A Celebration At Capullo

The second weekend of April, Walnut Creek was hopping! Restaurants are open both inside and out. It was chilly, so we sat indoors. It did not feel like 25% capacity (maybe I’ve been sequestered so long that a small amount of people felt like a lot!).

We started the night celebrating the closing of Teresa’s condo in the Keys with champagne at Residual Sugar. Then, we were a little bit hungry so we headed to Capullo Cocina Mexicana! It offers authentic Mexican regional cuisine from five different parts of Mexico.

We ordered chips and salsa, house margaritas, and shared the Tamales en Cream de Frijoles. I realized after the fact that it was creamy beans over the top – we both thought it was a little bland, but it was vegetarian. We kept seeing people ordering big stone bowls with steak, chicken, cactus, and prawns hanging over the edge, filled with guacamole, chorizo, and jalapeƱo (and served with corn tortillas).

Apparently, this is their signature dish for $40 called Capullo’s Molcajete. These are the bowls that you are often served salsa or guacamole in. They have three or four legs and are the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. Next time I visit Capullo, this will be the order. It was large, festive, and looked amazing!

Capullo is next door to Havana and also has outdoor dining, along with the indoor seats shown in the pictures. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Where To Go Camping Near The Bay Area

It’s that time of the year when the weather heats up – and so does the desire to get outside! We live in an area where camping opportunities are plentiful. There is no shortage of beautiful campsites near the Bay Area. Here is a 7×7 story about some of the best ones within 100 miles of San Francisco.

orange camping tent near green trees

From the redwoods to the beaches, this list has it all. It even includes a few campsites on our own Mt. Diablo, if you really don’t want to travel far. But it will take you as far as Mt. Tamalpais, or the cliffs of Santa Cruz.

Personally, I prefer going all the way up to Tahoe or down 395 for my camping adventures. But for a quick, local getaway, it’s hard to beat the beauty of the Bay Area. You can pretty much pitch a tent at any campsite around here and be satisfied with the nature surrounding you.

Where is your favorite place to hike in the Bay Area? Comment below and share!

Before And After: Staging Pictures And Tips

I have a new listing this week, and I want to show you the big difference that properly staging a home can make for sellers. It’s an important step in the home-selling process. Depending on the size and what is needed, it can run from $2,000-$6,000 (or more!), and not every room needs to be staged. The other things – like painting the lava rock – cost $2,000.

If your house already has a good look, there is also accessory staging. That is when they tell you what to take out and bring in. Usually, it’s just a few things, like some bedding and pictures. They might have you do a bit of re-arranging too. In the end, I believe staged homes will sell for more money. There are different percentages that you can search, but I think the before and after pictures are worth a thousand words. See them here:

This home is located off of La Casa Via, behind John Muir and it backs up to Shell Ridge, so it’s peaceful with beautiful views. However, vacant some original fixtures and the lava rock didn’t make it pop for pictures. So, check it out once the stager was done with it. Its transformation is really breathtaking and shows up in the pictures. With no open houses, buyers have to like the home from their first look online through pictures, and professional photos make a huge difference in the lighting.

When asked why the stager recommended painting a dark brown lacquered fireplace mantel white, her response was she wanted it to blend into the background so people were not staring at the lava rock fireplace, but at the views, layout, and overall feel. That is exactly what occurred and I would like to give a big shout-out to Ashley Provost and her team for the great job they did!

Here’s what staging really does: it transforms how the home looks, which helps drive up the price quickly. It doesn’t matter how old the house is, it can always use some good staging to make it really stand out to potential buyers. Here are some tips from Better Homes and Gardens:

  1. Start Simple: A buyer’s first impression of the house is controllable. Start with the easiest task that will have the biggest impact (fresh paint, cleaning, etc.).
  2. Create Space: Remember, a buyer actually wants to see the inside of your home. So definitely space things out and de-clutter rooms before showing.
  3. Clean: Obviously, a clean home is going to attract more attention. Make your house look well-cared for.
  4. Move-In Ready: Simple repairs can go a long way to showing buyers that the house is move-in ready and there will be no to-do list right away.
  5. Envision: Neutralize the space with fresh paint so that potential buyers can envision themselves and their belongings in the house.
  6. Emotion: Remember to keep the home looking like it is comfy to live in and a great place to make memories.

If you need any other tips, feel free to reach out!

Why I Refer JVM Lending

When a buyer client doesn’t have a lender, I refer to JVM Lending. I can give multiple lenders and a buyer can choose whoever they want. Oftentimes, there are reasons for that choice. For example, if a buyer has only been in the country for less than two years, most lenders can’t finance them and big banks will only allow a certain amount of money, provided they have a chunk of change in their bank.

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Credit: JVM Lending

However, for most situations, I know JVM will perform if they give an approval. They are so diligent, have amazing systems in place, and are not dependent on just one loan officer responding. They don’t even have loan officer titles – the initial contact is with a Client Advisor.

There is nothing worse than having the loan blow up during the escrow process, especially in this market where buyers are removing all contingencies. I have been one of those agents who has called JVM to save the day, and they have saved it every time.

This recent blog by JVM shows how important it is to know if the lender is focused on refi’s, or primarily does purchase loans. It can make a world of difference. The only motive I have to refer JVM is that I know I will look good to my clients because everything will go so smoothly for them. Most buyers never recognize how smooth the process truly is, but they would appreciate it if they have ever experienced a bad lending experience and would never want to go through it again!

Why The Market Continues To Grow

According to a recent CNN article, the housing market is on a tear, after a slowdown at the beginning of the pandemic. You can read the entire story about one Washington, D.C.-area realtor who listed a property that received 76 all-cash offers in the first 72 hours. Incredible!

The article specifically mentions that home sales bounced back a few months after the pandemic began, but inventory did not. That increased demand, coupled with a lack of supply, has driven home prices up at a crazy pace. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of a home has risen 16% from last year.

brown and white concrete house under blue sky during daytime

It seems to be the competition that is driving home prices up so much, and causing this market to take off, however, buyers ultimately determine what they are willing to pay for a home. A long-standing slowdown in homebuilding, plus the pandemic, plus the low interest rates, a desire for more space due to working from home, and a recent exodus out of the cities (since people don’t need to be so close to work) have all contributed to this buying frenzy and a perfect storm for the housing market right now. It isn’t just happening in California, it is across the United States.

If you’re buying, buckle up, because it might be a bumpy ride. Many offers that are being accepted see the buyers removing all of their contingencies. Do I think that is smart? No, but if you have to get into a home and have written and lost 10-plus offers, then a buyer may just do that! If you’re interested in knowing more about the market, the process, or are ready to sell, now might be the best time to do it. In either case, if you want to buy or sell, especially in the East Bay, please give me a call. I’d be happy to help you out!