Entertaining At Home

One of the joys of homeownership is getting to host your friends and family on various occasions. Here are a few hosting tips for your next party!

Pick a theme. Once you select a theme, planning the rest of the party is simplified. The menu options are pared down, finding decor inspiration is as easy as a Google search, and guests will have attire direction. Some common themes are fiesta, backyard BBQ, wine and cheese night, and garden party.

Plan your menu. Whether you are serving small appetizers or a formal dinner, it’s important to survey your guests for food allergies or preferences (ie. vegan, vegetarian) to ensure you offer options for everyone.

Stock up on refreshments. When it comes to drinks, it’s better to overstock than understock. Make sure to have alcohol staples on hand, such as beer, wine, vodka, and bourbon. Equally important is ice, fruit garnishes, and a good supply of juices and soda that can be used for mixing as well as drinks for children and those who don’t partake in alcohol.

Don’t forget the kids. Hosting a party with children in attendance? To ensure their parents get to enjoy the party, plan a few child-friendly activities. Purchase coloring books and crayons, pick up children’s board games, or have a couple age-appropriate movies queued up.

Make sure you have fun too. By having a flexible timeline for the party and setting aside time to prep ahead of people arriving, you can minimize the stress of hosting. Make sure you take time to talk to all your guests, enjoy the food you’ve prepared, and have some drinks (alcoholic or not) too!

Save Or Pay? Which Route Should You Choose

The balancing act between paying more than the minimum payment to rid yourself of debts and building solid savings can be a difficult one for some. Here are some things to consider when making this decision.

What’s the interest rate on your loan or credit card? If your debt carries high interest, choosing to pay more and settle that bill first can be more financially beneficial in the long run. You will likely gain more by paying it off than the return on the average savings account or stock if you were to invest that sum.

Do you have a cushioned savings account? Failing to maintain a solid emergency fund can potentially get you into bigger financial trouble down the road. Anything from a tire replacement on your car to an expected doctor bill can throw you off track. It is recommended to try and pad your account with enough money to cover at least three months of living expenses.

Do you have an employer match through your job? If your job offers a retirement savings plan that has an employer match available, you want to contribute at least the maximum amount each month for the match. Forfeiting that benefit is essentially turning down free money.

Will payments reduce your monthly minimum? Making payments to standard loans such as student loans and mortgages generally only reduces the outstanding principal. Paying over the minimum usually doesn’t cause your lender to recalculate and lower your monthly payment. In a case like this, it may be more beneficial to save some extra money instead.

SALE PENDING IN 24 HOURS IN RUBY HILL!

1695 Via Di Salerno, Pleasanton, CA 94566

$3,995,000 | 5 Beds | 4.5 Baths | 5,942 SqFt

Stunning custom-built Ruby Hill home! Built by Aspenwood Homes, completed in 2007. No expense spared! Impressive attention to detail is reminiscent of Cape Cod-style luxury homes typically found on the East Coast. Entering, your eyes are drawn to gorgeous millwork, light fixtures & flooring. On main level is a generous, open floor plan, offering large open kitchen w/eating area, theater room, exercise room w/sauna, den, formal dining, Butler’s pantry w/wine cellar, living room, mud room (w/laundry), pantry as well as 1.5 baths. On 2nd floor you will be impressed by a large master bedroom w/retreat, 3 secondary bedrooms, large bonus room w/a home office area, laundry room & 3 full baths. The back yard offers a complete “stay-cation”…sparkling pool w/spa, sport court, grass area & extensive covered patio w/fireplace & built in BBQ for year-round entertaining! Surround sound speakers throughout home. Adjacent to 16th hole of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ruby Hill Golf Course.

FULL LISTING

COMING SOON TO PENDING IN SAN RAMON!

3010 Millbridge Dr, San Ramon, CA 94583

3 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,533 SqFt

This charming single story home features many updates including, European Oak hardwood flooring, remodeled kitchen, tankless water heater, 12×8 back yard shed by “The Shed Shop” currently featured as a playhouse, and much more! Walking distance to 12 years of school and near many amenities. Brand New HVAC installed in 2020.

FULL LISTING

NOW PENDING WITH 12 OFFERS IN THE HEART OF SAN RAMON!

3079 Riviera Way, San Ramon, CA 94583

$1,249,000 | 5 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 2,426 SqFt

THIS IS IT! Fabulous 5-bedroom home IN THE HEART OF SAN RAMON! Great location w/corner lot! Walk to schools K-12! Wonderful floor-plan w/1 bedroom downstairs. Resort style backyard w/6-yr-new pool complete w/hot tub & water features plus a stamped concrete patio and artificial lawn in backyard. UPDATED HOME with dual pane windows, hardwood floors, updated kitchen & bathrooms. Kitchen has stone tile floor, wall between kitchen & family room was removed and replaced with a great bar sitting area encompassing granite countertops, recessed lights, stainless steel appliances and new cabinets. Bathrooms have ceramic tile in upstairs master bathroom, shower and sinks, recessed lighting and replaced vanity tops and faucets. Upstairs hall bathroom has tile floors, tile walls, furniture vanity and mirror, re-textured walls, recessed lighting. Ceiling fans in Family Room and upstairs bedrooms. All fences around the house have been replaced.

FULL LISTING

Mortgage Interest Deductions 101

Purchasing a home comes with many tangible and intangible benefits. One that is commonly overlooked until the start of the year rolls around is the deductions you get on your taxes. As a homeowner, you’re likely able to deduct most, if not all, of your home mortgage interest resulting in a lower tax bill.

Interest paid on a loan that was used to buy, build, or complete substantial renovations on your primary or secondary home falls into the deductible mortgage interest bucket. The property can be a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, house trailer, or co-op. The amount of interest you can deduct does cap out at $750,000, although most homeowners do not reach that threshold.

At the end of each tax year, your lender will provide you with a mortgage interest statement, or Form 1098, that states the total amount of interest paid for that year. You are responsible for reporting an accurate total of interest paid when you file. This requires you to itemize your taxes. If you have purchased a home with one or more people, each homeowner can deduct the amount of interest they personally pay.

There are a few others payments that may count as mortgage interest and could be added to your deductible amount. These include mortgage points, late payment charges, prepayment penalties, interest on a home equity loan, and certain mortgage insurance premiums.

By deducting mortgage interest from your taxes, you are reducing your taxable income. As a result, you have less tax liability and reduce the amount of taxes you owe which is more money in your pocket!

SALE PENDING IN 24 HOURS IN RUBY HILL!

1695 Via Di Salerno, Pleasanton, CA 94566

$3,995,000 | 5 Beds | 4.5 Baths | 5,942 SqFt

Stunning custom-built Ruby Hill home! Built by Aspenwood Homes, completed in 2007. No expense spared! Impressive attention to detail is reminiscent of Cape Cod-style luxury homes typically found on the East Coast. Entering, your eyes are drawn to gorgeous millwork, light fixtures & flooring. On main level is a generous, open floor plan, offering large open kitchen w/eating area, theater room, exercise room w/sauna, den, formal dining, Butler’s pantry w/wine cellar, living room, mud room (w/laundry), pantry as well as 1.5 baths. On 2nd floor you will be impressed by a large master bedroom w/retreat, 3 secondary bedrooms, large bonus room w/a home office area, laundry room & 3 full baths. The back yard offers a complete “stay-cation”…sparkling pool w/spa, sport court, grass area & extensive covered patio w/fireplace & built in BBQ for year-round entertaining! Surround sound speakers throughout home. Adjacent to 16th hole of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ruby Hill Golf Course.

FULL LISTING

COMING SOON TO PENDING IN SAN RAMON!

3010 Millbridge Dr, San Ramon, CA 94583

3 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,533 SqFt

This charming single story home features many updates including, European Oak hardwood flooring, remodeled kitchen, tankless water heater, 12×8 back yard shed by “The Shed Shop” currently featured as a playhouse, and much more! Walking distance to 12 years of school and near many amenities. Brand New HVAC installed in 2020.

FULL LISTING

JUST LISTED IN THE HEART OF SAN RAMON!

3079 Riviera Way, San Ramon, CA 94583

$1,249,000 | 5 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 2,426 SqFt

THIS IS IT! Fabulous 5-bedroom home IN THE HEART OF SAN RAMON! Great location w/corner lot! Walk to schools K-12! Wonderful floor-plan w/1 bedroom downstairs. Resort style backyard w/6-yr-new pool complete w/hot tub & water features plus a stamped concrete patio and artificial lawn in backyard. UPDATED HOME with dual pane windows, hardwood floors, updated kitchen & bathrooms. Kitchen has stone tile floor, wall between kitchen & family room was removed and replaced with a great bar sitting area encompassing granite countertops, recessed lights, stainless steel appliances and new cabinets. Bathrooms have ceramic tile in upstairs master bathroom, shower and sinks, recessed lighting and replaced vanity tops and faucets. Upstairs hall bathroom has tile floors, tile walls, furniture vanity and mirror, re-textured walls, recessed lighting. Ceiling fans in Family Room and upstairs bedrooms. All fences around the house have been replaced.

FULL LISTING

Put More Money In Your Pocket Each Month

Reviewing your monthly expenses once a year is a great practice to get into. As you look at your monthly budget, you will find some expenses that are fixed, like your rent or mortgage, car payments, and child care expenses. But there are several other common monthly expenses that should be reviewed and re-negotiated each year.

Call your current car insurance provider and shop other providers to make sure you have the lowest possible premium at that time. Contact your cell phone carrier to make sure you have the best and lowest cost package currently available. Shop health insurance each year to make sure you are covered at the best possible price. Contact your gym to make sure you are paying the best current pricing for your membership.

Research your cable and internet provider’s offers online then give them a call to make sure you have the best pricing for your services. Cable and internet companies often have promotions or package pricing that could be lower than your current bill. Do an audit of all online and app subscriptions you have to make sure you are not paying monthly fees for apps you signed up for in the past that you are no longer using. You will be surprised what the small fees add up to!

Don’t stop here! Analyze your monthly recurring payments and see how many of them you can bring down. The compound effect will give you a nice monthly raise.