Your Holiday Event Guide for the Bay Area!

If you are like us during the holidays, we attempt to take the little ones to all the fun events around the Bay Area during the month of December. We’ve composed a list of some of the best so you can get out and enjoy the season! If you think there are any other events that should make this list, let us know!

South Bay

Christmas in the Park

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Running now until January 7, this yearly event draws thousands of visitors every year and features holiday lights displays, musical perfermances, free visits with Santa, carnival rides and even an ice skating rink! Entrance is free and rides and skating are paid.Located in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Downtown San Jose. www.christmasinthepark.com

Fantasy of Lights 

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Take the drive to Los Gatos to check out the annual fantasy of Lights event which features a 1.5 mile drive around Vasona Park with huge holiday light displays – some even set to music! Open December 5 – 30 (closed December 25). $20 per vehicle must be purchased in advance.Located at 333 Blossom Hill road, Los Gatos, CA 95030 https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/fol/Pages/AnnualFoL.aspx

Winterfest 

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For the love of all things Winter, head to Great America in Santa Clara for ice skating, rides, a visit to Santa’s workshop, nightly tree-lighting, themed character performances and light displays. Takes place weekends in December. Located at 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara www.cagreatamerica.com

San Francisco & The Peninsula 

Union Square 

TreeLightingMacysHorz-425.jpgCheck out the beautiful lit Macy’s tree in the heart of union square while you sip hot chocolate  and visit the decked out stores! Be sure to sit with Santa while you are there and enjoy some ice skating. Don’t forget to head into the Westin St. Francis to view their festive Sugar Castles.Located at Union Square, San Francisco www.visitunionsquaresf.com

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair 

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MirroringVictorian London, this holiday fair features music, theater, characters and charming shops overflowing with hand-made holiday treasures. Even roasted chestnuts and festive themed holiday food. Runs December 16 and 17th.Located at Cow Palace Exhibition Halls – 2500 Geneva Avenue, Daly City www.dickensfair.com

A Charlie Brown Christmas – LIVE 

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Your favorite characters dance and sing to bring A Charlie Brown Christmas to life! Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the whole peanuts gang will be there while the San Francisco Symphony performs Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception featuring a host of activities to keep kids entertained. Runs December 21 – 24. Located at Davies Symphony Hall – 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. www.sfsymphony.org

EastBay
Fairy Winterland 

NW-EP-Main4.jpgChildren fairyland transforms into a holiday wonderland with holiday stories, crafts, lights displays, a nightly parade and a celebration of all cultures – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali and Chinese New Year. Runs December 15 – 23 Located at 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland www.failryland.org

Zoo Lights at the Oakland Zoo 
EVNHeader-ZLights17.jpgCheck out some holiday light displays, light shows, candy cane ride theme area and a nighttime train through the zoo all while checking out some of the animals at night! Runs December 1-31 (closed December 24/25) Located at 97777 Golf Links Road, Oakland www.oaklandzoo.org

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Nicole Emanuel Real Estate

Coldwell Banker

(408) 410-2060

nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com

http://www.realestatebynicole.com

BRE# 01899594

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas on a Budget (from $1,000 – $10,000)

If you are looking for ways to refresh your kitchen this spring, here are some helpful tips that you can use if you are on a budget. When should you tackle certain items yourself; or are they best left the professionals? You might not need to replace everything. Consider refinishing or re-staining cabinets and flooring to save some money…Find more tips here: Kitchen Remodeling Ideas on a Budget (from $1,000 – $10,000)

How to Limit Spending When Getting a Home Ready to Sell

It is common for homeowners to think that selling a home is an expensive endeavor. From repairs to staging, the process can seem overwhelming. With the advice of a knowledgeable real estate professional, sellers often find there are ways to keep costs low and come out on top during the selling process.

WORK WITH A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL Those who are unfamiliar with the selling process may try to take on everything themselves, which can lead to errors regarding documents, home staging, repairs and inspections. While many individuals initially opt for the “go-it-alone” approach to save money, working with seasoned professionals can help avoid costly errors. A real estate agent can provide sound advice on current market trends, accepting offers and enhancing listings to attract more buyers. A home inspector is another seasoned professional you should take advantage of, and can also help to save money. Remember, buyers will likely hire their own inspector to examine a home and if they find significant problems, they may ask you to lower your asking price or walk away altogether. However, if you discover issues beforehand and have them repaired, you may be in a better position to price your home and mitigate potential problems.

KEEP IMPROVEMENTS TO A MINIMUM Minor updates to a home can be helpful in attracting buyers. However, going overboard on updates to sell a home may not give you the kind of return you are expecting. For example, adding on an office addition or turning the basement into a den may make a home more appealing, but buyers may be unlikely to pay a great deal extra for it, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Instead, you may benefit more from small touch-ups, such as repainting, adding new fixtures and hiring a landscaper to improve curb appeal. In some cases, if you have an outdated kitchen and/ or appliances, you may want to undertake a larger project such as replacing floors or countertops. If you decide to take on these renovations, stick to materials used in similar homes in the neighborhood.

Please give me a call at (408) 410-2060 or shoot me an email at nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com if you have any questions on preparing your home for sale. I’m happy to help!

How to Turn Your Home into a Party Pad for Football Season!

Football season has begun! Read on for tips into turning your home into the ultimate game day party pad!!! Whether you are a 49er’s fan or a Patriots fan, your guests will appreciate you being game-day ready! Check out this article to find out more!

Football Season Begins: How to Turn Your Home into a Party Pad.

Just Listed! Remodeled Craftsman Style Home Near Japantown in San Jose

Remodeled Craftsman-style Home Near Japantown!
674 E. Empire
Street, San Jose

 

Nicole Emanuel (Culbertson)

Direct: (408) 355-1512

Mobile: (408) 410-2060

CA DRE# 01899594

Nicole.Emanuel@cbnorcal.com

674 E. Empire Street, San Jose
2 bedroom + bonus room & 1 bath
Approximately 1,000 (permits unknown)
$495,000

Welcome Home! Recently remodeled craftsman-style home incorporates original charm with modern day finishes! Features bamboo flooring, french doors, gourmet kitchen with granite, remodeled bath, renovated back yard and 2-year old roof! Third room can be used as an office, baby’s room or a sitting room. Home is approximately 1,000 square feet – permits unknown (assessors office 884). Located across the street from a park and a short walk to Japantown and Watson Dog Park!

©2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office Is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. All rights reserved. This information was supplied by Seller and/or other sources. Broker believes this information to be correct but has not verified this information and assumes no legal responsibility for its accuracy. Buyers should investigate these issues to their own satisfaction. If your property is currently listed for sale, this is not intended as a solicitation. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. DRE License #01908304

How to Pick a Good Home Improvement Contractor: 10 Tips for Consumers

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1)    Check each contractor’s license. Licensing may be at the state, county, or municipal lever. The quickest surest way to find out who is responsible for licensing contractors in your area is to call your local building department, mayor city manager, or county executive office.

2)    Check with the local Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the contractor.

3)    Solicit proposals from a few contractors before selecting one.

4)    Beware of the lowers bidder. If a bud is more than 20% below the others, ask why. Make sure it’s not because the contractor is desperate for your business and deposit in order to finish another job.

5)    Ask the contractor for references and call them. Ask former customers what type of work was done, whether it was completed in a timely manner and on budget; if they would use that contractor again. Find out if the contractor maintained a clean and safe work area and whether the workman showed up when scheduled.

6)    Confirm that a contractor has at least a minimum insurance – including worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance – required by the state. If they don’t have any insurance, you the customer could be liable for injuries on the job.

7)    Make sure the contractor you choose is well established in your area. Find out how long they have been in the business; who are some of their major suppliers. Beware of those who only have a post office box as a place of business of no ongoing supplier relationships.

8)    Get everything in writing and avoid signing anything – even a bid – until all the terms area agreed upon. Contracts should include everything that has been agreed to. Before you pay, make sure that everything you are paying for was listed in the contract.

9)    Make sure contract proposals specify the type, and wherever possible, brand name, of the materials to be used.  This will help protect you from substitution of inferior quality materials.

10)  Keep a file on the home improvement job, including contracts, change orders, plans and specifications, bills and invoices, cancelled checks, and any other correspondence between you and the contractor or subcontractors.

It is very difficult – if not impossible – to recover money from dishonest contractors. The best way to avoid any problems with contractors is by doing your homework before signing a contract for the job. The extra work and organization upfront should give you greater comfort in the end.  (Article compiled by the Title One Home Improvement Lenders Association (TOHILA) )

If you are looking for a reputable contractor to assist you with a home improvement job, give me a call today at 408-410-2060!

Get Your Home in Shape for the New Year!

Ring in the new year right by getting your home in shape. Your home is your most valued possession so why not spruce it up for the year ahead!

Paint touch-up. Scuffs, dirt and even crayons can plague beautiful walls of a home. Simply mark those areas with blue painter’s tape and then walk around your home with a touch-up paintbrush.

Carpet cleaning. Carpets should be professionally cleaned at least twice per year. Now that you’ve enjoyed those festive holiday celebrations, have those muddy footprints, or worse yet, cranberry sauce stains, professionally treated.

Window washing. While the rainy season is still upon us, spring will be here soon. There is nothing worse on a beautiful home than dirty windows. So take the time to either hire a window washing service or if you’re a do it yourselfer, establish a weekend where you can dedicate yourself to the task at hand.

Fertilize your yard. Spring will be here before we know it. Many of our perennials require winter fertilizer to ensure they enjoy a robust bloom.

Donate old clothing. I once read that truly organized people throw away (or donate) one item for every one item that they bring into their home. Now is the perfect time to go through your closets and donate clothes and shoes that may no longer fit or are outdated. You can call the
Salvation Army at 1.800.95TRUCK to have them picked up at your doorstep.

Pantry and refrigerator cleaning. Do your salad dressings’ expiration dates say 2007? That’s a sign that it’s time to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Be sure to check expiration dates on everything. You’ll be surprised to know that even pancake mix has a relatively short shelf life.

I work with an impressive list of professional home contractors, landscapers, painters and more. If you’d like a recommendation for any of the above services, please don’t hesitate to call me.