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Memorial Day Weekend in East County

May 22, 2017

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Memorial Day weekend in the East County area offers several events to honor and remember those who have fallen while in service to the United States. Memorial Day takes place on Monday, May 29th, and the weekend prior to this holiday is spent preparing and celebrating with the people we are closest to. In addition to various sales events and getaways for the weekend, East County will be presenting some opportunities for honorable remembrance.

The city of Oakley has Memorial Day services taking place on May 27th at Civic Center Plaza. The event begins at 10:00 am, and is hosted by the Diablo Sunrise District’s Boy Scouts of America. The Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the event, and the services will last until noon.

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The Diablo Sunrise District’s BSA will also be hosting Memorial Day services in Brentwood on May 29th at the Brentwood Union Cemetery. The services begin at 8:30 am and last until 11:00 am. Both events are open to the public.

 

Antioch’s Memorial Day Celebration starts at 10:00 am on May 29th at Oak View Memorial Park. The Antioch Memorial Day Rolling Thunder will host the event until 1:00 pm, and will have MG Dan Helix as a guest speaker. There will be a motorcycle procession to start the festivity, a gun salute, and patriotic music playing throughout. Special honors will be given for veterans who have passed away this year, as well as honors for our living veterans, police, and firefighters.

Residents of East County are welcome to take part in any one of these festivities to connect with the community and pay respect to our Armed Services. When you are ready to sell your property, you want a Realtor® who is passionate about the community, and passionate about helping their clients. My team and I are ready to help you from start to finish. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

Home Design Trends Offer Functionality and Style

May 19, 2017

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If your home could use some updating but you need some inspiration, looking at the current trends in interior design can be a great starting point. This is especially so if you plan to sell your home soon. Design trends not only suggest what buyers may like, but also respond to what they are looking for in a home. Giving your home something new and exciting by way of design could help attract more potential buyers when you list your property. Forbes has published a list of intriguing 2017 design trends, perhaps one of these ideas is just the place to begin your home update.

A common theme in the latest design trends is to re-work existing spaces so they simply work better. This is a plus whether you have a smaller home or one with more square footage. Instead of regulating storage to closets, basements and attics, storage spaces in the kitchen, bath and laundry room are being reimagined in creative ways.

Whether you build in a wall of storage or work with your existing cabinetry, adding in gliding or turning shelves makes better use of cabinets, by ensuring ease of access while allowing for use of the entire depth of cupboards and drawers.

 

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Photo attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tbwb/7578754760

There is also a trend to give more attention to spaces which are often ignored in the grand scheme of home remodeling. Laundry rooms are seeing a renaissance of design features being incorporated such as smarter storage, which really works in any room in your house.  Better lighting and overall functionality are also being focused on in these utility spaces. Home is where we want to be, why not make every room feel welcoming and be enjoyable? 

Another space which is often an afterthought, but which should be at the top of any home remolding list, is the entry way. If your home has a foyer or entry hall leading into the main rooms, giving your entry a new look and feel is a great to extend your exterior curb appeal, inside.

Speaking of outside, another exciting trend is to bring the outdoors in, especially in bathrooms. Incorporating a large picture window in a bathroom with a private garden space outside brings in more natural light to the room and adds the serenity of nature to your home

If you are planning to update your home, look for inspiration and innovation in current design trends, many of them offer ways to improve not only the look of your space but how also how you use it.

When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

What’s Happening with the Delta Tunnels Project?

May 11, 2017
1) By Doc Searls (Flickr: 2009_03_06_sfo-bos_066) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The proposed Delta Tunnels Project is a topic of concern for communities, organizations and residents across Northern California. The construction of two massive tunnels to divert water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, diverting water south, has yet to be fully approved. There is much still to be done before this project will go forth, or be stopped before its begun.

Currently a financial audit is underway, as requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, in August 2016. According to an in-depth overview of the project published in Wikipedia, the audit request was submitted to the California State Auditor after concerns over the ability of some water districts to be able to pay their portion of the funding.

The State of California is seeking to fund the Delta Tunnels Project through water district bonds. This approach currently means voter approval is not required. If participating water districts are not able to provide the funding required, this could impact the feasibility of the project at the ground level.

There are still hurdles to jump before the Delta Tunnels Project can get a green light. One key component is receiving approval and permits for the plan from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Thus far, this federal agency has said no to previous salmon-1107404_640applications submitted. Their main cause for denial is the concern for negative impact on critical or endangered species of fish within the river system, namely, delta smelt, salmon and sturgeon.

After this denial, the State re-worked the Delta Tunnels Project into two separate proposals, the California WaterFix and Eco Restore. Recently, the Delta Stewardship Council conducted an independent analysis of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion report which was used in drafting the California WaterFix proposal.

The DSC conducted the review to provide a third-party analysis of the biological opinion report to USFWS, NMFS and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, as part of the proposal review process. RestoretheDelta.org has a great review of the findings; in short, there is greater cause for concern on how the Delta Tunnels will adversely affect not only the fish here, but also the entire ecosystem of the Delta.

We won’t know the final outcome of the Delta Tunnels Project for some time. Whatever the results, there will be a significant impact to our region. It’s important to understand major initiatives such as this as they affect everyone. When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

Discover the Character of Contra Costa County at the Fair

May 4, 2017

County Fair season has begun, and this year, Contra Costa County is holding its fair a bit sooner than before. If you didn’t already know, this year’s fair will be held May 18th– 21st. If you have not been to a county fair in a while, this is a great chance to get in touch with what makes this region such an incredible place to live.

County fairs are one of the longest standing community traditions you can find in the world, and yet they showcase what is current and up-and-coming not only in the agricultural side of life, but in the arts as well. If you want insight into what makes a community unique, or understand the character of a region, a county fair is a great way to discover these things and more.

Within Contra Costa, we have the best of food and arts at our fingertips. Throughout the county, you can find farms, orchards, and ranches with top quality, and often organic fare. There is also strong support towards educating kids, preparing the next generation towards sustainable stewardship of the land. In addition to the rich agricultural aspects of Contra Costa County, we also have thriving arts communities, which enrich our lives and our economy. A fair is a great opportunity to experience the big picture in arts and agriculture within the county.

rabbit-1903016_640Held at the County Fairgrounds in Antioch, the Contra Costa County Fair is a fantastic family community event with something for everyone. Attractions at the fair include the Agriculture Pavilion, Arts Pavilion, and just for the young ones, a petting zoo. There are, of course, fun midway games and rides, fair food and drink favorites, and live performances and demonstrations throughout the weekend.

The Contra Costa County Fair showcases the best in the region for farming and the arts. I am also passionate about doing my best to serve my clients. When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

Transform Your Garden into a Backyard Habitat

April 27, 2017

There is a growing trend in landscaping, a trend which is also good for wildlife and native plants. Backyard habitats restore yards to a more natural condition by providing areas where plants and animals once co-evolved together to thrive once again. Many eco-conscious home buyers are also interested in properties with certified backyard habitats, as recognized by the National Wildlife Federation.

Whether you have a small patch of green, or several acres, how you landscape effects the local environment. With sustainable gardening, you can enjoy an amazing variety of colorful plants alongside local and migrating animals throughout the year. To become a Certified Backyard Habitat Home, there are a variety of practices to incorporate within your yard and garden design, including using natural methods of pest control, and providing food and shelter for local wildlife.

swallowtail-1508884_640The benefits of such a landscape go beyond helping animals and insects. With native plant species, a backyard habitat can also be greatly beneficial in times of drought. Yards and gardens which are acclimated to our drier climate aid in keeping our water resources from being over-taxed. Native focused landscaping can also save you money and time. Following guidelines from the California Native Plant Society, with less lawn and more native flora around your property, garden upkeep can be a breeze.

One aspect of backyard habitats which is really beginning to take off is the use of flowering herbs as a focal point. California native herbs such as hummingbird sage and chaparral currants, not only bring a pleasant fragrance to your yard and attract pollinators, they bring a splash of color, too. Culinary herbs can also be incorporated; hardy pants such as lavender and rosemary may not be native, but they thrive in this climate, and attract some of the most important pollinators, bees. These herbaceous shrubs make an ideal addition to a backyard habitat.

5605336914_afabd80947_zIf you are not sure a backyard habitat is for you, or you are looking for inspiration on how to transform your garden, be sure to check out the 2017 Bringing Back the Natives Tour, coming up Sunday, May 7th. Over 30 native gardens across Contra Costa and Alameda Counties will be open for viewing on this self-directed tour. A Backyard habitat can also be an attractive feature to help sell your property. When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

C.A.R. Supports PACE Act to Protect Homeowners

April 20, 2017

The California Association of Realtors® (CAR), announced a supportive nod to a new bill proposed to protect homeowners from predatory ‘green’ lenders. The Protecting Americans from Credit Entanglements Act, or PACE Act, was submitted by California Representatives, Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.), due to a rising concern over predatory loan tactics targeted towards homeowners seeking funds to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties.

California has a vast number of green upgrade and amenity programs and products available to homeowners across the state. Many of these can be financed with a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan. Qualifying homeowners can gain funding for energy-efficient upgrades such as solar panels, and energy-efficient windows or lighting, through an assessment of their property. Unfortunately, there is currently no industry oversight in place for how these loans are established. This raises the risk of predatory loans with exorbitant costs or hidden fees, and even negative tactics such as misleading claims and statements. Tactics such as this can lead uninformed homeowners into a predatory loan situation, which could, in a worse-case scenario, lead to them losing their homes.

interior-2009516_640The PACE Act proposal will help protect homeowners from predatory lenders as they improve their homes’ energy efficiency. There is also a version of the bill being submitted through the Senate by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.); this is good news for homeowners across the nation, and C.A.R. is leading the way in supporting this action.

The PACE Act is an important piece of Federal Legislation geared to help homeowners and worthy of support. When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

Having a Pet May Help Sell Your Home

April 13, 2017

Pets are a large part of many people’s lives. Now, more than ever, people across cultures, social, economic and lifestyles groups, live with at least one pet-and they wouldn’t have it any other way. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has recently released their Remodeling Impact Report for 2016. According to the report, over 60% of households have pets, and 95% of consumers feel pet-friendly communities are highly important. There were also a surprising number of pet-focused remodeling projects happening in markets across the nation.

The things home owners will do for the love of their pet is also expanding into the real estate market, with a growing number of buyers seeking pet-friendly amenities. Gone are the days when a seller should hide all evidence of a family pet. Now buyers want to know if there is a fenced yard for Spot or perhaps a kitty litter closet for Fluffy.

dog-2040273_640 (1)The California Association of Realtors® (CAR) has taken the NAR report and put together one of their One Cool Thing info graphics, highlighting just what home buyers with pets are looking for. Security and easier care solutions topped the list of buyer preferences in home features for pets. 91% want a fenced yard, while 66% are looking for laminate flooring. Other top home features sought after by home buyers include a washing station, dog door, cat litter closet, animal pools, and built-in beds and dishes.

Don’t worry too much if your home doesn’t have any unique pet-oriented features, though. Home buyers with animal companions are also seeking pet-friendly neighborhood amenities. 54% would like a walking path close to home, and 49% want to find a home with a pet store nearby. Animal grooming services and kennels were also popular, as well as local dog parks. If any of these businesses or community amenities are close to you, they could be worth including in your listing features.

cat-358988_640If you do have pets and are planning to sell, you will still want to prepare your home to look its best, with as few ‘pet damages’ as possible. Be sure to make any minor repairs, such as wood door frames where your cat may like to scratch. Shampooing carpets and deep cleaning hard surface floors is another good idea. Keeping up on litter and yard clean-up is a must; as much as people may love pets, no one wants to smell them when viewing a home. If you have a regular space for your pet supplies, you can up the staging impact by updating the area. New food dishes, or a stylish wall hook for leashes can freshen up a space.

If you have a pet, and are planning to sell your home, including the pet-friendly amenities you have in your home could help attract potential buyers. When you are ready to buy or sell a home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.