8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

From Bob Vila 8/25/15

Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

Yahoo Makers
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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Yahoo Makers

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    3. Not Too Bright

    Yahoo Travel

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    RELATED:  10 Fun Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Yahoo Makers

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    RELATED:  10 Fun Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    RELATED: Catching Rays in 11 Golden Sunrooms

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    For those who love backyard entertaining, an outdoor kitchen might seem like a no-brainer. But before you install a pricey new cooktop, brick pizza oven, or other major appliances on the patio, weigh the expense of the project against how much you’ll truly use a second kitchen. If you’re unsure, remember that a top-of-the-line gas grill offers a little luxury at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen.

    5. Trust the Grid

    Yahoo Food

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    RELATED:  10 Fun Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    RELATED: Catching Rays in 11 Golden Sunrooms

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    For those who love backyard entertaining, an outdoor kitchen might seem like a no-brainer. But before you install a pricey new cooktop, brick pizza oven, or other major appliances on the patio, weigh the expense of the project against how much you’ll truly use a second kitchen. If you’re unsure, remember that a top-of-the-line gas grill offers a little luxury at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen.

    RELATED:  Eating Out—10 Essentials for Alfresco Dining

    5. Trust the Grid

    Photo: wescarverelectric.com

    It’s great to be prepared for any kind of emergency, but buying a backup power generator may not be a necessary investment. An integrated backup generator costs a pretty penny but doesn’t build much value when it’s time to sell your home. If you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood where power outages are rare, consider skipping the expense.

    6. Don’t Spend to Extend

    Yahoo Makers

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    RELATED:  10 Fun Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    RELATED: Catching Rays in 11 Golden Sunrooms

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    For those who love backyard entertaining, an outdoor kitchen might seem like a no-brainer. But before you install a pricey new cooktop, brick pizza oven, or other major appliances on the patio, weigh the expense of the project against how much you’ll truly use a second kitchen. If you’re unsure, remember that a top-of-the-line gas grill offers a little luxury at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen.

    RELATED:  Eating Out—10 Essentials for Alfresco Dining

    5. Trust the Grid

    Photo: wescarverelectric.com

    It’s great to be prepared for any kind of emergency, but buying a backup power generator may not be a necessary investment. An integrated backup generator costs a pretty penny but doesn’t build much value when it’s time to sell your home. If you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood where power outages are rare, consider skipping the expense.

    RELATED:  The Power Outage Survival Guide

    6. Don’t Spend to Extend

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    When you’re purchasing a new appliance, chances are the salesperson will try to upsell an extended warranty. But is it worth the extra cost? Most major appliances don’t break down during the extended warranty period, so you’ll never collect any money. If you still feel like you need the extra coverage, review your credit card policy as many already offer a year of extended warranty protection on purchases.

    7. Feel the Pain of PMI

    Yahoo Travel

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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    RELATED:  Ultimate Lawn Care Guide—12 Steps to a Prize-Winning Yard

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    RELATED:  10 Fun Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Water Park

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    RELATED: Catching Rays in 11 Golden Sunrooms

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    For those who love backyard entertaining, an outdoor kitchen might seem like a no-brainer. But before you install a pricey new cooktop, brick pizza oven, or other major appliances on the patio, weigh the expense of the project against how much you’ll truly use a second kitchen. If you’re unsure, remember that a top-of-the-line gas grill offers a little luxury at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen.

    RELATED:  Eating Out—10 Essentials for Alfresco Dining

    5. Trust the Grid

    Photo: wescarverelectric.com

    It’s great to be prepared for any kind of emergency, but buying a backup power generator may not be a necessary investment. An integrated backup generator costs a pretty penny but doesn’t build much value when it’s time to sell your home. If you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood where power outages are rare, consider skipping the expense.

    RELATED:  The Power Outage Survival Guide

    6. Don’t Spend to Extend

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    When you’re purchasing a new appliance, chances are the salesperson will try to upsell an extended warranty. But is it worth the extra cost? Most major appliances don’t break down during the extended warranty period, so you’ll never collect any money. If you still feel like you need the extra coverage, review your credit card policy as many already offer a year of extended warranty protection on purchases.

    RELATED:  Bob Vila’s Guide to Kitchen Appliance Care

    7. Feel the Pain of PMI

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    When homeowners pay less than 20 percent on a down payment, they are often required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). This expense can add a substantial monthly cost on top of their mortgage payment. Try to get rid of the PMI as soon as possible by making a few extra mortgage payments during the first two years of ownership. Paying a little extra per month will also reduce the total amount of interest that you’ll pay over the life of the mortgage.

    8. Out the Window

    Yahoo Makers
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  • 8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    8 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

    ‎August‎ ‎25‎, ‎2015

    Donna Boyle Schwartz

    Even the most experienced homeowners can get sucked into spending a lot of money on maintenance costs or home improvements that just don’t deliver. For those who take pride in their homes, it’s important to make improvements that enhance functionality, save time, or make a big design statement. Unfortunately, some of the most common renovations and additions are just a waste of money. Here are some of the major items that can fritter away your funds.

    1. The Grass Is Not Always Greener

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    Professional lawn-care services lure trusting homeowners with promises of a vibrant, lush carpet of soft grass. These services, however, can cost as much as a couple of hundred dollars per month for weekly trims, plus extra fees for various treatments. Save on expenses by making a modest investment in over-the-counter fertilizer, a good-qualitymower, and weekend cuttings.

    2. Don’t Take the Plunge

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    Lounging in your own backyard swimming pool might sound like the ultimate luxury. But before you throw a lot of money into a big hole in the ground, be realistic about the true costs of installation and maintenance. Not only is there the cost of the water, but there’s cleaning, chemicals, and heating to consider. What’s more, a pool isn’t a draw for all home buyers, so it won’t add much resale value when it’s time to sell.

    3. Not Too Bright

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    A sunroom makes a lovely place to kick back in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing drink. Yet homeowners who invest in this expensive addition can expect to recoup only half of their costs, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.

    4. Alfresco Additions

    Photo: Zillow Digs

    For those who love backyard entertaining, an outdoor kitchen might seem like a no-brainer. But before you install a pricey new cooktop, brick pizza oven, or other major appliances on the patio, weigh the expense of the project against how much you’ll truly use a second kitchen. If you’re unsure, remember that a top-of-the-line gas grill offers a little luxury at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen.

    5. Trust the Grid

    Photo: wescarverelectric.com

    It’s great to be prepared for any kind of emergency, but buying a backup power generator may not be a necessary investment. An integrated backup generator costs a pretty penny but doesn’t build much value when it’s time to sell your home. If you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood where power outages are rare, consider skipping the expense.

    6. Don’t Spend to Extend

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    When you’re purchasing a new appliance, chances are the salesperson will try to upsell an extended warranty. But is it worth the extra cost? Most major appliances don’t break down during the extended warranty period, so you’ll never collect any money. If you still feel like you need the extra coverage, review your credit card policy as many already offer a year of extended warranty protection on purchases.

    7. Feel the Pain of PMI

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    When homeowners pay less than 20 percent on a down payment, they are often required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). This expense can add a substantial monthly cost on top of their mortgage payment. Try to get rid of the PMI as soon as possible by making a few extra mortgage payments during the first two years of ownership. Paying a little extra per month will also reduce the total amount of interest that you’ll pay over the life of the mortgage.

    8. Out the Window

    Photo: fotosearch.com

    No one would willingly throw money out the window, but with improperly insulated windows, you might be doing just that. Take control with a home energy audit; focus on the attic, doors, and windows to identify where you can improve efficiency. A little insulation and weatherstripping could save a lot on monthly energy costs

    RIVERSIDE: Trail to UCR’s Big C in conflict with new rail line

    RIVERSIDE: Trail to UCR’s Big C

    in conflict with new rail line

    C hike

    Discussions to solve problems over access to Big C Trail near UCR include alternate routes, tunnel or bridge.

    From PE.com 8/23/15

    ~ many a memory myself hiking through here. Hope they can find a solution I would hate for that trail to become extinct ~

    Riverside residents and local officials are taking a close look at a critical piece of the upgraded Perris Valley Line, where plans for 240 speeding Metrolink trains a month are causing concern about the safety of neighbors and UCR students who cross the tracks to access popular Big C Trail.

    Hiking to the “Big C” atop Box Springs Mountain has become a homecoming ritual and student rite of passage after the 70-foot-wide, 132-foot-tall concrete initial for the state of California was built in 1958.

    University neighborhood homeowners, who cherish living so close to Box Springs Mountain Reserve, hike there as well.

    At night, a trail of headlamps and flashlights often shines from the mountain’s western flank as students make their way to their school’s mountaintop shrine.

    Perris Valley Line test trains are set to begin running in September – just as students return to campus for the new school year and another homecoming in November.

    And that’s causing growing unease for the environmental-steward nonprofit Friends of Riverside’s Hills.

    “Given the speed and quietness of the Metrolink trains, it’s only a matter of time before we’re looking at an unnecessary fatality,” said group President Gurumantra Khalsa, who is also chairman the University Neighborhood Association. “When students come back, they’re not thinking about this stuff. They’re young, immortal, and it’s never going to happen to them.”

    The community group’s fears about the potential danger – included in a lawsuit that delayed track upgrade construction for two years – remain unresolved even after the suit’s settlement, he said.

    Leaders of Friends of Riverside’s Hills have met in recent months with officials from the Riverside County Transportation Commission, which has owned the tracks since the early 1990s, as well as city, county and university officials.

    To get to the trail, students and residents hike through Islander Park, walk up a rock-covered embankment and cross a single set of railroad tracks that disappear around a curve in the base of the mountain to the south.

    For decades, about 55 noisy, heavy freight trains a month have been using the old tracks in that stretch at speeds of about 10 mph.

    Lighter Metrolink trains, which will run on weekdays on improved tracks, are quieter, said John Standiford, deputy executive director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission.

    Curves and an incline in one direction should make Metrolink trains slow from a normal operating speed of about 79 mph to less than 40 mph through that area, he said.

    Residents are pushing to get an at-grade crossing and a tunnel or bridge built across the tracks near the end of East Big Springs Road or another nearby spot.

    On Aug. 14, Khalsa and Friends of Riverside’s Hills board member Kevin Dawson, a neighborhood resident, visited the spot while construction crews in red trucks worked on other sections. Students traveled across the tracks on their way to or from the roughly mile-long trail.

    “A train coming at 25 miles per hour around that curve would be on you before you knew it,” said Dawson, standing on the track.

    Officials at RCTC and previous track owner BNSF Railway consider that spot unsuitable for pedestrians and those crossing there to be trespassing. That section has no crossing gates, warning lights or signs.

    BIG C TRAIL

    What: 1.36-mile trail

    Where: Box Springs Mountain

    Used by: Residents and UCR students

    Problem: Hikers approaching through Islander Park must cross railroad tracks to access the unofficial trail.

     

    RIVERSIDE: New zoning would curb ‘mini dorms’

    RIVERSIDE: New zoning would

    curb ‘mini dorms’

    After a two-year moratorium, city is proposing special zone for neighborhoods near UCR that would limit bedroom space compared with common areas.

    From PE.com 8/21/15

    After months of residents lobbying the Riverside City Council and two years of work by an ad hoc committee, the city may have found a fix for concerns about crowded rental houses.

    Residents living near UC Riverside began complaining in 2013 about what they called “mini dorms” – single-family homes that were subdivided to add extra bedrooms and rented to five or more people, often UCR students.

    City officials responded to neighbors’ complaints about noisy parties, littering, speeding and public urination by blocking permits to add extra bedrooms while they studied the issue. Their proposed solution, presented to a council committee Monday, is special zoning that would limit the space bedrooms could take up in relation to other parts of a home.

    The “residential protection overlay zone” would require that the square footage of all bedrooms in single-family homes not be greater than the square footage of common living areas such as the kitchen and living room.

    That would make it harder for an owner to convert living and dining rooms into bedrooms without also adding on to the house. The rules also would require that bedrooms consist of no more than half the home’s total dwelling area. Officials also might increase the minimum bedroom size.

    The rules as proposed would apply only to portions of the University and Canyon Crest neighborhoods.

    Residents have said investors were driving the changes in their neighborhood, beating out buyers who wanted to live in the homes and then renting them out for maximum profit. Many worried that once a home was altered, with new bedrooms in place of common space, families would be unlikely to buy it – so it would remain a rental.

    Those who worked on the proposed new zoning say it should please everyone.

    The goal was to create rules that would help preserve property values without infringing on property owners’ or tenants’ rights, said Gurumantra Khalsa, who leads the University Neighborhood Association.

    “We’re not limiting occupancy,” he said. “We don’t know who’s going to live in the house or how many are going to live there.”

    Khalsa and Jeff Kraus, UCR’s director of local government and community relations, agreed that resolving the issue took cooperation.

    “We’ve been very respectful of what the neighbors wanted,” Kraus said. “We wanted to make sure this wasn’t targeted against students, but also given the impact that the university has, make sure that we were being good and fair neighbors.”

    Property owners should also be satisfied, said Tim Johnson, executive director of the California Apartment Association’s Greater Inland Empire chapter. The group helped draft the rules.

    “If you have a single-family home, you should be able to rent it,” he said. “It shouldn’t prevent that.”

    The city’s work isn’t done, however. The moratorium on building permits won’t be lifted until the proposed new zoning is approved. It likely will go to the planning commission Sept. 3 and to the City Council later that month.

    It wouldn’t be retroactive, so homes that already have been chopped up would keep their extra bedrooms, provided the owners had permits to do the work, said senior city planner David Murray.

    Riverside also faces a lawsuit from the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County that challenges the city’s four-renter limit in single family-zoned areas.

    Though the two-year moratorium stopped homes from being subdivided to add more tenants, it also blocked owners from making changes to homes they live in. Watkins Drive resident Chris Barney is among those who can’t wait for the new zoning to be approved.

    Barney has been waiting a year and a half to add a bedroom and living space to better accommodate his family, which includes five children. He thought about moving, he said, but he wouldn’t want to lose his large yard, and he expects property values to improve as UCR’s medical school develops.

    “I just hope that they do hash it out so the moratorium ends and I can do what I want with my home,” he said.

     Riverside is proposing a special zone near UC Riverside that would limit bedroom space compared with common areas.

    Riverside is proposing a special zone near UC Riverside that would limit bedroom space compared with common areas.
    WILLIAM WILSON LEWIS III, FILE PHOTO

    CURBING ‘CUTUPS’

    Riverside will consider new zoning to address concerns about landlords turning living rooms into extra bedrooms to pack more tenants into single-family homes.

    What: The “overlay zone” would require that bedroom space be no greater than common living space such as kitchens and living rooms. Homes with more than four bedrooms would need more parking.

    Where: The new zoning would apply to single family-zoned portions of the University and Canyon Crest neighborhoods.

    What’s next: The planning commission is expected to hear the proposal Sept. 3, and it could go to the City Council on Sept. 22.

    Off-grid shipping container cabin can be yours

    His handmade, off-grid shipping

    container cabin can be yours

    Photos: Handmade, off-grid shipping container cabin
     
    The big-city lifestyle isn’t for everyone; it certainly wasn’t for Joseph Dupuis.

    At 26 years old, Dupuis was living in Ottawa, working whenever he wasn’t attending college classes full time, but still living paycheck to paycheck.

    So he procured three shipping containers and combined them into a 355-square-foot, off-the-grid home.

    Joseph Depuis. Click photo for slideshow.

    Joseph Depuis. Click photo for slideshow.

    The cabin is designed to be dismantled, moved and erected in a new location with limited resources and time, he says. After living there happily in the country for two years, he’s selling his unique cabin for $58,000 Canadian (or about $44,000 U.S.).”The scope of the project was to build something sustainable, something comfortable, something I could live in and save my money,” Dupuis says. “Shipping containers are nearly indestructible.”

    With the concept in mind, he needed only a place to start building. In the summer of 2013, Dupuis’ father purchased a 100-acre farm in the country just outside Ottawa. As Dupuis helped create a road across the property, he came to a clearing near the far back of the farm.

    “It was just beautiful, and I’m like, ‘Dad, this would be the perfect place for my shipping container cabin,’ so he said to go for it,” Dupuis says. “We started that afternoon, working on the logistics.”

    He dropped out of school and borrowed money from his father to purchase the materials and get the project off the ground.

    Aside from his conceptual drawing, Dupuis had no plans to follow for how to create the cabin. He’d built a lot of treehouses and forts growing up, and lived in a tent for three summers, but that was the extent of his experience with unusual homes.

    He really had no other choice but to learn by doing. So he did.

    Dupuis spent 12 to 14 hours a day putting together the home–laying the foundation, installing doors, building cabinets where he wanted them, putting in the radiant-heat floor. Dupuis’ father helped him problem-solve. Dupuis calls his dad “a genius.”

    It's not much too look at from the outside. Click a photo for a slideshow.

    It’s not much too look at from the outside. Click a photo for a slideshow.

    Three months and plenty of trial and error later, Dupuis had completed his project.The home–essentially one big, rectangular room–is completely off the grid, Dupuis says. A nine-panel photovoltaic solar system provides electricity, which is stored in several large batteries. The solar system was far and away the biggest expense, costing $25,000 on top of the $20,000 he spent on everything else.

    The home is warmed via a system of heated glycol pumped under the floors, with a fireplace as a backup source of heat for particularly cold Canadian winters. Dupuis trades firewood for the use of a neighbor’s water, which Dupuis keeps in a 150-gallon holding tank. An accumulator pump charges the kitchen and bathroom faucet and shower.

    “It’s so different from living anywhere else,” Dupuis says of his home. “When you’re living off-grid, you have to make a constant effort to use energy smartly.”

    To cover his (much lower) living expenses and repay his father, Dupuis worked days as a carpenter and nights as a machinist. On a typical winter day, he’d wake up at 6 a.m.; take care of his dog, Beatrice; build a fire in the fireplace; heat water on the wood stove for coffee and oatmeal while preparing his lunch; clear 3 miles of driveway with his tractor; go to his job as a carpenter at 7:30 a.m.; come home to take care of Beatrice; cook and eat dinner; put more wood on the fire; and head to his second job from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.

    The next day, he’d do it all over again.

    Whenever he wasn’t working, he’d cut wood, maintain his farm and solar equipment, and work on the cabin.

    After living in the home the past couple years, Dupuis has decided to sell. He has entirely repaid his dad and has returned to school at Algonquin College, where he also works.

    He’s also starting a business to “bring relatively inexpensive renewable energy to the masses” and looking to reinvest the capital he put into the home.

    But he’ll miss the cabin. “When I lived in the city, I didn’t have much of a community. Everybody kept to themselves,” he says. “But in the country, I had neighbors and it was a community-based life. We were all working together to live.”

    RIVERSIDE: Sign-up list open for vets’ housing

    RIVERSIDE: Sign-up list open for

    vets’ housing

    Home Front at Camp Anza includes 29 affordable homes for disabled veterans who meet income guidelines. 

    BY ALICIA ROBINSON / STAFF WRITER

     Riverside's historic Camp Anza officers' club, shown in 2014, is being renovated as part of a housing development for low income veterans. Home Front at Camp Anza should by ready for tenants by January.

    Riverside’s historic Camp Anza officers’ club, shown in 2014, is being renovated as part of a housing development for low income veterans. Home Front at Camp Anza should by ready for tenants by January.
    , DAVID BAUMAN, FILE PHOTO

    Disabled military veterans can now get on a list of prospective tenants for Home Front at Camp Anza, a development of 29 affordable homes in Riverside’s Arlanza neighborhood.

    Now under construction, the development will include two- and three-bedroom units for veterans and their families, a lap pool, a community garden and the renovated Camp Anza officers’ club, a community center where veterans could get services such as counseling, physical therapy and wound treatment.

    Low and very low income veterans who were disabled in the service are eligible to live in the homes. Wakeland Housing and Development Corp., which is building the project, is now taking the names of veterans who want to become tenants.

    For income eligibility or other information, or to get on the interest list, call 951-840-9351 or visit http://www.wakelandhdc.com/communities/projects/anza.

    24 Cheap, Easy DIYs That’ll Make You Fall In Love With Your Home All Over Again

    Check out these helpful links from Lighter Side of Real Estate

    How mortgage lenders price loans and why you should care

    How mortgage lenders price loans

    & why you should care

    Mortgage

    So you’re probably seen the news about those low mortgage interest rates and their impending rise, but you may not realize that if you were to get a mortgage, your interest and fees may actually be different. Let’s look at how rates and risk-based pricing can affect the cost of your loan.

    When you see ultra-attractive loan offers or hear the media touting the latest development in interest rates, take it with a grain of salt. Lenders price your loan with adjustments based on certain risk factors set by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Always remember to read the fine print.

    Here are most common factors that lenders, banks and brokers use to calculate a rate and fee offer:

    • Your specific middle credit score
    • Loan-to-value (or, the percentage of your down payment)
    • Loan size
    • Loan product
    • Loan term
    • Lock time-frame
    • Purpose of the loan (to purchase or refinance)
    • Occupancy
    • Property type

    When you go to apply for a mortgage or request a rate quote, the mortgage company’s pricing and rate will reflect these nine pricing adjustments.

    The more of these factors that come into play, the riskier the loan. And this is what can make the pricing and rate much different than the national average you’ll see or hear about in the news.

    Let’s say the average national 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.91% with .6% in discount points. Here’s how that could play out in this scenario:

    • Your credit score is 700
    • Your loan-to-value is 80% (so you have 20% equity or down payment)
    • Your loan size is $418,000
    • It’s a conforming loan
    • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
    • You have a 30-day rate lock
    • $40,000 cash-out refinance
    • Single-family home
    • Primary residence

    Here are the factors that can affect the cost of your mortgage:

    It would not be uncommon to see a scenario like this resulting in a rate of 4.125% with .5% in discount points, for example.

    When reviewing your mortgage rates, it’s ideal to check them against the national average rather than comparing countless lenders. This is because the national average rate from Freddie Mac already takes into consideration the overall aggregated mortgage market in terms of rates and points anyway.

    How Mortgage Pricing Moves With Economic News

    Here’s a quick lesson in finance. Mortgage bond prices move in the form of basis points, and 100 basis points equals 1%.

    Certain economic factors change the direction of stocks and bonds, things like domestic and worldly happenings and more specific indicators, like the jobs report, retail sales data, consumer confidence, Federal Reserve meetings … to name a few (there are many more).

    On any given day the market is negative, unchanged or improved in the form of basis points. If you have your eyes on a 4% mortgage rate with no points on a 30-year fixed rate after the lender takes into consideration all of the pricing adjustments, and you’re hoping for something better by floating your interest rate (that is, not locking in your rate), and the market worsens 25 basis points, your 4% rate would still be available, but it would come at a cost of 25 basis points of your loan amount. If you’re looking at a loan of $400,000, that’s $1,000 in the form of discount points based solely on market forces. Such a change would come as a closing item in the form of discount points.

    If the market improves by 0.25% and you’re looking at that 4% interest rate, now the 25 basis points will be a credit toward fees.

    The higher the rate you choose to pay, the lower the fee tied to that specific rate. Conversely, the lower the rate you select, called no points, where no lender credit is awarded, but there are also no points paid either, is a middle-of-the-road option many opt for.

    Market Timing Is Hindsight

    There’s no such thing as a nonprofit mortgage lender. All mortgage companies — brokers, banks, credit unions, any financial entity that offers mortgage loans — have a profit motive.

    Securing the lowest possible interest rate is impossible because you’ll never be able to borrow money at the lender’s cost of funds, ever. Moreover, there is no way to time the market, all you and your lender can do is make an educated decision about the rate and the pricing tied to your mortgage transaction in lockstep with the market.

    Generally, offers from mortgage companies tend to be priced in close proximity to each other on any given day, as lenders have to stay competitive to be profitable. You can expect differences 0.125% to 0.25% in rate among loan providers. It is up you, as an informed consumer, to choose the mortgage company you feel will give you a competitive rate and pricing for your specific scenario.