Cape Cod style homes are popular in the coastal communities of Southern California, and it's a style that appeals to arguably the largest segment of single family home buyers in the nation.

Cape Cod home architecture is one of the earliest style of homes built the in United States, dating back to the 1600s when English settlers drew their wisdom from the simple cottages in England. They adapted this original British design to deal with the harsh winters of the Northeast by having the chimney the focal point of the interior, providing heat to rooms clustered around it. The exterior utilizes cedar shingles on the fascia and roof to keep the cold out and a steep roof helps to discard rain and snow quickly. Cape Cod style architecture was created mainly for function, but offers a classic and oft sought after appearance.

How do you identify a Cape Cod style home? There are some key features to look for including

a large, central chimney, steep roof, windows on each side of the door and dormers on each side of the chimney, a narrow captain's stairway, and shingle siding weathered gray shingles are one of the most recognizable elements of a Cape Cod style home.

Due to their age, this style of home may be due for a major remodel. Luckily, Cape Cod style homes in Southern California are often in better shape than East Coast versions, which can date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. On the bright side, the simple construction of this architecture style can make is easy to adapt these homes to your modern needs.

Cape cod style homes are usually cozy may boast a less expensive asking price since many were built during the 1950s. A cape cod style home can be a terrific starter homes or a way for retired couples to live out their days in the community of their choice without the costs associated with larger, modern homes.

When it comes to purchasing a home the architectural style may be overlooked in favor of focusing on location, school districts, available homes and other pressing constraints.

But for some buyers looking for their Southern California dream home, architecture styles may be a hugely important aspects to choosing their new home.
 
Home inspections are one of the most critical steps in the home buying process, and for many reasons. Investing in a home inspection can protect you from unexpected costs before you buy, as well as save you money in the long run on your investment.

Not only is it important to know what will happen during a home inspection, but just as important to know what will not happen and how to interpret the results.

The Inspector
Not all home inspectors are created equal, so check certifications and chose someone who is part of the American Society of Home Inspectors and is an ACI (or ASHI) certified inspector. Even the best inspectors can make mistakes, so chose one who carries "Errors and Omissions" coverage that goes beyond the basic liability insurance. Don't choose an inspector for the wrong reasons.

Be informed
Attend the inspection and don't leave the inspectors side, as you will likely pick up additional insight along the way and better understand the final report. While most inspectors in California follow the National Association of Certified Home Inspections guidelines, there is no uniform checklist. So be sure to negotiate ahead of time what is included on your checklist and understand what is potentially not included, such as items not on the house (fences, surrounding buildings, pipes and septic tanks). Know that Asbestos, lead, mold and other dangers are typically not covered. Understand how thorough the inspection was, like if the inspector climbed on the roof or entered the basement, and how they evaluated the roof and foundation.

Inspectors are not psychics
A home inspection can only go so far. Inspectors can't see the future and don't know when housing systems will fail – they can only evaluate present conditions. Most home inspections are also non-invasive – meaning they only inspect beyond finished surfaces – so protect yourself as much as possible. Many of the most expensive repairs, such as water leaks and damage, rotted wood and faulty wiring or plumbing, are behind the walls and under floor coverings. A trusted inspector can notice defects and if homeowners are trying to cover up problems.
 
When it comes to outdoor recreation, South Bay has a lot to offer. A golfing mecca, however, it is not. But if hitting the links is your preference to unwind outdoors, South Bay has some options, a handful which are within driving (in your vehicle, of course) distance. A number of public, nine-hole courses are available to tee up, and if nothing else you will likely enjoy cooler weather, sea breezes and un-crowded courses as you work on your swing.

The Lakes at El Segundo is a municipal 27-par course known as one of the better executive courses in Los Angeles. A small course that is well maintained, you can work on your short game and get in and out quickly. It also offers a driving range, putting green and chipping area for practice.

The Marriott Golf Course in Manhattan Beach is well maintained and rarely crowded, as it is tucked behind the rear of the hotel and a residential neighborhood. Also a nine-hole known as a great practice course that is more challenging, it’s lined with Palm Trees and ends in a water feature at Lake Kathleen.

The Sea-Aire Golf Course in Torrance is another municipal nine hole, 27 par pitch and putt. Open since 1957, it’s an older track that is inexpensive and great for beginners and kids. The longest hole is 84 yards, so you will be in and out in an hour or less.

If you want to play 18 holes, Chester Washington Golf Course is the closest option, a par 70 course located in Gardena and owned by the city of Los Angeles. Like most public courses, it can get crowded and backed up on weekends. The course offers wide, tree-lined rolling fairways and is suitable for all skill levels.

Located in nearby Lawndale, Alondra Golf Course is a municipal 18-hole course that offers a par 71 and par 54 tracks at the same location. While online reviews for are mixed, Alondra is inexpensive and the practice facilities include a driving range, multiple putting greens and an area for chipping, pitching, and bunker practice.

 
The advantages of cleaning the windows in your home are often obvious. But when staging your home for sale, the difference can often be in the fine details.

The concept of curb appeal is based on first impressions of the buyer, and the most astute buyers will notice clean windows. On the interior, clean windows allow bright, natural light show off the best features of your home. Outside, they will help create a clean and inviting view from the street.

Sure, anything to help your curb appeal is worthwhile. But you might notice an actual difference in the value of your home and a return on the investment of simply getting your windows cleaned.

Consider that 75 percent of people who first view a property online will drive by before they contact an agent, according to Homestaging for Dummies. Not only does curb appeal sell 49 percent of homes, per the National Association of Realtors, a good first impression of a home can actually add 5 to ten percent to the value of the home, according to the president of the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers.

Money Magazine surveyed 2,000 real estate agents and found out the improvement that generates the best return on investment is clean windows, estimating the ROI on window cleaning to be an astounding 768 percent.

We know curb appeal matters, and the lesson here is to not overlook your windows.

For South Bay residents, you might want to consider [Fish Window Cleaning ], a local company established in 1978 that offers real estate specials.
 
Whether you're looking for a quiet escape with your partner or a fun family day out, a picnic could be just the ticket! Take in the day and find a nice place to rest, spend some time with those you love, and eat some good packed food while you’re at it. Once you've got your basket packed, consider these three prime spots to lay your checkered blanket in Manhattan Beach: Polliwog Park, the Manhattan Beach Pier, and Bruce’s Beach.

Polliwog Park
Polliwog Park offers many fun activities and diverse areas to lay your blanket down.  Find a place by the pond and feed some of the roaming ducks, or find a spot in the amphitheater or playground area.  Stretch out on the grass and be able to breathe in this safe environment.  Outdoor BBQ grills are also available if you’re feeling more fancy.  During the summer, people opt for a picnic dinner as they watch a performance by Shakespeare by the Sea or enjoy one of the Concerts in the Park.

Features of Polliwog Park:

  • three gazebos
  • amphitheater
  • picnic area with BBQ’s
  • pool
  • playground (includes one for older and three for smaller children)
  • botanical garden
  • 9-hole disc golf course
  • dog run
  • curbside parking is available along Redondo Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard


Location:
Corner of Redondo Ave. and Manhattan Beach Blvd.

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Manhattan Beach & Pier
The actual beach of Manhattan Beach offers an expansive view of the ocean, and a lot of space to find a place to picnic.  If you’re not feeling like making food yourself, you can grab some to-go from one of the many restaurants located along Manhattan Beach Boulevard (the street going down to the pier) or on any of the off-shoot streets.  The beach offers an ocean to cool down in on a hot day, a terrific sunset view for a romantic dinner, or a place to play volleyball and other games on the sand with your family and friends.  You can also bike and enjoy a ride on the strand or, if driving, you can find one of the spots at the many parking meters nearby.

Location:
400-500 The Strand

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 399-8471

Bruce’s Beach
Bruce’s “Beach” is technically a park that is situated on the sloping grassy hillside leading down to Manhattan’s beach area.  The oldest park site in Manhattan Beach, it includes park benches, a small basketball half-court, and a lot of trees and shady areas to enjoy the view that you’ll be facing.  It’s one of the prime spots to watch a South Bay sunset.

Location:
Highland and 27th Street
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


Compass Realty Group