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4th Issue - Mid Winter 2018

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Welcome to 2018!


 

 
Happy New Year, and welcome back to Katie's Kronicle!  2017 was a strong year for Bay Area real estate. The East Bay market is red-hot, as it is slightly more affordable than Marin or San Francisco. We'll need to wait and see how the 2018 tax law changes affect our markets. I wish I had a crystal ball!

Wholesale inflation remained tame in December, as the Producer Price Index declined 0.1 percent in December from November. This was the first decrease in nearly one-and-a-half years. It will be important to see which way the trend continues with inflation in the weeks and months ahead, as this could impact the direction of home loan rates.  Home loan rates are a driver of the housing market.

Read on and enjoy. As always, my Kronicle includes a mix of home-related and "non-real estate" tips and tidbits. I hope you enjoy them. I always "road-test" all of my tips. Please don't hesitate to contact me with comments and questions. 

~ Katie 
RECENT HOME SALE STATISTICS - MARIN COUNTY


 
For the Home and Garden

Planning to Paint?

 
Planning on painting your house this year? NOW is a great time to buy the paint when the demand is low. Make sure to select colors with resale in mind. You never know when your life circumstances may change and you will move and need to sell. I have worked with top stagers and they always suggest a soft exterior color and bold front door. Keep the trim subtle and complementary. Whites, grays and touches of black are good choices. Off-white and tan is also a nice combo. The all-white farmhouse look is big with Millennials. Be a bit more unique, as you don't want every house in the neighborhood to look the same!

Color Selection Guide

 
Here are some colors that I have personally used. Always try your samples on the house first and view them at different times of the day to see the effects of lighting changes. Think in terms of color, trim and accent color (front door, shutters, etc.) BM = Benjamin Moore, SW = Sherwin Williams, Behr - Home Depot. If you need help, go to your local Benjamin Moore paint store and talk to their color specialists. There are many fine ones in the Bay Area.
 

Feed Your Roses!

Now is a great time to feed your roses.  I highly recommend Martin Brother's Supply in Mill Valley as a source for alfalfa pellets - less than $20 for a 50 pound bag!  The pellets provide nutrients for the plants and break down over time.

And speaking of roses, Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  Don't miss my article below about Magical Massage in Glen Ellen.  This is a wonderful and whimsical destination to take your sweetie for a truly indulgent massage experience!


Home Insurance Check Up

 
I attended a seminar on insurance and coverage from an agent who has handled claims from the recent fires and mud slides.  $300 per square foot to rebuild is very low.  Most insurance agents think $500+ is more accurate.  Check your policy.  Photograph all of your personal property.  Open drawers and photograph the contents.  Photograph your appliances, decks, railings, garage, attic, etc.  Should you ever need to file a claim, your efforts to document your personal property will prove invaluable.
 
Upload your photos to the cloud or store them in your bank safe deposit box.


DEALS AND STEALS

  • GOODMAN’S LUMBER in San Francisco and Mill Valley – offers 15% off on Sundays (good time to buy more expensive items).  They employ knowledgeable and helpful workers! 
  • HOME GOODS – part of the TJ Maxx chain.   Great store for pillows, sheets, accessories and kitchen items. 
  • EBATES – If you do a lot of on-line shopping, EBATES.COM gives you cash back.  I use it all the time!
  • CLOUD OF GOODS – Need to rent a high chair or crib for the grandchild visit?  This is also a good source for renting wheelchairs, bicycles, sporting goods and camping equipment.
  • SNAP TRAPS – Have a rodent problem?  Try using Snap Traps with peanut butter as bait to trap mice or rats.  They are sold on Amazon.com.  This tip came from a rodent expert! 
Finance and Technology 
Put An End to ROBO Calls!

Those annoying ROBO calls are getting worse and worse!   Try this FREE service called “NOMOROBO”.  I used it on our landline and our cellphones.  When a robocaller dials your number, the phone will ring once and cut off.  It’s a terrific service!  Go to https://www.nomorobo.com.  The BASIC service is free for now.

A Little Known Fact About Property Taxes
 
When you purchase a new home, you are allowed a one-time personal property exemption.
 
The Tax Assessor’s office will typically allow you to deduct from your base purchase price the fair market value (FMV) of items that came with the house that can be removed.  Examples of this are washer/dryers, refrigerators (not-built in), garden pots, garden furniture, audio/video equipment and BBQs left by the previous owner.   For example, if a brand-new washer dryer valued at $1000 came with the house, then $1000 can be deducted off of the purchase price.  This reduction will result in lower property taxes.

WARNING – Don’t get too carried away with deducting personal property or you may receive a visit from someone in the Tax Assessor’s office.  Be reasonable.  Tax Assessor’s rules vary by County so be sure to understand the rules before you file the Personal Property Exemption Form with the Title Company when you are signing your closing documents.
 
Fun and Leisure

Magical Massage in Glen Ellen

 

 
Sonoma Valley's Magical Massage, located in a 22-foot wine barrel, is a destination massage and organic facial experience you will not want to miss!  A wide selection of luxurious treatments and products are available, and I can personally attest to the heavenly quality of their couples massage!  I highly recommend Magical Massage for a quick mid-winter getaway or Valentine's Day indulgence!  14300 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen (707) 225-2671
 
My Favorite Healthy Snack

 
These are delicious, easy to make (no baking involved!) and store well.  You will be addicted as I am!
 
No Bake Paleo Energy Bites
Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
Ingredients:
  • Heaping ½ cup all natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries or cranberries)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • ¾ cup ground almond flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed meal
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs + more for rolling if desired
  • Non-dairy chocolate, melted (optional)
  1. Using a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients from the almond butter to the salt only. Pulse for just a few seconds, bringing the mixture together and still keeping a little texture. You do NOT want to blend until smooth.
     
  2. Remove the blade from your food processor and pour in the cacao nibs. Mix together using a rubber spatula. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls (you can also roll some of the energy bites in more cacao nibs if desired) and place onto a flat baking sheet or plate.
     
  3. Place the energy bites into the refrigerator, or freezer for about an hour. If desired, drizzle the energy bites with some melted chocolate before eating. Because the energy bites will be cold, the chocolate should harden on the bites pretty quickly. Store the energy bites in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
    YIELD: Appx. 14-15 energy bites

    Print: 
     RECIPE CARD
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