Could Your Windows and Doors Save You Money?


beautiful-3009151_1920These days, it’s all about saving energy. From energy-efficient utilities to insulation and preventative measures, there are many ways we can save a few dollars (or big buck) on our home housing costs and protect the environment. 

One effective way to save energy is by renovating your windows and doors. These areas are the home’s access to the outside world, but with poor design or leaky cracks, they could be costing you. Let’s look at the easy fixes to help you get on the track to saving energy with your windows and doors. 


Search for Cracks

Cracks in window seals and under doors can cause air leaks. Unfortunately, air leaks can be a drain on your home energy bills, making your thermostat constantly work to keep your desired temperature. Check for cracks around windows and apply caulk and weather strip your doors to prevent these air leaks. 


Replace and Renovate 

In some cases, you’ll want to completely replace your windows or doors for a tighter seal and better longevity. Energy-efficient windows not only provide a strong seal between the inside and outside of your home, they are also often created with special gas chamber that further reduce energy loss. 


Apply for Assistance

Need help restoring your windows? There are several government programs in place to help you improve your home’s efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is in place to help reduce energy usage and costs and provide assistance in improving energy efficiency for low-income households. The Low-Income Weatherization Program is a California Climate Investment which helps to improve our public health and environment with community solar and energy efficiency programs.         


New Windows and Doors, Less Energy

Improve your home’s energy efficiency, help the environment, and reduce your annual costs (up to $500!) but putting some extra care into your windows and doors. 


5 Spring Prep Tips for Southern California Homeowners

Spring is on its way, and in Southern California that means it’s time to prep our homes for the next season!

Whether you are just settling into your new home or are planning a 2020 sale, spring is the perfect time to refresh your home. Here are our top tips for keeping your home happily maintained, clean, and comfortable for a Southern California spring.


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      Check Off Lingering To-Dos Winter can be a tough time to get those little to-dos accomplished with the rush of the holidays. The lull between the hectic winter season and the active spring is the perfect time to check off those pesky to-do’s that need to be done. Check the roof, replace air vents, replace faucets, and tend to windows or sprinklers.    




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Open the Windows

Opening the windows and letting fresh air in is one of the most uplifting things you can do for your house this spring. This improves air quality inside and gives you a chance to clean up the windowsills and glass. If you suffer from allergies, do this early in the spring before the pollen levels get too high.

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  Plan Your Upgrades for the Year The spring is one of the best times to do work or upgrades on your home. Decide what you want to accomplish this year and set a plan in motion for early spring.    




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Brainstorm Curb Appeal

We’re lucky in Southern California to have lovely lawns year round, but there’s still something special about bright, fresh spring flowers and shrubs. Brainstorm your perfect spring garden, welcoming front door, and summer-loving deck now so that you have plenty of time to make your dreams a reality by spring.

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Prep to Sell If you’re planning to sell your home in spring, this is the time to get all the dirty work done. Deep clean, declutter, and invite new and fresh air into the home. Buyers are highly active in spring, so this is the time to put your home on the market!    

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Spring into Action
Now is the time to get your home ready for spring and summer. Start with a few easy spring-cleaning weekends or tackle the big projects head-on!

A Prosperous 2020: Start Your Saving Habits in January!

Each year, countless Americans resolve to stop mindless spending and finally start saving for the future. The New Year brings a lot of motivation and encouragement, but soon after the first few weeks of January, many of us fall off track. 

The trick to staying on top of your saving is to start early and start with a plan. Here, we’ll discover the best tips and tricks to help you make saving a habit this year, not just a wish. Let’s make 2020 our most prosperous year yet!


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Limit unnecessary purchases.

This is an obvious one, but to start saving more, we need to spend less. Look at any unnecessary subscription services, convenience spending, or impulse habits. January can be a particularly tough time for many after the hit of the holidays. Reduce the impact by cutting back and making do in January.  




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Reduce, renew, recycle. 
When possible, take the chance to buy used or upcycle something you already have. This goes for things around the house as well as food and personal items. Replace costly household cleaners with much cheaper (and more natural) DIY alternatives and make better use of your groceries and leftovers.


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Teach your family the beauty in having less.

If your family tends to be more maximalist than minimalist, consider spending the month of January to drastically de-clutter and donating your unused items. Kids tend to accumulate a lot of toys, clothes, and “stuff” that eventually gets forgotten once the next shiny thing comes around. In fact, children can be happier just a few toys that they really love. Teach them about the joys of giving and plan to buy fewer new things throughout the year.  




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Save automatically.
The easiest way to start a saving habit is to have technology do all the hard work for you. Set up a recurring transfer between your checking and savings account either weekly, with each paycheck, or monthly. You’ll never have to remember to save and you won’t end up spending your savings. 


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Get a clear budget. 

It’s nearly impossible to know how much you can really save until you create a clear budget. Account for every dollar spent on monthly bills, gas, personal spending, groceries and any other necessities. Allocate what’s left over for savings.   

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Save it ‘Til You Make It
Whether you’re saving for a home, saving for renovations, saving for a trip, or saving for your financial freedom, the path to success is with small, easy to attain steps and clear priorities. The tips in this blog have helped millions get out of debt, save for a home, or become financially stable. This is all possible for you, too! Best of luck this year! 


New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help You Buy a Home in 2020

Are you dreaming of buying a home in 2020? Congratulations! Buying your first home is an amazing goal to work towards. The idea, however, can feel overwhelming and daunting if you have never bought or owned a home. 

2020 is your year to become a homeowner. Let’s start the year off right with some helpful resolutions that put you on the path to homeownership before the end of the year. 


5 New Year’s Resolutions for Buying Your First Home

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I will save $X each month to reach my goal of a $Y down payment. The first resolution you need for 2020 is to determine what your desired down payment is. Without a clear idea, it’s an impossible goal to towards. Once you have your number, decide how much more you need to save to reach that, and divide by the number of months you have before you hope to buy a home. That’s your monthly goal. Now stick to it!




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I will unsubscribe to unnecessary, costly subscription services by February 1st, 2020.

This is a simple, but important resolution that’s great for anyone saving up to make any kind of large purchase. In the first few weeks of the new year, track down any less-than-necessary subscription services you have and cancel them. Do you really watch that much cable? What about that monthly subscription box? This goes for other purchases as well. Trim down as much as possible by reducing your coffee shop habit, grocery splurges, or impulse buying.


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I will avoid making any large purchases until I have reached my down payment goal. This goal pairs well with the previous resolution. Limit any unnecessary purchases – especially big ones – until you’ve reached your biggest goal. New cars, technology, and fancy vacations can wait. This year the focus is buying a home!  




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I will reach out to a real estate agent and mortgage broker by April 1, 2020 to discuss my plans to buy a home this year. 
You may have browsed available homes in your desired neighborhood and gotten an idea of what’s out there. That’s great! But the first step to making real progress with finding a home is reaching out to a real estate agent and a mortgage broker. If possible, get pre-approved for a home loan and solidify an agent you’d love to work with when you’re ready to serious start the search.

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I will pay off other outstanding debts to improve my credit by (date).  This resolution will vary greatly from person to person. Consider the amount of outstanding debt you have from credit cards, car loans, student loans. Pay these off to the best of your ability while also saving money for your down payment. Reducing these debts will help you funnel money into your house fund, while also improving your credit score to improve your chances at better mortgages rates.  

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Ring in 2021 in Your New Home
This year is the year you’ll finally become a homeowner! Starting 2021 off in your new home requires sticking to your resolutions this year. With a little determination, you can save, search, and sign those papers.  


Host Family and Friends for the Holidays…and Enjoy It!

Hosting holiday parties is a great honor and should be an occasion of joy and memory-making. Unfortunately, planning and executing a fantastic party is often stressful for the homeowner. 

It is possible to both entertain in your home and enjoy the party as a homeowner. Follow these tips to ensure you are the best host and get to join in on the holiday fun!

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Embrace a Theme It may sound cheesy at first but a theme can do wonders for simplifying the planning process. The theme should be geared toward the guests (large group, children, etc.) and can be as specific or generic as you like. The secondary benefit of themed parties is they can create opportunities for activities to keep the party alive. Cookie decorating, holiday movies, or regional foods are all ways to stay within a theme, and create conversation and action.




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Get Organized

Not everyone is a list-maker. However, everyone that is planning a holiday party should be. If you are not typically organized, fight the urge to “just wing it.” Lists can help prevent unintentionally leaving someone off the guest list, forgetting the centerpiece, or blowing your budget.

Speaking of budgets…

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Plan, Inventory, Budget This is the order of affairs for successful, stress-free holiday party planning: plan, inventory, and budget. Nothing ruins a great party for a homeowner like realizing there will be no money left for holiday gifts! Plan your event first. Take stock in what you have that can be used. Finally, budget for what you need that is not already in your home.  If you find yourself on a tight budget, consider making the party a potluck event. You can shop for décor at thrift stores to cut down on costs. The point is, you do not need a lot of excess funds to throw and enjoy a great holiday party.

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Be Present

The biggest mistake homeowners make when hosting a party for family and friends is underestimating time spent in the kitchen. When coming up with a menu, plan to make dishes ahead of time or make use of a slow cooker. This will allow you to break free of cooking duties and enjoy your guests.

Alternatively, this is one area where it might pay to outsource some work. Hire a caterer to come prepare food or better yet, bring food prepared at their kitchen. This will allow you the freedom to mingle and free up space in one of the most popular gathering places in your home – the kitchen.

Create a theme to enhance focus, make a list, decide what you must buy and cook ahead or hire someone to ensure you can do the most important thing for a great holiday party – enjoy your guests.


Halloween Decorating Tips for Your Southern California Home

With Halloween right around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how you’ll decorate for the spooky season. There are many different ways to enhance your home for Halloween no matter your Halloween style. Read on for our best Halloween decorating tips and tricks!


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Keep it Natural One of the great things about Halloween is that it falls right in the middle of beautiful autumn. If you like to keep things natural, take advantage of the abundant fall foliage, gourds, pumpkins, and branches that you can find this time of year. Use twine, linen, acorns, pinecones, feathers, or any other natural-type material you can find.




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Mix up the Textures
For table arrangements, mantle pieces, or even porches, experiment with different textures. Find faux fur a la Werewolf, burlap sacks, lace, or even yarn to make a space spooky or chic. 

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Paint it Black Goth or Glamour? An all-black Halloween can make quite a statement. Find matte black paint and cover a variety of pumpkins to create a monochrome look. Mix in ivory touches (skulls and bones) or pale greens (eucalyptus and other plants) to really make them pop.




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Creepy Quotes
Mysterious literature can be a great way to decorate your home for Halloween with a touch of class. Print out famous creepy quotes (try The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe or an extract from The Legend of Sleepy Hallow) and frame them. Place them around the home or on a Halloween-themed porch to welcome visitors…if they dare!

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Luminate with Candles If you’re looking for a cozier Halloween vibe, stock up on candles. Candles create the perfect spooky ambiance while also making your home feel relaxed and tranquil. You can even create little pumpkin candles or ghost candles with just a few simple steps.

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Go Treasure Hunting
Antique stores can be the perfect place to find Halloween decorations. As things age, they can sometimes feel a little creepy with the right presentation. Dig up old black and white photographs, aged lace, old medial texts or other books, and even some unique glassware to hold tealights or creepy crawlies. Go with an open mind and see what speaks to you! 


Make this year the DIY Halloween year! Decorating for the seasons in always fun, but even more fun when you get to use your creativity. With these ideas, you’ll surely have one of the spookiest, yet tasteful houses in Long Beach!


Escrow Doesn’t Mean the End of the Buying or Selling Process

Buying or selling a home can feel like a never-ending process. While it is natural to want to skip to the finale, it is important to know that simply closing escrow does not mean all the work is done.


You can take comfort in knowing that what comes next is far simpler than the process up to this point. Here is a quick list of things to take care of once you know that home is yours!


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Change Your Address This seems like a no brainer but is often put on the back burner for new homeowners or those finding a new home. The USPS (the people that put the mail in your box) is kind enough to offer mail-forwarding service for a certain period.   Log in to any accounts you may have with magazine subscriptions, delivery services, and Amazon to make sure your address if officially changed on your profile. If you are old school and keep an address book, consider sending a notification to your most important contacts to inform them of your new address.  




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Get an Updated Driver’s License

This is a law and unfortunately, many people neglect to obey it. The DMV in almost every state is a hassle but your ID becomes invalid after 30 days (in most cases) of an address change.


This step is especially important when it comes time to vote or travel by air. 


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Notify the Utility Companies You will likely want water, power, and sewer services at your new home. Cable and telephone may be important to you, as well. Once you have officially closed, contact these entities to alert them of your ownership.  

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Contact Your Financial Institutions

Your bank, credit card companies, and any retirement or investment funds should be made aware of your new address immediately after closing. This will ensure any important notifications are sent to your home, as many are time-sensitive.


There! That wasn’t so hard. Take care of these things as soon as you close escrow, rather than putting them off and forgetting about them.


When and Why Its Worth It To Pay More for Homeowners Insurance Even When You’re Bundling

With life, we acquire a lot of valuable assets. For many assets, it’s in our best interest to get insurance on them. Just ask J.Lo’s legs. In the case of non-celebrities, the most valuable asset we own is our home. So, while we are always looking for ways to save a few dollars, it shouldn’t be at the expense of our most valuable possession. 


If you are considering bundling your insurance, make sure you do your research. You don’t want to skimp out on homeowners insurance, especially when it might come in handy. 

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Why Consider Bundling Insurance?

For those new to the insurance market, they might be unaware of the savings they could be cashing in on. Much like you can bundle your TV package with internet and a landline, you can also bundle your insurance.    Bundling is when an insurance provider offers you a discount for covering multiple assets under their policies. This is done on their behalf to create a sense of customer loyalty.    For the most part, bundling works out great for people with multiple assets. In most cases, homeowners will bundle their auto and home insurance under the same umbrella. However, there are other assets that qualify for a bundle discount.  




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These assets include:


  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational Vehicles
  • Trailers
  • Life Insurance
  • Boats
  • Condo Insurance
  • Renters Insurance


While bundling sounds like a great way to save, make sure you aren’t skimping out on homeowners insurance that you might need. Here is when and why it is worth paying more for homeowners insurance even when you’re bundling.

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You Live in a Flood Zone

The severity of our weather patterns is expected to get worse as time goes on. As sea levels continue to rise due to the melting polar caps, flooding is going to become more commonplace.   When this happens, you want to make sure you have the best homeowners insurance policy. When you pay more for coverage, you might get afforded temporary housing in the times of a natural disaster. 




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You Have a Lot of Valuables

What’s great about homeowners insurance is that a majority of policies don’t just cover the outside or structure. They also cover your valuables inside. 


If you bundle your policies, you might miss out on claiming the loss or damage of property inside of your home. Make sure your insurance plan allows compensation for a burglary or a kickback for items lost in a fire or flood. 

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You Live in Areas Prone to Natural Disasters

While flooding may not be another concern, there are other areas that are hit with harsh weather each year. For instance, those in the Midwest are accustomed to tornadoes touching the ground and destroying their property.


Meanwhile, California residents have seen their homes go up in flames due to wildfires. It’s hard to tell if these tragedies are ever going to happen to your loved ones. That’s why you need to take extra precaution and get the best homeowners insurance for your house.


Top Questions Sellers Ask Before Listing Their House for Sale

Are you thinking about selling your Long Beach, California home? You’re not the first person, and you won’t be the last. Therefore, all the questions and concerns that are running through your mind have been experienced by millions before you. Here are some answers to the burning questions that every seller asks before listing their house?


Q: When is the Right Time to Sell My House?

A: There are several answers to this question that are unique to the potential seller. First, you need to be ready emotionally. When you sell a house, you are parting with a property that held so many precious memories. Once you’re emotionally ready, it’s never the wrong time to sell your house. However, you should talk to a real estate agent who is familiar with your neighborhood and the market. That way, you can make an informed decision as to right now is the perfect time to sell for financial gain.


Q: What Does The Market Look Like?

A: As the “right time to sell,” the market is also unique to the person. The answer to this question depends on your neighborhood. However, you can look at the overall market in your state for a gauge. In California, we are looking at an increase in price median of 1.2% over the past year. However, the market, in general, is slow right now. So, you’re looking at people making more money over the long-term. These statistics can easily change by the end of the year. That’s why it’s so vital you speak to a real estate agent familiar with trends in your neighborhood.


Q: How Do I Know How Much My Home Is Worth?

A: Again, it’s good to rely on a trusted real estate agent. To get a clear picture of your home’s value, you need a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA takes many algorithms into consideration such as square footage to the age of the roof to what neighboring houses sold at.


Q: Should I Fix Problems Before Listing?

A: If you see it, potential buyers will see it. So, if your house needs a new coat of paint, windows, or updated electricity, just do it. Otherwise, your house will be on the market longer than you anticipated. In the end, you’ll probably end up doing the fixes anyway. For those who don’t want to make unnecessary changes, it doesn’t hurt to have an inspector point out potential problems.   


Q: Should I Inflate My Price to Leave Wiggle Room?

A: You can. However, don’t outprice your house. Then, you’ll have nobody to negotiate with you. If you price your house a little more than what it’s worth, you can probably sell rather quickly. It just leaves the question, what’s “a little more?” Your best bet is to make these decisions with a trusted real estate agent. They can advise you on what tactics work best in your community to sell your Long Beach house for the highest price.  


Best New Restaurants in Long Beach 2019

Southern California is a foodie haven. There are so many delicious restaurants in the city center of Long Beach, California. Yet, more and more continue to pop up all along the Cali coast. So, what are some of the best new restaurants within driving distance of Long Beach? Let’s take a look at these must-try hotspots.

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Journeyman’s Food and Drink

One of the best new restaurants in Orange County is this high-class restaurant in Fullerton. Following the motto, “It’s not the destination…it’s the journey,” Executive Chef Zachary Geerson takes your taste buds on a trek. You can choose from either a 4-course pre-fixe menu or one that you can customize. The other option is a 6-course pre-fixe that is set for the whole table to enjoy. The Chef’s vegetarian menu is coming soon, so keep an eye out plant-powered friends!




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The Ordinaire

Want food out of the ordinary? Then check out the Ordinaire. From tapas to happy hour, brunch to dinner, The Ordinaire is extraordinary for everybody. Located at the Long Beach Promenade, The Ordinaire offers American pub food with a modern day twist. Try their ricotta dumplings and veggies with chicken in a savory stock. Vegetarians can feast on a fresh beet salad with homemade citrus dressing.

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California Cocina

Only open for three months, California Cocina has already carved out quite the following along Seal Beach. This burgeoning SoCal favorite has all the traditional Mexican fare those in Long Beach love. You have to try the Cajun Salmon Tacos or Sauteed Shrimp Burritos. Plant-based diet followers, get the Vegetarian Burrito with their homemade pico de gallo!




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Jounetsu Ramen

Newly opened E 4th Street noodle house, Jounetsu Ramen is setting the Long Beach culinary scene on fire. This Asian fusion kitchen offers a wide variety of rolls, including vegetarian options. However, you must stop in for the ramen. The most popular is the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen for its balance between hot chilies, crunchy bean sprouts, and juicy steak. However, the Vegetable Ramen is also a flavorful, clean option as well.

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Kailua Island Grill

Last is certainly not least here. The Kailua Island Grill has caused quite a stir among locals over the past few months. Their approach to food is to craft delicious meals using fresh ingredients. Comfort foods we know and love are no longer doused in sauce. Instead, they are infused in flavor, forever changing our perception of Korean BBQ Beef or Garlic Butter Shrimp. Vegans, you have to get the Veggie Bowl. Tofu, carrots, and spinach are stir-fried and served over a bed of quinoa and topped with homemade teriyaki sauce. There’s something for everyone at Kailua Island Grill!