Fall Weekend Guide to Napa Valley

Fall Weekend Guide to Napa Valley

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing into beautiful shades of red and orange and wine country is calling. Fall is one of the best seasons to plan a weekend trip to see all that Napa Valley has to offer. This area has hundreds of wineries that attract millions of visitors each year. Still, this region of California has more to offer than wine. There are plenty of outdoor adventures, relaxing spas and shopping areas to make for a busy trip.

Visitors to Napa Valley can leave the car behind and try an alternate way of getting around. The Calistoga Bike Shop offers both rentals and tours of the area. People looking to go on their own adventure can look to the shop for advice on which places to check out. Rentals start at $28, and helmets, locks and rack bags are included. Ride through Sonoma County on horseback for a unique way of experiencing the natural features of the area. Stables pair riders with gentle horses for trips all year long. One option is riding through wine grapes, apple trees and towering oak groves at Rollin F Ranch. Or people can take the seaside route, riding past the sand dunes along the Sonoma coastline.

People can get a taste of history while traveling through the region on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The rail cars on the train have been restored to their original glory dating back to the early 1900s. Couples can plan trips with an intimate dinner as the stars shine overhead. Or people can put their sleuth caps on and solve the murder mystery dinner. The Santa Train is also a family favorite. Leave the ground behind altogether and tour Napa Valley through a hot air balloon ride. Imagine rising up above the vineyards as the fog clears and the sun rises just over the hills. If this sounds like a perfect start to the day, then make a reservation for this unique tour. Many companies offer champagne mimosas and breakfast after the trip as well.

Take a night and enjoy live music or a film on the big screen. Silos Jazz Club is an intimate space where visitors can listen to rock and blues while sipping local wines. This venue has performances nearly every night. Upcoming acts include the Second Street Band, jazz pianist Mike Greensill and surf rocker John Wheeler. The Cameo Cinema is an elegant theatre that shows both independent and studio-released films. This theatre dates back to 1913, and it has since seen serious upgrades both in 1996 and in 2009. Visitors rave about the theatre’s sound system and seriously cheap popcorn.

Those looking for heart-pumping action should head to the Sonoma Raceway for NASCAR. This track hosts one of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, which takes place on a road course. Other events at the raceway include the Verizon IndyCar series, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series and motorcycle races by the American Federation of Motorcyclists. Video game enthusiasts might recognize the track. The track first appeared in “NASCAR Racing” in 1994 and has since shown up in several other racing games.

At least a half-day of the weekend trip in Napa Valley should be dedicated to a quick Sacramento trip. Just an hour’s drive away, the city dates back to the rough and tumble Gold Rush era. Visit Old Sacramento for a taste of history from the Wild West. Sacramento is the capital of California, and people can explore the origins of the state at the stunning State Capitol Museum. The city is hugged by two rivers, the Sacramento and American River. Visitors can rent a kayak or grab a fishing pole and enjoy a nice day on the water. Great weather makes going to the Drive-In theatre a great activity all year long. Catching a movie there won’t break the bank either, tickets are priced at $7.95 for adults and $1.25 for kids ages 5-11.

Relax after a long day at one of the various spas in Napa Valley. Dr. Wilkinson’s is a hot springs resort that has helped Californians unwind since 1952. Their signature service is the mud bath. The mud is mixed with volcanic ash and lavender, and it cleanses the skin while visitors sit back with cucumbers to cool the eyes. Mud baths end with a 30 to 60 minute massage by their expert staff.

Try some of California’s freshest produce at Oxbow Public Market. This 40,000 square foot area has a mix of food vendors and cafes along with an outdoor deck that provides views of the nearby Napa River. Indulge the sweet tooth at Anette’s Chocolates. Enjoy a freshly baked loaf of bread from The Model Bakery. Or sort through the hundreds of spices at Whole Spice to find the perfect accent to a meal.

Come for the wine and stay for the adventure for a memorable weekend in Napa Valley.

 

Source: Jeremy Alderman

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 8:53 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

   

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

take a look at these cool fall elements from Kirklands!

Source: Andrea Davis 

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house.

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house. Here are the main reasons why selling in fall is a good idea — and how to present your home to its best advantage.

The Numbers

The National Association of Realtors reports that 34 percent of homes sell within 30 days on the market during the fall selling season. This is just a shade behind spring, which comes in at 39 percent. Many of these homes sell for above-asking price based on the study, which researched homes sold between 2010 and 2014.

The Reasons to Sell

Though there is a slight slowdown in the market during the fall, there is less competition. By being able to highlight your home — particularly if it’s only one of a few available in your area — chances are high you will end up with multiple offers or an offer over asking price, something that every buyer covets.

It is also important to remember that regardless of the season, serious buyers are still looking — and ready to purchase when the right home comes their way. This means you can focus your marketing on buyers who are serious about your home.

How to Show Your Home

Though it is still a good season to sell, fall does have some unique challenges, particularly if you live in an area where the seasons change drastically throughout the year. Regardless of where you reside, these five tips will help ensure your home stands out.

1. Warm It Up

Regardless of where you live, open shades and blinds and turn on all the lights to warm your home with an abundance of natural light. If you live in a colder climate, consider turning on a gas or electric fireplace or boosting the thermostat by a few degrees to ensure potential buyers feel the warmth.

2. Use Seasonal Decor

Seasonal decor can create an emotional impact on potential buyers. As one of the strongest senses, smell can play a large part in creating a visceral reaction on a buyer. Scented candles in a harvest scent, freshly baked goodies, or even a stew roasting in a slow cooker can help buyers picture themselves gathering in your home with friends and family. Throw pillows, gourds, and fall flowers will also add a bit of extra color to bring the feeling home.

3. Keep Up with Curb Appeal

Raking leaves, and cleaning gutters remain essential in ensuring your home looks good from the outside in. Line pathways or porch steps with pumpkins or brightly colored mums in harvest hues. Even dried corn stalks tied to a porch column can provide a seasonal pop that makes your home stand out

.

4. Play to the Crowd

Fall is a prime season for empty nesters or new buyers to the market, so make sure to speak with your agent about how to target your home to the most applicable buyer, and ensure your staging and marketing efforts keep them in mind.

5. Show the Seasons

In fall or winter, your yard may not show at its best, so keeping a photo album of your property in full bloom available for buyers to browse can help them visualize your home in its glory.

Regardless of the season, if a property is priced right, it will sell. Work with a real estate agent to determine local demand, buying patterns, and selling prices in your area to determine the best time for you to list.

Image Source: Flickr/Sharon Mollerus

Source: Melina Gillies

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Fall is here! Make holiday house guests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee, Houzz

Now that October is here and it’s officially fall, breezy colors and summery decor will start to feel out of place. Make holiday houseguests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season. Follow along as we uncover eight trendy colors that will last through the new year.

1. Pumpkin Spice

As everyone is lining up for their long-awaited pumpkin spice lattes, the hue also has a well-earned spot in home decor. It’s bold, exudes warmth and resembles the always festive holiday, Halloween. This color works well when painted on one wall, as shown above, or through accessories like rugs, pillows, and throws if you’re color shy. It pairs well with neutral colors and monochromatic palettes as it takes the spotlight in all of its seasonal glory.

2. Autumn Red

If you don’t use autumn red in autumn, when will you use it? Although it’s a dramatic shade, it can infuse any room with a fiery and fun vibe. It adds intense energy to contemporary and modern rooms while being a happy addition to any playful, eclectic space. Use it intentionally and sparingly in a room to enhance its overall effect.

 

3. Emerald Green

There’s so much to love about this deep shade of green. Unlike the previous colors that are more playful, emerald draws from its roots in Mother Nature to create a sense of calm in any space. Serving as the focus in this kitchen, emerald green cabinetry marries perfectly with blond wood tones and light countertops. Wouldn’t you like to spend all holiday season here?

4. Navy Blue

Even darker and more daring than emerald green, navy is a close cousin to black. If you’re not psyched about displaying the iconic holiday colors in your home, but still want to stay on the dark side of the spectrum, this shade of blue is perfect for you. Honoring its origin from the British Royal Navy, this color embodies ultimate elegance, sophistication and power. Bringing navy into your home this season can have surprisingly health benefits too. It’s been shown to have a calming effect on the human body by slowing heart rate and metabolism.

5. Wine

Often an overlooked shade of purple, wine would make a lovely addition to any home this fall. Following suit with the deep tones discussed above, it has the strongest effect when used sparsely, as seen in this Chicago bedroom. Purple has historically been a color of royalty and power. Its wine pigment is no different, conveying richness and seduction in every capacity.

6. Steel Gray

Gray is one of the most versatile hues on the spectrum and can easily be used all year-round. Having said that, it’s often hard to choose the right gray for the season. Light gray can be seen as a winter wonderland while charcoal can be hard to distinguish from black. Steel gray is a solid middle ground. It’s the star of the show in this contemporary London kitchen with its sharp, clean and defined lines.

Photo by Gary Quigg Photography – Discover eclectic living room design ideas

7. Mustard Yellow

A hue that echoes the falling leaves soon to come, mustard yellow provides warmth and joy to any space. It plays well with other bold colors, like the bright blue sofa and TV stand in this eclectic living room. For year-round summer lovers, this color can also serve as a happy reminder of the sunny days and will brighten up any interior.

Photo by Chalet – Discover traditional bedroom design inspiration

8. Brown to Beige

Brown is a classic fall color, but too much of it can make a home feel more like a cave. Instead, use brown as an accent color and brighten it up with a lovely beige tone. Add in some white decor for a gorgeous layered look, like you see in this Denver bedroom.

 

 

Source: Houzz/ Sharon Lee

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Champagne Popsicles

CHAMPAGNE POPSICLES

Yes, friends you read that right—Champagne Popsicles! These are so easy to pull off, you’ll want to make a lot because they are perfectly refreshing!

Champagne Popsicles via Bakers Royale copy

 
You can use Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry Champagne and their Berry Fusion Sparkling Wine for the body and then filled it out with berries, apples and pomegranate arils. Of course you can use any fruit you prefer, but I would get something at the farmers market or something you don’t want to waste from your fridge. Extra ripe— Check!

Champagne Popsicles | Bakers Royale

You really could use any wine, but I would stick with something sweet- but not overly sweet. I think the sweetest I would go would be a sangria or moscato. YUMM! The possibilities are endless and I would change it up as the seasons change and fruit comes in and out of season.

For those that are not drinkers of alcohol, I would recommend a sparkling water, coconut water or fresh fruit juice as the base for your popsicles. Yummy!

Champagne Popsicles on Champagne | Bakers Royale

Now that you know how I like my champagne popsicles, make sure you come back and share what kind of champagne popsicles pairings you come up with because we can all use a little more inspiration.

Champagne Popsicles - Bakers Royale

Champagne Popsicles on Champagne Bakers Royale 600x600

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this recipe

CHAMPAGNE POPSICLES

YIELD:Makes 10 popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Barefoot Bubbly Berry Fusion
  • 3/4 cup Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry Champagne
  • 8-10 oz of mixed berries, apples and pomegranate arils

Directions:

Fill half of popsicles wells half way up with Barefoot Bubbly Berry Fusion and the other popsicles wells half way up with Bubbly Extra Dry Champagne. Layer each well with a variety of fruit. Cover top of popsicle mold with foil. Create a hole in the center of each well just large enough to insert a popsicle stick; insert popsicle stick. Transfer to freezer and chill until frozen solid, about 2-4 hours (time may vary according to freezer type and how full it is).

Source: 

Posted on June 25, 2017 at 6:54 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

We all know the equation: low inventory means higher prices. Also known as a tight market, this setting can be stressful for buyers, who are trying to snap up their dream home but keep running into competition. According to the National Association of REALTORS® , attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming.

To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market, NAR offers these five suggestions:

Determine and stick to a budget.

Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.

Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs.

When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.

Be ready to make a decision quickly.

In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

Bid competitively and limit contingencies.

It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

Work with a local Realtor®.

All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

Source: Rismedia and  www.nar.realtor.

Posted on May 28, 2017 at 11:54 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 New Countertop Ideas That Aren’t Granite

6 New Countertop Ideas That Aren’t Granite
Not a fan of granite countertops? Here are 6 beautiful alternatives.

Granite’s durability and looks make it a popular investment for many homeowners.

But there are other options aside from granite. Keep reading to learn more about six alternatives to granite countertops.

Butcher Block

Butcher block countertops provide visual warmth to modern spaces, particularly those with white cabinetry.

These countertops are also very cost-effective, especially compared to natural stone.

You’ll need to make oiling a regular part of your maintenance routine if you do install butcher block countertops.

You’ll also need to use trivets or pot holders under hot pots and pans to avoid burning your counters.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone that’s easier to maintain than marble, but still requires more work than sealed granite.

Soapstone is particularly vulnerable to liquids and acidic spills.

Too much heat can also damage its appearance. Despite regular maintenance, soapstone is a beautiful alternative to granite.

Marble

Marble is a natural stone that is considerably softer and more porous than most other stone options.

If you don’t have a busy kitchen, marble can be a perfect material. For busy home chefs and homes with kids, marble may not be a good choice.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is a fun and incredibly durable countertop material. Unlike other countertops, ceramic tile isn’t prone to damage from liquids or heat.

Ceramic tiles can stain and chip over time, but individual tiles are easy to replace.

Tile is also extremely inexpensive, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

Stainless Steel

Modern kitchen with stainless steel counters

Stainless steel’s sleek looks and durability make it the perfect material for modern or cooking-focused kitchens.

You can wipe down stainless with a cloth, though special cleaner should be used from time to time as well.

Stainless steel countertops can be expensive, but they’re perfect for design- or cooking-obsessed homeowners.

Quartz

Quartz, also called Caesarstone or Silestone, is a man-made stone that’s cost-effective and attractive in many spaces.

Its uniform finish also appeals to many homeowners who feel that natural stone is too busy in terms of patterns.

Quartz is easy to maintain and incredibly durable, making it the ideal choice for homeowners who use their kitchens regularly.

Source: CB Blue Matter- Andrea Davis and Lindsay Listanski

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your EXPIRED listing…. choosing the same agent or out with the old in with the new? Ask your Realtor the right questions before listing again.

You listed your house. You cleaned and cleaned, you updated the paint and repaired the leak in the bathroom…you did everything you thought you needed to do to sell it, and it didn’t sell. You may be asking yourself “Where did I go wrong? Did I choose the wrong agent? Was our pricing strategy off? Was it the neighborhood? Was it maybe a combination of these?” The answer is not in you, but rather the previous agent you trusted to get the job done. Be prepared with the right information so you can interview your new prospective agent with confidence and assurance that you will make the right choice this time and be able to meet your goals of selling your home this year.

With your time and thousands of dollars invested, it is unwise to risk making the same mistake twice. Be absolutely certain your agent is qualified and will follow through with what is necessary to sell your home. You want to avoid the problems encountered the first time you listed the home, so never feel obligated to the same agent. Your listing expired and it is easy to develop the identity of having a problem property in the market place.

First, you should ask yourself the question of where you found your previous agent. Was it street signs? Many sellers also find their agent through associates, friends and family, and there are also those who rely on the reputation of a major national franchise. Without the reliable information about the actual agent and their performance, any of these routes could lead to trouble and disaster.

It is imperative to trust your instincts when selecting someone to do business with. Do not feel obligated to work with someone just because they did a listing presentation and a CMA for you. Do not feel obligated to a long lost cousin or cousin’s stepson’s wife. This is one of the largest transactions and biggest financial decisions you will make, and you need to make the best decision for yourself.

When shopping for your agent, or even if considering the same agent, have a set list of questions you plan on asking. Consider asking how each agent would navigate the problems you may have encountered when it was previously listed. This is an interview and an agent who really wants the job will not only tell you buy also show you how they will be different- how they will sell your home. Do they have a specific 30-DAY MARKETING PLAN to get your house sold? Can the agent properly advise you about the current housing market? Is the agent a full-time agent or just part time? Ask for an updated Competitive Market Analysis to review the current SOLDS, FOR SALES, PENDINGS and EXPIRED LISTINGS.

A good listing agent is a good communicator and will give you specific recommendations for getting your house sold quickly. You should also pay close attention to the reputation of the company the agent works for. Talk to local businesses and even members of the chamber of commerce. A company’s reputation will be known in the community.

Your agent needs to be on the up-and-up regarding technology. Gone are the days of drive by’s and open houses selling a home. While that is still a valuable aspect of marketing a home, technology is your home’s best marketing tool. In a study done be California Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers did their home hunt using the internet. Make sure your agent is using the latest technologies for generating buyer leads. Ask if the agent has a personal website that offers virtual home tours so all prospective buyers can see your home 24/7.
Choosing your Agent wisely. Any agent will show enthusiasm and will want to list your house for sale but choose your agent based upon:
1 Experience at listing and marketing houses for sale.
2 Ability to use technology for marketing your house worldwide to buyers 24/7.
3 Reviewing with you a comprehensive Marketing Analysis of home sales in your area.
4 Ability to offer a written step-by-step 30-DAY MARKETING PLAN that will get your house sold at the highest possible price.
5 Adaptability and open communication in the format that best suits your needs
6 Knowledge of the market and ability to set realistic expectations about timing and pricing of your property

Working with a full-time professional real estate agent is a must. Choose your agent by asking questions of him or her. Find out how knowledgeable they are about houses currently for sale in your price range and also of houses that have recently sold. Can your agent recommend a good lender that has the reputation of excellent customer service and low rates to assist your new buyer with financing? A good listing agent can get your house sold quickly at TOP DOLLAR and help you find a new home.

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 9:44 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,