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Let ter from the Editor Letter from the Editor

Departments 4

Market Report Welcome to 2018!


Feature Give Your Home Some TLC

February 2018 • Vol. 11 • No. 02 P.O. Box 24881 Barrigada, GU 96921 Tel: (671) 472-3495 | Fax: (671) 472-3498 Email:

[ Publisher ] [ Business Sales Manager ] Jay-R S. Dominguez

[ Editor/Display Advertising ] 12

Real Estate Spotlight Releasing Private Mortgages

Emily L.G. Untalan

[ Traffic/Circulation ] Shaun Cruz

[ Production Manager ] 14

Profile Sara Pangelinan

Mark S. Burke

[ Graphics & Layout ] Mark S. Burke


From the Experts Know Your Boundaries

Edwin E. Valencia

[ Website Development ] Edwin E. Valencia


How to D.I.Y. Custom Lamp

[ Editorial Contributors ] Mark S. Burke Christopher Felix


Your World, Our Island Conserving Energy

Anthony Godwin Peggy A. Llagas Eric M. Palacios Jeremy Rojas


Curb Appeal

Arlene Taitingfong


Emily L.G. Untalan Kim Anderson Young


Who Ya Gonna Call?



Cover Photo: Mark S. Burke CasaGuam is Published by:

Emily L.G. Untalan

Buenas and Hafa Adai Everyone! Hope your new year is coming along just fine. We are in the month of love, chocolates and flowers. While we plan to give our loved ones extra TLC on the 14th, remember to Give Your Home Some TLC, too! This is our FEATURE theme for the month and we have some tips to help you do just that! In MARKET REPORT, Anthony Godwin not only wraps up the stats for 2017, he also indicates that home ownership is still within reach for many. Kim Young schools us on “releasing” private mortgages in REAL ESTATE SPOTLIGHT. Our PROFILE this month is Sara Pangelinan of Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Company. Her determination and dedication to work — since graduating high school — continues to this very day!! What a remarkable woman and loyal employee. In FROM THE EXPERTS, Jeremy Rojas wants you to protect yourself and your investment by knowing your boundaries. In our DIY section, Mark Burke shows us how easy it is to build a custom lamp and, in YOUR WORLD, OUR ISLAND, Eric Palacios reminds us once again to conserve energy. Arlene Taitingfong writes about increasing your home’s value with “hardscaping” in CURB APPEAL. In our WEATHER-READY NATION (WRN) section, the NWS/WFO Guam team extends their emphasis on safety. Read up on rip currents and the reef and continue to take heed of all warnings! GAR President, Christopher Felix, gives the best advice and takes it personally when it comes to giving your home some TLC. GAR CEO, Peggy Llagas, continues with Part 2 of Equal Opportunity Housing. That’s all in a nutshell, everyone! Until next month, stay safe and Happy Valentine’s to you and yours! Fondly, Emily L.G. Untalan

CasaGuam Advertising Disclaimer All Advertisers agree to hold the publisher harmless and indemnify it against any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs and expenses (including attorney’s fees) made against or incurred by the publisher, officers or employees with respect to, or arising out of, the content, text, graphics or representations of any ad published herein, including but not limited to the sole negligence and/or fault of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for any claims, losses or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics or representations of any ad published herein, or the condition of the articles sold through the publication, or performance of services advertised in this publication. All advertising and/or performance of services advertising and/or submissions become wholly the property of CasaGuam Magazine. CasaGuam Magazine is a registered trademark of PTI Pacifica Inc. Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the publisher is prohibited. We reserve the right to edit or refuse any ad and to reprint any photo for promotional use.

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Market Repor t

Welcome to 2018!


We began the year the way 2017 ended, with home ownership still within reach of many on Guam. A quick look at the multiple listing service indicated single family homes available from $125,000 and up – and 29 homes under the $250k mark. Banks are lending and interest rates are still as attractive as ever! Several of the banks were offering a 30 mortgage with a fixed interest rate of just under 4% (APR) with monthly payments of approximately $470.00 per $1,000.00 borrowed. Note: monthly payment stated does not include property taxes or insurance. There are also a variety of lending programs where lenders offer from 80% to 100% financing. Planning is still key to home ownership. Before you start your hunt for a new home it’s a good idea to meet with a loan officer and obtain a preliminary assessment of where you stand credit wise. During your interview with the lender, be upfront and honest. Let him/her know about any outstanding debts, such as car payments and personal loans. If you have co-signed for another borrower mention that as well as this may impact the amount that you are able to borrow for your home purchase. The result of your first meeting should be a pre-qualification letter that will help guide you to a plan for home ownership. Once you have your plan in place then it’s time to start your search for the home that will match the requirements of your family and will be within the purchase guidelines set by your lender. There are several places to begin your search. A drive around neighborhoods that you like will often reveal homes that are on the market with yard signs. Of course, many start their home search on the internet. There are a variety of websites that provide a comprehensive listing of all the properties that are listed on the market for sale on Guam. Make 2018 the year you call your home your own. 4 CasaGuam

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By Anthony Godwin

Is there another way to avoid the hassle and stress of the above? Yes, give Today’s Realty a call at 649-4361 or email Anthony Godwin is the principal broker of Today’s Realty located at 1700 Army Drive Suite 101 in Dededo. He and his team of 25 licensed real estate agents and associate-brokers are ready to help you and your family with all of your real estate needs. Visit their website at or home tour site at or their monthly real estate news service at

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Market Repor t

2017 Year End Statistics January 1, 2017 to December 21 2017 By Anthony Godwin Condominium/Townhomes For Sale Number SoldÊ ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ 199 Ê Average Sold PriceÊÊÊ $230,230 Ê Average List PriceÊÊÊÊ $238,469 Ê Percentage of List:Ê 3.5% of List Ê Average Days on MarketÊ 112 Ê End of Year Active Listings:Ê 48 Ê Top Sale for 2017:Ê$785,000 Tasi 17 Condo

Condominium/Townhomes/Apartments for Rent Number Rented: 1,107 Average Rented Price: $1,644.00 Average Listing Price: 1,691.00 Percentage of List: 2.8% of List Average Days on Market: 54 End of Year Active Listings: 168 Top Rental of 2017: $6,000.00 Villa Kanton Tasi Condo, Tumon

Single Family Home Sales Number Sold 364 Ê Average Sold Price: $301,358 Ê Average Listing Price: $314,228 Ê Percentage of List: 4% of List Ê Average Days on Market: 144 Ê End of Year Active Listings: 119 Ê Top Sale for 2017: $1,090,00 Corenoso Street, Barrigada

Single Family Rentals Number Rented: 739 Average Rented Price: $2,385.00 Average Listing Price: $2,502.00 Percentage of List: 4.7% of List Average Days on Market: 57 End of year Active Listings: 106 Top Rental of 2017: $6,615.00 Inalado, Ordot-Chalan Pago

Disclaimer: Information from the Guam Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the period stated and includes only closing information submitted to the service. 5

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Give Your Home Some TLC By Emily L.G. Untalan

o you remember the very first time you fell in love with your home? Whether you bought it or built it, you gave it your time and your undivided attention. Does the feeling remain the same today or have you been taking your home for granted? When you take care of your health, you add more years to your life. The same goes for your home. When you give your home some tender, loving care (TLC) it will continue to shelter and protect you and your family for many, many years to come. Here are some tips I found to give your home some TLC.

Leaky Pipes Leaky pipes in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room could happen if there is excess water pressure in the system, and/or the pieces of your piping system are giving some slack. This issue will lead to further issues of water damage beneath your counters, and even into your floors. Depending on the type of leak, it will help to tighten up the joints of your pipes, or use a patch-kit to fix up problem areas. If you find the problem is beyond what you are comfortable in handling yourself, it is always a good idea to call in a professional to assess the issue prior to taking action.

Mould & Mildew Mould and mildew is not only unappealing to look at, but it can also do a number on the health of you and your family if not treated promptly. Mould and mildew are indicators of excess moisture in your home (most commonly in the bathroom and kitchen). Take the steps to clean these areas thoroughly with the appropriate cleaner, and check on the ventilation of these rooms. Clean out vent filters and consider turning on a fan or opening a window when these rooms are particularly humid. Depending on the severity of your situation, it is recommended to hire a professional to take care of the problem if you are unfamiliar with this type of issue, or are at risk for health issues.

Water Damage


Water damage builds up over time so it is to your advantage to take care of the problem before it becomes much worse, and much more costly to fix. Indications of water damage include: a spongy feeling beneath your floor tiles, running water when no one is using it, and stained ceilings. Ceiling damage could be a result of leaky pipes in above bathrooms, or from a damaged roof. Calling a professional to assess the situation is highly recommended because of the structural impact that water damage can have on your home.

No matter how much you try to tidy up your clutter, your house can only accommodate so many stacks of your belongings. Beyond trying to de-clutter and purge your home of unnecessary items, you may want to invest in shelving units and cabinets if you are facing this issue. Shelving maximizes the potential of your home’s space by storing everything vertically rather than spread across the house. Check out your closets to see if they are optimized to accommodate your belongings – it might be a good idea to invest in some extra closet rods or shelving to utilize the space more efficiently.

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Feature Worn Countertops

Brighten Your Home with New Lighting

Countertops are a good indication of the wear-and-tear on your house. Over time, they may be chipped, burnt, and worn to a dull appearance. Investing in good quality, durable countertops not only adds value to your house for future reselling, but also will add to your kitchen or bathroom’s aesthetic appeal.

That light fixture looked fabulous….in the 1980s. Now it’s making the rest of your room look dated. An amazing array of styles to fit any taste and function can be found at home improvement and lighting stores. Don’t want to swap out fixtures? You can also choose from a vast display of gorgeous lamps. These little changes can make a dramatic improvement to a room.

Noises: Rattling, Clanging, and Squealing Furnaces can cause a racket when they are not taken care of. When burners in your gas furnace or boiler are not lighting properly, they can cause small explosions and a popping noise that rattles the system. This indicates both danger, and time to hire a professional to check them out. Moreover, air conditioning systems rattle as their parts loosen over time, and this causes the startling clanging sound in your home. Finally, air filters and furnace filters can give off a high pitched squealing noise when they are plugged with dirt. All of these are indications that it is time to give these systems some TLC.

Brush Up on Your Home's Woodwork

Clean Out the Kitchen and Pantry Remove everything from the pantry, toss out stale and expired foods and wipe down the shelves before putting everything back. Make sure to clean out the fridge and freezer and clear off countertops. Sharpen knives and prepare for a year of new culinary creations. Let the refreshed space motivate you to stick with your health resolutions for the new year.

Keep Your Home Clean Keep the TLC consistent with daily dusting of furniture and fixtures, sweeping and mopping (or vacuuming).

Your baseboards, chair rails, door trim and other woodwork take a beating. Eventually, that bright white look will be marred from constant brushes with suitcases, kids’ toys and other objects. Grab a can of matching glossy paint and go room by room to find and cover up all scuffs and blemishes. If you have time, paint the whole trimwork for an even look. Also, don’t forget to look up at your crown molding. Paint tends to crack around the seams. 9

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Real Estate Spotlight

Releasing Private Mortgages By Kim Anderson Young


A private mortgage is a loan made by an individual or a business that is not in the traditional banking or mortgage lending business. They are not uncommon and can be a great tool in the real estate business when used in the proper circumstances. A few examples of private mortgages: • A seller is willing to allow a buyer to make a down payment for the property and pay the balance over a period of time. • A family member or friend loans the buyer either a portion or all of the money required for the buyer to purchase the property. • Hard moneylenders are willing to give loans to people with less than stellar credit, usually in exchange for higher interest rates. Like a traditional bank, the private lender will usually secure the loan with a mortgage recorded as a lien against the property. Unlike a traditional bank, when the loan is paid off it may be difficult to locate the lender to have them sign a release. In just the past few years, we have experienced the following horrors in trying to obtain releases of long ago paid off private loans: • Lender is deceased. When the lender is deceased it might be necessary to get court approval for the administrator of the estate to sign a release.

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• Lender has relocated. We recently dealt with a lender who moved to Europe many years ago. When she was finally located, she required payment of about $300 in exchange for her agreement to sign a release of mortgage and mail it back to us. It took over a year to negotiate and obtain the release. • Lender is in jail. We discovered how difficult it is to negotiate the California penal system when trying to obtain a release from a former lender that was incarcerated. It took many months and many dollars in attorney fees to finally get a recordable release of lien. • Lender is uncooperative. Some times the lender is unresponsive, or takes the request for a release of mortgage as an opportunity to make extra money. To sum it up, a private mortgage can be an excellent tool in a real estate transaction, but be aware of the pitfalls of trying to obtain a release to clear the lien from the public record when the loan is paid in full. About the Author: Kim Anderson Young, president of Security Title, has over 30 years of experience in the real estate industry. Contact her at or 647-8100.

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Pangelinan - Dedicated to Hard Work and Quality Service

By Emily L.G. Untalan


If you’re as good with faces as I am then you’ll definitely know this face. For me, Ms. Sara Pangelinan is the face of Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Company. She’s been featured in advertisements and, more importantly, she’s been in the title and escrow business for approximately 32 years to date… so how could anyone not know this face let alone, her name? Before getting into this business, Pangelinan was a high school senior who was determined to go out and work. “I went to AHRD (Agency for Human Resources Development) and submitted an application for employment. They assisted in finding jobs for individuals. Back then, one of the requirements when submitting an application for employment is that we attend a seminar (which I did). AHRD had this program where they worked with private companies looking for people to work for them for a period of 90 days. The salary for that period of employment was paid for by AHRD. Then, at the end of the term, if the employer whom you worked for at that time wanted to keep the individual, that company/employer will be the one to pay your salary from there on out.” That’s when it all began for Pangelinan. “I was given the opportunity to work for First American Title Insurance and Escrow Company, under the ownership of Hernesto (Ray) Regalado. This was in mid-1986, right after graduation from high school (Inarajan High). I worked there from 1986 through December 1991. At first I was a title researcher and then was given the opportunity to become an Escrow Assistant - after the 90 day period. Then, shortly thereafter, I became an Escrow Officer all the way through December 1991.” Come January 1992, Pangelinan started the New Year with a new company — Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Company — under the ownership of Manu Melwani and Anita Melwani. “I was employed as an Escrow Officer and was also given the opportunity to be cross trained as a title researcher. In doing so, this really helped me understand the title reports as they are completed and given to the Escrow Officer to prepare for the Escrow closings.” Pangelinan has always been ready to work since her high school days. “I really did not want to stay at home after I graduated from high school. I didn’t know anything about title insurance and escrow. So you can say it was like an “on the job training.” And even though I have been in this business for years now, I am still learning as I go.” It is obvious that Pangelinan loves what she does and the effect her services have on her customers. “I enjoy meeting different people and seeing them fulfil their dreams of becoming a first time homeowner. I also enjoy being able to work with all the buyers/purchasers, sellers/owners, lenders, realtors, attorneys/lawyers and developing a 14 CasaGuam

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relationship with all of them and maintaining and strengthening that relationship for years to come. Becoming an Escrow Officer has helped me to understand how real estate works, being able to meet different people with different personalities and working to accomplish and complete their transactions smoothly.” If anyone plans on becoming an Escrow Officer, Pangelinan says, “You will need to love and enjoy working early and/or long hours - at times; have the strong support of your family for working those early and/or long hours; and love and enjoy working with various individuals, like the lenders, realtors, buyers/purchasers, sellers/ owners, and attorneys/lawyers.” Pangelinan finds that CasaGuam Magazine complements the title and escrow companies. “It shows a lot of real estate for sale and gives us the opportunity to reach out to our realtors and to be able to assist them with their sellers or buyers with their real estate needs.” When Pangelinan isn’t working, she’s enjoying gatherings and being able to spend time with family and close friends. In five or 10 years, “I see myself continuing and working with all the lenders, realtors, buyers/purchasers, sellers/owners, and attorneys/lawyers,” Pangelinan adds. We admire the work ethic you possess, Sara! Wishing you many years of success and happiness!

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From the Experts

Know Your Boundaries


Know your boundaries. These three words are applicable to many situations in life and for good reason. We all know overstepping our boundaries can lead to adverse, expensive and sometimes painful consequences. Rather than give examples, I will leave the many possible scenarios to your imagination. All humor aside, this even holds true with regard to property boundaries when dealing with real estate transactions. Over the years I have seen issues with fences, home extensions, septic tanks and even portions of a home encroaching onto an adjacent property leading to a boundary dispute. The best way to avoid this is to know your boundaries and stay within them. If you are buying a piece or raw land or a property with a home already on it, be sure to cover your bases and make certain that a survey is done. A survey will show the property boundary points and various improvements on a property such as a building, home or other structure. Other important items identified in a survey are building setbacks, property access and easements or rights of way. You can even pay a surveyor to install markers to permanently identify the boundary points. If you are obtaining financing for a property or home purchase you will find many lenders will require an updated survey of the property. During the purchase process you may discover that a survey had been

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By Jeremy Rojas

done in the past which can be useful depending on its age. Best to keep in mind that although a prior survey is helpful it does not always mean everything in it is accurate and up to date. A new survey of the subject property will ensure you have an accurate picture to include any changes that have taken place since the last survey was performed. There are times when property owners don’t realize they have an encroachment issue until years after they have owned a property. In my experience most issues such as this come to light when a property or an adjacent property is in the process of being sold. Still some instances can also be discovered when one decides to install a fence or make improvements on his or her property and gets into a dispute with a neighbor over who owns a specific area. In cases such as these a property survey and a lawyer will likely be key factors in resolving the matter. In closing, purchasing a property or home is a big deal and having a proper survey conducted is purely due diligence for a smart buyer. It will help to ensure you get what you are paying for About the Author: Jeremy Rojas is the General Manager of Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Company. If you have any questions, please call 648-7777 or email

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H o w To D . I . Y.

Building Your Own Custom Lamp is Easier than You Think!

By Mark S. Burke

ere’s a real DIY Project that even beginners can do! Let’s make our own custom lamp! Allow me to let you in on a little secret… Those fancy lamps that you spend so much money on—are easy to build. The “light” part of the lamp is the business end, everything else is decoration! Do you have a piece of drift wood that is interesting? Make it a lamp! How about a sea shell that you really like? Seashells make great lamps! Do you have a piece of lava rock that is interestingly shaped, an old flower pot that would look cool as a lamp? I have a 40mm anti-aircraft gun shell casing that I found while diving. I made it into a lamp. Lamps have been made out of plastic cups, clothes hangers and old CDs. I’ve seen lamps made from a saxophone and a puffer fish! I have even seen lamps made out of sugar! Big or small, elaborate or simple, the only thing you need to make a lamp is a light bulb, (or if you really want to get fancy you can use LEDs, but that requires a little more work), a socket and some lamp wire. The rest is up to your imagination! You can make a lamp out of just about anything!


Saxophone Lamp

Puffer Fish Lamp

Here’s what you need: A Bamboo Tiki Torch (for this project) Lamp Cord Lamp Socket Light bulb (you can use any type of bulb you want, for this project I’m using the flicker bulb) Lamp pipe (steel nipples) and couplings Locknuts & Washers Wire Cutters/Strippers Screwdriver (Common or Phillips will work) Pliers

Sugar Cube Lamp

Remember the iconic leg lamp from the movie “A Christmas Story”? Like I said, you can make a lamp out of just about anything! Make it as simple or elaborate as you like. Go ahead, indulge your inner “arteest!” Who knows? Your lamp might become a movie star! A few weeks ago, my family came over for a barbecue. We thought it would be fun to break out the tiki torches and light them for some ambiance. After getting them out and setting them up we discovered that they were out of lamp oil. It occured to me as I was getting ready to do this article, that it might be fun to convert a tiki torch into a lamp. I wanted to keep the “torch” motif, so I went to the local hardware store to see if they had flicker lights. A flicker light simulates a flickering candle flame, perfect for our tiki torch, we still get the flame without the fire, or the mess! This is a perfect project to learn the basics of creating a lamp and just how easy it is. 18 CasaGuam

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Movie Lamp

Let’s talk a little about the lamp pipe (steel nipples), couplings and locknuts with washers. We will use these to convert the old lamp oil can to hold the light socket that will replace the oil and wick. Lamp pipe can be purchased in varying lengths from half an inch to six or more feet long. It provides the support for your socket and, if you are using a softer material for your lamp (you can make lamps out of paper!), it will be the structure of your lamp. Usually you will have at least a short length of lamp pipe in any lamp you make to hold the socket. If you are repairing a lamp, you will probably not need to purchase these as they will already be in the lamp. I purchased all the lamp parts, (not including the tiki torch), for under 25 dollars at my local hardware store. If you are just repairing a broken lamp socket or cord it’s even cheaper, a new socket or new lamp wire are around seven dollars each. Just think! For about seven bucks I can repair that hundred and fifty dollar designer lamp instead of throwing it away or taking it to a shop and paying to have it repaired!

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H o w To D . I . Y. Building the Lamp

7. Using a coupling, add

1. Start by removing the lamp oil

another section of lamp pipe to the bottom of your lamp assembly.

and the wick from the oil can.

12. Reassemble the

socket and pull the slack wire through the bottom of the pipe.

2. Gather your lamp parts 3. Punch a hole in 13. Put in the flicker bulb

the bottom of the can to fit the lamp pipe through.

4. Place a washer, lockwasher and bolt on a

section of lamp pipe far enough down the pipe to allow the top of the pipe to extend about half an inch from the top of the can cover.

8. Insert this assembly into the can and push the pipe through the bottom.

it on to the top of the lamp pipe.Using a screwdriver, tighten the set screw to secure the socket base to the lamp pipe.

6. Using a pair of pliers, tighten the bolt on the

bottom of the cover to secure the pipe and socket assembly in the cover

14. Plug it in, hit the switch

and you’re done! 9. Now secure the entire

assembly with a washer, lockwasher and bolt on the bottom of the can. 10. Pull the lamp cord through the pipe and hole in the bottom of the socket base. Now we are ready to finish assembling the lamp.

5. Remove the base of the lampsocket and screw

and place the entire assembly into the tiki torch body, pull the cable through the openings in the bamboo.

11. If needed, strip about half an inch of insulation from the end of the wire. Connect the wires to the lamp socket. Remember to connect the positive wire to the brass screw and the neutral (or negative) wire to the silver screw. (The neutral wire on lamp cord will have a ridge or white stripe in the insulation, the positive wire will be smooth). If you bought a lamp cord with an attached plug then you’re finished, if not, you will need to add the plug. On a two prong plug, (most household lamps are only two wire), the wide blade on the plug is the neutral side, connect the wire with ribbed insulation to the wide blade of the plug.

Congratulations! You’ve just built a custom lamp. It really is quite easy! How easy, you ask? It took me longer to take the pictures for this article than to put this entire project together. Actual assembly of this lamp took me about ten minutes from start to finish! The “hardest” part was putting a hole in the bottom of the can. (I had to find a nail). I only tell you this because I really want to impress on you how easy it is to do many do-ityourself projects. We really do make a lot of things harder than necessary. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself ! Using the same steps that we followed here, you can create beautiful, custom lamps that reflect your personality, for a lot less than you think. All it takes is imagination. It is always rewarding when you discover new skills you didn’t know you had! 19

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Your World, Our Island

Conserving Energy By Eric M. Palacios


One of the most overlooked aspects of owning a home is conserving energy. You have likely heard or read many times about all of the different things that you can do to reduce energy costs. Well, this article will be no different, but I will provide real-world numbers from my household and give you tips that are I hope are new to you. First off, we are a family of seven and our average monthly power bill is $230. Would I like to see this amount be reduced even further? Absolutely! But, it’s not too bad considering we utilize three airconditioners, a washer and dryer, two refrigerators, multiple television sets and other items that require electricity on a DAILY basis. Here are things that we’ve done, which I hope you will consider: Keep your rooftop conditioned. I cannot stress enough how big of a difference you’ll see in your power bill, as well as how much more comfortable the inside of your home will feel. Pressure washing your rooftop at least twice a year will go a long way towards saving you money. You can get by with having it done once a year if you add a good coat of reflective paint. White works best. Keep your windows shaded. You can achieve this by getting it tinted or doubling up with blinds and curtains. Only use energy-efficient light bulbs. When used inside and around your home, you can expect to see a reduction of at least $20 each month. For best results, go with “daylight” bulbs — they are brighter at the same wattage. Invest in a solar water heater. It’s a bit pricey, depending on the model you buy, but it will be money well spent. We don’t have a water heater at home, but our power bill went down by $110 the first billing cycle after we got rid of ours. It has remained consistent since. Buy high SEER air conditioners. SEER stands for ‘Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio’ and the higher this number, the more efficient the unit will be. Your savings will depend on how many units you run and the size of the units. If you did nothing else but change out one non- or low-SEER unit with an 18-seer unit, you will probably save about $15 a month. Seal the bottoms of doors. This works two ways. First, hot air is not entering your home and, second, cool air is not 20 CasaGuam

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escaping. Replace the rubber seals on both the bottom rail and the threshold. Do not turn on your air conditioners during peak heat hours. If you run your units 24/7, this will not affect you. But if you turn them on at certain times of the day, it’s best to do so in the morning or early evening. For quicker cooling, run an electric fan at the same time. You will achieve the desired temperature much quicker. Incorporate foam insulation when building a new home. This could drive up costs, but the long term financial and comfort benefits will be worth it. Indoor plants. Your home will look and feel fresher. Some indoor plants reduce the ambient temperature and also absorb some irritants in the air. Win-win. Reduce consumption. This tried-and-true method always works. You can monitor your usage online at: to see real-time energy consumption. About the Author: Eric M. Palacios is the former administrator of Guam Environmental Protection Agency. He currently serves as Governor Eddie Calvo’s special assistant for Infrastructure, Invasive Species, Environment & Natural Resources.

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Curb Appeal

Hardscaping Leads to Higher Home Values

By Arlene Taitague Taitingfong

Hardscaping is making its way to our island and is another alternative in increasing the value of your home. Many of the newer residential developments have incorporated some degree of hardscaping into their landscaping plans. I recently came upon this term – hardscaping -and added it to my “Curb Appeal” vocabulary list. What is Hardscaping? I asked around if anyone had ever heard of this term and received a lot of no’s and headshaking.

Here are a few simple tips to create a well planned design.

Basically, hardscaping is the use of “hard” wearing materials such as stone, concrete, pavement and the like (versus softscaping which pertains to grass, arbor and flowers, etc.). Hardscaping can also be referred to the “non-living” elements of landscaping. Examples of hardscaping would be cobblestone walkways, stacked walls, retaining walls, patios and any other materials used to cover the natural earth of your outside space.

DELVE INTO DRAINING ISSUES. While designing your space, look into planning where you will want your run off to go or have proper drainage plans. Devise a way to collect water and look into recycling ideas. Look into materials that fit the need of that space. For example, if you wish to have a retaining wall, check on materials that are impenetrable for water. For gardens areas, using porous materials will work best as this will allow water to drain out and not rot the plants. Also view your land area. Is it level? Steep? Would a retaining wall work best for you?

CONSIDER THE LANDSCAPING. Even if you plan to do one area at a time, you will need to consider the design of your landscaping as a whole. Just as if you were planning on building a home, you will want to make sure you have all your areas covered. According to Samuel Salsbury, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, in an article on the After researching the subject I found that defines website states, "If you don't consider the site hardscape as “the manmade part ofthe grounds surrounding a comprehensively, it's like building one room of a house, and then building, as paved areas or statues.” defines hard- a year or so later, a second room. You may decide to plop down a scaping as, “Hardscaping, in the practice of landscaping, refers to patio, and then decide you want a barbecue, pond or walkway and the paved areas like streets and sidewalks. . .” the patio blocks your plan."

Designing Your Space When designing your space, you will need to take account for drainage, especially if you plan to put in retaining walls and pathways. Look at your yard and see where you want to have the run off flow (or not flow) or where you do not want to have a “puddleturned-pool” develop. On our island where we do get our share of rain, this is probably one of the most important considerations. 22 CasaGuam

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DEVELOP A FOCAL POINT & CHOOSE BALANCE ELEMENTS. Keep in mind you will want to have a few visuals that will make you pause and enjoy the view. Make sure your natural elements are in balance, especially if the item was not naturally there initially. An extreme example would be placing a big stone or boulder in the middle ofthe landscape like an egg in

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Curb Appeal a nest. It would look more aesthetic ifit were semi buried, showing halfway in the ground to make it look more like it had been there all along.

Also, your design need not be totally linear. Throw in some curves and shapes to give the space more depth. KEEP THE GREENERY. Although using bushes, trees and flowering plants are what work well with hardscaping, be sure to have some nice lawn areas. Having patches of grassy area is a great way to show the space.

expert’s opinion. For very large landscaping projects or if you have slopes or structural hills, it is advisable to get a reputable and reliable landscaper. Check THE GUAM PHONE BOOK for landscapers. Ask friends and neighbors if they have someone they can recommend also. You can also window shop at the different home improvement stores on island. Check their outdoor department to see what ideas you can come up with and what materials they have. Take advantage of promotional sales when they occur. It sure helps on the wallet! Investment = Higher Home Values Whether you decide to start out with a small budget or go full force, remember that any outdoor landscaping will not only raise your curb appeal rating, but it will also increase the value of your property.

CHOOSE PROPER MATERIALS FOR YOUR STYLE. Make sure you use the proper materials for the style you choose. For example, if you want an intimate courtyard, you won’t be using materials fit for a Grecian garden. The best way to approach this is to take two or three materials and make sure they are visually creative and they coordinate with each other as well as with the home’s exterior. Having too much of one material or too many different materials may make your space look messy and not reflect the style you were trying to create. CALL IN THE EXPERTS. It doesn’t matter what size yard or area you are going to work with, it is always good to get an 23

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Weather Ready Nation


Hafa Adai Guam! The 2018 Winter Season con nues and we’ve already seen several rounds of hazardous seas and surf across the Marianas. The windy/dry season that is our winter in the Marianas will con nue for several more months so lets keep focused on hazardous surf and rip currents. The winter months typically provide improved weather condions such as less rain, more sun, a pleasant trade wind breeze and a rela vely comfortable air mass that isn’t quite as hot or humid as we experience in the last half of the year. However, strong winter storms in the north Paci c can generate hazardous seas and surf across the Marianas. Rip Currents kill more people in the Marianas than any other weather hazard. Dangerous rip currents occur frequently when we have strong winds and/or high seas. They can even happen on nice sunny days! Don’t be deceived by the nice weather if large seas and surf are near because strong currents may lurk just below the surface. What exactly are rip currents? They are currents of water, o en unseen, owing out and away from the shore. In some cases, the may ow along or parallel to the shore before moving out toward deeper water. Rip currents are common and can be found in reef channels, along reef ats and at river mouths. They can also form near man-made structures such as je es and piers. Rip current speeds vary and can increase rapidly, pulling people away from the shore, even the strongest swimmers. Rip currents can be di cult to see but there are clues as to where they may occur. Look for a channel in the reef or a channel of churning, choppy water. Also look for a di erence in water color, a line of sea foam, sea grass or other debris such as palm fronds, coconuts or trash moving seaward. Most likely, If the surf is big, there will be dangerous rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm! Don’t ght the current. Instead, try to swim in a direc on to the right or le of the direc on you are being carried. If currents are carrying you along the shoreline, try to inch slowly towards shore or to a shallow, wider por on of the reef if you don’t think you can make it back to shore. Finally, if you are unable to escape by swimming, then oat or tread water un l either the current weakens or you are well clear of the crashing waves along the reef and wait for help. Try to draw a en on to yourself by waving or yelling un l someone sees you. 24 CasaGuam Februar y 2018

We monitor sea and surf heights daily by collec ng surf observa ons from our network of surf observers across the Marianas. This helps us verify the surf zone forecasts we issue twice a day. You can nd the Surf Zone forecast at: h p:// guam/public.php. We issue High Surf Advisories and Warnings when surf reaches certain thresholds. For most reefs of Guam, high surf advisories are issued when surf reaches 9 feet. This coincides with a high risk of rip currents. Surf and rip currents become dangerous and life-threatening when surf reaches 15 feet or more. Stay out of the water when there is a High Surf Warning in e ect! With all of this in mind, we want to o er you these safety ps for your next trip to the beach:  Know how to swim & never swim alone.  Swim near a lifeguard for maximum safety.  Obey instruc ons from lifeguards.  Always swim with a ota on device and wear reef walking shoes.  Be cau ous at all mes: when in doubt, don’t go out!  Tell someone of your plans.  Check for the latest surf forecast. CasaGuam, a dba of Yellow Pages Ink and PTI Paci ca, Inc., is an Ambassador of the Weather-Ready Na on. In partnership with the Na onal Weather Service, CasaGuam will reserve this space to help disseminate important informa on on weather safety and preparedness to our community. Preparedness is key! Visit h p:// to learn more about Rip Currents. If your organiza on would like to join the Weather-Ready Naon, contact Marcus at Marcus.Aydle Follow the NWS on Facebook at US Na onal Weather Service Guam, or @NWSGuam, and on the web at guam. If you would like to sponsor this page, give CasaGuam a call at 472-3495 or email Emily at or

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Message from the President Christopher Felix 2018 President

Message from the Chief Executive Officer and Government Affairs Director Peggy Araullo Llagas

Guam Association of REALTORS®

Guam Association of REALTORS®

Hi Again,

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of FAIR HOUSING: Part 2

I am still getting used to writing these articles and hope you will all bear with me. This month's theme is "Give Your Home Some TLC" and I totally agree. I can't tell you how many times I have showed a house that would have sold but the owners didn't maintain it or even keep it clean! If you are marketing your house or planning to, please go through your house and try to look at it through the eyes of a buyer or VIP guest. First of all the house needs to be clean with all items put away. The floors should be swept, mopped and vacuumed with all toys and other items removed. The cleaner the house the better it looks to a potential buyer. I personally work hard to keep my home clean and ready for a showing even though it is not for sale. It is a good habit to have so your home will always be ready for sudden guests and visitors. Next, you should look at the outside and make sure it also is clean and sharp. The lawn needs to be mowed and any debris (like abandoned cars, old junk and discarded stuff ) needs to be removed. Buyers do not like a yard with junk in it and will either not make an offer or subtract many thousands of dollars from their offering price. Finally, look at what improvements you might want to make to the house to make it more attractive and increase its value. Things like painting, improving the kitchens and bathrooms and possibly putting new floors can really help increase values and help sell the house.

What Everyone Should Know About Equal Opportunity Housing For the Home Seller: As a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate. Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available, or advertise that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. For the Home Seeker: You have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin This includes the right to expect: • Housing in your price range made available to you without discrimination • Equal professional service • The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices • No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing • No discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing • Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities • Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling • To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.

GUAM ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® The Voice for Real Estate on Guam

If You Suspect Discrimination Call the Guam Association of REALTORS®: We will accept complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. Local Boards of REALTORS® have a responsibility to enforce the Code of Ethics through professional standards procedures and corrective action in cases where a violation of the Code of Ethics is proven to have occurred. Call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may be filed with the nearest office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or by by contacting them at (link is external).

Suite 236A Julale Center 424 West O'Brien Drive, Hagatna, Guam 96910 Office: (671) 477-4271 • Fax: (671) 477-4275

Ask if your agent is a REALTOR®. A member of the Guam Association of REALTORS® who shall remain your leading advocate in protecting your best interest. Visit our website at

Talk to your REALTOR® and ask them for advice on what you should do (and what you should not do) to your house to get it into sellable condition. GOOD LUCK!

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- National Association of REALTORS®

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CasaGuam Volume 11 Issue 02  

February 2018 Volume 11 Issue 02 - Market Report: Welcome to 2018! | Feature: Give Your Home Some TLC | Real Estate Spotlight: Releasing Pri...

CasaGuam Volume 11 Issue 02  

February 2018 Volume 11 Issue 02 - Market Report: Welcome to 2018! | Feature: Give Your Home Some TLC | Real Estate Spotlight: Releasing Pri...