Lifestyle & Community

To Pool, or Not To Pool

Swimming pools are a thing of luxury, a thing to show off to the neighbors and make you a more valid solution to host the summer party but are they a sound investment for your home?

So the questions becomes, to pool or not to pool?

To Pool!

Judge Thy Neighbor – Even if you have the finances to have a pool installed you should still consider what is around your home. If you live in a more expensive or upscale neighborhood where pools are common then it’s probably a great decision. In fact, if you live in a neighborhood where pools are more common than not then you probably should seriously considering adding a pool as not having one will be unattractive to prospective buyers.

Will it Fit? – Can your yard actually handle a decent-sized in ground pool or will it eat up all your space? Installing a tiny pool for the sake of just having a pool is rarely a good move, especially in a residential setting where the pool will likely be a source of entertainment. If you have a large yard and installing a nicely-sized pool will still leave you with a beautiful lawn and room for landscaping then it will add value.

Resell Value – If you plan on selling the home soon or before 10 years or so then you’ll probably be able to recoup more costs from having it installed. Chances are a pool is a better bet for homeowners that know they will want to sell in 5 or 10 years, but will have a few years of personal enjoyment prior.

This is only the surface of answering the illustrious question, but important ones to factor.

Not To Pool!

Here are the factors to consider when you are leaning to a garden instead of a pool.

More Dry Time than Wet – If your pool is going to have more downtime than usable time it’s probably going to feel like waste of money. Unless you have the funds to have an indoor pool you should probably avoid a pool if you’ll only be able to use it a few months out of the year.

When Are You Moving? – Homeowners planning on selling in under 5 years probably will end up feeling like they barely got any money back from the pool as they didn’t even get to enjoy it for themselves. On the other hand, if you are a homeowner that loves your home and knows you probably won’t sell for 15 or 20 years then the future costs of resurfacing means you won’t be getting much of an investment from a pool.

Your Home is a Family Home – If your home is going to be an attractive choice for families with young children then a pool can actually be a hindrance due to safety risks. If your neighborhood is one with a lot of new families or your yard has a playground that is aimed at kids under 10 or 12, think about how pools could be more of a headache than a bonus for prospective buyers.

A Pool Will Significantly Affect Your Finances – Upkeep aside, if building a pool is going to leave you penniless it really isn’t a good move and shouldn’t be put off until the future. By waiting and saving up funds or considering a loan you could not only get a pool for also have the budget to landscape, build a deck, install a grassy area and more to make the backyard appealing on multiple levels.

 

At the end of the day you need to take into consideration if a pool will generate more happiness or more headaches. This is your ultimate litmus test to whether the neighborhood kids will be spending the summer at your house

 

 

Get Your Home Summer Ready!

Is Your Pleasanton CA Home Ready for Summer?

The summer is upon us and we can’t wait to spend some time outside of our homes with our families. Take these small steps to maximizing your positive summer feelings!

Check AC Unit

First; change the system’s filter. Clogged and dirty filters make air conditioning systems work harder, stay on longer and cost more to run. Hopefully, you’re already changing your heating and air filters every two to four months, depending on how much dust, pet hair, and the like are in your Pleasanton CA home. Spring is the best time to get started on that cycle with your air conditioning filter, so you don’t start the season with one that’s old and dirty.

Second, turn on your unit to see how it’s cooling. If the A/C doesn’t kick on (it might take a minute), check your circuit breakers or fuses. If it still won’t start up or cool like you think it should, call a professional.

Even if everything does seem to be in working order, it can still be a good idea to call a pro. Having your unit tuned up annually can help extend its life and keep it running efficiently. Seasonal maintenance usually includes inspecting and cleaning your unit, and servicing parts that might need it. Many HVAC companies offer a prepaid annual service plan that covers tune-ups, filter changes, and a discount on repairs if something does go wrong. Do the math to make sure it’s worth it, and if it is, you won’t need to worry about paying the technician for tune-up and maintenance visits.

Windows and Screens

Spring is the time to remove and clean storm windows that have spent the last few months keeping out the cold. To make those windowpanes sparkle, fill a spray bottle with window cleaning solution, use newspaper or a squeegee to leave them streak free, and wear gloves for protection if you have sensitive skin.

While you’re cleaning, evaluate how your windows have fared through the winter. Look for signs of dry rot and water damage from melting snow and ice. Check the seals around windows as well, and re-caulk or replace damaged weather stripping where needed. This will go a long way toward keeping the hot air out and the cool air in as the weather gets warmer.

Finally, clean your window screens, inspect them, repair any damage, and reinstall them in your windows. Use a hose and mild detergent, but don’t pressure wash them — the force of the spray can damage them. You can repair damaged screens with a kit you can purchase at most home improvement or hardware stores.

Tools

Lawn mowers and edgers are key to keeping your yard looking neat through the summer. Make sure your equipment is ready to tackle these tasks with springtime tune-ups.

For gas mowers and edgers, clean the equipment and change the gas if you forgot to empty it at the end of lawn care season. Replace the oil and spark plugs, and get all new oil, fuel and air filters. Lubricate the moving parts and sharpen the mower blade. Check the edger’s trimmer string to see if it needs replacing. If you’re not comfortable doing either of these tune-ups yourself, you can have them handled by a professional.

If your mower and edger are electric, inspect the cords for frays or cuts, and turn them on to be sure the equipment works.

Power tools may be the workhorses of your lawn, but hand tools are just as important. If you didn’t clean them off last winter, wash off any remaining dirt from your shovels, hoes, rakes, pruners and shears. Wipe them down with a lubricant, too. Lubricate hinges of pruners and shears, and carefully clean blades with rubbing alcohol. Sharpen blades if needed.

Gutters

 Cleaning gutters can be a tough job, so consider hiring a pro, especially if your house is more than one story tall. If you’re comfortable tackling it yourself, be safe and work with a partner.

If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need a sturdy ladder, gloves, a trowel, safety glasses and a hose. Use the trowel to scoop the gunk out of the gutters. Once you’ve gotten as much out as you can, hose out the gutters and let the water run out through the downspout. Use the hose to force out clogs.

Be sure water from the downspouts flows away from your house to keep it from collecting around the foundation. As dirty as this job can be, it’s one that can save a lot of headaches and bigger problems down the road.

Hammock

Find two trees and hang up a hammock! You’re welcome!

 

The City is Called “Dublin” After All!

You can’t have a city named “Dublin” and not go BIG for St. Patrick’s Day!

For 35 years the Dublin Lions Club has been perfecting the celebration that takes over a large portion of Dublin (by the library) the weekend of St. Patricks Day. This year is special because St. Patrick’s Day is on Saturday, so get ready to celebrate Saturday and Sunday (Friday if you go to the Green and White Ball!) and admission is absolutely FREE!

All day on both days you will be privy to all things Irish: Music, parade, food, rides, drinks, tea and so much more. Here is a list of the activities that you can expect from this amazing community celebration.

Entertainment

Three Stages of Irish Music and Dance plus live music in the Irish Tea Cottage!
You’ll find everything from lively Irish pub music to energetic Celtic Rock to roaming bagpipes . . . and for the complete U2 experience, don’t miss “Zoo Station” on the Main Stage. Irish Dancers will perform continuously on the Dance Stage.  Please visit the entertainment page to see the complete festival line-up.

Food & Drink

Traditional Irish fare as well as some new takes on Irish classics . . .
plus plenty of international and carnival favorites!

Be sure to sample the mouth-watering Irish favorites such as bangers and mash, colcannon, boxty, Irish stew, or fish and chips . . . and visit the beverage bar for authentic Guinness, Smithwicks or Harp,  Or try some Irish inspirations such as Corned Beef Sliders with spicy slaw and cheddar, beer-battered “Irish fries” topped with deep-fried cabbage and corned beef and served with a mustard horseradish sauce, or “Irish egg rolls” stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, pepper jack and horseradish sauce.  For dessert try a green shamrock-shaped funnel cake topped with Bailey’s whipped cream or a Bailey’s Irish Creme Brulee’. Traditional festival favorites, such as hand-dipped corn dogs and kettle corn (green, of course), along with international choices, such as lumpia, burritos and teriyaki chicken, will also be served.

Shopping

Over 250 Booths featuring an Irish Marketplace with unique Celtic wares!
The Irish Marketplace will feature unique Celtic artwork, Irish tartans, hand-knit wool sweaters, Celtic capes and shawls, beautiful handmade Celtic jewelry, books, music, and much more! Other festival vendors will include handmade arts and crafts, a variety of commercial vendors, non-profit groups, and sponsors.

Carnival Rides

Rides and Games for All Ages!
The carnival will offer exciting rides and games for every age and will feature extended hours on Saturday evening until 7:00 p.m.

Irish Tea Cottage

A wee bit of Ireland!
Enjoy lively Irish pub music while enjoying a steaming cup of Irish tea – served in fine china along with delicious shortbread and scones. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

For full details on the weekends events, times, parking and more visit here!

Hops and Grapes (Tri-Valleys Historic Gifts)

Our beer and wine culture is rich in history and success. The climate and soil conditions of the Tri-Valley have made the WORLD stand up and notice our agricultural products for more than 100 years and there really doesn’t seem to be signs of that slowing down (although we don’t really grow hops like we used to).

Wine

Livermore Valley has an east-west orientation that allows coastal fog and marine breezes to come in from the San Francisco Bay to cool the valley’s warm air. The soil has a lot of gravel which limits the vines’ deep-rooted strength, which in turn leads to larger flavor, yields in grapes.

Spanish missionaries planted the first vines here in the late 1700’s. A hundred and twenty years later C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore planted grapes and soon were counted among the leaders of the flourishing California wine industry.

Livermore Valley could count more than 50 wineries up until Prohibition. It contributed significantly to the state’s oenology and viticulture with the development of Chardonnay clones, overhead irrigation, and mechanical harvesting. Livermore Valley wineries were also the first to bottle varietal labeled Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah. Sauvignon Blanc put Livermore Valley on the international wine map in 1889, when it captured America’s first gold medal at the Paris Exposition.

Hops

The “Hop Yard” were fields with enormous poles set 42 feet apart to support great wires and in turn trellis’ for hop vines. The hops grown here were sought by many of the largest beer producers in the United States and Europe, making Pleasanton internationally famous.

Press-Release in the Pleasanton Times August 13th 1910

“The cultivation of hops in Pleasanton is but another instance of the fertility and productive possibilities of the land in this locality; this, coupled with the fact that the climatic conditions are ideal, makes hop culture a profitable undertaking. The hop fields of Pleasanton are owned by the Pleasanton Hop Company, of which Mr. E. R. Lilienthal and est. stockholders. The company was of San Francisco, is one of the largest-incorporated in 1893 and 300 acres of land were purchased lying west of and adjacent to Pleasanton. Here buildings were erected, equipped with every modern invention applicable to hop culture and to facilitate the labor from the time the soil is plowed until the hops are ready for market. There are few hop fields in the world where the business has been reduced more nearly to a science.”

Valentine’s in Dublin

Whether you get the illusive night away from the kids or are just getting to know somebody, there are a ton of amazing things to do in just 15.23 square miles of Dublin California.

Don’t just settle for dinner and a movie. Really get out and see the town. Here are five great ways to create a date night to remember.

Bray Commons Dog Park

3115 Finnian Way, Dublin

A quarter-acre facility, Bray Commons Dog Park provides a grassy field for canine recreation and exercise. The enclosed park area is double gated and provides benches, trees, waste bags and a water fountain.

Bintang Badminton Academy Dublin

6780 Sierra Ct. Ste 1. Dublin

With six courts to choose from, Bintang Badminton Academy Dublin provides visitors with a facility to play badminton competitively or for recreational purposes. The courts often host badminton lessons and clinics.

Caps and Taps

6601 Dublin Blvd Ste. M, Dublin

Set in the heart of Dublin, among The Shops at Tralee Village, Caps & Taps provides the finest selection of craft beer, by pouring the latest and best beers available, and offering true beer geek knowledge. They have 18 rotating taps as well as a fine selection of premium craft beer in our bottle shop.

Yalla Mediterranean

5246 Dublin Blvd Dublin

Are you looking for a vegan or gluten-free restaurant in Dublin, CA or do you just want somewhere you can find healthy takeout? Yalla Mediterranean is redefining the concept of healthy food for the 21st century. Their meals are tasty, filling and hearty, plus, they’re made with farm-fresh ingredients.

Berevino Restaurant and Wine Bar

4590 Dublin Blvd. Dublin

Finish off your evening with dessert and wine on the newly remodeled patio of Berevino! Local wines, fresh ingredients and space heaters make for a perfect end to a perfect night!

Pleasanton CA Homes for Sale

3 Reasons Why You Should Live in Pleasanton CA | Real Estate Properties for Sale

Buying a home for sale in Pleasanton CA is the wisest decision you will make!

Stunningly beautiful and culturally rich, Pleasanton CA is not only a unique place to visit but also to live. With its exceptional arts and cultural activities, plenty of history and sense of place, a strong commercial and financial core; and all the education and services anyone could want, it is definitely a world-class city in every respect.

But aside from being ranked as one of the wealthiest middle-sized cities in the U.S nation and being included on Money Magazine’s list of the ’50 Best Cities to Live 2014’ , what makes Pleasanton so special?

Why should you buy a home for sale in Pleasanton CA?

Pleasanton CA has world-famous attractions for you to enjoy!

Pleasanton CA has 1,200 acres of surrounding parks, open space and trails which offer spectacular vistas and abundant recreational opportunities. Looking for some golf courses? Pleasanton CA has the Calippe Preserve Golf Course which features newbie-friendly holes for the novice golfer and challenging ones for the veterans.

For a more fun experience, visit the Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area which is a waterpark with slides, a picnic area, hiking, fishing, swimming and fun for the family.

Another great place to check out is the Museum on Main. Learn something about the local founding characters and how the town got started along with a themed display which changes regularly. This is one of the amenities that you shouldn’t miss when you decide to buy a home for sale in Pleasanton CA and live there!

There’s never a dull moment when you buy a home for sale in Pleasanton CA!

Pleasanton is enlivened by events like a free summer concert series, festivals and parades along Main Street, and an intimate performing and visual arts center. During these events, residents come together and enjoy the show that the people themselves have prepared. These events are what makes the people of Pleasanton Ca warm and friendly to each other!

The best part about this city for me would be the weekly Farmer’s Market which opens every Saturday from 9AM-1PM near the intersection of W Angela St. and Main St. It is a year-round event and rain or shine, it is open!

During this event there is a wide variety of produce and prepared items available. Sellers will let you have a taste of their wares and there is usually more than one seller per product so you can shop for a better price. Vendors are so friendly here that there are even some booths that let you pay for the products as to how much you think is appropriate for it!

Homes in Pleasanton CA for Sale

What are you waiting for? Buy a home now in Pleasanton CA!

Pleasanton CA is many things, but all in all it is the best place to live for you and your family. A rich, diverse community which is tightly-knit at the same time makes Pleasanton a neighborhood where you will feel like at home.

To help you with your home search, you can contact me, Doug Benz. I have been in the real estate field since 1989 and am always available for you. You can learn more about me at www.680Homes.com/about/.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will make. I want to help you make sure that your experience is one that you won’t regret. Put your trust in my expertise and i’ll put my expertise to work for you.

I am Doug Buenz, your top real estate agent from Pleasanton Ca, and with my help, all of your real estate dreams will come true! Call me at (925) 621-0680 to get started.

If you cannot view this video, click here to get to my YouTube channel: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqlNbD5x_FY>

Pleasanton CA Homes

First Wednesday Pooch Parade

Pleasanton CA Homes

Next Wednesday, August 3 marks the 19th Annual Pooch Parade at 7pm on Main Street in Pleasanton.  Now is the time to get your dog ready and plan a costume for this adorable parade.  The First Wednesday Street Party will also be underway on Main Street with music, food trucks, children’s activities and vendor booths.  You can register your dog in one of the seven categories that are up for prizes  from 5:30 – 7:00pm at Lions Wayside Park.  For complete Pooch Parade details and to download a registration form visit www.trivalleyguidedogs.org.  Visit www.pleasantondowntown.net for complete details on the 1st Wednesday Street Party events.

Pleasanton Homes

Spring Fair on the Farm

Heritage Park blog

Are you looking for a glimpse into the past of the Tri-Valley area?  Come help plant a garden or tour the home of a farm family at Dublin’s Spring Fair on the Farm at Heritage Park on Saturday, May 7.  Children can be the first to plant the new Farm Yard garden, as they learn about historic gardening and sustainability. Additional activities include live music, wagon rides, butter churning, ice cream making and much more!  While admission is free, activity wristbands are $5 and include several fun activities. Visitors should be sure to visit the Farm-to-Table exhibit or tour the home of Dublin’s farm family, the Kolbs, to see what they’d likely be doing on a spring day in 1949.

For more information visit http://dublinca.gov/1501/Spring-Fair-on-the-Farm

Real Estate in Livermore CA

Livermore Wine Country Downtown Street Fest

Livermore Street Fest

This weekend is the 25th Anniversary of the Livermore Wine Country Downtown Street Fest.  This festival is a fun celebration that includes wine, craft brews, arts, crafts, shopping, dining, & entertainment in Downtown Livermore. Over 150,000 people attend each year to explore over 300 vendor booths, shop at the incredible specialty boutiques, and eat at the fabulous restaurants. The event runs Saturday, April 30 from 10am-6pm and Sunday, May 1 from 10am-5pm.

Activities in Livermore

2016 Concerts at Wente

concerts

This year marks 30 years of entertainment at Wente Vineyards.  The 2016 concert lineup has been released and there are some amazing performers heading our way this summer.  This year you can see Chicago, Phillip Phillips, Matt Nathanson, Diana Ross, & Michael Bolton, to name a few.  Ticket prices vary and include dinner options.  For the full schedule and seating options visit https://www.wentevineyards.com/concerts