Prepping For Spring // Backyard Edition

No matter where you live (but especially here in SoCal!) outdoor entertaining at your home becomes more appealing as the weather warms and the days get longer.

With the start of Spring and the much-rejoiced arrival of day light savings, now may be the ideal time to prep (or update) your outdoor living spaces! Thanks to Pinterest & HGTV, the design and decor ideas are endless… which may have you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The key is not to take on too much – just remind yourself that your main goal is to create a outdoor space that you can enjoy being in. We have gathered the following guidelines to get the gears turning and the inspiration flowing..

  • Be sure to create traffic patterns or designated ways to walk/move around. Due to the restricted lot sizes throughout most of the South Bay, this rule is especially critical if you want to make the most of a small or cramped space. This can be done in a variety of ways.. whether that be laying formal stone walkways or planting shrubs to help establish corners and borders.

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  • Add an outdoor fire source. Indoor fireplaces are great and all.. but when the mid-summer heat rolls around, you definitely do not want to be stuck indoors! Keep it low key with a portable firepit or firebowl (how cool are these!) or take things to the next level with a full fireplace. Just be sure to check your local building codes / fire safety rules… and to stock up on the s’mores supplies!

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  • Outdoor kitchens are an ideal way to extend your home’s living space into the outdoors. While detailed outdoor kitchens can easily become expensive, they don’t have to be! Remember, it is about creating an environment and the ability to eat outside, not necessarily buying all the frills and accessories. A charcoal grill and small outdoor dining table can be the start of your backyard dining experience.

Check out a few of the outdoor kitchens we are drooling over:

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  • Keep things practical and organized. Do not go over the top with accessories or details and have a designated area to put things (seat cushions, pillows, etc) when rain is in the forecast! Also, if you choose to incorporate an outdoor kitchen/dining area, be sure to have create a storage area for equipment to help keep the space cleared and available for enjoying.
  • Try out vertical gardening! Blank walls, covered patios and fencing can all benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. Succulents work best, and when coupled with found wood are a easy, affordable DIY project. We love  this charming vertical garden our Neighborhood Spotlight Anaïs and her husband build!

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  • Lastly, remember that a roof extends usability.  Overhead structures like a gazebo or screened porch provide comfort and protection from the elements, ultimately giving you more opportunities to spend time outdoors. However, the roofing does not have to be a permanent structure – pop-up tent over your deck or out in the yard can be just as effective in blocking the sun or rain!

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Women Who WOW Us

With today’s celebration of International Women’s Day and March’s designation as Women’s History Month,  we felt it was only fitting to highlight South Bay women whom we have found to be both influential and inspiring.

But first, a short background On International Women’s Day:  IWD has been celebrated for over a hundred years and has gained recognition in as an official holiday in a number of countries, including Uganda, Cuba, Russia and Vietnam. The United Nations began sponsoring International Women’s Day in 1975, designating a new theme each year. 2017’s appointed theme is “Be Bold For Change” or if you frequent social media, #BeBoldForChange


We are honored to highlight five local women who we have had the privilege of getting to know over the past year. Each of these women have created a way to pursue their unique passions and seek careers that give them personal fulfillment. Their stories inspire us and remind us that we are capable of shaping our own futures.

Aaaaand here they are:

Amy Errett, founder and owner of E3 Vehicles – a custom Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (golf cart) retailer based in the South Bay. Amy is a passionate about living the ultimate South Bay Lifestyle, one consisting of jaunting around town enjoying the sunshine while going green and saving money. Amy and E3 Vehicles help people realize their dream lifestyle by offering  custom made-to-order electric vehicles that are substantially under competitors prices.

In Amy’s words,

“I am amazed and pleasantly surprised by the support I have experienced from all areas of the community, both businesses and city governments.  The local business people, in particular, are very supportive of E3V’s concept and mission.  They have all offered recommendations to help me spread the word and come up with creative ideas to collaborate in the future. I have a lot more work to do when it comes to connecting with more people and businesses, but it has been such an encouraging process, so far.”

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Allison Gander, owner and principal of AGA Design – an architectural consulting firm, recognized early on that with her drawing abilities and aptitude for geometry a career as an architect would be the perfect fit. With over 12 years of experience in the profession to-date, Allison prepared for her career not just with a Bachelor’s of Science in architecture, but also with a year at Ecole d’Architecutre de Paris-La Villette and a Master’s of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Lucky for us, Allison relocated from Georgia to Los Angeles where she promptly began working as a Project Architect consultant for Levin & Associates. (If you have ever been to the Dodger Stadium or the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre – you have likely marveled at some of her work!) Allison’s next step brought her to creating AGA Designs, is a full-service architecture firm which allows her to stay involved with each project from start to finish.

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In Allison’s words:

“I’ve always loved to draw and sketch.  Eventually I headed in the architecture direction because I could use those talents and couple them with my geometric brain and curiosity and find out how things should be put together. Meeting with clients, sketching out their ideas while assisting in some fundamental design approaches is my favorite part.  I bring along my roll of trace paper to every meeting because you have to document those brainstorming sessions.”


You may have noticed this Jen Carpenter around the South Bay .. as shes is usually accompanied by 6-8 dogs she is hard to miss! Recognizing the busy schedules of South Bay-ers (not to mention the time spent in traffic for those of us commuting!), Jen founded Jen’s Dog Walking, a service that not only gives her furry customers their needed walks, but the love and attention that they deserve. Fueled by affection from her own three 3 dogs, Jen Carpenter is passionate about providing other canines with regular walks in order to ensure their health and happiness.

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In Jen’s words:

“I have been a dog walker for 12 years and it’s a very personal small business. I am pretty close with my clients, as I am taking care of their babies! I enjoy being a small local business because I’d like to maintain that personal family like feel with my clients.”


 

Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs de la Morandais eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world. Since her arrival in California, Anaïs has founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.

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In Anaïs’ words:

“Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.”


With a Communication Design degree from OTIS, as well as experience as both a marketing director and an art director, Cat Landry is the independent graphic designer and owner behind Cat Landry Design. Beyond her impressive resume, however, Cat has also honed a skill set that helps her to evaluate and determine not just the needs of her clients, but also their personal style.  What stood out to us about Cat was her dedication to truly getting to know her clients and creating work that embodies who they are. She is especially passionate about working with local business and supporting the “South Bay Bubble.” What could be better than working with a designer who really knows the community your business serves and the audience you’re trying to reach?

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In Cat’s words:

“In 1999, I decided that the best way for me to continue to enjoy my work was to do it my way… with a smile. I put in my two-weeks notice and left the corporate world to start my own business. Cat Landry Design was “born” on my birthday in July 1999. Although freelance design has its ups and downs (financially and logistically), I’ve never regretted the choice to enjoy my work every single day.”


As always, it is quite humbling when we look back at the incredible women that we have had the opportunity to mingle with. We applaud Cat, Amy, Anaïs, Allison & Jen for following their calling, while also using their abilities to contribute to their community.

While these women give us plenty of reason to celebrate today and look forward to the future, this Forbes article provides 7 (More) Reasons To Be Optimistic This International Women’s Day!

Getting Schooled on RB’s Schools

While our beloved Redondo Beach is just over six square miles, the Redondo Beach Unified School District school district of consists eight elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school (as well as one continuation school and one adult school). But our residents are focused on quality, not just quantity! Over the past two years, seven of these schools were named”California Gold Ribbon Schools” while several others have been recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. High honors for our idyllic ocean-side community!

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Elementary Schools: Alta Vista, Beryl Heights, Birney, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Tulita, Washington

Middle Schools: Adams, Parras,

High Schools: Redondo Union

Not sure which school you are currently zoned for? Or interested in buying in a specific school district? Check out the district map below or try this interactive version for a simplified way to determine which school territory your home is located in.

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Wondering why our schooling systems are so effective?

The Redondo Beach School System is financially supplemented by two contributing organizations: the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the Redondo Beach Education Foundation (RBEF). There is frequently confusion regarding the differences between these two organizations, but the RBEF and the PTA play clears roles in their over-arching purpose to fill the gap between the state provided school funds and the actual operating costs of each classroom. One of the largest children’s advocacy organizations in the US, the PTA pays for school and site-specific needs (ex: field trips and classroom enrichment programs). The Redondo Beach PTA has more than 8,000 members and runs an annual membership drive. Incredible to see such a huge cumulative effort to make education one of the pillars of our community!

Alternately (but just as importantly), the RBEF’s focus is on funding the salaries of the individuals that are needed to teach the varying programs that are in place in each school throughout the districts. RBEF works to maintain the high quality of education offered at each of Redondo Beach campuses by providing living wage salaries for music teachers, science teachers and all specialized instructors.

All of the changes and developments in Redondo Beach schools can be followed by “School News”- a monthly newsletter to promote the news of the district and each of the schools. While print copies of each issue are distributed to the elementary school students, to teachers and staff in all schools and to select business locations, you can also access the newsletters online. Check out the February 2017 Edition to learn more about the role of the RBEF, 2017 kindergarten enrollment and much more!

As a Redondo Beach resident, your children are guaranteed a space in kindergarten at your home/ neighborhood school – so be sure to take advantage of living in the award-winning Redondo Beach Unified School District and get enrolled!(side note: next Fall marks the enrollment of the class of 2030!)

Valentine’s Day in the South Bay

 Not sure what to do with your boo this Valentine’s? We have selected a few romantic AND fun events that are taking place nearby….

Sweetheart’s Stroll in the Botanic Garden:

Sunday, February 12, 2017 – 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
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Event is FREE for Garden Members!  General Admission rates apply for non-members.
  ($5-$25 – depending on package)
Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic, blanket or chairs and enjoy music by VOX DJ  on the Upper Meadow.  Beer tastings will be provided by Red Car Brewery and Restaurant and wine from Plough/Wooden Valley Wines.  The Foil Place will be onsite to provide a complimentary, personalized engraving with the purchase of a wine glass. A photo booth will be on site and food can also be purchased from Richeeze Grilled Cheese Truck.

Valentine’s Day | Upstairs & Downstairs at R10 Social House:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
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R/10 Social House provides ideal settings for both singles and couples on Valentine’s Day with an Upstairs & Downstairs event. R/10 turns its upstairs bar and lounge into a singles party with cocktails and a DJ from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (No reservations required)

Meanwhile, the downstairs portion of the venue will feature an intimate 3-Course Prix Fixe Menu with wine-pairing option available from 5:00 p.m. to close. To make a reservation call ahead at (310) 798-2500.

Hoppy Valentines Dinner by Primal Alchemy Catering & Brouweij West:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – 6:00 PM – 10:00 PMr

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 Primal Alchemy Catering is hosting a farm to table Valentine’s dinner with Brouwerij West Brewery Beers for an unforgettable romantic celebration.

Set in a 1940’s warehouse, you will arrive to aphrodisiac appetizers paired with a complimentary tasting of 5 Brouwerij West beers to start off the evening.  Sway to the French-Gypsy swing music of Hedgehog Swing and capture the memory with a picture in our Lovers Only photo booth, before enjoying a seasonally selected dinner.

1FUR1’s Cupid & Canines Valentine’s Benefit | Zoom Room, RB 

Sunday, February 19, 4-6 pm

Join 1FUR1’s Cupid & Canines Valentine’s Benefit at the Zoom Room Redondo Beach for fun activities to enjoy with your 4-legged best friend by your side.
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Celebrate the holiday with tasty treats, awesome giveaways, doggy body art, DIY clay paw prints, smooches in the photo booth, food, drinks and lots of of mingling with fellow dog lovers. Enter your dog in the high jump competition to win big prizes and meet the Zoom Room trainers who will answer any training questions and share tips. For more details and tix, visit https://www.1fur1.org/events

(Not So) Extreme Fireplace Makeover

Nothing beats a warm, roaring fire on a snowy winter’s night!

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But with winter weather in Redondo Beach hovering around a sunny 60 degrees, that cozy fire may not have the same appeal. For some SoCal families fires are a novelty saved for Christmas day and the fireplace goes unused the other 355 days of the year.

Luckily, there are many creative ways to transform that otherwise unused space and turn it into a focal point for your home. Here’s a look at some “fireplace makeover” ideas we are dying to test out.

1. Use your fireplace to freshen up the room! Artfully arranging flowers and other potted plants inside your fireplace can add color, dimensions and scents to your living space. A fireplace garden can satisfy your green thumb..without having to go outside. Succulents or ferns are hearty, low-maintenance options that will make your room come alive!We also love the idea of adding seasonal plants during the holidays, such as holly branches or poinsettias.

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2. If you love the flickering effect of a fire, as well as that alluring wood scent, an arrangement of candles inside your fireplace can help you achieve a similar feel. Home goods stores offer a wide range of candle scents, from Campfire Smoke WoodWick Candles  to Tory Burch’s Cedarwood Candles. The beauty of this option is that you swap out scents and holders to keep the arrangement appealing and smelling heavenly! It also mimics the romantic fire vibe without generating the smoke, mess or hassle of tending a fire.

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3. Create more storage by adding shelving into your fireplace. Beyond giving your another place to store books or trinkets, this option adds a focal point to the room. This is an easy way to add a mini library to your home or to display those family photos that never quite got hung up. To jazz things up, consider painting the backdrop of the fireplace a bright color or line it with patterned tiles!

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4. Showcase an art piece or family heirloom. When properly cleaned, the inlay of a fireplace creates a perfect place to  display a singular item. This tactic works best with a sculpture, but could also be used to feature a framed piece of art. The simplicity of this setup will add a sophisticated, museum-like feel to an otherwise unused space!

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5. If you are one of those “we use our fireplace once a year” families, then completely transforming your fireplace may not be the best ideas. (We don’t want to see those books caught on fire!) However, one easy way to transform your fireplace and achieve a rustic, homey ambiance is to stack it neatly with firewood. Use logs that are the same length but have varying diameters, and be sure to pack them tightly to fill the whole space. And hey, when that “one day a year” rolls around you will already have firewood on hand!

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The beauty of owning your own home is that you can transform it into whatever you want it to be! You can take each space and make it into something functional that works for your family and individual style. With a little creativity (and the help of the internet), your  fireplace transformation could be the start of a complete home-make-over!

 

Fall in the South Bay!

There is no end to the exciting events happening throughout the South Bay! We are fortunate to live in such an active, involved community & want to help promote local events happening throughout the remainder of the month. We have pooled a few of the upcoming festivities and happenings we are most excited for – but please reach out if we have missed your favorite 🙂

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The Rising Tohoku Food Fair hosted by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance presents 2 full days of food and cultural festivities to celebrate the charms of the Tohoku region in Northeast Japan, which can be enjoyed by children and adults. A variety of delicious food including seafood, wagyu beef, and sweets will bring you the authentic flavor of Tohoku, Japan. Check out fun workshops and dance presentations on Saturday and Sunday (11.5-11.6 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm)!

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TedxManhattan Beach 2016: What If? takes place at Mira Costa High School on Saturday, Nov 5th and is a day of delight, creativity, inspiration, education, and fun. Three sessions of engaging speakers plus unlimited exploration of our interactive exhibit hall with breaks for breakfast, snack, and lunch. Meet 14 people who will surprise, delight, educate and open our eyes to what is possible when we ask “What if”..

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Meet a real mermaid and pirate at the SEA Lab’s November Fishtivities Saturday, Nov 5!  Mermaid activities will run from 10:00am-11:30am and Pirate activities will run from 1:00pm – 3:30pm (each session costs $5 per person, you can just participate in one for $5 or both the mermaid and pirate activities for $10)

 

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Alpine Village Oktoberfest is back! The longest running Oktoberfest in Los Angeles, this annual event offers traditional German fare, delicious German beers brewed by Warsteiner and  Bavarian fun is supplied by Oom Pah Pah party bands!  The Alpine Village Imports Market offers an array of German foods and products, as well as tasty sausages and a bakery.  Schedule runs as follows:

Fridays: 6:00 PM to midnight – 21+

Saturdays: 5:00 PM to midnight – 21+

Sundays:  1:00 PM to 6:00 PM – ALL AGES!!!

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How is it already time for the Manhattan Beach Pier Lighting & Holiday Open House?! Downtown merchants will be open until 9:00 PM and are sure to offer some distinctive gifts and intriguing offers this holiday season. Our restaurants will be serving their original menus and some sampling is sure to get your palette started for an evening of wonderful food. The event is set to take place Wednesday, Nov. 16th from 6:00-9:00 pm.

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STOP in the name of Low Mortgage Rates

Seriously, stop what you are doing.

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BECAUSE, low mortgage rates = amazing opportunities for buyers, sellers, or homeowners looking to refinance!

While rates on mortgages change daily, they are currently holding steady at near record lows. In fact, according to the Bankrate.com rates have not been this low since December 2012!  The graphic below demonstrates the drop in rates from just last week.

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Both 15-year and 30-year mortgage rates are down more than 0.5% since the start of the year.

What does this mean for buyers?

This drop in rates means that those looking to buy have experienced a purchase power increase of 7%…meaning that buyers who could afford an $800,000 home in December can now afford an $852,000 home!  For many on the house-hunt, this increase in purchase power could put their dream home just in reach!

What does this mean for sellers?

Lower mortgage rates translate to a surplus of buyers looking to take advantage of their higher purchasing power; which means you, as a seller, have the ability to get top dollar for your home! More active buyers are out looking increases the desirability of your home.. making it a hot commodity.

What does this mean for refinancers?

Refinancing gives a homeowner access to a new mortgage loan which replaces the existing one. The details of the new loan’s mortgage rate, loan length in years, and amount borrowed can customized by the homeowner. Thus, refinancing during a period of lower mortgage rates could benefit borrowers by lowering their monthly housing payments and/or shortening the term of their mortgage.

For a personalized rate, check out this helpful site: http://themortgagereports.com/ratequote/

Remember: Mortgage rates change quickly and there is no guarantee that these rates will last. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, it is time to take advantage of the current market!

Our Story

In case any of you were wondering how the Weber Accetta Real Estate Group came to be, we had the privilege of having our story written by our former intern who is now part of our marketing team- Cathy Strini. Thank you Cathy!

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Lauren and Michelle’s matchup was initially fueled by their love for Real Estate and jewelry. Originally, they shared time marveling over old treasures, making jewelry and touring the newest South Bay listings. Overtime, this connection transformed into a business pairing, when the two teamed up to collaboratively market to a larger Real Estate audience. Through this collaboration, Lauren and Michelle quickly realized a shared passion for being involved in their communities, so they began to engage in their neighborhood, highlighting the hard-working individuals in what is now their neighborhood spotlight.

The strength of their working relationship was undeniable, so the two decided to pool their collective market knowledge and sprawling networks to create The Weber Accetta Real Estate Group.

This accelerated their individual Real Estate careers and together Lauren and Michelle have found it possible to serve their clients beyond what either could accomplish alone. You would be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic, in-sync team than the Weber Accetta Group. Their commitment to their clients is unparalleled, while the combination of their unique personalities guarantees results. Lauren’s calm and steady communication style perfectly complements and channels Michelle’s creativity and ideas. Different as they are, they run their business and team on a mutual foundation of honesty and integrity.  Collectively, The Weber Accetta Real Estate Group takes pride in guiding their clients through life’s meaningful transitions.

To Pool or Not to Pool?

Tis the glorious season that some people, like myself wait all year for… pool season! With a large water shortage and water bills skyrocketing after a certain usage point there is much debate as to if there is an added value to having a home with a pool. With about 10%-30% of homes in the South Bay being sold with pools, we thought it was time to look at the numbers!

What were are looking at here is the Median sales price per year of single family homes between 2,000- 2,999 SqFt over within each zip code with and with out pools.

90275 – Rancho Palos Verdes 

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Has Pool &: $1,339,000

No Pool: $1,240,000

90274- Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates

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Has Pool: $1,584,500

No Pool: $1,480,000

90277- South Redondo Beach

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Has Pool &: $1,505,000

No Pool: $1,400,000

90266- Manhattan Beach

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Has Pool: $2,050,000

No Pool: $2,075,000

90254 – Hermosa Beach

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Has Pool: $3,000,000

No Pool: $1,990,000

We we see looking at the data, a pool can increase property value from a couple hundred thousand to a million. Granted these numbers are not accounting for lot size, which having a larger lot (increases sales price) is necessary to have a pool in the first place. We attribute the large difference in prices in Hermosa Beach where lot size is between 2,000 – 6,000 SqFt to this factor.

Interesting fact we found while doing our research posted by the Bay Area News Group shows that a 20,000 gallon pool covering 500 Square-feet uses less water than a lawn, pool without a cover and drought tolerant landscaping.

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Having a home with a pool helps sell them faster in some cities. Homes with a pools sell faster than homes without a pool in South Redondo, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Hermosa Beach.