Author: Staff

Thinking About Remodeling?

 6 Guidelines to Consider When Thinking About Remodeling


Whether your home is new or older, the likelihood that you will want to make changes to fit your lifestyle or personal taste will eventually creep into your mind. When thinking about remodeling, there are several things to consider. Most people start with, should I remodel or move? Will a remodel be cost effective? Should I do the work myself, or hire a contractor? All great questions to think about. Here are some guidelines to help when thinking about remodeling for the first time.

Planning Can Save Time and Money

Start gathering pictures of styles that appeal to you,  fixtures you like and color palettes that you favor. Be sure to match your tastes to your budget. This will help you stay on track and keep the momentum moving forward.

DYI or Contractor

If you are confident in your abilities as a handyman/woman, then certainly you can save a great deal of money tackling small remodeling projects on your own. However, large jobs like basements, kitchens and master baths, can be challenging if you are a first timer. Hiring a good contractor takes some diligence. Find one with good references. Check to make sure they are a member with NARI – National Association of the Remodeling Industry Checking that they have a good standing with the BBB is also smart.

Visit Current Work

Pictures don’t always tell the whole truth. Ask the contractor’s you are considering if you can visit a current work site to see firsthand how they operate. You will gain valuable insight about how the contractor maintains cleanliness, organization and safety on the job.

Get It In Writing

The best laid plans are worthless without having a solid contract. A detailed contract will help everyone involved keep within budget and stay on time for completion. Be sure the contract includes the right address, start date, completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done.

The Scout Law of “Being Prepared”

Know in advance that living in a construction zone comes with a variety of complexities. Living without major appliances, like those in your kitchen, can be a challenge at meal times.  You will minimize inconvenience by establishing  a make shift kitchen away from the construction zone. Include a refrigerator and microwave oven, so you can continue to make light meals at home.

Protect Your Precious Possessions

Remodeling will effect most every room in the house no matter how hard you or your contractor try to contain the mess that goes with construction. Put away pictures and artwork, store and pack away valuables before work starts. Cover items that can’t be removed; for example, chandeliers, pianos and electronics. This will save these items from the dust ball that is inherent with remodeling or even possible damage.

Beginning with these guidelines, when thinking about remodeling, will help you stay on budget and hopefully minimize the stress level.

Choosing The Right Real Estate Agent


Finding the Right Real Estate Agent For You

Whether you are buying or selling, choosing the right real estate agent can be one of the most important decisions you make. More than likely, everyone you know has a friend or relative that is a Realtor. Be cautious about selecting the right person for the task. The right real estate agent for you and your needs is out there, and here are 3 tips to guide your search.

Explore and Investigate

Take a walk or drive through your neighborhood or the one that you are interested in moving into. Take note of the for sale signs in the area. Is there one company or agent that seems to dominate? Keep an eye on how fast sold signs go up on the homes for sale. Visit open houses, this is a great way to see how an agent performs in action.

Reviews and Ratings

Friendly referrals are great, but checking an agents reviews and ratings online may reveal insights that your friends or family may not actually know about. Some sights like allow you to check the ratings and reviews of agents. Also collect flyers and business cards from open houses and search the agents name online. Often you will find reviews from your search.

Interview and Inquire

Once you narrow the field of possibilities down to a few prospects, ask for a meeting to interview the agents and their qualifications. Asking pertinent questions will help you determine if an agent will be focused on helping you buy and/or sell with your best interest in mind.  Check out this article  at for questions to ask while interviewing an agent/broker.

A small amount of detective work and a little research will help you make the best choice in choosing the right real estate agent. 




Celebrate Mom


Mother’s Day is this weekend and many of us will be taking mom out to dinner for her special day. While this is a nice gesture, it is also one of the busiest days for most restaurants. This could add undue stress to what should be a completely relaxing day for mom. So, why not change it up a bit this year and celebrate mom by doing something different. Here are some unique ideas that your mom may enjoy doing instead.

Out of the Box Ideas to Celebrate Mom

If the weather permits, take your mom to a botanical garden or a nice park. Enjoy the ambiance and her company.

Treat Mom to the movies. Let it be her choice of  movie, you take care of the snacks and drinks. In the future, every time she sees that movie, she’ll think of you.

When is the last time you had a professional photo taken with mom? Take mom to get your pictures taken. She will cherish the time with you and  she will have a memento of the experience. The photos don’t have to be ordinary – consider fun photo studios where you dress up like you’re in the Wild West or similar photos. Schedule an appointment or find a friend who is a good photographer and set a date with them. This may take a bit of pre-planning but it will be worth it!

There are so many great specialty shops around now, take your mom shopping at a store that specializes in something like tea, spice shop, spa and bath products, or something else your mom likes. You don’t have to spend a great deal of money, just let her pick out an item or two.

If you have any nearby wineries, or wine bars, treat mom to a wine tour or wine tasting event. Extend the gift by treating her to a bottle from the winery, accessories or pretty wine glasses.

Does your mom like crafting? If so, she may love to make jewelry. Take her to a bead store. Pick out some really unique beads and sit and make jewelry together. It is a nice way to chat and she will have a piece of jewelry to wear that reminds her of the day.

10 Great Quotes About Teachers, Teaching and Learning


National Teacher Appreciation Day – May 6, 2014


Being a teacher is a job that takes a great amount of patience and dedication. It isn’t a job that you simply clock in when the first bell rings and clock out when the last bell sounds off. Evenings, and often times weekends, are spent lesson planning, correcting papers and researching activities or projects for students. In celebration of National Teacher Day today, here are 10 great quotes about teachers, teaching and learning.

10 Great Quotes About Teachers, Teaching and Learning

1. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Albert Einstein

2. Teach the children so that it will not be necessary to teach the adults.

President Abraham Lincoln

3. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

C. W. Lewis

4. Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.

Andy Rooney

5. I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

Lily Tomlin

6. A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep.

W. H. Auden

7. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

8. Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

Jacques Barzun

9. Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.

 John F. Kennedy

10. Summer vacation is the time when parents realize that teachers are grossly underpaid.

Author Unknown


10 Fun Things To Do In The Month of May


The Warm Weather of May

Snow, rain and wind, the variety of April weather is always exciting. But even more thrilling is the sunshine that brings May flowers. It is time to start thinking about the warm weather. It is just around the corner so get outdoors and enjoy. Here are 10 fun things to do in the month of May.

  •  Plant an herbal garden
  • Visit the Zoo (beat the summer rush)
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Fly a kite
  • Set up a birdbath and/or bird feeder
  • Decorate your home with fresh tulips & daffodils
  • Sit outside at a cafe
  • Have a picnic at the park
  • Go to the farmer’s market
  • Take an evening stroll


The Seasons For Home Buying

Home for sale

The High-Season

Finding the home of your dreams at a price you can financially handle often is all about timing. The greatest concentration of home searches on the Web for buyers looking reaches a peak around mid spring. Statistically, most home sales are between the months of April-July. The season for home buying with the largest inventory is at this time. People, especially families, tend to relocate during the summer while their children are on break from school. Because of the large inventory on the market during the high-season, your chance of finding a home that checks most of the boxes on your list is greatest during these months.

The Low-Season

The period of the year when there is the least amount of inventory is during the cold winter months of fall and winter. The upside is during this low-season in the housing market, buyers have the advantage. Homes typically are listed at a lower price in order to gain buyer interest while the market is slow. A buyer has less to choose from, but often they can find a great deal on a home, if they choose to buy at this time in the market.

Choosing a Neighborhood to Fit Your Lifestyle

Location, Location, Location

This applies too more than where your business is situated. It is also relates to finding the perfect neighborhood to live in, and often where you will raise your family. Start with a bit of research. Falling in love with a home, and then discovering that the neighborhood is not what you expected, will likely end in disappointment. It is not like buying an appliance or electronics; you can return those if you realize they are not what you perceived them to be.

Things you will want to consider as you begin to investigate a new neighborhood of course would be safety, commute, community amenities and home style. Some other essentials you don’t want to sidestep are listed below.



This may sound silly, but sidewalks communicate a variety of things about a neighborhood. Sidewalks often lead to parks and other community amenities that are within a short walk. If you or your family is active, this will be important to you. Sidewalks also provide safety for walks to the mailbox, grocery store, local dining or just a neighbor’s house. If you are a pet owner or have children, sidewalks are enormously desirable to keep everyone safe.

HOA’s, Taxes and Other Expenses

Some neighborhoods have additional expenses that others may not. It is necessary to consider these additional costs when deciding where to relocate. Private HOA’s can be a bit pricey in planned communities, condos or country club developments. Often there can be more than one HOA, so do a little investigating. You don’t want to receive any surprises after you sign on the dotted line. Rules are a part of HOA’s. Be sure to read through what is allowed and what needs approval.

Another noteworthy cost that needs to be understood is how the property taxes are handled. They may in fact be escrowed into your monthly mortgage payments. If and when your property value increases, so will your taxes. This will be reflected in an increase to your monthly payment, so be sure your budget can handle the higher rate.

Be aware if you get a fabulous deal on a foreclosed property and you take it because it is within your current budget. Property valuation will increase along with the property taxes. It is something to consider when looking at foreclosures.

community pool

Community Activities and Amenities

Neighborhood amenities, most often, are a significant attribute when looking at homes and communities. This is true for families, retired couples or single bachelor living. Fit your neighborhood to your lifestyle and hobbies. For some, like young families, nearby parks or community swimming pools may be of interest. Dog owners may find having a nearby dog park particularly attractive, while senior citizens may enjoy having local social activity centers in their community. Single dwellers may like a variety of convenient restaurants or active nightlife hotspots. Walk or drive around the community to get a feel of what it has to offer.


School Ratings and Property Values

While this concern may only seem to be an issue a family needs to reflect on, this is not exactly true. From preschool through high school, public or private, ratings matter. School ratings affect home values. Schools that are assessed as being strong educational institutions with low drop out rates, high college acceptance scores and other factoring criteria raise property values. For parents this is deemed extremely important to give their children the edge they will need to reach their full potential. For people without children, it needs to be considered for resale value when it is time to sell. It is also something to examine if you are single and/or renting. Rent values will be pricier in neighborhoods with high rated schools. As a parent, be sure to do a bit of first hand investigation to fully grasp the strength of a school district. Do not simply rely on what you find on the Web. Attend a PTA or PTO meeting. It is also beneficial to visit schools, schedule a tour and talk to parents. This investigation will give a clearer picture of what to expect.

Bottom line–housing the ideal neighborhood for you or you and your family takes some groundwork. Be patient and find the best fit, it will prove to be advantageous on all accounts.

Home Decorating | Create a Color Palette

Home Decorating | Create a Color Palette


When it comes to picking paint colors for your home, it can be at the very least, a bit daunting. There are many color palette help sites, but my favorite is the one I found at Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams is a completely user-friendly color pallet creator. You simply upload an image or URL and click Chip It! You are presented with a color palette taken directly from the image you just uploaded. It is easy to edit the colors and mix and match your favorites. There is also a share button so you can show others your creations if you like. If you decide to make an account, the site will save all the palettes you create to look at whenever you login. Choose a favorite vacation shot, something you like on the web or any other image and Chip It!




Real Estate Jargon-What Does it Mean?

Real Estate Jargon-What Does it Mean?


Average Days on Market

This is the average time a property has been on the market (for sale). Residential Property Data measures this as the time from date of listing to date of sold contract.

Buyers can use these data to negotiate the price down on a home sale if the number is high. Sellers, on the other hand, may try to use the data to stay firm on their price if properties in the area are selling quickly.

Average Vendor Discount

A price a home sales at verses the price it was originally listed and advertised for is expressed as a percentage. The smaller the percentage, the better advantage for the seller to negotiate a firm price. A higher percentage may mean they will loose that negotiating power and may have to consider lowering their price in order to sell.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A CMA compares the prices of homes sold, homes currently on the market and homes pending to a subject property. A CMA may be prepared for a buyer or a seller to determine market value. The CMA accounts for style, size, location and other factors that make the homes comparable.

Earnest Money Deposit

The earnest money deposit is a deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house. This is typically made at the time of the offer to purchase.

Short Sale

A short sale is when the seller arranges with their mortgage lender to accept a price that is less than the amount they owe on the property. The lender typically agrees to forgive the rest of the loan. A short sale arrangement is made between the seller and the mortgage lender.


A contingency is a provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. Common contingencies are a buyer’s contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home or obtain mortgage financing.



March 13, 2013

I want to introduce a fine lady and true friend…her name is Edith Anaya and she is a real estate agent thru Keller – Williams in Westlake Village Ca. Edith and I have been thru the real estate battlefield for 8 months and suffered loss after home loss..but now we found my home by the beach and the escrow finish line is in sight…she never lost focus, she is always available for my questions and has placed my schedule above her own as far as viewings and offers…so for my FB friends looking at selling or buying, if you want a true and dedicated agent, someone you can TRUST…Edith is a gem. And if you know any veterens looking for the same…she handles us with true care…Edith we did it!!

April 10th

2 weeks in my new home, I am simply in awe with what I have done in the past 8 months. Hung up my uniform, re-located and found a terrific job in Port Hueneme, granted I am surrounded by the Navy, I have sworn before I retire, I will re-name Naval Base Ventura County, the Port Hueneme Army Base haha…To Errol at Military Housing Assistance Fund, Michael at Prime Lending, and my wonderful agent Mrs Edith Anaya with Keller-Williams, and of course my mom, you all carried me to home ownership and my second pride and joy after my son…We all love the “new car smell” how about the “new carpet smell”!! I thank God everyday for my blessings!!

August 17th

Dear Kenny, Today is your service at 1pm, Frank and I will be there, Tony will be doing his thing with Football practice…..BIG THANK YOU for serving our Country, and being a special friend to me. You’re in Heaven now and my guardian angel, love you dearly, I bought you beautiful flowers that have red, white and blue. Until we meet again, hope you’ve had a chance to meet my dad and my dear neighbor Ms. Joan Straede, they are also watching over me and my family. I love you my dear friend / brother / hero. 

Life Legacy

Kenneth Mark Walker beloved father, brother, son and friend and to any others who were very fortunate to know him, has recently passed away on August 8, 2013. Kenneth was 51 years old and had lived a very majestic life.

He was born May 12, 1962 in San Jose, California to Donald and Beverly Walker. Ken graduated from Vintage High School in 1980 at the age of 18. Within a year, he joined the military. Ken spent 9 nine years on active duty, and during that time he was in Germany, Korea, Fort Knox Kentucky, and Fort Eustis Virginia. He did his basic training in Fort Leonard Wood. After active duty, he went directly into the California National Guard. At this time, Ken was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, and was later deployed to Iraq in 2010. After retiring from the National Guard in 2012, he went on to accept employment as a Carpenter with the Defense of Logistics Agency, Dept. of Navy at United Army/ Department of Defense and Woodworker at Naval Base Ventura County, Bldg 380. Recently, Ken received his Associates Degree from Grantham University, Kansas City Missouri and he was going on to complete his Bachelors until the time of his death.

His son Andrew Walker, and his mother Beverly Walker; many friends, co-workers, cousins, aunts and uncles, survive Ken. His father Donald Walker and his sister Deanne Walker preceded him in death.

Before his death, Ken was always a loving, caring, humorous, brave and outspoken person, who will be deeply missed by the ones who loved and cared about him.

January 10th

Kenneth Walker THANK YOU for all the years of service, I love you and will miss you, you said you would take a bullet for me, the truth is that you would’ve taken it for anyone my dear American Soldier . RIP until we meet again, please watch over your loved ones including my family, love ya Kenny

Today was the service for my dear friend Mr. Kenneth Walker. He will forever be my special friend and I will always treasure the American flag he flew in Iraq and gave to me the day I helped him move. May he now rest in peace

December 18th

Kenneth Walker This song came out and made me think of you, missing you buddy, yes I have a husband, my boys and my dogs, but you were part of my life, my hero, brother, friend. I’ll be seeing Ms. Beverly on Sunday and I know it’s difficult on her, it’s our first holiday that you are gone . I love you!!!!

August 19th

You have friends and family that were not able to attend, just wanted to share the service pictures…my favorite two is the one you are pointing at the t-shirt from San Antonio and our last conversation we had on 7/30/13 @ 7:34 pm, it ended with a happy face. I’m happy that we’ve met, to bad it was too short. — with Kenneth Walker(9 photos)