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PLEASANT HILL • WALNUT CREEK • MARTINEZ • LAFAYETTE • CONCORD • CLAYTON A monthly publication of Community Focus, the Concord Pioneer and Clayton Pioneer


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

I’M READY TO LIVE Without Limits

51 FOX COURT HOMESITE 2 - $1,660,460

H LIST S I W E M O H 4,757 Sq. Ft. at hs 5 Bedr ooms, 4.5 B 2 St or ies esign O pen-C oncept D f or Entertaining hbor hood ig e N e id ls il H l fu e Peac Roam P lent y of Room t o

243 BUCK CREEK COURT HOMESITE 15 - $1,684,637

FINAL CHANCE TO OWN NEW AT ALHAMBRA ESTATES Taylor Morrison is ready to enhance your living. Discover these exquisite move-in ready homes at Alhambra Estates that are perfectly designed to take your breath away.

SCHEDULE YOUR TOUR TODAY

218 Buck Creek Court, Martinez, CA 94553 925.557.2074

MEET OUR COMMUNITY SALES MANAGER Marjorie Safaie BRE# 01405660

taylormorrison.com All community and home information (including, but not limited to prices, view, availability, school assignments and ratings, incentives, floor plans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned amenities, programs, conceptual artists’ renderings and community development plans) is not guaranteed and remains subject to change or delay without notice. Maps and plans are not to scale and all dimensions are approximate. Prices may not include options, lot premiums and upgrades. Furnishings and accessories shown above for display purposes only and not included in the home. Floor plans and elevations are an artist’s conception, may show upgraded features and are not intended to show specific detailing. Homes subject to prior sale. This is not an offering in any state where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. No Purchase Agreement may be negotiated or signed by a prospective buyer for the purchase of a home until the Community’s applicable Conditional or Final Public Report has been issued by the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE). Please see a Taylor Morrison Community Sales Manager for details and visit www.taylormorrison.com for additional disclaimers. Taylor Morrison Services, Inc., BRE #00968975. © April, 2017, Taylor Morrison of California, LLC. All rights reserved.


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Discover the Possibilities with Windermere JU S $74 T SO 5,0 LD 00

219 Southbrook Pl., Clayton Heather Gray successfully negotiated this sale on behalf of her buyers competing against multiple offers. Heather is a life long Clayton resident with extensive knowledge of the area. She has proven marketing skills needed to sell your home for top dollar. She had been working with both buyers and sellers since 1999. Call Heather for a complimentary home estimate and staging tips for quick, professional results.

Heather Gray CalBRE 01329100

1556 Wales Court, Concord Beautifully remodeled 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with approx 125k in upgrades. Remodeled kitchen with breakfast bar & granite counters. Stone flooring, 6-panel doors, upgraded blinds, dimmer lighting and dual pane windows. Court location in Heather Glen with RV Access, 2car garage + carport, storage shed, spa & dog run. $549,000

Lynne French & Kelly Harrison

(925) 765-3822

CalBRE 01122025 & 02014355

www.RealEstatebyHeather.com

Lynne@LynneFrench.com

(925) 672-8787

Sa

le P wit end h 9 ing Of fer

319 Saclan Terrace, Clayton Stunning duet in Oakhurst, updated to perfection. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 remodeled baths with cathedral ceilings, fresh paint and gorgeous laminate flooring. Eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances and updated cabinets. Great backyard with deck, hot tub and beautiful vegetation.

“Roxanne is a fantastic person to work with.” s

“She is extremely personable, accommodating of your schedule and knows the area exceptionally well. She was also awesome with our baby daughter. She listens to and is mindful of your needs and price point for properties. She always has her client's best interest in mind.” - Jooah Kwon

Michelle Gittleman

N. Roxanne Brushaber CalBRE 01939535

CalBRE 01745325

$635,000

(925) 408-1349

(925) 768-0352

Michelle@MichelleGittleman.com

Everything I touch turns to sold

Sylvia Jones 2016 Top Producer CalBRE 01331733

(925) 200-7491

RBrushaber@windermere.com

2015 Best Real Estate Agent

“Sylvia is awesome. Without her help, I think I would still be searching for a home in the East Bay instead of moving into the one she found for me. She's smart, diligent and a pleasure to be around. Not only was she my agent, but now I also consider a friend. Thanks Sylvia!” -Arleen Anderson

Lynne French Team

Reader’s Choice Awards, Contra Costa Times The Spring Market is upon us, it's a good time to sell, inventory is low. With my 20 years in the real estate market along with my staging skills, I can help you prepare your home. Give me a call to help you receive Carol VanVaerenbergh top dollar for CalBRE 01221965 your home. (925) 683-2568

SylviaJones@windermere.com

CVanVaeren@aol.com

Area’s #1 Real Estate Office Assisting more buyers and sellers than anyone else* *Statistics based on Clayton closed sales by volume (1/2016-12/31/2016). Data by Maxebrdi

6200 Center Street, Clayton, CA 94517

(925) 673-2188 Clayton@Windermere.com


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Mix Up Something Eclectic On-Trend Design Ideas for Your Kitchen Renovation

Leigh Klock, Realtor Senior Real Estate Specialist Accredited Staging Professional

Leigh@LeighKlock.com Sold 1/4/2017 $669,000

15 El Molino Dr, Clayton

Sold 2/9/2017 $709,000

Sold 2/17/2017 $845,000

179 Mt. Vernon Dr, Clayton

11 Mt. Eden Pl, Clayton

“Leigh’s sensitivity and understanding built the kind of trust we really did not expect. She she kept us on task from start to finish. While she was selling the old house, Leigh was searching for our new home. Leigh knew how to do it. She understood us and our needs, probably better than we did. Read Leigh’s profile online. It is accurate and true. We highly recommend Leigh Klock.”

Lynn and Phil Fischer CalBRE# 01874255

www.LeighKlockHomes.com

925.212.5593

For most homes, there’s one room that serves as the hub of all activity. From preparing mouthwatering meals to entertaining a house full of guests to grabbing a few minutes to relax with a mug of steaming coffee, the kitchen is the place where it all happens. That’s why such careful planning is necessary when you set out to redesign this essential living space. Layout Arguably the most important decision is the overall layout of the kitchen, defining which appliances will go where and what architectural details – such as windows and doors – need to be integrated into the plans. Determining how many and what kind of cabinets you need can be even more complex, and a contemporary design can help open up plenty of options. In the past, cabinetry was fairly straightforward. Lower cabinets were topped with a counter, then a backsplash and a matching set of cabinets above. These days, design is far less predictable, and introducing variety through the cabinetry is a savvy designer’s trick to grab attention. It is now common to mix diverse finishes, door styles and wood species to blend different design techniques while achieving an eclectic but cohesive feel. For example, you could pair complementary styles and colors for the upper and lower cabinets, or create some contrast between the perimeter and island to capture an on-trend, eye-catching look that is anything but boring. You can also rely on varying heights and sizes to create more visual variety. Color A more eclectic kitchen style brings plenty of character on its own, so a color palette that lets the architectural and structural details really shine is more appropriate than bold splashes of vibrant color. That said, there’s still plenty of room to create visual interest and integrate multiple hues to give the room extra depth and charm. Subtle shades of gray may be just the ticket. Gray cabinetry has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, more than two-thirds of designers believe gray is the fastest growing color trend in cabinetry, according to data from RICKI Research. Function While the exterior of the cabinets is what you (and your guests) will appreciate when they first enter the room, it’s what lies hidden behind doors that makes a good kitchen truly great. After spending so much time creating the perfect look, your kitchen demands the right tools and enhancements to make it functional. The trick is to look for unexpected ways to add practical performance. For example, a shallow drawer is an ideal location for kitchen knives so you can free up counter space from a bulky butcher block. A slotted wood knife drawer is the perfect solution to securely hold each of your knives and help prevent dull blades and cut fingers. If you’re stuck with an awkward space, look for creative ways to make it work for you. For example, a narrow gap could be closed with a unique pull-out cabinet which can hold three small, one medium and three large containers. The quart containers are included with this canister organizer when ordered direct from the company. Storage Keeping what’s inside your cabinets organized only adds to a newly redesigned kitchen’s enhanced function. One often-overlooked solution is using


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

drawers for pots and pans. The ability to store each pot with its corresponding lid eliminates the jumbled stacks and hard-to-reach pieces common in many kitchens. Extra-deep drawers, paired with drawer storage options provide sectioned, adjustable options depending upon size of pots and pans. Another option: an adjustable wood board peg system that lets you customize the peg locations to fit your pots and pans just right. Going Gray Gray may be neutral, but today’s designers know that the subtle hue is anything but dull. Follow these tips to help make the most of this versatile shade. 1. Although a sleek and modern design may be the first look you envision with gray, you can also create warm, cozy spaces by using materials like wood and rich tones such as red, yellow and orange. 2. Avoid overdoing bold accent colors, which can overpower the gray and make a room seem busy. Rely on lighting and white accents, such as countertops and backsplashes, to add some brightness to the room. 3. If the idea of going all gray is overwhelming, opt instead to do a statement piece in gray, such as an island or other feature element you want to showcase. Find more inspiration and planning tools to create the contemporary kitchen of your dreams at wellborn.com.

JUST SOLD 1613 ONLEY DR., PLEASANT HILL

210 GREENWICH DR., PLEASANT HILL

4 BD, 2 BA, 1,462 SF $775,000. Sold in 3 days with multiple offers. $56K over list! Represented sellers.

4 BD, 2 BA, 2,283 SF $870,000. Sold in 2 days with multiple offers. $40K over list! Represented buyers.

Interested in buying or selling? In this competitive real estate market, put my decade of local experience to work for you. Contact me today to achieve the results you want, expect and deserve.

Bryce Schumacher, RealtorÂŽ 925.457.4096 bryce.schumacher@pacunion.com www.bryceschumacher.com Lic. 01379459


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Do You Want to Rent or Sell? Making an Important Decision BY SHEILA STOKLEY Property owners frequently ask if they should sell or rent their homes. Overall, while the real estate market has improved and property values have risen, we always advise investors to keep their homes as rentals if they can. There are many good financial reasons to hold on to that asset. A well-managed property can bring an owner positive cash flow benefits. You’ll get a steady rent check every month, and you can count on a tenant paying most or all of your mortgage bills for you. This makes a rental property a solid investment. You also get the tax advantages of property ownership. You can deduct expenses and interest when you keep your home as a rental. One of these expenses is the fee you pay your property manager. This means that any expenses you incur in maintaining that rental home will help you out at tax time. In addition, you don’t have to pay any capital gains taxes when you rent out your home, which you would if you sold your property. When you sell, you have to absorb expenses involved in the sale, including repairs or upgrades to the property as well as commissions to your real estate agent. Sometimes, property owners think it’s a better idea to sell because it takes too much time and work to care for a rental property. If you continue

to rent your home, use a professional property manager so you can minimize that time and effort. A good property manager will take care of all tenant related issues and stay on top of the legal requirements. That includes fair housing laws, habitability issues, and all required compliance. Your property manager will protect you and your investment. You’ll have someone to answer after-hours maintenance calls and ensure rent is collected in a timely manner. Take some time to get to know the sales and rental market before you make a decision about what to do with your home. Joe & Sheila Stokley are the owners of Stokley Properties, located in Pleasant Hill. Reach them at 925.658.1415, stokleyproperties.net.

“Relax, We got this!” stokleyproperties.net

PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Hambletonian,W.C. Rented in 6 Days

Over 20 years of successful real estate experience.

• 95% Retention Rate

• Thorough Tenant Screening and Placement

• Available 24/7 for Maintenance Emergencies

• 98% of Renters Pay on Time

• 18 Days Average on the Market

• Monthly and Year End Statements

• Online Rent Pay 24/7

• NARPM Member

Crestview, Martinez Rented in 8 Days

“I ONLY buy investment property where Stokley Properties can manage them for me! The team at Stokley Properties has always taken great care of me, my investments and my tenants. I am spoiled rotten!” - Katey D., Walnut Creek

925.658.1415 ext. 3 • stokleyproperties.net • CalBRE #01862445

Cape Cod, Concord Rented in 11 Days


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Sun Lovers, Shade Lovers Plus Every Plant in Between BY ANGELA HARTMAN, RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN & NURSERY Sunlight. It’s a key component to successful gardening. Even the most inexperienced gardener knows that a lack of sunlight, or too much of it, will kill plants and zap enthusiasm. One of the most frequently asked questions we get at the nursery is, “How much light does this plant need?” There are different tricks to setting your plants up for lighting success. Our nursery manager, Steven Wexler, offers these tips on selecting the right plants based on the lighting conditions of your garden. 1) Know your yard. Spend a day mapping where the sun hits each bed and note how many hours of sunlight it receives. 2) Study the seasons. In winter, many trees lose their leaves, which can be deceiving when figuring out sunlight exposure for spring or summer, when the trees have their leaves. 3) Keep your plants in pots. If you’re unsure of whether or not a plant will thrive in a certain area of your yard, test run the spot with pots. After a week or so, you will be able to tell how healthy the potted plant is looking, and this will give you a good idea of whether or not it belongs in the ground at that location. 5) Look for signs of sun-deprivation or too much sun. When succulents are over exposed to sunlight, they will pull back. You’ll notice the leaves will

GARDEN & NURSERY

overlap and tighten up, and some plants will look chlorotic (yellow). If they aren’t getting enough sun, they will etiolate, which is the lengthening of the internode distance (distance between buds) on the stem. For more tips on picking plants that will thrive in your yard, stop by our nursery and talk with one of our knowledgeable staff members. Learn from your mistakes, keep experimenting, and don’t give up. Happy gardening!

Planting Season

Denisen Hartlove, Realtor Local, reliable, trusted

Prep your garden for summer with drought tolerant plants.

Enjoy 10% off any succulent or plant purchase at the nursery

(925) 408-7901 Lic. 01933662

Denisen@FindAHomeToLove.com

LD

SO

Offer valid until April 30.

LD

SO

LD

SO

The Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek

I’m not in trouble anymore!

I called Hire My Husband to take care of our “Honey Do List”!

www.ruthbancroftgarden.org

Hire My Husband

Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner 5 Years in a Row! Community Focus Readers’ Local Favorite 2014 & 2015

• Interior Painting • Quality Home Repair Projects • Handyman Services

5513 Florida Drive, Concord 3 BR, 2 BA, 1524 sf Sold in 10 days for $620,000 with 7 offers

1535 Schenone Court, Concord 2 BR, 1½ BA, 1093 sf Sold in 7 days for $20K over list, 5 offers

See Yelp for more great reviews

“Denisen has integrity, which is an attribute that can be hard to find in this profession. She loves what she does! I am happy to refer her and any client would be pleased with her results.” —Janet Hafley

Contractor Lic. # 943231

www.HireMyHusband.com

925-969-0133

1291 Peregrine Court, Concord 5 BR, 3 BA, 2961 sf Sold in 14 days for full price

www.FindAHomeToLove.com


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

DUDUM REAL ESTATE GROUP ANGIE CLAY

ANGIE CULUM

925.207.9366

925.209.5999

CATHY BAIGENT

JANE SMITH

925.383.2734

925.998.1914

JANET POWELL

JENNIFER WATKINS

925.876.2399

925.348.8802

CALBRE 01361143

CALBRE 00820617

CALBRE 01973545

CALBRE 00851239

CALBRE 01476506

CALBRE 02017103

3013 GARROW DRIVE, ANTIOCH

JOHN FONDNAZIO

415.505.1290

925.817.9053

CALBRE 02007463

CALBRE 01938194

$748,000

4 BED, 2.5 BATH, 2,304 SQ. FT., 8,500 SF LOT VERONICA HIDALGO 925.381.9585

3031 JUSTIN WAY, CONCORD

753 YGNACIO WOODS COURT, CONCORD

CALL AGENT FOR PRICE

$955,000

3 BED, 2 BATH, 1,161 SQ. FT., 5,400 SF LOT JOHN FONDNAZIO 925.817.9053

5 BED, 3 BATH, 3,117 SQ. FT., 8,000 SF LOT TERESA ZOCCHI TEAM 925.360.8662

3219 MT. DIABLO STREET, CONCORD

1505 KIRKER PASS ROAD, CONCORD

$518,000

3 BED, 2 BATH, 1,200 SQ. FT., .22 ACRE LOT MARY NOEL

WWW.DUDUM.COM

$280,000

2 BED, 1 BATH, 744 SQ. FT. 925.890.0753 $410,000

4 BED, 2.5 BATH, 1,699 SQ. FT., 4,500 SF LOT JENNIFER ZAK 415.505.1290

Distinctive Properties CALBRE #01882902

1072 CHLOE COURT, CONCORD

4 BED, 2 BATH, 2,089 SQ. FT., .46 ACRE LOT JANET POWELL 925.876.2399

289 BALSAM STREET, PITTSBURG

JENNIFER ZAK

$432,000

PETER PAREDERO 172 CAMINO POSADA, WALNUT CREEK

925.787.8746 CALL AGENT FOR PRICE

3 BED, 2 BATH, 1,376 SQ. FT., 14,410 SF LOT PETER PAREDERO 925.787.8746

FOUR LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU...


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

ELEVATING THE ART OF REAL ESTATE... 1930 BURNSIDE COURT, CONCORD

$699,000

5450 KIRKWOOD DRIVE, #E2, CONCORD

$395,000

4 BED, 2 BATH, 1,926 SQ. FT., SINGLE STORY TERYLYNN-N-TEAM 925.876.0966

2 BED, 2 BATH, 1,272 SQ. FT., GARAGE TERYLYNN-N-TEAM

4436 CRESTWOOD CIRCLE, CONCORD

5450 KIRKWOOD DRIVE, F1, CONCORD

$578,000

3 BED, 2 BATH, 1,571 SQ. FT., 8,446 SF LOT VERONICA HIDALGO 925.381.9585

JANET POWELL

5455 KIRKWOOD DRIVE, #G8, CONCORD

3375 S. LUCILLE LANE, LAFAYETTE

$296,000

171 SEQUOIA AVENUE, WALNUT CREEK

CALL AGENT FOR PRICE

3 BED, 2 BATH, BEAUTIFUL BACKYARD ANGIE CLAY TEAM

925.876.2399 $860,000

3 BED, 2 BATH, 1,465 SQ. FT., 10,200 SF LOT 925.876.2399

925.207.9366

JANE SMITH

925.998.1914

3643 PERADA DRIVE, WALNUT CREEK

LAURIE HIGGINS

925.818.5500

925.876.7968

MARTY HENDREN

MARY NOEL

925.786.3398

925.890.0753

PETER PAREDERO

TERESA ZOCCHI

925.787.8746

925.360.8862

TERRYLYNN FISHER

VERONICA HIDALGO

925.876.0966

925.381.9585

CALBRE 01290985

$389,000

2 BED, 2 BATH, 1,274 SQ. FT.

2 BED, 2 BATH, 891 SQ. FT. JANET POWELL

925.876.0966

JULIE DEL SANTO

CALBRE 01166864

CALBRE 01351308

CALBRE 01322819

CALBRE 00959722

CALBRE 01907345

$1,198,998

4 BED, 2 BATH, 2,422 SQ. FT., .22 ACRE LOT TERESA ZOCCHI TEAM 925.360.8662

CALBRE 00615420

CALBRE 01468657

BRENTWOOD

LAFAYETTE

DANVILLE

WALNUT CREEK

160-B GUTHRIE LANE, #3 BRENTWOOD, CA 94513 O: 925.937.4000 F: 925.937.4001

999 OAK HILL RD., #100 LAFAYETTE, CA 94549 O: 925.284.1400 F: 925.284.1411

100 RAILROAD AVE., #A DANVILLE, CA 94526 O: 925.937.4000 F: 925.937.4001

1910 OLYMPIC BLVD., #100 WALNUT CREEK, CA 94596 O: 925.937.4000 F: 925.937.4001


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Emotions of Spring Organizing Cleaning is Just the Final Step BY CONNIE ANDERSON, CPO As a Certified Professional Organizer, I am frequently asked about spring cleaning. Why is it so hard? Where do I start? Why do it at all? First of all, let’s talk about spring organizing instead. Modern cleaning tools (and heating) have made spring cleaning more of a tradition than a need, therefore, people are more likely to do a spring organizing anyway. A good scrub tends to be the last step of a successful organization. I find the best place to start is at the top of the pile. The reason organizing is hard is not so simple. Time, schedules, and physical condition can all play a role; however, when push comes to shove, the deep, dark reason many people don’t like taking on an organizing project is that they don’t like the emotions of their clutter. As humans, we attach emotions to our stuff – even that pile of paper on our desk that just needs filing. Confronting those decisions we’ve been putting off, whether it’s the guilt of hating Great Aunt Edna’s priceless lamp or deciding to finally get rid of all the love tokens from your high school sweetheart, is emotionally exhausting. There is no one size fits all solution that works for everyone. Working with a professional organizer helps you understand and find the right fit, so getting and staying organized becomes empowering. The truth is that there

PE

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LI JUS ST T ED

NG

Julie McCoy

5254 Hiddencrest Court

1843 Granada Drive, Concord

5 Bedroom, Loft, 3 Bath Home in Desirable Crystyl Ranch Main Floor Master Bedroom Suite Open Kitchen / Family Room Private Backyard

3 Bedroom Single Story Home PLUS Studio Apartment Spacious Kitchen, Covered Deck and Patio Large Level Lot, Many Possibilities Convenient Location, Established Neighborhood Great Income Potential

$975,000

is no “right” way to organize. Every person is different and needs different systems to manage their stuff, workflow, and life. That said, here are some generalizations I’ve come up with in my 20 years as an organizer: 1. Be proud of your environment. 2. Donate, recycle, or trash everything you don’t love and use regularly. 3. It’s better to borrow or rent things you rarely use. 4. Hire experts. If you don’t love sewing, have a tailor hem your pants and rid yourself of all the sewing stuff. The good news is that keeping your home Architectural Digest clean and organized is just not realistic for most of us. Life is messy. Celebrate spring by organizing something for an instant pick-me up. Connie Anderson is a Certified Professional Organizer and is an ICD Level II Specialist in Chronic Disorganization. Her business, Anderson Organizing (www.connieorganizes.com) is a Contra Costa County Certified Green Business. To learn more, contact Connie at (925) 322-0553 or connie@connieorganizes.com.

2015

$539,000 Julie McCoy - Realtor®/Broker Associate 925-980-8095 www.JulieMcCoy.com

®

RE/MAX Accord

ABR, CDPE, e-Pro, QSC, SRES Five Star Professional Award, 2012-2016 Cal BRE Lic. # 01260930

Mark Ellinwood, Owner

ANTS • SPIDERS • MICE • RATS • FLEAS • 1 TIME SPRAY OK


CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Cascade of Colors Create a Stunning Hanging Basket BY NICOLE HACKETT Hanging baskets planted with cascading color and contrasting leaves are desirable enhancements, adding another level of gardening appeal to landscapes and gardens. Using hanging baskets allows garden lovers to draw the eye to specific points of interest. Hanging baskets can accent the corners of patios, boughs of trees, shepherd’s hooks or fence posts. Some folks purchase pre-planted hanging baskets while others delight in creating their own. Creating your own hanging basket is a sure way to get the colors you crave. Some like the idea of one type of plant consuming the entire hanging basket, while others may like a combination of plants to get that layered look they are vying for. Whatever your idea may be, you’ll need to know the plants and the how-to for a successful hanging basket. Verbena is a fantastic family of colorful spilling perennials that make excellent additions to hanging baskets. Verbena thrives in full afternoon sun. They are very hardy in the heat and the small leaves are less likely to dry out in the wind. Superbenia and Tukana verbenas are both hybrids and good choices for a hanging basket. Verbena isn’t short of color choices for you to consider. Million Bells is another exceptional family of sun loving cascading color perfect for a hanging basket. This hybrid petunia has tiny flowers of every color you can think of. They are reasonably priced and easy to grow in our Diablo Valley climate. If your grandmother grew Ivy geraniums, she made a good choice. They are very easy, take little care and thrive around town. Ivy geraniums add layers of flowers and a long cascade. They can easily grow 16-20” long. Red ivy geraniums are very sought after. They add a lot of punch to a hanging basket. Other hardy colors are salmon and lavender. Some Sedum plants also cascade over the sides of hanging baskets. Sedum John Creech and Tri-color are both very appealing to the eye. John Creech has green leaves and rosettes with a dark edge. The sedum tri-color has tiny leaves of olive green with cream and pink variegation. Both of these will flourish in full sun. Fuchsias are fabulous cascading evergreens that are happiest in a shady spot. They too make great hanging basket plants but they like to be alone. They don’t like to share their root space. Other fun, colorful cascading plants to think about when planting a hanging basket are Campanula, Lysimahia, bacopa, lobelia and begonias. Unless your plant likes to be alone, consider installing your selections in odd numbers. A 12-14” planter can hold three 4” potted plants. A 16-18” planter can hold five plants. Plant your hanging baskets using a premium potting soil. Poor soil dries out too fast. Hanging baskets will need to be watered everyday during the warm months. To help with the watering, mix in a soil moist product. These are little polymer granules that soak up water and release it as the soil dries out. Follow product directions, and don’t add too many. They will expand and displace the soil in the basket. Fertilizing is also very important with a hanging basket. Fertilize regularly for best results. Nicole Hackett is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Gardens, 6780 Marsh Creek Rd. in Clayton.

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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

February Home Statistics CLAYTON

Source: www.ccartoday.com

CONCORD

Homes 2016 2017 Homes 2016 2017 New Listings 14 9 New Listings 89 82 Pending Sales 9 19 Pending Sales 77 74 Closed Sales 3 10 Closed Sales 58 68 Days on Market Until Sale 79 35 Days on Market Until Sale 29 33 Average Sales Price $768,000 $785,300 Average Sales Price $566,302 $600,403 Inventory of Homes for Sale 14 13 Inventory of Homes for Sale 88 76 Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 3 1 2 26 $514,950 1

2017 3 4 2 40 $609,000 1

LAFAYETTE

Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 35 24 24 15 $265,438 20

2017 23 27 21 21 $263,879 16

MARTINEZ

Homes 2016 2017 Homes 2016 2017 New Listings 34 30 New Listings 43 32 Pending Sales 15 15 Pending Sales 30 30 Closed Sales 10 7 Closed Sales 31 25 Days on Market Until Sale 53 32 Days on Market Until Sale 44 36 Average Sales Price $1,376,500 $1,814,770 Average Sales Price $602,903 $701,218 Inventory of Homes for Sale 30 31 Inventory of Homes for Sale 36 30 Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 3 0 1 56 $1,975,040 3

2017 4 6 6 25 $739,167 3

PLEASANT HILL

Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 13 11 3 8 $396,667 5

2017 12 11 3 30 $361,650 8

WALNUT CREEK

Homes 2016 2017 Homes 2016 2017 New Listings 21 20 New Listings 64 51 Pending Sales 18 17 Pending Sales 47 38 Closed Sales 15 15 Closed Sales 17 29 Days on Market Until Sale 23 15 Days on Market Until Sale 21 21 Average Sales Price $638,130 $767,359 Average Sales Price $1,092,604 $1,087,400 Inventory of Homes for Sale 13 16 Inventory of Homes for Sale 31 38 Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 11 9 5 16 $515,700 5

2017 13 11 4 6 $486,225 4

Townhouse-Condo Attached New Listings Pending Sales Closed Sales Days on Market Until Sale Average Sales Price Inventory of Homes for Sale

2016 53 42 22 17 $534,636 30

2017 44 26 29 15 $572,145 30


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

Joint Ownership or a Trust? When Passing Down a Home Which is Better? BY JEFFERY HALL When leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method? If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have an equal ownership interest in the property. If one joint tenant dies, his or her interest immediately ceases to exist and the other joint tenant owns the entire property. This has the advantage of avoiding probate. A disadvantage of joint tenancy is that creditors can attach the tenant’s property to satisfy a debt. For example, if a co-tenant defaults on debts, his or her creditors can sue in a “partition proceeding” to have the property interests divided and the property sold, even over the other owners’ objections. In addition, even without an issue with a creditor, one co-owner of the property can sue to partition the property; so one owner can force another owner to move out. Joint tenancy also has a capital gains impact for the child. When you give property to a child, the tax basis for the property is the same price that you purchased the property for. However, inherited property receives a “step up” in basis, which means the basis is the current value of the property. When you die, your child inherits your half of the property, so half of the property will receive a “step up” in basis. But the tax basis of the gifted half of the property will remain

the original purchase price. If your child sells the house after you die, he or she would have to pay capital gains taxes on the difference between the tax basis and the selling price. The only way to avoid the tax is for the child to live in the house for at least two years before selling it. In that case, the child can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a couple) of capital gains from taxes. If you put your property in a revocable trust with yourself as beneficiary and your child as beneficiary after you die, the property will go to your child without going through probate. A trust is also beneficial because it can guarantee you the right to live in the house and takes into account changes in circumstances, such as your child passing away before you. Another benefit of a trust is capital gains taxes. The tax basis of property in a revocable trust is stepped up when you die, which means the basis would be the current value of the property. Therefore, if your child sells the property soon after inheriting it, the value of the property would likely not have changed much and the capital gains taxes would be low. In general, a trust is more flexible and provides more options to protect you and your child, but circumstances always vary. Speak with local Estates & Trusts Attorney Jeffrey Hall, an attorney in private practice, about how to pass down your property. He can be reached at (925) 230-9002 or www.HallLawGroup.com.

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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

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15

Reverse Mortgages Deciding What is Best for Your Financial Situation BY GLENNA NICKERSON Most Americans typically want to stay in their own home as they grow older.However, as it gets harder to do things on your own, you may need a helping hand with everyday tasks. It can be costly to pay for help at home, along with home repairs and maintenance and health needs. For many people, these extra costs are a real burden. Older Americans often hold onto their homes as a nest egg. But when the time comes that the nest egg is needed, how do they make use of that home value? One option is to sell the house and move. But, there is another, perhaps better, option that allows them to continue to live in their home while tapping the equity built up over years. Home equity is the difference between the appraised value of the home and what is owed on any mortgages. A reverse mortgage can allow them to convert some of that home equity into cash so that they can stay at home. A reverse mortgage, also called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a special type of home loan that lets homeowners 62 or older convert a portion of the equity in their home into cash. The equity that has built up over years of making mortgage payments can be actually be put to work to meet living expenses in their later years. Unlike a traditional home equity loan or second mortgage, reverse mort-

gage borrowers do not have to repay the HECM loan until the borrowers no longer use the home as their principal residence or fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage. An HECM can also be used to purchase a primary residence if the borrower has enough cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the new property. Using the equity in your home can seem like a good idea. But is it right for you? It is a decision you should consider carefully, because your house may be your most valuable financial asset. You can request a FREE booklet published by the National Council on Aging. Go to www.ncoa.org and click on the “Older Americans” tab. After reading the booklet, you might be in a better position to: • Decide if staying at home is right for you. • Understand the reverse mortgage option, as well as other ways you can pay for help at home. • Know where to go for more information. Glenna Nickerson has called Contra Costa County home since 1982, has been a licensed Real Estate Broker since 1983 and a lender for over 20 years. Her mission in life is “to make a positive difference” with everyone she meets. Contact her at glenna.nickerson@gmail.com

Down Payment Assistance Public School District Teacher and Employees Get Help BY CHRIS ROBERTS Are you a school district employee struggling to save the necessary funds to buy a home in the area? CalHFA, the California Housing Finance Agency, has supported the needs of renters and homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate income Californians since 1975. CalHFA was chartered as the state’s affordable housing lender to make low interest rate loans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. CalHFA is a completely selfsupporting state agency, and its bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars. The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP) is a deferred payment, simple interest rate subordinate loan that is combined with a CalHFA first mortgage, which can be conventional or FHA. This program is for teachers, administrators, school district employees and staff members working for any California K-12 public school, which includes charter schools and county/continuation schools. Applicants must also be first-time homebuyers (not having owned a principal residence in the last three years).

ECTP junior loans are the greater of 3.5% of sales price or $15,000 in the high cost areas of California, including Contra Costa and Solano Counties. ECTP loans can only be used for down payment assistance and/or closing costs. This loan can be layered with additional down payment assistance from CalHFA to provide another deferred subordinate loan, which can provide another 3-4% of the loan amount for down payment and closing cost assistance. Interested buyers will work with approved lenders to provide these programs, so please call Chris Roberts at Academy Mortgage with questions: 925-222-6609. Chris Roberts is a Senior Loan Officer with Academy Mortgage Corporation | NMLS #670751 | LO State Lic #CA-DOC670751 | Corp State Lic #4170013 | Corp NMLS #3113 Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act | Equal Housing Lender


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CENTRAL COUNTY HOMES | APRIL

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