Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 OKTOBERFEST in Meadow Vista

2014 Calendar: Trick or Treat Trail

How Does a Home Appraisal Work?

By Toni Ryan, Princeton Capital

During most real estate transactions, it will be necessary to have a home appraisal completed. This formal process of evaluation is the most effective, un-biased way to determine the current value of a home for everyone involved in the transaction. While the concept might not seem confusing, there are several misconceptions that can make the process seem complicated. Understanding what the appraiser does and how their evaluation plays a role in your financing can make the transaction easier.

Home values fluctuate because of a variety of factors including supply, demand and regional influences. A home appraisal determines the current market value of a property on the date the inspection is completed. Since this value will be used by the lender to determine the loan amount, an approved, reputable appraiser must be hired to complete the evaluation. It is important to note that the formal appraisal report is filed with a national bureau when financing is being used from FHA, FNMA and Freddie Mac. The report and the property value is registered with the national database and kept on file for six months. This keeps buyers and sellers from “shopping around” for a different value.

The lender will order the appraisal from a separate third party appraisal vender. The appointment for the real estate appraiser to visit your property (or the property you're looking to buy) is set by the assigned appraiser with you or the real estate agent.

There are some key things to prepare for to insure you receive an accurate appraisal for your home:

  • Major repairs - water damage and broken structures need to be repaired. 
  • Health & Safety Issues - bare wiring, mold, damaged stairs will need to be restored to safety standards. Smoke and CO2 detectors must be present and in working order. 
  • In-progress Construction - all work should be completed. 
  • Excessive Clutter - the appraiser must get a clear view of the basic structure. 

It is suggested to be present while the appraiser is at the home. By law, your loan officer cannot be present and cannot speak to the appraiser.

There are several methods and formulas utilized to calculate the final home value. Prices of other similar homes that have recently sold in the area are assessed and adjustments are made for features that are not the same. A Cost to Re-build the home in today's market is also included.

If the appraised value is at or above the expected value - this is good news! If the value comes in below expectations, most sellers and homeowners experience concern.  Always talk to your realtor and loan officer to find out all of your options. A home appraisal is a vital piece of the process when buying or refinancing a home

*Always check with your mortgage professional for acceptable extenuating circumstances and any other changes that may have changed to the  programs listed since this printing.  

Own a Business? 3 Reasons to Put November 29th on Your Calendar

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

Small Business Saturday 2014 is November 29th! If your a small business you might be teetering on the fence of whether you should participate in this annual "Shop Small" extravaganza. The time to leap off the fence is here and we've got 3 Reasons you should throw your hat in on Small Business Saturday!

1. Join a Nationwide Campaign

American Express sponsors Small Business Saturday which means (drumroll)....MONEY! This is a huge nationwide marketing campaign pushing consumers (ie: YOUR customers) to shop their local businesses on Saturday, November 29th (Why that Saturday? Black Friday is the day before and Cyber Monday is 2 days later). Think of how much it costs to run television ads, direct mail, run social media campaigns and spread the word - now imagine that ALL of that is being done for YOU.

2. FREE Marketing Resources

The people who coordinate Small Business Saturday couldn't make it any easier to participate. They even provide free professionally designed marketing materials, tools and resources. All of these great items can be found at

3. Get Exposure by Participating

As we get closer to Small Business Saturday, a really cool feature will be added to the ShopSmall website - a map showing people where to shop. This means when a local consumer looks for businesses to shop with on the site - you're there! Can you say more free advertisement????

Bonus -  One Hundred Million. 

That's how many people shopped small businesses last year on Small Business Saturday. Don't you want a piece of the action? Start thinking about an exclusive special that you can offer just for the people who buy from you on that day. Once you get people in the door, they are more likely to buy more and buy later!

Understanding Covered California for 2015

By Richard L. Peatman, Pharm.D., Meadow Vista Pharmacy

It's that time of year again.  For those of you who have to purchase your own health insurance, you can look up your 2015 rates on Covered California now.  Go to  The good news is that the average price increase for the entire state is 4.2%.  Some areas, such as Region 3 (Sacramento, Placer Counties) had only a 1.8% increase.  The really big change this year is the addition of dental coverage.  Adult coverage will cost between $13 and $59 per month.  Children will be $9 to $34 per month.  Kaiser has partnered with Delta Dental for children's coverage.  Western Health Advantage has selected Premier Access and Anthem and Blue Shield have their own dental plans.  

Here are some things to keep in mind…

  • Sign up starts November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2105.  If you have a qualifying life event, you may receive Special Enrollment and become covered under a plan immediately.  Examples of these events are change in marital status, adoption of a child, moving to a new region in California, release from jail or prison or loss of Medi-Cal or health coverage from your job.  It is import to remember that you can also change or enroll in coverage if you have a change in income.
  • You can use a certified enrollment counselor to sign up or do it yourself on line or by phone at 1-800-300-1506.  Covered California's phone hours are Monday  Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 8am to 5pm.
  • The price is the same whether you decide to sign up through Covered California or directly with an insurance company that offers an exchange plan.  
  • Your insurance agent may help you find Off Exchange Plans.  These are plans that are offered in California but not on the exchange.
  • Make sure to use your correct income when signing up.  Your premium assistance from the government is primarily based on income and if that has changed you want to make sure that you give the correct information when signing up for 2015.  The assistance can be significant.  A household with two adults and two children under 18 and a combined income of $70,000, would receive $600 a month on the lowest level plan.
  • Make sure to submit any required documentation promptly.  You can be denied or dropped from coverage if you fail to supply required information.
  • DOUBLE CHECK TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS ACCEPT THE PLAN YOU SELECT FOR 2015.  Hospitals and doctors are free to change the plans they accept.   Remember, that in most cases, you can keep your 2014 plan for 2015, just keep paying for it.    Consider whether you want to add dental coverage.  And finally, check your Covered California account to confirm your coverage.  Don't assume it's right.

Potato Chips for Dessert?

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

My curiosity couldn't resist and I bought the package of Cappuccino Potato Chips. What are we doing with coffee flavored potato chips? So when I got home, I discovered the cappuccino was more about the cinnamon and sugar than it was the coffee. They have taken that sugary cappuccino powder drink mix and used it to "season" the chips.

Sugar is being added to everything, it is true. As a dentist I clearly see the ravages it takes on teeth. My medical colleagues see it in the melange of diabetes, obesity, cardiac disease, liver damage that results. My friends in the insurance industry point out to me the necessity of increasing life insurance premiums because this new generation of youth is going to live a shorter life span than us and will therefore be paying into the system few years. Alas. When will you take charge of your eating habits?

So back to potato chips. We all know that a good southern barbeque sauce has sugar in it, so sugar in potato chip ingredients is not a new thing. But this is the first time a potato chip tasted sweet enough to qualify for dessert. Please read labels and be aware how much sugar is being added to your diet and be aware of the multitude of long term debilitating illnesses it is responsible for in our culture. It is not just about teeth.

Meadow Vista Community Center Update

The 5 Biggest Turn-Offs for Homebuyers

Written by Blanche Evans - Provided by Fred Eichenhofer, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

“Your agent can't get you the price you want unless your home is in pristine move-in condition.  That means no sticking drawers in the kitchen.  No leaning fences.  No rust-stained plumbing fixtures.  We could go on, but maybe we need to make it clear.  If you have even one of the following “turn-offs,” your home won't sell”.  (Fred's comment; every home will sell, but it may not be at the highest price possible because of the condition of the home, and the location.) Buyer's can get instantly turned off.  Here are their five biggest turn-offs:

1 - Over pricing your home

Overpricing your home is like trying to crash the country club without a membership.  You'll be found out and escorted out.
If you ignored your agent's advice and listed at a higher price than recommended, you're going to get some negative feedback, of course, is silence.  That could include no showings and no offers.
The problem with overpricing your home is that the buyers who are qualified to buy your home won't see it because they're shopping in a lower price range.  The buyers who do it will quickly realize that there are other homes in the same price range that offer more value.

2 - Smells

Smells can come from a number of sources-pets, lack of cleanliness, stale air, water damage, and much more.  You may not even notice it, but your real estate agent may have hinted to you that something needs to be done.
There's not a buyer in the world that will buy a home that smells unless they're investors looking for a bargain.  Even so, they'll get a forensic inspection to find out the source of the smells.  If they find anything like undisclosed water damage, or pet urine under the “new” carpet, then they will either severely discount their offer or walk away.

3 - Clutter

If your tables are full to the edges with photos, figurines, mail, and drinking glasses, buyers' attention is going to more focused on running the gauntlet of your living room without breaking any Hummel's than in considering your home for purchase.
Too much furniture confuses the eye-it makes it real difficult for buyers to see the proportions of rooms.  If they can't see what they need to know, they move on to the next home.

4 - Deferred Maintenance

Deferred maintenance is a polite euphemism for letting your home fall apart.  Just like people age due to the effects of the sun wind and gravity, so do structures like your home.  Things wear out, break and weather, and it's your job as a homeowner to keep your home repaired.
Your buyers really want a home that's been well-maintained. They don't want to wonder what needs to be fixed next or how much it will cost.

5 - Dated D├ęcor

The reason people are looking at your home instead of buying brand new is because of cost and location.  They want your neighborhood, but that doesn't mean they want a dated-looking home.  Just like they want a home in good repair, they want a home that looks updated, even if it's from a different era.
Harvest gold and avocado green from the seventies; soft blues and mauves from the eighties, jewel tones from the nineties, and onyx and pewter from the oughts are all colorways that can date your home.  Textures like popcorn ceilings, shag or berber carpet, and flocked wallpaper can also date your home. When you're behind the times, buyers don't want to join you.  They want to be perceived as a savvy and cool.

In conclusion, the market is a brutal mirror.  If you're guilty of not putting money into your home because you believe it's an investment that others should pay you to profit, you're in for a rude awakening.  You'll be stuck with an asset that isn't selling. (Fred's comment; all homes will sell, the sales price will be dependent on the condition of the home, and location.  The less the buyer has to do to update the home and a good location, a seller should receive a higher sale price everything else being equal.)

Meadow Vista Lions Club: 2014 Santa Comes to Town

Submitted by Etta Gross, Club Secretary

The Meadow Vista Lions are looking forward to a busy fall season and preparing for the holidays. Lions club members will be in front of Holiday Market selling Sees' Christmas Candies on November 20-23, December 11th-14th & 18th-21st.

Santa Claus has made his annual contact with us.  He will be visiting our community on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at dusk in the vacant field next to the Post Office.

Residents are always welcome to come bring ideas and see the planning for our events by visiting a meeting on the second and fourth Wednesday, starting at 7pm. at the Grange Hall in Meadow Vista. If you are interested in information contact us at  

Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors: 2014 Christmas Baskets

Submitted by Etta Gross

Do you want to help those in our community that are having difficulties at Christmas this year?  The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club is in need of donation of canned foods and toys along with monetary donations for the Community Christmas Baskets.  This is our 70th year at assisting those in need in the community and in the surrounding areas (Applegate, Clipper Gap, Christian Valley and Weimar) at Christmas.  Last year, the community helped 135 families, and supplied toys to 78 families for our residents in need. Help us help even more families this year!

Please make checks payable to The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club or TMVFN, and mail them to P.O. Box 764, Meadow Vista CA  95722.

The club will also need physical help on Friday, December 19 for assembling the food baskets at Sierra Hills School, 16505 Placer Hills Road starting at 5 p.m.  For more information regarding the Christmas Basket Program, please contact Etta at (530) 637-5359 or Gerry at (530) 878-6117.

Our annual Christmas Basket Breakfast will be on Saturday, November 8, 2014, starting at 8 a.m.  The location will be Placer Hills Cafeteria.

How to Spot a Scam IRS Phone Call

By J.C. Harrison, Simplified Business & Tax Service

The IRS continues to warn the public to be alert for telephone scams and offers five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off if you get such a call. These callers claim to be with the IRS. The scammers often demand money to pay taxes. Some may try to con you by saying that you're due a refund. The refund is a fake lure so you'll give them your banking or other private financial information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may even know a lot about you. They may alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don't answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

The IRS respects taxpayer rights when working out payment of your taxes. So, it's pretty easy to tell when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what to do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to talk about payment options. Continued on page 11 You also may be able to set up a payment plan online at
  • If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at
  • If phone scammers target you, also contact the Federal Trade Commission at Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report the scam. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to and type “scam” in the search box.

Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup