Number of homes for sale is crazy low.

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Hi everyone,


I wanted to talk a little about the crazy low number of homes for sale in the area. Commonly referred to as “inventory” by Realtors. I was curious the other day about how many homes were for sale in the Placerville area and in the MLS system. What I found was astonishing. In all of Placerville there were only 120 homes on the market in the MLS. Now this chart refers to only the 95667 zip code and is for January of 2016, (See graphic).

So, I ran those same numbers and here is what it is as of this post…..112. This is very low inventory historically. Now would be the time to list your property for sale and not to wait until everyone else lists their homes for sale. Again see the chart and notice that the inventory increases dramatically in the months of May, Jun, July, etc. Don’t be caught up in the trend but rather set the trend.

If your home is not within the 95667 zip code and you would like this information for your specific area call me and I would be happy to get that information for you.

John Conca


Thinking Of Remodeling Your Victorian Style Home?

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Are You Ready To Remodel Your Victorian?

Your Victorian style home was a beautiful adventure when you toured it with your Realtor. You signed papers, moved in, laughed over fitting your furniture into the odd-shaped spaces, and learned to duck on your way downstairs so you would stop bumping your head on that beam. Over time you got rid of some of your ill-fitting furniture, added some extra lamps, resigned yourself to using the kitchen table to prep your meals while cooking, and pinned countless hacks on making your space look bigger. It might be time for a remodel.

But, Where To Start?

Flickr photo credit: john.schultz
Flickr photo credit: john.schultz

This is a good time to make some lists. You’ll need to evaluate your highest priorities and figure out what areas are the most troublesome to you. Are there inefficient spaces that make daily tasks take longer than they should? Are there dangerous areas you have to warn guests to stay away from? Is there a room that won’t fit your standard-sized furniture no matter what crazy configuration you try out?

Stick a list to your refrigerator for a week and as you go about your days make notes about anything you’re reminded of in your home that you wish were different. It might take the whole week to remember you’ve been subconsciously avoiding the left side of the stairs or that you have to duck to get in and out of your claw-foot tub. Number these annoyances in order of priority and you have a good starting point.

What To Keep?

Flickr photo credit: Orin Zebest
Flickr photo credit: Orin Zebest

The biggest fears when remodeling a Victorian style home is that you might remove some of its historical significance and/or charm. To retain as much of the historic significance and charm as possible, work closely with your contractors and try to reuse existing materials.

Keep the intricately designed medallions and brackets; bring them to a woodworker, like The Gingerbread Man in Placerville, to replicate pieces that are falling apart. Try to keep or replicate distinctive wood carvings and stencil-work unique to your home as well. If you have an original claw foot bathtub with crumbling porcelain, instead of throwing it out, have it reglazed.

If you’re going to add-on to your Victorian home, keep the original structure intact whenever possible. You want to try to be sure that any future traditionalist homebuyers would be able to restore the home back to its original glory.

Some Ideas For Updating Your Victorian Home

Create More Space

Flickr photo credit: emdot
Flickr photo credit: emdot

Some things to keep in mind when remodeling your Victorian home is the original layout. If you have a kitchen that is cramped with minimal counter space, you might try to keep the original layout of the kitchen (i.e.: typical and useful inward-oriented kitchen) and just expand it by moving a doorway or changing/adding hanging cabinets.

Often the rooms in Victorian style homes are so inconveniently odd-shaped and small that it’s hard to find spots for furniture that makes sense. When this is the case you might consider opening up your floor plan. Be aware though-the builders of the 19th and early 20th centuries didn’t have the capacity to build long expanses of building on upper levels without utilizing load-bearing walls. Because of this, many inner walls in Victorian style houses cannot be removed without causing the floor above to sag. Luckily there are some ways you can still open up a load-bearing wall:

  • You can remove just a door and frame in the doorway for a more open feel.
  • You can have a contractor cut an opening in the wall for a pass-through.
  • Usually the contractor can remove the wall and support the floor above with an archway or decorative columns.
  • Just remove a partial wall.

If you feel like you don’t have enough space for storage you can add storage by converting an under-the-stairs area into a closet. Gain square footage by building shelves and bookcases into the wall around windows and doors instead of using standing shelving units.

Click to learn how to paint your ceilings taller.
Click to learn how to paint your ceilings taller.

Create The Illusion Of More Space

Along the same lines of opening up a room, there are some tricks you can use to make the room feel lighter and brighter and thus larger and open. Painting a small dark space with whites and lighter neutral paints will help, as will decorating vertically, furnishing with daintier pieces, and painting your lighter ceiling color several inches lower onto the top of the walls so the ceiling feels bigger.

Work With What You’ve Got

If your Victorian Style Home was already added on to and the new addition is jarringly different from the rest of the house, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to remodel it. Sometimes you can get away with just continuing the same flooring as the rest of the house into the room, keep the décor and paint colors similar, and add some similar pieces as are throughout the rest of the house where possible such as molding, brackets, and stenciling motifs.

Preserve The Exterior

Flickr photo credit: David Sawyer
Flickr photo credit: David Sawyer

Victorian style homes were usually built with fanciful spindle work, gingerbread, brackets…etc… If yours is still intact, see what can be done to preserve it while you remodel and to restore it to its original beauty. If the façade of your home has been damaged or removed over the years and you don’t have enough of it to determine the original look, you can always take cues from neighboring homes. Chances are they are styled similarly.

Talk To A Contractor

A good contractor will be able to guide you toward the wisest changes for your home. Discuss your needs, wishes, and worries with them and bring your list along so that you get the most out of your remodel. Abby Palmer, at (530) 391-3268, is a great local Contractor for El Dorado County. Tell him I said “Hi!”

Stay tuned and follow along for more information and inspiration from this Victorian Style Home blog series! Give me, John Conca, a call at (530) 306-3494, to discuss your real estate options.

victorian style home cupid


Victorian Style Homes Series

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victorian style home cupid

Need A Victorian Home Reality Check?

Victorian style homes offer romantic allure, but unfortunately, living in them can be more of a comedic adventure than a romance. Appreciating the beauty and visual interest of Victorian homes is easy and living in a historic building does have its appeal. Depending on the level of care put into the home and the level of desire for comfort, Victorian style homes can prove to be much more work than you’d expect. Even the most devout neo-Victorian may find themselves pining for 21st century comfort and ease.

The Good:detail

Sometimes built with novel features such as dumb waiters and brightly colored, intricate gingerbread, Victorian style homes are eye-catching and tend to launch one’s imagination. Victorian style home attributes do not begin and end here, but isn’t that what pulls the eye and heart toward this style? They’re beautiful, old, have captivating details, wonderous charm…what’s not to love?

The Bad:

  • Victorian style homes may fall victim to aging which can make them drafty, musty, and creaky.
  • They are  commonly known to have extremely odd floor plans which feel like a labyrinth.
  • Victorians often offer too much space where it’s not needed and too little where it is.
  • Staircases can be dangerously steep.
  • Doorways and hallways can be extra narrow.
  • Kitchens can be tight-built for servants.
  • The wiring can be less than safe.

The Ugly:

Since home buying is such an emotional endeavor for most people, buyers will often pay more money than appropriate for the status of the uncommon. However, that applies equally to buying price and selling price.

Follow The Series

I’m putting together a Victorian style home blog series. For the next month and a half or so I’ll be posting about Victorian style homes; how to live in them, how to update them for modern comfort, how to get away with adding Victorian style and Victorian practicality to your current non-Victorian style home, and some examples of all instances for inspiration. If you think of any other Victorian-style-home related posts you’d like to read about, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fit it in.

If you want to follow along with this blog series, click the “follow me” button on the upper right. Search properties on my website-here are the  Eldorado County , but you can give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494 if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions.

Which Scents Sell Homes

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A Better Approach To Selling Your HomeWSJ_02152013_NA_2_Section M_M10_P_v0-proof

You’ve probably heard that the smell of baking cookies or pie helps potential buyers on a house tour feel at home and more likely to put in an offer. It’s common practice for sellers to pop some cookie dough into the oven or light some sugar-cookie scented candles. But now, it looks like there is a more effective way to sell your home! My wife is into essential oils and so this kind of thing is on our radar, and apparently it’s on researchers’ radar too.

Choose A Simple Scent

According to Using Scent To Make A Sale by Sanette Tanaka , researchers found that retailers using a simple scent (Orange) increased their sales around 19% compared to no scent used. Using a complex scent (Orange-basil-green tea) didn’t have an effect. The more complex notes become a distraction because some people’s brains dedicate time trying to figure out exactly what they’re smelling. Baking cookies are usually an easily recognizable scent, but it can become a distraction if someone’s subconscious is trying to figure out what type of cookies were baking.

Mimic What’s Missing

Another important consideration is the type of space you’re trying to sell. Researchers from Concordia University wanted to see if scent could counter the claustrophobia caused by small, packed, retail spaces as well as the anxiety caused by an open, minimally stocked retail space (Poon, Tina [2013] It Smells Crowded: An Experimental Investigation of Olfactory Influence on Spatial Perception. Masters thesis, Concordia University.) The findings can help you balance your space and foster a sense of well-being for those touring your home.

In the It Smells Crowded… study, it was found that when a scent associated with a cozy space-the scent of firewood-was diffused in a large, open space, the subjects felt less anxious vs no scent diffused. Likewise, when a scent associated with openness was diffused in a smaller, more cramped space the subjects felt less claustrophobic vs no scent. Comparatively, when a scent associated with openness was diffused in the large, open space, it increased feelings of anxiety in the subjects.

Conform To The Environment

One more factor to consider would be the natural environment of a home. If you diffuse cedar wood essential oil in a modern town house, the potential buyers might have to devote part of their subconscious figuring out why that out-of-place aroma is in this house. Diffusing basil may not fit a log cabin in the woods either. Just something to keep in mind.

Some ideas for scents which might apply to environments in El Dorado County

El Dorado County residential areas pretty much consists of small towns, mountain homes, farm homes, lake homes, and forest homes, so I’ll list suggestions for each variation you might want to use.

7815990410_047b2a85b2_kFarm House

  • Large: Cinnamon
  • Small: Lemon

Town Home

  • Large: Nutmeg
  • Small: Spearmint

Forest Home

  • Large: Cedarwood
  • Small: Rosemary

Mountain Home

  • Large: Cinnamon Bark
  • Small: Lavender


Applying the information found is relatively simple and effective. If you have a large house with minimalist decor and you think potential buyers may feel a little anxious in it, it’s wise to diffuse a scent associated with a cozy space which fits in with the natural environment of the location or style of the house. If you are selling a smaller house which might feel cramped once a couple of potential buyers are walking through it with the Realtor, it’s a good idea to help 2147693881_97dcab41c8_zthem not feel claustrophobic by diffusing one essential oil associated with open spaces which fits into the natural environment of location or style of the house. Just keep the aromas simple.

Aim For Subtle

The suggestions listed above might not fit each situation perfectly, so do some experimenting. To keep the scent subtle during a home tour, if it’s a stronger aroma then use less and diffuse it a while before potential buyers show up so there’s time for it to dissipate. Try different scents and you can think of the warmer ones as cozier aromas and the cooler/higher scents as scents associated with openness. Have fun and try this out for your next home too, and feel free to use blends, so you can enjoy a custom aroma for your own home; might be a fun family project.

If you’re diffusing essential oils in the house you’re selling then it’s best to get best quality, non-synthetic oils so it doesn’t induce unpleasant side effects like headaches. I don’t know much about it, but my wife only uses Young Living essential oils which are therapeutic grade, so diffusing those might help improve health while improving the perceived comfort of the house you’re selling. In order to ensure the scents stay simple, diffuse one essential oil instead of an essential oil blend-the ingredients should be listed on the bottle.


Thanks for your time today! I hope you found some useful information in this post. Please feel free to browse my website and follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers.



SMART Goals For Your Home Plans

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Why SMART Resolutions?

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays. As per tradition I’ve been thinking about setting some goals for the new year. Have you ever heard of SMART goals? It’s a handy tool for making your goals more reachable. If you follow the SMART goal guide, you’re more likely to set goals you can reach and reach the goals you set.

SMART goals John Conca

My SMART Goals

I have a goal of losing 10lbs by June. So I plan to keep my blood sugar steady by cutting back on carbs (choosing nuts over bananas and bacon and eggs over waffles), finding more ways to be active (parking out at the end of the parking lot at the grocery store and scheduling family walks at least 3 days a week), and juicing vegetables and berries for smoothies once a day.

Another goal of mine is to save more money for retirement this year by setting aside 5% of my income and spending less money on eating out by helping make freezer meals and planning the week ahead for packed meals we need to eat while away from home.

I downloaded the Goal Tracker app to keep track of where I’m doing well and where I need to kick it up a notch. Wish me luck!

Home Goals?

Are you hoping to be able to sell or buy a home this year? If you make your goals SMART then you will probably reach it! It might look something like this:

Instead of: I want to sell my home this year.

Try: I will deep clean my house, paint the exterior, manicure the landscaping, get a home inspection, make necessary home improvements, and list my home by May in order to sell my home by September for $375,000. 

Instead of: I want to buy my first home this year.

Try: I will set aside 40% of my income for the next 7 months for a down payment and closing costs and then talk to a Realtor about buying a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in XYZ neighborhood.

The SMART goals really make you accountable. Try them out this year for all aspects of your life.

I hope this inspires you to set SMART goals this year, it should lead to some positive changes. Give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494, if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions. Follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day!

Fannie Mae Has Shortened Its Waiting Period

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Fannie Mae’s Credit Policy Eased

Fannie Mae has just changed its policy-anyone whose loan origination date is August 16th, 2014 or later will now only need to wait 4 years after a short sale or foreclosure to reenter the housing market. Fannie Mae’s previous policy has people waiting 7 years until they can be eligible for a home loan. Those eligible to reenter the housing market still need to show that they have re-established credit after such negative credit events like a foreclosure, short sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy.


Fannie Mae buys large groups of mortgages from mortgage lenders, thus securing the loans so that the lenders have more cash to lend out to more borrowers which increases the amount of lenders in the housing market. Now there should be a few more borrowers as well. If you think you’re ready to buy a home then, please, give me a call.

You can contact me, John Conca, at 530-306-3494, if you are searching for a home anywhere in El Dorado county, or if you are ready to sell your home. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can find new Placerville listings here.

Waiting For A Good Snow

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It’s true- we’re in a drought. One of the symptoms is a later first snow. October in Pollock Pines is usually graced with the first snow of the year. But for the last couple of years, if there was a snow in October or November, it was light and short-lived. It is now December and, unless it fell and melted while I slept, I have seen no snow.

This is this time, last year, at Sly Park lake near my house.

I don’t usually go on about silly things like “I miss snow,” but it’s something very out of place. I may not miss shoveling snow (or snow blowing snow), but I am looking forward to the rest of it. I like the games you can only play in snow- watching my kids tobogganing, building snow men, having a snow ball fight. I miss hot cocoa for the occasion. I miss the warmth of the house in contrast to the frigid outdoors. I miss driving my truck through the snow.

I only have to wait another few weeks, maybe 6 at the most. I should really be saying, “I’m looking forward to the first real snow”, but that would miss the point. I am missing the snow that is missing.

I love living in Pollock Pines, at this elevation, in the forest. It usually snows a perfect amount. Don’t hold the lack of early snow against Pollock Pines; a long Autumn is nice too. It certainly makes viewing and showing houses easier. I live in Pollock Pines, but I’ve worked all of El Dorado County for over a decade and can help you with any of your real estate needs. Get out while the roads are clear and check out your future home before it’s covered in snow. …Whenever that may be…

Thanks for stopping by and commiserating with me! Give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494 if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions. Follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day and watch out for that first real snow…..any time now.