More to Improve: House, Car & Life with Guest Mike Smith


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Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
More to Improve: House, Car & Life with Guest Mike Smith

If you’re going to have to spend more time at home. Why not enjoy it?

Our guest this week is Mike Smith, Vice President at California Pools & Landscape. You probably recognize the name. They’ve been in the Valley for decades, turning your imagination and budget into the outdoor oasis of your dreams.

Steve’s got a few improvements for your car and Felecia attempts to cover 20 improvements that you can make around the house. Does she make it through all of them? You’re gonna have to watch.

Episode Recap


  1. Keep your car sanitized during the COVID crisis
  2. Staying home more? Build an Oasis in your backyard
  3. The housing market is hot, but loan approvals are tricky.

As COVID-19 Booms in Arizona, Keep Your Car Safe

COVID-19 is making a huge comeback here in Arizona. Friendly Auto Centers has a couple new products to help disinfect your car. Clorox has come out with a great product, which will be out in about six weeks. In the meantime, there is another product out there called Dutrion, a sanitizer that surgeons use. It’s powerful and kills COVID-19. Friendly will be the first shop to use this product. It’s a simple tablet, dropped in water, that releases into your car. After the car sits for an hour, your car is sanitized — guaranteed. It’ll even help with allergies. It’s powerful stuff.

Now, you may not want to disinfect your own car, but what if you’re an Uber or Lyft driver? What if you bought a used car or will drive a rental for an extended time? If you drive for Uber or Lyft, this is a great way to sanitize your car and keep your passengers healthy.
How else can you improve your car? Keep it clean, get the trash out. Germs can cling to garbage. You don’t know what you picked up when you went shopping. You can put garbage bags on seats. Keep some sanitizing wipes in the car. Wipe down the door handles. Watch those keys, too! Anything you touch, like sun visors, need to be wiped down.

Guess where else you can pick up COVID? Gas pumps. Seems that gas pumps are one of the top 10 ways people are spreading the virus, along with ATMs.

Staying at Home? Build an Oasis

We welcomed Mike from California Pools. They built such an awesome pool for Steve and Felecia, that they didn’t want to move out of their house! Felecia pointed out how great the team at California Pools was in taking care of the whole project.

So, how can we improve the backyard? Mike has some unique services and designs. He focuses on the total outdoor experience, from the pool to the whole landscape, barbecues, shade areas, and fire pits…you name it. People are spending a lot of time in their backyards these days, so they’re turning into a little resort.

Some of the advances in pools make them super easy to maintain. But the focus now is making it a great experience. Travertine decks, lighting systems (LED lighting systems that create great ambiance), water features, and fancy stuff like zero-edge pools (infinity-edge, negative-edge pools). The key is to fit these features into the pool budget.
You can add anything to your existing pool. Need a spa, bench or baja shelf? California Pools can add those in. Even if you need to adjust bench heights in the pools. Everybody needs a different height.

What is the Total Outdoor Solution? Think of how much you spend per square foot indoor. You can spend significantly less and get a great experience outdoors, including pool, yard, TVs, stereo, etc. You can even build a little house — casita — out there! Great place to put Mom instead of an old-folks home.

Outdoor Home Improvements to Spruce Up Your Yard

Last week, we talked about improving your home — on the inside. Today, Felecia had 20 things to do outdoors.

  1. Clean up the outdoor spaces: the toys, yard debris, etc.
  2. Work on the seating: put benches out there in unused spaces. Great place to hide.
  3. Build a firepit: Fire, water, and plants take us back to our roots.
  4. Pergola: great way to create shade for a patio. They typically have gaps that allow you to see the stars at night, too.
  5. Patio shade sails: easy way to shade your patio. They can be colorful, too.
  6. Outdoor lighting: there are so many choices, and lighting really adds to the feel of your backyard. Check your city’s ordinance.
  7. Trees: Plant some trees — lemon, orange. Mike says it’s the best investment you can make because it literally grows.
  8. Door knobs to doors.
  9. New house numbers.
  10. Planters.
  11. Birdbaths.
  12. Statues.
  13. New front door. Makes a big difference. It’s the first impression.
  14. Replace the garage door.
  15. Replace the garage side door. Add a window to that.
  16. Expand the outdoor patio and walk space.
  17. Add French Doors instead of sliding doors.
  18. Outdoor furniture: spruce it up, get something new.
  19. Ran out of…
  20. Time…stay tuned later for the rest!

Negotiating Leases During COVID-19

PK Jordan joined in to talk about commercial leases. This really comes into play when figuring out how to survive. Renegotiating that lease can help. PK knows all about this from having to do this herself with a business in the Great Recession. She personally talked to the landlord, explained her situation, and showed them her financials. The landlord didn’t want to work with her. So, she closed her doors, which prompted the owner to call her. She then negotiated a buy-out. So, if you have a business that rents space, you have options. Give PK a call to get help.

Talk to your advisors — CPA, coaches, other business owners, the Chamber. Get advice and talk to other people. Don’t go it alone. You may survive, but if you don’t, you’ll close shop the best way for you and your family.

The Housing Market is Still Good But Loans Are Getting Harder to Qualify For
Ryan and Felecia pointed out that home sales are not slowing down. Houses are still seeing multiple offers. Inventory is still low, especially sub-$500k. Also, the Fed came out and said interest rates will stay low. That said, it may be harder to qualify for a loan, so keep that job and keep an eye on your credit score. Loan applications are being explicit in asking if you’ll still have income later on during this COVID crisis. Lenders are doing 1-day income verifications.

Mike shared experience with Midwest Food Bank, who is helping people get food during this crisis, including the Native Communities. Mike has been very generous with them, which is why we all need to focus on the local, small business.

Wrap Up

Until next week, Drive Friendly and Stay Healthy Arizona!


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