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A Summer Season of Music in East Contra Costa County

August 10, 2017

While we love our year-round, warm climate in East Contra Costa County, summer brings with it a very special time for our communities. I am talking about the ever-popular family-friendly tradition of free summer music concerts. Communities across the county have live performances going on in our parks, downtown districts and other venues. Listed below are just a few choices to consider.

Antioch– The Summer Concert Series in Antioch includes a concert with Last Call, a Southern rock band on Saturday 19th. The series has its last show on August 26th with a night of the Blues featuring Frankie G & The Conviction.

Brentwood– It’s all about the beautiful Starry Nights in Brentwood, with the Starry Nights Concerts in the Park series. Get into a 90’s Alternative groove to the tunes of Total Recall, on August 18th and then relax with an evening of Jazz performer Raquel, on August 26th.

guitars-2033566_1280Pittsburg– Take your pick of Jazz or Blues at the Pittsburg Marina with their Music in the Park Series. On August 15th enjoy the sounds of Rhythm Lords and on August 22nd, you will be dancing to the tunes of the Bobby Young Project.

Oakley– There is fun for the whole family waiting at the Oakley Summer Concert, coming up August 26th at the Civic Center Plaza. The featured artist this year is The Floorshakers; it will be a great night of Funk, Soul & Rock-n-Roll.

Now is a great time to get out and have some summer fun. Now is also a great time to sell your property. When you are ready to sell your home, you want to work with an experienced Realtor®, one who can make the process smooth and stress free. Contact my team and me; you can count on us to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

 

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NAR Touts Sustainable Real Estate at DC Summit

August 3, 2017

The National Association of Realtors® provided key insights about the future of real estate during the 2017 Sustainability Summit in Washington D.C. According to the NAR, it is the real estate industry which will help change home energy use overall, as the market responds to consumer demand. The desire for cost-effective, energy saving options within homes is growing. This can be directly seen in the now lower cost to install and maintain solar power in residences, as well as the ongoing rise in smart high-tech products and services.

The turn towards sustainability is no longer limited to individual homes, however, as more communities are starting to embrace sustainable practices as well. Urban villages are growing strong in areas such as our region in Northern California, offering residents and businesses alike better energy efficient options. This growing trend was one of the key aspects of growth sited by the NAR during the Sustainability Summit.

Other key findings highlighted include:

  • A new focus on urban villages to provide “Innovation Districts” where alternative energy and smart technology is being used to create neighborhood clusters where people can live, work, and play with sustainable options integrated into everyday life.
  • Tiny houses are still on the rise in popularity. These offer an energy efficient option for residential homes, and are being sought after more as people continue to seek a “less complicated” life.
  • LED lighting continues to take off in use, especially with municipalities. LED street lighting can be seen more and more across the nation, providing significant savings for local governments and communities, while positively lowering light pollution. LED lighting is quickly becoming the top choice for a quick, cost effective way to increase energy efficiency.

The details of the NAR participation during the Sustainability Summit were released by the NAR’s news site, REALTOR®Mag. When you are ready to sell your home, it’s important to have a Realtor® who is there to help you through the entire process. My team and I are ready to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

Make the Most of Your Open House

July 27, 2017

Once you list your property, planning an open house is a great way to generate interest. But you don’t want to pick a date at random and hope for the best. You can make your open house work well towards helping you sell your home, if you have a plan. House Logic has an excellent countdown list with great tips to prepare for your open house.

The first part of preparation for an open house is all about planning. Determine where the kids and pets shall be during the open house (this also includes yourself, as it is best for owners to not be present for viewings). Set up appointments for specialized cleaning jobs such as power washing the exterior or hiring a cleaning service to deep clean your home in the days leading up to your open house.

There are several small things you can do to make a big positive impact on your open house. New kitchen and bathroom towels help freshen up these busy spaces, and give a feeling of luxury for visitors. All personal items, from toiletries, to purses, jewelry and computers, should be stowed away. This is for safety as much as it is for helping stage your home; potential buyers can better imagine their things in a home without occupant family photos, for example.living-room-2485945_640

Before you leave your open house in the good hands of your Realtor®, a few final touches can provide a welcoming atmosphere for viewers. A fresh pot of coffee or baked cookies draws people in. Opening all curtains and blinds throughout your home will let in more light. Ensuring all clutter is picked up, and keeping closets, cupboards and drawers tidy will help your home feel spacious.

A well-planned open house can help you sell your property. When you are ready to sell your home, you want to work with an experienced Realtor®, one who can make the process smooth and stress free. Contact my team and I. You can count on us to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

Explore the Natural Wonders of the Antioch Sand Dunes

July 20, 2017

A very special treat is waiting for East Contra Costa County residents and visitors. On the second Saturday of each month, the public is invited to Explore the Antioch Sand Dunes. This unique ecosystem is a protected National Wildlife Refuge, and normally closed to public access. The next docent-led tour will be held on Saturday, August 12th.

The guided tours highlight the flora and fauna of this sensitive natural wonder. The Antioch Sand Dunes provide critical habitat for three endangered species, one butterfly and two desert plants. Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly has been on the endangered species list since 1976, while the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose and Contra Costa Wallflower were added in 1978.

The Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly is such a specialized species that there is only one plant on which they lay eggs, upon Naked-Stemmed Buckwheat. This bare-stemmed Lange_metal_mark_butterfly_apodemia_mormo_langeiWIKKIPublicDMNgrain provides food for the butterfly larvae. By preserving the buckwheat which naturally grows along the Antioch Dunes, we can help preserve this very rare butterfly.

Other wildlife you can find at Antioch Dunes includes birds such as Great Blue Herons, Osprey, and Red Throated Loons. Fish species include Chinook Salmon, Starry Flounder, and Chameleon Goby. All in all, there are almost 60 different types of birds and over 30 varieties of fish, making the Antioch Dunes a truly diverse ecosystem worth protecting.

The once-a-month docent-led tours offer you an incredible experience to get up close and explore one of Contra Costa County’s natural treasures. When you are ready to sell your home, you want to work with an experienced Realtor®, one who can make the process smooth and stress free. Contact my team and I; you can count on us to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

Defendable-Space Landscapes can Help Protect Homes from Wildfire

July 14, 2017

Picture1Summer is here, and in Contra Costa County, we have a higher risk of wildfire too. Just recently in Brentwood, there were three wildfires which burned over 200 acres. Thankfully the fires were quickly and safely contained, with no injuries or major damages to buildings nearby. For anyone living in a wildfire-prone area, it is important to take preventive measures to help protect home and family.

One key way to do this is with defendable-space landscaping. Here are some defendable-space ideas to help you ensure your property is ready for wildfire season.

Create 2 zones of landscaping around your home. Zone 1 should extend 30 feet out from your house and be clear of dead plant debris. Trees should be kept trimmed, and rain gutters cleared out. Keep outdoor furniture and play structures well away from trees and shrubs. The more space between flammable plants and material items, the less likely a fire will be able to spread.

Zone 2 is the outer area of your yard and garden, 100 feet or beyond from your home or other building structures on your property. The key to this zone is to keep trees and bushes trimmed and provide ample space between. Wildfires need fuel to continue to spread. A neat and trim yard provides less natural debris which can serve as tinder.

pool_pictureIncluding paved or brick walkways or paths around your yard can also help create fire breaks, areas where fire can’t move across. Add in fire-resistant plants, and your landscaping can help keep fire from reaching your home. Another benefit to fire-resistant plants is how much they can help you conserve water, as they are hardier, and able to withstand drought conditions.

For more information, including videos, checklists and the Ready for Wildfire mobile app, check out the Prevent Wildfire CA website. This is an excellent resource with educational tips, news and solutions to help protect your family, home and community.

When you are ready to sell your home, contact my team and I; you can count on us to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

First Ever FEMA Re-Authorization Proposed

July 6, 2017

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created by the Carter Administration in 1979. Since 1989, the agency has funded almost $200 million to help in times of serious natural disasters. In 2006, FEMA received a statutory authorization through the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act. Throughout all this time up to today, FEMA has been staffed and funded through a series of disaster bills passed in times of need, or through Federal budget legislation or by executive order.

FEMA has yet to be fully re-authorized with a complete review and update of funding, organization, and policies. Now this could all change. As reported by CoreLogic, FEMA is up for re-authorization through legislation introduced by Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA-11). If approved, this legislation will update FEMA within three key areas.

  • Funding would be readdressed to be included within funding considerations in Congress. Over the three years, funding will be raised up to $1.083 billion.
  • An official study into the impact of disaster loss and costs alongside federal assistance.
  • FEMA would officially be the central agency responsible for national efforts towards preparing and responding to earthquakes and/or tsunamis.

The very real possibility of a combined earthquake and tsunami event is of great concern, especially here in California. This proposed legislation would give FEMA greater authority in coordinating a response, as opposed to seeing efforts spread across various agencies as is currently the case. It is hoped that with a central government agency in charge of disaster response, there will be aid and support available more quickly and with better effectiveness should a disastrous earthquake or tsunami hit.

The new FEMA legislation has passed the initial committee gaining approval for Bill H.R. 2548 to now go through Congress. If passed, FEMA could be better poised to help in times of natural disasters. When you are ready to sell your home, it’s important to have a Realtor® who is there to help you through the entire process. My team and I are ready to help with all your real estate needs. 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.

Delta Tunnel Project Update–Delta Legislative Caucus Voices Objections

June 29, 2017

The Delta Tunnel Project, with its current WaterFix proposal pending, has many residents and various groups and organizations working together, voicing concerns over the negative impact the tunnels could bring to the region. Most of the issues of concern include potentially critical, environmental and/or economical ramifications, which many agree, we would be better off to avoid. Within California State Assembly and Senate, the Delta Legislative Caucus was recently formed, to give the people a voice in the government, and specifically work to protect the Delta.

East County Today recently reported the latest big move made by the Delta Legislative Caucus. Governor Brown is currently planning to hand the management of the Delta Tunnel Project over to the various water agencies which are seeking to utilize the tunnels, should they get built. The Caucus says, No. In a letter sent to the Governor, the Caucus stated among other things, the “Proposed WaterFix is a boondoggle…”

Signed by 11 members of the State Assembly and Senate, the letter goes on to note serious potential flaws in aspects of the proposal, in particular, regarding financing issues and the impact of the Oroville Dam spillways earlier this year.

Various studies have shown the environmental impacts would be serious for the region. Our agricultural industry, which is still thriving even in this digital age, would be unduly stressed as well. I shared some recent finding which support the voice of concern in my post, What’s Happening With the Delta Tunnels Project. Now it seems there are questionable decisions on the brink of being made which could cost taxpayers even more.

The Delta Tunnels Project is a controversial issue affecting our region. It’s important to understand major initiatives such as this as they affect everyone. When you are ready to sell your home, it’s important to have a Realtor® who is there for you through the entire process. My team and I are ready to help with all your real estate needs. 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.