Get your music on!

Here’s a fun thing to do in the Bay Area summers: go see live music! I love going to Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa every spring, and if you’ve never been to a proper festival, you really are missing out on a cultural phenomenon.

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Sunshine, good music, unique eats and drink vendors everywhere? What could possibly go wrong? Here are some music festivals coming up in the second half of the summer in Northern California:

Stern Grove Music Festival 

I encouraged everyone to check out this free festival in San Francisco in a previous blog, and my urging stands! It goes through mid-August!

Festival Napa Valley

This takes place from July 12-21, so you still have time to squeeze it in! Opera, jazz, wine, food, and a gala hosted by Seal. Seriously! Check it out.

Guitarfish Festival

From July 25-28, you can enjoy live music in a family-friendly setting on the banks of the Yuba River near Truckee. What a scene! More info here.

Petaluma Music Festival

On August 3rd, you can benefit the Petaluma public school system by attending this one-day festival with four stages of music. Very cool!

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Outside Lands

This is the big one – the annual 3-day festival extravaganza in Golden Gate Park is worth every penny! This year, enjoy Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, and more! Visit the website here.

Event Round-Up: July 13th

Summer is in full swing, which means the event season is too! In a town like Walnut Creek, with a climate like the Bay Area’s, there is never a shortage of fun events in the warm summer months. Here are a few coming up!

Inflatables II (July 14-Sept. 15) – Walnut Creek

Following an overwhelmingly positive reception to the initial Inflatables exhibition in 2015, the Bedford Gallery is bringing it back this summer, with an opening day party on July 14th. Check it out here!

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$1 A’s Game (July 17) – Oakland

Every Wednesday home game, you can set your own price to sit in Section 322 at an A’s game! All proceeds go to community groups in Oakland. This is a very cool idea, and the A’s are playing great right now, too! More info.

Boundary Oaks’ 50th Anniversary (July 19-21) – Walnut Creek

Bring the family to this celebratory weekend at Walnut Creek’s most popular golf course. A family-friendly ice cream social and open house has live music, face painting, and more on Sunday. (Call GM Mike Ash at (925) 934-4775, x. 12 for more info!)

FREE Family Movie Night (Jul. 26) – Walnut Creek

Go enjoy a free movie at The Orchards Amphitheater by The Shadelands! Films start at 7:30 p.m. and there will be food available for purchase. This week’s show is Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse. More info here.

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Sports Basement Brewfest (Aug. 9) – Walnut Creek

Play games, listen to music, and drink craft beer at Walnut Creek Sports Basement from 5-8 p.m. This is their 6th annual event, and they also have them in other Bay Area locations. Check it out.

Open House Alert – WC Condo! This Saturday!

Hey, you! What are you doing this weekend? Are you in the market for a new condo walking distance to Pleasant Hill Bart? We are having an Open House this Saturday (7/13) & Sunday (7/14) from 1-4 pm at 2627 Oak Road #A in Walnut Creek.

This home has been freshly painted with new carpet in the bedroom and updates to the kitchen – including subway tile, a new range, dishwasher, and updated lighting.

We are also having a Wine & Cheese Twilight Tour on July 18th from 5-7 pm. Come swing by and check either of these events out. I would love to meet you!

The new Riviera Apartments: SF in WC?

The new Riviera units downtown are pricey, but they give some people San Francisco vibes. Top and middle level ones are going in the $1-2 million range, but their target buyers are people moving out of the city for a reason. Not only is there parking, but it’s near BART and Target and have an HOA.

Some new tenants like the “city feel” the building itself puts off, with all the amenities you’d expect from newer units in downtown San Francisco. There is a nice upstairs lounge area, it’s close to public transportation, and best of all, there is car and bike parking!

There is even a fire pit, a bike lock and repair station, and views of Mt. Diablo. I know of one tenant who opted for one on the non-Mt. D side because looking at another building actually reminded her more of living in San Francisco. To each their own!

So far, the units are about 40% filled, but I’m sure that will continue to go even higher. Units get snatched up in Walnut Creek super fast these days, and the location is pretty ideal. It will be interesting to see how many SF transplants the Riviera apartments end up getting!

Art Town: BART parking

We discussed these cool pieces in a previous post about the Walnut Creek Transit Village, but I wanted to share the art and focus specifically on that. Also, you might need this link with so many changes coming to the BART parking situation. You’re welcome!
https://www.wcbartparking.com/

Dan Corson was the selected artist for the BART Station and it looks like it is part of his Grandicus work. This artwork celebrates its urban nature with bold colors that juxtapose its silhouettes against the beige backdrop of the parking structure. Sculpturally expressive in the daytime, the form and colors are designed to stand off against the neutral backdrop of the parking structure night, the artwork is designed to be responsive to the adjacent train environment.

It will celebrate the arrival and departures of the trains by changing color and providing chasing sequential colors that emanate from the cobra head fixtures. It is the intention that the colors will be more quiet and subdued (shifting between blues/teals/greens/yellows) and both sculptures slowly morph in the same color palette most of the time. When the trains arrive, the colors and speed of color changes and chases will become more “dynamic” and “active” and moveto a warmer palette (oranges/reds). Each train platform will be assigned to interact with one sculpture providing a sense of interactivity and dynamic change.

I have not seen it at night, but think the changing light will be in line with his other work that is quite spectacular. Check him out at: www.corsonart.com.

Monthly prices for a reserved spot in privately owned BART parking lot is now $120 a month. With Walnut Creek becoming such a hub for traveling workers, (see Riv.com a recent blog) it makes sense. All rents seem to be rising, look at the all changes in our local restaurant scene lately. At least this art brightens things up a bit!

Sunol Ridge is now TKK and that means Thai food

It must be a day ending in “y” if a popular restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek couldn’t keep its doors open. Sunol Ridge, which was a great little spot to get together for casual drinks or to watch a game, has given way to a new Thai restaurant called TKK.

It’s the way of the world in our little town now – high rents mean you always have to be busy, so I said goodbye to Sunol Ridge, and checked out TKK! You’ll be happy to hear that all those same TVs and a similar layout grace the building, so it’s still a good hang-out spot after work.

Obviously, the menu has changed now, but there is still a good Happy Hour at TKK, too! I went during the Warriors playoffs twice; once with a friend and once alone (when I ended up sitting next to an old friend!). The first time, we got the lettuce wrap appetizer and a couple of cocktails. The second time I had the lemongrass fish and both were amazing. The volcano beef (which is apparently very popular here), looked very appetizing. I was very happy with the food we got, and will definitely be back!

Road Trips: Whitewater rafting

I haven’t taken a ton of road trips lately, so I’m handing the mic off to one of my team members, Jeremy. He recently went on a trip down to Mariposa to raft the Merced River for a friend’s bachelor party. Take it away, Jeremy:

This winter, California got a record amount of snowfall. Hopefully all you skiers and snowboarders took advantage! A heavy winter like that has huge ramifications for the spring and summer, too. We learned that the fun way in Mariposa recently.

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The town of Mariposa itself is a quirky, charming place with a small downtown and a nice public park with live music. It’s near a Yosemite entrance, so if you were lucky enough to get camping reservations there, you can tie both trips into one!

If you’re up for some wild, fast whitewater (the guides told us the river was flowing 3-4 times faster than usual because of all the snow!), you can jump on a trip with any outfitter that does the Merced or Tuolumne Rivers in that area. We went with All-Outdoors Whitewater Rafting, which is a company based in Walnut Creek!

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You can’t beat a day of splashy waves and Class IV rapids (the highest is Class V), especially on a day like we had where the weather was perfect. If you’re in Mariposa and looking for something that’s not outdoorsy, good luck. But if you enjoy hiking, kayaking, rafting, or anything else of that nature, I’d highly recommend checking it out!

There’s a new Bedford Gallery exhibit!

I love going to see local art in Walnut Creek, and the Bedford Gallery in the Lesher Center is one of the best spots. They rotate their exhibits seasonally, and their latest one (which unfortunately just ended), was called “Tradition Interrupted.”

From the Bedford Gallery website: “‘Tradition Interrupted'” explores the methods used by artists to conflate contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft in a range of media, from prayer rugs on skate board tops and quilts to metal and ceramic. After hundreds, sometimes thousands of years of crafting and creating, many traditional practices continue to visually define a culture. Merging age-old customs with innovation, the artists in this show redefine or reclaim culturally historic ideas to create hybrid works for our contemporary world.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head! I found all of the work from interesting and out of the box from artists around the world, including Azerbaijan, Morocco, and India in works seen in these photos. Up next, the Gallery is doing inflatable contemporary art starting July 14th. They have free admission every first Tuesday of each month. I highly recommend visiting!

Top 6 reasons you should hire a professional Real Estate Agent

The house-buying and selling processes can be tricky, to say the least. Luckily, there are professionals (like me!) to guide you through it! I recently sat down with a first time home buyer who doesn’t understand the value of a real estate agent. He wanted to know what I do as he can find the houses himself.

The rubber really hits the road when you find the house you want to write on. This particular buyer was interested in a house, but now it is pending. If he had an agent working on his behalf, that agent would have called the listing agent, found out if they were looking at offers on a specific day or as they come and then find out if there is interest in the home. That all could have been communicated to this buyer and they might have put in an offer.

We are all very busy, and real estate can be a stressful process, taking up a lot of time on top of everything else you have going on. Why wouldn’t a buyer want an experienced professional to help them? It doesn’t cost them a cent as the seller pays the commission. For a seller, it is very apparent why you would hire an agent, but here are the top six reasons. At the end of the day, I think it is about trust. Do you trust this agent to work in your best interest?

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1. Neighborhood Knowledge

Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. We can run a neighborhood comparative market analysis, in addition to pointing a buyer where more data on schools, crime, demographics and open house listings exist.

2. Price Guidance

Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. Buyer’s Agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.

3. Market Conditions 

Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the comparative active/pendings/solds of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.

4. Education & Experience

You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person (back to trust). For the most part, they all cost roughly the same, so why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We’re all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.

5. Professional Networking

Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency, and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection. If an agent has a great reputation amongst their peers, it can help a buyer get into contract. Agents want to work with agents that are professional, communicate and are known for a smooth process.

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6. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It’s part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer’s offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client’s case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.

So, next time you’re in the market for buying or selling, and start thinking it’d be easier and cheaper to do it without an agent, think again! These are just a few of the reasons why hiring an agent ends up being the best way to go. Give me a call if you’re looking to buy or sell!