How long do your systems and appliances last?

This infographic shows you how long your systems and appliances last - and which ones you probably need to protect with a home warranty!



Fun Facts About Avocados

Fun Facts About Avocados


Not too long ago, there were a whole lot of agricultural crops grown in Orange County. These days, much of that agricultural land is filled with houses, retail and office space. Fortunately, there are still many acres dedicated to avocados that make their way to local Vons stores and other markets and restaurants throughout the country.

I visited a large grove in Irvine where I got to see the trees, baby avocados that will become next year’s crop and avocados that are ready for picking. The climate here near the ocean is great for producing delicious and nutritious avocados.

Fun Facts About Avocados

Here are some fun facts about avocados:

  • The Haas Avocado began here in Southern California. It’s named after breeder Richard Haas who grew the first tree in La Habra Heights in 1926. Haas rhymes with ‘class’ even though a whole lot of people pronounce it differently.
  • About 90% of US grown avocados come from California and many are grown on family farms. You can check for the California sticker on the fruit when you’re shopping. Yes, avocados are fruit, not vegetables.

Fun Facts About Avocados

  • California Avocados have a long season. They are generally available from Spring until Fall. An avocado can remain on the tree during the season and will finish ripening after it’s picked.
  • An avocado is ripe when it ‘yields to gentle pressure.’ If you want to speed up the ripening, you can put the avocado in a paper bag along with a kiwi or banana.

Fun Facts About Avocados

  • Avocados are nutrient dense. They contain mono and poly-unsaturated fats – the ‘good’ fats! There is no sodium, no cholesterol and no sugar in an avocado. They are also quite delicious, so you can easily add this nutrition to just about any meal.
  • To bake with avocados, you can swap mashed avocado for butter or shortening. It’s an even swap, so it’s easy to make the substitution when you’re following a recipe. This is an easy way to cut calories and reduce saturated fat.

Fun Facts About Avocados

Check out my big list of over 50 avocado recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mango Lime Guacamole
Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Strawberry Avocado Smoothie

Are you hungry, yet?

Fun Facts About Avocados


Thank you to Vons and the California Avocado Commission for hosting my fun farm tour in Irvine.

Tips on Selecting a Real Estate Agent

This is a really good infograph on how to chose the right REALTOR. It can with so many to choose from.  Here's a list of 6 important traits of  knowledgeable one


Protect your mortgage closing from scammers

It’s National Homeownership Month, and the FTC and the National Association of Realtors® want to remind you that scammers sometimes use emails to rob home buyers of their closing costs and personal information.

Here’s how the scam works: hackers break into the email accounts of buyers or real estate professionals to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. The hacker then sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes.

If you’re buying a home and get an email with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. Instead:

  • Contact the company through a number or email address you know is real. Don’t use phone numbers or links in the email.
  • Don’t open email attachments, even from someone you know, unless you’re expecting it. Opening attachments can put malware on your computer.

If you’ve already sent money to a scammer, act quickly.

  • If you wired money through your bank, ask them right away for a wire recall. If you used a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint linesimmediately.
  • Report your experience to the FTC and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at Report as soon as you can and give as much information as you can. If your bank asks for a police report, give them a copy of your report to

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and what to do if your email is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer,

It’s tough being a first-time buyer in today’s housing market.

Home prices are hitting record highs in many parts of the country, often selling for more than the asking price, and going from list to contract in a record 37 days, according to Redfin.

“We’ve never seen a faster or more competitive market,” says Redfin spokeswoman Rachel Musiker. “Basically this market isn’t for the faint of heart.”

Don’t make it even harder (or more expensive) for yourself by making these common mistakes:

1. Assuming you won’t get approved for a mortgage

Ideally, you’d like to have as little debt as possible, an impeccable credit score, and a 20% down payment before borrowing money for a home. However, even borrowers with less can get loans in today’s market, thanks to options like Federal Housing Authority loans, which are meant to help out low-income and first-time buyers.

2. Interviewing only one lender

The fees and rates offered by lenders may vary substantially, and they all offer different service levels and different loan products. Be sure to at least chat with a big bank, a regional bank or credit union, and an online lender.

3. Not getting pre-approved early on

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage serves two important purposes: First, it gives you a realistic understanding of how much you can spend on the house. Second, it shows sellers that you’re serious and gives you slightly more standing if you’re competing for homes with all-cash buyers.

Make it less stressful by gathering up relevant financial documents like bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, and by checking your credit report for errors in advance. “Given the competitive interest rate environment and the competitive housing market, it’s a good idea to be prepared and organized before you start the process,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of

4. Maxing out your mortgage limit

Just because a lender says that you can borrow a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should borrow that much. Staying below that limit will give you more financial flexibility to cover the added expenses that come with purchasing a home, as well as long-term changes to your income.

Create a budget that includes how much money you can spend on housing costs each month, and then use those numbers to figure out what your “real” limit should be.

5. Letting your emotions control your decisions

Buying a home can be a long and frustrating process. These days, starter homes go quickly, and it’s common for first-time buyers to experience rejection on the first offers they make. In that kind of environment, it’s easy to fall in love with a house that’s out of your budget, or get caught up in the heat of a bidding war and end up paying more than you expected.

“It’s OK to get excited when you think you’ve found your house, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad spot,” says David Tina, President of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

6. Waiving contingencies without understanding the risks

In highly competitive markets, it’s becoming increasingly common for buyers to make offers that aren’t contingent on financing or inspection. While waiving contingencies can make your bid more desirable to a seller, it can make the transaction much more risky for you. Have a conversation with your realtor and a lawyer before opting out of contingencies in your contract. In a worst-case scenario, you may end up losing your deposit.

7. Allowing your credit score to change before the close

A pre-approval letter is not a guarantee of funding, and if your credit score or income levels change drastically between the pre-approval and the closing of the loan, lenders may change their terms or rescind the offer entirely. While you’re home shopping, be sure to pay all your bills on time and steer clear of new credit accounts, even if that means you have to wait to pick out your furniture. If possible, try not to switch jobs until after you close, particularly if you’re moving into a new industry.

An earlier version of this story said homes go from list to closing in 37 days, according to Redfin. In fact, they go from list to contract.



Healthy eating and avocados go hand in hand. Whether it’s calories, fiber, saturated fat or cholesterol, avocados have more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. Naturally cholesterol-free, avocados spreads, toppings and dips are a creamy and nutritious alternative to saturated fat laden recipes. When you compare the numbers, they tell a deliciously satisfying story:

Fresh avocado on sandwiches and toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce dietary intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.



Creamy spreads, dips and toppings made from California Avocados add a tasty twist to your meals, and a 50 gram serving of fresh avocados contains 0mg of cholesterol, 0mg of sodium, 0 sugar and 0.5g saturated fat. See the chart for how avocados compare as a substitute on sandwiches, toast and in place of other popular foods.


  • Substituting fresh healthy avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
  • Want to reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol? Try substituting fresh healthy avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods to reduce intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories.
  • Looking for a twist on spreads and dips? One serving of fresh healthy avocado (one-third of a medium avocado) contains no cholesterol, no sodium and 1 g of saturated fat. See the chart below for examples of how fresh avocados are great in sandwiches, on toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods.


Seller to do list:

Home seller to do list. Very helpful resource to prepare to sell your home or real estate.


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