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Help First-Time Sellers Through the Sale

Like rookie buyers, clients who are new to selling need extra hand-holding through the sales process.

Even the most steely-eyed sellers can get emotional when it’s time to list their home. It’s the place where they raised their children, gathered friends for annual holiday parties, or painstakingly executed their design vision over many years. The longer they have stayed in a home, the greater the challenges they may face getting up-to-date on the rules and regulations governing transactions. Those who have never before sold are, indeed, in uncharted territory. Here are suggestions for working with first-time sellers who may find the financial and legal complexities, as well as the emotional terrain, especially daunting.

First-time sellers who have never contended with buyer demands may not initially understand how neutralizing their home or adding small upgrades can make their property more competitive on the market. Using data to highlight comparable nearby homes and what they’re selling for is a good place to start, but make sure to explain how the data supports your argument. Andy Werner, abr, e-pro, associate broker at RE/MAX Realty Group in Gaithersburg, Md., says many first-time sellers don’t realize how minor repairs can elevate their property’s market value. Buyers typically expect a home to be in move-in condition, so sellers who choose not to upgrade could face a $10,000 to $15,000 price reduction, he says.

“I tell buyers that if you don’t fix up your house, the buyer will go around the corner and buy from someone who did—and they’ll pay $5,000 more,” Werner says. Such an explanation demonstrates market fundamentals to your clients and keeps them on track toward the closing table. The costs of modest repairs, such as repainting, installing carpet, and refinishing or replacing kitchen cabinetry, are often recouped at resale, Werner adds.

Selling After Decades of Owning

Some common seller issues become more difficult simply because of how long a first-time seller has lived in a home. Decluttering, for example, can be hard enough for someone who’s been in their home only five years. Imagine how challenging it is for sellers who have lived in a home for their entire adult life.

It’s not just emotional resistance they’re experiencing. First-timers may simply not be aware of how clearing out personal items improves the odds of a sale. Alice Chin, psa, a broker with Keller Williams Infinity in Naperville, Ill., recommends that sellers who have never dramatically decluttered their homes before do it in stages, clearing one room at a time. Slowing down the pace can ease the mental and emotional pressure involved in getting rid of personal items, she says, and once sellers see the results in one room, it can encourage them to continue working on the rest of the house. If your client needs more convincing, ask a professional home stager to weigh in, Chin says.

Patience Is a Virtue

All sellers benefit from practicing patience while waiting for the right buyer, but this is doubly true for those who are listing a vacation home in resort areas for the first time. They face different market dynamics than if they were selling a primary residence, says McKee Macdonald, a broker with Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate in the ski resort town of Stowe, Vt. Many of his clients who are new to selling are shocked to learn how long it can take to sell—an average of 250 days in his market. Some properties have languished for as long as five years, he says.

Therefore, first-time sellers require a higher degree of communication so they can be prepared for the realities of a niche market, Macdonald says. He explains that traditional marketing tactics such as open houses aren’t always effective because the number of skiers (who are prospective buyers) in town on weekends is unpredictable. Instead, he advises his clients to consider renting out vacation properties while they wait for a buyer. After all, selling a second home often isn’t urgent, and a seller’s motivation can change. “Some sellers say, ‘Throw it out there. If we get the price we want, great. If not, I’m still using it,’” Macdonald says.

Experienced Sellers Can Be Rookies

Even seasoned sellers can feel like newbies when market conditions have changed markedly since their last sale. A client who sold one property during a downturn may be ill-prepared for today’s tight-inventory environment and the stress of handling multiple offers. Though it’s a nice problem to have, it can still be overwhelming.

Ashleigh Fredrickson, sales associate at 8Z Real Estate in Denver, says the biggest challenge for sellers of all experience levels is determining which offers stand the best chance of holding up. In a strong seller’s market, buyers can get swept up in the heat of the moment and bid 10 percent over list price only to realize later they won’t be able to qualify for financing, she says. So it’s important to counsel sellers—particularly those who have never been in such a situation—that the highest bid isn’t necessarily the best. “You want to make sure you’re getting the most qualified buyer so that you’re not back out on the market again,” Fredrickson says.

She suggests using a spreadsheet to help sellers analyze competing bids, taking special note of any contingencies. Your clients need to understand that a higher offer with more contingencies may not be in their best interest. “Maybe the timeline is paramount, so the seller will sacrifice a couple of thousand dollars to ensure the deal is done by a certain time,” Fredrickson says.

Above all, directness and thorough education are what every first-time seller needs, Macdonald adds. When a sale isn’t going the way a seller had imagined it would, “you need to look for strategies to offset the negatives.” But always “give sellers the honest truth, and don’t sugarcoat it,” he says.

 

Credit to Judith Crown
Judith Crown is a Chicago-based freelance writer specializing in business, government, and education.

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How to Deal With Noisy Tenants in Your Apartment Building

Every renter deserves peace and quiet. But people interpret “quiet” in different ways, which can lead to uncomfortable situations for landlords.

For example, consider this true story that I call “The Case of the Midnight Guitarist.” The landlord, a friend of mine who owns several properties in California’s San Lorenzo Valley, told me about a musician who lived in one of two rental units in a quiet, creek-side setting.

My landlord friend asked the guitarist to wear headphones, but he refused. All the renters had signed a standard rental agreement that failed to address noise issues, so my friend faced a quandary: How to ensure that every tenant experienced quiet enjoyment without violating the guitarist’s rights?

What is Quiet Enjoyment?

An implied warranty between the tenant and landlord, a provision for “quiet enjoyment” may contain the word “quiet,” but that doesn’t necessarily proscribe noise. It simply means that the tenant is entitled to undisturbed use of the premises. Courts read this warranty into every lease, whether or not it’s expressly stated.

Among the benefits it guarantees are:

  • Use of all amenities supplied with the unit.
    If an appliance breaks, the landlord has to fix it.
  • Unimpeded access to the unit.
    The landlord is expected to keep the driveway clear and all doors and lock sets in good working order.
  • Freedom from intrusion.
    In the absence of lease violations or overt damage to the premises, tenants have a right to privacy, which includes freedom from an unreasonable number of landlord visits.
  • Peace and quiet.
    The landlord must address any disturbing noise within his or her control, such as a chirping smoke alarm.

One Person’s Noise is Another’s Music

It’s difficult to make everyone happy all the time. In the case of the midnight guitarist, one set of tenants was disturbed. But the guitarist viewed the noise he created as inspiring. As far as he was concerned, his guitar playing constituted quiet enjoyment of the premises.

After my friend received several complaints, he voluntarily granted the aggrieved tenants a rent reduction to encourage them to stay. My friend lost money, because of his failure to address noise in the lease.

A properly worded lease can provide much-needed leverage.

The landlord’s bottom line was affected the most, because he failed to address noise in the lease.

Avoid Generic Rental Agreements

My friend used a generic California rental agreement downloaded from the internet. It contained no specific quiet enjoyment clause and did not address noise at all. Covering little more than rental payments, late fees, and security deposits, it left most other issues—such as maintenance and usage guidelines—open.

There’s nothing “free” about a free lease template. It’ll cost you thousands of dollars in damages.

More sophisticated leases usually contain a quiet enjoyment clause, but it generally covers the use of the unit itself—not the impact of the tenant’s use on other renters. It is possible, however, to include language concerning noise in that clause. Moreover, the clause can contain a caveat, such as “subject to all terms and provisions of this lease,” and the lease can address potential disturbances in a separate clause.

Enforce Quiet Hours

An effective way to ensure equal enjoyment of quiet time for all tenants is to specify hours during which noise is to be kept to a minimum. These hours may differ on weekdays and weekends, but they typically begin at 10 p.m. The lease should specify that “quiet time” applies to guests as well as tenants.

Also check with your local county or town code enforcement office. They might already have noise ordinances in place, which you could enforce. The great thing about noise ordinances is that if a tenant doesn’t comply, you can call the police and they will enforce it for you.

Resolving Disputes

Even if all renters agree to a “quiet hours” clause, it can be difficult to resolve a dispute. Different people tend to have different noise thresholds.

Landlords typically use some of the following criteria to help them adjudicate noise complaints:

  • Multiple complaints.
    Has more than one tenant complained? Multiple complaints carry more weight than one from a (possibly oversensitive) individual.
  • Recurring issues.
    Are complaints recurring? This points to a pattern of willful disturbance.
  • Source of the noise.
    Is the noise a product of everyday activities? An 80% carpet rule can help prevent noise disturbances in the case of multistory dwellings.
  • Actions to remedy.
    Have any steps been taken to address the source of the noise? The Midnight Guitarist, for example, may have tried turning down the volume.
  • Documentation and credibility.
    Has the complaining tenant documented instances of disturbances? Dates, times, and estimates of noise levels are all helpful.

Penalties

The quiet hours lease clause should also specify penalties for violation. Eviction should be an option but not the only one. A monetary penalty should prevent recurrences in most cases.

A Sample “Quiet Enjoyment” Clause

While the exact language to use in a quiet hours clause may vary from state to state, a typical one might look something like the following:

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5 Easy Holiday Decoration Tips for Renters

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You don’t have to limit your holiday decorations to a plastic tree or fake candles just because you live in a rental unit.

Here are five ways to decorate for the holidays without violating the terms of your lease.

1. Suction Solutions

Putting lights around the perimeter of a window allows you to share a little illumination with the outside world.

Instead of putting screw hooks in the frame around the window, use suction-based hooks or clips designed to stick to glass or any flat, smooth, and clean surface. Suction hooks have a standard, clear suction cup on one side and a small hook on the other; simply press one every 8 to 10 inches around the perimeter of a window to hold a strand of mini lights in place.

Suction clips work just like suction hooks. The difference is a swiveling clip mounted on the non-suction side. These clips are ideal for adding light strands to a window.

You can use both the suction hooks and clips to hold other lightweight decorations against the window, such as small flat wreaths, snowflake ornaments, and other nearly flat decorations. Some companies even offer suction hooks designed specifically for wreaths.

2. Temporary Adhesive Hooks

Temporary adhesive hooks are good ways to hold items onto surfaces. Look for brands such as Command Decorating Clips. They’re designed to work on almost any smooth, clean surface and they can be peeled away without leaving a mark when it’s time to pack away the holiday decorations. These hooks work equally well for strands of lights, wreaths, stockings, and almost any decoration that can be hung.

Read the package to ensure the clips you buy are strong enough to hold the items you intend to display. While temporary adhesive hooks are designed to peel away without damaging walls, check with your landlord, or read the terms of your lease to ensure they’re allowed.

3. Frames for Festive Lights

At least one manufacturer has recognized the need for hanging lights around a window without tape, tacks, or hooks. The “Window Wonder Frame Kit” is a customizable plastic frame system that you can press in place between the windowsill and top window jamb. Add-on pieces are sold to fit windows of larger sizes so you can customize the fit for just about any window.

Clips on the plastic frame hold incandescent mini-lights in place, but they’re not designed to hold LED lights. Once installed, the lights are visible from inside or outside, and they’ll be perfectly aligned around the perimeter of the window.

4. Brick Clips

If your apartment has a brick wall or fireplace, you can use brick clips, which snap in place vertically over bricks. They can even hold weighty decorations such as wreaths. The metal clips work on any brick that juts out a bit from the masonry, and they grab the top and bottom portions of the brick without harming the facade in any way. Two small hooks in each clip offer flexibility when hanging items such as stockings or wreaths.

The clips come in different sizes based on the most common brick heights, so be sure to measure a brick before purchasing the clips. Many of the clips are designed for indoor or outdoor use, so you can decorate your patio or balcony, too.

5. Window Clings

Window clings offer an excellent way to decorate windows and mirrors without leaving any marks or residue. Static electricity holds the clings in place. When you no longer need them, you simply peel them off the window and place them back on the original backing paper.

For even more fun—especially for kids—make your own clings out of puffy paint.

  1. Draw or print out a simple design such as a snowflake, ornament, or Santa.
  2. Place it beneath a sheet of plastic wrap or a clear plastic storage bag.
  3. Trace the design with any color of puffy paint (or even several colors).
  4. Let the paint dry overnight.
  5. Peel it off the plastic.
  6. Stick it on the window.

Any of the above decorating ideas can be applied to other holidays—and they help keep homes in their best shape.

 

Credit to Kathy Adams

Kathy is an award-winning investigative journalist, not to mention a writer, brand blogger, decor/DIY expert, renter, commercial landlord. She also writes for brands such as Behr, Kroger, Canon and Black+Decker on topics pertaining to home and apartment decorating and maintenance.

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7 Smart Storage Solutions for Small Apartments

Businessman at the entrance of a labyrinth

Whether you’ve downsized or underestimated the available space in your apartment, dealing with a lack of storage can cause a clutter-fueled conundrum.

The solution: rethink your dwelling and create smart storage solutions. From dual-purpose furniture to the clever use of tension rods, you can create plenty of room to store your stuff, even in an “itty bitty living space.”

1. Make Use of Doors

The closets and cabinets are full. Now what? There’s an often-overlooked storage area lurking behind some of the interior doors—the back of the doors themselves.

An over-the-door hanging basket system allows you to hang more stuff inside the closet, as long as the door is the standard, hinged-entry style. You won’t need nails, and you can still open and close the door normally.

Plastic over-the-door shoe organizers can be used for more than just shoes:

  • On the bedroom (or bedroom closet) door, fill them with socks or belts.
  • In an entryway closet, stash cold-weather hats and gloves.
  • In the bathroom closet, fill them with spare washcloths, poufs, or small toiletry items.
  • They’re also useful for housing craft supplies, pet supplies, and small toys.

Door-mounted wire baskets are perfect for storing foil, wax paper, and extra sponges in kitchen cabinets.

Be sure to ask your landlord before installing a basket that requires screws in the door.

2. Install Tension Rods

Narrow tension rods are typically used to hang cafe curtains, but they work wonders inside kitchen cabinets. Install several tension rods vertically between the top of one cabinet or cupboard shelf and the bottom of the next to create dividers. Stash pot lids, pizza pans, and baking sheets between the tension rods to keep them in one place and make them easy to find. No more digging through a stack of stuff to find the right cookie sheet.

3. Add Storage Units

A trim shelf unit or freestanding cabinet works wonders in tiny spaces, especially the bathroom. Freestanding furnishings that are less than a foot deep (front to back) don’t stick out far from the wall. They’re ideal for that dead space next to the sink or near towel bars in the bathroom. Stash towels and washcloths, the hairdryer, cleaning supplies, or random toiletries in add-on cabinets. These units are a godsend when the bathroom lacks a closet.

4. Consider Double-Duty Furniture

Living in a small apartment is a lot like living in a tiny house or traveling in an RV. Every furniture purchase should be thought out to make sure it’s the best choice for the space. The best furnishings for small places have more than one function. Instead of a regular coffee table, use a flat-topped storage trunk. Instead of a solid ottoman, pick one with storage space inside.

The same holds true in the bedroom. If you’re purchasing a new bed frame, opt for a captain’s bed or a platform bed with built-in drawers. If a bed frame with built-in storage is too unwieldy (think about the next time you move), purchase under-bed storage bins, or make your own unique version by adding wheels to the bottoms of old dresser drawers.

Bonus under-bed storage tip: Store your suitcases under the bed and fill the suitcases with off-season clothing or spare blankets.

5. Make Magnetic Spice Racks

No room to store spices in the kitchen? Opt for a magnetic spice holder.

You could also make your own from metal flashing and small spice jars with magnets mounted to the bottom of each container. Just glue strong magnets to the back of the flashing, and stick the spice holder on the side of a magnetic refrigerator.

The exposed side of a wall-mounted kitchen cabinet works great as well:

  • Add Command Strips or another removable, temporary adhesive product, to the back of your spice holder instead of magnets. Command Strips are designed for easy removal when it’s time to take them down. Even so, check with your landlord first to make such it’s okay to use them in your apartment.
  • Then stick the assemblage on the side of the cabinet.

Spice storage problem solved.

6. Use Suitcases as Storage

Vintage hard-sided suitcases add style to a space with an added bonus: tons of extra storage. Stack three or four suitcases to make an end table, side table, or nightstand, and stash items you don’t need to use often inside the suitcases. To make the stack sturdier, attach short bolts through the lid of one case through the bottom of the next.

7. Add Bookcases

Use short bookcases around the apartment—in the bedroom, dining room, or living area—to store items besides books. Here are two ideas:

  • Display some of your favorite home decor accessories on the shelves.
  • Add storage baskets to create tons of extra storage space for clothing, toys, blankets, or anything else that doesn’t have a dedicated space of its own. Note: Storage baskets are available in a vast array of styles and colors, so you’re bound to find something that enhances the look of your apartment while adding smart and portable storage solutions to your tiny living space.

Every minor, clever tweak you make to enhance your apartment’s storage will have a major impact—less clutter and more peace of mind.

 

Credit to Kathy Adams

Kathy is an award-winning investigative journalist, not to mention a writer, brand blogger, decor/DIY expert, renter, commercial landlord. She also writes for brands such as Behr, Kroger, Canon and Black+Decker on topics pertaining to home and apartment decorating and maintenance.

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Stone Exteriors: Asset or Nightmare?

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Traditional vinyl siding, long the go-to material for home builders, is increasingly being snubbed in favor of trendier manufactured stone products that may or may not contain any actual stone. The appeal of faux stone to builders and home owners is easy to understand: Fabricated stone or stone veneer exteriors are lighter weight and less expensive than natural stone and are offered in a wide array of colors and styles. Manufacturers have reported double-digit sales increases in recent years. But home inspectors are sounding off about the need for caution: Reports of water damage due to poor installation techniques have become widespread.

Home inspector Scott Patterson with Trace Inspections in Nashville, Tenn., says that in nine out of 10 homes he inspects with stone veneer siding, the product has been applied incorrectly. And home owners are reporting that water seepage behind the siding is leading to rotting walls and mold problems. Sometimes the problems don’t become evident for years after installation.

These damage reports related to manufactured stone sound eerily similar to those from the 1990s when synthetic stucco (also known as exterior insulation finish systems or EIFS) generated a lot of public attention. Like artificial stone, synthetic stucco was initially touted as a more affordable, versatile alternative to the genuine product. EIFS were also more crack-resistant than traditional stucco. Years later, home owners discovered water penetrating small openings around windows and doors, leading to costly repairs. Home owners filed lawsuits against manufacturers, and class action settlements resulted in affected home owners receiving generous payouts.

3 Ways to Protect Home Exteriors

Most siding materials require little to no upkeep. Brick, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured), and fiber cement are thought to last for the life of a home, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America, “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components.” But Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, offers some pointers you can share with home owners to help them protect their siding from damage, including:

  • Keep foliage away. Make sure no plants are growing on the siding. “Plants can trap moisture and allow insects and animals to infiltrate,” Lesh says. “You want the siding to be exposed to the elements.”
  • Watch where water may be getting in. Check areas around windows and doors to see if water is getting in. Moisture can linger and eventually cause rotting or fungal growth. Make sure those areas have been properly caulked or tuckpointed to prevent seepage.
  • Keep the gutters cleaned. Many home owners think they only need to check for clogged gutters in autumn when leaves are falling. A neighbor’s stray tennis ball, a bird’s nest, or even squirrels stocking up for winter can quickly become a serious problem. If water gets backed up in your gutter, it could damage your siding too, Lesh notes. Have gutters checked at least twice a year. Or better yet, clean them four times a year to prevent back-ups.

To avoid a case of history repeating itself, the American Society of Home Inspectors has urged members to become familiar with manufactured stone siding and to inspect it vigilantly for budding problems given its porous nature compared to actual stone. ASHI has offered seminars about how to spot problems resulting from improper installation. Home inspectors nationwide are also posting articles on their websites warning home owners to have their manufactured stone inspected.

That said, not all homes with these exteriors are doomed, says Frank Lesh, executive director at ASHI. Home owners typically experience no problems when faux stone is installed correctly and appreciate it as an affordable, lightweight alternative to natural stone exteriors. The artificial product, running about $3 to $8 per square foot before installation, is one-third to one-half the cost of genuine stone, though still about double the cost of vinyl siding. “It’s a durable, long-lasting product, but there are still things to watch out for,” says Lesh. “It has to be installed the correct way, and among subcontractors—of even some big builders—unfortunately this isn’t always the case.”

Consumers purchasing a home featuring manufactured stone veneer might consider hiring a home inspector with specialized training. Real estate pros can direct clients to ASHI’s homeinspector.org website and recommend that they search for inspectors who list an expertise in these materials in their profiles.

So how do home owners know if they have a problem? There may be visible signs; Patterson recalls one recent incident where home owners noticed the trim boards inside their home were starting to separate and found a slight discoloration on a section of their hardwood flooring. Patterson discovered the exterior’s artificial stone was not installed with sealants or the needed backer rods around a huge window frame, which led to water pouring into the walls and eventually damaging the interior wall.

Another test for potential problems is to simply tap on the stone to see if anything feels loose. “If there’s water behind it, the glue starts to come off and you may get some movement,” Lesh says. Also, look for water damage around the siding. However, inspectors warn that the problems are often hidden behind the stonework and difficult to detect until the damage has become extensive.

That’s where specialized equipment can come in handy. Patterson uses a moisture meter and an infrared camera if he suspects a problem. He also looks to make sure the artificial stone comes up to the window or door frame, with only about a half-inch buffer between the two. That space should be filled with a foam rod and a flexible sealant that seals the entire area on top. He also checks to make sure the artificial stone isn’t buried underground. There should be about six inches between the ground and the base of the stone to prevent water from seeping in.

If damage is found, recommend that your clients consider hiring a structural engineer to complete a more invasive moisture testing procedure to learn the extent of the damage to the walls behind the stonework. Many of the same contractors who fixed EIFS in the 1990s and early 2000s are working on repairing stone veneers too. Home owners may find that builders can help resolve an installation issue as well.

Repairing the damage is no small job. The cost of replacing improperly installed manufactured stone runs from about $30 to $38 per square foot of wall. And that doesn’t include repairing any damaged landscape or the replacement of the product itself.

Meanwhile, home owners’ interest in manufactured stone veneer remains strong. The vast selection of colors and textures are a draw, and when it’s installed correctly, home owners find it worth every penny. Indeed, Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report highlighted manufactured stone veneer as having the second highest ROI out of 27 home projects, with nearly 93 percent of the cost recouped at resale. (Only attic insulation, with an ROI of nearly 117 percent, came in higher.) But don’t leave any stone unturned when doing research about the benefits and pitfalls of this emerging product category.

Cerdit to Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Contributing Editor

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® magazine.

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10 Best Places to Live in California

Thinking about moving to California?

There’s a reason 38.8 million people call California home. For some, it may be the lure of Hollywood or the desire to chase ocean waves. For others, California may mean big opportunities with one of the state’s many tech companies. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear – the Golden State simply has the size, beauty and opportunity other states seem to lack. If you’re thinking about living in California, one of these 10 places might be the perfect spot.

What are the best places to live in California?

These Californian cities, listed in no particular order, are some of the best places to call home.

1.      San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA is a great place to live in California

This photo perfectly captures a daily view of the San Diego Bay.

Population: 1.356 million

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Diego is 69.8°F and the annual low is 57.5°F.

What it’s known for: beautiful beaches, Mexican food, the U.S. Navy (largest naval fleet in the world), proximity to Tijuana, major attractions (San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland, Balboa Park), Comic-Con, craft beer and the Gaslamp District.

Who should move there: beach goers, young families, college students and health enthusiasts.

You’ll find locals: outside – the weather is always great!

Fun fact: San Diego produces more avocados than any other place in the United States.

2.      Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA is a great place to live in California

A stunning photo of the downtown Los Angeles skyline

Population: 18.55 million

Average Temperature: the annual high for Los Angeles is 71.7°F and the annual low is 55.9°F.

What it’s known for: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, ethnic diversity (more than 140 ethnicities in the city), fashion, business, manufacturing, Santa Monica Pier, museums and pro sports teams (Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers and Kings).

Who should move there: creatives, singles, fashionistas and sports fanatics.

You’ll find locals: at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. You can bargain shop, people watch and maybe spot a celebrity or two. Plus, it’s usually tourist-free.

Fun fact: the city’s original name was “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula.”

3.      San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California

A picturesque view of the houses in San Francisco, CA

Population: 837,442

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Francisco is 63.8°F and the annual low is 50.8°F.

What it’s known for: the San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Lombard Street, pro sports (49ers and Giants), coffee, fog, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Chocolate and steep hills.

Who should move there: techies, fitness fanatics and nature lovers.

You’ll find locals: at the parks – there are more than 200 in the city.

Fun fact: San Francisco was built on 43 hills!

4.      Berkeley, CA

Berkeley, CA

The UC Berkeley Sather Tower overlooks the San Francisco Bay

Population: 116,768

Average Temperature: the annual high for Berkeley is 67.8°F and the annual low is 48.4°F.

What it’s known for: the University of California at Berkeley, diversity, progressive government, locally-owned shops, San Francisco Bay views, Berkeley Rose Garden and Tilden Regional Park.

Who should move there: college students and teachers, bicyclists and outdoor enthusiasts.

You’ll find locals: at the festivals. The city hosts many festivals throughout the year including the Arts Festival, Kite Festival, Juggling and Unicycling Festival and even a “How Berkeley Can You Be” festival.

Fun fact: since 2000, Berkeley has gained more than 4,470 trees along streets and in parks. This movement is part of the city’s goal to improve air quality and reduce local air temps.

5.      Irvine, CA

Irvine, CA

A photo of the Ferris wheel in Irvine, CA

Population: 236,716

Average Temperature: the annual high for Irvine is 65°F and the annual low is 47.5°F.

What it’s known for: good public schools, notable company headquarters (Taco Bell, In-N-Out Burger, Kia Motors and Toshiba), Irvine Spectrum Center, the University of California at Irvine, filming, bike trails and the Irvine Museum.

Who should move there: families, bicyclists, actors and college students.

You’ll find locals: at the parks, on the beach or on the trails.

Fun fact: There are more than 44 miles of bike trails and 200,000 acres of parks and preserves for outdoor sports and recreation.

6.      San Jose, CA

San Jose, California

A photo of beautiful downtown San Jose, CA

Population: 998,537

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Jose is 59.8°F and the annual low is 42.3°F.

What it’s known for: the Capital of Silicon Valley, The Tech Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santana Row, festivals, educated workforce, parks and San Jose State University.

Who should move there: tech whizzes, college students and families.

You’ll find locals: cheering on the Sharks (NHL), the Giants (Minor League Baseball), the Earthquakes (Major League Soccer) and the Spartans (San Jose State athletics).

Fun fact: San Jose was the state’s capital before the switch to Sacramento in 1854.

7.      Fresno, CA

Yosemite National Park is close to Fresno, CA

Fresno, CA is close to Yosemite National Park

Population: 509,924

Average Temperature: The average annual high for Fresno is 76.7°F and the average annual low is 51.9°F.

What it’s known for: Close proximity to Yosemite National Park, lower cost of living, California State University at Fresno, fine arts and community parks.

Who should move there: Outdoor explorers, budget-conscious people, farmers and independent performers and artists.

You’ll find locals: in the Tower District. It’s the spot in Fresno for dining, arts and entertainment. Most restaurants and retail shops are locally-owned, too.

Fun fact: Fresno is known as the Raisin Capital of the World.

8.      Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA
Palm trees dot the landscape in Santa Barbara, CA

Population: 90,412

Average Temperature: the annual high for Santa Barbara is 69.9°F and the annual low is 53.5°F.

What it’s known for: beautiful scenery, Spanish architecture, wine, The Channel Islands National Park, hiking, the University of California at Santa Barbara and State Street.

Who should move there:  wine connoisseurs, people who love the community, college students, shopaholics and hikers.

You’ll find locals: exploring the outdoors. With about 300 days of sunshine per year, the hardest part of living in Santa Barbara is staying inside.

Fun fact: the city is often referred to as the “American Riviera” because its climate feels Mediterranean.

9.      San Mateo County, CA (includes San Mateo, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Half Moon Bay…just to name a few).

San Mateo County, CA

Flowers and shoreline in San Mateo County, CA

Population: 747,373

Average Temperature: the annual temperature for San Mateo County is 57.4°F.

What it’s known for: close proximity to San Francisco and San Jose, friendly people, Coyote Point Park, Pillar Point Harbor, low unemployment rate, technology, Stanford University and the Filoli Gardens.

Who should move there: job seekers, students and those who want a short commute to San Jose or San Francisco.

You’ll find locals: on the golf course. The county is located on a 60-mile peninsula that features beautiful views and outstanding, year-round conditions on the area’s many courses.

Fun fact: YouTube originated in San Mateo.

10.  Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA

A photo of the Sacramento, CA skyline at dusk

Population: 479,686

Average Temperature: the annual high for Sacramento is 73.6°F and the annual low is 48.3°F.

What it’s known for: being the capital of California, California State University at Sacramento, the UC Davis Medical Center, festivals, Crocker Art Museum, locally-grown food, the Kings (NBA) and its proximity to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.

Who should move there: bicyclists, outdoor adventurers, families and college students.

You’ll find locals: at one of the many restaurants in the city. There are more than 1,200!

Fun fact: Sacramento is known as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” because many restaurants get their food directly from local farms.

 

By Brittney Lee / UPack

 

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