Thursday, March 9, 2017


St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! There is no better place to celebrate this holiday than an Irish pub or Irish-themed bar with an abundance of Guinness, Irish fare, lively crowds, and a sea of green. Make plans to visit one of these Irish pubs in and around Sacramento on St. Patrick’s Day or the days leading up to March 17!


The Boxing Donkey Irish Pub is located in historic Old Town Roseville, serving incredible Irish food, beer and whiskey. Their inviting and hospitable service in a comfortable setting makes your experience extra enjoyable, furthered by live music and a daily happy hour. The Boxing Donkey has quite the day planned on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, they open at 6 a.m. on March 17 to start the festivities early! (Photo above represents the Boxing Donkey’s German festivities.)


Malt & Mash Irish Pub in the heart of downtown puts a modern twist on the classic Irish pub, evident in their gorgeous interior and exterior designs and their delicious food and drink menus. The name Malt & Mash refers to the usual grain mixture used in the brewing and distillation of beer and whiskey, both of which they specialize in. This authentic pub celebrates the history of Irish-American culture in an effortless and captivating way.


de Vere’s Irish Pub is owned and operated by an Irish family originally from Dublin who moved to Sacramento in 1984. The atmosphere is so authentically Irish at both of de Vere’s locations in Sacramento and Davis. In fact, they even had the pub fixtures and furnitures designed and built in Ireland. de Vere’s provides innovative Irish food, friendly service, and of course, 20-ounce pints of Guinness!


Pitch & Fiddle is an authentic Irish pub in Sacramento serving the finest selection of Irish whiskeys and beers. Their Irish fare is to die for — especially the fish and chips and their famous Irish corned beef tacos. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Pitch and Fiddle, or treat every day like an Irish holiday with their daily happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m.!


This easy-going Irish pub in El Dorado Hills serves classic Irish fare and drinks, with a strong emphasis on beers. In fact, they have 36 handles (hence the name!), including 28 commonly found beers and 8 alternating taps, offering variety and interest for beer connoisseurs. Join their membership club by drinking a handle of every beer on tap, and you will receive perks and discounted refills at each visit!


Located in the heart of Old Sacramento, O’Mally’s Irish Pub offers one of the most authentic Irish experiences around. With wooden furniture, traditional Irish fare at reasonable prices, a wide selection of drinks, and a welcoming atmosphere, this no-frills pub is the real deal. This year, O’Mally’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary, so they’re throwing an especially big party on St. Patrick’s Day!


This Orangevale pub is popular amongst residents and those in neighboring towns. The Blarney Stone serves 22 beers on tap, including all of your Irish favorites, and a full bar with a great selection of Irish whiskeys. Relax with friends and family on the covered patio with some Guinness-battered fish and chips, or belly up to the bar with a pint of Guinness!


Translation: Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Sacramento!

Monday, February 13, 2017

5 Things Every Loving Homeowner Should Know About Their Own Home
Your relationship with your home is one that will hopefully last a long time, so it pays to learn its most intimate details. And not to be weird, but we really do mean intimate: what turns it on (or off), what makes it hot (or cold), and its delicate inner workings.
Because, after all, your home takes care of you—it keeps you warm, safe, well-fed—so it has every right to act a little high-maintenance and demand some TLC in return. Neglect your house, and there could be hell to pay later in the form of floods, electrical outages, and worse.
So as a sort of how-deep-is-your-love kind of test, ask yourself if you know these five things about your home—and if not, maybe you should go find out.
Q: Where is the main water shut-off valve?
Imagine you’re anywhere in your house where water is a feature: bathroom, kitchen, laundry room. They’re all connected by a network of pipes that come from your main water source. If any of those tangential pipes springs a leak, you’ll need to shut off the water until it can be fixed.
Every home is different, but you can likely find your main valve near the perimeter of your house, at ground level, nearest your water meter. If your water pipes are visible (in the basement, for example), follow them until you reach the main inlet and valve.
It’s possible your shut-off valve could be in a crawl space, closet, or somewhere out of the way, but it should definitely be in plain sight, rather than covered over with drywall. But rather than sit there and wonder, be sure to ask the previous home seller before you move in or check your home’s blueprints for a clue.
Q: Where is your circuit box, and is it properly labeled?
A circuit box is your house’s bodyguard against sudden spikes in electricity that run through the wires. Know your circuit box! It may enable you to avoid hiring a technician for simple electrical issues.
Most circuit boxes are located in a house’s basement, but some are also found in garages or utility closets. The switches inside correspond to rooms and sets of outlets in your home. Hopefully, they’re labeled properly—and if not, you should get on that pronto to avoid a tortuous guessing game every time you need to turn your power on and off.
If power suddenly goes out in a room (usually because you have too much plugged into one outlet), you can identify the tripped circuit by the switch that’s flipped in the opposite direction to the others. That means you may need to plug in your lava lamp elsewhere.
Q: What is a thermocouple, and do you know how to change it?
When your furnace goes out, you’ll be left in the cold—but not if you know how to change its thermocouple.This is the part of the furnace that shuts off the gas if your pilot light goes out, preventing that gas from seeping into your home. (You know, the gas that can kill you if left to run amok.)
If the furnace won’t stay lit, there’s a good chance you have a faulty thermocouple. Learning how to replace or adjust yours can be the difference between a $10 trip to the hardware store, and a $90/hour visit from a technician. Most thermocouples are held in place by brackets, which can be gently unscrewed to insert the replacement thermocouple.
Keeping a spare thermocouple on hand during winter is especially smart, because furnace problems can be more inconvenient—and costly—during the peak times of the year.
Q: Where are all your filters, and when was the last time they were replaced?
Lots of appliances in your home have filters. In fact, any device that conducts air or water should have some sort of filter in place to remove impurities and particulates. Changing these filters routinely can save you money, and keep you safe, which is why it’s helpful to know when they’re due to be replaced. Furnace filters should be replaced every two to three months; HVAC, ice maker, and water dispenser filters must change at least once a year. But that varies based on the manufacturer, so be sure to check your maintenance manual and not let it slide.
Q: Does your home have a sump pump, and do you know how to maintain it?
A sump pump is a pump (duh) installed in certain basements and crawl spaces to keep these areas of your home dry, which it does by collecting water that tries to seep in and moving it far, far away (or at least as far as the drainage ditch in your yard). They’re especially common in regions where basement flooding is an issue. Without a sump pump, the invading water can result in thousands of dollars in damage.
The good news, though, is that sump pumps are relatively easy to maintain. Check both lines, in and out, to make sure they’re not clogged with debris, and make sure the float component (this is the little bob that floats upward when water begins to fill the sump pit, activating the pump) can move smoothly.
By Matt Christensen | Feb 8, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Article Highlights Tech and Development In Elk Grove

New Article Highlights Tech and Development In Elk Grove

February 3, 2017

Business Xpansion Journal, a digital and print magazine geared towards company executives and site selection consultants, recently published an article about the City of Elk Grove.

The Article highlights the expansion of Apple, an emerging tech and startup sector, and several key projects like the Southeast Policy Area and the Civic Center.

Click on the images below to read the full story.

Letter to Buyers

By Ryan Lundquist on Feb 01, 2017 07:55 am
Dear Buyers,
Yesterday I talked with a few buyers who are in the trenches of the market. One is feeling frustrated at not get offers accepted, and the other is starting to feel like affordability is beginning to vanish. I was actually taken aback with a real sense of hopelessness for the latter individual, so I wanted to share some perspective as an appraiser when it comes to making offers in an aggressive-feeling market. Whether you are in Sacramento or elsewhere, I hope this helps. Any thoughts?
Advice for buyers in an aggressive market:
1. Shop below your price range: We are in a market where multiple offers are commonplace in many price ranges and neighborhoods. This means if you are qualified up to $300,000 and money is tight, you might want to consider homes that are priced $270,000 to $300,000 instead of just $299,000. This allows you some space in case there is a bidding war.
2. Expect to get beat: Sorry to be a downer, but you probably aren’t going to get into contract on the first home you offer on. Remember, real estate is a bit like dating. You often don’t marry the first person you go out with. So take heart and expect you’ll submit many offers until something sticks.
3. Know when listings usually hit the market: There is a season in real estate, just like there is a season for baseball, weather, or elections. It’s true inventory is sparse, but it’s also true listings don’t start to hit their stride until March through August. Sometimes February will be a stronger than usual month, but we still don’t see the bulk of what’s going to hit the market until May through July / August. If you don’t believe me, look at the light green listings below over the past few years. In short, don’t freak out in February if there isn’t much on the market.
4. Don’t let sensational headlines stress you out: Headlines these days often talk about how hot the market is, but my advice would be to read stories carefully and ask a few real estate professionals what they think too. For instance, one headline says “Sacramento will be one of the hottest markets in the nation” as values are projected to increase by 7% in 2017. This one story has seriously saturated the market and I’m hearing this sentence about everywhere I go. The irony though is a 7% price increase is about what happened in 2016, which means the headline could have just as easily said, “The market looks like it’ll do about the same thing this year.” I don’t say this to gloss over how competitive the market is, but only to highlight we need to read articles carefully and think critically rather than immediately stress out.
5. Don’t mistake low-ball pricing for the market: Some properties are attracting 15-20 offers, but my sense is when that happens it’s usually more about low pricing than the actual market. This week I saw a property listed at $290,000 that probably should have been listed at $350,000. We can look at the 15 offers and bemoan how intense it is out there or we can realize this one was priced ridiculously low.
6. Be careful of bidding up to “no man’s land”: While it’s plausible to think the contract price might get pushed up a bit with multiple offers, don’t forget to be realistic about what the home is actually worth. If you know you don’t have cash to pay for the difference between a realistic appraised value and the contract price, you might not want to offer that high then. Somehow you’re going to need to stand out as a buyer to the seller, but an unrealistic offer well beyond a reasonable value probably isn’t going to help you in the long run.
7. Realize cash doesn’t always win: There is a false idea that cash investors from the Bay Area are beating out financed buyers all the time – especially those bringing very little money to the table. The truth is 1 in 4 sales last year in Sacramento County were FHA buyers who put down 3.5% (or less if they used down-payment assistance). Keep in mind only 14% of all sales were cash during this same time. Moreover, 27.4% of all sales under $500,000 had FHA loans in 2016 in Sacramento County.
8. Find a way to stand out: There could be multiple offers, so you need to figure out a way to stand out and make a positive impression on the seller. Of course the strength of your offer is the first place to start, but beyond that find a way to make an emotional connection with the seller too if possible. I might recommend brainstorming ideas with your agent. When my wife and I bought a house a couple of years ago there was actually a higher offer on the property, but the seller accepted our offer instead. When touring the home we were fortunate to meet the seller and we hit it off a bit. During the conversation the seller mentioned her son was going to start at a new private school. Anyway, when we submitted the offer we wrote a personal letter complimenting the house and reminding the seller who we were. We also looked up the school and found it was $1400 per month. We then wrote in our offer we were going to give the seller an extra $1400 at the close of escrow to help pay for her son’s school (The underwriter actually freaked out because she’d never seen a buyer do that). I’m not saying you need to do something like this, but in our case it definitely made a huge impression. It showed that we listened, we truly cared, and we were very serious about the home.
9. Listen to your agent: You probably know the market pretty well by now because you’re scouring listings in an obsessive compulsive way on Redfin, Zillow, and MLS. This also means you are most likely going to find your eventual home before your agent does. That’s how it works these days. Just remember finding the home is the easy part, but the most important thing your agent can do for you is negotiate on your behalf and offer professional guidance and advice along the way. Will you listen?
I hope this was helpful.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

10 Credit Tips to Improve your Life in 2017

10 Credit Tips to Improve your Life in 2017

Carrying a Balance Will Hurt You More
Until a year ago, Federal Reserve rates were at zero for more than half a decade. A rate hike in December of 2015 and another hike in December of 2016 has changed the trend. Expect three more rate hikes in 2017. Creditors and credit card companies are likely to raise rates to match the Fed's rate hikes. The cost of carrying a balance will be higher in 2017.
Replace your Debit Card with a Credit Card
Trying to be a responsible consumer? Don't want to spend money you don't have? Those are great goals, but don't hurt your credit rating in that pursuit. Creditors don't report Debit Card usage to the credit bureaus. 30% of a credit score is based on utilization. Get a credit card and use it, but don't spend money that you don't have and pay it off 100% each month. You won't pay interest and you'll increase your credit score substantially.
Eliminate Nuisance Balances
One of the items your score considers is how many of your cards have balances. It is better to pay off some credit cards and keep a higher balance on the others versus paying them all down equally. Pay off those with lower balances if possible and it will help your credit score.
Avoid Paying Double for Auto Insurance
According to a new report by InsuranceQuotes, credit has a significant impact on what you pay for car insurance. The study found that if you have poor credit, your premium increases by 104% on average. Most U.S. Insurance companies use credit to set auto premiums, except those states where the practice is not allowed (California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts). Improve your credit score so you don't waste money on car insurance premiums.
Avoid Paying Double for Home Insurance
"In most states, insurers are putting more emphasis on credit scores this year," says Laura Adams, a senior analyst with   According to a new report, homeowners with poor credit pay twice as much for homeowner's insurance as people with excellent credit. Improving your credit scores will lower your home insurance premiums.
Request Credit Limit Increase
If you only have one credit card and you typically use much of the credit limit, call the credit card company and ask for an increase in your credit line. Remember, you want to have more credit available and then not use it. Improving your utilization can come from paying down balances or increasing Credit Limits.
Don't Try to Remove Old Debt
35% of a credit score is based on credit history. Don't attempt to close old credit cards or remove old accounts that have a good payment history. Credit expert, John Ulzheimer says, "Trying to get rid of old debt "is like making straight A's in high school and trying to expunge the record 20 years later. You never want that stuff to come off your history".
Don't Obsess - Do Strategize
Pay your bills on time and use credit responsibly. When you know you will be applying for credit, do this. Call your credit card company and find out when they report to the bureaus. It is likely to be the day they send your statement. Pay your bill down or pay it off prior to the reporting date and your utilization will be much stronger and your score higher.
Don't Dawdle on Credit Applications
10% of a credit score is based on new credit. Credit inquiries and applications lower your credit score. If you are shopping for a home, a car, or a student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short period. Depending on the scoring software, you have 14 to 45 days to rate shop and have it count as just one inquiry.
Know what is in Your Credit Report
According to an American Bankers Association survey, only about 60% of Americans have checked their credit report in the last year. It is imperative to know what is in your report prior to applying for credit and not be surprised by what you find. You might be torn between paying an unnecessary higher rate or waiting for months to get your credit back to where you want it. is the official site to access your free credit report. Don't google "free credit report" and get duped by those trying to get you to pay for more than what you need.

Erik  Partridge
1st Choice Lending

Friday, January 20, 2017

Best Spots to Watch the Super bowl Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento is considered the heart of the city and the generous amount of bars and sports bars reflect this fact. Venture out on Super Bowl Sunday and cheer for your team at the city’s hottest sports bars. Bring your friends and enjoy great specials and entertainment at these outstanding Sacramento establishments.  Read the full story at the link below

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Percentage of homeownership with Millennials (Look at Elk Grove)

These millennials aren’t afraid of commitment.
Just over 35% of people ages 18 to 35 own a home, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau, compared to nearly four in 10 who did just six years ago. That’s a big reason the homeownership rate for all ages hit its lowest level since 1965 last year, and has only ticked up slightly since.
But in four cities in America, the majority of millennials are bucking that trend, according to a study released Tuesday by financial firm SmartAsset. Using Census Bureau data, the firm looked at homeownership rates in households headed by someone under 35 in the 200 largest cities in America.
The 4 cities where more than half of millennials own a home
1. Elk Grove, Calif. 61%
2. Gilbert, Ariz. 57%
3. Frisco, Texas 55%
4. Port St. Lucie, Fla. 54%
Also see: 5 charts that prove that today’s 30-year-olds are NOT adults
The No. 1 city for under-35 homeownership: Elk Grove, Calif. You’ve probably never heard of it -- for many decades it was a small agricultural city -- but in the past 15 years, its population has grown for two reasons: (i) homes there cost around $350,000, compared to nearly $1 million in San Francisco and (ii) it’s well located, says Asees Singh, a spokesperson for the site. Elk Grove is only about 20 minutes to the state capital of Sacramento, which has a lot of technology jobs, and under two hours to San Francisco. Indeed, millennials who do buy homes are often looking for a combination of affordability and well-paid jobs, among other lifestyle factors, says Cheryl Young, the senior economist at real estate site Trulia.
The other three cities in which more than half of millennials own homes: Gilbert, Ariz., Frisco, Texas and Port St. Lucie. Similar to Elk Grove, millennials like both Gilbert and Frisco because they are short (roughly 45 mintues) drives to major cities with jobs — Phoenix and Dallas, respectively — says Singh. And in Port St. Lucie, low home prices are likely the draw: The median home is under $180,000 versus about $190,000 nationwide.