Fun Family Activities to do on Thanksgiving Day

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Nothing beats a busy kitchen and a house full of friends and family on Thanksgiving day. Though, waiting around the kitchen for the food to be ready is never fun. While you wait for the food to cook, here are a few things you can do with the family to make the time pass by and create memories you’ll be sure to cherish forever.

Play some touch football

Gather everyone outside and enjoy the fresh air with a game of touch football. Get everyone involved to get a nice run in and build up hunger for the big meal.

Three-legged race:

I know what you’re thinking, a three-legged race, really? Believe us, a three-legged race is always more fun than it sounds. Grab your best friend or favorite sibling and get ready to laugh, fall and scream your way to the finish line (it gets very competitive).

Take a walk

Sometimes you need some fresh air and a pleasant conversation before the turkey is done. Take a short walk around the neighborhood and catch up with visiting relatives. Another option is to take join a local turkey trot (Long Beach has a Turkey Trot you can sign up for here.

Get the band together

Bring out the musical instruments or the karaoke machine and let loose playing a beat and showing off those vocals.  Bring out the video camera because this is where some of the best moments are made.

Charades

If you can get everyone to join in on a game of charades, it can turn out to be a very fun time. Make it more enjoyable and split up into teams, (boys versus girls always brings out the competitive nature in everyone).

Share memories

The best and most successful thanksgivings are when everyone finishes eating and sits around the living room telling stories. Telling funny stories of past Thanksgivings, stories of mom and dad as rebellious youngsters, and favorite childhood memories are always fun and entertaining. This is the best way to bond with loved ones.

 

5 Reasons to Stop Renting and Jump into Homeownership

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We understand home buying can sound like a scary thing and a big commitment. It’s okay to sit and ponder the home buying process, but waiting around too long is not good, especially with rising rent prices that don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Whatever your reason for renting is, here are five reasons why you should reconsider and leap into homeownership.

 

Owning a home is less expensive than renting

Surveys have time and time again revealed that financially it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent, and this year’s statistics provided by gobankingrates are no different. According to their research, it states that in 39 states across the country it makes more sense to buy a home than to rent. With rent prices nationally increasing at 2.9% annually buying a home now might just make sense.

 

Tax Breaks

As a homeowner, you will receive tax breaks. As a renter, you might receive your deductible (questionable) once you leave the place. The biggest tax break you receive as a homeowner is from the house payment you make every month which charges you interest that is deductible. Aside from that, as a homeowner, you will also be able to write off all kinds of expenses. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for renters.

 

Down Payments are a lot less

Remember when you had to sell an arm to make a $20,000 down payment to buy a home? Well, that’s not the case anymore. There are many options today such as an FHA Loan, which you can qualify with a fair credit score, that only requires you to put down 3.5 percent.  Fannie Mae’s conventional 97 mortgage requires just 3 percent down.

 

It is okay if you have lower than average credit

The myth of having a near perfect credit score to get a loan has been busted, it is just not true today. The average credit score of buyers who finance using an FHA loan is 683. And for those who use non-FHA financing have minimum scores of 600.

 

Equity

One of the biggest benefits of owning a home as opposed to renting is equity. When your home’s equity rises, that equity is yours and you can use it however you please.

Looking For Something Fun To Do in South Bay this October?

Looking for something fun to do around the South Bay area? Look no further! Here are five awesome events happening in the area that you must check out.

 

South Bay Escape Room: Mortuary Mystery

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If you enjoy puzzles, riddles, word games, and crime scene investigation TV shows then you will definitely love this event. The South Bay Escape room is located in the basement of the Volunteer Center’s historic, Old Torrance building, which so happens to be a real former mortuary. Perfect setting for this fictional fun, spooky, and of a kind fundraiser. You will have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and find the clue to escape the room.

When: Five weeks only! September 28 to October 29,  from 4 – 5 PM

Location: 1230 Cravens Avenue, Torrance, CA

For ticket and more info: www.volcenter.org/escaperoom

 

Maybe Partying Will Help

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The Pacific Coast Art Gallery is hosting the opening party of “Maybe Partying will Help.” An art gallery featuring the new paintings and vinyl artwork of the husband and wife duo Lori Herbst and Chris Shary from Northern California. Lori is an incredible textile artist who makes one of a kind pieces using vinyl.  She will be releasing many new retro surf/beach pieces, as well as vinyl art of The Clash, Wonder Woman, and Farrah Fawcett. Chris is famous for his rock portraits (Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins) and his Milo artwork for the Descendents. The gallery will be featuring his rock portraits as well as his paintings. There will also be an open bar sponsored by Abigaile restaurant.

When: September 30 – October 31, from 7:30 – 10 PM

Location: 205 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA

 

The Dudes’ Brewing Co. three-year anniversary party

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The Dudes’ Brewing Co. in Torrance is celebrating their three-year anniversary on September 30, and they want you to join them! Attendance will be free and the first 100 guests to arrive will receive a Commemorative Anniversary Glass. There will be raffle prizes and food all day! And for those who happen to be into yoga and beer Dudes’ Brewing Co. will be debuting the first class of a whole new Yoga and Beer program before the party starts. Check in at 10:15 AM, class starts at 10:30 AM and lasts one hour, and includes a pint. RSVP for Yoga here: http://bit.ly/BeerYogaParty

When: September 30, from 3 – 6PM

Location: The Dudes’ Brewing Co, West 208th Street, Torrance, CA

 

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

pexels-photo-265315The South Coast Botanic Garden is hosting a fun secret pumpkin hunt. Join them, and travel through the grounds of the South Coast Botanic Garden in search of the hidden abodes of their feathered friends and collect the clues left in their birdhouses. The clues will lead you to the South Coast Botanic Garden Pumpkin Patch. The hunt is family friendly, fun, and adventurous. Make sure to take your tennis shoes and be ready to do some hiking.

When: October 1 – November 30, from 9 AM – 5 PM

Location: South Coast Botanic Garden, Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

 

Cruie at the Beach Car Show

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The cruise at the Beach Car Show takes place every Friday night between September 27 and October 27. The lot in front of Ruby’s Diner in Redondo Beach becomes a giant car show, showcasing muscle cars and modern rides. So if you love cars and are looking for something to do this is the place to be. Oh and don’t forget to stop by Ruby’s Diner before or after you check out the cars for a delicious burger or milkshake.

When: September 29 – October 27, from 4 – 8 PM

Location: Ruby’s Diner, North Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA

4 Ways to use mirrors in your Home

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Mirrors are an essential to the every home. They are a nice accessory to brighten up a room and make it appear bigger than it really is. Here are four ways to accessorize mirrors in your home according to design experts.

1 Floor Mirrors

Believe it or not but not all mirrors belong on a wall. This is especially the case if you are dealing with larger mirrors. In the case you use these “floor mirrors” designers recommend angling and/or leaning the mirror.  This will still give you the depth you’d expect to get from a mirror on the wall and also double as a standout furniture pi

2 Dark Hallways

Do you have a dark hallway? Or a room that receives very little light? Bring these areas of your home to life by adding mirrors. Place the mirror where it will be able to reflect light, opposite or perpendicular to a window would be best. In the event of you selling your home, the more light reflected in your rooms can translate into more interest from prospective buyers.  

3 Bathroom Mirror

The best way to get rid of the claustrophobic feel that all bathrooms come standard with is to replace your small bathroom mirror with a large one. An alternative to help your bathroom space grow is to out multiple mirrors throughout the room. Get creative. The mirrors you add in the bathroom will play to the illusion of having more room.  

4 Use mirrors to showcase your view

One of the best ways to use mirrors according to design experts is to put them across from a nice view. Whether it’s your rose garden or view of the city, the mirrors will complement your space and allow you to have to amazing views instead of one.

5 Tips To Bring Summer Into Your Home

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Summer brings memories at the beach, BBQ’s out on the patio and adventurous sunny days. It’s about bringing back the color into life that the dull rainy season takes away. And the colorful excitement of summer doesn’t have to live outdoors. Take a look at few tips to bring the summer excitement into your home.

Green is always Good

There’s no better way to bring the summer feel inside the home than bringing the outdoors inside. Grab a vase or two and decorate the home with a refreshing set of flowers or plants. Plants and flowers transition from the garden to the home beautifully.

Add Color

Summer brings a warm and inviting feeling to mind. So, there’s no reason why your home shouldn’t do the same. Switch out the cool tones and accessories of winter for lighter tones that are more breathable.

A little of You

A fun way to bring in more of that summer light into the home is by adding a little bit of you. Hang up pictures of your outdoor adventures or display your latest painting or your new DIY obsession. Your fun and passion will spread throughout the home.

Let The Light In

Open the windows, take out the curtains and the let the bright summer sun into your home. The light entering will add a livelier feel to the home and make it feel more spacious in the process as well.

Stay Fresh

Bring the feel of summer into the home and keep fresh at the same time is by stocking up on your favorite fruits. Keeping pineapples, watermelon and other fruits around will add a summer feel to the home and be a very delicious treat.

 

How to Spot The Right Agent

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With so many real estate agents promoting themselves through billboards, yard signs, and online ads finding the right one can be a bit overwhelming. And finding the right agent to help you with your real estate venture is a must-have. Whether you’re selling a home or are a first-time home buyer, let us help you weave through the noise with these 5 tips to help you spot the right agent.

1) Word of Mouth

Reading testimonials from an agent’s past clients is a good starting point to understanding the impression they have left on others and what you might expect for yourself. Finding out how long a home was on the market and how smooth the process went can give you great insight on an agent’s expertise and commitment. Finding an agent with many recommendations is a step in the right direction.

2) Look through listings

Spotting the right agent depends a lot on their listings. Do they have listings in the same neighborhood you are looking to move into? Also, it’s important to be mindful of how many listings an agent has. You want an agent who has listings (that represents a healthy business) but you don’t want an agent with too many listings as you can be a number for them instead of a person.

3) Ask Questions

When it comes to spotting the right agent you want someone who knows the market. The right agent will know about houses in your area, how much they sold for, and give you recommendations on similar houses nearby. Finding an agent whose informed will be able to provide you with the best options.

4) Online presence

Take a look at your agent’s website. The time and investment they took to make a well-designed functional website for their listings can correlate to how dedicated they will be to helping you. Additionally, most people use the internet at one point or another to search for listings. So, why shouldn’t you have an agent who is savvy with the online market?

5) Make a decision

Once you have run through your checklist it is time to pick an agent. Remember to factor experience into your decision making. And if you are looking into Torrance, Palos Verdes, Lomita, San Pedro, or Walteria then The Lockwood Team are the experts you need. With over 175 properties sold in Walteria and Victoria Knolls alone! Let them help be a part of your home buying experience.

 

5 Must try Ice Cream Shops In LA

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Imagine taking a bite. It’s cold, creamy and irresistible. Every bite is rewarding, tasty and rich. No matter how your day is going, it just got a little better. There are few things in life better than ice cream (and we want to emphasize VERY FEW). So, we want to say you’re welcome in advance as we bring to you the 5 absolute best must try bucket list ice cream shops in Los Angeles. (We ate a lot of ice cream but we didn’t mind)

 

1.Milk

7290 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 939-6455; and

1639 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 913-9911

themilkshop.com.

 

Take a step into Milk and your glasses will start to fog up from excitement. Their goodies include: red velvet macaroons, shortcake, and drumsticks. And the best part, Make-your-own ice cream sandwich. But be warned your life might change forever. You’re welcome.

 

  1. Scoops

712 N. Heliotrope Drive, East Hollywood; (323) 906-2649

 

No, this isn’t heaven. But we don’t blame you, it’s pretty easy to get confused. With a rotating list with over 50 flavors, Monday through Saturday your prayers have been answered . Go to the light, you won’t be disappointed.

 

  1. Salt & Straw

240 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 446-0485

 

Sometimes you just want your ice cream to be a little extra, we get it. Try an avocado and Ojai olive oil sherbet to fill your needs. Or have an ice cream flight if you don’t want to get hung up with commitment. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.  

 

  1. Long Beach Creamery

4141 Long Beach Blvd Long Beach, CA 90807; (562) 513-3493

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They say you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy Long Beach Creamery’s ice cream, which is basically the same thing. There is a reason it has become a staple in Long Beach. It has been said that their Burnt Caramel + their waffle cone = perfection. But, everything you try here will be delicious!

 

  1. Paradis

5305 E 2nd St Long Beach, CA 90803(562) 438-8580

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With comfy chairs, plenty of games to pass the time and awesome (we mean awesome on top of awesome) ice cream, Paradis is paradise. Their flavors range from the usuals to vegan, but be warned, it’s very easy to fall in love with their marshmallow, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, rocky road……You get the point. It’s all creamy and dreamy.

5 Tips to Tame the Clutter in your Home

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Whether you have a small house or spacious one, clutter always has a way to build up if you stop paying attention. It happens. After a hard work day who has the energy to tackle the problem areas of a home? Even without the energy, take a look at 5 productive habits that will make your clutter disappear.

  1. Mail

The only thing worse than getting the swarm of credit card and grocery store junk mail in your mailbox is when we bring it in the house and slap it down in the usual spot. Help stop the clutter of mail by using a basket or filer that you can put in ‘your spot’ to keep everything contained and neat. Using labels to separate the junk from the important stuff is a good additional step.

  1. Pile of shoes

Shoes have a way of kicking themselves off in the corners of every room. Your work shoes, workout shoes, slippers, and so on all have a way of lurking about in the first place you can take them off, I’m guilty of this. What organizing experts recommend is having a designated shoe cubby storage. You can usually fit a cubby in a closet, house entrance or any other area that will work best for you.

  1. Laundry

One of the fastest ways to clutter a space is with clothes. Whether it’s raiding your closet for something to wear or changing, clothes end up everywhere. An easy way to fix the problem is by having bins that you can easily toss the dirty and clean clothes you leave out.  

  1. Dishes

Dishes are just about everyone’s worst nightmare. What’s worse is when they pile up in the sink and nothing else fits. Tackle your dishes by dividing the chore into tasks. Start by rinsing out your dishes. Come back to them later and finish washing and stacking them into a drying rack. Dividing them up will make it seem like less of a time commitment and get the job done.

  1. Activity gear

When it comes to yoga mats, bikes, or other routinely used items the first instinct is to always leave it somewhere that is easily accessible. To better organize these items, hide them in plain sight. Find an area that will nicely compliment or hide the yoga mats and make your home feel more spacious and clutter free.

7 Tips to get your ready to buy a home

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Buying a home can take months and months of planning.  To achieve your goal there are some bad habits you need to kick to the curb so you can be prepared for the big day. Take a look at seven bad habits you should have stopped yesterday if you’re looking to hit the housing market.

  1. Credit Cards

It is no secret. Credit cards tend to poor decisions that can significantly affect your ability to buy a home. A rule of thumb to follow is not to use more than 30% of your available credit. Consistently exceeding this amount can make qualifying for a mortgage tough.

  1. Job Hopping

Thinking of switching jobs soon or going into freelance work? You might want to think twice about leaving your 9-to-5 if you’re serious about buying a home. Someone who has a steady employment translates to stability. To a lender, someone who is stable puts their mind at ease.

  1. Having a Low Bank Balance

Having a financial cushion is the best option if you are looking to buy a home. We have all been on the side of ‘stuff that happened, ’ and it’s usually never cheap. Be mindful of the unexpected expenses and have a cushion to avoid running up credit cards in these events.

  1. Not Having A Budget

Half of Americans have reported that they do not have a budget at all. This is not a good habit if you want to buy a home. Start your budget today and keep the 50/20/30 rule in mind. That is, 50% of your income should go to essentials (rent, groceries, utilities), 20% should go to financial necessities ( emergency, debt, retirement), and 30% or less should go to lifestyle (shopping, gym, travel).

  1. Avoid Big Expenses

Buying a new car or other significant expenses might be great and easily affordable but resist the feeling. The new spending can hold up a mortgage application. Wait it out until you have your house keys in your hand.

  1. Keep Paper trail of income

Your lender is going to want to see your recent bank statements. If you fluctuate too much money around it does not look good in the eyes of a lender so be prepared to have a paper trail that can account for new income or transfer of income.

  1. Don’t Closeout Credit Lines

You might be thinking it’s a smart move to close out a credit card and transfer your balance to a zero interest account. This is a significant step in the direction to taking control of your finances, but hold off because a closed account can tank your credit score. A sudden drop in credit can derail your lenders from approving a loan.

This is your year to get into the home of your dreams. Get away from these bad habits and start counting down the days till you’re in your home. For the best home buying experience let The Lockwood Team help you get into the home you have always wanted.

Breaking Down the Steps to Home Buying

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After months and months of saving you have finally reached your first goal in the process of buying your new home. With the down payment ready you flip through the listings preparing to be shown homes that capture your interest. Your excitement is at a peak, but are fully aware that homes are not impulse buys. Just as you patiently waited months to save up for this moment, your patience must not crumble when you are ready to purchase. Here is a list of steps and how long they will take to help you manage the waiting game.

Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent should be someone who is in constant communication with you and relay each step of the process with you. The Lockwood Team has over 30 years of experience in the South Bay helping buyers, sellers, and investors. Their sales speak towards their commitment and professionalism to help you get the service you deserve. Give them a call and have a great team of agents working for you by the end of the day.

Getting approved for a mortgage

Lenders examine documents, review your finances, and look for any alternative hiccups. So even if you are the rockstar candidate, you’ll have to wait. Typically you will be given the green light in two-three weeks.

When will an offer be accepted?

Once you have made an offer, the waiting time is in the hands of the seller. The seller will look at the offer and either accept it outright, counter it, or reject it. Usually, the excited seller will give a response within three days. If the home was a foreclosure, banks could sometimes take up to 10 days.

Waiting for the Appraisal

The professional who estimates the value of the home on behalf of your lender will usually spend a few hours examining the property. After they finish, the waiting begins as they explore comparable households in the neighborhood and prepare a comprehensive report for your lender. Expect to wait about two weeks to get results.

Closing on a home

The final step is, unfortunately, the lengthiest one. Closing on a home can vary drastically at times ranging from 30-50 days. Talk to your agent and get all your paperwork prepared (the process will be on the shorter end having the necessary documents prepared).  

Once these steps are all completed and you have those keys in your hand the long wait will be more than worth it.  Give the Lockwood team a call today 310.994.0774 and let them help you get started.