There’s nothing better than a summer night in the Bay Area. We’re spoiled with perfect weather here, and it means we can spend every evening outside, enjoying the twilight with drink in our hand and a happy hour entree on our plates. It also means it’s time for Summer Concert Series season!
You don’t have to stray too far from home to get to the closest concerts. There will be four free performances outside The Lesher Center, starting with a show this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. All shows go from 5:30-7 p.m. and will sell beer, wine and snacks:
June 21: Mariachi Mestizo
June 28: The Sons of the Soul Revivers
July 12: Tumbledown House
July 26: The T Sisters (highly recommend this one – love their sound!)
If you like what you hear in July at The Lesher Center, carry on that momentum into August with Broadway Plaza’s Summer Concert Series. These will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Event Plaza, and they are also free to the public:
Aug. 16: Kalimba (The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire)
Aug. 23: Caravanserai (The Santana Tribute)
Aug. 30: Bee Gee’s Gold (The Tribute)
Lastly, if you want to venture a bit outside of Walnut Creek, check out our neighbors’ Summer Concert Series in Pleasant Hill’s Plaza in front of Jack’s Restaurant & Bar. The shows take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and are, of course, free!
July 5: Fleetwood Mask
Aug. 2: Top Shelf Classics
Sept. 6: Illeagles
No matter which series you choose – or if you try out all three – you’re sure to have a good time jamming to some fun music! Let me know if you visit any of these shows, and how they are!
Nestled in a quaint corner of the new-ish Pleasant Hill BART area – but technically still in Walnut Creek – lies a hidden gem of foreign cuisine. Parada, the latest brainchild of the Michelin rated Chef Carlos Altamirano, is a delicious, colorful display of Peruvian food that will definitely bring you back for seconds.
Chef Altamirano’s name may ring a bell; he has Mochica and Piqueos in San Francisco, Barranco in Lafayette, a fleet of Sanguchon food trucks, as well as La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, where he earned Michelin stars in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He trained under some of the Bay Area’s most renowned chefs, combined that background with an upbringing infused with Latin American culture and cuisine in Southern Peru, and created a food empire.
Now I know from personal experience that Peruvian cuisine, especially when cultivated by Chef Altamirano, is a can’t-miss eating opportunity.
The restaurant itself is quite small, but you wouldn’t know it when you’re in there enjoying your meal. Parada is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, though hours vary. It’s a little bit pricey, but that’s what quality fine dining in Walnut Creek will get you these days!
If you haven’t been to Parada yet, I insist you do so. When you go, let me know how you liked it!
If you’ve ever hopped on BART in downtown Walnut Creek, you’ve probably seen the towering, 10-story office buildings just across the street from the North parking lot (if the train was headed towards the Pleasant Hill station). It has recently gotten a makeover, including state-of-the-art conference facilities, residential units and an outdoor area with bocce ball courts.
Also part of the makeover is a brilliant art installation, which paints a beautiful picture of Mt. Diablo across multiple fans against a wall. I call them “fans,” though I’m not sure exactly what the structure is, what kinds of materials were used, or who created it! Information is sparse.
What I do know, though, is this is an amazing upgrade to a space that was very 1970s outdated. I’m excited to see what other changes they will add to the building to spruce up the Walnut Creek BART area. It seems like good timing, with all the changes going on around and in the Bart area that destined to become a little village. Just on Riviera the back road to WC Bart and where my office is located, are 3 new condo complexes being built (a future blog), not to mention the large apartment complex across from Bart on Ygnacio.
Are you a family with kids looking for a new Bay Area home? Check out this spacious Valhalla North property, located walking distance from Valhalla Elementary!
It’s situated on a cozy court and has a massive, naturally-shaded hillside deck with a perfect view of Mt. Diablo. This home will adapt to changing needs – whether you have a small, growing family or one that spans multiple generations. The five bedrooms and three bathrooms will do the trick.
Downstairs, you have one large bedroom with a full bath that can serve as a master suite. Add to that newer stamped concrete, recessed lighting, plantation shutters, updated baths and ample storage, and you’ve got a winner here in Pleasant Hill.
Our friend Jay Vorhees at JVM Lending came up with another relatable blog recently: Tax Transcripts and 4506-T forms. It generally explains how those forms work, and reminded me of an experience of my own. First, a summary of Jay’s blog:
Every time a lender gets a loan from a borrower, they also have to get the last two years of tax returns. This is why borrowers sign IRS Form 4506-T as part of their disclosures. It formally authorizes lenders to request tax transcripts, which then show the filer’s status and income information.
Lenders are required to request transcripts from the IRS before a borrower can (borrowers can only request them directly if the IRS reject’s a lender’s request). If there is a minor error between the 4506-T and the tax return, this rejection may occur, so it happens pretty often.
That covers the basics of how the 4506-T form works and the role it plays in a real estate transaction. It’s a more subtle part of the process, but can cause huge headaches when done incorrectly. Take, for example, my experience with a property at Madeira in Pleasant Hill last year.
I represented the seller, and the buyer had their lender in Oakland, with a Bank out of L.A. Unbeknownst to us, the bank was being bought out and the new bank was called Bank of Hope – yes, really. But it turned out to be the Bank of Hopelessness.
Processes changed, the lender in Oakland was let go and nobody knew what they were doing. Communication was terrible. One of the balls that got dropped was getting the tax returns. We closed almost two weeks late and the only way this ended up closing at all is by the processor who I had been speaking with regarding other issues. They actually went down to the IRS office and got the tax returns. She went beyond what is required (and probably got tired of our phone calls), but my seller is an attorney and also made multiple phone calls as they had already purchased a new home that was about to close.
This is one of the best reasons to get fully underwritten before you start to write offers. If all the documentation is in upfront, there won’t be any surprises or delays once you get into contract. Selecting the right lender can be the difference between smooth sailing and dark nightmares.
Are you an avid biker? Is that your summertime physical activity of choice? Even if that’s not the case, you might want to give this cool bike challenge in Walnut Creek a try!
It’s a great way to force yourself outside to enjoy the beautiful Bay Area summer weather, get a little exercise, and be environmentally-friendly all at once. Basically, there is a Walnut Creek Summer Bike Challenge that asks you to download a challenge card and complete it before the summer is over.
Destinations include Cream in downtown Walnut Creek (what better motivation for going on a ride is there than having ice cream at the finish line?), Heather Farm and Civic Park.
If the exercise, enjoyment and gas savings aren’t enough incentive, there are also prizes! Some squares on the challenge card offer instant prizes or free stuff upon completion, and the program’s grand prize is an iPad.
Other Bay Area cities hosting a challenge like this are Brentwood, Martinez, Oakley and Pleasant Hill. Give it a shot and explore our wonderful little town in a whole new way. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a SoulCycle subscription!
A past client just put his home at 304 Grapevine Place in Pleasant Hill on the market. It went pending in 7 days and received four offers all over the asking price.
He only bought 15 months ago, but a career with the Coast Guard has him moving to Seattle and he will still walk away with some money in his pocket, although he is telling me Seattle is as pricey as the East Bay if not more so.
I love helping our military sellers and VA buyers. I specialize in knowing about the VA loan, have worked on a military base in Nuremberg, Germany and have a son who is currently in the Navy (on a nuclear sub, NuPoc graduate). If you know somebody who is eligible for the VA benefits and would like to know more about the home buying process, I would be honored to help them.
This New Year’s Eve, there seems to be a ton of fun events at local establishments for you to ring in 2017 with.
For me, New Year’s is a time to reflect on the year that has just passed and to focus forward with new resolutions – what can be improved, how to get into shape and what can I do better. I tend to struggle with the idea that one has to have a special celebration for this event, as I always find the hype does not live up to the expectation, and I am left with disappointment.
My best New Year’s celebrations have always been the unexpected. My favorite was a last-minute ski trip to Sugar Bowl where we scored a small room due to a cancellation. Our kids had the run of the lodge because the only way in was by gondola, and we could walk out the door to the lift. To our surprise, they had night skiing, champagne and sparkling cider at the hut atop the hill. Then, at 11:30, those who wanted to participate did the torch run, and when all were safely down, the fireworks exploded! So as the clock hits midnight, we all turn the page and start looking forward to new adventures in 2017.
If you feel that you have to do something and have made no plans, but don’t want to venture all the way to San Francisco, take a look at a couple of local events taking place on New Year’s Eve:
For the 24 years I have lived in Walnut Creek, there have been no public 4th of July fireworks displays. According to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, fireworks are illegal in the county, so good luck trying to put on your own show!
However, you can buy fireworks in Alameda County – Dublin is not that far away – but with the drought, the law is probably a good thing to abide by.
Luckily, some cities close by are shooting off fireworks, so grab a spot on a hill, go to the location itself, or maybe a friend has a bird’s eye view from their house:
Antioch – Contra Costa Fairgrounds (Dusk)
Benicia – Benicia City Park (9:00 p.m.)
Berkeley – Berkeley Marina (9:30 p.m.)
Concord – Mt. Diablo High School & Todos Santos Plaza (9:00 p.m.)
Livermore – Downtown (Dusk)
Martinez – Waterfront (9:30 p.m.)
Moraga – Moraga Country Club (Dusk)
Pittsburg – Pittsburg Marina (Dusk)
Pleasant Hill – College Park High School & Pleasant Hill Country Club (9:10 p.m.)
Pleasanton – Alameda County Fairgrounds (9:30 p.m.)
Join us for a broker tour today from 10:30 a.m .to 1:00 p.m. at both 2899 Madeira Way in Pleasant Hill and 1655 Endriss Dr. in Martinez. We’ll have some goodies to share at these beautiful properties!
Also, at the home on Madeira Way, we’ll have an Open House both Saturday and Sunday (June 25th and 26th) from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The updated 4-bedroom home has new hardwood floors, plantation shutters in every bedroom and a large backyard with a patio perfect for entertaining.
The master bedroom is downstairs, just off the living room and dining room, which buttresses a nice kitchen with granite countertops. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms with one currently being utilized as a spacious personal office.
Come wander through this lovely home in a great neighborhood with us this weekend. Hope to see you there!