Neverland Ranch, now Sycamore Valley Ranch, is re-listed for $67 million

Neverland Ranch, now Sycamore Valley Ranch, is re-listed for $67 million

Michael Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch, now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch, has hit the market yet again.

This time, the 2,700-acre estate, located in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, has an asking price of $67 million — a significant drop from the $100 million price tag it had back in 2015.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, listing agent Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker said the original price allowed private equity firm Colony Capital, which entered into an ownership agreement with Jackson in 2008, “time to better determine the future of the ranch.”

“This quintessential California estate is now ready for the next chapter in its journey,” she said.

Michael Jackson’s ‘Neverland’ hits the market with a new name

Jackson, who died in 2009, purchased the ranch in 1987 for $19.5 million and lived here for 15 years, according to a 2015 report from the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper also reported that in 2008, after the King of Pop defaulted on a $24.5 million loan, Colony Capital bought the note for $23 million, formed a joint venture with the singer, and spent millions on upgrades with the intention of selling it.

According to the listing, which Rey’s office confirmed to ABC News was posted today, the 12,598 sq. ft. main residence features 16 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms. The property also boasts a lake, a pool house near a 14-foot deep lagoon-style pool, a movie theater, dance studio, barns, corrals and separate staff facilities.

5 Researching Tips for Homebuyers

Know Your Real Estate: 5 Researching Tips for Homebuyers

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Posted on Mar 20 2017 – 11:47am by Housecall

woman and man at home typing on laptop computer

 

Being a first time homebuyer can be an intimidating prospect; it seems like there’s so much to learn! The process doesn’t get less challenging the second or third time around, but here are five tips to help you research and prepare for your next home buying experience.

Location, Location, Location

It’s a cliché but it’s true: location really is the most important part of the real estate equation. However, the right location isn’t the same for everyone. Take your family’s priorities into account and know where you would buy a home, and where you would not. Try to be flexible, but if you’re longing for a place with a yard, then a balcony might not cut it, however a roof deck might! Always look for the exception to the rule. It’s also a good idea to compare home prices around the home that you’re considering. This will help you figure out if your house is a good deal and in line with the market expectations.

Find Your Financing

Finding the perfect house can take years, but once you find it things will move quickly. Most real estate markets are fast moving and a great house at a great price can easily go on the market in the morning and be under contract by the evening. When you find that house you have to be ready to jump on it. This means that you should have your financing figured out before you make an offer. Ask friends, family, any law or finance professionals your family uses, or ask your REALTOR® for a recommendation for a mortgage company. Be sure to get quotes from several different firms so you have a general idea of what your rates really should be.

Understand the Vocabulary

You should take the trouble to educate yourself about some of the jargon that comes with the real estate territory, otherwise, you might find yourself completely out of your league when discussing purchasing terms.

Check out the Neighborhood

If you’re looking for homes outside of the neighborhood you live in, the best way to get a feel for it is to go and spend the day there. Find a few open houses you’re interested in and go make a day of it. Have lunch, stroll the streets, check out the parks, schools, and find out what kind of people live there. These are the things that give a neighborhood its flavor, and things that you can’t know until you go there and see for yourself.

Choose a Trustworthy Agent

A real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. If you don’t have an agent you already know and like, ask for recommendations, check local ratings sites and ask around. This can be a very personal relationship, so if you find an agent you believe in, hang on to them!

Buying a home is an exciting and stressful process, but with these tips, we hope you’ll have a great experience researching, shopping and purchasing your next home.

Day or night? What’s the best time to go up Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux?

 

Day or night? What’s the best time to go up Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux?

With roughly nine months of data now available, parks officials are beginning to crunch the numbers.

Do you prefer hiking Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux when it’s buzzing with activity, or do you seek peaceful solitude on the mountaintop?

Either way, the city is starting to collect data that could help you plan your visit.

In June, counters were installed by the mountain’s two main entrances – at Ninth Street and at Glenwood Drive – to track how many people use the popular park and when.

With roughly nine months of data now available, parks officials are beginning to crunch the numbers. The counters don’t catch people who use one of several unofficial entrances, such as from Carlson Park on the mountain’s north side, but city Trails Coordinator Alisa Sramala said those hikers are a small fraction of total users.

From early June 2016 – the counters were turned on June 4 – through February, the busiest month was August, with 61,185 visitors, city figures show. December saw the fewest visitors, with 35,225 people trekking the mountain. Nearly 460,000 people visited the park from June through February.

Over the nine-month period, Saturdays were busiest, with an average of 1,978 visitors. Fridays were least popular, seeing an average of 1,340 people.

Also not surprisingly, hourly average counts showed visitors peaked from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends and weekdays, with a weekday evening spike between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The data showed people in the park at all hours of the day, even though it’s supposed to be closed at night.

“I mainly like to come during the week because there’s less people,” said Brian Hadnot, 43, as he finished a hike on Wednesday, March 8. He makes the 10-minute drive from his Bloomington home about twice a week.

In summer, Hadnot visits the mountain in the evening to watch the sunset. He’s noticed how people interact corresponds to the time of day, he said.

“in the mornings … strangers will say hi and say good morning to you,” Hadnot said. “In the evenings they don’t say much to you.”

Other visitors say they don’t mind rubbing elbows with other hikers.

“Any day is a good day to come,” said Jamie Pack, a 36-year-old Moreno Valley resident. “I like it when it’s active.”

Her friend, 31-year-old Emily Kaufman of Riverside, said the attractions are a great view and exercise, ” and I can bring her,” referring to her Yorkie/poodle mix, Ruca.

Scott and Anne Lively, Riverside residents who said they’re in their “senior years,” keep the mountain in their regular rotation of walking spots but don’t have a preferred day to visit.

“This is one of the most beautiful hiking places I’ve ever seen,” Anne Lively said.

Sramala, the trails coordinator, said the visitor counts didn’t hold many surprises – factors such as weather and school breaks can influence mountain traffic – but “I think the data’s going to end up being very useful for grant applications to justify dollars to spend on improvements and upkeep to the mountain.”

The next step is to check the accuracy of the counters, likely with volunteers from the Friends of Mount Rubidoux, she said.

VISITING HOURS

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1n7C8jbN6acRr_q7CZqNY2qxqF6ynZDKdUdgSK-zT100/pubchart?oid=922137288&format=interactive

Data from electronic counters at Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux shows the average number of visitors at each hour of the day for the past nine months. The park is closed at night, but it’s not locked and people still use it.

POPULAR PARK

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kYAAjUY4IoMqWKYx8v6L37QPtBiqfA7GHpvgj6Xrmmw/pubchart?oid=1012277126&format=interactive

WHICH DAY IS BEST?

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kpsai9ccLJIQ3JEjXaYjv_-Rwq_XlKXCuECMF5xqeQM/pubchart?oid=5268938&format=interactive

Volunteers Constructed An Entire Community To House Homeless Veterans

~ I would help in any ways I could to get something like this in the Inland Empire ~

 

Volunteers Constructed An Entire Community To House Homeless Veterans

 

Many veterans sacrifice comfortable, lucrative lives to protect the liberties of their home country—only to find nothing left of those former lives when they return. In the face of rising veteran homelessness rates, due in part to inadequate medical and psychological resources, Missouri volunteers pooled their creativity, time, and money to create a community that welcomes veterans, completely free of charge.

The Veterans Community Project created Veterans Village, which sits on four acres of land outside of Kansas City and consists of 50 tiny homes, complete with bathrooms, kitchens, sleeping, and living areas.

Veterans Community Project
Veterans Community Project

The community is strategically situated near an outreach center which provides social and medical services to the residents and other veterans. A community center intended for more socializing and recreation is also in the works.

Veterans Community Project

Remarkably, each prefabricated home cost only $10,000—a pittance compared to the costs of prolonged hospitalization and/or temporary housing for homeless citizens.

Not only does the development work as a small success for the 50 veterans lucky enough to find accommodation there, but the scalability and low cost provides hope that the template can be recreated elsewhere, allowing disenfranchised veterans to focus on betterment, health, and pursuits, rather than on mere survival.

From the looks on a few of the veterans’ faces, it seems as if the verdict is already in.

Veterans Community Project

32 Unexpected Places You Should Be Cleaning In Your Home

32 Unexpected Places You Should Be Cleaning In Your Home

1. Lampshades

Lampshades

They can collect dust like nobody’s business and dim your lamp’s light output. Make a few passes with a lint roller about once a week to de-fuzz them and brighten the room.

Get a five-pack of disposable lint rollers from Amazon for $15.53.

2. Kitchen utensil drawer organizers

Kitchen utensil drawer organizers

Take special care with ~adjustable~ organizers like this one because they’re prone to dirt falling into their nooks and crannies. Once a week, wipe them out with any all-purpose cleaner you use on the rest of your kitchen surfaces.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

3. Knife blocks

Knife blocks

Those slots that protect your prize knives are also a prime spot for dust. Once a month, remove the knives and use the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to suck out dust. Don’t have one? Blast it with your hairdryer on High or use a long pipe cleaner. Sanitize it by rinsing the block in hot soapy water, then soaking in a solution (1 tbsp. of bleach to 1 gallon of water) for 1 minute. Dry on a towel with slots-side down.

Get it from Amazon for $21.36.

4. The tops of ceiling fan blades

The tops of ceiling fan blades

Halt an allergy storm before you need a seasonal indoor breeze. Use an old pillowcase to sweep off — and contain — the dust. Read the full tutorial on WikiHow.

5. Dishwasher

Dishwasher

It’s always important to clean the things that clean your things. Get the instructions on One Good Thing by Jillee.

6. Cookie sheets

Cookie sheets

Emily Shwake / Buzzfeed / Nifty

No, but like, really clean them. Check out our two-step trick here.

7. Wood cutting boards

Wood cutting boards

Goodful / BuzzFeed

Obliterate the aftermath of raw chicken breasts with vinegar and hydrogren peroxide. Check out more Clever Vinegar Tricks That’ll Make Cleaning So Easy.

Get the supplies from Amazon: 1 gallon of distilled vinegar for $11.95 and three 24 oz. spray bottles for $11.99.

8. Clothes iron

Clothes iron

Annihilate rust from your hard-working iron with vinegar and baking soda. Get the full how-to on Thrifty & Chic.

Get 13.5 lbs. of baking soda from Amazon for $17.73. (It can be used to clean lots of other stuff on this list, too.)

9. Hairbrushes

Hairbrushes

Loosen hair strands and mix up a batch of hot water and baking soda for a good soak. Get the deets on Passion for Savings.

10. Flat irons

Flat irons

Styling products and hair oils can build up into a gross residue. This works for curling irons, too! Read the full how-to on One Good Thing by Jillee.

11. Jewelry

Jewelry

Spiff up everything from your eyeglasses to your engagement ring (separately) with this little machine that uses sonic-wave technology to loosen grime and shine surfaces.

Get it from Amazon for $34.99.

12. Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Sweat, makeup, and sunscreen can have them looking worse for wear. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But everyone should invest in a microfiber cleaning cloth ($8.99 for a pack of six).

Get the sunglasses from Amazon for $12.99. / Available in 15 color combos.

13. The grooves of sliding-glass door tracks

The grooves of sliding-glass door tracks

Brush away debris that can clog up your track with this handy little brush.

Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

14. Pet bowls

Pet bowls

Wash bowls daily as you would human bowls. It’ll even help with the pet smell!

Get it from Amazon for $3.93+. / Available in four sizes, four colors.

15. Clothing drawer organizers

Clothing drawer organizers

Give them an occasional wipe down because even though your clothes in storage are clean, dirt can get in from rummaging around to find the right bra.

Get them from Amazon for $10.99.

16. In between blinds

In between blinds

Make the task simpler on the reg with this specially made tool. Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

If you’re dealing with a horror show of dust — and they’re not wood — remove the blinds from the window and dunk them in a bath of hot, soapy water.

17. Makeup organizers

Makeup organizers

It isn’t enough to clean your makeup containers and tools. Wipe down organizer surfaces with hot, soapy water or a cleaning wipe.

Get them from Amazon: Makeup organizer for $11.99 and 225 Clorox wipes for $11.97.

18. Around plumbing fixtures

Around plumbing fixtures

Sometimes you need some tiny tools to get into allllll the crevices.

Get it from Amazon for $5.99. (It’ll work on shower-door tracks, too.)

19. Dryer lint trap

Dryer lint trap

Built-up lint can infringe upon — and lengthen — your machine’s drying process. Plus, it’s a fire hazard!

Get them from Amazon: Vacuum attachment for $20.99 or a standalone brush for $10.38.

20. Basically everywhere in your car

Basically everywhere in your car

Keep this little hand-vac in your car, plug it into the cigarette lighter, and use the slim nozzle to get into every feasible spot. Get it from Amazon for $20.99.

And learn other ways to de-slime your ride with our 23 Genius Solutions To Issues Every Car Owner Faces.

21. Phone and computer screens

Phone and computer screens

Dust, oil from your skin, and every little piece of lint to ever float through the atmosphere ends up on your electronics’ screens. Make a pass with this little roller every day you use them to see a difference.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

22. Toothbrush holder

Toothbrush holder

All those bathroom germs have to go somewhere. Wipe it down at least weekly during your normal bathroom-cleaning seshes.

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

23. Trash cans and recycling bins

Trash cans and recycling bins

Nope. That smell wasn’t your actual bag of trash. Empty, rinse out with a garden hose (or in your bathtub), and then douse in disinfectant.

Get this easy-to-remove-and-clean set from Amazon for $79.99.

24. Plastic shower curtain liners

Plastic shower curtain liners

Fight off in-shower mildew by tossing your liner in with some towels in the wash. Read the deets on Life at the Drafty Doublewide.

Get it from Amazon for $21.33.

25. Bath mat

Bath mat

Throw it in the wash once a week so you won’t instantly dirty your clean feet post-bath time.

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $29.

26. Bedskirts

Bedskirts

Aka dust ruffles. Wash them weekly with the rest of your linens. Or this cat will judge you.

Get it from Amazon for $12.95+. / Available in four sizes, five colors.

27. Toaster (the inside and outside)

Toaster (the inside and outside)

 

Actually crisp toast — not crumbs and debris from toast of yore — by emptying the crumb tray once a week. (Even the cheapest of toasters, like this one, have it.) And give the exterior a good wipe down with a stainless-steel cleaner, too.

Get it from Amazon for $19.96.

28. Pet beds

Pet beds

All the snuggles and treat-gnawing can leave them smelling worse than your actual pet. Remove further traces of your beloved family member with our 23 Tips And Products That’ll Save You From Being Covered In Pet Hair.

Get this machine-washable bed from Amazon for $25.99+. Available in seven colors.

29. Makeup bags

Makeup bags

Take some brush cleaner or just good ole hot soapy water to the interior to pick up all matter of powders and liquids.

Get it from Forever21 for $6.90.

30. Throw pillows

Throw pillows

They get nearly as much contact as your bed pillows. Remember to clean your pillowcases and inserts as directed on the label so you won’t luxuriate among filth.

Get this pillow case from Amazon for $7.99. / Available in three sizes, eight colors.

31. The bottom of your shoes

The bottom of your shoes

A few passes on the welcome mat is NOT ENOUGH to really get in the treads of your footwear. A boot scraper stationed at the door of your mudroom will do wonders for your floors.

Get it from Amazon for $16.97.

32. And lightbulbs

And lightbulbs

Dust ‘em for an instantly brighter look!

Man Collects Bottle Caps For 5 Years To Redo His Kitchen, And Here’s The Result

One guy designed and built a custom bottle cap bar top that would become the centerpiece of any room.


He and his friends and family saved 2,530 beer caps over 5 years specifically for this project. The caps belong to domestic, craft, and import drinks.

“The initial concept was to lay out an image comprised of bottle caps,” he said. “Then reality set in and we opted for the much easier gradient effect.” The selected sequence is called ROYGBIV (a sequence of hues, commonly described as making up a rainbow: rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).

It took at least 4 hours and several restarts to get the desired pattern. “Initially I was being pretty anal about cap alignment, color disbursement etc. In the end, we decided to introduce entropy and New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk, which I feel was the secret ingredient.” Everything was then covered with 5 layers of epoxy resin and voila! A perfect conversation starter for any indoor party.

More info: Imgur

One creative man decided to redo his kitchen, making its countertop the most impressive feature

He and his friends and family collected 2,530 caps over the course of 5 years to make it happen

The production started with sorting out the caps by hue: “Basically tried to bucket them into ROYGBIV,” he explained

“Two large pieces of quality 5/8″ plywood form the base. The rails are 1 1/2″ poplar and were notched with a table saw and hand routed”

“Painted matte black with several cans of Rustoleum. The finish does not have to be perfect since it will be covered in epoxy”

“[But] it needs to be as close to perfectly level as possible, otherwise, the epoxy resin will “pool” in low spots”

“The initial concept was to lay out an image comprised of bottle caps, then reality set in and we opted for the much easier gradient effect”

“This is <…> resin, which fills any available airspace. It was better to just pour the resin slowly making thin layers, not thick enough to cover the caps”

“It took ~5 layers to thoroughly cover the caps”

“Visually, we felt it would be more interesting dispersing various caps to add pops of color”

“Here you can see how we laid them out allowing the caps to “flow” into each other, rather than having hard color stops”

“I am so proud of this project. It is a real conversation piece and we did it together, true DIY”

 

California’s property tax burden 10th worst in nation

California’s property tax burden 10th worst in nation

 

California’s 0.81 percent effective rate, by WalletHub math – that’s 81 cents per $100 of assessed value – was tied for 17th lowest among the states. (Register file photo)

Warning: Property taxes are due April 10.

Before you search for the bill and the checkbook – and perhaps express a few choice nasty words aloud about the financial pinch – let me make you extra grumpy.

While Prop. 13 may keep California property taxes low for many folks, the overall financial burden remains relatively high. My trusty spreadsheet tells me we’re 10th worst among the states.

Let me tell you how I got to that conclusion.

My quest to gauge the proportional size of property taxes started with a recent study by WalletHub that dared to rank states by income tax burdens. It’s no easy chore, since not only do state taxes vary, many municipalities tack on their own levies. So, getting any sense of complete tax costs is a tricky exercise. But let’s see what WalletHub found.

Start with ranking effective tax rate, that is, the size of your bill vs. how much your home is worth. California’s Prop. 13, which limits jumps in rates and assessed value, helps property tax burdens in the state appear relatively low by this measure.

California’s 0.81 percent effective rate, by WalletHub math – that’s 81 cents per $100 of assessed value – was tied for 17th lowest among the states. That’s not bad. It’s not Hawaii at 0.27 percent, the national low. But it ain’t close to the worst of the lot: New Jersey, 2.35 percent, Illinois, 2.30 percent, and New Hampshire, 2.15 percent.

Now that effective tax rate is charged against the property’s value. Property valuations for tax purposes are part science, part art, and part political. Obviously, the tax collector wants the highest valuation to take in the most cash. One must admit that Prop. 13 is quite good at keep taxable valuations low.

Still, California housing is pricey. And by WalletHub’s calculation, the median value in the state was $385,500 last year. That was the nation’s third highest.

So, that high value translated to a typical California tax payment of $3,104 a year, or the 11th worst among the states.

You can dream about paying a common Alabama levy at $543, or be thankful the mailbox doesn’t contain a bill for a typical property in New Jersey ($7,410), Connecticut ($5,327), or New Hampshire ($5,100.)

But I took this math exercise further because I wanted to see how much of an average family’s cash goes toward property taxes.

My trusty spreadsheet tells me that when you compare California’s median household income of $64,500 – 10th best nationally – to property tax bills, you find the burden equals 4.8 percent of the household pay. That share ranked 10th worst among the states. (Psst! Texas was 12th worst at 4.6 percent.)

Want to pay less? Move to the national low in Alabama where these taxes run 1.2 percent of incomes.

Want to feel better? Imagine paying property taxes in New Jersey (10.3 percent); my home state of New York (7.6 percent); or Connecticut (7.5 percent)!

So maybe it’s not just California’s fine weather that draws so many transplants from the Northeast!

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