Home Inspections – Specialists You May Want to Check Out

While most folks settle for a home inspection, pest (termite) inspection and possibly a roof inspection, there are a myriad of specialists you can hire to investigate just about anything home-related when you are purchasing a home. The California Association of Realtors put together this short list of the most popular, but some common inspections we see  also include:

Pool & Spa – If the home has a pool and spa, its a must to get it inspected. This is often an overlooked item and failing pool pumps and heaters can be very expensive.

Arborist – Does the home have a huge tree in the front yard? Is one of the trees looking overgrown? Sometimes, it makes sense to call an arborist to make sure the trees on the property are healthy and not in danger of falling limbs or needing to be uprooted (all of which can be rather costly).

Contractors – Are you considering doing some renovating to a home after purchase? Its smart to have a contractor walk the home before you purchase to ensure you can do all the items you want. Sometimes structural modifications might not work or will be very expensive due to the placement of load-bearing walls and foundations so its something you might want to know up front if you are planning on adding on to a home or re-arranging.

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Nicole Emanuel Real Estate

Coldwell Banker

(408) 410-2060

nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com

http://www.realestatebynicole.com

Local Christmas Tree Farms 2017

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Our family has a wonderful tradition of heading out to a local Christmas tree farm with friends and family and cutting down our own tree. Although its left us rainy and muddy some years, we love the experience of it and it really puts us in the holiday mood! The photo above is of our favorite local spot in the Los Gatos mountains — Lone Star Tree Farm.

If you are and your family are looking to try something new this year, consider cutting down your own tree! We’ve compiled a list of local tree farms to make things easy (but maybe not less muddy!)

Crest Ranch Choose and Cut Trees 

12200 Empire Grade

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

 

Summit Christmas Tree Farm 

23868 Summit Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Patchen California Christmas Tree Farm

22217 Old Santa Cruz Highway

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Lone Star Tree Farm 

20514 Gist Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Black Road Christmas Tree Farm

20259 Black Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Four Winds Christmas Tree Farm 

19679 Skyline Blvd.

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Hester Creek Christmas Trees 

25507 San Jose-Sequel Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Peacock Tree Farm 

17950 Mountain Charlie Road

Los Gatos, CA 95033

 

Skyline Farms 

20514 Gist Road

Los Gatos 95033

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Nicole Emanuel Real Estate

Coldwell Banker

(408) 410-2060

nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com

http://www.realestatebynicole.com

 

Bay Area 4th of July Event Schedule

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If you are looking to check out some awesome fireworks displays or fun 4th of July events this holiday, look no further. We have compiled a list of the top events around the South Bay – click on any of the links to take you to the website for more information on each event. Wishing you a fun and safe independence day!

Cupertino 

Children’s parade begins at 10 a.m. at Memorial Park. Pancake breakfast, flag raising, live entertainment, children’s carnaval and food! Monday, July 4, 2016. 7a.m. – 5p.m. Memorial Park Amphitheatre and Blackberry Farm. Cupertino, CA. (408) 777-3120.

Gilroy High School

City of Gilroy’s Annual Fireworks! – Fireworks at approximately 9:15 p.m. Monday, July 4 2016. 750 W 10th St, Gilroy, CA 95020.

Milpitas Sports Center Complex

“Red, White and Boom” Concert and Fireworks Show

The “Waving the Red, White & Blue” Pool Party event starts at 1 p.m. in the Milpitas Sports Center. Individuals will able to purchase food, enjoy music, games, and fun for $ 3 per person. As for the “Red, White & Boom” concert, the show starts at 7 p.m. with the doors opening at 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. with admission being $3 per person ( 2 years and older). Monday, July 4, 2016. 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd. For more information please call (408)586-3210.

Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center

Freedom Fest – Patriotic singing, parade, entertainment and fireworks on the green at around 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 4, 2016. 16500 Condit Rd, Morgan Hill, CA.

Mountain View – Shoreline Amphitheatre 

4th of July Fireworks Spectacular With San Francisco Symphony – “A Night At The Movies” with music from Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, E.T., Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Raider of the Lost Ark and more on July 4th, 2016, Monday at 8:00 p.m. Shoreline Amphitheatre. (650)967-4040.

San Jose, The Alameda Avenue

Rose, White, and Blue Parade – Enjoy a family holiday filled with history, patriotism and roses! Live music, arts and crafts booths, antique cars and a picnic on the Alameda. Monday, July 4, 2016. Parade starts 10 a.m. at Lincoln High School parking lot at 555 Dana Avenue. If you want to participate in the parade applications are required for vehicles, walking groups, musical groups, marching units, floats and equestrian units. Applications must be submitted by June 14. Festival located at The Alameda between Hanchett and Hester Ave. For more information please call (408)436-8581.

Discovery Meadow, Downtown San Jose

New Century of Service – Enjoy this free, family-friendly event with a fireworks show at approximately 9:30p.m. after dusk with free Symphony Summer Pops music at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 4, 2016. Discovery Meadow. 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110.

Santa Clara’s Central Park

4th of July All-City Picnic and Fireworks Extravaganza – Celebrate 4th of July with an all-city picnic and fireworks at 9:30pm! Beginning at 12p.m., relax and enjoy live entertainment, good food, carnival games, face painting, dancing and a flag dedication from the Mayor. Central Park, 909 Kiely Boulevard, Santa Clara.(408) 615-3140.

Santa Clara – Great America 

Make sure to turn your head to the skies high above California’s Great America as we present our fireworks extravaganza to celebrate our great nation! Located at the Redwood Amphitheater inside the park. Fireworks after dusk.

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Boosting Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What would buyers see if they drove up to your home? Go ahead, take a look. Stand outside your home and try to look at it through a buyer’s eyes. First impressions are lasting impressions. If buyers see paint peeling, a crack in a window or an unkempt yard, they are apt to speculate that there are other, more substantial things wrong with the home.

That first impression, or curb appeal, can make the difference in the amount of money a buyers is willing to offer on a home listed for sale.

Here are some suggestions to enhance the curb appeal of your home to get ready for sale or even just to spruce things up a bit this summer: 

  • Mow the lawn, clean up and yard and prune shrubs and trees 
  • Scrub or paint the front porch and door. Sometimes an interesting pop of color on the door can really modernize the look of an older homea-little-front-door-love-curb-appeal-doors-painting.jpg
  • Check the porch or deck and hand railings to ensure they are secure 
  • Wash the windows, make them sparkle!! 
  • If you have time time and money, paint the exterior of the home. Try to stick to more neutral palates as some bright colors can be an immediate turn off for some buyers. Add color by painting the door a different color, instead. Exterior-before-after.jpg
  • Pick up and put away toys and bikes, outdoor bins are also great for storing these items 
  • Check that the lawn furniture is in good shape or, if not, store it away 
  • Add charm to the front and backyard by adding flower pots and planting fresh plants 

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  • Repair and paint the fence, if needed 
  • Repair the roof, gutters, and downspouts if needed 

These improvements are essential before a home sale and could mean an increase in sales price.  Feel free to call or email and let me know if I can answer any questions for you or make suggestions on how to improve your homes curb appeal!

 

Advantages to Home Ownership

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If you’re thinking about buying a new home there are many things to consider, including the tax benefits of owning a home. 

Sure, filing taxes may become a little more complicated, but you may be able to deduct home-related expenses and the savings on can add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Because the tax rules for homeowners can be tricky, I recommend you consult with a tax professional before deciding what you can and cannot deduct. But in general, you can figure on a number of significant tax breaks associated with homeownership, including:

Mortgage interest. The biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. In most cases, the interest homeowners pay is deductible. This may mean a reduced tax bill overall and a bigger refund.

Property taxes. As a homeowner, you are entitled to deduct payments of real estate tax on your property if you claimed itemized deductions on your tax return. The IRS allows you to deduct real estate taxes on your primary residence and any other homes you own. There are no limits on the dollar amount of real estate taxes you can deduct.

Loan deductions. When homeowners borrow against the equity of their home to finance other investments, the interest they pay on the new loan is also tax deductible, within IRS guidelines. Generally, equity debts of $100,000 or less are fully deductible.

Improvements on your residence: While you generally cannot deduct improvements to your home on your taxes, such items can lower your tax bite down the road. Improvements such as a family room addition, a kitchen makeover, or a pool increase the “basis” of your home – i.e., the purchase price plus improvements. When you go to sell, the higher your basis is, the less you will have to pay in capital gains taxes if you pay at all.

Tax-free profits. The government allows homeowners to keep tax-free profits from the sale of a home that has been their primary residence for at least two years. Single taxpayers don’t owe taxes on the first $250,000 of profit from the sale of a principal residence, while married homeowners get $500,000 when filing jointly.

These tax savings can add up quickly. On a $500,000, 30-year mortgage loan at five percent, for example, a homeowner would end up paying nearly $25,000 in the first year in interest alone. At a 33 percent federal and state income tax rate, the mortgage interest deduction alone would save more than $8,200 in that tax year! But again, tax laws are complicated and everyone’s tax situation is different. Consult your tax professional to see how the rules apply to your situation. In the meantime, if you have any questions about purchasing a home and how much you can afford, feel free to give me a call! 

Should You Rent or Buy? Things to Consider when Making Your Decision?

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“To buy or to rent?” That seems to be the question lots of people are wrestling with these days with interest rates still near historic lows and the housing market continuing to gain strength in most communities.

Recent graduates, thirty-somethings, relocating professionals and even current homeowners have probably considered both scenarios recently. While each option has its pluses and minuses, the decision to purchase a home as opposed to renting is a complex one and really depends a lot on your individual circumstances.

According to a recent survey conducted for the National Association of REALTORS®, nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home today is a good financial decision. But the question that remains is whether or not now is the right time for you to buy.

For most people, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they will make in their lifetime. Here are just a few things to consider when deciding between renting and buying:

  • Do you have a steady income? Buying may be a sound financial decision for those with documented income and a good credit history. A steady income can provide a strong basis for the initial down payment and future mortgage payments. Lenders will look at your ability to repay the mortgage and how positive your credit history is when deciding
    if you qualify for a loan.
  • Can you cover the other expenses? When you own a single family home, you – not your landlord –will be responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs, everything from a leaky faucet to replacing a roof. Will you have enough money left over in your budget each month (after paying the mortgage, property taxes and insurance) to cover any repair issues that may pop up?
  • How long do you plan to stay in your home? Although homes often appreciate over time in most areas and many owners build equity through monthly mortgage payments that go towards the principal of the loan, values can go up or down during any period of time. Generally, the longer you plan on staying in your home, the more likely that buying may be the right move for you.
  • How much will your rent increase in the future? Obviously no one knows for sure what the future will bring, but a recent study by Trulia found that rents on average are increasing faster than home prices. In fact, homeownership remains 38% cheaper than renting nationally, and it’s less expensive in all of the 100 largest metro areas studied by Trulia. But each neighborhood and each home are different, so it’s important to do your homework.
  • How do your other options compare? For renters, calculating month-to-month housing expenses is as easy as inquiring about the monthly rent and average utilities. The calculation gets a bit more complicated when considering the monthly cost and benefits of owning a home. Buy-versus-rent calculators, which are available on websites such as ColdwellBanker.com, offer a good start in comparing the two options.

There is a lot to consider when weighing the pros and cons of buying a home, and you’ll likely have a lot of questions. The best thing that you can do before making a decision is to do your homework and become better educated on your options.
I’m here to help answer your questions and find the right course for you. Give me a call at (408) 410-2060 or send me an email at nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com and we can get started today!

Just Listed! Best Value in Cambrian at $625k. Open this weekend!

Best Value in Cambrian!
1695 Hillsdale Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124
Nicole Emanuel (Culbertson)
Direct: (408) 355-1512
Mobile: (408) 410-2060
CA BRE# 01899594
Nicole.Emanuel@cbnorcal.com
1695 Hillsdale Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124
3 bedroom, 1 bath
1,288 square feet
$625,000

Look no further….you’ve found the best value in Cambrian! Wonderfully updated house with award winning schools! This beautiful home features remodeled kitchen, updated bath, crown moulding throughout, double-pane windows, tile floors, office area with possible addition for bathroom or bedroom and a 600-square foot garage. Relaxing backyard with newer fence and pergola.

OPEN HOUSE
Saturday, March 21 (1 pm – 4 pm)
Sunday, March 22 (1 pm – 4 pm)

©2015 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. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage or NRT LLC. CalBRE License #01908304.