A Buyer’s Happy Ending

 

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Susie’s home search is proof to trust the process – fate will work things out in the end. Beginning her search in December, she had submitted one offer, but did not quite have her financing in line. She found the perfect home for her, but unfortunately, someone had beat her to it. Shortly after, the offer fell through and Susie jumped on the opportunity to step in and landed her ideal home. During the process, we all learned a lot about the new flood insurance laws. We were delighted when the elevation tests revealed the flood insurance would be less than the current owner’s.  Her original quote was $2600 , found a different insurance company at $2200 and once the elevation test was done it became $300!

Upcoming Events – May 2014

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Art on Main – May 17th & 18th
Downtown Walnut Creek
Mothers Day Tea – May 11th
Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek

Few things say “Mother’s Day” like a beautiful garden and the Ruth Bancroft Garden is welcoming mom’s with a special pampering day.

A Mother’s Day Tea Party has scheduled seating at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Sun., May 11, in the Ruth Bancroft Garden, 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. The event includes sandwiches, seasonal fruit and assorted petite pastries from La Boulange, plus freshly brewed tea. It also features hands-on crafts for families and docent-led tours at 10 and 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. The cost for the special day is $30 for adults and $20 for children (includes admission to the Garden). Mom’s and kids under 12 are free.

Reservations are required. For information or reservations, call (925) 944-9352 or visi thttp://mothersdaytea.brownpapertickets.com/

Contra Costa County Fair – May 29th – June 1st
Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, Antioch
Check out all the fun and happenings  including live music, entertaining shows, Antioch Speedway events, fantastic fair food, traditional exhibits, youth livestock, NEW AND FREE Family Fun Zone, and much, much more!
Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival – May 31st – June 1st
Heather Farms Park, Walnut Creek
May 31st and June 1st will be packed full of great food and drinks, live music, and pieces from local artists. Revelers can sample local restaurants’ delicacies and wash it all down with regional wine or the micro-brew of their choice. Admission is free, and the event lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. With sunshine and plenty of grassy fields, the whole family is sure to have a great time.

Just Listed! 3100 Justin Way, Concord.

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4br/2bth.Spacious home, nicely maintained with fresh paint and an updated eat-in kitchen. Entry space can be used as formal dining area, bonus/family room. Backyard is a clean slate ready for your “green” thumb. Located on a court with only 2 homes, tress for shade & patio to lounge. Inside laundry, close to shops & walking distance to downtown Concord.

Move in & enjoy!

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Just Listed- 105 Krause Terrace, Martinez!

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Designer Chic ~ Family Friendly

  • 4  Spacious Bedrooms
  • 2.5 baths
  • 2435 sq. ft.
  • High Ceilings
  • Open Floor Plan
  • Hardwood Floors Throughout First Level
  • Crisp Gourmet Kitchen complete with Stainless Steel Appliances, Corian Countertop and Stone Back Splash
  • New Tile in Bathrooms
  • Recessed Lighting
  • Fresh Sod in Backyard
  • Monthly HOA $139
  • Convenient Freeway Access
  • Cozy Front Porch
  • Walk to Newly Updated Hidden Lakes Park & Hidden Lakes Elementary School

Newer home with an open & inviting floor plan, tucked in back corner of sub-division with no side neighbors.  A great place to entertain friends and raise a family.  Conveniently located, minutes walk to K-5 school & park.  A sizable yard & patio for summertime BBQs and kid play.

Move in & enjoy!

Open for Broker’s Tour Tuesday, 3/11 10:30am-1pm

105 Krause Terrace Virtual Tour

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Cadillac Corner?

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Once building permits are obtained, developer Brian Hirahara of BH Development plans to break ground on “Cadillac Corner”, an elegant center of retail and restaurants in the heart of downtown Walnut Creek.

Located at the current La Fogata parking lot, Cadillac corner will be a two-story space including retail space, a café, first-floor restaurant and second-floor roof top dining.

It will be adorned with a two-story living green wall and a living green roof.

Construction will hopefully be completed in early 2015.

City officials feel that this corner will be the final piece in the city’s core downtown and Broadway Plaza area.My main question regarding this development being, how did this area come to be named Cadillac Corner? Sources cite it is because of the areas proximity to Tiffany and Neiman Marcus, however, I have never heard this corner referenced as such and am curious if it was just nick-named by city officials.  I wonder if the name will catch on?  I say no, what do you think?

Book it or Blog it Danno!
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A view of the building site from across the street.
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Both Tiffany and Neiman Marcus neighbor “Cadillac Corner”.
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The future site of construction.
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An overall view from where the new development will sit.

Walnut Creeks Fiscal Future

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Walnut Creek has a budget problem – so do many other cities with the down turn in our economy over the past few years and we have managed better than most.   The city has been smart in previous years as it did not borrow money and it requires and operates within a balanced budget.  Walnut Creek also has many wonderful programs that makes it a great city to work, play and live.  There are extended library hours, open space, (aging) public pools & buildings, parks, fields, an amazing Civic Arts community, museums and theater.  There are also many services we do not directly see such as the crew that cleans up downtown at the crack of dawn on Saturday & Sunday mornings from the revelers the night before.  Many of these services will be at risk as there is not enough money to continue to fund them and retro fit buildings/pools.  There will be either drastic cuts or tax increase.
I am not advocating either, however I do think it is important to understand what the impact will be, where the city gets their revenue and voice what services you are willing or not willing to be cut.  The city values the communities voice and input.

The City Manager – Ken Nordhoff will be at the Walnut Creek Library – Oak View Room at 7 pm on February 25.   Come, Listen, Speak Up, Participate – this is your community!
 Ken Nordhoff is speaking to a number of groups, in case you cannot meet at the Library:2/11-Grace Presbyterian Church, 3:00PM
3/5-Lindsay Wildlife Museum, 6:30PM
3/19-Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 6:30PM
3/12, Peak Education Foundation, City Hall 3rd Floor Conference Room, 6:30PM
3/18, DRAA/Chamber/WCD, City Hall 3rd Floor Conference Room, 9:30AM

Walnut Creek Plastic Bag Ordinance

The City of Walnut Creek is considering an ordinance to prohibit the distribution of single-use carryout bags in all retailers (except restaurants and non-profit charitable thrift stores). Under the ordinance, all grocery and retail stores in Walnut Creek would no longer provide single-use carryout plastic bags. Stores may sell paper bags for a minimum of 10 cents for each bag. Protective plastic or paper bags, without handles, for items such as meat, fresh produce, dry-cleaned clothes and prescription medications will be allowed. Consumers will have the option to bring their own reusable bags or pay for recycled paper bags.   In the on-line town hall survey, you can state how you feel about the non-profits and restaurants being exempt, about the the price of a paper bag and when should it go into affect.

The City of Walnut Creek aims to see a significant reduction in litter in our neighborhoods and streets, improve water quality of our creeks and bay, and conserve valuable resources by passing this ordinance.   Europe has been doing this for years.  Hawaii recently has banned plastic bags as they accumulate in the ocean at specific areas around the islands and sea life gets entangled.  For me, it is just remembering to grab my re-usable bags from the trunk.  I love having them when I go to Costco and wonder why I haven’t thought about bringing them into the store sooner.

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You can voice your thoughts by going to this link http://www.walnut-creek.org/citygov/opentownhall.asp#peak_democracy or attend a community meeting Feb. 11 from 6:00 – 7:00 P.M.  at City Hall, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 1666 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek.

To view the proposed orinance language, visit www.walnut-creek.org/bringyourbag

FHA as an Option to Purchase

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During the market downturn, FHA became the darling of buyers.  It has gone thru some changes these past years and now as the credit market is easing up, there are more options that make FHA loans not as desirable.  Here are some of the reasons why:
All FHA buyers are required to get mortgage insurance (MI) no matter how large their down payment.
Currently, all FHA buyers must pay an Up Front Fee of 1.75% of the loan amount.
Most FHA buyers also must pay an MI annual fee of 1.35% of the loan amount (divided into 12 payments).
This annual MI jumps to 1.55% if the loan amount is over $625,500 and under $729,750.
The above rates apply when LTVs are at 96.5%. If LTVs drop below 95%, the MI rates drop by only 0.05%.
Most FHA Loans:
Up Front MI:     1.75%
Annual MI:        1.35%
Annual MI:        1.55% (Loan Amount above $625,500).
FHA MI is very high and permanent but necessary to insure much more flexible FHA loans that are often the only option for many borrowers.  Some of the other options making a come back are 80/10/10 loans that have no MI and the buyer is putting down 10% with a 10% interest only second. 5% conventional, but you still have to pay MI, but not the FHA fee.  This is where it becomes important to discuss your options with a mortgage broker and see what makes the most sense for you and your finances.

‘Tis the Season for Real Estate!

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Rates have edged up over the last week. Ironically, incoming Fed Chairperson, Janet Yellen, has been making comments about keeping rates low (and not tapering). Her comments have been bolstering the stock market, however, and moving money from bonds to stocks. This has the unintended consequence of pushing interest rates higher, as the demand for bonds diminishes.
If you have been on the fence thinking about buying or selling, now may be the time before the spring selling cycle goes into full bloom.  Cyclically the holidays are a slower period of time and we traditionally don’t see much activity until after Superbowl Sunday.  As a seller, if you don’t want to your home to be vying for the buyers attention because 3 more in your neighborhood go on the market the same week as you or as a buyer don’t want a higher interest rate then now thru January is a great time.

Upcoming events- December 2013

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The holidays are a time for family, friends, and community. Below are community events you can attend with your loved ones to get into the holiday spirit!

Rockin’ Holiday Free Concerts

Fridays, Nov 29th-Dec 20th: 6pm-8pm

Gather in Blakchawk Plaza for live holiday music performed by local artists. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.shopblackhawkplaza.com/center_events.html.

9th Annual Walnut Creek on Ice

Nov 15th-Jan 12th

It may not be snowing, but there will be plenty of ice in downtown Walnut Creek this holiday season! Visit the ice rink in Civic Park for fundraisers, birthday parties, group events and more. Hours and admission prices can be found at http://iceskatewalnutcreek.com/.

Light Up the Night

Wednesday, Dec 4th: 5pm-8pm

Join Santa and others in lighting up Downtown Pleasant Hill for the holiday
season. Holiday Crafts Fair, Carriage Rides, Caroling & Studio A Dancers on
the Plaza stage, free hot chocolate & cookies, merchant give-a-ways and lots
more fun for the whole family!

Broadway Plaza Parade of Lights

Thursday, December 5th: 6pm-9pm

Music and festivity will fill the Plaza, beginning with a Retailer Open House at 6pm.  At 7pm, find a good spot on Broadway Plaza Street for the Parade of Lights, which will end with a very special appearance by Santa Claus himself, who will light Broadway Plaza’s magical Christmas Tree and make it snow!

Messiah Sing

Friday, December 6th: 7:30pm

A community sing of Handel’s Messiah will be held at Orinda’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. This event is free, with an offering taken for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Childcare is available by reservation. For more information contact the church at office@ststephensorinda.org or 925-254-3770 x10.

The Christmas Carol

December 2nd-22nd

Make the Christmas Carol at the Lesher Center part of your holiday tradition! Visit http://www.lesherartscenter.org/a-christmas-carol/ for more information and to purchase tickets

Bay Area Football!

Watch the San Francisco Forty-Niners and Oakland Raiders battle it out as they wrap up their seasons.

49ers

Sunday, Dec 1st |1:05pm vs. St. Louis Rams

Sunday, Dec 8th | 1:25pm vs. Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, Dec 15th | 10am @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Monday, December 23rd | 5:40pm vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, Dec 29th | 1:25pm @ Arizona Cardinals

Raiders

Sunday, Dec 8th | 1pm @ New York Jets

Sunday, Dec 15th | 1:05pm vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, Dec 22nd | 1:25pm @ San Diego Chargers

Sunday, Dec 29th | 1:25pm vs. Denver Broncos