Lighting Trends for 2018 that will make your space feel luxurious


If there is one thing that can make your home either look dated or give your home a new sparkle it’s lighting. Lighting can help highlight areas in your home and complement decor. Take a look at a few lighting trends in 2018 that will make your home shine.

Mix Together Different Lighting

If you want to go for a more eclectic look mix and matching lighting together, whether it’s different shapes or hues can bring about a new look to any room. Depending on the arrangement it could become very stylish.

Large Fixtures

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Modern lighting trends are veering towards one direction, large scale. It’s important to keep in mind space when adding lighting fixtures, but having a large fixture that acts as the centerpiece of a room is a trend that is here to stay in 2018.


Aside from being large in scale like we mentioned above, chandeliers also over exciting shapes. A playful chandelier is a great addition to any living room.

Bubble Lighting

Glass bubble lighting is a modern representation of wonderment and a great addition to any space. These trendy lighting fixtures will make a strong appearance throughout 2018 home decor.


Make your living room a clutter-free zone


The living room is the center of comfort and the place everyone in your house gravitates towards. The worst thing about the living room is that it can also be the place everyone drops of their shoes, clothes, blankets and whatever else they with them. The mess eventually tends to pile up. Rest assured though, here a few tips to make and keep your living room a clutter-free zone.

Install storage space

The living room is known for piling up clothes, so prevent it from landing around the room by installing a rack or opening a closet where visitors can put their coats, hats and other belongings. Having a basket in a corner can also help be a designated drop off zone for footwear. Remind everyone in the home where things go to create habits.

Manage your coffee table

Your living room coffee table is part of what ties the room together, but it is also victim to forgotten mail, magazines, and newspapers. After a few days, a coffee table can rack up piles of unread papers. Go through your stack and get rid of the old and keep just a few of the important items and new magazine issues. Buying a small basket to store them in will help remind you when to flush out the old with the new.

Remove excess furniture

Although your furniture looks beautiful cramming too many things into the living room can take away from the overall look of the space. If you’re squeezing in or shifting your body to get past furniture it might be a good idea to find another place for it. Keeping furniture to a minimum will open up the living room and showcase the pieces you do have.

New Decorating Ideas for the New Year


As the new year is now upon us we like to change up our lives in preparation for the new year. Many of these changes or resolutions focus on the bettering of ourselves. To improve ourselves and our lives we must start with the home we live in. Having the right feelings about our homes is important to our inspiration and motivation. The holidays may have taken a toll on our bank accounts, making it hard to freshen up our homes for the new year. Here are a few ways in which you can easily change up your home for next to nothing.


Accents with Impact

There is nothing easier than sprucing up your home with accent pillows and throws. Buying new furniture for each easy is unrealistic, but adding pillows to a couch or chair can change the whole aesthetic of the room. These pillows can add a pop of color to a neutral colored couch. You can layer and add pillows to fit the dynamic of the room. Also being able to change of the look of the room with each season is a plus. Adding runners to the heaviest foot traffic areas will save on wear and tear of the flooring along with adding feng shui.


Deck the halls

Painting a room can also change the way a room looks. Even choosing to paint one accent wall can bring a room to life. When choosing a color, pick neutral colors that can easily be matched when you look for new accent pillows and throws. Warm, neutral colors usually go best with pops of color with accent walls. Wallpaper is not only for your grandmother’s house, today you can find any different, modern patterns. Wallpaper is an easy alternative to paint, which can make your home look like it’s straight out of a magazine. You can also use the wallpaper to line the backing of a bookshelf.


Turn on the Lights

Since the new year occurs in the dead of winter, sunlight is minimal. Proper lighting can transform a whole room. You decorated your home with a holiday light show, now it’s time to translate that into a year-round look. Add additional lamps to poorly lit areas. The trick is to incorporate various lighting techniques. A properly lit room may have lighting from above, along with a traditional table lamp and a standing lamp in the corner.  Watch what turning a few lights on can do for a room.


Decorate with nature

Replace the poinsettias and garland with fresh flowers or greenery. Some of the best home decorations come from nature. A new plant or indoor tree can add life to a dull room. If you have a history of killing plants opt for a cactus, which can be nearly impossible to kill, or silk arrangements. Nowadays they come in different arrangements and are indistinguishable from the real thing.

6 Truths You Need To Know About Buying a Home This Winter


Luckily for us here in Southern California, winter means a slightly lower temperature average and a bit more rain. Unlike most of the country, life doesn’t change much once winter months hit. This is true for the real estate market too. While it does tend to slow down a bit, winter is still a great or even better to buy a home, but there are a few things you should know first.

Here is what you need to know about the winter real estate market:

1. Slimmer pickings, but also less competition

It is true, there are fewer homes on the market in the winter than any other time of the year. But this should not deter you from buying this season. While the inventory may be down, so are the number of buyers out looking for a home. This means you, as a buyer, will have less competition.

2. Abundance of starter homes

For first-time buyers, this is the time of the year you should be looking. According to Trulia, the inventory of less-expensive starter homes actually increases by 7 percent during the last three months of the year.

3. FHA buyers are more likely to win a bid

FHA buyers tend to be less appealing to sellers because of their loose requirements compared to those with a traditional loan and bigger down payments. With less competition, sellers are more open to FHA buyers.

4. There go the open houses and bidding wars

A typical open house during the summer can attract 50-100 buyers with a listing often receiving more than 10 offers. In the winter, the opposite occurs. An open house may attract only a dozen serious buyers with one to two offers. If you’re looking for zero competition, stick to the few weeks right around Christmas.

5. Interest rates are still low

The last few years, we’ve been blessed with low-interest rates. Many experts believe that in the new year the Federal Reserve will raise rates. If you’ve been thinking of buying a home, now is the time to do so while rates remain low.

6. Deals are ready to be made

Sellers in the winter are often motivated by some other factor, such as job relocation. Also, homes that have been on the market since the fall are also more susceptible to accepting a lowball offer.

Low-Calorie Thanksgiving Recipe Alternatives


Mash potatoes, stuffing, yams, ham, turkey, and don’t forget the apple, pumpkin, olallieberry, and pecan pie! Just the mere reading of these foods make us salivate. We stuff ourselves until we hate ourselves, we pile our plate up with food, appetizers, drinks and desserts. This is the time of the year where our healthy food habits go right out the window! Not only are we overeating, but we are overeating high-calorie food.

To ease the guilt this year, here are a few lower-calorie Thanksgiving recipes you can create so you don’t gain that those holiday pounds.

Salads and Starters

California Spinach Salad
For a delicious and nutrient defense salad, try this spinach salad.

8 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 avocados
3 handfuls of alfalfa sprouts
2 bell peppers
For the dressing:
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 medium lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (about 1/3 of a medium pepper)
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pepper, to taste
What to do:
Pile on the desired amount of spinach leaves in a salad bowl or plate.
Slice up the avocado and the bell pepper, and add to salad.
Sprinkle a handful of alfalfa sprouts on top.
Make dressing. There are two ways to do this: If you have a small food processor or blender, throw all of the ingredients in it and pulse until well-combined. If doing things by hand, chop all ingredients very finely and stir until well-combined.
Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.


“Vegan” Creamed Corn
For those who may be lactose intolerant or the vegans in your family, this is the perfect spin on a classic Thanksgiving favorite.

7 Ingredients
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Combine corn and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until coconut milk has evaporated a bit and thickened, about 15 minutes.
Once the mixture has reached the desired consistency, mix in parsley, red pepper flakes, and scallions.
Quinoa and Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms
Try adding a new dish to this year’s Thanksgiving feast that both vegetarians and meat eaters will love!

4 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 cups greens (spinach or kale work well)
2 cups cooked quinoa
6 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean

Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt and pepper to taste on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping halfway through, until pieces are golden brown and cooked through.
Just before the sweet potatoes are done cooking, remove sheet from oven and add spinach on top. Place back in oven for the last 2 to 3 minutes. Once spinach has wilted, remove pan from oven and cool until veggies are cool enough to handle. Lower oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix quinoa, sweet potatoes, and greens. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Brush both sides of mushrooms with olive oil, and place gills up on the baking sheet. Spoon quinoa and sweet potato mixture into caps, mounding slightly in the center. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked through.


Quinoa Apple Cake

Made with whole quinoa, this hearty cake is both naturally sweet and filling.

1 cup quinoa
8 tablespoons salted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine quinoa with 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Drain well and set aside.
Dip a pastry brush in melted butter and use it to grease inside of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Put remaining melted butter in a large bowl, and mix with brown sugar and raisins until evenly distributed. Add apples and cooked quinoa, and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger and nutmeg, if using. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to evenly combine.
Scrape mixture into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top of cake is golden brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before cutting to help cake maintain its shape.

What Today’s Homebuyers Are Looking For

Everyone’s preference is different when it comes to searching for the perfect home. Some care solely about location, while others are looking for a home with an open floor plan. But you may ask yourself, what is the most common selling point in today’s real estate market?

With data pulled from Trulia, we pinned a traditional selling point vs. a modern selling point to see what is more popular. Some may be obvious, while others may take you by surprise.


Soaking Tubs vs. Claw Foot Tubs

Soaking Tubs are actually more popular, according to Trulia.



Hardwood vs. Carpets

Hardwood – this was a bit obvious as most people prefer hardwood floors because they are easier to clean and are longer lasting.




Marble Countertops vs. Quartz Countertops

Quartz – while quartz countertops may initially be more expensive, marble countertops require more maintenance, which can add up.



White Cabinets vs. Dark Cabinets

White cabinets – these help create a bright, lighter, and bigger looking kitchen.

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Subway Tile vs. Basketweave Tile

Subway tile – these types of backsplashes have become very popular over the past few years.


Floor-to-Ceiling Windows vs. Bay Windows

Bay windows – although the numbers were close, bay windows were a more popular selling point.



Sub-Zero Appliance vs. Viking Appliances

Sub-Zero appliances – another close one, but sub-zero took the lead here.



Electric Stoves vs. Gas Stoves

Gas Stoves – This is another obvious one, but gas stoves save money over time and are far better for cooking.


Renting is now even less affordable


Competition for housing makes renting more costly

It seems renting—particularly on single-family homes—is on the rise. And according to analysis from one industry player, that spells bad news for renters.

What goes up doesn’t always come down

Analysis from real estate marketplace Zillow shows high demand, low supply and virtually nonexistent construction starts are driving up rents on single-family properties.

“Rental houses have been in high demand since the housing market crashed, but a lack of supply has made renting those homes more expensive,” Zillow reported. “The median monthly rent for single-family homes is rising faster than the median monthly rent for apartments.

The median rent on single-family homes has risen 1.3 percent over the last year, clocking in at $1,404 per month. Median apartment rents rose just 0.5 percent for the same period.

Top cities for rent increases

Some markets, in particular, are seeing huge single-family rent growth. In Portland, Oregon, for example, rents on single-family homes have increased 4.5 percent over the year. But apartment rents in the city? Those are actually falling.

Other cities with notable jumps in single-family rent costs include Los Angeles (4 percent increase over the year); Atlanta (3.5 percent); Seattle (5.4 percent); Minneapolis (3.9 percent); San Diego (4.3 percent), Orlando (3.2 percent); Nashville (3 percent); Louisville, Kentucky (4.1 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (5 percent: and Charlotte, North Carolina (3.1 percent).

The reason behind the staggering jump in rents is a combination of increasing demand, strapped supply and a lack of construction.

“There are fewer single-family homes to rent than a decade ago,” Zillow reported. “When the housing market crashed, investors scooped up many single-family homes lost to foreclosure and turned them into rentals. Almost 20 percent of all single-family homes across the U.S. were rented in 2016, up from 13.5 percent 10 years prior.”

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How To Make An Offer That They Can’t Refuse


Let’s say you have found the perfect house and you’re getting ready to put in an offer. You’re starting to picture yourself in your new home and planning how you’re gonna pack up everything and move. Then, out of nowhere it seems, a second offer is placed on your dream home. What are you going to do? You are still going to make that offer, but you’re going to make an offer the seller can’t refuse and this is how.

Find out the seller’s motivation. Anyone who is selling their home has a purpose to do so and if you want to make an offer that is enticing, you’ll find out their motivation. There are three categories in which sellers’ motivations usually fall into, money, a rushed move, and emotional attachment. The best way to go about this is to have your agent call the seller’s agent to find out why the house is for sale. Although your agent may not be able to find out everything it’s worth a shot.

If the seller is motivated by money, be prepared to spend a little extra. Experts say that buyers should be prepared to spend about $100,000 above the asking price in some markets. If you’re the first to make an offer, work with your agent to find out how much homes have recently sold for on the same block. Some sellers today want a buyer’s best and highest offer, at that point, the buyer only has one, maybe two, chances to impress them.

If the seller is motivated by terms that means they want a quick and pain-free sale. In this case, you’re going to have to give up some contingencies, which can slow down the selling process. Many sellers who are looking for a quick sale will offer a home inspection report and if those reports are clean, sellers should waive their right for inspection.

If they are motivated by emotions that means the sellers are saddened by their move. If this is the case it would be best to write a personal letter to the sellers. They may feel better selling their beloved home if they know a little bit about the buyers, what they do for a living, and what their future plans in the home will be.

Now that you know the motivations behind the sale you should act quickly. The quicker the offer the better. If you’re not the first, you better make sure you submit a solid offer in a timely manner. Don’t get too cocky with your offers, submitting an offer that is significantly lower than asking price may irritate the seller and may no longer work with you.