Who’s Your Agent- Featured Agent Barbara Basila

Featured Agent

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“Life is a story…what does yours say?”

This is Barbara’s Story…

Q: How long have you been a Real Estate Agent?lg1979-1

A:  SINCE 1979 (37 YEARS)


Q:  What do you specialize in?



Q: What are your professional highlights?



Q: Where are you originally from?



Q: Why are you passionate about Real Estate?



Q: What sets you apart from others in your field?



Q: What is your favorite part about your job?



Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?



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5 Tips for Clearing Kitchen Clutter


The kitchen is not dirty, just really busy.

I will be the first to admit that I am particular about organization in my home. I have been known to obsessively straighten the throw pillows on the couch and compulsively refold the hand towel on the bathroom counter. My kids tell me that I get “crazy eyes” when I tell them to store their shoes properly.

However, when it comes to my kitchen…I fix my gaze downward and try not to make eye contact with the countertops. With a family of 5, I have ceded the kitchen space to the clutter gnomes. This is not to say that the kitchen is dirty. It is just really busy. The dishes get washed twice a day (at least), the floor is swept and mopped several times a week, and the counters are wiped down three times a day.

The kitchen is the hardest room in the house to keep uncluttered. By its nature, it is a high traffic- mess producing- gathering place for the family. Add to that all of the nomadic items like mail and homework that find a home on the counter and you get clutter.

The good news is that you don’t have to live with the clutter. With a few simple changes, you can have a magazine photo quality countertop. Here are five tips to kill the kitchen clutter!

1.Relocate anything that does not belong

different-sizes-mudroom-storageIt seems like all of the odds and ends in your home slowly migrate to your kitchen countertops in the middle of the night. Random items like mail, homework, purses, keys, cameras, books, phones, and water bottles find a home on the kitchen counter. The trick is to create a place for these items somewhere else! Create a landing strip near the front door where mail, keys, backpacks, homework, and purses can live happily. If you have kids in the house, set up a convenient backpack/shoe cubby area by the front door to contain kid mess.

2. Get rid of the knife block

Meriwether-of-Montana-knife-holderIt’s not as much of a necessity as you may think. Save counter space by storing individual knives on a magnetic wall strip or with blade covers in a drawer.


69095c00e0c6955a6db8d97ee52b84d33. Store small appliances

How often do you REALLY use your toaster? The only appliance that I use every day is my coffee maker and woe to anyone who comes between me and my coffee. Anything else can easily find a new home in between uses. A good rule of thumb is if you use it a few times a month, store it in a kitchen cabinet. If you use is a few times a year, store it in a garage cabinet. Make sure that whatever you do keep on the countertop is functional and essential to your daily cooking.

4. Don’t use the refrigerator as an art gallery

1My kids love putting artwork and spelling tests on our refrigerator. Then we have coupons, sports team magnets, announcements, shopping lists, invitations, and the list goes on and on. Before you realize it, you can’t even see your refrigerator for all of the paper covering it. Simple concept, but so true: Remove excess paper, notes, photos, lists, and magnets from the refrigerator, and just let the refrigerator be, and your kitchen will immediately look neater.

5. Let yourself have one messy drawerjunk-drawer-resized

Okay, so not every clutter-free kitchen is, well, clutter-free. Every clutter-free kitchen needs a cheat spot, a free-for-all place to stash something until you’ve found a better location or purpose for it. This is the spot for pens, lists, stamps, coupons, and announcements. There are truly some items in your house that never really have a “proper” place. In my house we call it the “junk drawer”.  The key is to be very specific and intentional about where that spot is. Choose just one shelf or drawer, and don’t let it spill out into the whole cabinet.

You can have a clutter free kitchen. Clearing off those countertops will make the room feel so much more spacious and impart a feeling of peace each time you enter the room. Give it a try, it is easier than you think.

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3 Genius Home Upgrades for Pet Owners


It is important to keep in mind that pet-friendly homes, even ones designed with aesthetics in mind, can be a tough sell because not all potential home buyers are pet owners.

Most people who have pets feel like they are truly a part of their family. Insert all of the jokes about furry or four-legged children here. This is due in part to the increasing trend of Americans waiting until later in life to get married or have children. Pet ownership has hit an all-time high in the US with 68% of households (82.5 million) having at least one pet according to the American Pet Products Association.

In response to this trend architects, builders, and interior designers say that there is an increase in pet-friendly home remolding and design. Some owner are looking to integrate their pet paraphernalia in a pleasing way and some are looking to fully accommodate their pets in a spa like environment.

It is important to keep in mind that pet-friendly homes, even ones designed with aesthetics in mind, can be a tough sell because not all potential home buyers are pet owners.

With that said, here are 3 genius home upgrade that you can make that will improve your pet’s quality of life while increasing the value of your home.

Why-Do-Dogs-Slip-on-Hardwood-Floors1. Paw-Safe Flooring:

Choosing a new floor material can make a huge difference to your cleaning bill and your sanity if you have pets.

Carpeting may be cushy for you and your pets but it can be a nightmare in terms of maintenance. If you must choose carpeting select a color that matches your pets, this will help mask pet hair. Choose a low pile because it is easier to clean in there is an accident. Avoid continuous loop carpet because pet nails can unravel it by catching a single loop. Consider trying modular carpet tiles. If your pet has an accident, you can pull up the dirty tile and replace it with a new one. It is much less expensive than replacing an entire rug.
For smaller dogs, a hardwood floor with a good urethane finish is an easy to clean choice. For heavier and larger dogs, ceramic tile or another nonporous hard surface flooring is best.  If you select tile, keep in mind that grout can absorb urine if not cleaned right away.

2. Petscaping Your Yard

imagesEAOFDMB2If you let your furry family member out into the yard, flea and tick prevention isn’t your only concern. Selecting your landscaping plants is an important process concerning more than just ascetics. Many common plants are surprisingly poisonous to pets. Check out this article we posted about the 5 common plants that are poisonous to pets.

Another factor to consider is your grass. A beautiful green lawn in a lovely sight to behold. For pet owners that have dogs, your green lawn may have yellow spots. For a more permanent solution, you should put in grass that is urine-resistant or that can tolerate dog urine. Fescue or perennial ryegrass is more resistant to urine that other grasses. You should avoid Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda grass as these are sensitive and will spot easily.

SavvyPet13. Room with a View

Indoor pets find it their mission to keep an eye on any suspicious activity in either yard. Consequently, they will scratch up windowsills, walls, and furniture to be able to get a look outside. If you are considering a major remodel, consider installing a window at viewing height for your pet. Installing a window lower to the ground will make your pet feel more involved in the world around them. If major home construction is not for you, consider building a perch at window level to avoid any unnecessary damage to the sill or wall.

Design your home with your pet’s needs and comforts in mind and you’ll both have a nicer place to live. If you are smart about your renovations, you can increase the value of your home as well. It is a win-win situation for everyone!


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Light bulbs… this one simple change can make a difference in staging your home

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If you are planning on putting your home on the market, you are no stranger to the ever increasing list of minor repairs and touch-ups.  It can be overwhelming because it there is always something to be done to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

What if I told you that there is one simple change that will make a dramatic difference in the staging of your home – strategic lighting.

The right light can make any room look more spacious and therefore more desirable. It can create a dramatic mood and draw attention to focal points in your décor and architecture.  Also, it’s a pretty inexpensive staging boost compared to re-tiling your bathroom.

Real estate sales expert and author Robert Irwin says a dark house turns off potential buyers.

“Not only will they keep you from getting a quick sale, but they will also cut down on the amount of money you’ll get in offers.  On the other hand, if you lighten up these dark spots, you can very quickly improve the value of your property.” – Robert Irwin

The simple solution is to replace older model fixtures and bulbs. But before you get lost in the lighting department of your local hardware store, understand that not all light bulbs are created equal.  We have come a long way from Edison’s incandescent lightbulb designed in 1878.

There are several light bulb options available to you.  There are advantages and drawbacks to many of the light bulbs available in today’s market.  It is best to decide which bulb with be most effective with the space you are trying to illuminate.

Check out this basic guide from HGTV of the 5 types of bulbs available today:


The Incandescent bulb: 

Incandescent%20Bulb_ID-10082776This is the traditional light bulb that we are all familiar with.  It is the most common and the least expensive bulb on the market.  You get what you pay for with this bulb. Incandescent bulbs typically have a lifespan of 700 to 1,000 hours.  These bulbs produce a light that has a warm, inviting quality and is very complimentary to skin tones and psychologically appealing.  Incandescent bulbs can be used with a dimmer but it should be noted that they are not nearly as energy efficient as other bulbs.

The Halogen bulb:

imagesThe halogen bulb operates on a similar principal to the incandescent light bulb.  They light they give is closer to natural daylight or “white light”.   Colors appear sharper under halogen light and the bulbs can be dimmed. They’re a little more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but are more expensive and burn at a higher temperature. Most often halogen bulbs are used in under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights and recessed cans.

The Fluorescent bulb:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the bulb that you associate with office buildings or schools.  These long skinny tubes give a flat, cold light, often bluish and harsh. It is a daylight-equivalent and cannot be put on a dimmer. There are many types of fluorescents on the market: warm ones, cool ones and special-colored ones, and they typically produce more light and last longer than incandescent and are slightly more expensive.  Fluorescent bulbs work well to light large areas like basements or attics where you are less concerned about ascetics and more concerned about practicality.

The CFL bulb: 

hand and  lampCompact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) consume a quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs do and last 10 times longer. Unlike the old fluorescent lights, CFLs are quiet, instant-on and have warmer, color-corrected tones. They can be used anywhere you would use a typical incandescent light bulb. CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, a harmful substance. Although the bulbs contain far less mercury than other household items, care needs to be taken to prevent breakage. Also, when CFLs burn out, they should be recycled.  Be very caref

The LED bulb:

Generic-LED-light-bulbThe light-emitting diode bulb (LED) is a lighting technology that is long-lasting and extremely energy-efficient, but they’re not ready to supplant all other bulbs yet. For one, they provide only directional light, not diffused light, making them ideal for under-counter task lighting, but not general room illumination. To overcome this, new models consist of large arrays of LEDs clustered together, but at prices from five to six times higher than CFLs, the bulbs are not for everybody.


You may not be ready to commit to the cost of a LED bulb especially if you are planning on selling your home.  The LED bulbs may cost more up front, but they do save a lot of money in the long run.  Incandescent light bulbs are very inexpensive but they cannot go the distance like LED’s and CFL’s.  That’s probably why incandescent light bulbs are being phased out: An almost complete ban on their sale started in 2014 and will take full effect in 2020. Simply put, they waste a lot of energy and don’t last very long.

Consider switching out traditional light bulbs for LED’s in a hard-to-reach spot, like a cathedral ceiling fixture, since you won’t have to replace it for many, many years.


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Who’s Your Agent – Featured Agent Jennifer Grinager

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“Life is a story…what does yours say?”

This is Jennifer’s Story…

Q: How long have you been a Real Estate Agent?sale

A: I have been an agent for 11 years


Q:  What do you specialize in?

A: Residential Real Estate


Q: What are your professional highlights?

A: I started in the business just as the market was crashing in late 2005 and quickly learned how to survive by helping others.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Born in Pittsburgh PA, but I really grew up in Concord CA


Q: Why are you passionate about Real Estate?

A: I love being with people and every house is interesting in some way.  It’s a perfect combination of working with people, paperwork, and analytical data.


Q: What sets you apart from others in your field?

A: I truly care about what is best for my client and go the extra mile.  I am also a strong negotiator.


Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: Getting to tell someone that their offer was accepted or that an offer was received.  And, of course handing the keys to a new homeowner.



Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

A: I was an avid horseback rider in Dressage and jumping and I was approached to train for the Olympics.



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30 Under 30 – Congratulations Danny Grubb!

Our own Danny Grubb is honored with


30 Under 30 awards!

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This group represents the next generation of talented real estate professionals in the brand.  And the Coldwell Banker brand certainly knows the power and impact that under-30 professionals can have on the industry.  After all, our brand was founded by 24-year-old Colbert Coldwell and 28-year-old Benjamin Banker – and their vision for what real estate sales should be, transformed the industry.

From philanthropic activities and cutting edge technology to basketball and negotiation – each young person on this list is finding effective ways to differentiate themselves and drive success in their local markets.  You can bet you’ll be seeing more from these 30 now and in the future!


Sales Associate at Coldwell Banker Premier Real Estate, Fresno, CA
2015 Coldwell Banker 30 Under 30 member

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Danny chose a career in real estate because there are no limits, “you are your own boss, you control your own successes and failures”.

This is Danny’s 2nd time being named to the Coldwell Banker 30 Under 30, and his enthusiasm and dedication make him an invaluable member of this illustrious group.

Danny played baseball for the 2008 National Championship team at Fresno State and attributes the success of his real estate career to the demands involved in being a Division 1  athlete, as well as the time management, sense of responsibility, and  team attitude that was instilled in him at a very young age.


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6 Easy Ways to Lower your Water Bill

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Another rainy season has passed us by and the hype for el Nino has fallen short of our hopes and expectations.  Experts at the National Weather Service confirmed that the last five years have been the driest ever documented in California since official record keeping began almost 140 years ago. Despite near average rainfall in much of Northern California this last winter, 60% of the state remains in severe or extreme drought, the board said.

I have to say at this point I really miss having a green lawn, taking baths, and watching the kids play in the sprinklers.  In fact, most Californians probably react this way when it rains.

With water restrictions being strictly enforced, there are a few simple steps that you can take to lower your water bill and still enjoy your home.

92298221. Mulch, Compost, and Shredded Leaves…oh my!

  • A layer of mulch around trees and plants will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. .
  • Compost not only adds beneficial nutrients and microbes to the soil, it helps retain moisture.
  • Shredded leaves make excellent mulch, and they’re free! Spread them in fall to insulate the soil and prevent frost heaving of perennials. The shreds will eventually break down and feed the soil, just like the compost.

mow-high-150x1502. High Stakes Mowing

  • Cut back on fertilizer, mow high, and leave mulched clippings on the lawn to shade the soil and reduce evaporation.
  • Wondering if you need to water the lawn?  Walk on the grass. If the blades spring back, hold off on watering. If you see your footprints, switch on the sprinklers.

untitled3. Check the Pipes

  • That constant drip drip sound annoying? It can be wasteful and expensive too. A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons. Change out those old faucets and you can save a bundle in the long run.

Showerhead4. Power Down that Shower

  • Consider swapping out high flow shower heads for a water-saving low-flow shower heads. They are easy for the homeowner to install.  Long showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Low flow shower heads use less than 2.5 gallons per minute which means you can relax during your peaceful shower time.

stock-photo-46940904-view-from-inside-dishwasher-of-pretty-young-woman-loading-dishes5. Proper Dishwasher Loading

  • There are right ways and wrong ways to load your dishwasher… just ask my husband.  If you do it incorrectly, then you have to wash the dishes again by hand.  Save time and money and do it right the first time.  For more, see: 7 common dishwasher-loading mistakes that may surprise you.

untitled (2)6. Workin’ at the car wash, yeah

  • Use the car wash to wash your vehicle. A lot of water is wasted doing it at home.  A professional car wash uses 9-15 gallons of water per car.  Washing your car at home can use 40-140 gallons depending on who is “helping”.  Most newer car wash facilities have fairly sophisticated water reclamation systems that enable the car wash to re-use water many times over.


Making a couple of small changes can make a big difference on your water bill.  You can still have a beautiful home during a drought, it just takes proper planning.

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Who’s Your Agent? – Featured Agent Olga Garcia

Featured Agent

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 “Life is a story…What does yours say?”

This is Olga’s Story…

Q: How long have you been a Real Estate Agent?

A: Since May 2005, over 11 years


istock_000016478521large_buyercouple_keysQ:  What do you specialize in?

A: Listings and Sales, First-Time Homebuyers, in the Santa Maria and Orcutt areas (Santa Barbara County)


Q: What are your professional highlights?

A: E-PRO® Certified from National Association of Realtors, Santa Maria Association Board of Realtors (SMAOR) Education Committee, SMAOR-Professional Standards Committee, SMAOR-Grievance Committee


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Santa Barbara, CA



Q: Why are you passionate about Real Estate?

A: Knowing that I’ve helped my clients with one of the most important decisions of their lives.


Q: What sets you apart from others in your field?

A: Commitment and known to go the extra mile for my clients.


Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: The relationships I have built with my clients.


Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

A: That I was originally born in Mexico but my parents immigrated to Santa Barbara, CA when I was only 3 months old and was raised there my whole life until I moved to Santa Maria 10 years ago with my husband and one daughter. My other daughter lives in Ventura.



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5 Throwbacks that NEED to go before you list your home


Hammer pants, mullets, and popcorn ceilings

will never make a comeback.

Everyone loves a good throwback. I love my throwback Montana 49er jersey.  But some things really need to stay in the past.  Hammer pants, mullets, and popcorn ceilings will never make a comeback.

Selling your home can be a challenge especially if your home is still living in the 1900’s. Potential buyers are on the hunt for updated and renovated homes. Most buyers are intimidated by a property that needs updating and remodeling.  Help buyers see the potential of your property.

Most home owners don’t want to invest a small fortune in their property before they sell it. The good news is that there are a few simple and inexpensive updates that you can make that will make a big impact on buyers.

popcorn-ceiling1. Popcorn Ceilings

Half of your potential buyers will turn right back around and walk out of your house as soon as they see the dreaded popcorn ceilings. If your home was built after 1980, chances are you can remove these by yourself with wetting and scraping them. Pre-1979 homes are likely to contain asbestos and you will need someone licensed to remove it.

56291d1345929430-re-grouting-old-kitchen-counter-tile-20120812_173347-800x600-2. Tile Kitchen Countertops

Seriously, who thought that the uneven surface of small white tiles was a good fit for kitchens? They are a nightmare to wipe down and keep the grout clean. Buyers hate ceramic-tile countertops with grimy grout. Today’s buyers are looking for granite, marble, limestone or soapstone countertops. If natural stone doesn’t fit into your budget, you can update with new, more affordable counters in concrete or laminate.

3. Mini Pendant Lights1

If your house was built before 2000, there’s a good chance you’ve got overhead lights that look like they belong in a coffee shop. The real problem with these mini-pendants is that they’re always too small.  A poorly lit room looks small, dark, and cramped, while a brightly lit room appears open, airy, and welcoming. For a better—and more timeless—source of light, try an orb shape.

s-l2254. Old Knobs and Pulls

Nothing dates your kitchen and bathrooms more than old-fashioned, worn and dirty handle pulls and knobs. This is one of the simplest updates you can make to your home. Sleek new knobs can quickly modernize your kitchen and bathroom. Really, there is no good reason to skip this update. There are numerous finishes to choose from such as bronze, wrought iron, brushed nickel, aged copper, and shiny stainless.

delta-faucet-2522-clear-handles5. “Crystal” Bathroom Sink Fixtures

Bathrooms that feature crystal looking plastic knobs make me cringe and shudder. They will crack and yellow with time. Consider changing out these time-bombs with a newer sleeker faucet. This upgrade will only take 1-2 hours to complete. A really nice faucet will run you anywhere from $100-$200 and will make a huge impact on the bathroom.

Don’t let these old out-of-date features mask the potential of your home. Buyers will appreciate the time and money investment to rectify these throw-backs.


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Who’s Your Agent?- Featured Realtor Joe Novo

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“Life is a story…what does yours say?”

This is Joe’s Story-

Q:  How long have you been an agent?

A: 1 Year


Q:  What do you specialize in?sale

A:  Residential Sales, Buyers Agent, Sellers Agent, Vacation Homes, Investment Properties


Q: What are your professional highlights?

A:  Consolidated global revenue for fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley.  Developed and implemented global web based revenue recognition tool.  Implemented e-commerce initiative nationally for #1 global computer networking company.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Pleasant Hill, CA


Untitled designQ: Why are you passionate about Real Estate?

A: I have had a few bad experiences with Real Estate and I want to make a difference by showing my clients that assisting them with their real estate needs does not have to be a nightmare.


Q: What sets you apart from other in your field?

A: Professionalism, follow through, pro activeness


Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: Being able to see immediate results


Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

A: I worked in the Silicon Valley as a finance analyst for over 20 years and owned my own succulent business.


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