Best Dog Friendly Places in South Orange County

If you’re lucky enough to have a furry best friend, you’ll know that dogs are too good for us on this Earth. That’s why one of the hardest things is leaving your dog at home when you go out. Nobody wants to resist those puppy dog eyes, but some places just don’t allow them. The solution to your problems is here! Check out this list of dog friendly places you can take your BFF (best furry friend, of course) and let your pup soak up the South OC fun!

Restaurants

If you ever find yourself in San Juan Capistrano and don’t want your dog to miss out, bring them to Cafe Mozart! This restaurant specializes in German and Austrian food with an old world European feel. Feel the breeze and enjoy their popular beef stroganoff while chillin’ with your pup as the Europeans do! They’ll even bring doggie treats if your dog is a very very good boy or girl.

Whenever you’re in the mood to wine and dine, head down to Rancho Capistrano Winery! This place is Orange County’s largest winery, so it makes sense that they have room for your furry pals too. Their 3000 square foot patio is dog friendly, and they just might feature your adorable dog on their Instagram page, #WineryDogsofOC. With delectable wines, delicious food, and a comfy-cozy atmosphere, this is the perfect place for you and your (two or four-legged) best friends.

Parks

There are two kinds of dogs in this world: the eaters and the players. While some dogs are motivated by food, others are driven by endless amounts of play time. For the players of the world, take them to the Laguna Canyon Dog Park. There are over two acres of beautiful grassy fields so your dog can run to its heart’s content!

If your dog likes to switch up its turf, take it to the Newport Beach Dog Park where there’s astro turf, dirt, and concrete. This dog park is part of the 16-acre Civic Center park, so there are a lot of things for your doggie to see and explore! The San Clemente Baron Von Willard Memorial Dog Park conveniently has two separated dog parks for big dogs and small dogs. The decomposed granite and grass will be easy on your dog’s paws, and you can always take them on the hiking trail located just behind the parks!

Whether you live in South Orange County or are making a trip here, let your dogs stretch their legs at one of these dog parks!

Beaches

What is Orange County known for if not its beautiful beaches? It would be a shame if our doggies didn’t get to experience the sunshine and salty air. Luckily, there are a few dog friendly beaches for you and your dog to have fun in the sun and sand.

Head to Corona del Mar Main Beach, where your furry friends are welcome from 6-10am and after 4:30pm! For other beach options, cruise over to Laguna Beach, where leashed dogs are welcome from September 11th through June 14th. You can take a walk down to Inspiration Point and Little Corona, where you’ll undoubtedly run into other pups on a stroll as well. Newport Beach is another dog friendly beach, where leashed dogs are welcome before 10am and after 4:30pm.

Outside of these few hours, you can also catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset in these beachy cities where there’s so much to see! Whether you’re just dropping by or staying for a few days, you can explore tirelessly without having to leave your pooch behind!

Shopping

You’ve seen those heiresses on TV and in movies carrying their pooches around with them while they shop. So why can’t you do the same? At these dog friendly shopping centers in South Orange County, you can.

A must-go shopping center in Newport Beach is Fashion Island, and the fact that they’re dog friendly is all the more reason to stop by! Say goodbye to leashing your dog to a bench outside because you can shop with your pup in almost every store! When you and your pet get tired or hungry, end your day at Café Beau Solei, Rustica California Wine Bistro, or Bloomingdale’s 59th And Lex Café, some of Fashion Island’s dog friendly restaurants.

Similarly, the Irvine Spectrum Center allows leashed dogs to roam around the many stores and restaurants. Some store owners will let your pup inside if you just ask, and many of the restaurants have outdoor patios where your doggie can hang out if they’re well behaved! The Spectrum is such a vast space, you can get your shopping done while your furry friend gets their exercise in!

 

Those of us who are dog owners know the feeling of wanting to be with our pets 24/7. If you’re considering moving to South Orange County and want to make sure your four-legged friend feels welcome, call us at The Reed Team. We’ll help you and your pups find the home and community that’s right for you!

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5 Gyms in Laguna to Help Keep Up With Your Fitness Goals

It’s still the beginning of the new year, which means that there’s no better time than now to keep up with your fitness goals! Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started, but it doesn’t have to be with the right gym, trainers, and environment. The best part is that all of these gyms are located close by in Laguna!

 

  1. Barre3

At Barre3, they want you to be at home in your body, wherever life takes you. And they’ll do this by helping you “discover your inner strength” through their studio and online workouts. These classes contain a mixture of athleticism and grace to help you perfectly balance your body, whether you’re working out for 60 minutes or 10. The isometric hold, the small range movements, and the large dynamic movements are all a part of connecting mindfully, targeting focus areas, and building functional strength. No matter what shape or size you come to the gym in, barre3 is designed for everyone in mind. You’re encouraged to modify the poses and movements in ways that best benefit your body type, as long as you’re leaving the gym with better health and fitness than what you came in with! If that’s not enough to convince you, they also boast to consulting a team of doctors, physical therapists, and anatomy specialists to develop their signature 3-step sequence. Rooted in ballet barre, pilates, and yoga, barre3 workouts will undoubtedly have your body and mind feeling strong and balanced!

 

  1. Fitness Elite for Women

All right ladies listen up! Have you always wanted to get in shape, but felt intimidated to try any other exercise besides cardio? Well look no further than Fitness Elite, a facility for women by women. Gather your girl gang and head over to a place where you can feel safe, relaxed, and in good hands. This gym has been providing health and fitness services to women since 1988, so they definitely know their stuff! If you and your girls have different fitness goals, Fitness Elite can cover it all. They offer personal nutrition counseling, yoga classes, one on one training, and even pole training for those who might want to try something new. With all of these options available, it’s time to leave your excuses behind, grab a girlfriend, and go chase those fitness goals!

 

  1. Ruination Crossfit

You might have wondered — what in the world is Crossfit? This fitness regimen consists of movements that are constantly varied, functional, and highly intense. The movements are developed from sports and have aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, and rowing just to name a few. If you’ve never been an athletic person, don’t worry! Ruination not only has over 50 classes to choose from, but also coaches to personally train you and make sure you’re using the correct form in all your exercises to prevent injury. Classes at Ruination are extremely open and flexible, with a variety of classes such as “Barbell Nation,” a class focused on lifting, and “NationFit,” a 60 minute class on getting toned and working up a sweat! In the Crossfit world, there are also WODs (Workouts of the Day), so you can train and work on something different every single day. At Ruination, they believe that in order for something new to be born, something old must be destroyed and ruined. Destroy your old self and build the new you at Ruination!

 

  1. Beyond Hot Yoga

Breathe in, breathe out. Life can get pretty hectic, and sometimes you just need a place where you can be stress-free and relax. Look no further than Beyond Hot Yoga, where you’ll be guided to weave your body, mind, and spirit together for ultimate harmony in your health and well-being. With an experienced and dedicated team of yoga instructors, you will be able to relax, but also be pushed to constantly improve. Yoga will give your body the workout it needs, while also easing your mind into the serenity you desire. It’s all about balance!

 

  1. Juggernaut Training Systems

Maybe you’ve been casually working out, but are looking to step it up a notch. Maybe all that cardio and yoga you’re doing gives you a good sweat, but now you’re looking to grow some muscles. If you want to pick up heavy weights, increase your strength, and “become unstoppable,” Juggernaut Training Systems has what you’re looking for! You can learn the art of powerlifting, which includes three main lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift. Juggernaut also offers training and coaching for those looking to get into weightlifting, which includes two competition lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Getting into lifting requires a lot of discipline and dedication, but the feeling of getting stronger week by week is incredible. And there’s no better gym in South Orange County than Juggernaut to educate and train you on your journey to the platform!

 

There’s no better feeling than taking charge of your life and doing what you’ve always wanted to do! Don’t prolong your fitness journey for another day — find what gym is right for you and conquer those New Year’s fitness goals. You’ve let The Reed Team help you find the right gym, now let us do what we do best and help find the right home for you as well!

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Valentine’s Day: It’s the one day of the year when people are encouraged to be extra lovey-dovey with their partners and do something to commemorate their special bond. Some people take full advantage of this day to plan a romantic evening with the whole shebang, while others prefer to be more low-key and simply enjoy each other’s company.

Whether you’re planning to have a night on the town with your one and only, or a cozy night in with your boo, you can keep the sparks flying without burning a hole in your pocket! Try some of these Valentine’s Day date ideas to keep the night romantic, your partner happy, and your wallet full.

1. BYOB to Dinner

Fancy dinners are a staple for a nice night out, but we all know how expensive the bill can get, especially with the addition of drinks. A bottle of wine at a restaurant can cost up to twice or even three times as much as it would from a grocery store or wine retailer. One way to manage your expenses without forgoing the dinner is to bring your own wine and pay a small corkage fee. Check out these beautiful outdoor restaurants that will surely bring you and yours feelings of amore.

2. Arcade Games

One of the best things to do on a date is to relive childhood memories, and where better to do that than at Dave and Buster’s? South Orange County is home to two Dave and Buster’s locations: one in Irvine and one in Carlsbad. The best part is that Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, which means that it’s ½ off games all day!

3. Plan a Picnic

For some people, going out on a weekday is a little more challenging because of school or work. If that’s you, don’t worry! Gather some blankets, pack some sandwiches, and you’re good to go! Cuddle under the stars in your backyard or maybe venture out to one of the best beaches South Orange County has to offer. You and your honey can still spend a romantic evening together without dishing out too many dollars.

 

4. Steak Dinner at Home

Going to steakhouses are nice, but they can seem overdone if you’ve gone for your birthday, your SO’s birthday, your anniversary, your job promotion… you get the idea. Switch things up with your Valentine’s Day date ideas and cook a steak dinner at home! If you need help, watch Gordon Ramsay’s tutorial. You can either surprise your love when they get home from work or plan to cook together. Either way, I bet you the steaks aren’t the only things that are gonna be heatin’ up in the kitchen. 😉
Valentine’s Day is all about love, but who said love has to be expensive?! If you’re trying to save a little on Valentine’s Day this year because you and your boo are saving to buy a home, give us a call at The Reed Team and we’ll help find what’s right for you.

Top 7 Schools in South Orange County

For prospective homebuyers, just when you thought you were finished with school for good, turns out that nearby schools will still have an impact on your life. Even if you don’t have children, neighborhood school ratings are important to know; they have a significant impact on home values.   

Fetching Top Dollar

A 2017 Public School Review article states that home values can swing from $50,000 to $300,000 solely based on the neighborhood’s school rating. Parents are highly motivated by ensuring the best possible education for their children, and if they have the means, they are willing to pay a premium to move to the right school district.

As a matter of fact, according to a 2013 realtor.com survey, the majority of homeowners (3 out of 5) said school boundaries would impact their home purchasing decision. Of those, 30% would be willing to pay anywhere from 6% to 20% above their budget for higher school ratings (consider this: if an average home price is $500,000 in the area, some of these homeowners would be willing to pay an additional $100,000 simply for a better school). An additional 24% would be willing to pay between 1 and 5% above budget. And many of these school-sensitive buyers also stated that they would be willing to give up amenities such as a pool, accessibility to shopping or parks, or a bonus room in exchange for a better school.

School Rankings

In 1982, the Department of Education established a nationwide ranking system whereby they offer a ‘blue ribbon’ to schools whose students have demonstrated high performance on standardized tests (top 15%), or who have demonstrated significant improvement in test scores over the past 5 years.

Over the last few years, several independent state and nationwide school ranking systems have also developed. One of the more thorough independent nationwide ranking systems is Niche.com, which incorporates both analysis and actual reviews from students and parents.  

Top School Districts:

The following South Orange County school districts have been recognized by Niche.com as ranking in the top 50 of 474 school districts in California, and received an “A-” or more on the Niche.com “report card”. The report card incorporates 10 key factors including academics, college prep, teachers, sports and facilities.

 

 

Top Schools:

National Blue Ribbon schools are generally well-regarded, and these Blue Ribbon South Orange County schools are actually within the 3 highly ranked school districts identified by Niche.com.

The following 7 South Orange County schools have received a blue ribbon in the past 15 years:

 

  • Mission Viejo: La Paz Intermediate, received 2004 (Saddleback Valley Unified School District)

 

If you already own a home zoned for one of the top 7 South Orange County public schools, the good news is that you may be able to sell your home at a premium. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy in one of those neighborhoods, the prices may run a bit higher, but your new home it is likely to maintain its value.

Whether you are buying or selling, our team of experts in the San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, and Dana Point areas can help you accomplish your goals. Feel free to give The Reed Team a call at 949-392-6400.

3 Unforgettable Days in San Juan Capistrano

They say that in the 1800s, San Juan Capistrano was called ‘the only romantic place in California’ by Richard Henry Dana (classic author of Two Years Before the Mast). While it may not be the only romantic place, its architecture certainly speaks of days past, inspiring one author to create the legend of ‘El Zorro’ (the Capistrano-based masked hero that has since appeared in countless novels and movies). The city is home to California’s oldest neighborhood and oldest building still in use (the San Juan Capistrano Mission chapel, founded in 1776).

Thanks to its rich history, the city of San Juan Capistrano retains its romantic appeal, mingling the new with the old. Below are 3 day’s worth of activities that will give you a glimpse into the combination of Native American and Spanish colonial history that has inspired novelists, artists, and the rest of us, for hundreds of years.

Day 1- A Slice of History

  • Montanez Adobe: You can begin your trip back in time by first visiting the Montanez Adobe, built in 1794. It is a small, but well-preserved example of an adobe home built to house Native Americans who joined the San Juan Capistrano Mission.
  • Mission San Juan Capistrano: Head over to the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the 7th of 21 Spanish missions to be built in California. It operated as the center for the community from 1776 to 1812, and still remains in operation for regular services. While the old Spanish architecture and gardens are a sight in themselves, the museum offers the option of a guided tour or a self-guided audio tour (there is a kid-version as well!) which is worth the few additional bucks to help bring the full history to life.
    • The mission used to be home to a huge population of the famous cliff swallows, and each spring they continue to host the Return of the Swallows Celebration, this year on March 19th.
  • Old Barn Antique Mall: If you’re up to it (and it is before 5pm), you have an opportunity to take a piece of history back home with you by visiting the Old Barn Antique Mall. This large building houses several ‘rooms’ full of vintage and antique wares. If you’re willing to search, you may find some unique pieces – and don’t hesitate to negotiate. Be sure to grab a meal or snack and drink some water before you go; you may have to be patient to find the right deal at the right price. Note: this may not be a place for small children, since many of the items are fragile.

Day 2 – A Walk in the Park

  • Caspers Wilderness Park: San Juan Capistrano maintains 8,000 acres of protected wilderness in the Santa Ana mountains. A guided ranger-led tour is offered from 8 to 9:15am most Sundays, otherwise you can enjoy the nature trail hike and other amenities on your own (for example, the playground is a great place to bring small children). Pack some snacks, water or even a full BBQ and enjoy the breathtaking views while getting in some exercise!  
  • The Ecology Center: While we are outside, let’s take a ride over to visit The Ecology Center. Located in a historic farmhouse on an acre of land, their goal is to educate the community about sustainable practices. The staff is passionate and informative; it can’t hurt to learn a thing or two about preserving the precious natural resources that you just enjoyed at the park.

Day 3- A Celebration of Swallows

  • Annual Swallows Day Parade (March 24, 2018): Once upon a time, swallows used to flock to the Mission, returning from their fall migration to Argentina. The celebration of the swallows continues to be a treasured San Capistrano tradition; they currently host one of the nation’s largest non-motorized parades each year. The parade includes marching bands, horse-drawn floats, dancers in traditional attire and more; a true taste of San Juan Capistrano culture.

 

As spring approaches, now is a great time to get out and enjoy the sunshine and history of San Juan Capistrano. There is a lot more to see and do (did we mention the rodeo?), so if you are looking to settle into the neighborhood, our crew at The Reed Team can help you find a home that meets your needs. Just give us a call!

How to Eat Well in Laguna Niguel

Did you know that over one-third of the beautiful city of Laguna Niguel has been designated as open space? Well, if you’re going to go outside and enjoy all that open space, you’ll probably work up a powerful appetite! Laguna Niguel may not be well known for its variety of fine dining options, but you can certainly get a tasty bite of food if you are willing to find a hidden gem in any number of plazas sprinkled around town.

Breakfast/Brunch

Let’s start our culinary tour at Rosetta Coffee Brewing Company for a delicious, handcrafted cup of coffee. The baristas take pains to delight both the eyes and the palate with each individually prepared cup of coffee. If you’d like a sweet bite to go with your coffee, the homemade beignets are fried fresh to order, or check out their other lite fare (don’t hesitate to peruse the secret menu!). Have a seat and enjoy the ambiance while your order is being prepared; the decor is quirky yet satisfying. You may not want to bring a crowd; this place is ideal for enjoying a relaxing cup of coffee by yourself or with a small group.

For a larger portion size, Plumeria offers a wide variety of brunch menu options. This Hawaiian-inspired restaurant is hidden in a plaza in the middle of several furniture and design stores! Don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior, each plate packs a flavor punch. Popular items include the loco moco, eggs benedict with roasted Kalua pork, blueberry ricotta pancakes, portuguese sausage, and mixed (alcoholic) beverages. This is also a great place to try Spam! Casual dining at it’s best; you order outside, then can be seated inside their tastefully furnished dining room or find a shady table outside. Try a weekday to avoid the large weekend brunch crowds for a more enjoyable experience.

Lunch/Dinner

Here are two fun family-friendly places for finding fresh fish that you might favor:

Baja Fish Tacos is a small but rapidly growing Southern California chain is known for its authentic, reasonably priced, quick-serve, mexican-style food. Of course the fish tacos are a must-try, but the enchiladas, burritos, and rice are tasty choices as well (for your friends and family who are not so fond of fish).

Then there is Spikes Fish House. Their atmosphere may be casual, but they take their fish very seriously. They use sashimi grade Ahi for their poke (Hawaiian-style raw fish salad) bowls. Plus, the grilled fish options are always fresh and high quality.

Now, let’s go Italian. Sambuca has a small but intimate vibe, and they take pride in the quality of their food. Since it is small, it can get packed quickly, especially on weekends. If you want to avoid a wait, try them on the weekdays. As with any Italian food restaurant, they have to make a flavorful gravy, delicious pasta (black linguini is very popular), and at least in this case, succulent lamb (who knew?).

And finally, let’s end our tour at Bistro K, offering a slightly more upscale take on an eclectic assortment of foods. Since the owners have Italian roots, the pastas are certainly a good choice (including a gluten-free option), but don’t hesitate to try other items. Some of their most popular dishes include paella, baby back ribs, quiche and coconut cake (didn’t I say eclectic?). If you go on Friday and Saturday nights at 7pm, you’ll be treated to live music.

Of course, there are many more places to eat in Laguna Niguel, but this list will get you started. Bon appetit! And if you’re looking to purchase a home in Laguna Niguel, our team of experienced real estate professionals would love to help you get settled in the area. Just give The Reed Team a call!

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!

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.