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Do I Need to Hire a Home Inspector?

Shima 0 comments 06.10.2015

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A commonly asked question is, “What is a home inspection and do I need one?”

In short, a home inspection is a thorough examination of the condition of a home. Although it is always recommended, not everyone chooses to have one.

Your home is one of the largest and probably most precious investments you will make in your lifetime. You want to make sure that a professional will examine areas that you may have missed. As stated in the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory in bold letters and caps, “You are strongly advised to investigate the condition and suitability of all aspects of the property. If you do not do so, you are acting against the advice of the broker.”

Consider it this way: When purchasing a car, you do not just purchase it because it looks nice. (Well, I’d hope not) You do research, analyze it, and coordinate with a professional so that you can determine that it’s not only a good car for you, but it’s safe, durable, and THE ONE.

Realtors will conduct an Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (avid), which is primarily to seek anything noticeable that may impact the value or desirability of a home. However, because agents are not trained to diagnose or seek for interior damages, he/she may be able to only notice things that are clearly obvious. Such as, scratches on the floor or chipped paint. However, a professional will know whether you need to look further into mold, a smell under the sink, etc.

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ecause Realtors are not able to visually see or know what may need work and what doesn’t, they don’t expect you to either. Realtors are not trained in this profession nor have the credentials to inspect a home. In result, a professional will be able to visually capture any defects that you do not see.

Both buyers and sellers are informed that the buyer has the right to obtain several inspections under most residential agreements. The buyer is instructed to have an inspection completed within his/her Buyer’s inspection contingency period. This period, protects the buyer by allowing him/her to have a home inspected within a specified time period. The Inspection contingency therefore protects the buyer who can choose to cancel the contract or negotiate repairs if for any reasons required.

Most often, people believe that they can analyze a home based on what they see- the walls, floors, and surfaces. A home inspector, however, will be able to acquire information regarding the home’s plumbing, roofing, and insulation that someone without the knowledge and training, could do not detect.

Upon completion of an inspection, you will be informed of any interior or exterior damage that may alter your choice of purchasing a home. The inspector will provide details of his/her findings with a report.

The final report will assist a buyer in deciding whether to follow through with the purchase, cancel the purchase and have any earnest money returned, request for further investigations, or request for repairs.

Remember, a home inspection is only a small sum of what you will pay in relation to the dent unseen damages can cost you.

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Finding Possibility in What You Love

Shima 0 comments 05.10.2015

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Today’s #MCM title belongs to South Bay’s Business man, Shahram (Anthony) Shoghi who has combined his love of a healthy lifestyle with his business administration knowledge,  resulting in a successful produce company.

Shahram was born and raised in Southern California and has developed a penchant for produce from a young age.  Growing up, Shahram enjoyed the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, a disciplined diet, and fruits and vegetables. While at the University of Arizona during 2008-12, Shahram studied Business Administration, which helped him realized he could essentially connect his love for produce and business together.

His experience has aided him in building partnerships with outside producers by keeping constant communication with growers around California, Mexico, and Florida. According to Shahram, “This is imperative as the most important thing in produce is providing top quality.”

In January of 2015, Shahram joined Moonland Produce which is a full service wholesaler of fruits and vegetables out of Vernon, CA. Additionally, they specialize in repacking, processing, cold storage, and custom processing.

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The business model was built around the concept of avocado ripening, treating avocados with ethylene gas to speed up the ripening process. In result, this would ensure that customers have ripened avocados for consumption the day of purchase, then come back for more. Shahram explains that his company has also recently acquired farm land in California and Florida where we they grow exotic dragon fruit.

Moonland Produce specializes in leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, etc. They are proud to also import avocados from Mexico, Chile, Peru, and the USA. Moonland Produce has a bevy of foodservice and retail clients. Some of their clients include: Northgate Gonzalez Markets, Seafood City Supermarkets, Harmon’s City in Utah, Super A Foods, El Super, and smaller ethic stores such as Fresh Choice Marketplace, Wholesome Choice, and Crown Valley.

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Although there are many nutritional benefits in fruit and vegetables, Moonland’s own variety of Dragon Fruit provides many health benefits, these include: fiber, antioxidants and a multitude of vitamins. After discovering the natural antioxidants the fruits provided, Shahram stopped taking his multivitamin daily and substituted it for a daily serving of dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit also aids in controlling blood sugar levels and one serving contains 50% of your daily recommended Vitamin C intake. According to ‘Skinny with Fiber,’ “ The dragon fruit is jam-packed with antioxidants that combat free radicals and prevent them from messing with your vital functions.”

Dependent on the variety, one should expect to pay $3 a pound or as high as $12 a pound for some of the more exotic varieties! Shahram finds that the beauty of Dragon Fruit is that it’s versatile. He has used it to it make low sugar jams and smoothies. Shahram says, “I personally just split the fruit with a knife and eat the flesh out with a spoon. Many store the fruit and eat it at room temperature, but I prefer chilled… It’s all preference.”

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For Shahram, the most difficult part of becoming involved in such a demanding business is working a 6 day work week with only Sundays off.  According to Shahram, “On the days I work, my alarm clock is set to 3:30AM. What many don’t know about the produce industry is that the peak of business is between 1am and 9am. This would allow the trucks coming from all parts of California and Mexico (where most our items are grown) to come in without traffic and delays.”

Between the hours of from 4AM to 7AM, Shahram completes his duties in the warehouse which includes strict inspections of incoming produce, quality control for my produce going out to my clients, and maintaining constant communication with everybody. Produce is on a market system, meaning that the price of a commodity can change from minute to minute so you really have to stay on top of it.

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Shahram enjoys learning for ways to become more efficient and monitor news on produce around the world because that helps with anticipating fluctuations in the market. Although his day ends around 11AM and he can go home, he must remain glued to his phone as the produce business never sleeps!

Despite the demanding hours, Shahram simply states, “I cherish every minute of it.”

Thank you, Shahram, for inspiring others to follow their passions, do what they love, and the possibilities will be endless.

To learn more about Moonland Produce, please visit their website here or follow them on Instagram at @moonlandproduce

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Changing The World One Haircut At A Time

Shima 0 comments 28.09.2015

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Today’s ‪#‎MCM title belongs to South Bay’s well-known hair stylist and owner of ‘Get Faded Blown and Nailed Salon’, Shafic Tayara who is making a difference in the world by providing free haircuts to the homeless when he isn’t bringing out the confidence in his own clients.

Shafic, 30, was inspired to learn about the hair business when his father bought him his first pair of clippers at the age of 18. According to Shafic, “I always liked to get creative with different things and drew a lot in high school. Friends would ask me to give them haircuts and they trusted me because of my steady hand from drawing so much.”

His ability to envision an image stimulated his desire to make “bad hair into good hair.”  He knew that he could essentially change a person’s confidence by seeing the bigger picture and using his creativity and artistic approach.

When asked what his technique is, Shafic jokingly said, “If I told you the techniques I use for my haircuts, I would have to kill you.” After some humor, he explained that his technique is to simply keep the client away from the mirror until the cut is complete.

His greatest role model is in fact a memory of his younger self at the age of 17. He recalls trying to create basketball teams without the support of any friends or family. “I was a big loner. I got cut several times and made fun of a lot,” Shafic remembers.

It was then that he realized he may not be able to control the things around him, what people say, think or do, but he was able to control two things. Those two things were his attitude and work ethic and till this day, Shafic believes that is all that has and will matter. Though many years ago, that mental freedom of his younger self still continues to inspire him when the going gets tough.

Shafic opened his own salon called, Get Faded Blown and Nailed earlier this year. His goal was to establish a business where negatives were turned into positives. He explains the meaning behind his salon’s name in that, “The name really means to get your hair faded, hair blown out, and nails done to look good.” In addition, the brand has expanded into a clothing line that was created to promote the message through his logo which is, “Hear, see, and speak no evil.” In result, it was a logo intended to block out negativity.

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The brand has expanded far greater than Shafic imagined with hair products called ‘BLWN’ by FBN which is a hair care line including shampoo, conditioner, gel, wax, hair spray, and dry shampoo. Currently, nail polish is being produced and will be provided in the salon soon.

What seems to be most inspiring from Shafic’s career growth was that prior to opening his salon, he cut hair from his very own house- in his garage. Understanding the importance of branding, Shafic invested in a van that many people in the South Bay have seen.

He bought a van, wrapped it black and put his FBN logo on it. He knew that ultimately he would make back his money, so he went fully in. His bold risk was well worth it and his van is now a South Bay icon to many who know and don’t know him yet.

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Outside of his busy work life, Shafic is making a difference in the world by providing free haircuts for the homeless. He realized the lack of humanity around the world and he remembers the feeling of not feeling cared or believed in. Those difficult times at a young age influenced his ability to develop a sense of putting himself in other’s shoes. He believes that energy is contagious and he hopes that through his acts, he can inspire others to be nice through acts of kindness.

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Shafic believes that others can give back by having an independent mentality. “I believe if others have the mentality that they can change the world then everyone would be out on the streets doing something, not dependent on needing a partner to do so or waiting on others to lead the way,” he explains. For those who are simply too busy to help, Shafic suggests to just be kind to others.

After seeing the faces of the homeless men and women, Shafic feels the most impact. He explains that he always gives the mirror for them to see after he is finished and the appreciation in their faces mean a lot more than money. For Shafic, “Smiles stick to me, money doesn’t.”

Thank you, Shafic for making a difference in the lives of many.

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Supporting our Troops at LAX

Shima 0 comments 23.09.2015

Today’s #WCW title belongs to South Bay resident, Melissa Klassen who designates time each month to give back to the troops.

In August of 2009, Melissa was inspired to do something that would allow her to feel a sense of happiness. She knew being in a military environment would feel most like home since she grew up as an Air Force Brat. (The child of an active-duty military personnel)

 Melissa remembered the stresses that being in a military family had and this gave her an opportunity to find a way to give back to the whole family, active duty and retired. In result, Melissa decided she would volunteer with The Bob Hope USO at LAX.

The Bob Hope USO at LAX is similar to a hospitality center which provides comfort for those when traveling throughout LAX. There is a canteen (kitchen) where they provide all the comfort foods of home. As Melissa explains, “You would be amazed at how much a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich will make someone’s day. It seems so small but the guests are really appreciative.”

In addition, there is a front desk, where Melissa usually will work. Her duties include greeting guest, helping them make hotel arrangements, rebook flights if something was missed, locate lost luggage, hold babies and anything else to make their travel a little less stressful.

The USO also provides a place to search the web, watch TV, play video games or just get little shut- eye. Melissa expresses that, “Some are coming back from war zones and welcoming them back is priceless. Others are headed to war or leaving behind family for a remote assignment. Some are on their way to a wedding or a birth and we get to be a small part of that journey.”

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The USO website explains, “In accordance with the policy of USO, Inc., we welcome active duty and reserve members of the Armed Forces, as well as dependent family members. We also welcome, on a space available basis, military retirees and their dependent family members. All must present valid military identification. Although we honor all who have served, we cannot serve all and ask that non-retiree veterans honor our mission, which since our founding in 1941, has been to serve current troops and their dependent family members.”

Melissa finds that no matter what or when she leaves her shift, she always feels great. “It is weird that donating my time does so much more for me than I feel like I give. I am pretty sure most our volunteers feel that way too. It is the weirdest feeling to be so appreciated for making a sandwich or booking a hotel when these men and women are literally putting their life on the line for us.  When they say thank you I always say “my pleasure”, and REALLY mean it,” Melissa expresses.

The Bob Hope USO at LAX is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The staff primarily consist of volunteers and one staff- center manager. The services are free for guest and through donations, the facility is able to run.

Melissa believes that one can help give back to the troops I by simply stating that you support them, doing something regularly or even annually. The USO’s Mission Statement can be foundhere.

Despite volunteering every other Wednesday from 6-10 p.m., Melissa works as an

Executive Assistant for a Real Estate Association. Melissa works with some of the top selling agents in the nation in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Melissa explains that, “I try to do at my job what I do at the USO and just make people’s day a little easier with my help and guidance.”

Thank you Melissa for being another wonderful contributor in making the South Bay a beautiful place to live.

If interested in donating to the USO, please visit the website here.

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Not Your Average Sandwich

Shima 0 comments 21.09.2015

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Today’s #MCM title belongs to the South Bay’s latest hype: BreadCrumbs sandwiches, created by local residents of the South Bay.

One of your first meals in grade school was probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and no matter how much older you’ve become, you still crave them. There’s something unusually satisfying and comforting about a sandwich. For some, it brings them closer to home and for others, it’s the simplicity behind it.

Sandwiches have become a household staple that no matter the time or day, sound good. In an age where restaurants are constantly competing to stand out with unique flavors, outrageous presentations, and flames coming out from the plate- there remains a universal craving of sandwiches. Even the simplest made sandwiches combining a whirl of ingredients, sandwiches satisfy cravings with just one bite.

Sometimes having “just a sandwich” is what makes it so darn good, but BreadCrumbs isn’t JUSTa sandwich. That’s right- the sandwiches stand out from others because:

1.It isn’t a franchise

&

2. The sandwiches are made with the finest ingredients.

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According to the creators behind BreadCrumbs Gourmet Sandwiches, “You are getting the best proteins, healthiest veggies and the right carbs to ensure you have the energy to physically and mentally keep yourself sharp and energized, all while enjoying our amazing sandwiches in the process. BreadCrumbs gourmet sandwiches are the highest quality sandwiches on the market. Every detail of our sandwiches has been well thought out for not only the taste, but the nutritional value for our customers. We spent over a year searching for the perfect bread for our sandwiches, choosing Non-GMO breads for its texture, smell and taste. Our meats are gluten free resulting in only the best from Boars Head. Our sauces are house-made and our vegetables are fresh and locally sourced. BreadCrumbs gourmet sandwiches are simply the best.”

The creators, Keivan and Garrett are both residents of the South Bay. Keivan worked many years in the restaurant industry and when finally realizing his passion was to provide gourmet sandwiches to locals, he presented the idea of a partnership with his buddy, Garrett. Immediately, Garrett was sold on the idea, trusting Keivan’s work ethic and experience in the food & beverage industry. Their foundation was simple: A business that provides delicious gourmet sandwiches to the community while giving back as much as it got from it.

BreadCrumbs is built on Quality and Service. The quality of business ranges from the cleanliness of the facility to how each sandwich is made and delivered. The sandwiches are rivaled by none as the best breads and proteins, local veggies and sauces are uniquely chosen and produced.

Keivan and Garrett agreed that simplicity is a great quality and goes a long way. In result, they’ve focused on enhancing the word simple by creating a fascinating experience with their meals.

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The community inspires them and their hopes are to celebrate sharing and displaying their food for all to enjoy. They host several events including the Farmer’s Market, sell sandwiches at international market, Seaside Market in, and provide after-hour sandwiches at Hermosa Beach bars. They believe in five core values including quality, service, community, employees, and trust. Their goal is that in everything they do, these ethics are seen from the way the meat is cut to the warm smile they give customers.

To learn more about BreadCrumbs, please visit their website here.

Stop by and visit the crew every:

Tuesday: Torrance Farmer’s Market

Wednesdays: Hermosa Pier,  11-4 p.m.

Fridays: Hermosa, 11th Street: 11-4 p.m.

Sunday: Palos Verdes Farmer’s Market

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One Man’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

Shima 0 comments 16.09.2015

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Today’s #WCW is South Bay resident, Christen Webb.

Webb  created a private, Facebook group called “South Bay Trash And Treasure Resale & Bargain Hunters.” The group was designed to serve as a virtual yard sale for bargain hunters which Webb describes as, “A spin off of Craigslist, Ebay, Etsy, Threadflip, and flea markets.”

Webb is a wife and mother who hates to pay full price for items sold in stores that she can find elsewhere. After years of selling her items on Ebay or Craigslist and spending lots of hours running around flea markets and garage sales, she decided that with all the groups on Facebook, she had nothing to lose.

She wanted to venture out and do something new with her own rules and guidelines.  So, she created a group where locals can buy and sell their belongings. Her goal is to save the community time and money finding items they need and to help reconnect society.

One can simply join the group by searching for the group’s name in the search engine by typing, “Torrance Trash and Treasure.”  Once found, you can simply click JOIN group and Webb will approve those residing in the south bay cities.

If multiple people are interested in the item, it is preferred that that seller starts at the top of the list and works their way down the line of comments out of fairness. If for some reason you would not like to sell to a particular person, Webb asks that you block them in your settings. Any type or bulling or unfairness should be reported to Webb as she wants this site to be about coming together and helping each other out, not creating enemies.

The page is not designed as a bidding game, rather first-come, first- served. The seller creates a set price and once someone is interested in the item, it is up to the buyer and seller to set up a pick-up time. It depends on people’s schedule and availability for pick-ups. If schedules do not coincide, then seller can move on to next person, but it is preferred it be agreed upon between buyer and seller.

The Facebook page is a Public Group and anyone can search through it. You will need approval, however, in order to see the newsfeed with the community information. Any member can add or approve members to the group.

Webb believes that, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Something that my neighbor would throw out and think nothing of I could find great use for. Why are we just dumping are old used items in the trash or leaving them on the curbside when someone else, or friends could be in need of it. The great thing about the group is that anytime one of your friends post something you get notified, leaving your friends with first dibs if they respond with interested in a timely manner.”

Webb also would like the pages newsfeed to be for free items, curb alerts, coupons that you won’t be using and anything that may help another person. Webb explains, “Just remember it is for us to all come together as a community and maybe even make a few new friends.”

In addition, Webb hopes that it will be a community board for fundraisers, local events, small businesses and bargain shopping.

Besides the exclusivity of the group, there are some fun terms one should know when joining the group.

Such as:

Interested: If you like what someone is selling comment with interested.

Possibly Interested: if you aren’t sure and need a few hours to think about it.

Sold: When items sells comment with sold

PPU: Possible Pick Up once a pick up time is arranged.

Skip: If you were interested, but then changed your mind and seller can move to next person.

Bump: If your item(s) has not received an interested comment and you would like to have your post pushed to the top of the newsfeed you can comment with Bump.

Porch Pick Up: Seller can leave item on porch and give buyer instructions on where to leave $.

ISO: in search of, if u are in search of an item put ISO and then the item you are in search of and maybe someone in the group has one lying around they can sell you cheaper than a department store would.

You can find Webb’s page here.

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Trader Joe’s increases Home Appreciation

Shima 0 comments 14.09.2015

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If you needed another reason to love Trader Joe’s, this is it.

According to RealtyTrac, who ran an analysis of home values, appreciation, and property taxes within U.S. zip codes discovered that homeowners near a Trader Joe’s have experienced an increase in home value.

The study was determined by comparing the home values of owners living near a Trader Joe’s versus homeowners near a Whole Foods. There was an average 40 percent increase in home values of those near Trader Joe’s and only a 34 percent appreciation of those near a Whole Foods.

The homes used for the study were based on 1.7 million homes, condos and co-ops with at least one Whole Foods store nearby but no Trader Joe’s, and 2.3 million homes, condos and co-ops with at least one Trader Joe’s in the area but no Whole Foods.

Why might the home value increase for a neighborhood close to a Trader Joe’s? Well, here are some reminders why Trader Joe’s is admired according to Yahoo Food

-All Trader Joe’s products are made from non-GMO foods, and contain no high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, artificial colors or flavors

-The first Trader Joe’s opened by a man named Joe in 1967 in Pasadena, CA.

-If you don’t like something, you can return it.

-If you want to try something before you buy it, you can do that too.

-Trader Joe’s donates leftover food to food banks, pantries, and/or soup kitchens.

-They make cookie butter.

In addition, as reported by Fooducate,At Whole Foods Market, items are typically priced higher than similar products at Trader Joe’s.”

Although homeowners who live in a radius within a Trader Joe’s have experienced an increase in home value appreciation, it was also noted that they pay higher property taxes on average.

In conclusion, though living near a Whole Food’s or Trader Joe’s may not be considered as in depth as this study is when purchasing a home, I have one response: cookie butter.

That is all.

References contributing to this article include: Daily Breeze, RealtyTrac, Fooducate, and Yahoo Food.

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Benefits of a VA Loan

Shima 0 comments 17.08.2015

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According to the Veterans United Network, VA loans have helped more than 21 million service members become homeowners. VA loans have more flexibility than most loans, including no-down payment and the ability to be reused.

That’s right. As long as you pay off your loan each time, you are eligible to reuse it. However, VA loans are primarily used for residential income, so you cannot use it for investment properties or vacation homes.

A common misconception is that VA loans are issued by the VA.

False.

The VA instead, provides a guaranty on each qualified mortgage loan meaning that they’ve agreed to pay a portion of the loan in the event that you default.

Pooyan Fard, Sr. Loan Consultant has kindly written below more information on how a VA loan will benefit you if applicable.

You probably have heard of VA loans but in order to help you better understand the benefits, here is a brief overview for your reference:

 To help the Service Members, Veterans and eligible surviving spouses, with the loans,  the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) guarantees their mortgage loans. VA loan may be issued only by qualified lenders.

Here are some more details:

VA requires certain amount of length of service or service commitment, duty status and character of service determine your eligibility for specific home loan benefits and issue you a certificate of eligibility (COE). This certificate could be obtained directly from the VA official website or if you provide you DD2014 paperwork, your loan agent can get it for you.

Because VA loans are guaranteed by the VA there will be no need for mortgage insurance even if you put 0% down. There is a funding fee intended to enable the veteran who obtains a VA home loan to contribute toward the cost of this benefit, and thereby reduce the cost to taxpayers and it will be determined based on the down payment borrowers are planning to put down. The COE might specify that the Veteran is exempt from the funding fee and in such cases VA loans can go up to $1,500,000 even with zero percent down!

Additionally, one should note that VA loans work for Single Family Homes, Site condos (Townhomes with no Common Walls) or VA approved Condos and it can be used for both purchase and refinance.

Please feel free to contact me in order to find out if you qualify for this great loan program.

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The House that Built Me

Shima 0 comments 14.08.2015

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Your home is made of more than just walls, concrete, and nails.

Your home is the place where birthdays will be spent, memories will be created, and life will be made.

Your child will discover who the tooth fairy is there, probably experience their first steps there,

and you’ll be there to catch them if they fall.

Your home is where the love is… and where they’ll always feel the safest.

That’s why a home isn’t just a home. It is where your heart is.

So, even though some things may be different like the leaves changing colors,

it’ll feel like it was just yesterday that you were knocking on your neighbor’s door saying,

“Trick o treat!”

As children, we dream of being grownups.

As parents, we pray our children stay small forever.

But even when we grow,

home will be where the heart is.

“The best journey takes you home…”

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