Posts Tagged ‘SCV’

Santa Clarita Paseos

April 26, 2011

Santa Clarita isn’t usually the first city that pops into people’s minds when they think of a vacation destination, unless they are planning a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The truth is, many people are not aware of things they could do here in the Santa Clarita Valley, a beautiful master-planned bedroom community north of Los Angeles that is kept very clean.  One of the things the city is known for is the Paseos, which are hidden trails all throughout the community where bicycle riders and joggers can go about their daily exercise.  These connecting trails give residents an easier time getting to parks, entertainment, shopping, and employment centers while enjoying the scenic path as well as being friendly to the environment.

Santa Clarita, CA, may be known as the city where Six Flags Magic Mountain is located, but the city has also created a network of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths and hidden trails, or paseos for local residents and visitors to enjoy.There are five different trailheads in Santa Clarita so far, which include:

Promenade Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter the trailhead off the east side of McBean and park your car at the shopping centers nearby.

Auto Center Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the north side of Valencia Bl., at Auto Center Ct.  There is off-street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Benches, drinking fountain, and information kiosk can be found on site.

South Fork Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Magic Mountain Pkwy., between Valencia Bl. and San Fernando Rd., on the west bank of South Fork River.  There is off- street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Picnic tables and drinking fountain can be found on site.

Camp Plenty Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at the Camp Plenty Rd.  Off-street parking available.  Drinking fountain can be found on site.

Lost Canyon Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at Lost Canyon Rd., just south of the intersection beneath the freeway underpass.  There is some street parking available.  Benches, drinking fountains, water spigots, and hitching posts can be found on site.

If you’d like to explore the city’s paseos, download and print Santa Clarita’s “Trails and Parks Map” or Newhall Land’s map, “Valencia’s Paseos“.

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Joie Montoya

Short Sale Mistakes a Realtor Should Not Make

February 18, 2011

Have you ever gone to an open house and you hear the realtor mention that the house is on short sale?  If you aren’t familiar with real estate terms, “short sale” can sound like a positive thing, but unfortunately, it’s not.  A house that is on short sale can, in fact, take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  For a realtor, this type of house can be harder to sell, depending on their clients, so the way they handle a short sale or present the house on short sale can make or break the deal.  Here are a few things your realtor should avoid when dealing with a short sale.

  1. A house that is on short sale can take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  Here are some common short sale mistakes your realtor should avoid.Make sure you are familiar with the short sale process; do not go into it blind.
  2. Do not hire an unqualified professional to negotiate with the bank.
  3. Do your homework!  Make sure you keep following up with bank representatives regarding the short sale.
  4. Do not price the property above market value to try to cover full payoff.
  5. Do not submit an offer that is too low or buyer financing that is not strong enough.
  6. Do not pay any upfront fees for someone to facilitate a short sale.
  7. Do not be unaware of how to approach business cases to lenders.
  8. Do not expect the process to be much shorter than is realistic.

Make sure you are confident with your realtor and that you can trust him/her to get you through the short sale process securely.  With an increase in short sales this year, both home buyers and home sellers should look into the process to avoid any confusion in the future.

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Joie Montoya

From Piggy Bank to Union Bank

January 20, 2011

Please retweetUncertainty drifts into peoples’ minds when they think about how to keep their money safe.  You may think that keeping your money hidden somewhere in your bedroom is the best solution, but keep in mind that piggy banks can be easily broken into.  On the other hand, Union Bank promises they can be trusted to keep your money secure.

Life lessons applied in real life. Blogger Joie describes the life lessons she learned about saving money as a child, then applying those lessons when she opens a bank account at Union Bank.Since I was little, I’ve been taught that saving money, although it is overlooked, is a very valuable skill.  Whether it was in a piggy bank or lock box, I always figured out a way to keep my money stored in a safe place.  As I got older, though, I knew it was time to start looking for more appropriate and secure ways to keep track of my money.  Opening a bank account may not seem like such a big deal to most but it is, in fact, an important step towards sound money management.  Personally, I never put much thought into opening a bank account, figuring that things would fall into place.  Now that I’m older and starting to make my way into the business world, though, I realize it is a necessary initiative. More and more adults are finding that teaching their kids to save money is an essential lesson to learn.  Millions of people have gone through some financial struggles during the recent downturn in our economy.  Now with the economy slowly improving they would like to make things better for their kids.

My dad taught me a technique that can help weather any economic fluctuation.  He told me that when I got my paycheck, I should divide it three ways: 10% to the church, 50% to the bank, and 40% to live on.  To this day, I’m grateful to him for teaching me that valuable lesson.  Once I opened my first bank account at Union Bank I was able to manage my money and achieve the financial goals I set for myself.  For those who have not been taught similar financial lessons, Union Bank offers counseling on the importance of saving your money.  If you are not able to put as much as 40% of your earnings into your savings, Union Bank’s new policy can help.  With your permission, they authorize a monthly $25 transfer from your checking account to your savings account.  Keep all this in mind when you consider opening a bank account at Union Bank or teach your kids the importance of money management.  It is never too late to start saving.  In the long run, you are only helping yourself.

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Joie Montoya

Home Affordable Modification Program

September 22, 2010

Please retweetAs a realtor for EXIT Realty in Santa Clarita, Chris Gabledon not only provides traditional real estate services such as helping people buy or sell a home but, in the down economy, helps troubled homeowners by processing short sales and loan modifications, as well.  In troubled times, it is best that you turn to professionals like Mr. Gabledon, who can help go over your options with you and objectively figure out the best course of action for you to take, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Chris Gabledon, realtor for EXIT Realty SCV of Santa Clarita, CA, can help you navigate through the unfamiliar territory of applying for a home loan modification if you fall behind on your mortgage payments.What is the Home Affordable Modification Program?  The U.S. government program “provides eligible homeowners the opportunity to modify their mortgages to make them more affordable” with the goal of lowering the monthly mortgage payment to less than 31 percent of the household’s total income.  In other words, homeowners that can no longer afford to make monthly loan payments may qualify for a loan modification.  Enacted in February 2009, the program has since been modified earlier this year with expanded flexibility:

for mortgage servicers and originators to assist more unemployed homeowners and to help more people who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth because their local markets saw large declines in home values.

In order to make the home loan modification permanent, struggling homeowners must take these steps:

  1. Find out if you qualify to participate in the free home loan modification program.  Complete this questionnaire on the Making Home Affordable website to determine whether you are eligible or not.
  2. Start the loan modification process by submitting an “Initial Package” to your lender, which includes the following:
    Request Form (Request for Modification and Affidavit)
    Tax Form (Form 4506T-EZ)
    Verification of income
  3. Follow up with your mortgage lender to make sure that they received the Initial Package and if additional paperwork is needed.
  4. Complete the trial period of the loan modification by following the payment requirements and providing any additional documentation in a timely manner.
  5. Once you successfully complete the trial period and all paperwork has been received on time, your home loan modification will become permanent.

During this down economy, millions of homeowners have suddenly found themselves behind on their mortgage payments and vulnerable to scam artists that make promises they cannot keep.  While the federal government did create the Home Affordable Modification Program to help these troubled homeowners, scam artists are doing their best to get to uninformed and desperate homeowners first.  The federal government has setup a toll-free number, the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673), providing information about the Making Home Affordable Program.  They have created a video, “How You Can Avoid Foreclosure Scams“, providing a list of things to look out for so that you can avoid becoming prey to scam artists.

Tips to avoid scams

  1. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.
  2. Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes.  Recognize and avoid common scams.
  3. Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house.
  4. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  5. Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Remember, even though you maybe months behind on your mortgage and are at risk for foreclosure, you are not without answers.  However, applying for a home loan modification maybe a daunting and overwhelming task for you to take on by yourself.  Chris Gabledon of EXIT Realty can help ease the application process for you, making sure you only have to go through it once.

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Francis M. Unson

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Staying sharp: Welders battle for supremacy

September 17, 2010

Please retweetWelding companies such as Valencia Welding in Santa Clarita, CA, compete with other companies in Southern California that provide similar services.  Not only can company president, Rick Montoya, and his team provide welding services in aluminum and copper but, as his “resume” shows, in more exotic materials like titanium, as well.  What can up-and-coming welders of today do to build a skill set and impressive clientele list as detailed as Mr. Montoya’s?

A good head start would be to take part in FABTECH 2010, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding event, which takes place in Atlanta, GA, from November 2-4, 2010.  While around 22,000 attendees are expected to descend on Georgia World Congress Center and visit the 1,000 exhibiting companies during the three-day conference and trade show, the event that attendees should not miss is the American Welding Society-sponsored 2010 Weld-Off Competition.  Out of 24 student welders that competed in SkillsUSA Championships 2009 and 2010, six will face off in a series of contests and only three will advance to the WorldSkills Competition in 2011, in London.

Armed with contest drawings that conform with the latest editions of American Welding Society standards, student welders are tested on the following aspects of welding:

  • measuring weld replicas using weld measuring gauges
  • laying out a plate and using oxyacetylene equipment to cut several holes checked for accuracy and quality
  • gas metal arc welding on steel making welds in various positions using short circuiting transfers
  • flux cored arc welding using a shielding gas, making welds in various positions
  • using a combination machine capable of providing the correct welding current for shielded metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding.

Welding competitions and trade shows will make sure that North America remains competitive in the welding industry on a global scale, particularly by producing high-quality welders that can complement Valencia Welding.

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Francis M. Unson

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Cruises: Leave the booking to travel agents. Here’s why

September 3, 2010

Going on vacation is your chance to relax, have fun and, for a week or two, give you a vastly different schedule of activities that, unlike work, you actually look forward to.  Hanz and Hachelle Pena of the Cheap Travel Deals in Santa Clarita understand that and can help take care of planning your next cruise.  There are some parts of vacation planning that you would prefer leaving to travel agents.  Why, you ask?

Why should you leave booking your next cruise to travel agents? Because you have a list of things to bring and take care of before the trip, and a huge number of activities to choose from during the cruise.When you are planning a cruise, you are going to make a lot of choices:

  • The cruise line you’d like to go on and how long you’d like to be out to sea
  • The airline you are going to take to the departing city
  • Hotel accommodations or car rental at the departing city if you decide to make that city a tourist destination, as well

and so on.  You should leave much of this part of the planning to travel agents because you have your own list of pre-trip things to take care of, too.

You have even more decisions to make before you leave home for your cruise, such as:

  • How much clothes you are going to pack
  • How much spending money to set aside
  • How many memory sticks to bring for your digital camera
  • Calling a pet-sitter
  • Making a quick dash to the corner drugstore for motion sickness pills, just in case
  • Refilling prescription medication so you don’t run out during the trip
  • Making sure you have your plane tickets and passport on-hand

Sometime later when you have finally arrived at the cruise ship, you have an even longer list of things to choose from.  The list of on-board activities on a cruise ship is so vast that you will not get around to doing all of them on a single cruise.  Just ask any cruise director.  Sure, they could rattle off a list of activities (not exhaustive) that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Deck parties
  • Spas and salons
  • Fitness centers
  • Indoor and outdoor sports centers
  • Cartoon-themed, children, and adults-only swimming pools
  • Wave pools
  • Theaters for movie screenings and full-production plays or musicals
  • Interactive comedy shows
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Sports bars, pubs, and cocktail lounges
  • Cafés, buffets, fast food restaurants, and formal dining
  • Piano lounges
  • Pool bars
  • Shopping centers and promenades
  • Casinos

Remember, it’s not a practical goal to try to do everything that a cruise ship has to offer.  You will not make the most of your time if a good portion of your time is spent going from one activity to another.  Yes, time is a finite commodity on-board, so budget your time wisely, prioritize the activities that you want to do, and stick with those activities.  You will feel more accomplished devoting your energy to a handful of activities.  Furthermore, when you book your next cruise, you can begin where you left off with a new set of activities.  With all the activities to choose from during the cruise, you might as well leave booking the cruise to Hanz and Hachelle Pena of the Cheap Travel Deals so that you have one less set of things to worry about.

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Francis M. Unson

 

Cheap Travel Deals: Interview with Hanz and Hachelle Pena, Owners (part 3)

August 12, 2010
  1. Please retweetAre you looking to hire in the coming year?
    Hanz: Absolutely, especially when the Cheap Travel Deals begins to expand.
  2. What have you done to go the extra mile for your client?  Please explain.
    Hanz: This happened to me when I was still at the Santa Clarita location.  It was a Saturday.  We had 20 reservations for rental cars.  Our area manager did not provide us with enough cars.  I foresaw that this was going to be a problem as we were provided just 10 cars to cater to 20 reservations.  Sure enough, by around 11AM to 11:30, we ran out of cars, and there were still 10 people without cars.  What I did was call the area manager and location manager and asked them, “What do you want us to do?  We didn’t receive any more cars.”  I waited for a callback from them but did not receive one within 15 minutes, so I told my co-worker to get all the addresses of the still-carless customers.  We were forced to close early so I could find more cars for the customers.  Take note, there wasn’t even a company car that I could use to drive my colleague to get the cars from surrounding locations and deliver them to the customers.  Basically, despite a shift of 9AM-12PM, my colleague and I worked until 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I was driving my own car, taking my colleague to North Hollywood and back to the customer and back to North Hollywood again.  North Hollywood only gave us with three cars, so I called Burbank Airport.  I begged them, “You know, I have gold members and they have advanced reservations.  I cannot say no because they have reservations.”  So from 11:45AM-4PM, that’s what I’ve been doing.  I didn’t even think about getting reimbursed for gas or getting paid for the mileage for my own personal vehicle.  On top of that, I was off the clock.  If that is something I would have done for somebody else’s business, what more would I do for my own business?
    Hachelle:  Two weeks ago, I had a customer who bought a plane ticket to Costa Rica.  She’s an elderly lady.  She called and said that she needed a plane ticket to Costa Rica, adding that she “was traveling on her own”.  I told her, “Do you have Internet access?”  She replied, “Umm, I’m too old for that.  I can’t do that.”  I told her, “Okay, I’ll do it for you.  I’ll book you online.  Just check your email and print your ticket.”  She said, “I don’t have a printer.”  I told her, “Okay, I’ll print the tickets for you and I’ll just mail them to you.”  She said, “No, I want the tickets now.”
    Hanz: Luckily, she was local.
    Hachelle: Yes, luckily, she lived here in Valencia, so I told her, “I’ll just drop the ticket off.  Give me your address, and my husband and I will go to your home, and we will drop off your ticket.”

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Francis M. Unson

Cheap Travel Deals: Interview with Hanz and Hachelle Pena, Owners (part 2)

August 11, 2010
  1. Please retweetWhat is the niche that makes you stand out above everybody else?
    Hachelle: I worked with Princess Cruises for about three years, so I have extensive knowledge about cruises and land tours.
    Hanz: I have been with Hertz Rental for over four years.  Being in customer service, I realized that the key to succeeding in customer service is to make your customers happy.  There is no better reward than to see that face on your customer.
    Hachelle: Both of us have customer service experience and backgrounds in my former job and his current job.
  2. What products and/or services do you offer?
    Hachelle: We offer lots of products such as 3- and 7-day cruise packages.  We also offer extensive land and sea tours throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.  If you’re really adventurous, we even offer an African Safari.
  3. What kind of promotions do you have?
    Hachelle: We have lots of weekly and monthly promotions with cruise lines and special rates for flights and hotels through Montrose.
    Hanz: We also offer special discounts of 15% for rental cars.
  4. What do you like about working in the Santa Clarita Valley?
    Hanz: Compared to other cities or towns I have lived in, the Santa Clarita Valley is a very, very family-oriented town.  It’s the environment I want to raise a family in, especially with my two-year-old daughter.
    Hachelle: I love that this town is very family-oriented.
  5. In terms of your business, what are you looking forward to in the coming year?
    Hanz: We are looking to expand and grow the Cheap Travel Deals, providing travel services to the Santa Clarita Valley, nationwide and, eventually, worldwide.

    (to be continued…)

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Francis M. Unson

Cheap Travel Deals: Interview with Hanz and Hachelle Pena, Owners (part 1)

August 6, 2010
  1. Please retweetWhat are your names?
    Hanz and Hachelle Pena
  2. What is the name of your business?
    The Cheap Travel Deals
  3. What year did you establish your business?
    2010
  4. How did you go about getting your business started?
    Hachelle: We went through a host agency called Montrose Travel, so we are basically an independent contractor affiliated with them.

    (to be continued…)

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Francis M. Unson

The Cheap Travel Deals

August 4, 2010

Picture this: You are planning a trip for your family, hoping to find and book cheap flights, airline tickets, cheap hotels, vacations and rental cars on your own.  However, instead of going through a travel agency, you decide to book all parts of the trip individually.  After much research, you find out about the flights, car rentals, hotels, and attractions at your dream destination.  Just days before the trip, you think you have covered everything.  You and your family go on the trip, but you have a nagging suspicion that you may not have booked the cheapest flight or hotel, or that the additional destinations of a land tour that you paid extra for were included for that other family who happens to be on vacation, as well.

Leave the planning of your next vacation to the Cheap Travel Deals.  They will help you book travel for less with specials on cheap airline tickets, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and flights.

Hachelle and Hanz Pena

If you would like to avoid the uncertainty of not getting the most out of your travel dollar, leave the planning of your next vacation to the Cheap Travel Deals.  Hanz and Hachelle Pena established the Cheap Travel Deals in 2010 with the goal of helping people book travel for less with specials on cheap airline tickets, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and flights.  Due in large part to the Penas’ background in customer service, the Cheap Travel Deals can provide expert information covering far more than just travel destination information.  Whether you are an individual business traveler, honeymooning couple, family, company in need of a corporate travel management partner, or a business in need of group travel arrangements, you can turn to Hanz and Hachelle Pena to make all the arrangements for you and provide you exceptional customer service with a personal touch.  Booking through them also gives you access to a number of special deals available only through them such as:

  • 15% discount on car rentals
  • Domestic and international flight promotions
  • Exclusive special value hotel rates
  • Guaranteed lowest price when you purchase your cruise or vacation package through them

Give them a call, book that vacation you’ve been putting off, and the Penas of the Cheap Travel Deals will take care of the rest.

Leave the planning of your next vacation to the Cheap Travel Deals.  They will help you book travel for less with specials on cheap airline tickets, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and flights.

Hanz and Hachelle Pena, manager/owner of the Cheap Travel Deals
Phone: 661.310.0282
Website: http://www.thecheaptraveldeals.com

Email: questions [AT] thecheaptraveldeals [DOT] com

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Francis M. Unson

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