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October 27, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 88 percent of all home purchases and sales were facilitated with the assistance of a real estate agent. In 2013, the typical house “For Sale by Owner” sold for $184,000 as compared to the $234,000 sale price for a typical house sold through a real estate agent. While it is possible to buy or sell a home on your own, there are many good reasons to engage the services of a professional real estate agent.

Professional & Objective Representation

Buying or selling real estate can be an emotional process for both the buyer and the seller. When you are excited, nervous, anxious, or not thinking objectively, you may make unwise compromises or bad decisions that you will later regret. Your real estate agent is objective and has the education and experience to guide you through the entire home-buying or home-selling process. Your agent can answer all of your questions, connect you with an appraiser or home inspector, and make sure all of the necessary documentation is completed.

Filtering Out the Noise

When you are interested in buying a home, you can waste a ton-of-time looking at properties that simply do not meet your needs and desires. Your real estate agent will find out what you want in a home and only show you homes that meet those goals and are within your budget. If you are looking for a new home, they will act as a buffer, keeping you away from the aggressive agents who work for the builder or developer. When you are selling a home, your agent will avoid wasting your time by only entertaining legitimate offers. You won’t be bombarded by people who are “just looking” and are neither really interested in buying nor able to qualify for financing to buy your home. A good real estate agent will work hard to immediately solicit offers from interested and qualified buyers.

Knowing Individual Houses & Neighborhoods

Your agent has a more intimate knowledge of the neighborhood or territory that he or she covers on a regular basis. While you can get general statistics about recent home sales, it is important to get specific details on individual houses. From the outside, one 2,000 square foot house looks similar to a 2,000 square foot house down the block. However, a good agent will know if the house you are interested in has been upgraded or recently had a new roof installed. They can tell you if the streets flood during heavy rains or if there are plans in the works for new development.

Help with Pricing

As a seller, you ultimately set the price at which you want to list your house. Naturally, you want to get as much as you can for your house, but if you price it too high, your house will sit on the market for a long time. Real estate agents have their fingers on the pulse of the market and know how strong demand is for homes in your area. A seller’s agent can come up with the right strategy for pricing and negotiating the sale of your house. When representing a buyer, a real estate agent can gauge the strength of the housing market and the price-flexibility for negotiating a good deal with the seller.

Access to MLS

Without doubt, having access to the MLS gives real estate agents a major marketing tool for both marketing homes for sale and for finding suitable homes for interested buyers. In addition to being a central market place for real estate transactions, being a member of the MLS gives an agent the advantage of immediate notification when a new house is first listed. You must be a licensed agent to use the MLS.

Staging your Home

Removing clutter, painting, cleaning, and minor repairs are all elements of staging a home before it is shown. Real estate agents are experts in staging homes. Whether they do it themselves, or work with partners to professionally stage a home, appearance makes a big difference in developing buyer interest and promoting a quick sale of your home.


In addition to making use of the MLS, agents have become quite adept at using social media to advertise and promote homes for sale. Agents have websites where you can take virtually tours of properties from the comfort of your living room. Agents network with other agents, belong to professional organizations, and can be very creative in how they market your home for a fast sale at a fair price.

Processing Paperwork

All real estate transactions must be reduced to writing. If you have ever been to a closing, you know that you have to sign a stack of papers two inches thick. There are countless forms to be completed and everything must be done by the book. Failure to properly fill-out and sign a single form, no matter how insignificant it may seem, will hold up a closing and can possibly wind up costing the buyer or seller money. When you work with a professional real estate agent, you are well-protected against these kinds of mistakes. While errors or omissions are rare, they do occur from time-to-time. You can be assured that a professional real estate agent (and the real estate agency) will stand behind their work. As a client, you will be made whole if an agent’s error costs you an actual loss.

Real estate agents work tirelessly to do everything they can to make their client’s home-buying or home-selling experience a positive one. While selling homes is the way a real estate agent earns a commission, pleasing a client can be even more valuable. Getting new listings is the lifeblood of any real estate agent’s business. By developing good relationships with clients, an agent may get a referral. If a client is happy with the service provided by their real estate agent, there is a good chance they will call that same agent the next time they are buying or selling property.

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October 23, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Pristine Real Estate in La Jolla is for Sale this Autumn

The summer may be over, but there are still plenty of hot properties on the San Diego real estate market. Just consider 5380 Moonlight Lane in La Jolla.

Beutiful property in La Jolla
From first glance, 5380 Moonlight Lane is designed to impress. The sleek, modern exterior is everything one might expect from a high end home in La Jolla. Built in 1994, this home has withstood the test of time well, and with over 5,800 square feet of interior space, it can appeal to nearly any type of buyer.

View from the pool
The contemporary style is extended seamlessly throughout the home. The single floor living space has large rooms and good natural light. The main living area has an open floor plan with skylights and floor to ceiling windows. Wood floors connect these main living areas, and recessed lighting provides an understated glow. The kitchen is truly a masterpiece in the home with features fit for a chef. The stainless steel Wolf & Viking appliances are entirely high end, and there are good views of the ocean from throughout the home.

north view exterior with spa
With five bedrooms and six bathrooms, there is ample space in this La Jolla property. This gives buyers the utmost flexibility with room for the whole family, guests, a home office and more. The master suite is particularly impressive with power blinds and a private fireplace. In the bathrooms, unique tile work creates a stylish statement that transforms every bathroom in to a refuge of rest and relaxation. Other interior perks include a movie theater, home gym and wet steam sauna.

south view exterior
While all of this is certainly worth a look, it is the backyard that makes this property shine. The high end pool features lights and other water accents, and it is surrounded by an expansive stone patio with plenty of seating. Palm trees and lush greenery fill out the area, which is all punctuated by unparalleled views of the ocean. All of this makes the price of $4,895,000 a very worthwhile investment for buyers.

Since it is now autumn, there is less competition in the market, which means this is a great time to look at the spectacular range of homes available in San Diego. Be sure to consider 5380 Moonlight Lane, which is listed with the Tash Team. Feel free to contact me if you want to set up an appointment for this home or any other property in the area.

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October 9, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Modest Real Estate Gains In July Around San Diego

When the San Diego real estate market bottomed out in 2008, home prices took a significant hit. Since that time, the market has been on the way up again, making impressive gains in recent years. However, new data suggests that this trend is starting to even out once more.

The new data comes from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which looks carefully at real estate markets across the country. When comparing home prices in July 2014 with home prices in July 2013, there was only an 8.3 percent gain. This modest number is contrasted with a 10.2 percent gain in June. Moreover, the data shows a clear slowdown in home prices dating all the way back to 2013.

This seems somewhat unusual, given that July is prime buying season in San Diego. Moreover, the market has been tighter in recent years, meaning that there is more competition that skews the market in favor of sellers. However, even with this shift, the numbers have been somewhat soft for home prices in the area.

Even so, many experts are not concerned. In fact, this slowdown of appreciated value is actually to be expected and a sign of normalization in the market. Prior to 2013, the market was flooded with foreclosed properties, which meant that home prices could only go up. With fewer such properties on the market, prices rose dramatically before starting to even out more in 2014.

While the numbers are still softer than expected, home prices are still on the climb, rising faster than the rate of inflation throughout the country. It is also worth noting that continued gains above 10 percent simply are not sustainable over the course of several years. More moderate gains are better for the market in the long term in order to prevent another housing crisis.

This trend was clear in other parts of the country as well. Of the 20 cities looked at by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, 19 show a similar slowdown with the exception of Cleveland. In fact, despite the modest gains, San Diego still ranked fifth in the index, behind other markets like Miami, Detroit, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

It is good to note that even with the modest growth, there were other signs of improvement in the market. More people are showing interest in buying and selling, which suggests growing confidence in the San Diego market.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

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October 9, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Six Tips for Buying Your First Home in San Diego

There are few milestones in adulthood more noteworthy than buying your first home. While many people eagerly anticipate holding the keys to their first home, the road to get there can be intimidating, especially in the modern real estate climate. After the housing fallout over the last decade, some people may have some trepidation about entering the market, especially in areas like San Diego. However, San Diego has shown strong signs of rebounding in recent years, making it a great time to invest in your first home in Southern California.

Beachfront La Jolla Home - Sunsets!

Beachfront La Jolla Home – Sunsets! Courtesy photo © Airbnb, Inc.

To prepare yourself to buy your first home, consider the following tips.

1. Talk to your bank. While it is okay to peruse the listings before you start looking seriously, you should always talk to your bank early. In the aftermath of the housing crisis, lenders have tightened their standards. Therefore, before you set your heart on a new home, you need to get pre-approval, which is an estimate of what amount they are willing to lend you. It is important to keep in mind that the pre-approved amount may still be higher than you are comfortable spending. However, you will not be able to spend more money beyond that, so pre-approval is critical to set your budget.

2. Establish your wish list. Sit down and make a list of the features you really want in a new home. Consider a wide variety of factors, such as location, layout, bedrooms and bathrooms. Maybe you want a pool or fruit trees. Maybe you would like a two story home or ocean views. It can be helpful to rank the items on your wish list. That way you know what items are negotiable and which ones are going to be deal breakers.

3. Find an agent. Real estate agents offer expertise that makes the process easier and less stressful. Agents have insight into the market, which can help determine if a home is overpriced or underpriced. They can also point out potential pitfalls, or they may be able to explain how certain cosmetic concerns can be changed. Real estate agents also know about homes before they are listed, which can give you the edge in a competitive San Diego market.

4. Look at homes. Home shopping is exciting, but it can also get overwhelming and discouraging. If you have a limited budget, you may be disappointed in your options. Very few buyers walk in and instantly know that they have found the one. Try to keep an open mind. Look beyond cosmetic features that can be easily fixed. Focus on the big picture issues, like layout and location. If you look at a lot of homes over a period of time, consider making notes and taking pictures so you remember exactly what you think about each particular home.

5. Make an offer. Once you select a home, you have to make an offer. In some cases, you may be willing to offer the asking price. In other cases, you may want to offer less than the asking price, especially if your realtor indicates that it is overpriced. However, if the home is in a desirable area, you may need to make an offer above the asking price in order to outbid the competition. You can also include other things in your offer, like a home warranty or moving costs. Sellers will be able to counter your offer, so you have to be ready to go back and forth before settling on a final price.

6. Hire a home inspector. While most sellers will provide information about any problems on the property, you will still want a home inspection. A home inspection looks at all the home’s systems, including HVAC, plumbing, appliances, structure and more. While a home inspection cannot catch every problem, it should reveal any major concerns. Once you have a home inspection, you can use that information to make additional requests of the seller. You also have the option to back out of the deal if the home inspection reveals problems that are too demanding.

If you are interested in buying your first home in San Diego, be sure to contact me as soon as possible to get started.

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October 3, 2014 / patrickbelhon

When Home Decor Gives You Lemons

Lemon yellow is a great choice for any home in San Diego. With its warm climate and plentiful sunshine, lemons and other citrus fruit are a part of the landscape. Because of this, it is never hard to get some inspiration for lemon zest in your home.

Yellow can be a bold choice, so some people may be understandably overwhelmed at the prospect. However, yellow can be incorporated into any design theme with minimal fuss. Let the following ideas get you on your way to a fresh and fun interior design.

1. Festive fabrics. Fresh fabrics can always have a dramatic impact on any space, from a reupholstered chair to new window covers. By picking a fabric with yellow, the interior design will really start to pop. For a subtle addition, muted yellows mixed with grays or browns might be a good choice. Bright, sunny fabrics can anchor a new design with a distinctive flair. Fabrics can be selected in a range of styles, including geometric prints and soft florals. If yellow is still a bit daunting, consider a fabric where yellow is one of many colors. With yellow, it does not take much to make a statement.

Found on

2. Tasteful floors. While it is true that changing the floor is a somewhat long term commitment, the effect is spectacular. Lemony tones are increasingly popular in tile. There are also options for yellow carpet or wood floors with yellow undertones. Some stonework can also be chosen with hints of yellow. Even if yellow flooring is too much for the space, it is easy to pick a tile or stone that accents the color well to create a balanced look. For the best choices in tile and stonework, be sure to visit European Bath Kitchen Tile & Stone for a full range of dynamic choices.

3. Bright walls. To some, the idea of yellow walls may seem a bit extreme. However, it is worth remembering that yellow comes in a variety of shades. From a soft lemon to a bold yellow, paint colors are fantastic for redefining the room. If four yellow walls seems daunting, consider a yellow accent wall. You could even paint the ceiling yellow for a sun-filled accent from above. Yellow can also be incorporated into the walls with other elements, such as painted baseboards, yellow crown moulding or artwork.

4. The real thing. The great thing about yellow is that it is a natural color, just like orange. So sometimes the best way to bring yellow into your space is to pick natural items that highlight the color. Yellow flowers, such as daffodils or roses, can make an elegant statement during the spring and summer. Even a bowl full of ripe lemons can be an excellent accent. These options are easy to use and add a fresh scent along with a distinctive decorating vibe.

5. Miscellany. Since yellow is often preferred as an accent color, there are countless options for accessories in this sunny shade. There are bigger items like yellow countertops or yellow pieces of furniture, but you can also throw in a yellow pillow or rug. In a bathroom, add some yellow towels or a rubber duck. In a kitchen, try a yellow light fixture or yellow pot holders. Look for yellow vases, dishes, candles, knickknacks and more. For inspiration, visit Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. This boutique has countless choices for accessories and decor, making it a must for any decorating project.

With these easy choices, adding a little zest to your home decor is easier than ever. Check out my Pinterest for more ideas!

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September 30, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Trending Deco for a Beach House in San Diego

Living on the beach is an exhilarating experience. Waking up every morning to the soft, crashing sound of waves is unlike anything else. When you live in a beach house, the interior décor should be as inspiring as your natural surroundings. Here are some of the top trends right now for interior beach décor to help you get started.

Minimalist and Modern

The focal point of any beach home is typically the view of the ocean. If your beach home sits directly on the ocean, you may want to keep the interior furnishings and style as minimal as possible. Cut open the walls of your home to offer a panoramic view of the ocean. If you are unable to remodel the walls of your home, you can still maintain a minimalist style that brings out the beauty of the ocean.

You may want to use a few pieces of “block” furniture to fill your patio and living room. Kitchen shelves may be condensed into one wall to offer an overall sleek look.

The Bohemian Look

The Bohemian look is also trending right now for beach homes. The Boho vibe is all about bringing together a variety of colors and creating a warm atmosphere within the home. Easy ways to achieve the boho look include using richly colored throw pillows and rugs with intricate designs. Extra throw blankets can also be placed on couches and beds for those chilly nights on the ocean.

The Bohemian Look Living Room by Favreau Design

The Bohemian Look Living Room by Favreau Design

You can also add a few unique touches if you are interested in going for the boho look in your beach home. A hammock looks lovely on the patio or lanai of a boho beach home. Hammocks can also be intermingled with patio beds to achieve a truly ethereal look. These items can also serve a great purpose when you host a small get together. They will help your guests to unwind, relax and enjoy the eclectic atmosphere of your beach house.

You may post the artwork of you or your children on the walls of the home. Bejeweled candles also add charm to the atmosphere of a beach home with this décor. Some of the color themes that you may want to consider for this look include rich magenta, deep turquoise, light orange, light yellow and navy blue.

The Rustic and Shabby-Chic Style

Another option that you have for designing a beach home is the rustic and shabby-chic style. This style goes beyond using hardwood floors and wicker furniture. The rustic style is about creating a warm ambience in the home that is inviting and appealing. You may want to add touches of the “rustic” look throughout the home by choosing focal pieces with rustic wood. Distressed dressers and picture frames also look great in a home that is styled with a shabby chic theme in mind.

White linens also look beautiful in a beach home with the shabby-chic style. You may want to create a breakfast nook with plain, white chairs draped in white linens. This can open up your home and also create an inspiring look.

Other small touches that you can consider for this type of décor are seashell garlands, candles and lanterns. You may want to purchase a few glass dishes, fill them with seashells and place them throughout the home. Painted mason jars can also add to the shabby-chic theme and look great when you place flowers in them.

Creating Your Dream Home

Designing the interior of your beach home in San Diego is all about staying true to yourself and your vision. If you are fortunate enough to have a home on the beach, it is important that it reflect your personal sense of style.

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September 10, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Unique Living in University City

Hot properties come and go in the San Diego real estate market, but this University City home is a unique opportunity. This home has not been available for more than 30 years, making this one a must for buyers to visit before it is snapped up again.

5420 Bloch is situated on an elevated lot in a popular neighborhood that overlooks Mt. Soledad. The convenient location has easy freeway access, which means the home is close to many amenities. In fact, La Jolla is only five minutes away, which makes this neighborhood especially desirable for homeowners. 


From the curb, the home exudes charm with a white stucco exterior that stands out in the California sun. The roof has classic southwestern flair and is made with clay tiles for a vibrant appearance. The front yard is carefully manicured with patches of greenery, which are contrasted with ample walking paths and a driveway. The front door is extra wide with a white finish, opening onto a small covered patio at the entrance of the home. The garage is accessible from the front, and buyers will be pleasantly surprised that the attached space has lots of enclosed area for cars, storage and more.

Stepping inside, everyone will be impressed with the vast living space. The room appears especially spacious thanks to the vaulted ceilings and large, double paned windows. This means that the area is filled with natural light, all of which is accented by dramatic light fixtures that hang from the ceiling. For comfortable entertaining, this main living area is padded with plush carpet. With this, the space is ideal for family living or entertaining. The entryway is lined with sturdy tile, which runs along the length of the room and into the kitchen and dining area.

The kitchen has plenty of space both for cooking and for storage. The double ovens make it easy to cook for a crowd, while the convenient built in pantry provides all the room needed for food and cookware. With large windows and a glass door, the kitchen gets a lot of natural light as well. Plus, this easy access to the outside makes for a perfect combination of indoor and outdoor living, which is definitely one of the highlights of this University City property.

Going outside from the kitchen, buyers will be blown away by the impressive backyard. While many San Diego homes have nice pools or tiled patios, this home offers buyers a more distinctive experience. The backyard has been expertly transformed into a Japanese garden. This means that the space is a secluded getaway, featuring greenery and peaceful paths. There is an ample patio, which is covered by a pergola for extra shade. Since the home sits on an elevated lot, the yard has spectacular views of the canyon. In all, this backyard is nothing short of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Back inside, the home features an open split level design. Going downstairs, there is a large family room with a wet bar and partial bathroom. The upstairs, by contrast, gives buyers access to three large bedrooms, all adorned with cozy carpet and large windows. The master bedroom is particularly noteworthy with lots of square footage and an attached bath with decadent double sinks. The bedrooms have good storage space, and there is even a balcony off this upper level for more outdoor living space and nice views.

More photos:

Many properties come and go in the San Diego area, and 5420 Bloch will not stay on the market long. See it for yourself by scheduling an appointment today.

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September 10, 2014 / patrickbelhon

San Diego Earns Top-10 Ranking as an Upwardly Mobile City

San Diego is considered by many to be one of the best places to call home in the entire United States. Best known for its beautiful beaches and its mild Mediterranean climate, the more than 1.3 million residents of the nation’s 8th largest city can tell you dozens of other reasons why San Diego is a great place to live.

San Diego view from the pier
Report on Upward Mobility

In a 2014 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, San Diego was listed as one of the Top-10 cities for upward mobility. Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the US, showed that your chances of achieving greater financial success than your parents, and moving up the socio-economic ladder, improved if you are luck enough to grow up in one of the 10-listed cities. 

The study compared the income of individuals born between 1980-1982 (people roughly 30 years old) to the income of their parents. It also studied the relationship a parent’s income had on the chance of their child getting a college education. To create their Top-10 ratings, the National Bureau of Economic Research measured the percentage of individuals who were able to move from the lower 20 percent to the upper 20 percent in terms of weekly salary.

San Jose, CA made the top of the chart with a 12.9 percent probability of an individual going from the bottom-fifth of the wage scale to the top-fifth of the wage scale. Other cities that also did well included San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Boston. San Diego did very well, with a 10.4 percent chance of individuals reaching upward mobility. 

Geography is just one possible reason why one person is more likely to achieve social and economic mobility. Numerous studies have linked earning power to educational achievement. Those who earn Masters degrees earn more than those who earn Bachelors degrees. Four-year college graduates earn more than those with Associate degrees and people with a high school degree, or less, are the lowest income earners. 

2 people at the beach
Growing up in a family where your parents were deeply involved in your education and encouraged you to always do your best, plus personal ambition, can play a role in achieving upward mobility. Choosing the right career field and even a little luck can also make a difference in how well you are able to climb the ladder of success. 

Notable Rankings for San Diego

San Diego is ranked high in many different lifestyle categories and that helps to make it one of the most desirable cities in which to live. San Diego beaches, like La Jolla and Mission Beach, are always highly rated. In 2012, Coronado Beach, was ranked as the number one beach in the nation. The sparkling white sands that are just steps from the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, hit the top of the annual Top-10 list of Dr. Beach’s highly publicized ratings. Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Professor Stephen P. Letterman, is a Florida International University professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research.

• San Diego was ranked among the Top-10 most popular destinations for summer travel in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Annual Summer Travel Survey.

• In 2014, Tripadvisor ranked San Diego’s Balboa Park the seventh most popular park in the United States

• In 2014, the Radius Group’s, Lisa Fugere, did a comprehensive study of America’s big cities and came to the conclusion that San Diego was the best place to start a new small business.

While San Diego may not be perfect, it is in many ways one of the best places you could choose to live. Come for a visit and you may just decide to stay for a lifetime.

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August 9, 2014 / patrickbelhon

California Housing Market gets a Big Boost from Chinese Home Buyers

International investment in U.S. real estate is nothing new. Many South American businessmen and wealthy families own beachfront condos in Miami. Europeans from countries like France, Germany and Italy often choose to relocate to the United States. What is really making realtors in the United States stand-up and take notice is the rapidly growing interest in U.S. properties by Chinese investors.

Buyer from China in San Diego
According to the National Association of Realtors, in the one year period from March 2013-March 2014, Chinese real estate investors and home buyers spent $22 billion dollars on real estate purchases in the United States. The data also shows that California was, by far, the favorite state for Chinese real estate purchases. Of the $22 billion spent between the first quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, 35 percent of that money was spent purchasing California real estate. Rounding out the top-5 market shares were Washington (9 percent), New York (7 percent), Pennsylvania (6 percent) and Texas (6 percent).

Money to Spend

As the standard of living has risen in China in recent years, Chinese visitation to the U.S. has increased dramatically. This year, it is expected that more than 2,000,000 Chinese tourists, students, and businessmen will pay a visit to the United States. While you do not actually have to visit the United States to invest in real estate in this country, most Chinese people who do decide to purchase a home in the U.S., have visited the States one or more times. While not everyone who visits America from China is wealthy, most who purchase homes pay cash as opposed to taking out mortgages.

California is a Big Draw

Yes, California is a beautiful state, but why does it attract nearly four-times more Chinese real estate dollars than Washington state? Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are among the most desirable cities for Chinese real estate investors. One thing that makes them particularly attractive is the presence of large Chinese communities. Many of the people who live in China have family or friends living in Southern California or the Bay Area. All of the above-mentioned cities depend heavily on tourism to help drive their local economies. Hotels, restaurants, and other members of the business community all make a concerted effort to please international travelers. Chinese people feel welcome in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In addition, California, as opposed to a states on the East coast, is much closer to home. It is easier to get a direct flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles. California also offers excellent colleges and universities such as Stanford, UCLA, and San Diego State. Chinese parents will often purchase a condo for their son or daughter who is attending one of the state’s universities. Finally, being the home of Silicon Valley is particularly attractive for technology-minded buyers who may be looking for careers in the United States.

Seattle, New York, and Detroit are also Attracting Chinese Real Estate Dollars

For many of the same reasons as California, Seattle, and the state of Washington attract home buyers from China. A good location, access to the latest technology, a major port, and a welcoming community are all incentives for moving to the Great Northwest.

New York is the world’s financial capital, has more museums and fine restaurant, and is home to some of the most desirable real estate in the world. Wealthy Chinese investors and businessmen want and need a place that is close to the action.

Detroit is unexpectedly attracting a certain breed of Chinese real estate investors. Some savvy Chinese investors are scooping up distressed properties at bargain prices, fixing them up, and renting them out. While there is definitely some speculation involved, investors are betting that the auto industry and the City of Detroit will someday return to its former glory days.

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July 17, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Your Dream Home on a Budget by Patrick Belhon

Beautiful blue light - interior home
Everyone wants a dream home. Too many people, however, settle for what they can get. While most homeowners have very real limitations with time and money, there are still ways to pursue your home decorating plans. Some home decorating projects are so broad that they are impossible for the average homeowner to pursue. However, by planning small, calculated upgrades, it is easy to create an interior design that will make your home a dream come true.

1. Let the light shine.

Every room, from the smallest bathroom to the most open living room, relies on lighting to be an effective interior space. In a home, natural lighting is already an established part of the interior design plan. However, an effective remodel should address artificial lighting with some awareness. Overhead fixtures are useful in providing bright light, but too many homeowners do not spend enough time considering the size and brightness of these fixtures. Track lighting or recessed lighting can be a great way to keep a room well lit from one end to the other. In addition to overhead lighting, be sure to remember lower level supplements like table lamps and sconces. While these may not provide enough light for the entire room, they are wonderful accent pieces that can create more warmth in any space.

2. Finishing touches.

There are many elements of a home most homeowners cannot afford to change. Scraped wood floors can be expensive to refinish. Windows with a poor view must simply be accepted. However, these design limitations can be dealt with by adding creative finishing touches. An area rug can be a great way to provide a facelift to a worn floor. Window treatments are excellent for minimizing less than appealing views. This kind of fix not only addresses a problematic design element but it can also create a new focal point to redefine the entire space with minimal effort and cost.

3. Think big, decorate small.

For many homeowners, kitchens and bathrooms are the critical places for a remodel. Yet, because these areas are often costly to redo, homeowners may put off such renovations indefinitely. While a complete overhaul will be expensive, there are ways to achieve a new look at a fraction of the cost. Instead of replacing cabinetry, work with what is already there. Stain or paint the cabinets, and add new hardware. Tile back splashes are relatively low cost and can be installed by most homeowners without expert help. They can also have a dramatic impact on the appearance of the room. Moulding along the soffit of a kitchen can create a high end appearance. Try framing your bathroom mirror, or remove the front of a few kitchen cabinets for a more customized look. These fixes may be small, but they can have a big impact on these important spaces.

4. The colors of the rainbow.

A simple can of paint is one of the easiest and most effective ways to change the appearance of a room. Color has a huge impact on the feeling of a room, so changing the paint color can provide a quick facelift without much effort or cost. To take things to another level, consider a more refined paint job, perhaps by using special finishing techniques or having an accent wall. Pick colors that play off natural elements in the room, using cool tones to draw out the warmth of wood or bright hues to play off dark moulding.

It is always great to dream about the perfect home. It is even better to make it a reality. Consider these tips, and get started today.

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