Around The Hill: Palos Verdes Beach & Athletic Club


Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend!


Common Real Estate Terms Defined

You’re all excited, you’re getting ready to purchase a new home, but then all of a sudden you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Sure, you may have done this before but who can remember all of that realtor lingo. So what does all of that jargon really mean? Well, not to worry because that is what we are here to iron out for you.

Here are some of the most commonly used real estate terms and what they really mean.

1. REO – Real Estate Owned – these are homes that have been foreclosed on and have been repossessed by the bank

2. S/S – Short Sale – this is a home that the seller owes more than its current market value and they need bank approval to sell their home for less than they owe

3. BOM – Back On The Market – this is a home that was in a contract but for whatever reason, is now back on the market not necessarily due to any fault of the house or the seller. The buyer could have simply backed out

4. DPA / DAP – Down Payment Assistance / Down Payment Assistance Program

5. FTH / FTB – First Time Home Buyer / First Time Buyer

6. OO / NOO – Owner Occupied / Non Owner Occupied

7. Motivated Seller – this is a seller that is flexible in their pricing or timing. Signifies a sense of urgency

8. Coveted – this usually means Expensive! This is usually due to a fantastic view, the location of the home or a particularly popular floor plan or some other extremely popular feature

9. Contingent With No Kick Out – this means that an offer has been presented to the seller with some contingencies and if those contingencies are not met then the seller may take an offer from another buyer

10. CMA – Comparative Market Analysis – this is used to gauge the competition and determine a correct price for your home

Well, there you have it. These are some of the more common terms; however, there are literally thousands of real estate terms that are utilized daily and it would take a 1000 page novel to list them all!

If you should come across any real estate terms or some lingo that you are not familiar with, please call your real estate agent right away and they will happily go over their meanings with you. Don’t worry about having to remember everything, that is what your realtor is there for.

Just sit back and relax and the next thing you know, you will be living in your new home and enjoying your new life. Home ownership is the most satisfying feeling in the world and having a realtor guide you is the key to finding that perfect home and making the process flow flawlessly from the application to the contract right on through to the closing.

10 Great Kitchen Appliances for Entertaining

Kitchen Appliances for Entertaining: Looking forward to hosting family, friends and guests at your home? Then you’ll definitely want to know about the top appliances that are fantastic party tools for any special event.

These devices — from basic food prep gadgets to larger catering-style machines — help you save time in and out of the kitchen, so you can get back to the important task of enjoying your company.

Top Kitchen Appliances for Entertaining: A built-in ice maker is a great help if you entertain frequently.

A built-in ice maker is a great help if you entertain frequently.

1. Ice Maker: It’s always a pain to run out of ice in the middle of a party, so why not make your own? A dedicated ice maker does that for you, so you’ll never have to step out to grab ice from the store. Unlike your fridge, an ice maker has more than enough capacity to make enough ice to satisfy guests and then some.

2. Wine Fridge: For those who entertain guests frequently with the finest wines available, a wine fridge is definitely a must-have. In addition to quick access, your wines will stay at a cool pre-set temperature. Dual-zone units are available for keeping a wider variety of wines around.

Top Kitchen Appliances for Entertaining: A wine cooler makes a great addition to a kitchen island, if you have the space for it.

Available in various capacities for unique storage needs, a wine cooler makes a great addition to a kitchen island, if you have the space for it.

3. Food Processor: It takes time to slice, chop, knead and shred those ingredients you need for party appetizers and the like. Why waste time on that when a food processor gets the job done in a fraction of the time? A food processor with a strong motor will last you through countless special events while the variable speeds let you chop, slice and mix almost any food you could think of.

4. Meat Thermometer: Okay, the last thing you want to do is poison your guests! Take all of the guesswork out of cooking chicken, beef or pork with an accurate and highly reliable meat thermometer. The most popular types of meat thermometers include the “ovenproof” thermometer, which remains in the food throughout the cooking process and the instant-read thermometer with a probe that measures internal temperatures quickly.

5. Blender: While food processors deal with chopping, grinding and mixing foods, a blender is the perfect tool for making delicious fruit smoothies, margaritas and even condiments like salad dressings. Don’t be afraid to have the two side-by-side during dinner parties.

6. Stand Mixers: When you have guests coming over, prep time is in short supply. Having a mixer in the kitchen makes for a great time-saver, plus it saves you from having to wrestle with a whisk or a spoon. You can use a stand mixer to your advantage for whipping potatoes, beating batter and kneading dough or use a portable hand-held mixer to fluff eggs and mix lighter foods. Don’t be afraid to have both types around, as each one has its own set of advantages in the kitchen.

Top Kitchen Appliances for Entertaining: Save time and elbow grease with a stand mixer. This one is built onto a mechanized cabinet lift.

Save time and elbow grease with a stand mixer. This one is built onto a mechanized cabinet lift.

7. Crockpot: Having a crockpot on hand is a quick and fun way of cooking those delicious appetizers. From nachos to chili, beans and meatballs, you can whip up a wide variety of appetizing dishes for your guests in little to no time at all. As a bonus, crockpot cooking gives your dishes that delicious slow cooked taste. At our family parties, a triple crock pot server is a huge hit, and a consistent source of compliments.

8. Fondue Pot: A fondue pot is a fancy and fun way to serve up desserts, entrees, and hors d’oeuvres. Make delicious cheese dips for bread sticks, or try decadent chocolate dessert fondues. If you’re going all out for a wedding reception or fancy gathering, take desert a step further with a chocolate fountain!

9. Electric Griddles: No report on appliances for entertaining is complete without mention of the wide array of specialty electric griddles, from full-sized grills to specialized quesadilla makers, hot dog machines, pretzel makers, and waffle irons. You can leave these out on a table or countertop for friends & family to informally serve themselves, or use these griddles in advance to more quickly mass-produce your party food.

10. Ice Cream & Popcorn! It’s not just the kids who love a good old fashioned ice cream for dessert. You can wow and impress friends, family and guests by making your own homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt with easy-to-use machines. The best thing about having your own ice cream machine is the boundless creativity; you can make any flavor of ice cream you want in as much quantity as your dinner guests desire. For kids’ summer parties, a snow cone maker is a fairly popular choice.

If you’re going all out, give your guests the full Disneyland Main Street experience by also adding a cotton candy maker or popcorn maker to the scene. From simple counter-top models to old-fashioned carnival style circus carts, nothing makes a party hop like a popcorn machine. While they aren’t exactly appropriate for a formal dinner gathering, carnival-style popcorn machines are perfect for kid-friendly summer parties and wedding receptions.

Get the Party Going

It’s not always easy to keep friends and family entertained during those special events. Fortunately, these appliances really make the difference when it comes to throwing that perfect brunch or dinner party. These and other catering-style food prep-machines are surprisingly easy to find at various department stores and specialty cooking outlets.

What do you think? Can you suggest any more great appliances for entertaining? Let us know in the comments below, or shoot us an email on our contact page. With a little prep, and a great tool set, your home can be host to some fantastic gatherings!

Is It The Right Time For Me To Buy A Home?

Are you going to rent or buy, that is the question. Many people struggle with this question each and every day. It is a hard one but there are ways to determine if now is the right time to buy. Here are just a few facts that will help you make an educated decision about your home buying quandary.

Fact #1 – Mortgage Rates Can Go Up In A New York Minute. If you keep telling yourself that you are going to wait until the rates go a little lower then you may be in for a rude awakening. Interest rates can and do go up at a moment’s notice and if you have not committed to your decision to buy a home now, it could ultimately cost you thousands of dollars in interest over the next 30 years!

Fact #2 – Rental Prices Keep Rising. The longer the housing market is in a slump the higher it drives prices on all rental properties. No matter whether it is a rental home or an apartment you are going to pay dearly for that rental that you don’t really like all that much. Talk about throwing your money away each month. Wouldn’t you rather put all of that money into your home (and pocket) instead of someone else’s?

Fact #3 – You Have A Stable Career. Buying a home is a long term endeavor and you should estimate that you will be staying in the same geographic location for the next seven to ten years before deciding if now is the right time for you to buy a home.

Fact #4 – Do You Have Enough Time At Your Current Job? Most lenders will require that you have been at your current job for two years or at least in the same industry. However, that is the bare minimum of what you will need.

Fact #5 – Plan Ahead. You should look to the future when buying your next home. Since you will be in that home for approximately seven to ten years you will need to think about what your needs will be in the future. How much space will you need? Leave yourself enough room to grow. Can you afford to buy a home that will suit your needs now and in the foreseeable future?

Buying a new home is a huge decision that will require you to really think about your long term financial and lifestyle future. When you get to the place in your life where you can realistically project your financial goals and personal needs seven to ten years out then this might be the perfect time for you to buy your dream home.

Big Blue Whales Spotted off South Bay & Long Beach Coasts

There’s nothing unusual about some of the world’s largest and most endangered whales passing by the South Bay and Long Beach coasts.

Each winter, hundreds of pregnant 40-ton gray whale mothers and potential mates schlep past Southern California on their annual migration to their long-held birthing and mating grounds in Mexican lagoons — as they’ve done for at least a century.

About a decade ago, 100-ton blue whales discovered that the San Pedro Channel and surrounding coastal waters aren’t just a convenient highway to cooler or warmer water, but also offer a veritable buffet of their favorite prey.

The late-summer visits from blue whales have taken hold in the South Bay so much that a new festival is planned in their honor at the Redondo Beach Marina on the afternoon of Sept. 8. The Big Blue Whale Bash will feature a life-sized inflatable blue whale — a display that highlights the blue whale’s most impressive feature: It is the largest mammal ever known to live on Earth.

“The Big Blue Whale Bash was designed to connect our community with the magnificent, but endangered, blue whales that have become regular visitors to our coastline,” said Diane Alps, president of American Cetacean Society’s Los Angeles chapter. “We hope to inspire awe and fascination, along with respect and safety.”

ACS-L.A. is hosting the festival, which will include arts and crafts, live music and information about safely watching blue whales, Alps said.

But the only local regular whale-watching trips now are on boats out of Long Beach, where Harbor Breeze Cruises has cornered the market in observing marine mammals. Since July 11, Long Beach boats have spotted at least one blue whale per trip each day.

By Friday afternoon, passengers on the Triumphant, a new Harbor Breeze Cruises 90-foot catamaran, had seen four blue whales just off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in eyeshot of Trump National Golf Club and the Point Vicente Lighthouse, Capt. Dan Salas said.

“There’s no comparison to a blue whale sighting,” Salas said. “It’s just incredibly big. Gray whales are awesome but (blue whales) just take it to another level.”

Blue whales can be found in oceans around the world in areas where there are high concentrations of krill — their main diet, a kind of small red shrimp. There are believed to be about 10,000 living blue whales worldwide, with the largest concentration of roughly 2,000 off the west coast of the United States. These whales numbered in the hundreds of thousands until whaling decimated their populations. They were given protection in 1966 from whalers and, since then, the population has been rebuilding very slowly.

“They need to consume massive amounts of krill to support their large size,” Alps said. “Therefore they need to follow the prey wherever it is. While krill is seemingly quite abundant, it is patchy in distribution.”

One of the purposes of the Blue Whale Bash is to educate the public about ways to safely observe whales because of recent incidents in which kayakers, paddleboarders and people on personal watercrafts have been photographed approaching within feet of the animals.

“Whales, especially blue whales, also have very large, powerful tales,” Alps said. “They are wild animals. There is no doubt that a close encounter with a whale would be thrilling but they should be viewed with caution and respect. For your safety and their health, give them space.”

By Sandy Mazza, Daily Breeze

How To Buy A Home That Has Resale Value

Buying a home, for most people, is one of the largest investments they will make in their lifetime.   So it only stands to reason that you choose a home that is going to give you a good return on your investment when it’s time for you to move into another home.  A home that’s more suited to your growing family or changing lifestyle.   By the time you are finished reading this article, you will have a good idea of what to look for in a home and neighborhood.  Things that indicate you have found a home that will increase in value.

1.  Smaller and mid priced homes generally have a better resale value than large homes.

2.  Location, location, location.  How many times have you heard that?  Probably because it’s true.  Buy a home in a location that is convenient to major thoroughfares, necessities and conveniences.  Important things such as easy access to a highway, a popular grocery store, gas stations, childcare, banks, dry cleaners and plenty of watering holes where people like to hang out.

3.  A good school district is another huge deciding factor for many people.

4.  Research the area and neighborhood crime.  A safe environment  is very important.  Talk with the police and some of the people in the neighborhood to see if they like living there and feel safe.

5.  The house must have a good, workable floorplan.  One that’s not choppy and claustrophobic.  A floorplan that will easily fit most reasonable furniture.  A house that’s not dark and has lots of sunlight is also important.

6.  Try to find a home with a minimum of three bedrooms and at least two full bathrooms.   Homes that are smaller than that generally don’t resell as well, depending on where you live and if the other homes in that neighborhood are all similar in size and layout.

7.  How are the amenities?  Everyone wants amenities.  Does it have lots of cabinet space, big closets, plenty of storage, etc?

8.  Most people prefer a home with at least a two car garage.

9.  How high are the property taxes for that neighborhood?  Try to find a neighborhood with the lowest possible property taxes.  The higher the property tax, the higher the mortgage payments will be.

10. Is the neighborhood in decline?  Look closely and talk to your realtor for advice.  The neighborhood may look ok but there may be some subtle indications that it’s in a slow decline.  You want to buy a home that is in an up and coming neighborhood, otherwise you will lose money when it comes time to sell.

Let your realtor know what your needs are and  what type of area and neighborhood you would like to live.  Your realtor has the experience it takes to recognize a good neighborhood from a declining neighborhood and will guide you in the right direction.