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Trader Joe’s increases Home Appreciation

Shima 0 comments 14.09.2015


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


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.


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


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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Portuguese Bend Beach Club

Shima 0 comments 07.08.2015


Portuguese Bend Club is one of Rancho Palos Verdes’ best kept secrets.  The exclusive club is hidden behind a private gated housing community in Rancho Palos Verdes. The community has a private beach club on Portuguese Bend Cove. The beach has imported sand, shaded picnic tables, sport courts, volleyball courts, and a playground for kids.

Near the south end of the beach, there are rocks and tide pools to explore at low tide. To the south of the club is Rancho Palos Verdes Beach and in the north direction  is the public beach called Portuguese Bend Cove Beach in Abalone Cove Reserve.

There is currently a  16 year waiting list at the exclusive and much sought after Portuguese Bend Beach Club. The club captures views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. While maintaining it’s peacefulness, the club has BBQs, paddle tennis and playground equipment, which  offers something for the entire family.11825061_857089791046242_1687701586413570849_n 11796386_857089931046228_7095067029504511653_n-460x193

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Mortgage Pre-Approval: Why A Pre-Approved Mortgage Makes Sense

Shima 0 comments 07.08.2015


Today, CEO of Alliance West Financial, Kenneth Le is a guest blogger and shares below the importance of mortgage Pre-approvals. 

Mortgage pre-approval for real estate financing will put you in a much stronger position when you’re hunting for the home you want to live in. By having this important pile of paperwork out of the way you can be confident that sellers and realtors will take you seriously. They’ll see it as a signal that you’re prepared to negotiate in good faith. It’s a launch pad to owning your own home.

The Difference Between Qualified and Officially Qualified

When you’re shopping around for home financing you are likely to hear the termspre-qualifiedand pre-approved. The first term gives you a point of reference on how much you can borrow. However, pre-approval says that you’re certified to actually borrow the stated amount from that lender, in writing. Usually, a mortgage pre-approval is good for ninety days. The only thing left is to find a property that you like, and have an appraisal of its value and condition, to receive the go-ahead to fund your new home.

Once you have a letter of approval from one lender it doesn’t mean that you’re bound by their offer. You might still find alternative financing on better terms. What it shows is that you’ve demonstrated you’re really in a position to commit to the home buying process. In the minds of real estate professionals, pre-approval separates the serious buyers from the window shoppers.

Mortgage Pre-Approval Is Two Of Three Keys To Home Ownership

Lenders will be asking two specific questions when you apply for mortgage pre-approval: Are you likely to behave responsibly and do you have the financial capacity to make the payments? You’ll be judged by your behavior, as recorded on your three credit reports. This gives them a pretty good indication of how you’re likely to act over the long term. They’ll pay close attention to your payment history and how you’ve used or abused your borrowing opportunities in the past.

Lenders will then look for evidence that you have the financial capacity to take on the responsibility of a mortgage. They do this by analyzing your income and assets. They’ll be looking to see that you have a stable source of income and that you can meet your monthly obligations.

The Market Starts To Care When You Get Two Thirds Of the Way There

Pre-approval unlocks home financing in principle. To get the loan in practice your lender will have to give an additional approval for the property you intend to purchase, as it’ll be used as collateral to secure the loan. This stage is not part of mortgage pre-approval but it will need to be addressed before they agree to finally lend to you. The most important thing to remember is that you won’t lose a mortgage because you couldn’t get the house but, if you’re not pre-approved, you’re very likely to lose that house that you just fell in love with. Mortgage pre-approval is two thirds of the battle.

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Preparing your home for an Earthquake

Shima 0 comments 04.08.2015


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California is expected to have an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater earthquake.  Although the earthquake is estimated to hit anywhere in the next three decades, the chances increased from 4.7% to 7%.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has suggested several tips in preparing your home:

First, “Make your home safer to be in during earthquakes and more resistant to earthquake damage by assessing its structure and contents.” Based on the year built and the maintenance you’ve kept, your home may have more areas prone to damage than you think. Examples FEMA includes are “structures not anchored to their foundations or having weak crawl space walls, unbraced pier-and-post foundations, or unreinforced masonry walls or foundations.”

When seeking to purchase a new home, be sure to have your inspector seek for any weaknesses in your future home. Also, be sure that when building a home that it falls under the seismic provisions of your local building code.

Lastly, be sure to always have any hazardous items that are damage-prone higher or away from areas that could potentially harm you in the event of an earthquake. Always secure paintings and pictures with closed hooks and be sure that your plumber has installed flexible connectors on all gas appliances.

For more safety tips, please refer to FEMA’s website here.

Do you remember your first job?

Shima 0 comments 17.07.2015


I remember my first job like it was yesterday. I was 16 and I wanted to gain some experience, yet have my own schedule. So, I decided to become an independent contractor and babysit children.
I first began babysitting Maddie and Matthew who quickly made me realize how much I loved children. Matthew used to always ask for apples dipped in honey and to this day, I remember him when I have some. I had such a great experience with them that I continued to babysit children for eight years after.

During my years as a Nanny, I worked with four different families and I gained lifelong lessons that have continued to help me every day. First, I learned the importance of building relationships with my clients. It was very important to me that parents knew that their children were safe with me and had completed all necessary duties such as finishing homework, eating dinner, and all- around, being a good role model for them.

I also learned the importance of valuing each family’s needs individually. Although I babysat two families with two sets of boys, they were completely different. This taught me the importance of accommodating to different needs and wants. For example, one family believed highly in structure while the other didn’t. I learned how to adjust my skills and qualities for each family differently. Above all, I learned most from the children I babysat. I learned that timing is of the essence and trusted it to build relationships with each one. The effort I gave was directly related to my results of being an excellent, reliable, and trustworthy Nanny.

Many realtors focus on closing deals quickly because they want their client to succeed in purchasing or selling their homes ASAP. Babysitting taught me the importance of completing task efficiently. That is, the work that’s needed is done precisely, yet at a quick rate. My goal is to make your home-buying or selling as smooth as possible. It is important to me that I not only find you your dream home, but I leave you with great memories in this process so when you look back, it will be a memorable journey.

“The best journey takes you home…”

Home Sweet Home

Shima 0 comments 07.07.2015


The most inconvenient and tedious part of moving is the packing and unpacking.

While most people have day jobs, it is almost impossible to find time to pack. The average working person is off work by 5, drives home in traffic, then must complete daily task of cooking, cleaning, showering, then putting the kids to bed.

At this rate, who the heck would want to pack after a long day?

With Home Sweet Home, you don’t have to worry.

Home Sweet Home is a Los Angeles based company that provides professional packing, unpacking, and organizing.

Whether you are ready to move out or just preparing to present your home in a more desirable light, Home Sweet Home can help.

Most buyers make an opinion about a home within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving. With that said, you want your home to be presentable and welcoming. With clutter, that is nearly impossible.

Home Sweet Home’s team of professional packers can help reduce clutter in your home by pre-packing non-essential items. This allows your home to shine in its best light.

It has been estimated that only 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. Why? Because of the clutter-90% are not going to even consider the home because they are unable to picture themselves in it.

In order to make the most of your home and enhance its chances of selling the quickest, consider hiring a packing company to come help you take the unnecessary items from your home out. There are also many storage companies where you can temporarily store the items until you’re ready to move into your new home.

For more information on Home Sweet Home, please refer to their website.

Don’t Show Up At The Altar Without Your Ring

Shima 0 comments 25.06.2015


One of the first questions I always ask my clients is, “Have you already been qualified?” I’ve noticed, this tends to cause two reactions.

1. The client suddenly feels concerned


2. The client assumes it is because I think they are not capable.

This is not true.

Purchasing a home is very similar to planning a wedding. A home is one of the greatest investments you will make in your life, so you want to think things through so that you find the right fit for you. It is similar to searching for a venue, wedding dress, cake, etc.

 You don’t just show up on the wedding day. You do your research, plan, and prepare wisely. Qualifying is just one step before the fun begins.

 Jimmy Wakimoto, Vice President of Lending Operations at Civic Center Home Loans shares that…

“It’s important to keep an open mind about what you believe to be fact about mortgage lending.  For example, “Over 32% of Americans still believe that you need to have a 20% down payment to buy a home, even though that has not been true for over 30 years.  In fact, some special programs allow you to buy without any down payment at all.  There are a lot misconceptions out there about what it doable and what is not and it rules change very frequently.  Don’t let incorrect information lead you down the wrong path, talk to a professional mortgage lender and get the facts.”

Even if you are not planning on purchasing a home for another year or so,

It doesn’t hurt to get qualified for 2 reasons:

1. You will need to it, eventually.


2. If you discover your credit is in fact low, it may take 2-3 months to fix.

Getting qualified does not cost a dime. Wakimoto can determine what you qualify for by simply running a report for you.

Prior to a quick meeting with Jimmy, you will need to gather

-Paystubs or evidence of income for most recent one month period.

-ALLpages of statements (bank, 401K, investment, etc.) for the most recent TWO month period.

-W2’s/1099’s for the past 2 years.

-Copy of your Driver’s license and Social Security card

-2 years (Federal only NOT State) income tax returns.. ALL pages

Remember, you wouldn’t show up at the venue not knowing if your ring will be there. Get qualified today and expedite the home-buying process.

To learn more, please refer to Wakimoto’s wonderful website here.

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Nanny Matchmaker

Shima 0 comments 23.06.2015


Summer officially began yesterday, but many parents are now questioning how they can possibly keep their children entertained while they are at work. Parents in the South Bay don’t have to look very far with the help of

Nanny Matchmaker.

Nanny Matchmaker LA, is a Los Angeles based business formed to give parents in Los Angeles a new option when seeking a caregiver for their family. Nanny Matchmakers is a team of professional nannies who have seen firsthand how important the right family/nanny match is. Unlike many agencies, they do not attempt to determine who your nanny should be. Instead, they work alongside you through the entire nanny search and hiring process to find you a perfect match!

Nanny Matchmaker LA was founded by two LA based nannies, Ashley Reed and Nicola Magrath. The two met in a park one morning when they were working as nannies in West Hollywood. The two hit it off, and began discussing how to take all their experience as professional nannies, and their love for children to create a new more effective way to assist and support families and caregivers across the city.

Nanny Matchmaker LA offers a variety of services.  Parents and caregivers can visit theirwebsite for more details.

I was able to speak with Nanny Matchmaker founder, Magrath, who shared with me specific details of what makes her company so unique from other companies.

 “What are some tips you would give for families who are looking to hire a nanny for the first time?”

Magrath: “Before you begin the interview process determine what you need and want from a caregiver. It’s best to know how many hours per week you will need a babysitter, nanny or parents helper. It’s also great to know what you expect your caregivers weekly schedule will be, and the pay you will be able to offer. Try to give yourself many weeks, even months to find the right fit for your family. Finding the perfect caregiver is possible but it can take time to ensure that you find the right fit for you family.

In addition determine ahead of time how a nanny can best partner with your family. Write down the role you envision your nanny will play in your family and establish the expectations you have for your caregiver, both immediately and long term.

Finally, understand that by hiring a caregiver you are hiring an employee. You can pay your caregiver daily, weekly or bi-weekly, however, remember you must pay your caregiver at least minimum wage. All household employees should be paid on the books and all hours must be fairly compensated for. After you’ve found the perfect caregiver for your family, keep that caregiver when possible. As in other jobs consider perks, and incentives you can offer to your nanny or parents helper to keep them feeling valued and as though they are a vital and cherished part of your family.”

“What are parent’s greatest concerns?”

Magrath: “It’s not uncommon for families to require or want a caregiver. The greatest concern most parents have is how to find an experienced, responsible and trustworthy person to care for their children. Nanny Matchmaker LA was formed to give parents across Los Angeles a new way of finding the perfect match for their family. A caregiver who will partner with parents to ensure that the child in their care is physically, emotionally, and intellectually healthy.  A caregiver who assists parents and assists the family in a way that makes the household run smoothly and efficiently.”

“How is Nanny Matchmaker different than other services?”

Magrath: “Nanny Matchmaker LA is not a nanny agency!  Nanny Matchmaker LA was formed to give parents in Los Angeles a new option when seeking a caregiver for their family. Our Matchmakers are also professional nannies who have seen first hand how important the right family/nanny match is. Unlike many agencies we don’t attempt to determine who your nanny should be. Instead, we work alongside you through the entire nanny search and hiring process to find you a perfect match.”

How much are the charges?

Our prices vary based on the type of caregiver a family is seeking to employ.

How do you match Nanny’s?

Magrath: “We get to know you each nanny. We learn what it is they are looking for in an employer/family. We dig deep to understand their needs to make sure we match them perfectly with our clients. Before we recommend any caregiver to we require everyone to go through a thorough screening process.  Lastly we make sure you are fully aware of your legal rights and ‘nanny’ tax requirements.

We also offer: Nanny Training Days, caregiver screening workshops, nanny mediation, babysitting services, and other custom tools designed by Nanny Matchmaker LA to assist both caregivers and families during the search, interview and hiring process.

Every nanny we meet goes through a thorough screening process. We meet every nanny in person. Upon hire every caregiver is run through Trustline (a federal background check, mandatory for caregivers in the state of California). We also require all caregivers to have current CPR/First Aid certification and outstanding professional childcare related experience and references.”

“What kind of services do the Nanny’s provide?

Magrath: “A nanny is responsible for all of the care surrounding a child. A nanny partners with a family and is involved with the growth & development, as well as, the overall well-being of the children they care for.  A nanny is often a form of household employee who agrees to the terms of a contract upon hire. A nanny typically works a set amount of hours per week; either part time or full time. In most cases a nanny works on a salary rather than for an hourly wage. Most families offer a nanny perks and incentives including: vacation time, paid sick days and annual pay raises.

What areas does the company cover?

“While we are based out of West Hollywood, CA we strive to help families and caregivers across Los Angeles.”

For more information visit or

 Instagram: @nannymatchmakerla

Facebook: @nannymatchmakerla

Twitter: @nannymatchla

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