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Earthquake Safety for Your Coastal Home and Family

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Unfortunately, this is typically a topic that comes up after the fact, but all of us in California are vulnerable to earthquakes. We were just reminded of that with the recent earthquake in the Napa area. We hope that all the residents affected are safe and only suffered minimal damage if any to their homes and property.

There are many things you can do to prepare your Coastal home in case of an earthquake. It’s also important for your family to be prepared with an earthquake preparedness plan, to review the proper safety procedures periodically and make sure young children understand.

This plan includes the following:

  • Make a safe designated meeting spot in the house where, if possible, the family can meet. This should be a place that is protected by sturdy furniture or interior structural walls.
  • Keep a stock of non-perishable foods, at least 3 gallons of water for each member of your family (including pets), an up-to-date first aid kit, a working battery-operated radio and flashlights with extra batteries, blankets and tools. You may also want to invest in some dust masks and goggles.
  • Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.
  • Be aware of placing trophies and other heavy items on high shelves or mounted to walls. Keep breakables in cabinets that can be locked.
  • Anchor tall furniture to the walls such as entertainment centers, dressers and bookshelves. (Not a bad idea if you have a small child that may climb, to keep furniture from toppling on them).
  • Designate a particular fireproof, locked cabinet to hold all flammable and combustible products like spray paints, gasoline, and other products. Never keep them near a heat-producing appliance.

No one can predict exactly when a quake will hit so be aware of your surroundings and if shaking does begin, take cover until you’re sure it’s safe and stay away from windows if possible.

To get your earthquake emergency kits ready, you can get them locally or online at Earth Shakes in Burlingame, Essential Packs, or even available most times at your local Costco Store.

We hope that it never happens but it’s important to make sure your home is as prepared as your family in the event of an earthquake. If you have decided it’s your time to buy a coastside home, our goal is to guide you through the process from the beginning to the purchase of your new home and beyond. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

*Photo Courtesy of Earth Shakes

Bay Area Labor Day Festivities to Help End Summer

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

It’s that time again! It’s time to wind down summer with some Labor Day fun around the Bay Area. One thing we love about living in our coastal community is the close proximity to many neighboring cities, cultures and community events.

Kings Mountain Art Fair
This fair has been ranked one of the Top Three Fine Art Fairs in California. It’s an annual event held every Labor Day weekend to benefit the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade and other community activities.

There will be over 130 juried artists, mountain folk art by local artists, and even a dedicated space where kids can make their own art including spin, string, straw, and glitter art, along with other activities. Parents can relax at the Parent’s Retreat overlooking Kiddie Hollow.

Good food is never a concern at King’s Mountain Art Fair. Breakfast is served starting at 8am and lunch until 4:30pm. All meals are prepared by local community volunteers including our volunteer fire rescue team.

Come help Kings Mountain Fair celebrate 50 years of art and ambience this year, August 30 – September 1. It is open 10am – 5pm and fair admission and parking are free. For more information, visit their website! The event is held at 13889 Skyline Boulevard in Woodside.

The Last Blast of Summer
Millbrae celebrates their 44th Annual Art &Wine Festival August 30-31, from 10am – 5pm. This is two days of mardi gras-style fun that is held On Broadway (one block west of El Camino Real), between Victoria Ave. and Meadow Glen, downtown Millbrae.

There’s two days of sensational live music with a blockbuster of headliners including: Foreverland, Mustache Harbor, Reckless in Vegas, Extra Large, The Pulsators, Sol, Loudin’ Cleer, John Clarke, Guy Palazzolo and HeartStrings Music.

Enjoy perusing thru gorgeous handcrafted art and crafts made by 250 of America’s top artists and craftmakers. Find original work in sculpture, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, mixed media and more at every price point.

If food is more your forte, the fair’s artisan-produced specialty food will not disappoint. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample and purchase these incredible edibles as well as chat with the actual producer. Be sure to check out the assortment of world-class brews, a microbrew tasting tent, as well as wine tasting with Bonterra Vineyards and their award-winning wine made from 100% organically grown grapes.

Other festivities include home and garden exhibits, the “Classically Cool Car Show”, kids playland, and more! Admission is free so check out their event website for more information!

On your way home, top off the afternoon at one of our open houses! If you have decided it’s your time to buy a coastside home, our goal is to guide you through the process from the beginning to the purchase of your new home and beyond. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

Great Ways to Use Coffee Grounds Around Your Coastal Home

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

We’re always thinking of ways to reduce, reuse or recycle in our coastal communities. Next time you make that morning pot (or two) of coffee, remember those grounds can also boost other things besides your mood. Here are some great ideas for using your coffee grounds!

Fertilize your Garden
Keep a countertop-size compost bin next to your sink and use for collecting used coffee grounds to add to your garden. Believe it or not, those grounds are full of nutrients for your acidic-loving plants. A few of the things you can fertilize are rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and camellias.

However, it doesn’t stop with the flower beds, you can help to grow those fruits and vegetables nice and strong as well!  Put coffee grounds around the base of those acidic-loving trees such as apples and pears or mix in the soil for your strawberries and blueberries. You may already have some of these acid-loving vegetables in your garden: potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beans and peas. Drip grounds are the richest in nitrogen so why not try starting tomorrow to help give your garden a final boost before fall.

Enhance your Carrot Harvest
Why wait until your carrots start coming up to take care of them? Next season, mix the seeds with fresh-ground coffee before sowing. It will add nutrients to the soil directly, make the tiny seeds easier to sow, and the aroma may repel root maggots and other pests giving your carrots the best environment to thrive.

Keep Unwanted Cats Out
Cats are notorious for taking advantage of the loose dirt in a garden to use for digging or even as a litter box. If this is a potential problem in your yard, mix those grounds with orange peels to deter any cats from frequenting your garden.

Use as a Deodorizer
The garden isn’t the only place coffee grounds are useful. If you have a smell to your freezer, fill a bowl or container with fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight. You can even keep a container in there and replace regularly to keep your freezer odors away.

Tame Your Fireplace Dust
A great way to clean out the ashes in your fireplace is to sprinkle them with wet coffee grounds. It tames the dust making it easier to remove and doesn’t pollute the room with ash and dust.

If all our neighbors lived by the way of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” our coastal communities will reap the benefits. If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your existing home, we’d love to hear how we can help you with your real estate goals. We can also offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of your home to advise you what it is worth. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority. 

Summer Trends to Buy a Coastside Home

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

If you’ve been preparing to buy a Coastside home this summer, knowing some of the current trends can really be beneficial to your home buying process. Whether you’re self-employed, need a larger mortgage or wondering if the mortgage interest rates are to remain steady, you won’t want to miss this!

Here are 5 housing trends to expect to see this summer.

Lenders loosen their standards. After years of tightening up their standards, lenders seem to be loosening up a bit; especially for large loans, or jumbo loans, because these aren’t the types of loans that get sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  The institutions have their own guidelines and lenders must follow them if they want to sell the loans after they issue them.

Mel Watt, the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, recently said his office will change some of the guidelines to allow lending to borrowers with slightly lower credit scores. The FHFA oversees Fannie and Freddie.

Underwriters are having a little more flexibility with some common-sense issues and some lenders are allowing lower credit scores on FHA loans.

Mortgage rates to remain low through summer. In the beginning of the year, many forecasters and industry observers expected rates to rise more significantly than we’ve seen thus far. Now it seems we won’t see a sharp increase in mortgage rates this summer and even through to the end of the year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest forecast says the 30-year fixed rate could average 4.9 percent by the third quarter and reach 5 percent by the end of 2014.

The FHA is offering discounts on FHA loans. Those homebuyers with small down payments have always relied on FHA loans, or loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. However, with the increase in the cost of mortgage insurance this has not been a viable option for many borrowers.

The FHA has recently announced H.A.W.K., a program to reduce the upfront fee the FHA charges borrowers from 1.75 percent to 1.25 percent of the loan amount. It will also reduce the annual mortgage-insurance premium from 1.35 percent to 1.25 percent. The caveat is that the borrower has to agree to get counseling which should help buyers understand what it really means to buy a house.

Lenders are straying from QM mortgages. At first, when the new mortgage regulations were implemented this year, many lenders declared they wouldn’t lend outside the guidelines provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's qualified-mortgage rule, or QM.

However, now that lender’s are becoming more comfortable with the rules, some are once again offering creative loans that don’t meet QM requirements. Having access to lenders that are willing to go outside the QM lending box can be useful for borrowers who are self-employed or looking for larger loans.

Home Prices remain steady. While home prices here in our coastal communities have remained fairly constant, the home buying season was a bit lower than initially expected. This is good news for those of you planning to buy this summer.

Compared to last year, home prices are still growing strong, but just at a slower pace.

Thanks to one of our coastal clients who generously gave us some great stats for those in the tech industry. Our coastside communities are a great opportunity for the younger generation to be within a close commute to the top IT companies in the Bay Area while saving tens of thousands of dollars by not buying in San Francisco.

  • Montara to Facebook (Menlo Park) = 31 miles, 45 min
  • Montara to Google (Mtn View) = 37 miles, 50 min
  • Montara to Twitter (SF) = 22 miles, 30 min

It might just make you think why you’re not taking advantage of our coastal communities, which is a giveaway in home prices compared to San Francisco, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. If you have decided it’s your time to buy a coastside home, our goal is to guide you through the process from the beginning to the purchase of your new home and beyond. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

Saving Water in Your Coastside Gardens & Landscaping

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

As we all try to conserve during this drought by reducing water usage in our coastside gardens and landscapes, it’s important to make sure your watering systems are performing correctly and most efficiently so that you are getting maximum coverage and not wasting water.

Maintenance before issues occur. To keep the system working at its best, flush the lines once a year and check your irrigation water cycles each spring as the conditions may change from year to year. Frequently inspect your system for leaks, broken sprinkler heads or over-spray and keep a box of replacement parts on hand to quickly make repairs.

There are many different ways to make sure your entire area is covered and adequately watered. Think of how boring our yards would be if we all had this same small square of lawn. Sure it’d be easy to maintain and irrigate but we wouldn’t enjoy our outdoor space half as much as we do in those areas that show our personality. Because of this, we sometimes have to get a little more creative in how we irrigate our yards.

Drip irrigation is most efficient at water conservation because the water is delivered directly to the plant. It is also the most effective way to water mature shrubs that may have grown so tall that they block sprinkler heads. New drip systems are also designed to rarely clog and have built-in emitters spaced 12 to 18 inches apart, delivering water to the entire bed. Be sure to install a water pressure reducer and filter to ensure the best flow. For vegetable gardens or plants with special watering needs, a smaller version of the irrigation tubing is available. This can be looped around the plants to provide maximum water.

Use technology to your advantage. You can better manage your water usage with a smart controller that uses weather data to calculate how much water a plant loses each day and delivers enough water to replace the loss the next day. Remember, however, that smart controllers are only as good as the information you provide, so be sure to accurately enter the type of plants, soil conditions, slopes and other factors.

Check the water output to your fixed sprinkler heads. If you have the type that delivers water in quarter, half and full circles and they aren’t doing the job you need them to do, replace them with adjustable heads to better meet your needs. One improvement may be to replace with MP rotators. These heads put out larger drops of water, which reduces evaporation and gets the water where you need it. These rotators are more effective than sprays and mists that evaporate before they reach the ground or are carried away by the wind.

Adjust watering times as needed. Once you’ve adjusted, replaced and improved your watering sprinklers and lines, you may need to readjust your watering schedule for a longer period -- about 30 percent longer -- to ensure the area gets enough water. Rotators and certain drips may put out water at a slower rate, so you may run the sprinklers longer. This may seem counter-productive to water conservation but remember the flow is less so you will actually use less water.

Water conservation in our coastal homes isn’t hard, it just takes some planning and working together to get us through the current drought. If you have decided it’s your time to buy a coastside home, our goal is to guide you through the process from the beginning to the purchase of your new home and beyond. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

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The Rain Team
CA# 01169588 | CA# 01125976 | CA# 01908304
248 Main Street, Suite 200
Half Moon Bay CA 94019
Michael: 650-888-6361
Kathy: 650-888-6903
Fax: 866-396-0207

Kathy and Michael Rain of Coldwell Banker provides real estate services in the San Mateo County, California area including the surrounding communities: El Granda, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica and San Mateo. Search for homes in San Mateo County. We list and sell residential real estate, investment properties, vacant land, lots for sale in the San Mateo County, California area.

Licensed in the State of California

Kathy Rain - CA BRE# 01169588 | Michael Rain - CA BRE# 01125976 | Coldwell Banker - CA BRE# 01908304  

Email: therainteam@coastal-realestate.com
Cell Phone: (650) 888-6903 * Direct Phone: (650) 712-0411
San Mateo County Real Estate and Homes for Sale

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