Real Estate Gallery
Millennials Differ on Home Ownership PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 02 April 2015 11:32


Owning a home has always been recognized as part of the American Dream, but for Millennials, property ownership is at its lowest level since the Census bureau started tracking the numbers in 1984.

While the Baby Boomer generation has dominated for years, it’s projected that 2015 will be the year Millennial numbers finally surpass Boomers.

In contrast to Boomers, however, a statement recently released by Andrew Woo, Data Scientist at Apartment List, states that only 34.6 percent of Millennials own a home. Additionally, of the 6,000 millennials renters surveyed, 74 percent plan to buy a home, but expect to wait until after 2018 to do so.

RisMedia* summarizes the report’s key findings:

• 74 percent of millennials plan to purchase a home in the future.  Only 9 percent of millennials expect to always rent, and 17 percent are unsure

• While a large proportion of millennials plan to buy, only 25 percent expect to do so in the next two years and the majority (53 percent) plan to buy after 2018.

• Renters over age 35 plan to purchase much sooner than millennials, with 50 percent planning to do so within the next two years

• Within millennials, it was found that older millennials (age 25 to 34) plan to buy sooner than younger millennials (age 18 to 24) by a large margin: 54 percent of older millennials plan to buy within the next 3 years, versus only 37 percent for younger millennials

• Marital status correlates strongly with timing to buy: 52 percent of married millennials plan to buy within the next 3 years versus only 41 percent for unmarried millennials.

• Older, married millennials expect to buy the soonest, with 58 percent planning to own within the next 3 years, which is nearly twice the rate of younger, unmarried millennials (30 percent)

• Homeownership aspirations are strongly tied to education levels: more than 77 percent of millennial renters who have a college degree (2-year degrees, 4-year degrees and technical degrees) plan to buy homes, versus 67 percent for those with high school / GED degrees, and 63 percent for those who did not complete high school.

• Millennials with graduate degrees have lower plans to buy than those with 2- or 4-year degrees (72 percent vs 77 percent) This outcome may be driven by the burden of student debt.

One thing is clear: millennials think and act totally different than their Boomer counterparts and, as they come of age, their impact on the housing market will be felt for years to come.


Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at

Save Time, Money on Your Next Improvement Project PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:37

100115fhi1When you began shopping for your home, you may have envisioned white picket fences, the perfect kitchen, and decorations mirroring those from your favorite glossy magazines.

Soon, you realized your taste and budget weren’t on the same page. However, every home can be a glorious fixer-upper as you add appealing features — especially if you know some tricks to save time and money on home improvements.

With limited time and budget, you may not know where to begin. Here are four home improvement tips to help get you started.

Wall Repair

You’ve decided the ugly bathroom mirror needs a makeover, but when you remove it from the wall, some of the drywall paper comes off too.

For larger wall repairs, remember to prime twice. Cut away any loose paper, apply a thin coat of primer, followed by three coats of spackle or compound — sanding between each layer for a smooth finish.

Apply primer again to prevent “flashing,” or a dulling in the finish, and paint the area with your desired wall color. For a quick bathroom update, consider framing the mirror instead of removing it.

Boxed Storage

Large retailers offer stylish storage solutions for minimal cost. The downside, besides having to assemble things yourself, is the lack of stability these units provide.

Have a little peace of mind with a simple fix — before screwing the pieces together, simply add a small amount of Elmer’s Wood Glue. The bond will hold strong, even as your screws loosen over time.

Fill in the Gaps

Your trim and baseboards can take quite a beating over the years. Moving furniture, kicking off your shoes, or playing with toys can lead to dents and gouges.

Apply wood filler to damaged trim to quickly bring them back to life. Not sure when it’s ready to sand? Color Change Wood Filler changes color when it’s dry, taking the guesswork out of the drying time. Finally, apply a fresh coat of paint or stain.

Tile Transformation

Tile adds a touch of luxury to your kitchen or bath, but can be an eyesore if it starts looking dingy.

For an easy refresh, pick up grout cleaner from your local hardware store or simply sprinkle baking soda onto the grout. Pour a little vinegar over it before scrubbing. Use an old toothbrush and some elbow grease, and your old grout will look new in no time.

If you need to replace the caulking around your tub or base of your backsplash, apply painter’s tape on the base and wall to ensure you’ll get a straight, clean line.

Home improvement doesn’t have to be daunting. Tackling small, effective projects can provide a large impact while requiring little time, money and expertise.


Switching to LEDs Becomes More Affordable PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:33

100115fhi3The use of LED bulbs in homes is on the rise nationwide, and with good reason. Not only are they more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts, LEDs are becoming more affordable upfront.

Indeed, of the United States’ four billion residential light bulb sockets, less than 10 percent are filled with LED lighting; but by 2020, more than 50 percent will be LED, according to industry estimates.

This year alone, the consumer lighting market is anticipated to more than double with LED, while traditional CFL bulb usage is expected to decrease.

LED is not a new technology and has been on the market for years. So what is driving this sudden consumer shift? New light bulb designs are making these cost-efficient bulbs more convenient, attractive and affordable. In fact, certain designs retail as low as under $10 for a three-pack of bulbs and they fit in more sockets and fixtures than their general-purpose CFL bulb counterparts.

To learn more about innovations in LED lighting or to find out how much you stand to save making the simple swap, visit


CAPTION: You don’t need to be a skilled handyman to make an important, planet-friendly home upgrade that will save your family time and money for years to come. Trade in your traditional light bulbs for a more modern variety.

Get House Ready for the Winter PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:30

Fall officially began last week, and although the East Bay will still have a few more hot days, winter is right around the corner. So use the good weather to take care of this fall maintenance list:

Porch, Deck, Patio

• Reset exterior light timers.

• Put away outdoor furniture and grilling equipment.

• Repair cracks in concrete walkways and replace loose bricks.

• If the deck has been stained within the past three years, apply clear water-repellent sealer containing a preservative.

Roof and Gutters

• Look for loose, damaged or missing shingles, tiles or shakes. Loss of the colored granules on asphalt shingles is a sign of aging.

• Clean gutters and check for leaky seams, unsecured hangers and improper drainage of downspouts. Make sure they direct runoff water away from the foundation for a minimum of 3 feet.

• Check the flashing around the chimney or where a roof meets a wall.

• Check the chimney of loose mortar and caulk. Have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

Exterior Walls

• Check for missing or loose siding.

• Caulk joints and minor cracks.

• Look for deteriorating finishes. Minor problems can be patched to preserve the wood.


• Trim broken or diseased limbs on trees. Look for possible splitting of heavy limbs from tree trunks.

• Rake and compost leaves and garden debris. Discard diseased foliage in the garbage.

Windows and Doors

• Check for air leaks. Add weather stripping as needed.

• Clean and lubricate window channels for smooth sliding.

Heating System

• Clean permanent furnace filters, replace disposable filters. Do this monthly during the heating season.


• Look for signs of roof or flashing leaks on rafters and insulation.

• Check vent openings for nest or other blockages.

Crawl Space

• Check for rotting floor joists and rim boards.

• Remove vegetation and other debris.


It’s Not Always Just About the Money PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:28

100115fhi2When you’re calculating the potential return on investment of any home improvement project, you need to consider more than just the cost.

In addition to resale value, your return on investment (ROI) calculations should also take into account the emotional satisfaction of a project, how it will affect your enjoyment of your home, and its impact on the house’s livability.

Some projects definitely return more of their investment at the time of resale. Other projects may really boost your enjoyment of your home, but be problematic when you one day want to sell.

While some improvements you do because you have to — such as replacing the roof — a few home improvements positively affect resale value, increase a home’s livability and elevate your enjoyment. These are the projects that you also do because you want to.

Here are a handful of home improvements that meet all the criteria for a great investment, not only when you sell but while you’re living in the home:


In the realm of home improvements, adding skylights is one of the least expensive upgrades you can choose for the functionality and appearance benefits they provide. You get a healthy nudge in resale value plus significant emotional and aesthetic benefits.

Skylights, which are particularly popular in kitchens and baths, admit more natural light into a home — which is always appealing to buyers — so when you’re selling, rooms with skylights will appear bigger, airy and more inviting. While you’re still living in the home, you’ll reap the psychological and health benefits of more natural light and ventilation.

Opt for Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights, and you can use the skylight not only for natural light but to provide passive ventilation that improves indoor air quality.

You’ll enjoy the skylights even more since they come with a programmable touch-pad remote to operate not only the skylights but also energy-efficiency-boosting accessories like blinds in designer colors and patterns. What’s more, solar-powered skylights and blinds, along with installation costs, are eligible for a 30-percent federal tax credit.

Kitchen Remodel

A minor kitchen remodel of around $20,000 returns nearly 80 percent of your investment when you sell your home, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

Upgrading your kitchen can also be deeply satisfying emotionally, giving you a chance to express your creativity while achieving gains in usability at the same time.

In practical terms, new kitchen appliances tend to be more feature-rich, usable and energy-efficient than older models. The same is true of kitchen faucets, which can allow you to waste less water or even thwart the spread of germs. New cabinets and countertops expand storage and work space while redefining the entire look of the kitchen.

Bath Remodel

Bathrooms help sell homes, and remodeling yours can recoup 70 percent of the investment cost when you sell your home, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Since bathrooms are far more important than their practical purpose, an improved bathroom can realign how you feel about your living space.

A soaking tub, great shower experience, fresh finishes and even fresh paint can all deliver more positive feelings about your bathroom.

What’s more, replacing older faucets and fixtures can actually give you the satisfaction of reducing your water bill.

Newer toilets, showerheads and faucets use less water to deliver the same quality of experience as older, less efficient models. Curbing water waste can save you money — and that’s something anyone can feel good about!

Just as you would never take a job based only on the salary, you should never undertake a home improvement solely on its monetary value. Instead, consider all the elements of ROI — from cash to emotion — before deciding how to spend your home improvement dollars.


CAPTION: Brighten and freshen your rooms with more natural light and fresh air. Energy Star-qualified fresh air skylights and blinds are operated by remote control and they close automatically in case of rain. The skylights, blinds and installation costs are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.

Fall Is the Season for Improvements PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:26

100115fhi4The rituals of fall include sending kids back to school, raking leaves and cheering on the hometown football team.

In addition, a new fall tradition has emerged for America’s nearly 74 million homeowners — home improvement.

This fall promises to be particularly popular for home projects. Lower gas prices are boosting people’s discretionary income and Metrostudy’s latest Residential Remodeling Index points to a continued rise in activity.

Like many trends, there isn’t one particular reason fall has emerged as a popular time for home improvement, several factors play a role.

Energy efficiency

With colder weather on the horizon, homeowners shudder at the thought of higher heating costs. They upgrade windows, layer in more insulation, service or replace old furnaces and, in some cases, do all of the above.

The weather is nice

Home improvement projects can be hard and even grueling work, particularly for DIYers. Lower temperatures and humidity create a much more comfortable environment for getting things done (and rhetorically keeping your cool when obstacles inevitably arrive).

Holiday entertaining

Everyone wants their home to sparkle when they welcome family and friends during the holidays. Completing a home improvement project during the fall sets up a big reveal when the holidays roll around.

Falling prices

Fall is an excellent time to save money by finding great deals on home improvement supplies and service. Year-end sales begin and discounts can be steep. Retailers often have discounts to clear inventory before the New Year. Also, contractors are busiest during the warmer months — their business cools as the weather does.


Make Your Exterior Pop with Color PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:23

100115fhi5Color is a fundamental component of curb appeal and can make your home either stand out from the pack or blend in nicely with its environment. But you’re not alone if you’re unsure how to incorporate color to make your home look its best.

“Many homeowners are afraid to add color to their home exteriors because they don’t want to make a mistake,” says Kate Smith, president and chief color maven of Sensational Color. “No one should feel locked into blah or standard colors though.”

For the apprehensive and bold alike, Smith offers insights into adding eye-pleasing color palettes to home exterior elements.

The Roof: Color is critical to personality expression, so it makes sense for homeowners to select their roof color.

Consider opting for colors that complement the home’s architectural style or give a nod to a particular era in design.

A blend of two to eight colors is a great way to shake things up. And certain roofing companies offer a range to choose from. Standard colors include diverse hues like dark amber, smokey gray and light violet, and the brand even allows homeowners to customize.

Front Entry: Are you an introvert with an orange front door? If so, then you’re sending mixed messages to your friends and neighbors.

The front door is the home feature offering the most flexibility in color choice, and a great place to let your personality shine.

Try installing smooth fiberglass paintable doors which makes it easy to update your home’s exterior now and in the future.

According to Smith, here’s a look at what paint colors on entry doors of a home say about the occupants inside:

• Red: This bright color says I’m not afraid of standing out or saying what’s on my mind.

• White: Says that I prefer things organized, neat and clean. Even if my home isn’t always this way, I wish it were.

• Green: Tells the world you have traditional values and enjoy being a member of the community.

• Black: Says I’m consistent, conservative and reserved and my design style is timeless rather than trendy.

• Blue: Tells people you’re naturally at ease and people are attracted to your easygoing personality.

• Yellow: A personality similar to green but a bit less traditional, yellow says you’re most likely a group leader.

• Purple: Reveals a free-spirit, comfortable taking risks, thinking differently and dreaming big.

For more insights into stylish color use, you can download the free e-books, “FRESH Home Exterior Colors” and “FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior,” authored by Smith and available at

— StatePoint

CAPTION: Make your home your own. Spruce up the exterior with dashes of color to showcase your personality and complement your home’s style.

Does Your Disposal Grind or Hum? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 13:28

By Samantha Mazzotta • Special to the Times

Food disposers are very reliable appliances, but if they’re underpowered they may be prone to jamming or, when under a heavy load, will shut off.

Turn the disposal switch on the wall to the on position. Do you hear a humming sound, but no grinding? Or do you hear no sound at all?

If you hear a humming sound, it’s likely that the grinder is jammed. Turn the switch off, and then turn off power to the disposal at the main circuit panel.

Now, open the sink cabinet and look underneath the disposer. You should see a reset button and possibly a small round hole or slot in the center of the unit. The slot is likely an access point for the impeller. It’s accessed with a small handheld wrench (like the Allen wrench that often comes with assemble-yourself furniture), which hopefully is stored on or near the unit.

Insert the wrench into the impeller slot and turn it clockwise to try and unjam the unit.

To see if it worked, turn power to the unit back on at the circuit panel. Then climb under the cabinet again, locate the reset button and push it. Go up to the power switch and turn it on. The grinder should operate again.

What if you can’t locate a wrench or an access slot for the impeller? You could always try my mother’s favorite fix. Turn off power at the circuit panel, then grab something with a wooden handle, like a broomstick or plunger. Insert the handle into the disposal from the top, place it against one of the blades, and try to turn it clockwise. Then reset the unit as above and test.

If neither method works, turn off power to the unit again and look inside the disposal to see if anything is blocking the blades, like a metal utensil or a large object like a bone or avocado seed. Carefully remove any such object and test again.

And, if all else fails, you may need to replace the entire unit. If so, look for one that has a motor with at least 1/2 horsepower, overload protection and a self-reverse feature to reduce jamming.

Home Tip: To keep your disposal smelling clean, grind up a few lemon or lime peels in it periodically.

© 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

Chill Tulip Bulbs Before Planting; Old Myth Put to Rest PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 13:19

By Buzz Bertolero • The Dirt Gardener

Q: My tulip bulbs have arrived from Holland. I’m planning on planting them in containers to give as Christmas gifts. What do I need to know about the soil preparation and/or potting these bulbs?

A: Tulip bulbs should be chilled for four to six weeks prior to planting unless the bulbs were pre-chilled before shipping; otherwise, the flower stems will be very short.

Tulip bulbs are cooled by placing them in the vegetable bin of a refrigerator. You should remove any fruit, including tomatoes as they release a naturally occuring gas called Ethylene that can damage the immature flower(s).

In mid to late November, plant the bulbs in the containers using any of the commercially available potting soils.

The planting depth will depend on the size of the container. The bulbs should be at the soil surface with any six inch or smaller container to allow room for the roots. With larger containers, you can move the bulbs down half way in the pots. A tablespoon of bulb food is placed under the bulbs with a layer of soil between the fertilizer and the bulb.

You now have two options as far as spacing the bulbs. They can be evenly spaced or placed next to each other. I prefer the latter when using them as a gift  or when planted in containers for color on decks and patios.

By Christmas, it is very doubtful that the bulbs would have started growing. The addition of seasonal color will bridge the gap. Violas, pansies and alyssum can be planted in between the bulbs after you have added more soil but be sure to leave sufficient room to water.

I’d use straws to mark the gaps. The tulips will have no problem emerging through the roots and foliage.

The finished containers are placed outdoors in a protected area and watered every two weeks. I would not put the finishing decorations on until the last minute. Beside the traditional items, you could use Pyracantha or Toyon berries along with some bark or decorative rock to make them festive looking.

Q: I had a tree removed from my backyard because it was too large for the area.  I want to plant another much smaller tree in the exact same spot.  I’ve been told that this shouldn’t be done. Is this true?  If so, what will happen.

A: I’m not aware of any horticultural reason for not replanting in the same location here in the Bay Area. The old tree was thriving and not diseased or declining.

The biggest challenge is going to be digging a new planting hole because of the old tree roots left behind. In time, the roots will decompose, but that will not be anytime soon.

You’ll need a hole twice as wide as the container that the new tree is currently planted in.

This is just an old gardening myth that doesn’t apply today.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is and you can send questions by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or to 360 Civic Drive, Suite D, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 and on Facebook at

Open Homes • 10-01-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 13:19
Home Sales • 10-01-15 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 13:18
Opportunities Improve for Buyers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 02 April 2015 11:32


With summer in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead.

For those who missed the summer frenzy with its overheated housing market, limited inventory and multiple offers, decreasing fall temperatures may spell a cooling housing market as well. If you couldn’t get a home earlier this year, now may be your chance. Here are a few reasons:

Prospective buyer numbers are lower. With kids back in school, workforces in full gear and everyone gearing up for year-end activities, many buyer wannabes that did not score a home earlier in the year are now focusing on other things.

There are simply fewer buyers out looking right now, dramatically reducing competition and lowering the chances of competitive multiple offer situations.

Sellers are more eager to sell. Some sellers are still trying to sell homes that didn’t get snapped up over the summer. For others, jobs are transferring them out-of-area or they might be retiring and downsizing.

Additionally, as the weather begins to turn, some sellers do not like the idea of having people come through in less than ideal climate conditions, meaning that those who are still on the market are serious.

Whatever the reason, think “motivated sellers.” With fewer buyers, they may be more motivated to negotiate than earlier in the year, and with less prospects of multiple offers, buyers may have some room to maneuver.

Projected El Niño conditions may also limit the number of homes available during the winter. Since we’ve been in a drought for so long, many potential sellers do not realize their roofs may not be able to withstand the onslaught of severe rains. They will be focusing on getting their homes weathertight, not on selling.

It’s also a known fact that sellers hate opening their homes when it’s raining. Bottom line: fewer homes means more competition.

You can cash in on tax breaks. Even if you own a home for only one day in 2015, you still get some tax breaks for this year. It may just be the incentive you need to get off the couch and get out into the market. See your accountant for full details.

You could be in a new home for the Holidays! Whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or other celebration, nothing sets the holiday mood like a new home!

Whatever the reason, Fall may be your best opportunity to finally get your own home. What are you waiting for?!

Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at



Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!


Current Ads


If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.


Browse this weeks gallery