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A New Senior Moment

I thought this was an interesting article to share with you. Although this community is out of my service area, I do have a lot of adult children of aging parents and their parents as my clients, and they might find this to be of interest. Maybe you will too.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324557804578374574086213166.html?mod=wsj_valettop_email

A New Senior Moment

 senior moment photo

online.wsj.com
Zumba classes and sushi chefs: The newest generation of 55-plus communities caters to active—and demanding—retirees.

Spot-Checks, Take-Out Meals Aid Walnut Creek Real Estate Agents

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Keeping control of your kitchen is one of the most basic actions you can take to help your real estate agent sell your home. The execution can be simple when it’s approached  systematically.
Especially during winter, kitchen control can seem an all but unmanageable task. Days are shorter; kids or pets may be cooped up inside; and everyone tracks winter through the kitchen all day long. To help you keep your kitchen looking great (and your Walnut Creek real estate agent beaming), some simple preparation is needed. That, plus sticking to a simple routine, will turn the impossible into a ‘done deal.’
• Put appliances and gadgets away as soon as you use them. According to Realtor.com, removing the least frequently used items from kitchen counters is a proven way to make a home more inviting. Include items like can openers and coffee pots. Flowers and a few cookbooks, though, are welcome to stay.
• Spot-check nightly: More times than not, you will find items you missed putting away or cleaning during the busy part of your day. It’s easy to miss crumbs on the counter or dirt on the floor when you are trying to get out of the door for work or a meeting.Kitchen for blog
• Consider eating pre-prepared meals (or ordering delivery) during periods when you know you will be actively showing the house (like the first two weeks on the market!).

This will help with kitchen cleanliness, leave less work for you, and have the significant side effect of making the selling process less crazy-making. Cost a bit extra?

Uncle Sam won’t think so, but for yourself, consider it a worthwhile business expense.
Every East Bay real estate agent will agree that kitchens are a key selling point these days, so the effort you put into kitchen control is one of the top ways you have of bringing in top

dollar for your Northern California home. Another way — one I’m happy to offer — is to call me! I am here to help you make the most of every step of the selling process.

Sleighful of Holiday Cheer Enlivens Home Sales

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA When you visit any of the properties for sale in Walnut Creek this time of year, it’s likely you will notice a little extra sparkle.

The holiday touches may be variations on the icy blue-and-white color palette — or dashes of silver brightening the traditional red-and-green decorations. If you’ve been reading the home décor magazines, you know how the leading trends this winter are all about glitz and glam: designer touches meant to brighten even the darkest winter day (remember, this year’s shortest day — December 21 – that’s today!). Still, I always suspect that a little nostalgic holiday warmth can add the same kind of welcoming touch…without breaking the piggy bank!

If you are planning to join those with East Bay properties for sale this season, a few stalwart touches can go far to add a sleighful of holiday cheer.

Christmas carols may be blaring through every loudspeaker from supermarket to mall, but don’t assume they have been terminally oDoorverused. For a December showing or open house, the warm feeling that familiar music evokes still works its magic when played in a home environment. But do keep the stereo volume set to background level – no one likes having to shout to be heard (even over six geese a-laying).

Many families used to host an annual “Holiday Open House” for friends and neighbors. That custom may be largely forgotten, but those with Contra Costa  properties for sale can add some of that same good feeling to their own open houses by adding nostalgic touches — like serving hot cocoa and marshmallows to attendees.  It’s a sweet, almost rustic touch that brings good old-fashioned hospitality to a modern marketing event.

 Whether you are considering buying or selling property this winter, there really is no need to put off a decision until after the New Year. December can be a great time to get started — and I am here this holiday season to help make your property dreams come true!

2012 Housing Picture: Break Out the Bubbly?

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It may be a little early to start putting the champagne on ice, but looking over last week’s releases of housing reports gives us a fairly good idea of how our Northern California housing picture for the year 2012 is likely to end up.
“The housing recovery that started earlier in 2012 continues to gain momentum,” according to CoreLogic’s Chief Economist. The monthly data report covered final national numbers for October (a year-over-year rise of 6.3%) as well as a probable 7.1% increase for the month just ended.
CoreLogic was also “seeing an ongoing strengthening of the residential housing market” as well as “improving buyer demand.” East Bay housing watchers might have assumed that the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy would have put a big dent in the national outlook, but apparently that effect may be less than anticipated.
If CoreLogic’s take was not quite definitive enough to trigger an early break for the bubbly, there was additional news from the financial soothsayers. Seekingalpha.com stayed with its months-long view that “there are immediate long-term opportunities for homebuyers,” while Barron’s quoted RDQ Economics’ John Ryding’s pronou1j0e4rtzr9tv8_1T-webncement on the housing market: “the recovery is running ahead of our expectations…”
Meantime, the Wall Street Journal was blogging about the ‘Five Reasons Home Prices Have Been Rising’ – including favorable affordability, lowered levels of distressed sales, and rising rent levels. They also pointed to plunging inventories that “see more buyers chasing after fewer properties.”
Of course, the complete Walnut Creek housing picture for the full year won’t be known until December is in the books. But considering how the year has treated us so far, it might not be too soon to stash a bottle or two of the good stuff in the fridge after all!

Wake-up Call For That ‘Buy Low’ Opportunity?

If you are new to what appears here, please forgive me if I seem to be nagging a bit. Sorry if this sounds like your mother’s sterner voice coming at you (that one from years ago – the one she used when you were especially absent-minded, often accompanied by a scowl). If you’re not guilty, please know this is not directed at you.

For everyone else who’s been checking in to find out about the Northern California home prices or about Walnut Creek real estate in general, you know I’ve been beating the drum about the unusual combination of great real estate buys and low mortgage rates. Ever since the housing crisis created a large overhang of distressed properties, there was a general reluctance to take advantage of the situation – even though in real estate, as in other investments, the adage buy low, sell high is as true today as ever before. I haven’t been shy about pointing out that it couldn’t last forever.

Given the public perception that residential real estate (including NorCal home prices) were more or less stuck at a low point, there may not have seemed to be much reason to get going.  But opportunities don’last forever, and markets always change

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Last week the inevitable apparent sea change seemed to hit the front pages in a big way. One really significant front page in particular: The Wall Street Journal’s. Their news flash was subsequently picked up and amplified on national, then local TV news shows. In other words, the pot truly began to boil.

The front page, above-the-fold headline was unusually unambiguous: “Home Prices Climb As Supplies Dwindle.” The article elaborated that during the last quarter, home prices rose by the largest percentage in at least seven years. The climb was 2½ % over June — and a full 6% above the previous quarter!

Demand, the WSJ reported, is up, while supplies are down “sharply.” Main reason: The distressed sales numbers (foreclosures, short sales, etc.) show “better and better prices.” Another reason: investors have been ‘scooping up’ homes.

Now, of course this mega-blip on the home price radar screen is almost certain to be followed by more ups and downs. Anything is possible; trends don’t move up in a straight line; etc. etc. etc. But if you are one of many who have been waiting for Contra Costra or Alameda County home prices to drop further, the Journal finding may come as a louder than expected wake-up call. It might also give Walnut Creek, Lafayette, San Ramon, Danville and Alamo home sellers reason to begin getting a bit more stubborn about their own bottom lines.

If you are beginning to think that the time is ripe for your own family’s move to homeownership, or are a Vallejo, Benecia, Concord, Pleasant Hill or Lafayette homeowner who has been patiently waiting for the right time to make a move, I would welcome your call to discuss the current market. If we are to believe The Journal, it looks like some major moves are already underway!