Senior Resources

Seniors in the greater Walnut Creek area have many choices when it comes to Downsizing their homes. There are several reasons why seniors decide to downsize the family home to find something that is more geared to their present lifestyle.

Before you start thinking about putting up the family home for sale, let’s have a discussion. There are many options that are senior-centric, like condo living or even assisted living. I can help you identify your lifestyle options in comparison to your financial needs, amenity preferences, and location goals so that you are well-prepared to take the next step.



You want to buy a home now, but you don’t want to do a bunch of research or see home after home. You need a place fast and you don’t want to sacrifice quality  or square footage quantity either. Well, here at Sam Benson Realty, we have the top 5 tips to help you quickly buy a home around the greater Walnut Creek area.

#1. You will never figure out the market’s timing, so look for what you can afford and what you love. The market is a bit bipolar meaning that anticipating the housing market sometimes is nothing better than a guess. When you can afford a home, buy one. The housing market will always goes up and always will  go  down and then it will go back up again.  Don’t miss a good deal because you’re trying to predict the market.

#2.  Buy a little over the square footage you need, not a lot.  There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell.

#3. Don’t buy from an emotional state. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value.  Pretty houses may be easy on the eyes, but they can represent poor financial decisions. You shouldn’t ever buy a home either to confirm your societal status. Buy what you can afford and what presents long term value- you can always paint an ugly house.

#4. Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $200 but could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion.

#5.  Drive the neighborhood at all times of the day on a Thursday, a Saturday and on a Monday. These days will reflect what the neighborhood is about at certain hours and times. You may find somethings about the neighborhood don’t really appeal to you. Plus, these test trives afford you the opportunity to do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis.


Regardless if you’re a senior looking to downsize and rent out your home or a senior considering his or her living lifestyle, Benson Property Management out of East Bay, California says thinking ahead is definitely a “to do”, so much so that owner Sam Benson has wrote an Op-ed piece. Benson’s recent piece was inspired by a couple who faced the decision of renting out their home to help pay for an assisted living option.

“In this case, the senior couple were a doctor and his wife, who is battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS). They had time to prepare for the  “what ifs”, but preparing and dealing with the actual circumstances became an emotional roller coaster. And, since not everything in life goes according to plan, the time came for the couple to move into assisted living and rent out their home,” says Sam Benson, owner of Benson Property Management.

Real Estate professionals spend hours developing relationships around the community. For the couple, the MS started to really take its toll and they ended up in a position where home help was starting to drain all their financial resources. My key point to anyone, especially seniors, who are thinking about renting a home or even renting out their own home, is to be educated about options and then work with someone who has well-vetted resources,” finished Benson.

Benson Property Management has published the Op-ed piece on its website and a more expansive version of this real estate lesson in being prepared and working with the right real estate professional and/or company is being shopped to a variety of media resources. “My resources helped plan, pack, stage, move, and find the right tenants who will be served by the best vendors. We alleviated the stress related to the couple’s’ lifestyle so they could focus on being together. This is what a great property management company and team of resources can and should do. We should see beyond the profit and look at the situation as a whole.”

Benson Property Management  holds an A rating with its local Better Business Bureau. Benson Property Management services the East Bay area with a particular expertise in home within Walnut Creek, CA. The company’s owner, Sam Benson,  is on the Contra Costa Association of Realtors, (CCAR) Board of Directors as a Director at Large. He is Vice Chair of CCAR Budget & Finance Committee and a member of the Business & Technology Committee. Sam also served as member of the 2015 Grievance Committee. and Past President of Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda, California.

Members of the media may contact Sam Benson for further insight on this, and other rental property pieces, by emailing


You’re looking to sell your home. It’s been on the market and – in an industry where inventory is low- you have not had any bites. Your real estate professional has the price where it is very competitive and appealing, so what is going on?
Below are my top 3 reasons why homes are not selling when the price is competitive;

1. Too many personal items. People want to see themselves in your home, not have a constant reminder of you in the home. Try cutting down on the personal photos, splashes of personal sayings, etc. This small detail actually is the one thing that harms a home’s buy ability.
2. Keeping weird hours that don’t allow the house to sell. You have to be willing to have your house shown whenever possible. Putting restrictions on when the house will be shown means cutting out potential buyers from ever seeing and falling in love with the home.
3. Trash. Yes, trash. Even thought it is covered in the garbage can, it can omit an odor that you become custom to. Take the trash out every single morning and every single night until the house sells. More so, light a pastry scented candle two hours before your house is to be shown.


At the start of 2016, many real estate industry publications were stating that the price of housing was going to be stagnate for most of this year. Well, they don’t know the greater Contra Costa real estate market that well! The truth is, I’ve been seeing homes go way over asking price for the last couple of years and up until recently. Maybe there are spots in the country where the real estate market as leveled out and home prices today are not that much different than home prices of 16 months ago, but for the Walnut Creek, CA and surrounding areas-  we are still going strong.

According to a December 2015 post on, “ News Corp. NWS, +4.00% ) predicts that 30-year mortgage rates will increase to 4.65% on average by the end of 2016, compared with current 30-year rates as compiled by of 3.88%.  At a 4.65% interest rate with a 30-year term and a 20% down payment of $36,600, a home at the current (November 2015) median value of $183,000 would have an estimated mortgage payment of $945, including property taxes and insurance. That compares to a current mortgage payment of about $879 a month including taxes and insurance at 3.88%”

Well, this hasn’t been the case and affordability hasn’t been a huge market influence this year. Another untruth is that more millennials were looking to buy this year. At Benson Property Management, where I have a company that rents properties for investors and property owners, we are seeing an uptick in millennials looking to rent- not buy- this year. Another prediction gone bad.

Home buying and home renting are still very hot in the market today, and both are causing the price of demand to go up- not become stagnate. If you’re wondering what the rent  or the home purchase price is in your area- contact me. I am happy to sit down for some local coffee and discuss price point, what homes and rentals are really getting, and what new mortgage products are starting to trend towards the end of 2016!


Moving isn’t easy and many people don’t want to hire professional movers because of privacy or financial concerns. Moving can get expensive and you have strangers all over your personal items. If you’re moving in Walnut Creek, know that our moving companies are pretty comprehensive and pleasant to work with. This said, I’ve put together 5 easy tips if you are moving yourself.

1. Pack an overnight bag with all the essentials first. Put this in your car. You need something easy to rummage through when you get to the new place and after a day of work – you’re not going to want to dig through boxes. So, pack an outfit, your PJS, your night essentials, your morning essentials, a roll of TP, a roll of paper towels, one garbage bag, a towel, pills, and a phone charger. Anything you may need for an overnight staycation should go in this bag.

2. Pack items you need to live in clear bins. These are items that have to be easy to find, such as plates and glasses, business files, personal files, etc. Anything that is going to add functionality to your new place but isn’t an immediate need should go in plastic bins, not boxes, and should be unpacked first.

3. Wrap breakables in towels. This will help you save on the cost of bubble wrap. I knew one woman who did a towel per dish (hey, she packed both at the same time) and then but a big blanket over the box. It worked. She also put her glasses inside clean socks.

4. Don’t simply label what is in the boxes, label what room they go in. “Books” can be pretty generic. Knowing what books (along with other items) go where is key to unpacking quickly and without stress.

5. Use Glad’s Press-and-Seal plastic wrap to keep your drawers in tact. Yes, this works. Dresser drawers basically are their own moving boxes. Using this type of plastic wrap will keep you from having to unpack and refold their contents. It is a huge time saver. The wrap works for jewelry and make-up organizers, too.

Until next time,
Sam Benson