Why Joining a Real Estate Agency is a Smart Step Forward

You know the feeling. The new year is upon you, and you aren’t where you want to be, health-wise, relationship-wise, and career-wise. You decide to make some New Year’s Resolutions that you hope you will follow. We understand. We like this New Year’s Resolution Worksheet. So what if your main goal is to jump-start your career in real estate? At The Reed Team, we know the value of collaboration and the synergy among our agents that can help you achieve your career goals in 2018!

Why Join an Agency?

The real estate business is a tough business. In Southern California it can be very lucrative and very competitive to tackle it on your own. Joining a successful team can shorten the time of your learning curve. A good team will be open and forthcoming with helpful advice, and give you the inside scoop on the business. Also, very few buyers or sellers want to trust someone who is just getting started, and feel more comfortable if that person is connected with a well-known real estate brand, like The Reed Team.  

 

It’s Complicated

A successful real estate agent is working on all cylinders: managing complex personal relationships between sellers and buyers, keeping up on all the latest real estate trends, staying connected with the clients, keeping all the paperwork in order. Makes you tired just reading that sentence, doesn’t it? That’s why a real estate team can help, by providing some much-needed assistance so that you are not a one-person band trying to do it all yourself. Some people are not truly committed to their real estate careers: they take some classes, get certified to list properties, and consider it a success. But we want you to have the career of your dreams, and to make the income you desire, so we will help you get there!

Shutterstock / Olivier Le Queinec

Shutterstock / Olivier Le Queinec

Be Teachable

Maybe you’ve just ended another career and have decided to get into real estate. Maybe you’re fresh out of school and this is your first foray into the business world. Either way, it will pay off for you to be teachable and learn all aspects of the business.

 

  • Show Homes
  • Oversee Inspections
  • Assist Appraisers
  • Host Open Houses
  • Hang Signs

 

A team allows you the time to sharpen these skills under the guidance of professionals. Regardless of career choice, there are always bumps in the road where you just don’t know the answer to a question, and that’s where the mentoring is invaluable. Plus, in today’s very competitive real estate environment, the team concept allows a new agent to manage all aspects of a successful real estate environment. Think about what you need to know:

 

  • Great people skills in managing difficult situations
  • Self-motivation
  • Pro-active follow-up
  • Marketing and branding skills
  • Legal negotiation knowledge
  • Leading-edge understanding of social media

 

You can leverage the Reed Team brand name and track record that will give your clients confidence. Plus, you will have the time to find your real niche to drive leads and sales.

 

It’s a New Year. You’ve decided to make a change for the better and cut a new path toward an exciting career goal. Call us and we can talk with you about making that resolution a reality!

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What to Look Out For When Buying a Home in South Orange County

It’s been said that you should go into marriage with your eyes wide open (and once you get married, you should close one eye). If that is true, then buying a home should be similar. As one of the most important financial decisions you can make, you should go into it with both eyes open, too. Here are a few things to watch out for when in the market for a new home:

 

Size up the Competition

According to The Orange County Register, this spring roughly 30% of homes in Orange County sold over their asking price. At least one of the causes is lack of inventory; historically over 9,000 homes are placed on the market in May each year. This year fewer than 6,000 homes were listed. As a result, housing prices have gone up, and in some cases, bidding wars have pushed the sale price way over the listing price. Finding a home that fits your criteria is becoming more difficult. [Sidebar: note that interest rates are still historically low, and housing prices are likely to continue to climb for a few more years, so it’s still a good idea to buy now].

Before you start shopping for a home, it’s a good idea to shop for a mortgage. Getting at least 3 good faith estimates allows you to compare the APR of each offer, and select the bank with the lowest rates. In some cases, you can negotiate a better deal with your preferred lender because you have an offer from the competition. Once armed with how much you could feasibly borrow, and an idea on how much you want to spend on a monthly mortgage payment (don’t forget to add in up front costs and additional monthly fees like utilities, taxes, etc), you can be ready to make an offer that you know is realistic for you.

Armed with the information about your price limit and preferred lender, you can go in for the kill as soon as you find a home that fits you. In a seller’s market, the seller could receive multiple offers. You may have to differentiate yourself from the competition by getting a good offer in first, adding a personal letter (tug on their heart strings a bit), throwing in a gift (one buyer had a gift basket delivered to the seller, complete with treats for their children!), or adding a perk for the seller (not necessarily monetary; ask your agent for ideas).

 

Find out If It’s All Good in the ‘Hood

This is a common rule of thumb: don’t buy the best house on the block. Housing values are closely linked to comparable homes in the neighborhood, so if the surrounding homes are half the price, you don’t have a good chance of getting what you paid for it, even if you make improvements. If you see your house as an investment, you should maximize your odds for turning a profit. The better approach is to buy a home in a great neighborhood that needs some work. Once you fix it up a bit, you have an immediate increase in value. So check out the comps in your prospective neighborhood and try to make sure the asking price doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Once the house has passed the neighborhood price test, gather some more information about the area, as this can also affect your future home value. Are there apartment buildings or rental homes on the same block? If so, your neighbors may not be as invested in maintaining the value of the neighborhood as you are. Visit the neighborhood at different times (morning, afternoon, night, weekends) to get a feel for the community, and even what your potential morning commute would be like. If it is new construction, it’s a good idea to ask the neighbors how good the builder is at addressing issues that come up after you’ve moved in. Lastly, check into the type of schools that are zoned for the house; even if you don’t have children of your own, the type of school could affect the resale value by up to 20%.

 

Perform Quality Control Testing

Don’t skip the inspection. Some home repairs can be very costly not only in terms of money, but in terms of your comfort. For example, a roof that is in poor condition can spring a leak and literally wet the bed. Or water can hide out in the attic or walls, causing mold (yikes!) and expensive repairs later. Replacing the roof can cost over $10,000, and mold remediation isn’t cheap either. For older homes, there could also be an issue with outdated electrical circuitry and plumbing; increasing the chances for fire hazards or water damage.

Speaking of water, a good inspector will check to make sure that water is draining away from the house instead of pooling near the foundation. If the foundation is shifting or cracking due to water damage, the water drainage issue will have to be addressed, the foundation may have to be repaired, and other symptoms may have to be resolved.

Do yourself a favor and hire a good inspector; a good real estate agent will know of a few. In the likely chance that you still choose to buy the home; at least the inspector will have identified a list of things that should be repaired. This list is invaluable because you can use it to ask the seller to make the repairs, or negotiate the price down and be prepared to make the repairs yourself.

If you are looking to buy a home in South Orange County, The Reed Team can help. Contact us today!

Top Farmers Markets in South Orange County

“Would you like a sample?” A brightly colored, and lovingly prepared bite of fresh fruit is wafting sweet fragrances your way. You have no idea what it is, but take a bite, and a burst of flavor explodes in your mouth! You buy a bag of the organic fruit. The morning sun, gentle breezes, and smells of freshly baked breads and hand-crafted salsas greet you as you move from vendor to vendor.  

With many California farms within a few hour’s drive of South Orange County, fresh sun-ripened produce is available at your fingertips. Buying locally grown fruits and veggies is a way to get the most flavor and nutrition out of your food.

One way to ensure you are getting local ingredients is to buy your produce at a nearby farmer’s market. There are several certified markets in South Orange County. When the farmer’s market is “certified”, this means that inspectors visit the site where the produce is actually grown to ensure that it has been grown in California, and that it is being cultivated by the registered vendor. You can be confident that the produce is local and fresh; straight from the farm (or garden) to your table. At these outdoor farmer’s markets, along with fresh fruits and veggies, you can typically find flowers, nuts, honey, eggs and plants year-round. Artisans such as jewelry and craft vendors, prepared food sellers, and musicians come alongside growers to sell their wares and stimulate your senses.

Here are a few of the best farmer’s markets in South Orange County, in no particular order. Why not visit them all?

 

San Clemente Village Certified Farmer’s Market

Avenida Del Mar & Seville    

Sundays, 9am – 1pm    

This market is not large, but is very well situated. The market is by the beach, and vendors are set up in one long line, which makes it easy to navigate. During peak season, the line of vendors spans several blocks. The stands are on the sidewalk right in front of storefronts, boutiques and restaurants, offering a wide array of choices for dining and shopping.

San Clemente Village market offers a lot of organic options, delicious artisan-baked breads, hand-crafted pestos and dips, fresh fish and shellfish, eggs and honey. You can also find fresh pasta, soups, mushrooms, truffle oil, flowers, kettle corn, tamales, and household items, among other things.

It’s best to get there before the rush, like before 10am (but not before 9:30am since people may still be setting up their booths).

Laguna Niguel Certified Farmer’s Market    

27241 La Paz Rd.    

Sundays, 8am – 12pm     

This market is unique in that it offers a surprisingly wide selection of authentically Asian vegetables that can be hard to find. Vendors also sell a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables. Some of the treats include nuts, berries, mushrooms, grass-fed beef, honey, jelly, and baked goods. You can also purchase tamales or empanadas to snack on while exploring the market.  

The New Dana Point Certified Farmers’ Market

Pacific Coast Hwy. & Golden Lantern

Saturdays, 9am – 1pm

This dog-friendly market offers a number of prepared food options, such as tamales, rotisserie chicken with BBQ sauce, coffee, naan, freshly pressed juices, dips, pesto, and baked goods. Farm fresh eggs are also available. Free samples are generously offered so that you can taste before you buy. While you are munching, the vendor might offer a treat for your pooch, too!

A few items here that you cannot find at any grocery store include: art, jewelry and other crafts, soaps, clothing and other handmade goods such as cheeses, specialty oils and vinegar.

Old Capistrano Certified Farmer’s Market

El Camino Real/Forster & Yorba St. in SJC

Spring and summer: Wednesdays, 3pm to 7pm

Fall and winter: Wednesdays, 3pm to 6pm

Located in Downtown San Juan Capistrano, this market is just one block south of Mission San Juan Capistrano. Fresh flowers and produce, kettle corn, gourmet tamales, honey, nuts, fashions, jewelry and other treats await you.

This may not be the peak season for produce, but you will certainly find some novel Christmas gifts at any one of South Orange County’s farmer’s markets. Many visitors from the area say that discovering what’s new at the market has become a weekend tradition. You just never know what you’re going to find!

If you are looking to settle down in beautiful South Orange county, you can enjoy these markets year-round.  Here at the The Reed Team, we would love to help you find a home that works for you! Contact us today.

Holiday Events for the Whole Family in Dana Point

Each year, the holidays can offer a great opportunity for families to spend time together. We know, you’re probably looking forward to a day or two of doing absolutely nothing after the holiday rush. But there may be a few worthwhile activities that you can do before or right after the holidays that get the whole family making memories together. Check out the ones we found this month in Dana Point and the surrounding areas. You never know, it may inspire a new holiday tradition for your family!

Gingerbread Extravaganza at the Ritz-Carlton

Where: The Ritz-Carlton, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point

When: November 19 – January 2, all day

What: The Ritz-Carlton Executive Pastry Chef Sylvain Haage and his team create a gingerbread extravaganza each year. This year they will have spent more than 500 hours creating a one-of-a-kind display out of gingerbread, candy and other sweet treats for your viewing pleasure. The littlest details can sometimes be the most delightful.

Gingerbread Academy at the Monarch Beach Resort

Where: 1 Monarch Beach Resort North, Dana Point

When: December 23rd and 24th, 1pm – 3pm

What: If the Gingerbread Extravaganza at the Ritz-Carlton sparks your fancy, and you suddenly feel inspired to make a gingerbread house of your own, never fear –  the Gingerbread Academy is near! The pastry team at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point offers an opportunity for families to receive tips and tricks as they make their own family gingerbread houses. Everything you would need to create a gingerbread house, including all the decorations, is provided with admission. You will also have access to a holiday treat bar, a glass of sparkling wine (for Mom and Dad), and photos with Santa, if you so desire.   

Winter Fest OC

Where: 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

When: December 21st – January 7th (Note: Dana Point residents will enjoy a 50% discount on Saturday, December 30th with ID.)

What: Winter fun awaits the whole family at the Orange County Winterfest. Each night, there is a Christmas tree lighting, parade and fireworks. The wintery adventure also includes ice tubing, a snow mountain (fresh snow blown in daily), and ice-skating under the stars. Experience a holiday light maze, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, Santa’s petting zoo and other attractions. Entertainment includes carnival rides, live shows and festive music. And apparently, Santa and his reindeer can be spotted flying over the fairgrounds on Christmas Eve.

New Year’s Eve Celebration

Where: Civic Plaza and Central Park – 22232 El Paseo,  Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

When: December 31, 5pm – 9pm

What: Ring in the New Year family-style! Well, almost. The event actually ends at 9pm, but it is free for the whole family! If you are looking for a New Year’s celebration that is safe and fun for all ages, take a drive over to the city of Rancho Santa Margarita and join in the festivities. You can expect to find food, music, inflatable rides, interactive crafts, roving entertainers, games and a dance party (don’t worry, you still have a few days to start working on your moves).

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Dana Point Wharf

When: You’ll have to check this out next year!

What: A dazzling display of holiday lights adorn many of the private boats at the Dana Point wharf as they compete to be awarded for the “Best Use of Holiday Lights”. You have to book early, space runs out fast. You can get more details about the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights and other great light displays in our blog, Best Holiday Lights in Laguna Beach and Nearby Towns.

We hope you enjoy your holiday season, and maybe even make some new holiday traditions! And when you are ready to think about purchasing a home in the Dana Point or surrounding areas, feel free to give The Reed Team a call. Someone from our crew would be glad to help you find a home that works for you and your family.

 

Best Holiday Lights in Laguna Beach and Nearby Towns

There are few things that get us into the holiday spirit more than lights! Glimmering holiday-themed lights adorning houses, landscaping and even boats add to the magic of the season. Laguna Beach is known for its idyllic canyons overlooking the ocean, as well as its appreciation of the arts; celebrate both at the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy. Nearby marinas offer a spectacular backdrop for holiday lights and even fireworks! For a more low key holiday light experience, cruise through a few neighborhoods that go all out for the holidays.

 

Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy

Where: Laguna Canyon

When: Saturday and Sunday – Dec 16th and 17th from 10am to 6pm

What: Tap into Laguna Beach’s historical celebration of the arts at the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy. Over 175 artisans from Laguna and all over the world showcase their original artwork, surrounded by festive holiday decor. The unique shopping experience offers one-of-a-kind creations, an outdoor winter wonderland setting, cameos from Santa, outdoor cafes, and live holiday music. Handmade artwork includes glass, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, textiles, painting, photography and mixed media.

While you are there, you might want to look into signing up for the beginner to advanced art classes offered through the Sawdust Art Festival artists. Many of them are simply for a few hours one day, so no long term commitment is required!

 

Newport Landing Holiday Lights Cruises

Where: Newport Landing: 309 Palm Street, Suite A, Newport Beach

When: Cruises run Dec 1st -31st, 2017

What: Newport Beach ships and estate owners create an annual parade of holiday lights that kicks off with fireworks! The official Christmas Boat Parade runs from Dec 13th to December 17th. While you may be able to see the lights from the land, the best view is from the water. And although this may not be within the borders of Laguna Beach, it is worth the short trip to experience the dazzling holiday display shimmering on the marina.

 

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Dana Point Wharf

When: Friday and Saturday, December 15th and 16th

What: Another short drive from Laguna Beach for a unique holiday light experience. At Dana Point, if you book early enough, you have a chance to become part of the Boat Parade of Lights! Get onboard one of the vessels decorated with lights, and set sail to join the competition for the Judges Choice Best Use of Lights. Not only will you meet private boaters, but the evening includes holiday music, dazzling light displays, and enchanting harbor scenery. If there is no availability on the boats, you can still enjoy the fun from the wharf.

 

Homes Spreading Holiday Happiness

Next time you are passing through Laguna Niguel or Lake Forest, take a drive over to a few neighborhoods that go all-out for the holidays.   

Where: 2011 Elder Court- Laguna Niguel

The entire street participates in a Christmas light display that sparkles with holiday cheer. Lights strung between houses dance to holiday music.

Where: 24952 Greenbay Drive- Lake Forest

This house displays over 40,000 Christmas lights and over 100 Christmas display figures each year. Lights blink in sync with Christmas songs you can tune in to hear over the car radio. A neighboring house also blinks in sync.

 

And if you are looking to enjoy the culture and beauty of Laguna Beach (and surrounding areas) year-round, The Reed Team can help you find a home that suits you. Give us a call (or text) today at 949-392-6400.

Surf’s Up, San Clemente!

You can feel the warm sand between your toes. The cool ocean breeze caresses your face. As you look out to the horizon, you can see a heavy wave cresting, then barrelling. Unexpectedly, you catch sight of a lone surfer riding the wave to the shoreline, expertly harnessing the power of the ocean. Perfect 10.

There is a reason why Surfer.com named San Clemente one of the top 10 best surf towns; the beaches in San Clemente offer some of the most consistent waves in the country year-round. The waves attract some of the best surfing talent, and have for a long time. San Clemente has also been home to major surfing publications, surfboard manufacturers, and according to surfing legend Henry Ford, it was the epicenter of the California surf culture.

Here are a few ways to take advantage of the one-of-a-kind surf culture here in San Clemente:

 

  • Visit the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center, a museum founded by surfing legend Dick Metz ‘for the love of surfing’. You can glide through the history of the sport, including learning about legendary surfers and surfboards, and how boards have evolved over time. You can view current surfboard art, and even purchase surfboards and other collectibles. Surfing has indeed become a part of the fabric of American culture, and it has a history worth respecting and preserving.

 

  • Get private surfing lessons. There are several ‘surfing schools’ to choose from, offering a way for beginners of all ages (individuals or small groups) to get out and experience the thrill of riding the waves.

 

  • Hang out at the Lower Trestles, a hot spot where some of the best surfers in the world go to catch some of the best waves in the world. This is how great the waves are; the World Surf League (professional surfing competition) has hosted one of their global championship tour events here for the past several years.

 

  • Visit one of the many exciting surfing competitions held year-round in San Clemente. For example, you can check out some of the Western Surfing Association Championship Tour Events, including one coming up December 2 and 3. Watch people in over 20 divisions (from under 8 to over 50 in age) compete for a championship title, and potentially a place in the professional surfing world.

 

  • Go to San Clemente’s 42nd annual Ocean Festival on July 21 and 22, 2018. Next year’s theme is “Greatest Show on Surf”, and the festival offers free events for the whole family. Surfing competitions for all ages play a central role, but there is also a body surfing clinic that is open to the general public. Other fun events include a fishing derby, several races (running and swimming), a lifeguard competition, art and car shows, concerts, a sand sculpting competition, and a highly sought-after rubber duck race, among other things.

What are you waiting for? Get out and snag a wave, or if you are bit more risk-averse, get out and watch someone snag a wave! Who knows, maybe you will make some surfing legends of your own. And if you are planning on buying a home in San Clemente, you can take advantage of its rich surfing heritage at any time! Contact The Reed Team – we’re stoked about helping you find a home that suits you.

3 Home Improvements That Get You the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

You’ll never guess which home remodeling projects generate the best return on investment for a homeowner (based on the 2017 National Association of RealtorsⓇ Remodeling Impact Report)! No, it was not a kitchen or bathroom remodel. While improvements to those rooms certainly result in boosting your sale price, you might not get back all the money you put in.

Here are the investments in your home that will bring you back the highest return:

  1. Surprise! New Roofing

Womp, womp. I know. It’s really not sexy. But wait, you have to think about it from a prospective buyer’s perspective. What good is a new bathroom when water is splashing into it, and it’s not coming from a faucet? Most homeowners expect to do some remodeling to their own tastes when they are purchasing a new home. They want to do the fun stuff, but they want to know that the home is structurally sound to begin with. Knowing that they would have to replace the roof is one of the biggest turn-offs for a prospective buyer.

  • Estimated cost of a new roof: $7,500
  • Estimated cost recovered when the house is sold: $8,150
  • Value recovered: 109%
  1. Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

It’s hard to understand what the previous owner was thinking when they tacked down that crimson wall-to-wall carpet over gorgeous oak floors. But finding hardwood floors beneath the surface is like finding hidden treasure. Shiny new floors are more classy, more hygienic, more durable, and they attract new buyers.

  • Estimated cost of refinishing hardwood floors: $3,000
  • Estimated cost recovered when the house is sold: $3,000
  • Value recovered: 100%

If you don’t happen to have hardwood floors to refinish, installing new hardwood floors is the next best thing.

  • Estimated cost of putting in new hardwood floors: $5,500
  • Estimated cost recovered when the house is sold: $5,000
  • Value recovered: 91%
  1. Getting a New Garage Door

Who would have thought that a garage door makes any difference? But since a forward-facing garage door can make up a large percentage of what is seen from the street, an upgrade can have a big impact on the overall curb appeal. If it is in poor condition, looks outdated, or isn’t working properly, you may just send prospective buyers packing.

  • Estimated cost of a new garage door: $2,300
  • Estimated cost recovered when the house is sold: $2,000
  • Value recovered: 87%

Other Projects with a High Return on Investment

Next on the list were new vinyl windows (more energy efficient), a new steel front door (more stylish and safe), new insulation (energy efficiency is a huge benefit here), and new siding. The return for each of these projects hovers at around 75% of the cost of the improvement.

While a kitchen or bathroom remodel can increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars, it will cost even more money to do the work. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a while, it may well be worth it, just for the enjoyment of it. But if you’re looking to get a return on your remodeling investment, the more practical projects will win the wallets (ahem, we meant hearts) of prospective buyers.

If you’re planning on selling a home in San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Niguel or Dana Point, The Reed Team would love to help. Contact us today!

South Orange County Curb Appeal

Have you given up on the hopes of having the landscape of your dreams? Well, how about creating it yourself? Since winter is planting season, now is a great time to think about your yard. If you are armed with a good plan, you can have a stunning landscape for your South Orange County home.

Do We Ditch the Lawn?

Before we go on, we should probably address the white elephant in the room. Does it still make sense to have a lawn? With water restrictions still in place for Orange County, a traditional lawn might not receive the kind of care and feeding that it should. However, there can be no one size fits all approach. You are the expert on your particular piece of land, and can factor in the specific conditions that affect your property. If you have a small or very uneven yard, mowing alone can be a challenge. You can use native, drought resistant plants, and still have a gorgeous yard. On the other hand, if you have a good sized yard that is relatively flat (at least in some places), keeping a lawn may be a desirable option, as long as you use native grasses that thrive on little water.

Now, Let’s Make a Plan

Creating the perfect yard doesn’t happen by accident, nor does it happen overnight. Keep in mind that you will learn by some level of trial and error; some replanting and transplanting is likely. However, making a long term plan, with short term goals for each season, is a practical approach.

Start by drafting an optimal layout; a quick sketch will do. If you have enough space for a tree, make sure to plan it far enough away from the house so that the roots don’t interfere with the foundation when full grown. Plus we don’t want the foliage to obscure the house. Next, if you have space for shrubs (or other plants that are no more than about 3-4 feet at full height), consider planting those close to the house (or around trees/boulders). Plant shorter (less than 1 foot) plants in front of the shrubs and beside walkways or around trees. Consider adding a walkway (flat squares of cement or natural stone will do the trick) for high traffic areas (and less lawn!). Also it is recommended to use mulch (this includes rocks) around the plants as another method for conserving water by protecting the soil from wind and sun, and aiding in water retention. If you want to learn more about mulch options, this blog provides a helpful starting point.

Select Your Plants

Native plants are all the rage. They support the natural ecosystem and attract butterflies. Because they are low maintenance, you’ll have prospective buyers floating in as well!

Choose plants that have varying heights and colors for visual interest. We have selected a few of our favorites below, but there are a few helpful guides you can use to determine what works best for your tastes and terrain. Glean from the experts at your local nursery on what to buy and how to plant it before you finalize your purchases.

  • Trees: If you have a large enough lot, trees can provide a good source of shade. Palm trees are classic, and the Brahea Armata has blue/green fan-like blades that give a regal appearance. There are several flowering trees, fruit trees or native hardwood trees (such as oak) to choose from as well. Consider adding shrubs, grasses or other shorter plants around the tree(s) to finish the look. Plant this first, since trees take time to grow into maturity.

 

  • Shrubs/Grasses: There are plenty of gorgeous plants that grow to low-medium height, but require no watering once established. Deergrass grows to about 3 feet in height and width. Native perennial penstemons have lovely blue, red/orange and pink flowers, and like gravelly soil. Fragrant English Lavender, Cleveland Sage and Mexican Bush sage have blue and purple flowers and attractive greyish green foliage.

 

  • Short/Ground Cover Plants: The Common Yarrow is a spreading plant that can be mowed (lawn alternative anyone?), with clumps of white flowers. Beach Suncups have showy lemon yellow flowers with silver foliage, and are native to sand dunes. The Canyon Live-Forever is a succulent that grows well in containers or rock gardens; it has red-orange flowers in spring. Showy Stonecrop is a cactus with dainty pink flowers and smooth foliage.

 

  • Containers and Climbers: To complete the look, consider adding climbing plants at a wall or trellis (such as the extravagant and care-free bougainvillia) or a large container for an inviting accent. Note that containers don’t allow the plant to establish deep roots, so more watering may be needed.

 

A great yard takes a some planning and patience, but is well worth the effort. If you are looking for more advice on how to increase the value of your home, or are getting ready to sell, contact The Reed Team today!

A Fun Family Saturday in San Clemente

A splash of sun warms your face. You stretch, pull off the covers, and step outside on the patio of your San Clemente home to feel the weather. A cool breeze calls to you. You are new to the area, and decide that there is no better day to get outside and explore what San Clemente has to offer.

 

Armed with swimsuits, sunblock, sneakers and sunhats, the whole family heads out in the direction of the beach.

  • First stop, Ellie’s Table North Beach for a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, coffee, breakfast sandwiches (made with fresh breads), and your choice of homemade pastries.  Your family gets a table outside to soak in the sights and sounds of the beach. After a satisfying and sweet breakfast, you decide to walk off your tasty meal on a hiking trail.

 

  • With so many trails to choose from within San Clemente and the surrounding area, you decide to keep it low key, and head south along the San Clemente beach trail to take in the breathtaking ocean views. For the older kids, you login to an online scavenger hunt through Puzzling Adventures. The kids have a great time searching for specific items along the way, and (they don’t know it, but) they are also learning fun facts about San Clemente.

 

  • You decide to take a break from your scavenger hunt to take a self-guided tour through the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens.  This well-preserved gem offers a slice of San Clemente history. Once owned by the founding family of San Clemente, the stunning Spanish architecture, staggering vistas, and 2.5 acres of well-maintained gardens make this location a crowd favorite. You decide to grab a light lunch at the cafe and relax in the shade of this gorgeous home.

 

  • You’ve got room for a little dessert, and you pass by a juice bar offering several varieties of fresh-pressed juices, plus a shot of protein and wheat grass… but then Blackbird Artisan Pie captures your curiosity. Apparently it’s time for a pie break! Who doesn’t love a flaky crust? Iced coffee and a personal-sized home-made hand pie satisfy a craving you didn’t know you had.  

 

  • After your relatively slow-paced morning, it’s time for a bit of real adventure! You have set up a private family lesson with one of the many surfing schools for beginners for the late afternoon. You spend 2 hours out on the water catching waves and creating memories. The kids have a blast and don’t want to leave the water!  

 

  • As you trade stories about the waves you’ve conquered, you realize no one wants to cook dinner. Everyone agrees on getting some fresh, authentic seafood tacos at La Siesta, a local Mexican restaurant founded in 1956 and still operated by the original owner’s children. You’re looking for a hearty meal in a casual, family-friendly setting, and this place does not disappoint. After a delicious and satisfying dinner, it’s time to head home.

 

The kids will sleep well tonight. And when you lay your head on the pillow, you can’t help but smile. It’s been a good day.

 

Looking for more family fun adventures in San Clemente? Check out our previous blog post all about Downtown San Clemente and contact The Reed Team to learn more about San Clemente today!

San Juan Capistrano’s Best Grocery Store Deal: Rotisserie Chicken 5 Ways

So when did grocery store rotisserie chickens become such a big deal?

Rotisserie chickens have been sold in grocery stores since the 1930’s, but have really come into their own in the ‘90’s. Like you, the folks at  The Reed Team are spending more time at work, in traffic, hauling kids around had less time to cook. Plus, a rotisserie chicken is the best deal in town. According to grocery experts, the reason they are so affordable is they are considered a ‘loss-leader,’ meaning they pull you in for the chicken, and you’ll buy a bunch of other stuff at the same time.

 

There is so much you can do with a rotisserie chicken! If you’re in a chicken rut, here are 5 fresh ideas for your dining pleasure:

 

1) Balsamic Chicken Caprese Salad

You will love this colorful, tasty dish.Take your rotisserie chicken breasts and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Pour a couple of tablespoons of your favorite balsamic dressing over the chicken and let it marinade while you grab the other ingredients. Wash some romaine lettuce and cut into ribbons and lay it on the platter. Add the chicken, some cherry tomatoes, a sliced avocado and some mini mozzarella balls. Sprinkle additional balsamic dressing over entire salad, and top with thinly sliced ribbons of fresh basil. Yum…

2) Chicken Noodle Soup

Rotisserie chicken cuts your soup prep time..big time. After de-boning the chicken, cut it into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, saute some diced onion along with thinly sliced carrots and diced celery. Pour in two quarts of good chicken stock (homemade is always the best, but hey, we’re talking time-savers, so store-bought will work. Add a little dried thyme and some salt and pepper. Add a can of cream of mushroom soup and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pot and continue simmering. Take some good quality wide egg noodles and drop them into the pot, cooking according to the package directions. When the noodles are done, you’re set!

3) Spicy Chicken Soft Tacos

This is a great dinnertime hack. After you debone the chicken, shred the meat. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the chicken, a cup or two of chicken stock, some chili powder, cumin and a little cayenne pepper. Add a little bit of your favorite salsa until the consistency looks right. Gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Makes a great stuffing for spicy chicken soft or crunchy tacos: just add shredded lettuce, diced tomato and a little shredded cheddar cheese.

4) Curried Chicken Salad

You can pull this baby together in just a few minutes. Stir together ¼ C low fat mayo, 2 teaspoons curry powder and 2 teaspoons of water. Set aside. In a bowl combine 1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken, 1 small diced Braeburn apple, ⅓ cup diced celery, 3 tablespoons raisins, and a dash of salt. Pour the mayo mixture in the bowl and mix to combine.  Add some romaine lettuce or good crusty bread and you’re set!

5) Chicken Tortilla Soup

You can slave over chicken tortilla soup with great results, but again we’re talking easy here. Saute a diced onion, diced green pepper, 1 diced jalapeno and some diced celery in a soup pot in a little olive oil. Add in some chili powder and cumin and stir to ‘bloom’ the spices. Now add 2 quarts good chicken stock, 1 can Rotel tomatoes and a can of regular diced tomatoes. Let that get good and happy on the stove at a heavy simmer for about half an hour. Add some shredded chicken to the pot and let it all combine for another 15 minutes. Serve with crushed tortilla chips on top, along with some shredded cheddar cheese. Tasty. De Nada.

Fun Fact:

Toronto-based casual restaurant chain Swiss Chalet actually has had a cable TV channel that is devoted to showing rotisserie chickens cooking..24 hours a day. Seriously. Every once in awhile a guy comes through with some Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken sauce. It’s become a bit of a cult classic. You can find it on YouTube. You’re welcome.