Smoky White Bean and Beef Sloppy Joes

Smoky White Bean and Beef Sloppy Joes

By Sarah DiGregorio

  • YIELD4 servings
  • TIME20 minutes

This update on the kid-friendly classic uses half the meat as a traditional sloppy Joe recipe, but retains the qualities that everyone loves: a tart-sweet savoriness and a quick cooking time. You can substitute ground pork, turkey, lamb or plant-based ground meat for the beef; the key is to use a protein that’s not too lean. A little fat helps carry the flavor of the meat through the entire dish. (If you use plant-based meat or you only have lean meat on hand, add another tablespoon of olive oil or your preferred fat.) The addition of adobo sauce from a can of chipotles imparts smoke, with just a hint of heat. (If you’d like a spicier version, by all means, chop up one or two of the chipotles and add them.) The leftover chipotles keep for at least two weeks in the fridge or indefinitely in the freezer, and they are a welcome addition to many dishes, like chicken tacos or chili



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  Kosher salt
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ pound ground beef, preferably 85 percent lean
  • 1 packed tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup canned or jarred tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or pinto beans, drained
  • 4 hamburger buns, preferably potato buns
  •  Tomato slices and pickle chips, for topping



  1. Warm the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over high heat. Add the onion, season with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the bell pepper, then spread out the vegetable mixture and let it cook undisturbed for about 1 minute. Stir well and repeat, letting the vegetables cook undisturbed for another minute or so at a time. You want the onions and peppers to get softened, seared and browned in spots, about 5 minutes total.
  3. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan, making an empty spot in the middle of the pan, and add the ground beef. Season the beef with a pinch of salt, and smash it flat with a spatula, letting it cook undisturbed for 1 minute until brown underneath. Break up the beef with the spatula and cook 1 to 2 more minutes, until completely browned with no visible pink spots.
  4. Combine the vegetables and beef, then add the sugar and tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute to toast the tomato paste. Add the garlic powder and cumin, then the tomato purée, adobo sauce and vinegar. Stir in the beans. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer to thicken slightly, about 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toast the buns.
  6. With a fork, roughly smash some of the beans to thicken the mixture. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve on toasted buns, topped with tomatoes and pickles.


Top Remodeling Projects for Resale

Top Remodeling Projects for Resale

Refinishing hardwood floors is the remodeling project that pays back the most, recovering the highest percentage of its cost—147%—at resale, according to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Home remodeling projects aren’t only offering a potential boost at resale; they’re also making homeowners happier. Painting a home’s interior, adding a home office, installing hardwood flooring, and renovating closets made consumers happiest, the report shows.

The remodeling boom has continued since the pandemic began as homeowners’ desires to spruce up their homes grow, whether through large house additions or simply small one-room painting tasks.

“Quite often, an added benefit to home renovations is the possibility of an increase in the home’s value, which is a reason why some people remodel,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR. “This is especially advantageous to a homeowner who may be considering selling their house or converting the home to a rental property.”

For the report, REALTORS® provided an estimate of the likely dollar value of various remodeling projects that could add to the value of a home during resale that was compared to National Association of Remodeling Industry remodelers’ estimations of project costs.

Besides refinished hardwood flooring, new hardwood flooring also had the potential for a high recovery at resale, at 118%, as did upgrading the home’s insulation, at 100%, the survey shows.

Among exterior projects, new roofing and garage doors had recovery rates reaching 100% of the project costs, according to the report.

Kitchen upgrades also showed a high potential payback at resale. NARI remodelers estimated an average kitchen remodel would cost about $45,000. But REALTORS® surveyed estimated that $30,000 of that would likely be recovered at resale—a 67% recovery rate.

House Projects That Bring the Most Joy

The survey also identified projects that made home renovators want to remain in their homes and those that brought them an increase in the enjoyment of their spaces. The home remodeling projects that received a “Joy Score” of 10, the top score, were:

  • Painting a home’s entire interior
  • Painting one room
  • Adding a home office
  • Hardwood floor refinishing
  • Closet renovation
  • Insulation upgrades

The Remodeling Boom Continues

Americans spent $420 billion in 2020 on home remodeling. Contractors report greater demand for services and for larger-scale projects, such as remodels of more than one room, according to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. Eighty-six percent of consumers reported that remodeling one area of their home then inspired them to remodel other areas of the house.

“The pandemic has changed the way we use our homes, and many of those changes are here to stay,” Lautz says. “As a result, homeowners needed to reconfigure or remodel how they use their home and maximize space.”

Thirty-five percent of homeowners said one of the top motivators for their remodel was to improve their home’s functionality and livability.

Also, 22% of homeowners were motivated to have greater durability in the materials and appliances inside their homes. Fourteen percent were motivated to improve the beauty and aesthetics of their home.


2022 Remodeling Impact Report,” National Association of REALTORS® (April 6, 2022)





New Realtor.com® Survey Finds 64% of 2022 Sellers Plan to List by Summer’s End

New Realtor.com® Survey Finds 64% of 2022 Sellers Plan to List by Summer’s End


Realtor.com® Listapalooza – the best time to list – is now a national holiday, according to National Day Archives

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As the final countdown begins to Realtor.com® Listapalooza (April 10-16), a new national holiday, the company today released survey data that shows homeowners are gearing up to sell this Spring and Summer.

According to the report, 64% of prospective 2022 sellers anticipate doing so within the next six months, and with high expectations for making a profit.

Still, the potential uptick in newly-listed homes indicates some much-needed relief could be on the horizon for buyers – especially first-timers. Today’s sellers expect to ask for relatively affordable prices and include a higher share of millennials than last Spring, suggesting that more Americans plan to upgrade from their starter homes.


The Realtor.com® survey of 3,000 consumers, which was conducted online by HarrisX in February 2022, also asked about the experiences of recent sellers, who said determining the right time to list was the longest stage of the process.

“Our survey data illustrates the importance of helping empower homeowners to take control of the listing process, by providing information about market conditions, prices and seasonal trends, like the best dates to list your home. While sellers are expected to hold the upper hand in 2022, navigating the listing process remains a challenge – particularly for those also buying in today’s fast-paced market,” said George Ratiu, Senior Economist & Manager of Economic Research at Realtor.com®. “Homeowners who are ready to move forward with pandemic-delayed plans will find plenty of opportunity this Spring and Summer. Although accelerating inflation is leading to higher housing costs and living expenses, many buyers remain interested in finding a home. At the same time, recent housing trends suggest demand is beginning to moderate as higher mortgage rates push monthly payments out of some buyers’ budgets, underscoring the long-term need for more affordable inventory.”

Homeowners are ready to take advantage of the Spring and Summer buying seasons 

Survey data suggests some relief is on the horizon for Americans grappling with one of the worst housing shortages of all-time. Almost two-thirds (64%) of prospective 2022 sellers anticipate listing a home within the next six months. Whether these sellers follow-through with their plans will be key to the forecasted 2022 inventory recovery and critical for buyers hoping to find a home before mortgage rates climb even further. In a positive sign that homeowners are serious about listing, many sellers are already getting their home ready. However, they’re doing so with great expectations of the current market, which means buyers should prepare for sellers asking for high offer prices, quick closes, waived contingencies and more.

  • The majority of 2022 prospective sellers plan to list within the next six months, with 9% already listed and the remaining getting ready to list within the next 30 days (11%), 1-3 months (24%) or 4-6 months (20%).
  • Compared to those who planned to list last Spring, this year’s prospective sellers have higher expectations of the hot housing market, including asking for more than their home is worth (42% vs. 29%) and refusing to pay for repairs or improvements (28% vs. 24%).
  • When asked why they’re planning to list in 2022, surveyed sellers’ top reason was wanting to profit off the current market, tied with their home no longer meeting their families needs (each at 31%).
  • Homeowners’ motivating factors behind moving also reflect the impact of pandemic trends, such as wanting different features after spending so much time at home (15%) and no longer needing to live near their office (14%).

Millennials are moving on up, signaling more starter homes for first-time buyers 

With the oldest millennials already 40-years-old, these homeowners are playing an important role in adding to the supply of starter homes. Millennials represent nearly half (49%) of sellers who plan to list within the next six months and many anticipate selling at relatively affordable prices. This is welcome news for first-time buyers, who face fierce competition for limited available starter homes. Combined with rising affordability issues as home prices and mortgage rates climb, survey data offers some hope for first-time buyers, based on:

  • More millennials plan to list within the next six months than in March 2021 (75% vs. 66%), and account for a higher share of all 2022 prospective sellers (42.0% vs. 26.0%).
  • In a further sign that older millennials are moving on up from their starter homes, the share of surveyed millennials who have sold a home before was nearly as high as the overall rate (61% vs. 64%).
  • Millennials have plenty of financial motivation to stick to their plans, with top reasons for selling reflecting the pressures of rising inflation and economic uncertainties. Compared to all survey respondents, higher shares of Gen Y sellers want a more affordable home (34% vs. 21%) and need the sale money ASAP (14% vs. 11%).
  • In a potential sign of more starter homes coming onto the market, the majority of 2022 prospective sellers expect to list in relatively affordable price ranges: $350,000 or less (43%) and $351,000-$500,000 (22%).

Recent experiences highlight the importance of preparation, even in a seller’s market

The COVID housing market has largely favored sellers and many who recently sold were able to take advantage of bidding wars, fast closings, waived contingencies, inspections and appraisals, and more. At the same time, sellers’ experiences highlight the importance of preparation, especially as buyer demand is beginning to moderate. Even among recent sellers who found success, the majority took steps to get their home ready to list, such as making repairs, cleaning and decluttering. Additionally, although many sellers were able to list quickly, 41% said the process took longer than they originally anticipated.

  • Over half (53%) of sellers spent less than a month preparing their home for listing, while another 26% said the process took 1-3 months.
  • Forty-one percent of recent sellers said getting their home ready to list took longer than they expected. Determining the right time to enter the market took longer than any step of the home prep process, with 38% of respondents reporting that this decision took more than 3 months.
  • Among steps successful sellers took to prepare their home for listing, top responses included repairs and updates (59%) and cleaning and decluttering (67%). While minor cosmetic updates were the top repair sellers made before listing, at 53% of respondents, nearly as many fully repainted interiors and replaced flooring (47% each).
  • The majority (80%) of recent sellers sold at or above their asking price. Other top benefits of the competitive market included: buyers forgoing repair concessions (28%), offers within a week (27%), and waived contingencies like inspections (25%).

This Realtor.com® survey was conducted online within the United States from February 16-18, 2022 among 3,000 adults in the United States by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Results were weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity, and  income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

About Realtor.com®

Realtor.com® makes buying, selling, renting and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com®pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps offers a marketplace where people can learn about their options, trust in the transparency of information provided to them, and get services and resources that are personalized to their needs. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, Realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today’s on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com®.


SOURCE Realtor.com


Market Update Nevada County March 2022

Market Update Nevada County March 2022

Market Observations 


Market Update Nevada County March 2022


March 2022 is a Seller’s market*

Home For Sale in March 2022: 3033 units.
•  Up 15.1% compared to last month
•  Up 23.6% compared to last year

Home Closed in March 2022: 3817 units.
•  Up 30.1% compared to last month
•  Down 2.2% compared to last year

Home Placed under Contract in March 2022:4555 units.
•  Up 29.2% compared to last month
•  Down 4.4% compared to last year

*Buyer’s market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
Seller’s market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
Neutral market: 3 – 6 months of inventory based on closed sales


March 2022 Average Sold Price per Square Footage is Appreciating*

Average Sold Price per Square Footage in March 2022: $336 
•  Up 2.8% compared to last month
•  Up 17.9% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral


March 2022 Average Continuous Days on Market trend Remains Steady*

Continuous Days on Market in March 2022: 19 
•  Down 20.8% compared to last month
•  Down 9.5% compared to last year

March 2022 Sold/Original List Price Ratio is Rising*

Sold/Original List Price % in March 2022:103% 
•  Up 2% compared to last month
•  Up 1% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Rising/Falling/Remains Steady




March 2022 Average For Sale Price is Appreciating*

Average For Sale Price (in thousand) in March 2022:$820 
•  Up 2.5% compared to last month
•  Up 3.8% compared to last year

March 2022 Average Sold Price is Appreciating*

Average Sold Price (in thousand) in March 2022:$639 
•  Up 5.1% compared to last month
•  Up 16.4% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral


March 2022 is a Seller’s market*

Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales in March 2022: 0.8 


•  Down 11.1% compared to last month
•  Up 31.8% compared to last year

*Buyer’s market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
Seller’s market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
Neutral market: 3 – 6 months of inventory based on closed sales


Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for free evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


All That Said, But Is the Party Almost Over For Sellers?

As Buyers Reel, Sellers May Need to Consider Price Drops

 April 15, 2022

Higher mortgage rates may soften demand this spring as worsening affordability prices more buyers out of the market.

With mortgage applications down 6% from a year ago, sellers may need to be more realistic about how much they can ask for their property. An increasing number of listings are experiencing price reductions, climbing at the fastest pace since at least 2015, according to a new Redfin survey. Still, only 3.2% of homes on the market are seeing price drops.

“There really is a limit to homebuyer demand, even though the market over the past few years has made it seem endless,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “The sharp increase in mortgage rates is pushing more home buyers out of the market, but it also appears to be discouraging some homeowners from selling. With demand and supply both slipping, the market isn’t likely to flip from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market any time soon.”

The National Association of REALTORS® has forecast home sales to slip 10% in 2022, mostly due to rising mortgage rates that are pricing out more would-be buyers. However, NAR still predicts home prices to rise by 5% this year.

For first-time home buyers, the cost of buying the same home this year compared to just one year ago has jumped by 40%—a combined impact of higher home prices and mortgage rates.

“There will be an inevitable slowdown in home sales,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, recently said in a statement. “Keep an eye on days-on-market and a decrease in multiple offers. Home sellers should not expect big, easy profit gains.”

Even with some early signs of cooling, the housing market remains elevated. Homes are selling at some of the fastest speeds ever, and price escalations on asking prices are still common, Redfin reports.

Forty-five percent of homes that went under contract found a buyer within a week. Also, the average home sold for 2.4% above its asking price, Redfin notes.


Housing Market Update: Demand Slips, Pushing More Sellers to Drop Asking Prices,” Redfin (April 14, 2022) 





We are inviting all of our clients and community members to our 1st Shred-It event.

Saturday May 21, 2022

10am to 1pm

HomeSmart Realty office 10076 Alta Sierra Dr Grass Valley, CA 95949

Any questions please reach out to Alisa Johnson, 530-559-4871.

First Shred-It event put on by Johnson’s SIERRA Lifestyle Team

One of my favorite parts about working in real estate is that it allows our team to provide support to our community through community service.  I host several yearly events/drives to support local schools, children in need, victims of recent natural disasters, and much more.

You are invited to my first Shred-It event on May 21, 2022. This event is a time for you to gather up all that paperwork with private or sensitive information and have it shredded (remove any staples, paperclips, etc.). I will have the Shred-It truck available from 10am to 1pm on May 21st  at my office, HomeSmart Realty 10076 Alta Sierra Dr Grass Valley, CA 95949. The location is less than 1 block off Hwy 49 below the gas station.

If you are a client of Johnson’s SIERRA Lifestyle team this event is complimentary for you.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to buy, sell or refer to our team, we are asking for 5.00 for your first box/bag (any size) or $10.00 for up to 10 boxes/bags.  

All proceeds from this event will go to support residents during/after natural disasters.

 So, gather up all that paperwork and come on down on the 21st to get it all shredded.


Elena Ruz Sandwich

Elena Ruz Sandwich

By Christina Morales

  • YIELD 1 sandwich
  • TIME 10 minutes

Kelly Marshall for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Roscoe Betsill. Prop Stylist: Getteline Rene.

During the late 1920s or early 1930s, the Cuban socialite Elena Ruz Valdés-Fauli asked for a sandwich with turkey, strawberry preserves and cream cheese in a soft medianoche roll at El Carmelo restaurant in Havana.

The sandwich was an original request — it didn’t yet exist on menus in Cuba — but it eventually became something of a beloved national dish. Like other popular Cuban dishes, it combines the sweet and the salty. Some Cuban chefs say that it lends itself to adaptation and experimentation with other jams and sandwich meats. It’s best enjoyed with plantain chips and a Cuban soda, such as Materva or Ironbeer.

Featured in: A Socialite Invented This Quintessential Cuban Sandwich



  • 1 Cuban medianoche roll or a brioche hot dog roll (5 to 6 inches long)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened, plus more as needed
  • 3 ½ ounces sliced turkey breast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons strawberry preserves, plus more as needed (see Tip)
  • ½ teaspoon unsalted butter




  1. Slice or split the bread roll in half to fill as a sandwich. Spread a 1/3-inch-thick layer of cream cheese on the bottom half. Lay turkey neatly on top of the cream cheese. Do not overfill the sandwich. Evenly spread jam on the top half of the bread and sandwich with the bottom.
  2. In a pan over medium-low heat, melt butter, swirling to evenly coat the pan. Place the sandwich bottom side down in the pan and press it with a spatula or a cast-iron skillet. Heat to warm the sandwich, until the bottom is lightly toasted but not burned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the sandwich and repeat with the other side. Remove from the heat, cut the sandwich in half at an angle and serve immediately.


  • If you have leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, feel free to substitute for the preserves. You can also swap in guava jam for the strawberry preserves.


Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


Most Popular Home Decor Styles by Room

Most Popular Home Decor Styles by Room


As the homebuying and remodeling spree continues amid the pandemic, homeowners are showing they really care about what their home looks like.

Google searches for “interior design styles” have increased 40% in the past week alone, according to a study from Uswitch, a mortgage comparison firm.

Researchers analyzed more than 4 million pins across Pinterest to find which decor styles are the most desired across each room of a home and to determine the most popular interior design trends overall on Pinterest.

Styled, Staged & Sold blog

The most popular pinned style is vintage, the study found.

“It appears it’s ‘in with the old and out with the new’ as vintage comes in at number one,” researchers note.


Broken down by room, other style favorites also emerged.

For example, in the bathroom, contemporary designs that center on clean lines and neutral colors, along with dashes of black, have gained popularity. In the home office, the industrial look was a favorite, characterized by large open spaces, lots of textures, and bare brick walls.








In the family room,

homeowners favored a rustic style that shows naturally aged, casual design and usually includes a color palette of greens, browns, and autumn colors.

In the kitchen,

Pinterest users favored vintage looks, which offered a warm, nostalgic feel. Homeowners are choosing paint colors, furniture, and even some appliances to create a vintage feel in the kitchen.










Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.

Homeowners Can Make the Most of Their Yards—Even in Winter

Homeowners Can Make the Most of Their Yards—Even in Winter

After almost two years of pandemic life, homeowners understand the significant value of having a yard.

Here are 8 ideas for getting creative with outdoor space. 

January 2022


by Barbara Ballinger

Key Takeaways:

  • Backyards continue to be a way to extend square footage, even during colder months.
  • To get started, homeowners should make a list of their favorite ways to spend time outdoors.
  • They should consider decorating “rooms” of the yard but also have a place to store items when storms and winds come.

Spending time outdoors at the height of the pandemic was a way to get fresh air, exercise safely, and expand living quarters. Now, nearing two years later, an outdoor retreat has become even more sought after, causing homeowners and design professionals to get creative in maximizing square footage.

©AleksandarNakic – Getty Images 

Whether homeowners have a big suburban yard, rural acreage, or a small urban balcony, there are multiple ways to take advantage of the space, even in winter. They can pile on layers or follow the Swedish mantra of Friluftsliv, which translates to “open-air living and the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical well-being.”

The key isn’t the size of their space, or which activities homeowners do, but taking advantage of Mother Nature’s gifts—air, sky, clouds, sun, and greenery.

Millennials and other new homeowners have become particularly adept at using their yards for almost everything—from camping out with a tent and fire pit to organizing a staycation, or setting up an alternative office when they need a break from their indoor space, says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of TurfMutt Foundation, the education arm of the Alexandria, Va.-based Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which encourage enjoyment of nature.

©OPEI/TurfMutt Foundation 

Kiser says there’s even a new term for this trend, which doesn’t need translation: Backyarding!

Here are eight ideas to share with clients to help them make the right investments in furnishings, landscaping, appliances, and more for their yards.

Link the indoors and outdoors by blurring lines.

The most common way to do this is to add more windows and doors to connect the spaces and make the glazing bigger to achieve better views. It can also be done by using more colors and textures found in nature inside the home and bringing in plants. Homeowners can also decorate outdoors as they do inside, according to the online design resource, Houzz. The company’s search data shows that people want their backyards to be relaxing extensions of their interiors, which can be handled with stylish, durable materials, as well as by adding a fireplace or fire pit, outdoor TV, sound system, and comfortable seating, pillows, and rugs.

©OPEI/TurfMutt Foundation 

Set up an outdoor office.

Many people made do with cramped makeshift offices during the pandemic. Others created separate indoor spaces but working outdoors can literally offer a breath of fresh air to ramp up creativity. Flowers, bushes, and trees can become the living backdrop on conference calls instead of the kitchen counters or office bookcases. Essentials to make it work include strong Wi-Fi, an electrical outlet or two for equipment that’s not wireless, a sturdy table for a laptop, a comfortable chair, lighting for night-time work, and a rug to add warmth underfoot. Some may want a small portable generator to keep power running, Kiser says.


Dine al fresco.

Homeowners shouldn’t limit themselves to only eating dinner outdoors. Any meal—breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails, and snacks—can be enjoyed plein air. They should have a nice flat area, whether a balcony, terrace, or deck, to set up a table and chairs with enough space to navigate around them. Homeowners also should choose a material that won’t need frequent repainting—many closely resemble real wood and stone and are sustainable. Add the right equipment—a grill, pizza oven, running water from a spigot that won’t freeze (or a sink), and firepit—to make the experience more enjoyable. They can hang some lights, maybe a curtain, and if there’s room and funds, construct a pergola for an overhead cover. If the homeowners like the sound of running water, they can add a recirculating fountain so the water won’t freeze in the winter.

©OPEI/TurfMutt Foundation 

Add entertainment.

All work and no play isn’t fun, and the outdoors is a perfect place for classic games like croquet and badminton, and board games such as Monopoly and Clue, or jigsaw puzzles. Many families are also investing in large-screen outdoor TVs and movie projectors. And then there are all the pools being built. If there is no room or funds, they might consider a less costly above-ground pool or smaller hot tub. Suggest they position it close enough to the house so they’re not trekking far in the cold or snow.


Establish a wildlife habitat.

Attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds by planting the right flowers and plants. Add a greenhouse if there’s room, which will allow homeowners to garden all year. A birdhouse and feeder or two, and great additions; even a chicken coop is becoming more commonplace.

©Allie Filley 

Kris Kiser and Mulligan (Mo-Mo) – OPEI/TurfMutt Foundation 

Make a yard pet friendly.

Are your clients’ pet owners? If they have a dog, they could add a fence of some type, maybe a sandpile for digging, a doghouse that’s large enough so Fido doesn’t feel cramped, and perhaps an agility course so he or she gets good exercise. Hardscape like bricks, concrete pavers, or stone can be an alternative spot to urinate that won’t ruin your lawn. Also, homeowners can consider some faux lawn choices—many look authentic—and avoid planting things that are toxic to dogs and people, according to The Spruce.


Store neatly.

Even outdoor spaces can become cluttered. A shed or closet in a garage can be set up with shelves, bins, and hooks to hang rakes, bicycles, helmets, and more. This will also keep tools out of reach of young children, and provide a place to store fuel safely, too, says Kiser.


Create some privacy.

While homeowners may want to have a friendly relationship with their neighbors, they may also want some privacy at times, especially when working from home or throwing parties. Fences work well, but so can living screens of greenery—rows of trees, bushes, or vines. They should choose native materials that don’t require a lot of watering and consider materials that provide color or texture year-round. Suggest they start small with plantings that will grow over time, which is less costly than investing in big, mature plants.

While many of the tips on this list can be undertaken by a skilled DIYer, homeowners should also consider contacting a contractor, landscape designer, or architect sooner rather than later since many are booked far in advance.






Mortgage Rates Post Big Jump This Week

Mortgage Rates Post Big Jump This Week


January 14, 2022

Inflation continues to press on mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% this week, up from last week’s 3.22% average, Freddie Mac reports.

“Mortgage rates rose across all mortgage loan types, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increasing by almost a quarter of a percent from last week,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This was driven by the prospect of a faster than expected tightening of monetary policy in response to continued inflation exacerbated by uncertainty in labor and supply chains. The rise in mortgage rates so far this year has not yet affected purchase demand, but given the fast pace of home price growth, it will likely dampen demand in the near future.”

Despite rising mortgage rates, owning a home remains more affordable than renting, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. The monthly mortgage for owning a median-priced home is $1,260 compared to the average rent of $1,540, NAR notes on its Economists’ Outlook blog.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 13:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.45%, with an average 0.7 points, rising from last week’s 3.22% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 2.79%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.62, with an average 0.7 points, increasing from last week’s 2.43% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.23%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.57%, with an average 0.3 points, rising from last week’s 2.41% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.12%.

Freddie Mac reports average points along with commitment rates to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.

Market Observations, January 2022

Market Update, Nevada County 


  December 2021 is a Seller’s market*

Home For Sale in December 2021: 164 units.

•  Down 26.8% compared to last month
•  Down 16.3% compared to last year

Home Closed in December 2021: 116 units.

•  Down 4.9% compared to last month
•  Down 26.6% compared to last year

Home Placed under Contract in December 2021: 104 units.

•  Down 23.5% compared to last month
•  Down 10.3% compared to last year

*Buyer’s market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Seller’s market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Neutral market: 3 – 6 months of inventory based on closed sales

  December 2021 Average Sold Price per Square Footage is Neutral*

Average Sold Price per Square Footage in December 2021: $298 

•  Down 5.4% compared to last month
•  Up 10% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral

December 2021 Average Continuous Days on Market trend Remains Steady*

Continuous Days on Market in December 2021:28 

•  Down 24.3% compared to last month
•  Down 42.9% compared to last year



December 2021 Sold/Original List Price Ratio is Falling*

Sold/Original List Price % in December 2021:96% 

•  0% compared to last month
•  Down 1% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Rising/Falling/Remains Steady

December 2021 Average For Sale Price is Appreciating*

Average For Sale Price (in thousand) in December 2021: $772 

•  Up 0.5% compared to last month
•  Up 1.6% compared to last year

December 2021 Average Sold Price is Depreciating*

Average Sold Price (in thousand) in December 2021:$558 

•  Down 15.2% compared to last month
•  Down 4.5% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral


December 2021 is a Seller’s market*

Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales in December 2021: 1.4 

•  Down 21.8% compared to last month
•  Up 16.1% compared to last year

*Buyer’s market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Seller’s market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Neutral market: 3 – 6 months of inventory based on closed sales


Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.





Home Insurance in Nevada County

Home Insurance in Nevada County

By Kimberly Moore


CA homeowners insurance has been in a state of crisis since the Camp Fire destroyed the entire town of Paradise, CA in November of 2018.

Some homeowners in Nevada County have faced yearly non-renewals and/or significant rate hikes year after year. One of the most frustrating aspects for homeowners has been the big red ‘X’ designating entire zip codes as high fire risk regardless of mitigating factors taken by responsible homeowners. Those homeowners who have cleared their property, installed sprinklers, and added fire-retardant roofing have seen no improvement in their acceptability to insurers nor to their policy rate with the last resort insurance offered by the CA FAIR Plan. The difficult to swallow news is that the CA FAIR Plan filed for a 48% rate increase with the CA Department of Insurance in 2021 with new rates anticipated for February 2022. The rate increases won’t be an ‘across the board’ percentage. Some homeowners will experience only a slight increase in rate, while others could see dramatic increases as much as 130%.

Rate will now be determined using a new AI system that better identifies wildfire risk to specific structures.

Although that may sound bleak, it is potentially very good news for Nevada County. The new AI developed by the tech company Zesty.ai is a scoring model known as Z-FIRE. Z-FIRE uses property specific factors which influence wildfire risk, rather than blanket decisions based only on map lines. This means that homeowners will have the power to affect their wildfire risk and therefore the policy or rate they receive. Z-FIRE employs over 15 data sources including aerial imagery, local weather data, building materials, slope, and brush clearance. Farmers Insurance has predicted the ability to add 30,000 new policies in California based on the new system.

With the openness of insurance companies to the use of new technology, which takes into account the diligent efforts of homeowners, this could be good news for Nevada County.



Kimberly Moore

“I chose to enter the real estate market after spending several years helping Nevada County residents obtain home construction financing and homeowners insurance. I have a passion for helping people with all aspects of their housing needs.  As a former loan officer, insurance agent, and teacher, I am particularly well-equipped to guide homebuyers through the complexities of purchasing and selling homes. I also specialize in home decor and remodeling; I love assisting homeowners with getting the most return possible on their investment and homebuyers to find and establish a dwelling perfectly suited to their needs and preferences.”