing your five most frequently-used bulbs with Energy Star-rated models, says EPA.

Related: Guide to Buying Light Bulbs and Which to Use Where

5. Reduce the temperature on your water heater. Set your tank heater to 120 degrees — not the 140 degrees most are set to out of the box. Dropping 20 degrees could save 6% to 10% on your annual water heating costs, which are 14% to 18% of your utility bills. Also wrap an older water heater and the hot water pipes in insulating material to save on heat loss.

Savings: $18 to $39 per year

Important note: Resist the urge to total these numbers for an annual savings. The estimated savings for each product or activity can’t be summed because of “interactive effects,” says DOE. If you first replace your central AC with a more efficient one, saving, say, 15% on energy consumption, and then seal ducts, you wouldn’t save as much total energy on duct sealing as you would have if you had first sealed them. There’s just less energy to save at that point.

But these practices can help you achieve the goal of shaving 20% to 30% of your annual bill ($440 to $660).

Energy Savings is Addictive. What Else Can We Do?

If you want to go further and spend more, especially if you’re not planning to sell your home soon:

  • Add insulation. Anything you can do to shore up your building envelope is good.
  • If major appliances like your HVAC and water heater are nearing the end of their useful life, research energy-efficient replacements and keep the info where you’ll remember. Otherwise, you’ll make a reactive purchase when the unit finally breaks.
  • Contact your utility about rebates for investing in improvements. Or visit DSIRE, a database of federal, state, local, and utility rebates searchable by state. Energy Star has a discount and rebate finder, too.

A Final Word: Oh, Behave!

Remember the Snackwell’s effect? If your behavior — unplugging chargeable devices from the socket when they’re done charging; putting computers, TVs, and media on smart strips and turning them off at once; reprogramming your thermostat at daylight savings time — doesn’t support your improvements, you’re letting energy, an invisible product, win.

Which Way Should Your Ceiling Fan Turn in Summer? The Cool Way!

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Make sure your ceiling fans rotate in the correct direction to cool you in summer.

We’re having a heat wave; so make sure your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction to move air around the room.

Most fans are reversible: One direction pushes air down, creating a nice summer breeze; the other direction sucks air up, helping you distribute heat in winter. There’s normally a switch on the motor to change the fan’s direction.

Is your fan turning in the right direction for summer?

  • Stand beneath the running fan, and if you feel a cooling breeze, it’s turning correctly.
  • If not, change directions, usually by flicking a switch on the fan’s base.

Typically, it’s counterclockwise or left for summer and clockwise for winter, but the best method is to follow the steps above.

Funny note: We read on Yahoo! that one clever person used bubbles to see which direction his fan was blowing.

Think Your AC Won’t Make it Through the Summer? We’ve Got the Fixes

By: Douglas Trattner

Is your AC making ominous noises? Maybe it sounds fine but isn’t cooling. Here’s a list of common air conditioning warning signs and their likely causes and fixes.

“Let comfort be your guide,” says Tom Hutchinson of Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling. Air conditioning is all about comfort, so the simplest way to evaluate your system is to ask: Am I comfortable?

Air conditioning and HVAC units don’t last forever — 12 years is an average lifespan — and the moment they fail is usually when you need them the most.

The good news is that not every system malfunction spells total doom. Many nuisances are so cheap and easy to fix, you’ll kick yourself for not doing them sooner.

Quick fixes for your AC checklist on HouseLogic
Warning Sign #1: My Air Conditioning Won’t Turn On

Possible cause: Often, the most likely culprit is the easiest to remedy: The thermostat isn’t set correctly, or power isn’t reaching the AC unit.

The fix: Make sure that the thermostat is set to AC or “cool,” that the temperature setting is correct, and that the battery is fresh. Second, check the circuit breaker: It could simply be a tripped fuse.

Cost: Free

Warning Sign #2: I’m Not as Comfortable as I was Last Year

Possible cause: “Airflow is paramount to comfort,” notes Hutchinson. If you aren’t comfortable, the problem usually can be traced to issues with airflow.

The fix: Change the filter. (You should do this as part of regular HVAC maintenance anyway.) Depending on the quality of the filter, the amount of people living in the house, and if there are pets, the filter should be changed every 30-60 days.

Outdoors, make sure there’s at least 24 inches of clearance on the sides and 5 feet on top of the unit. Also, check to make sure there are no obstructions to the home’s cold air returns and registers.

Cost:
$5 to $20, depending on the filter.

Warning Sign #3: My Utility Bills are Abnormally High

Possible cause: A spike in operating costs typically signals inefficient operation. After a dirty filter (warning sign #2), the most likely culprit is a choked condensing coil. Located within the outdoor unit, the coil has countless cooling fins — much like a car radiator — that can accumulate dust and debris.

The fix: Call out a pro for a spring tune-up.

Cost: $75 to $150

Warning Sign #4: Weird Noises During Startup and Operation

Possible cause: Rattling, buzzing, or ticking? The good news is that the cause might be little more than a loose screw. The bad news is that it could be caused by a bum blower motor (indoors) or bent fan blade (outdoors).

The fix: If you’re lucky, a simple tightening here and lubricating there will fix the problem. If not, you might require a new fan motor or fan blade.

Cost:
$75 to $150 for an inspection and tune-up; $150 to $750 for a new blower motor.

Warning Sign #5: The AC Shuts Off Before or Long After I’m Comfortable

Possible cause: Improper placement of the thermostat can wreak havoc on one’s comfort. The unit might be in direct sun, too close to a register, or near a hot oven. Also, a remodel might have you spending more time where the thermostat is not.

The fix:
Relocate the thermostat.

Cost: Free if you’re handy (and plan on reusing the same unit); up to $250 for a new programmable unit, plus another $90 for an electrician to install it.

Warning Sign #6: There’s a Puddle of Water Next to my Furnace

Possible cause: During normal operation, the system generates moisture in the form of condensate. That water collects in a pan and flows out a line either into a floor drain or condensate sump basin. An accumulation of water signals a blockage or disconnection of the tube.

The fix: Inspect the tube for crimps, clogs, and disconnections. Also, if the water flows into a sump basin, ensure that the sump pump is in good working order.

Cost: Free to clean out blockage; $20 to replace the tube; $40 to $110 for a new condensate sump pump.

Warning Sign #7: The Air Coming Out of the Registers Doesn’t Feel as Cold as it Used to

Possible cause: The refrigerant lines aren’t insulated.

The fix: The outdoor unit is connected to the indoor system by two copper refrigerant lines, which should be covered with insulating sleeves. Make sure that they are. Also, the system may need its refrigerant re-charged.

Cost:
$5 for insulating sleeves; up to $150 for a system re-charge.

Warning Sign #8: My AC Unit Refuses to Kick On at All

Possible cause:
Burnt-out compressor

The fix: If the compressor fails, the unit won’t run. The only fix for this is a costly replacement of the equipment, which includes various small parts, new Freon, and labor.

Cost:
$600 to $1,900. It might be wise to replace your air conditioner if it’s more than eight years old, or if the estimated cost of repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new unit.

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

By: G. M. Filisko

While you’d like to get the best price for your home, consider our six reasons to reduce your home price.

Home not selling? That could happen for a number of reasons you can’t control, like a unique home layout or having one of the few homes in the neighborhood without a garage. There is one factor you can control: your home price.

These six signs may be telling you it’s time to lower your price.

1. You’re drawing few lookers.

You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think it’s overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

2. You’re drawing lots of lookers but have no offers.

If you’ve had 30 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes.

Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 30 and you’re pushing 45, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

4. You have a deadline.

If you’ve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or you’ve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: It’s not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, it’s how much money a buyer is willing to spend.

5. You can’t make upgrades.

Maybe you’re plum out of cash and don’t have the funds to put fresh paint on the walls, clean the carpets, and add curb appeal. But the feedback your agent is reporting from buyers is that your home isn’t as well-appointed as similarly priced homes. When your home has been on the market longer than comparable homes in better condition, it’s time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesn’t show as well as others.

6. The competition has changed.

If weeks go by with no offers, continue to check out the competition. What have comparable homes sold for and what’s still on the market? What new listings have been added since you listed your home for sale? If comparable home sales or new listings show your price is too steep, consider a price reduction.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who made strategic price reductions that led to the sale of a Wisconsin property. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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