Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Energy Saving Tips

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Energy Auditing Tips:
1 Check the insulation levels through your home.
2 Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, and electrical outlets.
3 Check for open fireplace dampers
4 Maintain appliances and heating and cooling systems.
5 Look for ways to reduce lighting energy use.

Heating & Cooling Tips:
1 Set your thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer.
2 Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
3 Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing. 
4 when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high [efficiency, low – noise models.
5 For furnaces, look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE. Look for Energy Star models, some exceed 78% AFUE.

1 Compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, provide the same light levels and last about 4-10 times longer.
2 Turn off the lights in any room you’re not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on. Instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it.
3 Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a motions sensor so they will turn on only at night or when someone is present.
4 Turn off decorative outdoor natural gas lamps, just eight such lamps burning year-round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.

Window Tips
In a warm-climate, install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.

(All information contained herein intended as helpful information only. If in doubt about any action, contact a professional.)

Avoiding Identity Theft- Tips and Practices

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Deter – Detect – Defend

1. Cross shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
2. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only when absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
3. Do not put your wallet on a counter.
4. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, the mail, or the internet unless you are familiar with the person.
5. Never click on the links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, use the web addressed you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software on your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit for more information.
6. Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Use a different password and PIN for each account. Create PINs with a combination of letters and numbers mixed up, then memorize.
7. Keep personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house, including SSNs, bank account numbers and PIN numbers.
8. Mail deterrents include: Install a locked mailbox at your residence. Remove mail daily after it is delivered. Or, have your mail delivered to a post office box.
9. DO NOT put your SSN on job applications.

1. Bills that do not arrive as expected.
2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements.
3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
4. Calls or letters about purchases you did not make.

1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports and review them carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts.
2. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers ofr placing an initial 90-day fraud alert, a call tone company is sufficient:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-800-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

3. A fraud alert will get you free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
4. Close any unauthorized accounts. Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your knowledge. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents and the police report file number.
5. Ask for verification that the bad account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
6. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Online: Or call them toll free at 1-877-438-4338 (ID-THEFT) Use the ID Theft Affidavit at the to support your written statement.

Who to call in the City of Brea CA

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
Title Name Phone Email
General Info Receptionist 714-990-7600  
Assistant City Manager Terry Matz 714-990-7770 Email
City Council Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesday 7 PM  
City Attonrey James L Markman 714-990-0901  
City Manager Tim O'Donnell 714-990-7710 Email
Community Service Director Scott Malkemus 714-990-7738 Email
Development Services Director Charles View 714-990-7689 Email
Economic Development Director Eric Nicoll 714-671-4421 Email
Financial Services Director Bill Gallardo 714-990-7676 Email
Fire Chief Al Nero 714-990-7644 Email
Fire Department Business Office 714-990-7655  
Maintenance Services Director Bill Higgins 714-990-7650 Email
Mayor Don Schweitzer 714-990-7700 Email
Personal Director Gordon Youngs 714-671-4446 Email
Police Department Business Office 714-990-7625  
Chief of Police Bill Hutchinson 714-990-7634 Email

Form Library "Click Here"

Utilities and Services  
Animal Control 714-935-7419
Building Permits 714-990-7669
Business License 714-990-7686
Cable Television 888-683-1000
Disposal (Breal Disposal) 714-238-3300
Disposal (Olinda Landfill) 714-834-6752
Electricity (SCE) 714-747-8908
Gas (The Gas Co) 800-747-8908
Gas (Holidays & Weekends) 800-427-2200
Social Security Administration 800-772-1213
Telegraph (Western Union) 800-325-6600
Telephone 800-491-2355
Water (City of Brea) 714-990-7687    

For information on other cities in Orange County Click Here

Sellers, their agents suggest one-two punch

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Invest in face-lift, they say, and keep your asking price moderate

Before putting their Outer Richmond condo on the market, Megan Christoph and her husband, Scott Davis, repainted the entire apartment. They replaced the faucets and showerhead, replanted the yard and had the hardwood floors refinished.

The couple borrowed plants and artwork from friends and bought a new dining room table and chairs on Craigslist. Then Christoph and the couple's two children moved out for several weeks to keep their home pristine for the open houses and tours.

"We were very nervous to be selling in this market," said Christoph, who worked in real estate from 2002 to 2004 before returning to social work. "Out by Ocean Beach is a great place to live, but it's not necessarily where the 20-somethings and 30-somethings want to go. We felt like we had to make it look really good."

While real estate agents say that in any market sellers should put their best face forward by repainting, investing in landscaping and cleaning up the home, they say it's especially true in a down market. The other key to selling a home quickly that becomes even more critical in a slow cycle is pricing, according to agents including Cynthia Cummins, who helped Christoph sell her home.

Evaluating similar homes that sold in the neighborhood, Cummins said Christoph and Davis could have priced the house as high as $625,000.

"They opted to list it for $589,000 to make the price as attractive as possible," said Cummins, an agent with McGuire Real Estate and Christoph's boss during her two-year stint in real estate. "That may have been the single most important thing."

After a little more than two weeks on the market - what Christoph said felt like an eternity - the couple received two offers. They agreed to sell their home for $577,000, less than the listing price, and settled on a 30-day close.

"I didn't feel like I could say no to that," said Christoph. The sale closed May 23 - well before the end of the school year for her children. "I didn't feel like I could ask for those extra 14 days and still close the deal. All I wanted was to close the deal."

The family's experience underscores that it's anything but business as usual for sellers in San Francisco, where home prices zoomed up during the first half of the decade, and year after year of double-digit growth fueled a housing market where it took little more than placing a "for sale" sign out front to start a bidding war.

But San Francisco sellers say those days are long gone.

The median price of an existing single-family home in San Francisco was $850,000 in April, unchanged from the same period a year earlier, according to DataQuick Information Systems. The median price of an existing condo was also essentially unchanged at $783,000 for the same period. The number of single-family homes sold in April 2008 dropped 12 percent, while the number of condos fell 6.3 percent compared with April 2007.

To read the complete article in the San Francisico Chronicle "Click Here"

Lose homes, pay more tax

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Investors in second or multiple homes stand to be among the biggest losers from the housing downturn.   That’s because proposed mortgage bailout programs don’t address second homes and investment properties.  Many owners of multiple properties don’t realize that investments they thought would help them build long-term wealth may in fact leave them in bankruptcy and facing a sizeable tax debt.


Homeowners who borrowed against the value of their second home, or who financed the purchase of their second home and subsequent homes by pledging their primary home or other properties as security, may be liable for taxes on the difference in value should they sell any of their properties for a price less than the value owed on the mortgage.

Under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, a homeowner doesn’t have to pay taxes on forgiven debt if the collateral behind the mortgage is owner-occupied.  That provision doesn’t apply to a growing number of homeowners renting out their second home or investment property.  Of some 7.5 million vacation homes, only about 10 percent are considered owner-occupied, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® (NAR).  Many of these homeowners borrowed against the ever-increasing (or so it seemed) value of these properties to finance improvements or to buy other properties.

There may be a way out for some, one bankruptcy lawyer counsels:  Get a lender to agree that foreclosure “fully satisfies all obligations under the loan.”  That might protect the seller from having to pay taxes on the forgiven debt – although one attorney said, “I sure don’t want to be the one litigating it” in court.

To read the full story in the New York Times, please "click here"

The Latest Pending Home Sales Index and Forecast Release

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

A modest gain in the level of home sales is possible over the next couple of months, and an improvement is forecast for the second half of this year as more buyers are able to access affordable mortgages, according to the latest forecast.The Pending Home Sales Index rose 6.3 percent to 88.2 from a reading of 83.0 in March. It's the highest index figure since last October. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said pending sales contracts have picked up notably in areas undergoing significant price drops. "Bargain hunters have entered the market en masse, especially in areas that have experienced double-digit price declines, but it's unclear if they are investors or owner-occupants," he said. "Sharp price reductions are leading to a quicker discovery of price equilibrium points. The West is already seeing year-over-year gains in pending contracts."

To read the complete forcast and pending home sales index at NAR "click here"

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Contact Information

Photo of Carol and Jim   Real Estate
Carol and Jim
Preferred Home Brokers
3230 E Imperial Hwy, Ste 125
Brea CA 92821

Carol & Jim Chamberlain 714-726-3166 or 714-726-3144                  "Yes, We Can Be In Two Places At Once!"                                              BRE Lic Numbers: 00912962, 01015143