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’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


There are many benefits when buying a home in Walnut Creek’s greater area. So many benefits that when my senior clientele downsize the family home, there are almost always multiple offers and it ends up selling above asking price! Walnut Creek is a desirable place to live, retire or even start a family. If you’re moving to the area, here is a list on the many benefits associated with buying a home in Walnut Creek, California.

The schools are better funded when compared to other California schools. Sure, they still have their challenges, but when compared to other districts, Walnut Creek schools are doing amazing.

Housing prices are competitive when considering the Bay area and we have lot of suburban sprawl, making it a beautiful place to live and an even more beautiful commute- which many people who work in the Bay area are doing since it is only a 30-60 min drive.

Walnut Creek’s has many  high-end shopping and restaurant options. We also have diversity in culture. For example,  the Civic Arts program offers  opportunities for creative learning, ballet, opera, and theater for children and people of all ages!

We enjoy a ‘Mediterranean’ climate, which offers cool, wet winters. Our summers are dry and hot  but still tolerable enough to enjoy  sitting outside to dine or chat with friends.

Walnut Creek has so many benefits. We are close enough to a major city but far enough to have a sense of calm community. If you’re interested in buying or selling in this area, please contact me. I am always available to sit down and have a local cup of coffee with you!

Sam Benson




Sam Benson of Sam Benson Realty and Benson Property Management is pleased to announce his new roles with the California Association of Realtors (CAR). Benson was recently appointed to transition from a mentee to a sitting member for the organization’s Forum on Forms, Public Policy Forum, Transaction & Regulatory committee, and Standard Forms Advisory committee.

Sam Benson also serves as the Director-At-Large and is a Vice-Chair of Budget & Finance, as well as a Business Development and Technology member, for CCAR (Contra Costa Association of Realtors). Further, he is a regular contributor for

Benson recently sold an Eichler home in the greater Walnut Creek area for close to a million dollars, as well as continuing to specialize in helping seniors “rightsize” their lifestyle by providing quality and affordable real estate options. He is a second-generation Walnut Creek business owner with a variety of local contributions in his professional and volunteer portfolio.

Sam Benson has been featured on local television news to discuss a variety of real estate matters.

To learn more about Mr. Benson, his continued roles with CCAR or CAR, or to have him speak at your next group event, please utilize the contact information within this alert. Sam Benson pens both a real estate and property rental blog.


Helene Vece