Roof Inspection and Maintenance – Important “Must-Do’s” for Homeowners

For the vast majority of homeowners, routine inspections and maintenance activities around the home are an important part of home ownership. Some of the fundamental responsibilities of ownership include cleaning the furnace, tuning the air conditioner, and tending to landscaping (including tree maintenance). But it is equally, if not more important to maintain and inspect the roof as well. Detecting signs of existing or potential roof damage is of paramount importance to protecting one’s assets, so conducting inspections in the Fall as well as after a major storm is highly recommended. Inspections can be performed by a homeowner or by an experienced roofing contractor. Look for the following signs:

  • Shingles that are chipped, buckled, curled, or missing altogether
  • Exposed or protruding nails on the surface of the roof/shingles
  • Flashing that may be bent, loose, separated, or exhibiting signs of rust
  • Downspouts and/or gutters that have become loose or detached
  • Dark stains or patches of peeling paint on ceilings inside the home
  • Moist or wet insulation or signs of condensation in the attic
  • Dried, cracked, separated or missing caulking around flashing and skylights
  • Worn or cracked boots (rubber fittings) around the base of pipe vents
  • Areas that appear dark or wet (indicative of moss or fungus growth)

If any of the above situations are observed, steps should be taken to rectify the matter before conditions worsen and more significant costs are incurred. Roof inspections and maintenance can help homeowners save money by avoiding unnecessary repair bills and by prolonging the overall life of the roof. And with the rainy season upon us, it’s important to check your gutters as well. A debris-clogged gutter can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home.


Posted in Bay Area - General, bay area real estate, Energy Efficiency, Home Maintenance, Home Tips, Santa Clara County, silicon valley, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bothered by TeleMarketers? You Can Fix That!

In the age of the internet, a great deal of information is accessible to telemarketers who use your home and cell phone numbers to try to sell you something. You can eliminate or at least reduce most of these calls by signing up for the Do Not Call Registry at or calling 1-888-382-1222. This is a free service that does not expire unless you cancel the registration or the phone number is discontinued. Most companies honor this registry but if an organization continues to call you, hang up and file a claim with the FTC via the website. Click on the link below for more information about the Do Not Call Registry.

If you want to remove your phone number from public access altogether, that’s a more complicated and longer process that involves several steps, including contacting your phone service provider and the 3 credit reporting agencies, signing up for the Do Not Call Registry and searching through online directories to request that your phone number be kept private.

Click on the links below for more information on the process of unlisting your phone number or getting on the Do Not Call Registry.

Do Not Call Registry:                                

Unlisting Your Phone Number:            



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Los Altos’ Measure GG

In 2011, the Los Altos School District community narrowly approved Measure E, a six-year $193 per year parcel tax designed to maintain the high quality of its education system with classroom programs like science, technology, engineering and math. Measure E was also touted as crucial in order to continue to recruit high quality teachers. Now, with the life of Measure E coming to an end in June 2017, the LASD Board of Trustees have initiated Measure GG on the November 2016 ballot that would not only extend the parcel tax 8 years but also increase the per-parcel tax to $223 per year. As with Measure E in 2011, opponents to Measure GG argue that the Los Altos School District already has a vehicle to raise funds for the same purpose with the Los Altos Educational Foundation (LAEF). LAEF has pledged to raise $3.7 million during the 2016-2017 school year, up from $3.5 million raised for the 2015-2016 school year. These are donations from parents of children attending the schools. All residents support public education, but new taxes are always a bone of contention.

In the event that Measure GG is passed, senior property owners aged 65 years or older may be eligible for an exemption from the parcel tax. To apply for the exemption, an application must be submitted to the Los Altos School District office located at 201 Covington Road in Los Altos.

To review the arguments for and against the 2011 Measure E (similar to the arguments for and against the 2016 Measure GG), check the following link:


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Tree Lives Matter!

Trees help to beautify neighborhoods, increase property values, provide oxygen, and provide shade during summer months. But the prolonged drought has affected trees throughout Santa Clara County, and homeowners need to be aware that their efforts to save water may be contributing to the death of their trees.

The Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service reports that red turpentine beetles (“bark beetles”) specifically target pine and oak trees species stressed by factors such as drought. Basically all of Santa Clara County has been hit with this issue.

Listed below are a few tips to ensure that your trees will be able to thrive and withstand stress:

1) Probe the soil 6-12 inches below the surface at the tree’s dripline. If the soil is dry your tree may need water.

2) In the absence of a soaking rain, water mature trees about once a month or every other month, and young trees about once a month or every two weeks. Water gradually and deeply.

3) Mulch to conserve moisture: it insulates tree roots, preserves moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, and feeds nutrients into the soil. Apply a layer of mulch 3-5 inches thick over the root zone of your tree, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot. Use organic matter like wood chips. Santa Clara County residents can get free mulch and compost from the SMart Station located at 301 Carl Road in Sunnyvale.

Click here to access the SMart Station web page for more details.

Click here to read about tree challenges in Palo Alto and Los Altos:

Click here to read about tips to help your trees during the drought:



Posted in Bay Area - General, Home Maintenance, Home Tips, Santa Clara County, silicon valley, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Downtown Los Altos Pop-Up Park a Hit!

Third Street Green, a pop-up park set up in downtown Los Altos during the month of August, has received positive reviews from residents.  The City of Los Altos and local community groups wanted to create a place where residents and visitors could “hang out” while they visit the many downtown shops and restaurants. It’s a place where people of all ages can enjoy each other’s company and also get some physical activity. In the past, attendees were mostly older adults and families but now teenagers are using the pop-up park as well. Click on the link below for more details.

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Los Altos and Los Altos Hills Ranked Among the Safest Cities in California

According to a recent report, several communities in Silicon Valley are ranked as among the safest cities in the California. The rankings are based on several crime metrics, including burglaries and violent crimes. Also, the report was divided into 3 separate population size groups: large (over 30K), medium (15K-30K) and small (5K-15K). Los Altos and Los Altos Hills each ranked #3 in the medium and small groups respectively. Other cities in the “medium” group includes Saratoga (#4) and Foster City (#8). In the “small” group, Hillsborough came in at #5 and Atherton ranked #10.

Click on the link below to see the top 10 safest California cities based on population, as well as the overall ranking of the state’s safest cities. The report also lists the state’s least safest cities.

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Cupertino and Palo Alto High Schools Among the Nation’s Best

Newsweek has released its latest list of the top 500 high schools in the nation and three Cupertino schools and two Palo Alto Schools made the list! Cupertino’s Monte Vista High, Cupertino High and Homestead ranked 18th, 35th and 74th respectively. Palo Alto’s Gunn High ranked 253rd and Palo Alto High came in at 331st. Click on the link below for more details about the methodology used for the rankings and to view the complete list.

Posted in Bay Area - General, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, Schools, silicon valley, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment