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October 2020

Found 9 blog entries for October 2020.

Come Saturday night, Halloween in Costa Mesa is going to be a lot different this year, for sure—but for one large group of individuals, it won’t differ from any other year.

Driving around Costa Mesa lately, it looks as if the witches, goblins, black cats, skulls, and skeletons are as numerous as we’d expect—and there are plenty of pumpkins. Still, on trick-or-treat day, the youngsters will have this year’s candy haul somewhat curtailed.

In regular years, officialdom’s warnings to parents are limited to measures like checking the little goblins’ Halloween booty to eliminate unpackaged treats. But this year, in addition to the social distancing measures, the CDC is advising parents with two new DON’Ts:

Do not use a costume mask as a substitute

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They were at it again last week—the party-poopers who wanted to quibble about what newspapers and broadcast media were proclaiming: a shattering of the record lows in mortgage interest rates. For Costa Mesa real estate followers, the argument missed what is most important: the bottom line that the rates being offered continue to create a heady environment for home buyers and sellers.

“Don’t Believe This Week’s Mortgage Rate News” headlined the Mortgage News Daily, which once again picked apart the underlying figures published by Freddy Mac. The government-sponsored entity had reported a mind-bending average rate on the 30-year mortgage of 2.80%! That, wrote Freddy, constituted “another record low…amid the release of new housing data reinforcing how

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As it relates to Costa Mesa residential properties, the “location, location, location” homily is usually thought of as referring to neighborhoods. Homes in superior Costa Mesa neighborhoods are visibly well cared for, usually have larger footprints, appealing architecture, etc. Their higher resale values are self-sustaining because their buyers can afford attentive maintenance.

But the locationX3 adage can also be valid for how a property is sited. Costa Mesa listings that read like absolute steals online can sometimes prove the point (one that remote buyers without local representation can learn to regret).

A fabulous home situated in the wrong place can be a mistake waiting to happen.

  1. An otherwise exceptional Costa Mesa home
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You can forgive those responsible for the Costa Mesa family shopping if they tend to be suspicious when we go for long without hearing much about inflation. Last Wednesday’s Associated Press headline, “Yes, your grocery bills have gone up,” probably confirmed their feeling from recent supermarket forays. Earlier, the AP had already reported a summer surge at the nation’s grocery stores, illustrated by the fact that July rang up the biggest monthly gain since late 2018. September’s rise (.4%) “was bigger than economists had been expecting,” constituting the sharpest rise since May, which was when pandemic-triggered shutdowns at food processing plants caused a 5.6% spike in prices.

Yet, inflation-wise, Costa Mesa home budgets have emerged relatively

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The U.S. News & World Report weighed in last week with a quite useful list: housewarming gift ideas that are both thoughtful and practical. The entire list ran to 15 entries—some less appropriate than others (right now, the “hummingbird feeder” might be more appreciated come springtime)—but for most Costa Mesa readers, on the whole, it presented a very useful compendium.

It spurred a wider search for other lists that have appeared in recent years. Here, in addition to some of the U.S. News ideas, are ten good ones:

  1. Customized return address stamp or stickers.
  2. Personalized doormat.
  3. A choice item from a favorite local Costa Mesa business.
  4. Cooking herb planter.
  5. Step stool.
  6. Keyholder (a tray, bowl, or set of hooks).
  7. Personalized
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When yahoo!finance (the exclamation point is part of the title) puts residential real estate at the top of their feed, a fair number of Costa Mesa readers are apt to come across it. Last Thursday, such was the case with the commentary, “U.S. will ‘become a renter nation,’ says real estate investor.” The report was offered by a reliable reporter, Sarah Paynter—and since the byline included a promise that time-crunched readers would welcome (“2 mins read”), Costa Mesa web surfers probably checked it out.

The real estate investor quoted in the title was making the point that the current historic high residential prices are making homeownership more and more difficult for many to afford. “If you keep pushing prices, you’re pricing people out,” was his

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Ask any grandparent: “is it actually true that Costa Mesa mortgage rates averaged more than 18%?” They’ll tell you. It happened. And that was less than 40 years ago.

The reason to revisit such an unimaginable scenario isn’t that anyone expects Costa Mesa mortgage rates to repeat that history anytime soon (or anytime, period). It’s useful to recall because the current era of incredibly low home loan rates has been going on long enough that it’s beginning to seem to be the natural order of things.

Psychologists recognize the human tendency called “normalcy bias”—the inclination to overestimate the likelihood that current circumstances will continue. That would be harmless enough, were it not for the fact that it leads otherwise rational humans to

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Last month’s U.S. News article headline looked promising: “The Guide to Understanding Your Home Value.” What Costa Mesa homeowner isn’t at least curious about that? Written by U.S. News’s real estate editor, the piece addressed a slew of informational tidbits, some of which are not as commonsensical as you’d think.

Chief among them was a description of “the process of calculating” your home’s appraised value and how that relates to its market value. The relationship between the two—and the reasons they are different—is illuminating. A couple of the tidbits:

FALSE: “…your property value is based on what a buyer is willing to pay for it…” This sounds like it should be true, but it’s not. Unless the buyer is able to buy it singlehandedly, the

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October arrives on Thursday, which means it's time for homeowners to set aside the hour or two it takes to carry out an annual October home safety check-up. October is widely deemed the appropriate month for attending to this kind of annual exercise—after all, it is Fire Safety Month.

Especially this year, Costa Mesa residents who spent a greater amount of time indoors than usual may find some extra safety-motivated vigilance is called for. Here's a 10-point checklist of areas most likely to need your attention:

  1. Rugs. If the ends have curled, add non-slip backing corners or double-sided adhesive tape to prevent tripping.
  2. Extension cords. Reconfigure any extension cord octopi that could become fire hazards. Replace frayed cords, for sure.
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