The Inland Empire of California is a part of the greater Los Angeles area that centers around Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. It includes the cities of Ontario, San Bernardino and Riverside. The region was once known for citrus, dairy and winemaking, but has experienced heavy residential growth in recent decades. The housing market has sustained a strong downturn.
Get an Energy Star Air Conditioner
California can get hot, so it's important to both provide some comfortable cooling when potential buyers come calling and to demonstrate that they aren't going to spend a fortune to maintain a reasonable level. Plus, with rolling brownouts in the state's recent past, not many residents want to feel like energy hogs.
By purchasing Energy Star-certified cooling equipment, you can demonstrate substantial savings in energy bills, as well as high quality of operation. Buyers appreciate that. Room air conditioners (like this model from LG) must be at least 10% more efficient to achieve Energy Star, and central air 14%.
Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star was designed by the EPA to take the guesswork out of appliance buying. Look for the blue-and-white label, which means the item is at least 10-50% more efficient than standard models (depending on the class of product). That means lower energy bills and less pollution.
This stylish, Energy Star-rated SteamWasher from LG even includes an 'Allergiene' cycle, which is designed to reduce allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander, on fabrics by more than 95%. It is the first washing machine to be certified 'asthma & allergy friendly' by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
More than 18,000 products in 35 different categories are covered in the Energy Star program, and most major manufacturers participate. Energy Star has become a fixture in the showrooms of most retailers coast to coast.
Hepa Air Aocal
Put in a Powerful Air Filter
With allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities on the rise -- as well as burgeoning awareness of the importance of good air quality -- homeowners can impress potential buyers with the best in filter technology.
Whole-house filters are definitely the way to go in terms of power, value and ease of use. Electrostatic models fit on HVAC equipment and collect particles with static electricity. They require no disposable parts. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are made of randomly arranged fibers and are based on Department of Energy standards.
Beware of so-called 'HEPA type' or 'high efficiency' filters, which can actually be up to 55% lower in efficiency than true HEPAs. It's also probably a good idea to avoid ozone-generating air purifiers, which are controversial.
Toto Low Socal
Install Low-Flow Fixtures
The Los Angeles area, like much of the West, continues to exert ever greater pressure on fresh water supplies. With high water bills and the possibility for rationing programs in the future, potential buyers are likely to be concerned about use of the precious resource. Reassure them with efficient, low-flow hardware, like this elegant design from Toto. Don't worry: there will still be more than ample water pressure.
Similarly, a low-flow showerhead can slash bathing water consumption 50 to 70%. The devices are simple to install and start around $8. Many styles and features are available, including flow-adjusting dials and a pause button.
Water Saving Socal
Put in Low-Water Plantings
'Green carpet' grass lawns take a huge amount of water in dry climates, which leads to both high water bills and a lot of hassle and worry. Plus, the possibility of mandatory water restrictions means your yard may end up looking like a barren wasteland.
Instead, plant drought-tolerant native shrubs, trees and grasses. They won't require nearly as much water and will serve as habitat for local wildlife. Using low-water plantings even has a catchy name: xeriscaping.
California Fire Safety
Consider Fire Safety
With the devastating wild fires that have ravaged much of the West in recent years, the subject of fire safety has become a very hot topic. Much of a home's susceptibility has to do with where it sits in the greater landscape. But there are some things to be aware of.
Suburbs have sprawled out so fast in many places that cities haven't even had time to keep up with fire hydrants. That's a real problem, and one that you may have to call City Hall about.
A practical thing you can do is to make sure you clear away dead brush and debris from around your house. Many homes have been saved by ridding the immediate area of fuel, and you don't want potential buyers to view your lot as a tinderbox.