How To Vet An Offer

Many sellers may be tempted to select the highest offer they receive, but there are several other factors to consider. Here are five areas important to evaluate.

Down payment. The size of the down payment should be heavily considered when comparing offers. It is often tied to the size of the loan the buyer is taking out and a larger one indicates higher financial stability.

Earnest money deposit. The EMD is the sum of cash the buyer is willing to put up when the sales agreement is signed to show their high level of interest in purchasing the home. If they back out of the transaction without a good reason, the seller typical keeps it, and if the sale goes through, it typically goes towards their down payment.

Contingencies. Contingencies are standard for most offers and outline the evaluations and appraisals that need to be completed before the sale is final, such as financing, appraisal, sale of current home, title, and home inspection. The fewer contingencies, the higher the chance of reaching the closing table.

All-cash offer. Not only does putting down an all-cash offer boost the likelihood of loan approval, but the buyer will not need an appraisal or financing contingency, reducing the chance of the sale falling through.

Closing date. Consideration of the closing date differs for each seller. For example, if you have already purchased a new home, you may want to close quickly. But, if you are waiting on the money from the sale to start house hunting, you may be okay with a slower settlement.

FABULOUS CUSTOM HOME WITH VIEWS IN MARTINEZ!

1201 Thomas Dr, Martinez, CA 94553

$899,000 | 3 beds | 2 baths | 1,840 SqFt

Fabulous one of a kind custom home with amazing wall to wall views of water & hills from living area, dining & kitchen! Completely renovated in 2016 it’s the perfect blend of stylish remodel & original charm. Private & serene setting at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Nestled in the hills of Martinez and just minutes to downtown restaurants, farmers market, small businesses and hiking trails of the Carquinez ridge. Your own private oasis while keeping it all close by. Inviting white picket fence & front porch greet you and make you feel right at home. Great open concept floorplan where windows & natural light abound. Beautiful Hardwood floors throughout. Large master suite with sunroom/retreat makes you feel like you’re on vacation every day! Gorgeous kitchen w/ solid granite counters, beautiful tile backsplash & stainless appliances. Enjoy your private yard downstairs or end your day upstairs on the back patio with amazing sunset views. This is a very special home & property!!

FULL LISTING

Going Green Starts In The Kitchen

Living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and helping to keep our planet clean isn’t as difficult as you may think. All it takes is a few small tweaks. To start, here are five great tips for going green in your kitchen!

Filter your water. Not only does this allow you to remove contaminants like lead, chloroform, chlorine, etc. from your drinking water at home, but you can save money and reduce waste by avoiding bottled water. Choose between a water-filtering pitcher or faucet-mounted option.

Reduce water usage. It’s a common misconception that running your dishwasher uses a lot of water, when in fact, it generally uses less than hand washing dishes. Just make sure to only run it when full and use the light wash and air dry settings. You can also purchase a low-flow aerator for your kitchen faucet to cut down on water usage.

Avoid unnecessary packaging. When grocery shopping, avoid single-serving products and produce packaged in styrofoam and shrink-wrap to reduce waste. At home, opt for reusable containers, such as jars and Tupperware, instead of foil, plastic wrap, and Ziploc bags.

Switch your cooking appliances out. Instead of using your full-size oven, consider using a toaster oven, microwave, or slow cooker instead. These appliances use between 30 to 50 percent less energy to heat.

Buy local. Shopping at locally-sourced stores or farmers markets does not only allow you to support your neighbors and community but is sustainable for the environment. The food you purchase does not have to travel far to get to you, helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Organize Your Closet Like A Champ

Do you desire a closet that looks like it’s straight out of a magazine? Then we have you covered! Follow the tips below to masterfully organize your closet and give yourself peace of mind.

Group like clothing items together. Group same-length dresses, long-sleeved shirts, blouses, pants, etc. together in your closet to both save space and create an esthetically-pleasing look. Add an extra bar. Need more hanging room? You can find additional closet bars in-store or online for under $20 and installation is fairly quick and easy. Then hang t-shirts, blouses, jackets, and more on the lower bar.

Keep things uniform. Although you may have to spend a little more upfront, purchasing matching hangers, organizers, and storage boxes will give your closet a cleaner look.

Invest in special hangers, dividers, and organizers. Purchase a few items to make closet organization a breeze, such as a space-saving pants organizer, shelf dividers to keep t-shirts, towels, or sweaters in place, or multi-shirt hangers that can fit up to 5 garments on one.

Try color-coding. Feeling magically inspired? Try organizing your closet by color. You can even place the colors in order of the rainbow to help make dressing easier and more fun.

Get creative with shoe storage. Shoes can take up a lot of room and keeping the pile neat and tidy can be difficult. Consider purchasing a shoe organizer that hangs on your closet door or install rails on the wall to hang high heels. You can also purchase cubby shelving or a shoe carousel to be placed on the closet floor.

JUST LISTED IN THE HEART OF SAN RAMON!

3136 Riviera Way, San Ramon, CA 94583

$1,049,000 | 3 beds | 2 baths | 1,644 SqFt

Fabulous single story in the heart of San Ramon! Located within walking distance to 3 levels of schools, open floor plan with lots of natural light. Updated kitchen and baths, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, approx. 1,644 square feet of living space. Covered deck leads to inviting pool, spacious lot with side yard access. Close to shopping, dining, entertainment, services, commute access and more! This one won’t last long!

FULL LISTING

JUST SOLD IN PITTSBURG – ONLY 2 DAYS ON THE MARKET!

4306 Diehl Way, Pittsburg, CA 94565

$539,000 | 4 beds | 2.5 baths | 2,042 SqFt

Single-story rancher with views! Updated, with 4 bedrooms, 2 /2 baths and a glistening pool and spa! Updated since 2015…kitchen remodel, granite counters, recessed lighting, solid hardwood kitchen cabinets, and stainless steel sink. Updated flooring, built-in hardwood library in living room, back yard landscaping and freshly landscaped front yard! Great value and a must-see home!

FULL LISTING

JUST SOLD IN ALBANY!

907 Buchanan St, Albany, CA 94706

$1,149,000 | 3 Beds | 3 Baths | 1,559 SqFt

Welcome home! Charming two story located in the heart of Albany! This 3 bedroom, 3 full bath home was re-built from the ground up approximately 10 years ago. Efficient floor plan with an open living room and dining area plus the master suite, are all on the main level. Additionally, there are two bedrooms upstairs with a “Jack and Jill” bath in between. Inviting kitchen with lots of counter space, cabinetry and natural light. Loft area on the second floor allows for a home office or study area. Oversized detached one-car garage provides extra storage space as well. Views of hills and city lights. Close to schools, shopping, dining and minutes from BART, commute access, Albany Beach and Golden Gate Fields.

FULL LISTING +

How Big Of A Home Do You Need?

When buying a new house, it’s easy to get distracted by size and think that bigger is better. However, depending on your situation, the opposite may be true.

So how can you determine if your new home is too small, too big, or “just right?” You’ll want to consider these elements.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal? How many years do you see yourself in this house? Is this the place where you want to raise your kids and retire? If not, then size shouldn’t be as crucial as you think. Consider the fact that you will likely move again, which means that you can upgrade in the future if necessary.

What’s Your Financial Limit? For the most part, you don’t want more home than you can truly afford. While you may be getting that promotion in a couple of months, you can’t buy now expecting to have more money in the bank later. Overextending your financial reach is always a bad move, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself (or your family) in that position.

How Many People are Living Here? In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have their own bedrooms, but when you have kids, that’s not always possible. When thinking about this situation, consider how imperative it is to have sufficient space for everyone, and what it will do to your budget.

Overall, buying a home should be about your current needs and how you plan to grow into space in the future. Don’t buy big for the sake of showing off – in the end, you’ll probably regret it.

Ready To Go Rustic?

Rustic and farmhouse interior design are still in, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon! If you’re ready to hop on board this trend, try introducing some of these favorite ideas into a room in your home. Take a look below!

Exposed wood. Whether you implement this in a small way, such as a coffee table, headboard, or chair, or go big with your remodel and add wooden beams or create a plank accent wall, exposed wood is essential to a rustic-style room. Make sure to combine various wood grains, colors, and finishes to add more depth and texture.

Fur. Whether you opt for real or faux, fur can be a unique feature piece and can bring together the room. Try a cowhide, bear, or sheepskin rug or purchase a fur throw for a couch or chair.

Accent materials. Incorporate iron or stone accents in furniture and décor, such as bar stools, coffee tables, overhead lighting, chandeliers, fireplaces, mantels, shelving, candleholders, and more.

Warm lighting. To give the room a cozy, relaxing feel, lean towards warm, yellow lightbulbs instead of LEDs or pick out some unique Edison bulbs for exposed lamps and decorative overhead lighting.

Small details. The magic is in the small details. Paint wood panels white or gray and letter your favorite saying on top. Purchase wooden picture frames, farmhouse signs, terracotta pots, wood slices, and mason jars and arrange them around the room.

Bold patterns. Mismatched quilts, layered rag rugs, and check-print chairs or blankets are great additions to any rustic room.

How To Save Money While Landscaping

Revamping your landscaping can be a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money. So how can you give the exterior of your home a facelift without breaking the bank or taking out a second mortgage. There a many ways to cut costs on landscaping, including some of tips below!

Select perennial plants. Choosing perennial plants over annuals can help reduce both cost and time. These plants continue to bloom year over year with less upkeep so you won’t have to set aside more money for new plants and spend time replanting in the coming years.

Shop at the end of the season. Shop for plants, accessories, mulch, containers, and more towards the end of fall for the best savings. Most garden centers and nurseries are looking to clear out plants and tools before winter so you may be able to save up to 50 percent.

Creatively source materials. Often extra materials can be found at construction sites or other landscapers may be giving them away for discounted prices or even free on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Make sure you look around before paying full price for rocks, wood, gravel, and more.

Use a mix of materials. Building surfaces like pathways or patios can often carry a large price tag for both materials and installation. To reduce costs, consider mixing materials, such as gravel with pavers or concrete with cut stone, to create a unique surface for less.

Keep up maintenance. Taking care of your yard throughout the year can save you from high-cost repairs in the future. Make sure to weed regularly, reduce standing water, keep patios and pathways clean, and paint peeling fences.