2015 Real Estate Predictions

gypsy making 2015 predictions

We are about to ring in a New Year and I am happy to report, the outlook on the housing market in 2015 is definitely bright. After all, 2014 was the best year in the U.S. economic recovery since the recession of 2008-2009. Here are some predictions from leading economists: "The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better," says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. "Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business … [Read more...]

4 of the world’s most expensive foods

Almas Caviar – $25,000

The holiday season calls for many people to expand their culinary horizons. I’ve collected a list featuring 4 of the worlds most outlandish, outrageous and most expensive foods: Matsutake Mushrooms – $1000/pound The matsutake, or mattake, mushroom is extremely rare so it’s also extremely expensive. The introduction of an insect that kills the trees under which the mushroom grows caused a dramatic decrease in the number of matsutake mushrooms in their native Japan. A new method for farming has not yet been developed and until it is, these mushrooms will remain an elusive species with a high price tag. The World’s Most Expensive … [Read more...]

4 stylish Celebrity Kitchens

Ralph Lauren's kitchen

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. These 4 stylish celebrity kitchens are evidence that contemporary designs with clean lines are certainly in vogue. I can’t help but think that the look and feel of our kitchens today is a reflection of our lives.   I hope you enjoy a sneak peek at these celebrity kitchens: Here’s a photo of Courteney Cox's kitchen. Designed by Trip Haenisch, the star’s countertops are from CaesarStone, while her ovens and a refrigerator are top of the line, Gaggenau. Her stainless-steel sinks goes well with the light fixture and vintage barstools. The kitchen area of Cabin 6 in Ellen DeGeneres … [Read more...]

Exciting Resort and Restaurant News in Napa Valley

Harvest Inn

It's fun working in the trenches of Napa Valley Real Estate. I get first hand information on exciting resort and restaurant news as well as the latest on developments, bars, tasting rooms and just about everything that’s going on in the valley (plus a whole lot more).  So here's the latest and greatest: Let's start with the Harvest Inn in St. Helena. New owner Charlie Palmer is planning to renovate the popular resort to celebrate the quintessential wine country way of life. The remodel will include updating the reception building, adding eight new rooms to the current 74 luxurious accommodations, enhancing the lovely gardens and adding a … [Read more...]

The IRS on “Donating Tear Downs to the Fire Department” 

firefighters train at a tear down

 the time of year when we turn our attention to charitable tax deductions. I have known several property owners who have enjoyed the benefits of donating their tear down to the local Fire Department for training purposes and enjoying a sizable tax deduction. As you can imagine, a lot of work goes into preparing a house to be burned down. Vegetation has to be removed from the home, windows removed, a detailed inspection by environmental authorities and of course a professional appraisal of the market value of the improvements to be burned down.  And although the burn down is free, the homeowner is responsible for clearing away the debris … [Read more...]

Calling All Women to” Think and Grow Rich!”

think and grow rich

Have you read Sharon Lechter’s book, Think and Grow Rich for Women: Using Your Power To Create Success and Significance? The celebrated author, activist, philanthropist and co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad wrote her latest book for women because she says the original Think and Grow Rich, written by Napoleon Hill, came from a male perspective. That’s not surprising considering it was published back in 1937 at a time when the leaders of business were fairly well entirely men. What you may find surprising is today’s facts about women and wealth: 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women. 85 percent of all consumer … [Read more...]

Dean & DeLuca Sold

Dean & DeLuca

As a specialist in the sale and acquisition of luxury real estate, vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma, the news that luxury brand Dean & DeLuca sold certainly captured my attention. The sales agreement is with Bangkok-based Pace Development Corporation. The Thai company is also purchasing the gourmet food brand’s global business and assets for a total of $140 million. Included in the sale is the supply chain and operations of 11 outlets and 2 commissaries located in the U.S., plus licensing agreements in 31 international locations, including Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and others. “The best margins in the … [Read more...]

How to Qualify for Williamson Act Tax Benefits

williamson act

What is the Williamson Act? The California Land Conservation Act of 1965 is commonly referred to as the Williamson Act. The Act enables Napa and Sonoma Counties to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels to agricultural use. The primary intent of the program is to preserve agricultural land by providing tax benefits to landowners and therefore preventing premature and unnecessary development. Napa and Sonoma Counties vary in the specifics. Click here for Sonoma County Williamson Act FAQs. Napa County Rules and Regulations: Summary of Properties that Qualify To qualify for a … [Read more...]

Napa Valley homeowners “give back” this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving sign - Latife Hayson

We all know that Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of gratitude and thanks. What better way to celebrate than to “give back” back to your community? Napa Valley homeowners can choose to give to some amazing local non-profits, or help out by donating to a number of national charities. Here are some of my favorites: The Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies This Coalition is dedicated to several local non-profit organizations that bring health and human services together for the purpose of mutual support. Jameson Rescue Ranch This important non-profit answers the call to help animals in our community through its annual holiday … [Read more...]

HALL RANCH IN ALEXANDER VALLEY: Now Accepting Reservations

Hall Ranch, Latief Hayson

Consider this rare opportunity to own a significant Sonoma County legacy ranch and preserve: Hall Ranch in the Alexander Valley, only minutes from Healdsburg. It’s situated on approximately 421 acres and includes a nearly 83 acres of organically certified vineyards. Located about 75 miles north of San Francisco along Highway 101, Hall Ranch offers breathtaking views of gentle rolling hills where native oaks grow among natural grasses and alongside meticulously groomed vineyards. Situated in the Eastern foothills of Sonoma County, Hall Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind property. It rises from the valley floor to an elevation of approximately … [Read more...]