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Aug 31

Autumn Home Checklist: Ways to Prep Your Home for the Fall Season

Autumn Fall Kid Leaves

While people on the East Coast might not believe Californians have to prepare for the fall season, those of us who live in the Golden State know better. From cooler temperatures to rainy weather, Trumark Homes is prepared for any season. However, there’s always that added precaution you can take to better protect your belongings from the approaching seasonal changes. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the fall season:

Indoors

  • Put safety first! Have your furnace inspected by a professional to ensure safe operation throughout the winter season and aim to get it done during the heat of summer to avoid contractor’s busy season.
  • Check all weather stripping and replace anything that has degraded. Nothing drives up heating bills like a cold air leak!
  • Check your windows thoroughly. Window shades, blinds, and even curtains can add an extra layer of insulation between windows and the ambient room air.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure the chimney and flue are cleaned out before you plan to relax by the fireplace.

Residential Energy Services Network has a great infographic about preparing your home for the fall season as well if you’d like some additional tips.

Outdoors

  • Clogged gutters can cause problems during a heavy rain.  Although we’re in the middle of a terrible drought, the occasional storm may still roll through. When the days start getting cooler, climb up that ladder and clean out the gutters before the rainy days commence.
  • Clear away any dead branches, brush, and dried up annuals. Not only will it make the yard look nicer as the year progresses, it will also help protect your home against end of the summer fires.
  • Although we rarely see snow in California, we do see overnight freezes. Protect outside plumbing like hose bibs by insulating them with pipe wraps and Styrofoam covers.
  • If you have a pool, chemistry is still important even though the water has cooled. Proper pH is essential to prevent corrosion or calcium deposits. Check with your local pool supply store for recommendations on your specific type of pool.
  • If your property has trees that drop leaves in the fall, use your compost to make room for the expected influx, and make sure your rake is in good condition.

Popular mechanics has some additional tips on preparing your home for Autumn including a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything. Lowes has tips on how to close your pool for the off-season.

Aug 24

Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Creating a Dog-Friendly Home

chihuahua dog

We all love dogs, but before bringing a new furry friend into your home, you’ll want to ensure a safe environment is already established. Just like people, dogs learn the routine once they get used to it, but it takes time. Until then, some patience is required while your pet learns the rules. Even after the pet is comfortable, it’s still up to the human to keep the pet safe at home. Check out the below tips that will have your pet just as happy to move into a new Trumark home as you are!

General Tips

  • Dogs, especially young dogs, like to chew. Keep anything you wouldn’t want in your pet’s mouth out of reach, such as, shoes, electrical cords, and more.
  • Know the plants in your yard and consider removing anything poisonous like oleander.
  • Keep the toilet lid down, especially if you use long-term cleaning products.
  • Secure the garbage by using cans with lids, or keep the cans inside cabinets.
  • Ensure there are no fence holes or loose gates as they provide an easy escape route.
  • If you have a pool, make sure the dog knows where to find the stairs to get out.
  • Find more tips at Rover.com.

Puppies

  • Puppies, like toddlers, are still exploring the world. There will be mistakes, so be patient.
  • Consider using a temporary gate to keep the puppy in one room until housebroken.
  • Use bitter apple spray, available at pet stores, to create a bad flavor for anything you don’t want chewed.
  • Make sure stealth poisons like onions and chocolate stay out of reach.
  • Keep antiques, special furniture and clothing well away from any puppy, especially while teething.
  • Find more tips at americanhumane.org.

Older Dogs

  • Older dogs usually know the rules, so it’s more about making life comfortable for an aging pet.
  • Joints ache as dogs age. Consider using ramps to help your pet upstairs or to elevated spaces.
  • Minimize slipping by using plastic runners or non-slip rugs on uncarpeted surfaces.
  • Provide soft bedding to make the dog more comfortable while sleeping.
  • Keep the path between bed, food, and water clear of clutter. You’ll also want to check this often if you also have children in the home.
  • Don’t neglect exercise and play to help keep the dog’s mind and body active.
  • Learn more at VetDepot.com.

 

Rescue Dogs

  • Rescue dogs often come with unknown or traumatic backgrounds. Some can suffer PTSD if they experienced abuse. It takes time to adjust, get comfortable, and recognize a safe home and family.
  • Provide a variety of toys until you learn what your pet prefers.
  • Consider crate training the dog. Many rescue dogs find comfort in a den where it can take refuge and feel safe, and it will prevent overnight destruction.
  • Learn more at thebark.com

 

Bringing a dog into your home is an adjustment for both dog and family. When given a proper environment and affection, your new pet will love you back with that special look in the eyes, a wag of the tail, and a lick of the tongue.

 

Aug 17

Drought Watch: How to Conserve Water this Summer

Faucet Dripping

The average Californian uses a whopping 196 gallons of water each day. While certain types of water use such as hosing off sidewalks and watering lawns to the point of runoff have been banned by the state, there are plenty of other steps homeowners can take to voluntarily reduce their usage.

Household Tips

Your first step towards conserving water is to be mindful of its use. Pay attention every time you turn on the faucet or take a long shower. Cutting your shower time down to five minutes can conserve up to 12.5 gallons of water. Check out some other beneficial changes you can make at home below:

  • Fix pipe leaks as soon as possible. Even minor leaks can waste 110 gallons of water a month.
  • Turn off the faucet while you shave or brush your teeth.
  • Install a high-efficiency toilet in your home to save about 19 gallons of water per person per day.
  • Recycle waste water and use it to water your plants. Instead of dumping your pasta water down the drain, let it cool off and put it in the watering can.
  • Wash full loads of dishes and laundry. Each load of laundry uses 15–45 gallons of water and every time you run the dishwasher it uses 5–15 gallons, so washing in full loads can minimize how often the machines are used.

Gardening Tips

While more and more Californians are opting for xeriscaping, it’s not for everyone. If you want to learn other ways to save water while keeping your plants healthy, see below:

For plants

  • Plant less densely. Crowded plants compete for the same water and must be irrigated more frequently.
  • Use mulch on your plant beds to reduce evaporation.
  • Avoid heavy pruning. Pruning causes more evaporation and produces new growth which soaks up a lot of water.
  • Fertilize minimally to reduce new growth.
  • Water deeply and less often. This will encourage deeper roots and prevent excessive evaporation.

For the lawn

  • Water at night to reduce evaporation.
  • Keep grass tall during the summer. A taller lawn prevents evaporation by shading the ground, reduces sun damage to the grass, shrinks its growth rate, and promotes deeper root growth.
  • Plant hardy, drought-resistant varieties of grass.
  • Remember the State of California protects citizens from any actions taken by homeowner associations or local governments in response to reduced watering. If you’re still keeping a lush green lawn for no other reason than your HOA’s bylaws, feel free to conserve away!

For trees

  • Prune away only dead, damaged, or diseased branches to keep trees healthy.
  • Water ornamental trees heavily once or twice a few weeks apart during spring and early summer. This should be the only irrigation necessary to keep the tree alive through the rest of the summer. However, remember that fruit and nut trees require regular watering throughout the season for a good harvest.

Follow these tips and help us conserve our most precious resource!

Aug 11

NorCal vs. SoCal: Which Is Better For Your Home Purchase?

Sourthern California SoCal Beach

There is no doubt California is a popular place to live. The state houses numerous cities that continuously rank among the country’s hottest metropolitan housing markets. The Golden State’s main two regions, Northern California and Southern California, offer different opportunities and advantages for potential home buyers with Trumark Homes’ neighborhoods found in both.

Despite Northern California covering significantly more area than Southern California, this year’s overall number of home sales in both regions has been similar. According to the First Tuesday Journal, in May 2016, 22,327 single-family residences (SFRs) sold in SoCal, compared to 21,964 from the same month last year.

A variety of factors can affect home sales on a month-to-month basis. Changes in home prices, consumer confidence, negative equity status, homebuyer saving rates, the job market and mortgage interest rates all impact homebuyer demand, according to the journal. The forecast for total sales in 2016 is approximately 225,000 for NorCal and 250,000 for SoCal.

SoCal at a glance

SoCal is often described as the collection of 10 counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Kern and San Luis Obispo.

During the spring season, SoCal’s real estate landscape looked competitive. Low mortgage rates, a large supply of houses and stable job growth led to houses selling quickly, at times more than the listing price.

Los Angeles County, for instance, had a 4.9-month supply of for-sale homes in February this year compared to a 5.2-month supply for the same month last year. The trend was similar in Orange County.

“The realtors consider a six- to seven-month supply market that favors neither buyers nor sellers,” the LA Times reported. Real estate agent Carey Chenoski from the Redlands area said, “The demand is good.” The volume of home sales tends to peak mid-year, however, with the busiest month often being June, according to First Tuesday.

As for location, SoCal boasts two of the state’s most populous cities – Los Angeles and San Diego – and is the epicenter of the music, television and motion picture industry. The climate is consistently warm, dry and often described as Mediterranean.

Popular modes of public transportation in Southern California, according to mymove.com, include:

  • 511 San Diego
  • LA Metro Rail
  • Metrolink, the main commuter passenger railway
  • Los Angeles Department of Transportation bus system

NorCal at a glance

One of NorCal’s main cities, San Francisco, is almost synonymous with outrageously high housing demand (Fortune magazine goes in-depth about what it describes as “the insanity” of San Francisco’s expensive real estate market in this article).

According to Realtor.com, the only area topping San Francisco as the nation’s hottest metropolitan housing market in May, determined by the amount of views per listing and median days on the market, was the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area of Solano County. Santa Rosa, Stockton and Sacramento, which are also situated in NorCal, were ranked fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.

High technology and information industries – from large corporations to innovative start-ups – form the most concentrated economic engine of NorCal (think Silicon Valley). However, with the region extending up to the Oregon border, the economy becomes more diverse. For instance, the rolling hills up north host some of the country’s most well-known vineyards. Climate varies in NorCal, ranging from Sacramento’s summer temperatures that often surpass 100 degrees to the mild yet rainy oceanic temperatures on the northern coast.

NorCal also plays host to several federal parks, such as Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, Death Valley National Park, Kings Canyon-Sequoia Park and others.

The main public transportation options in NorCal include:

  • 511 SF BAY
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
  • Caltrain
  • Sacramento Regional Transit District system

Whether you have an interest in SoCal or NorCal, Trumark Homes offers options, helping you make your future home destination the perfect spot!

Aug 10

Bisnow: Trumark Homes Sells Out Milpitas Housing Development

Trumark Homes co-founder Gregg Nelson recently announced the company sold out a 134-unit residential development in Milpitas known as PACE. The PACE development consists of two communities: detached single-family units at Velocity and townhomes at Momentum.