Living In Napa, CA with Suzanne Hawken https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/ Serving the beautiful Napa County real estate area Fri, 03 Feb 2023 03:39:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/living-in-napa-siteicon-75x75.png Living In Napa, CA with Suzanne Hawken https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/ 32 32 Is Napa a Good Place to Live? https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/is-napa-a-good-place-to-live/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-napa-a-good-place-to-live Thu, 02 Feb 2023 22:44:49 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=1791 Is Napa a good place to liveIs Napa a Good Place to Live Finding the perfect place to call home is a major factor for many people throughout not just the United States, but the world. Napa, California has been known for its vast wine country, laid back lifestyle, magnificent restaurants and stunning mountain views; but is Napa a good place […]

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Is Napa a good place to live
Living in Napa, California

Is Napa a Good Place to Live

Finding the perfect place to call home is a major factor for many people throughout not just the United States, but the world. Napa, California has been known for its vast wine country, laid back lifestyle, magnificent restaurants and stunning mountain views; but is Napa a good place to live? Let’s take a look at what makes this city so secure and why you should consider making it your home.

Napa Crime Statistics

According to neighborhoodscout.com, Napa ranks as one of the safest cities in the United States with a crime rate that is 76% lower than the national average. That means that you are less likely to become a victim of crime in Napa than anywhere else in America. This data is backed up by other sources such as City-Data which report similar numbers based on their own research. Napa also has a relatively low property crime rate compared to other cities in California and across the country. This further proves that Napa is an overall safe place to live and raise your family or even retire.

Police Presence & Community Engagement

In addition to having low crime rates, Napa also benefits from having an active police department and community policing initiatives. The police department works closely with local businesses and residents on programs such as “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” which encourages community engagement and trust between citizens and law enforcement. They also offer educational workshops for children on topics such as internet safety and drug prevention, among other things.

All of these factors contribute to making Napa an incredibly safe place to live.

When considering where you want to call home, safety should be at the top of your list of criteria when making your decision. With crime rates far below the national average, an active police presence, and plenty of community engagement initiatives in place, there’s no doubt that Napa is one of the safest places you can choose when looking for a new home or even just visiting for vacation! So if safety is important to you when selecting your next destination – look no further than beautiful Napa!

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Why Now May Be The VERY Best Time To Sell https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/why-now-may-be-the-very-best-time-to-sell-your-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-now-may-be-the-very-best-time-to-sell-your-home Tue, 03 May 2022 22:25:01 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=1048 Experts Say Home Prices Will Keep RisingKnowing when the right time to sell your home is something that homeowners struggle with on a daily basis. But, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, rising prices in the Napa Valley market is great news for you and definitely makes this year a very good time to sell. […]

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Knowing when the right time to sell your home is something that homeowners struggle with on a daily basis. But, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, rising prices in the Napa Valley market is great news for you and definitely makes this year a very good time to sell.

Why Now?

One question that we get very often from homeowners is what is actually causing home prices to increase at the rate that they have been over the past two years? As in any industry, when there is less supply than demand, pricing increases naturally go up. Therefore, homebuyers are more willing to pay more to get what they are wanting, and often times in our current market, it is more a case of having to versus willing to.

The increase of home appreciations in the Valley did not happen overnight, and similarly, the leveling out of home prices will also take time to take place. The graph below, provided by the latest Home Price Expectations Survey, shows what is expected to happen with Home appreciations over the next five years. As you can see, prices will continue to rise through 2026.

Experts Say Home Prices Will Keep Rising

But What About When I Then Need To Buy A House?

If you consider two things, your monthly mortgage payments and the approximately 20% increase of home prices over the past year alone, the equity you have built in your current home can be substantial. This is extremely important to take into consideration as the equity that you have made can often times be enough to cover the down payment of your next home, or at least a large portion of it. A Gallop poll showed that the equity built in your home is just one of many reasons why real estate has been rated as the best investment you can make for the eighth year in a row.

How Much Equity Do You Have?

If you would like to learn more about the equity you have built in your current home or how much equity you actually have, please reach out to me today and I would be happy to sit down with you and look over those numbers. I can be reached at 707-210-5500.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Napa Valley and Wine Country https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/pros-and-cons-of-living-in-napa-valley-and-wine-country/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pros-and-cons-of-living-in-napa-valley-and-wine-country Sat, 08 May 2021 00:10:59 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=893 There's pros and cons to living in Napa Valley and Wine Country and today I'm going to talk about what they areThere’s pros and cons of living in Napa Valley and Wine Country, just like any other city or town in the U.S.  And today, I’m going to share what those things are – the good AND the bad!  Napa Valley is home to many distinct cultural and recreational opportunities, ranging from its beautiful natural surroundings […]

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There’s pros and cons of living in Napa Valley and Wine Country, just like any other city or town in the U.S.  And today, I’m going to share what those things are – the good AND the bad! 

Napa Valley is home to many distinct cultural and recreational opportunities, ranging from its beautiful natural surroundings and gorgeous weather, to its plethora of local wine and food establishments. However, the valley is not without its negatives.

Before I get into the downsides of living in the Valley, let’s start off with the pros and why I decided to call Napa my home and why you may want to, too.  (I mean, let’s be real here – you know you want to, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this vlog!!)

 

Pro #1
OUTSTANDING CLIMATE

First and foremost, the climate in the valley is absolutely stunning. Up-and-coming residents can look forward to clear, sunny weather nearly all year round, with the exception of a brisk rainy season from late December through mid March, and the occasional fog. The natural beauty in the valley is just as remarkable as the weather, with rolling hills and mountains as far as the eyes can see.

Because the Valley stretches for so many miles north and south, the difference in temperature can vary quite significantly – with the lower portions of the Valley (such as American Canyon) reaching the low 80’s during the height of summer, and the more northern portions of the valley such as Calistoga, hitting the high 90’s on a fairly regular basis (and sometimes even into the 100’s).  You may want to take this into account when deciding which area you consider moving to.

Average temperatures in American Canyon
Average temperatures in American Canyon

 

Average temperatures in Calistoga
Average temperatures in Calistoga

 

Pros #2
WORLD RENOWNED Food & Wine

Napa Valley is also host to an abundance of wineries and fine dining establishments, with almost a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants and literally hundreds of local wineries. Check out my other video where I provide my top 10 best restaurants in Napa where I provide some tips on how to get the reservations on the day and time you want along with my most surprising top rated menu item that you absolutely MUST try when you are here next!

The French Laundry
The French Laundry

Pros #3
OUTDOOR HAVEN 

Silverado Resort Golf Course
Silverado Resort Golf Course

 

If you are the outdoors type, then Napa will not disappoint!  The Valley offers a wide variety of recreational activities including many top rated golfing spots and hiking galore at the dozens of nearby national parks (some of which allow for off-leash dogs).  I would be remiss to not mention the Napa Valley Vine Trail which spans 20 miles through the Valley where you can walk, run or bike safely while enjoying the stunning surroundings. 

Napa Valley Vine Trail
Napa Valley Vine Trail

 

There’s also lots of festivals taking place throughout the year (hopefully they will resume again this Summer once Covid has reached herd immunity), including Bottlerock, Napa Porchfest and many more.  You can learn more about the many festivals happening in the Valley by going to https://www.visitnapavalley.com

Bottlerock Concert Napa
Bottlerock Concert Napa

 

With all of the positives residents come to expect in any city or town, there’s always a few drawbacks as well.  So let’s talk about the cons…

 

Con #1
Price of Housing

As one can expect, the price of housing and rent in Napa Valley is higher than average due to its location, weather, amenities – well everything I just mentioned, really.  The majority of residential housing can cost anywhere from the $500,000 mark, scaling up to the tens of millions.  Renting a single bed condo starts at around $1,350 per month.   Click here to search current homes for sale in Napa and here to search those that have just been reduced.

 

Press play to view the current Napa market report (and pause to view each slide) and then check out our exclusive market reports for Napa updated daily (and other towns within the Valley via our Explore Section).

Con #2
Climate Change

With the change in climate over the course of the past several centuries, the increase in temperatures and consistent draughts throughout the State, wildfires are becoming more and more prevalent in and around the Valley.   The majority of homes are within a safe distance of the majority of danger, with the residential communities set away from the large forest areas. However, this doesn’t mean that the danger of fire is not on the minds of those that live here and precautions are being taken to help minimize fires from happening in the future.  As more fires happen, the county, first responders and government agencies are learning how to be more proactive and less reactive to help keep the residents of Napa Valley safe.  

 

Con #3
COMMUTING FOR WORK

With Napa Valley being very much an ingrained tourist-driven location, the variety of work opportunities in the Valley is somewhat limited.  Yes, if you are in or interested in being in the hospitality industry, Napa is THE place for you, however, if you are more tech-driven, then commuting to one of the nearby metro areas, such as San Francisco, Oakland or Sacramento, (once working in the office becomes more prevalent again), will be what you should expect – which is not unusual with those living in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as a whole.  

This is a map of what the commute from San Francisco to Napa looks like
Commute from San Francisco to Napa

 

Commute from Sacramento to Napa
Commute from Sacramento to Napa

 

 

However, depending on location, the time of day and routes, travel to and from work can take up more time than desired for many. For instance, leaving San Francisco at 5 pm and heading for the valley can take upwards of 2 hours, even though it’s only about 60 miles away. But, if you don’t mind the commute and are willing to put in the time for travel so you can spend your nights and weekends in literal heaven, then you’ve found your ultimate place to call home!

If you are considering moving to Napa or purchasing a second home here, please let me know how I can help.  I’d be honored to work with you and help you make your dream a reality just like I’ve made mine a reality too. 

So what are you waiting for?!?  Give me a call and let’s get you moved!

newest listings in napa:

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Things To Do In Napa – Best Wineries, Restaurants and Resorts https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/things-to-do-in-napa/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=things-to-do-in-napa Wed, 07 Apr 2021 22:55:48 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=829   When it comes to things to do in Napa, there’s a really big secret that is literally going to save you thousands of dollars that I want to tell you about!  Stick around til the end and I’ll let you in on the secret! Do you love enjoying the outdoors, in the warm, sunny […]

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When it comes to things to do in Napa, there’s a really big secret that is literally going to save you thousands of dollars that I want to tell you about!  Stick around til the end and I’ll let you in on the secret!

Do you love enjoying the outdoors, in the warm, sunny weather nearly all year round? This, and of course the food and wine, is just one of literally dozens of reasons why Napa might be the place for you to call home!

In this video, I’m going to dive into some of the local scenery and services that make up Napa – from the miles of brilliant yellow fields of mustard covering the vineyard floors in the early spring, to the exquisite, world renowned wine-tasting experiences which would literally take you years to explore.

The first thing that comes to any Napa County resident’s mind when thinking about Napa is the prominent wine culture. After all, Napa is a big part of  Wine Country, with a population of eighty-thousand; second only to Santa Rosa to the northwest. Napa County is not only filled with countless wineries in the local area, but is also home to the Napa Valley Wine Train, as well as innumerable wine tours for residents and tourists alike to enjoy.

There are currently a total of ten Michelin star restaurants in Napa. These include, Bouchon Bistro, Kenzo Napa and of course, The French Laundry.

The French Laundry Michelin Star Restaurant in Napa
The French Laundry – Michelin Star Restaurant in Napa

 

If you want to have friends and family visit, but just not in your home(!), there are dozens of  luxury resorts to choose from and can be found throughout the valley, including The Meritage Resort and Spa, the Vista Collina Resort and the Silverado Resort and Spa.

Silverado Resort and Spa
Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, CA

 

There are more than forty-eight parks for hiking, some of which allow for off-leash dogs such as Alston Park on the northwest side of the beautiful neighborhood, Browns Valley. Speaking of dogs, Napa is probably one of the most dog-friendly places I have ever come across – if you don’t see a least one puppy sitting with a family while dining outside of a restaurant, there’s something very wrong!  Even some of the Michelin Star’ed restaurants allow dogs!

With all of these amazing amenities within arms reach, living in Napa comes at a higher cost of living. As of April 2021, single family homes in Napa, for instance, have an average sale price of ~$860,000, which is up almost 10% from just a year ago.  However, this average sale price is significantly lower than nearby San Francisco (about 45 minutes southwest of Napa), with their average sales price currently being around ~$1.4 million.  With that being said, however, the cost of living in Napa is nearly 40% higher than the rest of the United States.

City of Napa Real Estate Infographic 040721
City of Napa Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2021

 

The employment opportunities are quite varied, with Napa’s top employing companies and businesses including:

  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Dozens of exclusive hotels, inns and resorts, some of which I mentioned earlier
  • Hundreds of wineries and wine-tasting services
  • And restaurants galore

Many people do drive to nearby cities to their workplaces, such as San Francisco and Oakland, where there are a massive amount of tech businesses located and are constantly looking for new talent.

Educational opportunities in Napa are also available for the younger generations. For example, Napa Valley College has over 6,500 students with the in-state-tuition costing approximately $1,100 per year. Due to Napa’s direct inclusion in the Wine Country, courses for the wine industry are also widely available.

Napa Valley is home to many different services and sceneries, and truly is an extremely unique place to settle down. If you are looking for a new place to call home or maybe looking to purchase a vacation home, please let me know by reaching out to me at 707-210-5500.  I’d be honored to help you make your Napa dreams a reality.

Ok. So here’s the secret I mentioned at the beginning of this video. If you are a resident of Napa County, you are going to be eligible to literally hundreds of discounts offered through Napa Valley Vintners known as Napa Neighbor Offers!

Napa County Winery Map

 

When you become a resident, simply show your driver’s license and enjoy VIP treatment, product discounts and complimentary or upgraded tours and wine tasting.  That’s right.  Free tours and wine tastings!

So what are you waiting for?!?  Give me a call and let’s get you moved!

 

 

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Best Place To Live In Napa – Browns Valley Napa Neighborhood https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/best-place-to-live-in-napa-browns-valley-napa-neighborhood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-place-to-live-in-napa-browns-valley-napa-neighborhood Fri, 28 May 2021 18:18:21 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=951 Best Place to Live in Napa - Browns Valley - Parks galoreThe Best Place To Live In Napa Of all the neighborhoods to settle in Napa Valley, the best place to live in Napa is the exclusive Napa neighborhood, Browns Valley. Browns Valley, located on the west side of Napa, is broken into four areas including the central, south, east and west neighborhoods, stretching from Tall […]

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The Best Place To Live In Napa

Of all the neighborhoods to settle in Napa Valley, the best place to live in Napa is the exclusive Napa neighborhood, Browns Valley.

Browns Valley, located on the west side of Napa, is broken into four areas including the central, south, east and west neighborhoods, stretching from Tall Grass Court and the southern, western and northern limit of Napa, to the Napa Creek and Highway 29 in the east, with Browns Valley Road as a centerpiece. Everyone in the Valley has heard of the best place to live in Napa – Browns Valley – as it is known for its friendly neighborhood families, its many parks, and views of hills, vineyards and beautiful pastures.

This is a map of all the Napa Neighborhoods in Napa including the boundaries of the place place to live in Napa, Browns Valley.
Browns Valley Napa Neighborhood

 

Browns Valley, NAPA History

The Browns Valley, Napa neighborhood has a long history dating back to the early 1800’s and was named after the Napa County surveyor in the 1840s, John E. Brown. The land that makes up Browns Valley was once cow pastures and orchards, and the old and new now harmoniously co-exist with 100 year old farmhouses along with the requisite residential subdivisions and streets, dotted with retail stores, including the renowned Browns Valley Market.

The Browns Valley Market located within Browns Valley, Napa neighborhood
Browns Valley Market

 

The Browns Valley Market has been a staple shopping destination for over 30 years and is always busy with local shoppers. The market is known for its fantastic fresh meat, including Wagyu beef and various sausages and beef burgers all made in-house.  They also have a wonderful selection of cheeses from both local farms and international producers and some fantastic lunch and dinner choices at their deli. We shop there at least three times a week ourselves both for our weekly groceries and for when we just don’t feel like cooking, when we pick up one of their house made chicken lasagnas, beef pot pies or goat cheese and leek quiches!

Browns Valley attracts a great deal of families due to the many parks and, of course, the Browns Valley Elementary School, located on the far south west side of the neighborhood.  When it was first opened it was a one-room school with just 26 students consisting of eight grades.  With the vast increase in population over the years, this size school would no longer be enough and in 1960, the former school was torn down and the current elementary school was built.  Today the school serves approximately 520 students from Kindergarten through Grade 5 and is in the top 20% of all schools Statewide.  Minority enrollment is 43% of the student body, which is vastly lower than the California state average of 77%.

The original Browns Valley elementary school in the Browns Valley Napa neighborhood
Original Browns Valley School

 

Browns Valley Napa Homeowner Survey Results

So what do people say about living in Browns Valley?  A survey was conducted with the residents of Browns Valley back in 2012 where they were asked multiple questions about life in the neighborhood.  The results of this survey found that most residents enjoy the quiet, country feel of the neighborhood along with feeling safe and the friendly neighbors.  What the survey also discovered was that many neighbors were unhappy with the speed in which some people drive the main roads and the failure to maintain the streets and sidewalks.

Browns Valley Napa homeowners survey results
Browns Valley Homeowner Survey Likes

 

The survey also dives into more specific aspects of living in Browns Valley, such as the satisfaction of the police and fire response times, the effectiveness of street lighting at night, and the satisfaction of the services available within the community.  You can read the full survey results in the link provided in the description below.

Survey results from Browns Valley residents (2012-2013)

Click here to view the entire survey results from the homeowners of Browns Valley, Napa.

Local Establishments within Browns Valley

Other things that make up Browns Valley include the Hop Creek Pub, where they serve great traditional American fare, spirits and beer, and have a large outdoor dining space, Bella Capelli Salon and Spa (where I get my hair done!), the Browns Valley Yogurt and Espresso Bar and more small local establishments within the shopping center.  There is also an outlet mall on the edge of Browns Valley where you can shop at over a dozen different brands and grab a coffee at Brewed (one of my favorite local coffee shops).

Browns Valley Recreation

Browns Valley also has many large parks throughout the neighborhood both with and without playground equipment and basketball courts in addition to the Westwood Hills park, which consists of 2 miles of hiking with many different trails and is dog friendly.  It is quite steep, with an elevation of 300 feet, but the views are well worth the effort.

Westwood Hills Park just outside of Browns Valley Napa Neighborhood
Westwood Hills Park

Browns Valley, Napa Properties

Browns Valley consists of both residential homes and condos with the majority of property owners being full time residents between the ages of 35 and over 65 with a combined income of over $150,000.  As of May 2021, there are approximately 2,400 single family homes, around 100 condo units, along with a handful of multi-family properties within Browns Valley.

So what does it cost to own a home in Browns Valley?  Great question!

As of today, May 2021, the average sales price of a home has increased by 8.5% to $1,075,000 since a year ago.  The highest sale in the past year in Browns Valley was just under $3M at $2,995,000 and the lowest sale was $510,000. So with a 20% down payment on an average home price you would be looking at just over $200,000 and for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 3.5% interest rate, you would be looking at a $3,592 monthly mortgage payment.  (Please consult with a licensed mortgage broker to gain accurate costs.)

Browns Valley Napa Neighborhood Current Single Family Home Sales
Single Family Home Sales in Browns Valley, Napa

 

Currently there are just eight homes currently active on the market with seven homes pending and 91 sold over the past year.  The average days on market is just 51 days with many selling with cash buyers in a matter of days.

57% of homes sold in the past year in Browns Valley were in the range of $740,000 to $1.1M with 29% over $1.1M with the majority of these homes consisting of 4 bedrooms.

Need more information about Browns Valley?

If you are interested in learning more about the best place to live in Napa, the Browns Valley neighborhood, I would be thrilled to chat with you!  As a resident here in Browns Valley, I can provide some great firsthand knowledge and information, that will help you get to know the neighborhood better, and make an educated decision on whether or not it is the right place for you to live too.  Please reach out to me at 707.210.5500 or use the contact form below.

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Top 10 St Helena California Dream Homes https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/top-10-st-helena-california-dream-homes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-10-st-helena-california-dream-homes Fri, 19 Feb 2021 14:54:01 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=769 What to expect when Living in Napa CAIf California dreamin’ is on your mind, check out these top ten homes in Saint Helena, California.  When you look at some of the luxury homes that are available in Saint Helena,  you see a range from sprawling estates with vineyards, to modern farmhouse designs on ranches, and historic homes on tree-lined city streets. Whatever […]

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If California dreamin’ is on your mind, check out these top ten homes in Saint Helena, California.  When you look at some of the luxury homes that are available in Saint Helena,  you see a range from sprawling estates with vineyards, to modern farmhouse designs on ranches, and historic homes on tree-lined city streets. Whatever describes your dream home, find it among the top 10 St. Helena, California Dream Homes.

DESCRIBED AS “THE SOUL” OF NAPA VALLEY

Seamlessly blending its Napa Valley history with a modern-day reputation, St. Helena is home to a variety of world-class wineries, top-rated restaurants, galleries of contemporary art, and chic shopping venues. This picturesque Napa Valley town embodies the epitome of wine country with over 400 vineyards that encompass 6,800 acres of vines. Sometimes referred to as “Napa Valley’s Main Street” its charming galleries, boutiques, cafes, and wineries offer a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon. You will never be at a loss for something to do, either. Here you can explore by bike or take a walking tour. Golf or explore the nearby hiking trails. Or, take a cooking class or do yoga in a vineyard. Or check out the scenery from above in a hot-air balloon.

But best of all, you don’t have to simply visit this fascinating city, you can find your California dream home in Saint Helena. And I can help. So, please bookmark this page on the top ten most expensive luxury homes in Saint Helena, California as these listings are updated daily.

Top 10 St. Helena, California, Dream Homes

Are you thinking about Buying or Selling a luxury estate in Saint Helena?

I am a local expert and am here to help guide you through your home buying or selling experience. You can see all of the homes available in Saint Helena here. Or connect with me today

 

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Virtual House Hunting in Calistoga, California https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/virtual-house-hunting-in-calistoga-california/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=virtual-house-hunting-in-calistoga-california Fri, 19 Feb 2021 01:24:50 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=764 Virtual home shopping CalistogaFind your Calistoga, California homes with Virtual Tours: I know that virtual shopping for a home in Calistoga California, from your current home, isn’t ideal. You want to walk into a home and feel, well, at home. But sometimes, like during a pandemic, virtual house hunting is the best way to stay safe and to […]

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Find your Calistoga, California homes with Virtual Tours:

I know that virtual shopping for a home in Calistoga California, from your current home, isn’t ideal. You want to walk into a home and feel, well, at home. But sometimes, like during a pandemic, virtual house hunting is the best way to stay safe and to keep your distance. That doesn’t mean you can’t find the right home though. Instead of visiting all of the available homes in person, take a virtual tour. That way you can weed out the homes that do not work for you and we can line a up safe visit to the homes that do work.

House hunting, while your area or region is in lockdown, may have benefits you haven’t thought of. There might be less competition for the home in the areas where you might be planning to move. Or sellers could be more motivated to sell. You might find that folks are more flexible on the sales price.

Starting your hunt virtually as you shelter in place is beneficial too because you have more time to shop online. You can make a more thorough search. And, that extra effort could give you just the advantage you need to find the home you love within your budget. After the crisis passes, more house hunters will compete for what is on the market. This may make prices escalate. A more competitive market will benefit a seller more than a buyer. So taking a few steps toward your homeownership goal now might be the right move for you.

Here are several Calistoga, California homes for you to take a virtual walkthrough.

Calistoga, California Homes with Virtual Tours

Make a list of the ones you like the best. Then, let me know which are your favorites. And then, when circumstances permit, we can take a live tour. Or, you might decide from the virtual tour that you have found your perfect new home. We can complete everything off-site. When it is yours and you have the keys, just move right in.

If you are looking for homes in other cities, check these out here:

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Easy Home Updates Before Selling https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/easy-home-updates-before-selling/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-home-updates-before-selling Wed, 07 Sep 2022 19:08:55 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=1657 Easy Home Updates Before SellingI often get asked how my clients can improve or make easy home updates before selling – or for their own enjoyment. So, naturally, I had to write a blog post about it! Below is my list of top updates to make to your home on a budget, but also with substantial return on your investment. […]

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I often get asked how my clients can improve or make easy home updates before selling – or for their own enjoyment. So, naturally, I had to write a blog post about it! Below is my list of top updates to make to your home on a budget, but also with substantial return on your investment.

Top 5 easy home updates before selling

1. Kitchen Update

easy home upgrades before selling - before and after bathroom update

Kitchen remodels don’t have to be a huge undertaking with a high ticket price. Even small kitchen remodels can earn an 83% return on investment (per NerdWallet).  

Small remodels could include:

  • Replacing one or two appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings
  • Updating flooring
  • Updating countertops
  • New paint
  • Refacing cupboard doors

If you are considering doing a complete remodel of your kitchen, you first may want to reach out to a real estate expert to discuss how much your home value might increase from doing so. The idea is that you don’t want to out-price the standards of your community; if other homes in your neighborhood are selling for a fairly standard price range, your kitchen upgrade may not provide you with additional value if buyers are unwilling to pay. I’m happy to discuss this further with you!

2. Convert or Build a Home Office

Home offices were once seen as a luxury space in a home, but in today’s new work environment of millions of people telecommuting, they have become almost a must-have for a large majority of buyers. In fact, it was found in a recent HomeLight survey that buyers care more about there being a home office than the square footage or move-in ready status of a home!

Depending on the size of the conversion or the extent of a new build (such an add-on room or a separate ADU) the estimated amount that will be added to the resale value of your home can range from $10,000 to several $100,000’s.  This is definitely one for consideration!

3. Open Up The Floor Plan

The amount of buyers I have worked with and the number of those that comment about how they love an open concept floor plan is staggering – but also not surprising.  Open floor plans make a home look bigger and are perfect for entertaining. Smaller, closed off rooms, including the living room, dining room and, most especially, the kitchen can often make a home feel disjointed and lacking of flow.

So, knocking out the right wall(s) can certainly create the spacious layout many buyers are looking for. This upgrade can also invite more natural light into the open space, which, if you know me at all, means more indoor plants!

4. Curb Appeal

You know the saying – first impressions last.  Well, since the first thing any buyer is going to see is what is leading them up to the front door, having great curb appeal is a definite top six upgrade.  And the best part about this upgrade is it can cost very little but have extremely high return on your investment – sometimes over 500%!

Simple upgrades such as the addition of bark can make a huge difference to the curb appeal of a home – plus it is very California-friendly. Drought resistant yards is gaining popularity and is often seen as a potential homeowner’s benefit – never having to water the yard does the world good!

Some curb appeal updates include:

  • New front door
  • New garage door
  • New mailbox and house numbers
  • Exterior paint
  • Front porch seating
  • Drought-resistant plants
  • Artificial grass
  • Neutralize the walls

Greiges, whites, grays and beiges are all preferred household paint colors and for good reason. Light, neutral wall colors are very easy on the eyes and are, generally, universally accepted. Bright, personalized colors (think dark oranges or greens) can throw off your ability to imagine your belongings in a house and definitely put off a potential buyer.

Do it yourself painting is also one of the cheapest ways to increase your home’s value and is an easy home upgrade before selling, so if you’re up for the task, you’ll save yourself quite a lot of expense.

5. Bathroom Update

Adding a full bathroom to a home can generate, on average, 65% return on investment.  A full bathroom is considered to be a shower, sink and toilet. However, not all bathroom upgrades need to be a complete overhaul to provide some great return on your investment.

Swapping out outdated fixtures is a great and inexpensive way to bring your older bathroom back to life. Popular finishes like satin or brushed nickel pair well with most tile, while chrome is a more classic look, but wow do those water spots show up!

Turning a single sink to a double can be an excellent decision. As a rule, you’ll need a minimum of 60 inches to comfortably accommodate two sinks. Vessel or undermount styles will make the most of limited counter space.

As with any room in a house, updating light fixtures is also a great way to create a more modern look, and adding dimmers also enhance their versatility.

New shower fixtures can also help, and is most likely something you can do by yourself. However, for more extravagant showers with a spa-like feel, adding multi-head showerheads or multifunction shower systems will probably require a plumber – reach out to me if you need a great plumber that we explicitly trust!


I hope these various easy home upgrades before selling have given you some ideas as to how you can spend a little but get a lot in return!  If you have questions or would like to discuss how best to upgrade your home, please reach out to me at 707-210-5500 and I’d be happy to chat with you about it and give you some pointers.

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Best Napa Valley Things To Do – Grape Stomping! https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/best-napa-valley-things-to-do-grape-stomping/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-napa-valley-things-to-do-grape-stomping Thu, 29 Sep 2022 23:30:53 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=1699 best napa valley things to do - grape stompingThe Great Grape Stomp at Conn Creek Winery If you are looking for one of the BEST Napa Valley things to do then you’ve found it!  Grape stomping at Conn Creek Winery is probably one of (if not THE) best Napa Valley things to do! But, this Grape stomping event at Conn Creek Winery only […]

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The Great Grape Stomp at Conn Creek Winery

If you are looking for one of the BEST Napa Valley things to do then you’ve found it!  Grape stomping at Conn Creek Winery is probably one of (if not THE) best Napa Valley things to do! But, this Grape stomping event at Conn Creek Winery only happens once a year and is limited to only a small number of people… which also makes it extremely exclusive too!

The Great Grape Stomp event is one of the best Napa Valley things to do, but surprisingly Conn Creek winery is the ONLY location where it is open to the public in the entire Napa Valley – there is one more, but you have to be a member to participate in their grape stomping. 

best napa valley things to do - grape stomping

The two-hour grape stomping event included three barrels to stomp the grapes in and lots of opportunities for photos and video footage, a lovely buffet with a variety of meats, cheeses and deserts – perfect to go with a variety of Conn Creek’s delicious wines you, of course, get to experience during the event too! They hold one in the morning (from 10:30 – 12:30) and the other in the afternoon from 1:30 – 3:30.

As one grape stomping lady mentioned during my interview with her, it’s a once in a lifetime experience… but, having experienced it myself, I think it’s something I’ll definitely want to do again!

Conn Creek Winery

Conn Creek Winery Napa Valley

Conn Creek winery is located in St. Helena, about a 20 minute drive north from the City of Napa on the renowned Silverado Trail. Specializing in cabernet sauvignon, their wines are truly some of the most complex and distinct you’ll find in the whole Valley! 

Conn Creek was founded in 1973 and immediately established itself as one of Napa Valley’s premier Cabernet houses with the release of its 1974 Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then Conn Creek offers ten diffferent Cabernet Sauvignon wines, some of which are from their flagship label, Anthology.

The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks. 

The name of the winery comes from its location, next to Conn Creek in the Rutherford district. More than forty years after its founding, Conn Creek is still focused on crafting the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon. Conn Creek‘s expertise is derived from its unique sourcing, as one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations. 

Conn Creek also produces, in very limited quantities, single appellation Cabernet Sauvignons as part of our AVA Series, choosing the standout appellations of each vintage. In the Napa Valley Series, an approachable Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as other limited-release varietals, round out the portfolio.

Award Winning Barrel Blending Experience®

Barrel Blending at Conn Creek Winery

Conn Creek has received international acclaim for its one-of-a-kind education intensive Barrel Blending Experience®. Guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from nearly all of Napa Valley’s appellations, from Calistoga to Carneros, before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending their own bottle to take home. The Barrel Blending Experience® is the first stop for any Napa visitor, whether novice or aficionado, providing an immersive tasting experience that will inform the remainder of any visit to the Valley.

If you would like more information about the grape stomping event at Conn Creek winery, you can reach them at (707) 963-9100 every day from 10 am – 4 pm or visit their website at https://www.conncreek.com.

What’s a Grape Stomp without Lucy?!

Grape stomping with Lucille Ball

Of course, there HAD to be a celebrity there to show everyone how grape stomping is done, and Lucille Ball was the perfect person for the job! Lucy was performed by Camille Larrea, a celebrity impersonator for over twenty years – performing celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Joan Rivers, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Lucille Ball, Charo, Norma Desmond, Elvira, Dolly Parton, Sarah Palin, and many more!

If you are looking for a celebrity performer for your next event, feel free to give Camille a call at (925) 353-0289 or visit https://www.celebrityacts.com.

The Best Napa Valley Things To Do!

September is probably the best month of the entire year to visit Napa, with the kids being back in school, the warm weather and the leaves just starting to turn color… the scenery is even more breathtaking than usual! So, if you decide to come to Napa during this month, make sure to check in with Conn Creek and plan your trip around their next Great Grape Stomp event – you won’t be disappointed!


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All About Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/all-about-alta-heights-napa-neighborhood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=all-about-alta-heights-napa-neighborhood Tue, 13 Sep 2022 20:48:25 +0000 https://www.livinginnapacalifornia.com/?p=1680 All About Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood - Best Napa Neighborhoods - Living In Napa CaliforniaAll About Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood Welcome to my Napa Valley vlog where today I take a deep dive into all about Alta Heights Napa neighborhood! One of the main allures of Alta Heights is it’s location – just four blocks away from Downtown Napa where you will find an array of restaurants ranging from […]

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All About Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood

Welcome to my Napa Valley vlog where today I take a deep dive into all about Alta Heights Napa neighborhood!

One of the main allures of Alta Heights is it’s location – just four blocks away from Downtown Napa where you will find an array of restaurants ranging from Thai to Greek cuisine, an abundance of tasting rooms, the Napa River Trail and the renowned Oxbow Public Market. But more about that later.

Let’s start off by talking about the homes within the Alta Heights Napa neighborhood. The types of architecture within this Napa neighborhood range from storybook charm cottages, to custom built contemporary two-story homes. The size of the homes are also vastly different throughout the neighborhood, from as little as around 800 square feet to as large as 4,600. To see inside two homes currently for sale within the Alta Heights Napa neighborhood, check out my video above or view on Youtube.

Outside you’ll see white picket fences and cute front porches while inside you’ll find arched walls and original hardwood flooring – which are indicative of the homes built here during the 1940’s.

Lakeview Park in all about Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood
Lakeview Park in Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood

Alta heights has a lovely park called Lakeview Park where you’ll often see deer on your 0.4 mile (or 1,000 step) walking trail route. There’s also some water features within the park, including the East Napa Reservoir, which are best seen during the winter months.

All About Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood - Alta Heights Elementary School
Alta Heights Elementary School

Alta Heights also has a great elementary school aptly named Alta Heights Elementary which has approximately 300 children enrolled.  Currently, there are no before or after school programs.  Alta Heights Elementary is one of the more popular schools in the Napa County school district which is seen through the dozens of past and present reviews on many websites such as GreatSchools and the Alta Heights elementary school Facebook Group.

All about Alta Heights Napa Neighborhood - Oxbow Public Market
Oxbow Public Market in Downtown Napa

The Oxbow Public Market is a staple within Downtown Napa. One of my favorite stops within the Oxbow Public Market is Bar Luca – they have really great snackable food, but also a great frose with sparkling wine! There’s also a mini grocery store which has fresh fruit and vegetables and locally sourced products such as cheese and jams. Other shops within Oxbow include Live Fire Pizza, Bookmine, Eikos sushi, The Fatted Calf, Milestone, Ritual coffee, Casa restaurant, a wine and cheese bar and last but not least the Hog Island Oyster restaurant, with ample of outdoor seating which overlooks the Napa River. For those looking for a hearty and super tasty burger, go next door to Gott’s and you won’t be disappointed!


If you would like to what is currently happening with the real estate within the Alta Heights Napa neighborhood, please visit my page dedicated to the current market conditions there, including recently sold, just listed, number of days on market, list to sold price and more:

Current Alta Heights Napa Market Report

If you have questions about this or any other neighborhood within Napa Valley, please reach out. I would love to chat with you about the greatest place in California to call home!

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