Best Halloween Movies for the Family
It’s the week before Halloween and you are most likely spending it getting into the spirit. After all, this is the gateway holiday to decorations, imaginations and celebrations so best to start ramping up now.
We have compiled our short list of family favorite Halloween movies that is sure to get everybody ready for Wednesday!
Hocus Pocus (1993)
What makes a better Halloween movie than three evil witches? Head to the 1600s, where Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) cast a spell that killed a little girl and turned her brother into an immortal black cat. Then, fast forward to the‘90s and meet Max Dennison, who just moved from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts with his parents and his little sister. He’ll do anything to impress his cute neighbor, Allison, who just so happens to have access to the old Sanderson House. He even lights the Black Flame Candle, which as legend has it, will bring back the Sanderson sisters—and does! But hey, who believes in all that hocus pocus, anyway?
Young Adam and Barbara (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) are certainly dead, and a new family is certainly moving into their home! What to do? Cue Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), in all his putrescence, known for expelling unwanted houseguests (and solving other problems, too). Together, the crew (with the help of living goth child Lydia) work to expel her unbearable parents and reclaim the home for good.
Monster House (2006)
One house on the street is not like the others, and teenager DJ knows it. Unfortunately, it’s harder than expected for him to convince the police and his babysitter that their neighbor’s home is actually a living, breathing monster. DJ and his friends must embark on a crazy adventure in hopes of saving the people the house has eaten (and ideally destroying it afterward). Anxiety-prone kids should pass on this one, but young horror fans will dig this film for its relatable characters and heartwarming ending.
A father seeks a very special gift for his son, ultimately purchasing a very cute “mogwai” (uhh…”monster”??) with strict care instructions in Chinatown. As expected, Billy does not care for the critter Gizmo exactly as instructed, and total mayhem ensues, complete with rapidly multiplying hideous monsters. The film takes place at Christmastime, but the horror here is flexible enough to creep your kids out at any time of year
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
We just really want to see this tradition continue forever! This sweet flick is one of several holiday-themed family favorites involving your favorite characters. Though A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of our go-to’s, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown frequently makes its way into our movie marathons in early fall. Prepare for cute costumes, trick-or-treating, and pumpkins.
The housing market fluctuates between two classifications, buyer’s or seller’s market. Often the season dictates which area the market falls in but a deeper look might allow for a greater understanding and foresight on shifts. Either way strategy is crucial.
Let’s explore simple definitions and terms:
Just like the name suggests, a “buyer’s market” is traditionally used to refer to market conditions where the buyer has an inherent advantage over the seller. Typically, these are times when there’s plenty of housing inventory, and buyers seem to have their pick of available properties to choose from.
Since the market is flooded with homes to choose from, properties have a tendency to stick around longer. When that happens, sellers get nervous. The added pressure of potentially not being able to sell their home means that in buyer’s markets, sellers are often flexible on sale price.
On the other hand, in a “seller’s market” the seller inherently has an advantage over the buyer. This is where housing inventory has a tendency to be few and far between, leading sellers to have a greater pool of interested buyers to choose from — and, driving housing prices up.
In this case, since housing inventory is so low, houses that do go on the market tend to get a lot of attention. There’s a strong chance that sellers will have multiple offers to choose from, and, because of that, available properties tend to go under contract very quickly at or above asking price.
What Are We Currently
California in general has tipped back to a buyers market recently.
After several years of rich home price gains, the market appears to have found a limit to what people can afford. Sellers are finally responding by lowering prices more often.
Approximately 14 percent of all listings in June had undergone a price cut, that’s up from a recent low of 11.7 percent at the end of 2016, according to a new report from Zillow.
The good news is that we have battle-tested strategies in both housing markets and can see trends happening before they have been documented. Give us a call at 925-621-0680 to learn more or begin the strategy for your current situation.
The seasons are changing which mean that recently dormant home functions are coming alive. Heat will try to escape, water will try to get in and cold could wreak havoc. It’s time to do your fall home checklist!
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.
Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.
Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.
A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.
Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.
An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.
Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.
You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.
Trees and Bushes
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
For advice on pruning specific plants in your region or preparing your home for fall, check with your state extension service.
They are coming and they want candy!
For some of us, Halloween is another holiday obligation. Don’t get us wrong, we love the act of seeing the neighborhood kids dressed in their favorite characters paying us a visit for candy, but the thought of needing to decorate the outside of your home can be daunting, especially when done improperly or not at all could result in some mild manner vandalism.
You don’t need to go full Disney in order to satisfy the requirements for a home open for candy business., and you don’t need to secure a small loan either.
Here are some practical and effective home decorations that will please even the 20 year old trick-or-treater (yes they exist).
At around $5 a bag, pick up a couple packs of those stretchy cotton spider webs from any Walmart. These thing go a long way and cover a ton or space. They are also relatively easy to clean up.
Power of Pumpkins
Grab yourself a bushel of pumpkins for the front porch. You don’t need to carve them all. The simple sight of pumpkins give any porch that holiday feel so put them all over the place. Still one of the most inexpensive natural decorators there is.
Whether you make them yourself out of cardboard or buy a pack of the Styrofoam ones from the Halloween store, these spread out on your lawn will give waiting parents on the curb something to look at as well as cover a massive amount of space in short order. If you make them, put the names of your neighbors on them. Make them do a double take!
Secure yourself as many fake severed hands as possible. These are versatile decorations. Have them sticking up out of your lawn near the tombstones, attach them to trees to give the impression that there is something larger behind the tree or hand them from your gutter to give your porch that “butcher shop” look.
You do need some sort of light source for your porch if for no other reason than safety. Fake candles or luminaries are great for walkways and steps. Use orange string lights for railings and around doors or windows and replace your porch light with an orange one. If you want to invest around $100 you can get a really cool laser projector for the front lawn to cover your whole house (Target or Walmart). You don’t need spotlights, dry ice and laser shows. Unless your are into that sort of thing.
The last thing you need is some teenager teaching you a lesson for falling short in the holiday decoration department and the second to last thing you need is another expensive to-do list. Don’t fret; there are simple solutions to fitting in!
The Pumpkins are coming! We have fought mightily as anybody against the impending “pumpkin spice everything”. Summer is just too hard to let go of, but fall is a magical time for adults and kids, so let us embrace our falling leaf spirit and prepare!
Get your pumpkins in the Tri-Valley:
Joann’s Pumpkin Patch located at 4351 Mines Road: Pumpkin patch, animals and gold rush-era displays
Alden Nursery Pumpkin Patch, pies, hay maze, candy card, apple fishing. The nursery is located at 981 Alden Lane in Livermore.
Moore’s Pumpkin Patch Located at 6430 Dublin Ct. Rides, pumpkin patch
G & M Farms located at 487 East Airway Boulevard: Corn maze and pumpkin patch
Windmill Farms Produce located at 2255 San Ramon Valley Boulevard: Pumpkin Patch
Forest Home Farms Historic Park located at 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard: Pumpkin patch
If you are not in the mood for a full afternoon excursion of searching for the perfect pumpkin, there are grocery store options selling pumpkins in your town.
- Trader Joe’s
- Home Depot
- Armstrong Nursery
Want to carve like a pro? We have all seen the super animated jack-o-lanterns then attempted to figure it out on our own, usually to end up with a pumpkin that looks more like it got into a horrible accident.
Pumpkin Masters online offers great tips and tricks and even has a youtube channel.
We just can’t fight it any longer. Fall is upon us and if we prepare now we can dazzle our neighbors.
Are you planning to join one of the golf clubs in Ruby Hill or its neighboring areas? There are no shortages of amazing opportunities to join a country club in the area that we live in. The Ruby Hill community, Castlewood, Blackhawk and Diablo just to name a few. While one cannot underestimate the benefits of joining a golf club, there are uniform policies, prices and practices to consider before you choose whether to join.
Initiation Fees: This is the initial cost to gain access to the club. Such fees will vary over time based on economic factors of the club (e.g. capacity rate, operating income, cash flow, etc.). You may pay a $5,000 initiation fee while five years later a new member may get in at a bargain for just $1,500.
Monthly Dues: After you pay the initiation fee, then there will be a minimum monthly payment in order to ensure that the club has a consistent monthly cash flow to cover operating expenses (and hopefully turn a profit). Monthly dues will vary from one club to another so it is important to inquire as to the exact charges so that the new monthly bill will fit within your budget.
Minimums: This is a minimum monthly spend on food or in the golf shop, for example, may also be required of each member. Sometimes these minimums will supplement monthly dues but the “use it or lose it” approach with minimums ensures that the club is generating consistent revenue on a monthly basis.
Separation Policy: Eventually there may come a time for you to leave the private golf club, but doing so may present some challenges. At some clubs, you just stop paying your dues and you are done. For others, you may not be able to officially leave until a new member is found to replace you. Make sure to check out the separation policy when you sign up so that there are no big surprises later.
In addition to these primary factors to learn more about there are other (deeper) factors to consider before joining a country club:
- Is the club equity, non-equity or for profit
- The process of joining-sponsored by current member, letters, etc.
- Kid programs
- Cash or non-cash club and tipping policies
- Guest rules
- Extra services-Social, lessons, food, tournaments, etc.
The best overall advice is to do a little homework and construct a comprehensive list of questions before going in to meet with a potential sales-person. It is very easy to get blinded once on property and faced with a salesperson leaving you with all your unanswered questions looming under your financial investment.
In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view Downtown Pleasanton Californiaon my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo9ntvrIpMg&t=0s&list=PLY3ZBmqJWrdNTRLIyJgY6_PTI-BXzPZcd&index=63.
Welcome to Pleasanton!
Welcome to Pleasanton!
Welcome to Pleasanton!
Welcome to Pleasanton!
Without question, the heart of Pleasanton is its downtown area, it harkens back to the 1800s in the wild West. Today it’s full of cafes, coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries, bakeries, and fine restaurants. Think Butch Cassidy meets Wolfgang.
In 1884, Pleasanton was made a city and it is on from there we celebrated our Centennial a few years back. John Cottanger was an admirer of general Alfred Pleasonton. It was Pleasonton, not Pleasanton but the Postal Service fouled it up, and put the “A” and instead of the “O”. And so that’s why we’re Pleasanton, instead of Pleasonton. It’s a great community and it draws people because it has a hometown feel. Our Main Street is still a home town.
We were looking for an area such as this, where it looks a little bit like Old Town, hometown USA. A lot of people from back east say it reminds them of where they grew up, in the area and so forth, and it has that kind of feel. So between the uniqueness of the merchants here, the stores and the wonderful restaurants on Main Street, find people come back regularly, every day.
We are the wine steward, we’re in downtown Pleasanton. We’re the largest wine shop in the East Bay, happens to be right down here in full old downtown Pleasanton. And this used to be an old movie theater built in the 1920’s, and we took occupation in 1999 and have been here ever since.
Pleasanton is one of those throwback towns, this part of it which is the old downtown, is just a quaint area, and people are friendly, people are down here walking their dogs, and it’s just like old America, it’s a really nice place to hang out and live.
I’ve been in Pleasanton for 26 years, and I’ve had my store here for ten years and I love Pleasanton. The customers are really friendly, all my friends come in, my kids go to school in Pleasanton and it’s just been the best experience in my life to have a store here.
Downtown Pleasanton is actually the heart of Pleasanton. That’s what everyone calls it, it’s a place we gather, it’s the place we come down to just for coffee or a good piece of pizza. Great restaurants of all kinds here. People like to just sit out and watch each other and talk to each other. You’ll see lots of bike riders, you’ll see lots of hikers and walkers and just people with baby carriages, down here in the downtown because it’s the place we all gather.
Got to love the farmer’s market too.
Yeah, the farmer’s market, which we’ve only done this a few times now, but this is really nice to be able to walk down here on a Saturday. We live right on the street right on the main street, so we don’t get in the car at all. And having the fairgrounds, right next door, with all the car shows that happen every year. Being able to just walk from our house like right to the car shows when it’s happening, it’s great.
When it’s the first Wednesday of the month and they block off Main Street, it’s pretty much a block party. It goes from six to nine on the first Wednesday of the month, from May to September I think it is.
Main Street is like a Rockwell painting, it’s kind of a small town. Everybody talks to each other it’s, it’s just really nice.You can look and see, everybody is just kind of cruising, it’s relaxed, there’s no stress. It’s just a really, really beautiful town.
It’s a vital downtown, it’s where everybody wants to be.
So I hope you enjoyed our look around Downtown Pleasanton, if I can be of any assistance to you or answer any questions, please give me a call. I’m worthy of your trust.
Once again the time is upon us, as the tans begin to fade, the last remaining grains of sand come dislodged from the places that only sand can find and new school shoes gear up for a couple of month of kicking rocks to and from the bus stop accompanied by an infinite supply of grumbling. Ah yes, a new school year full of promise as well as challenges.
Not unlike most monumental happenings, the ones less likely to survive the shift are those that choose to milk the remaining minutes out of the passing time rather than prepare for it. Some simply find themselves in a been-there, done-that mentality and invariably get bowled over by the unforeseen challenges that arise. Weather it is your first back-to-school year or you live in a shoe; we all seem to know the basics, but those aren’t enough.
Here then are 4 things that don’t make most back-to-school list that are sure to give you that veteran appearance and calm the seas for your smooth sailing.
- Relax on the Day One Questions
We all know that we have the most important kid in the class and we really need everybody to see that only the best will do for our prince/princess, but think about the cross examination you are about to deliver so you can have every question answered on day one, and then multiply that by the 20 other parents dropping off. Don’t add to the confusion. You have 3 things to do when you get to the school, drop off, honk and wave….that’s it !
- Early is so Now
This was true back in my days of being dropped off, and now imagine it with the shrinking to nonexistent attention span of the triple-shot mocha choca locha malarkey, 4 minutes late to their own funeral, no time to say hello-goodbye mom on a mission. We snicker at them until inevitably we are them. Make it a goal to not be them. Be early. “On time” is so 2000.
- Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Even if the beginning of the school year is not a cataclysmic jump, like 8th to 9th grade, the beginning of a new school year is the prime environment for anxiety to grow in. Talk to your kids in the last few weeks of summer and find out how they are feeling about the coming year. If they are too young to fully express themselves, be proactive and incorporate a nighttime book that deal with this topic in a fun and professional way. Ask what they think the other kids are expecting and help them reach that goal, but most of all, just listen. Let you child know that you’re on their team! This will take any loneliness out of the vastness of the moment.
- Talk To Your Kids EVERYDAY About Their Day
This is not only underrated but the first item to slip through the cracks after the first few weeks. Most families start with the intent of making the first conversation around the dinner table resemble exactly the Ozzie and Harriet shows they grew up on (did I just date myself?), but then the calendar gets heavy, siblings are coming and going and before you know it “tell us about your day” is replaced with “there are Hot Pockets in the freezer”. Find the time to ask and listen how EVERYDAY is going for your kid, all year long. You will most likely be able to hear what they aren’t telling you this way.
So there you have it, four things that seldom make the traditional lists but are sure to save you gray hairs or pulling it all out.
If you are thinking about listing your home there are items that you should address in order to maximize the potential for offers as well as the dollar figure of those offers.
While you certainly can go out and spend 100K on renovations and hope for a massive return, the best plan of action is to spend a moderate amount of money for the biggest return.
Here are the best ways to spend a little to get a lot and the most important areas to concentrate on:
Ask any real estate expert what the No. 1 upgrade with the greatest return is, and the answer will be the kitchen.
Here are some great mini-ways to boost sales
- Add a splash of color with a new backsplash. New tile is attractive.
- Paint! Find out what colors are trending right now and add a coat.
- Go stainless steel. The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers. Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches.
- If you don’t have an island, get a rolling one. It shows that you know how to function in the kitchen and the buyer get’s the warm fuzzies.
- Hang a pot rack with fresh new pots, pans and a hanging wine bottle holder. With the rolling island, your kitchen will catch every buyer’s eye.
The bathroom not only has to show functionality but probably shows the most wear of function from over the years.
- Focus on your faucet. Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. People like to feel relaxed, like they are in a spa.
- Go granite or marble with your countertops. If you are toying with the granite idea, your bathroom counter is most likely smaller than your kitchen counter and less expensive. This is a great place to start your first granite project.
- Nix the overhead lighting in favor of wall mounts to add warmth and value to your bathroom. Make sure that around your mirror you have even lighting with no side shadows.
- Heated floors attract buyers like crazy!
- Upgrade your bath area. With an 85 percent return, install a shower with body sprays and stone surround tile. If you are not selling right away, you will feel like you are in a Zen garden every time you step into your bathroom.
- Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can become embedded in bathroom surfaces very quickly. Freshen it up with new grout.
This might be where you get the most bang for your buck in the sense of dollars invested versus the boost to final listing prices. Some experts have assessed that the average ROI on landscaping is 150%!
“In terms of dollar amount, the standard suggested is to invest 10 percent of the value of your home in landscaping. That is a general guideline,” said Erik Shorb, co-owner of American Plant.
On a low and quick budget here are some things to do right now:
- Consult with a professional to choose color patterns for plants and placements
- Hire a Gardner for regular upkeep until the house is sold.
- If water costs are a concern, explore draught resistant landscaping ideas.
- Line your walkway with visually appealing plants.
- Get outdoor lighting. Your potential buyers will drive by at night to see what they home looks like.
- Keep the yard weed free – preferably without the use of chemicals. That means getting your hands dirty.
- Mulch and edge the lawn for a clean and tidy appearance.
Depending on the type and quality of its materials, a roof can be expected to last anywhere from 10 to more than 50 years. According to the National Organization of Realtors, the return on investment in a new roof when you sell your home is one of the best home upgrades you can make, returning 71.6% of your investment. A roof that has been recently replaced will also enhance your home’s curb appeal and make a great first impression on potential homebuyers, which can help you sell your home quickly in a tight market and get the best offer or can give you an advantage over comparable properties in a sluggish market.
Every 1,000 square feet added to a home boosts the sale price by more than 30 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Bathroom additions return the most, according to Remodeling Magazine’s report at an average of 86.4 percent. The addition of attic bedrooms, family rooms and sunrooms return anywhere from 70 to more than 80 percent and more and more people want dedicated rooms for hobbies and crafts, whether it’s an exercise room, knitting room or home office. Just don’t overshoot your work and add too much. Nobody wants a 6 bedroom 1200 square foot home.
You don’t have to take a second out just to sell the home but you should make an effort to make sure you get the most you can. A little now can go a long way later.
By now we have all heard or seen the commercials of people thwarting would be robbers from breaking in from a remote location like the gym by just speaking over their system and be honest, we all want that vigilante rush without any of the dangers of confrontation. But it is all so new and wired home security systems have been around forever. Which is the best system for you and your needs?
Wired Home Security Systems
Wired home security systems need to have a ‘closed’ electrical circuit, meaning that when the alarm is turned on the circuit is completed. If there is any interference (such as the wires being cut) the alarm will go off. These systems require wires to be run from the control panel to each sensor.
While wired home security systems offer maximum reliability and are generally less expensive, they are probably not a great DIY option. Determining how to run the wires in an attractive way that’s difficult for burglars to defeat is tricky and time consuming.
Advantages of wired
- Wired systems can often accommodate several ‘zones’ of protection.
2. They are reliable.
3. The system tends to be less susceptible to radio or electrical interference.
4. They use a backup battery system during electrical interruptions.Disadvantages of wired systems:
1. Wired systems can be difficult to install.
2. It can be a real challenge to hide all the wiring when installed in an existing home.
3. Once installed, it can be difficult to remove and take with you if you should move.
4. Wireless home security systems use radio waves rather than wires or cables, to communicate between the control panel, sensors and cameras.
Wireless Home Security Systems
Wireless home security systems can be a great DIY option. They’re battery powered, which means no complicated wiring is involved, and transmit a radio signal to the control unit in order to trigger the alarm. Many wireless home security systemcan be armed using a remote key fob witch that doubles as a mobile panic alarm, and some systems offer a repeater unit, increasing transmission range so that outbuildings can be protected on the system.
Wireless home security cameras, on the other hand, are not always the best use of your money. Wireless cameras run on batteries and guzzle power; most batteries will only provide 24 hours of power to the camera. Another potential drawback to wireless home security systems is that most don’t have the ability to be connected to a telephone landline.
Advantages of wireless house alarm system:
1. It’s a great alternative for people living in older homes, condominiums or apartments.
2. Since wireless systems have their own batteries, they can be installed in locations in a home where there is no electrical access.
3. The system can be expanded as needed.
4. Wireless security systems can be connected to a phone and/or computer systems for remote monitoring.
5. Can be integrated with home automation systems, like ADT’s Pulse.
Disadvantages of wireless systems:
1. Sensors will need batteries to operate, so there is a possibility that the batteries will die if they are not checked often.
2. Components need to be close to the central control panel. This can limit where some sensors are placed.
When it comes to installation a wireless alarm system can be easier when compared to conventional hard-wired systems. In the traditional setup, wires must be run through the home to every entry point and motion sensor, which includes all doors and windows. Wireless home security systems tend to be easier to install, and they’re portable, so in the event of a move you can easily take the system with you.