Daunting Tasks – Handled for You

If your vision for a new condo, townhouse, or single-family home includes an organized and clean neighborhood, odds are purchasing that new home will also include joining a homeowner’s association or an HOA.

Home ownership, of course, is one major marker of freedom in our country, which can make an HOA unattractive to some prospective buyers. There are fees to pay and rules to follow, so the likelihood of painting your front door highlighter pink diminishes in communities governed by an HOA. But outside of some simple guidelines, which are often in place to keep the entire community you live in maintained (not just the home you buy), joining an HOA can be a highly valuable investment.

What Exactly Is an HOA?


An HOA is simply a governing organization within a planned development community. They are typically run by residents, and as mentioned, membership can provide everything from security services to landscaping, or they simply enforce compliance for participating homeowners in the community to ensure homes are maintained to a certain standard. As a neighbor, most find this assurance appealing knowing their common areas are both secure and clean.

When buying in a new development community, you should view HOA membership as a part of your home purchase. To put it in the simplest terms, moving into a gated community or condominium community, homeowners purchase their individual unit while they have shared ownership in the surrounding community. HOA costs more or less cover those responsibilities, tasks, maintenance or amenities within the community. 



HOAs and Elements at Coldstream; What’s Included?


In Truckee’s Elements at ColdStream community membership within the homeowner’s association includes a variety of covered tasks and maintenance items. Snow removal during the winter ensures roads, paths, and even your own personal driveway are clear and safe before, during, and after storms. (If you are new to the area, you’ll learn quickly just how valuable it is to have those duties taken off your own plate.) During the spring, summer, and fall months, the HOA is responsible for the landscaping of common areas and each homeowner’s lot outside of each patio area.

In addition to maintaining the common areas of the development, it should be noted that the Elements at ColdStream HOA takes care of some important items of all the residences. These include roofing, gutters, downspouts, fencing, and the painting, staining, repair, replacement and care for the exterior building surfaces. Many new homeowners do not realize that these items are responsibilities they need to address when facing homeownership. However, with our HOA membership these daunting tasks are handled for you.


Benefits of HOA Membership


In your near future, HOA memberships can help make the transition into a new home immeasurably easier. Many homes are purchased with a need for some hefty (and costly) TLC, requiring time and hard work before a house starts to feel like your home. With things like landscaping and pathway managed for you on the exterior of each unit, a new homeowner can focus solely on their individual projects and designing components within their home. You should also consider that some of these costs, like snow removal, for example, would otherwise either require your own time or your money to contract out the services.

The monthly cost of joining an HOA really is an investment that brings long-term value. While your individual property is maintained, surrounding properties are maintained to the same standards, preventing decline both in your own unit and in the rest of the neighborhood. Ask any homeowner and they will tell you that maintaining or even improving your property value is key to the longevity of your investment.

What Makes a Brand New Home a ‘Smart Home’ in 2020?

It’s 2020 so it’s a safe bet you’ve heard the term “smart home.” In theory, they sound like something George Jetson would escape to at the end of the day; sensors, security cameras, speakers, thermostats, lights, and even entertainment electronics all controlled from one central, voice activated hub in your home. Just saying it sounds futuristic and complicated but in practice, new homes can be made more convenient, comfortable, and most importantly more safe, when common appliances are automated. 

The allure of it all can be strong. Imagine coming home, hands full with bags of groceries, and being greeted by voice activated lights. There’s no more endlessly searching for the lost television remote because you can simply command your television or speakers to turn on once you enter the room. And you can leave town for the weekend with peace of mind knowing you can always simply check security cameras from an app on your smartphone. This is just scratching the surface. If this all sounds enticing for your new, modern home, consider a few basics to enter the smart home world: 


Winters get cold in Truckee. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news. Nonetheless, we can agree this makes the thermostat one of the most important utilities in a Truckee home, maybe even the most important. 

The advantage of smart home thermostats is that many can be programmed to learn appropriate temperature settings in your home. They can perform tasks like adjusting the heat at specific times you are likely to be home or turning it off altogether when you’re likely going to be gone for extended periods. They can also accommodate your favorite temperature settings in different rooms of your home, which in the long run can help you conserve energy and save money. 

Security and Surveillance

Smart homes are most often associated with automating common daily tasks. While that may streamline and simplify much of your time spent at home, smart home appliances can (more importantly) make your home safer in may ways. 

Things like smart door locks allow you to replace physical keys with special pins or even fingerprint ID technology. Indoor security cameras and outdoor security cameras can not only monitor the goings-on in and around your home, many can also be equipped with motion activated features that alert you to certain movements and activities — an obviously valuable tool when you’re gone for extended periods, carrying the ability to see live streaming footage on your phone. There are even smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which, in the spirit of all smart home devices, outperform their analog predecessors. The Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector, for example, can connect to other smart devices in your home as well as your phone and can distinguish between different types of fires. 

Home Entertainment and Common Appliances

Everything from smart refrigerators to home vacuums, sprinkler controllers, blinds and shades, televisions, home speakers, lights, and more comes in a “smart” version for your home. 

Lights, thermostats, and security features are the most common, basic smart home appliances and beyond that, how much you plan to transform yours into a smart home is entirely up to you. If adjusting lighting to your liking just by walking into a room simplifies your life then it’s worth considering. If having a sprinkler system that operates on an automated watering schedule saves you both time and money throughout the year, consider it a worthy investment. 

Asking questions like these will actually help you decide how much to invest in your overall smart home build, with costs ranging from hundreds of dollars to several thousand depending on just how much you’d like to automate your home life. So this leads to the most fundamental way to start exploring your own smart home options:

There’s likely a way to automate that task with voice control and monitoring systems that connect through a central hub. While the upfront cost of some appliances (plus your central hub or smart home assistant) may add up, they will likely save you either time, effort, money, or all of the above.

So what will you do to make your home a “Smart Home” this year? 

Truckee Public Library – Always a Great Resource

The Truckee Public Library has teamed up with Nevada County’s Community Library to provide a broad range of online educational resources. This little library offers so much more than just your average book. Read on to learn about some of the fantastic options this informational hub has to offer.

College Center
 – Whether you are thinking of attending college for the first time, or going back for continuing education, this section is geared just for you. Here you will find information about prepping for your G.E.D., college admissions test prep, and skill-building resources for classroom and homework success. They also offer access to both college placement exams and graduate school admissions exams. Your degree is just a click away.

Career Center – Considering a new career? This section will address all the questions you may have about jumping feet first into a new job. Learn about a variety of different careers, prep for any associated exams, and sharpen your interviewing and networking skills in one easy location. Whether you strive to be a policeman or paralegal, nurse or nanny, you have all the tools you need to take your career to the next level.

Britannica School – Here you will find safe, up-to-date, age appropriate informational resource for elementary, middle, and high school students. Discover a multitude of articles, multimedia, primary sources, games and other learning resources to support student research. (Also available in Spanish)

Teaching Books – This link will take you to an easy-to-use website that adds a multimedia dimension to the reading experiences of children’s and young adult books. Choose from a selection of book guides and coordinating lesson plans, review literature-based vocabulary lists, and browse award-winning books. There is even a section where your child can either customize their own reading list, or choose from pre-selected ones. If you want more visual stimulation, there are excellent video book trailers and movies where you can meet the actual author. Reading for your child will never be boring with this ideal resource.

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) – An excellent resource for at-home learning, this links you to over 35 million images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States. One can browse by topic or even access additional information via their partnerships with hundreds of libraries across the states. Educators will love the primary source collections that allow them to explore topics in history, literature, and culture developed by other educators, complete with teaching guides for class use.

Tumblebooks – Have you already exhausted your current library of children’s books? This fantastic section allows kids to download a wide selection of ebooks they can read ranging from story books, read-alongs, videos, non-fiction, and language learning. There is even a puzzles and games section that uses pictures and sayings from current selections chosen by the library.

New York Times – The New York Times believes “that great journalism has the power to make each reader’s life richer and more fulfilling.” What better way to make this happen then keeping up-to-date on current events locally, nationally, and internationally. This link will take you directly to all that the famous newspaper has to offer on a daily basis.

RBdigital Magazines – Can’t make it down to the store or post office to pick up the latest copy of your favorite magazine? Now you don’t have to fret about delayed mail or battling long lines to get the content you are looking for. This is a direct link to over 130 copies of the most recent issues of your favorite periodical, in topics ranging from cooking and fashion, to Kanopy – Watch what you want, when you want, without the annoying commercials. Kanopy is an on-line streaming service that allows you to access thousands of films, documentaries, and T.V. shows straight from your own device. Users will enjoy unique and culturally reliable cinema in just a few clicks by using the free app available through our library. Finally, television done right.

Driving Tests – Keeping you and your loved ones safe before you hit the road is a must. The best way to do this is by taking the California DMV practice tests available on-line. They help you retain knowledge better than studying the manual alone, whether you’re preparing for your permit test, driver’s license test, or senior citizen’s refresher test. This wide range of available practice tests will ensure you are prepped and ready to get your motor running.

犀利士 Index.html#/center/adult-learning-center/home?AuthToken=F8F0F58A-9FDE-431F-B59D-3700D7F9D0F2″>Adult Learning Center – Need to brush up on the basics? This section, geared towards adult education, offers busy adults the resources to improve their basic skills in reading, writing, and math, and to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship exam.

Nevada County Community Library link:


Truckee Public Library
10031 Levon Avenue
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-7846

The Truckee Library, adjacent to the Joseph Government Center and Tahoe Truckee Hospital, serves the residential and business community. The library offers a variety of services including public WiFi, a computer area with Internet access, and a wide range of programming for both children and adults.

Fast Pass to National Parks

Practicing social distancing and self-isolation has unfortunately become the norm these days, and it is not always an easy task to stay at home and resist the temptation to wander outside. There is the natural longing for the great outdoors, to inhale fresh air, to sit quietly among the tall trees and grass, or gaze out over broad canyons and vast landscapes. And as tempting as it is to step out and see Mother Nature up close, many do not have the luxury of doing so without running into a neighbor, or two or five. So how do you become one with nature without compromising your own or others health?

Lucky for us, Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with five national parks in the United States so that people can enjoy the wonders of the world from the comfort of their own home. These parks, ranging from the Alaskan wilderness to the volcanic landscape of Hawaii, take us on a virtual adventure amid various environments across the country.

Below is a list of the national parks that are currently offering stunning virtual tours:

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii: 

One of the most popular national parks in Hawai’i is now totally accessible online. Take a trip back in time and explore the lands shaped by the world’s most active volcano, and see how the islands around it are constantly changing and growing. Learn about the vibrant ecosystem that is home to many native plants, birds, and insects that are not found anywhere in the world. Take flight over an active volcano, explore a lava tube, and look out across alien-like volcanic cliffs.


Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico:

Located in southern New Mexico in the Guadalupe Mountains, this national park’s foreign and mysterious formations are millions of years in the making. It offers visitors a glimpse into an infinite number of forms and textures, and has one of the largest single cave chambers in North America. You will be able to fly with thousands of bats, explore incredible formations, and trek by headlamp through a cave.


Bryce Canyon, Utah:

Come and explore the wonders of this stunning, southwestern national park, home to the largest collection of red rock pillars. Park rangers will take visitors on a journey of the fastest changing geologic landscapes on the planet that spans from daytime to nighttime. Gaze dreamily up at the night sky, ride horseback through a canyon, and see towering stone hoodos up close.


Kanai Fjords National Park, Alaska:

Take a trip up north to explore rugged mountains, gigantic glaciers and sparkling lagoons in this stunning tour of the Alaskan wilderness. Engross yourself as you rappel into a crevasse, kayak through icebergs, witness a Humpback whale breach, and watch a glacier recede through the years.


Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: 

This national park is located in one of the southernmost points of the United States. Explore and learn a bit of history on land and the hidden world beneath the sea. Experience diving to a shipwreck, swim through the third largest coral reef in the world, and tour a Civil War-era fort.

https://artsandculture.withgoogle.co犀利士 m/en-us/national-parks-service/dry-tortugas/near-little-africa-tour

The Arts Via Virtual Tours

The Coronavirus has many people stuck inside and unable to go about their everyday lives. Fortunately, Google Arts & Culture has aligned with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to bring virtual tours and exhibits straight to you. You no longer have to sacrifice education and culture when it is available in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few museums where you can dive into exploring via virtual tours:

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles:

The J. Paul Getty Museum features works of art dating from the eighth through the twenty-first century, showcased against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The collection includes European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, Asian, and American photographs.


Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy:

This small gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de'Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de'Medici.


National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.:

This famous American art museum features a variety of art from periods ranging from Baroque, Modern, Realism, and Renaissance. There are two virtual exhibits: the first showcases American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.


British Museum, London:

This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to jump through time, continents and cultures, to explore and learn about some of the most fascinating objects in human history. The Museum of the World tour allows visitors to select specific objects from across diverse cultures in time, and hear curators’ insights.


Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam:

This museum houses the largest collection by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). The permanent collection includes over 200 paintings, 200 drawings, and more than 750 letters, in addition to exhibitions on various subjects from 19th century art history.


Musee d’Orsay, Paris:

This beautiful museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building itself could be seen as the first “work of art” in the Musee d'Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.


Guggenheim Museum, New York City:

Google’s street view feature lets visitors tour and discover works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.


Protecting Your Legacy

Mortgage Life Insurance – “Don’t be confused or afraid of it.”

This is how Erik Bjarnason, a banker and home owner in California first starts to explain the basic ins and outs of mortgage life insurance to me. Having very little knowledge on this myself (and Erik being somebody who’s just purchased his first home) I feel like his is a sensible brain to pick.

I asked Erik to give me the most concise idea of how it will benefit or protect his family and new home. Long story short, as he puts it, “It’s protection for surviving family members in case of death, similar to life insurance.” Only in this case, “the debt can be passed on but also secured. If I die, my home goes to my parents,” he says. “They will reap the debt but also the equity, which is a good thing for us.”

So, what are the basics of mortgage life insurance? How does it work? And why should you look into it?

What Exactly Is Mortgage Life Insurance?

As mentioned, mortgage life insurance works similarly to life insurance in that it helps family members if the primary earner dies. The main difference, however, is that the money is earmarked solely for the debt attached to the home.

This works by sending the death benefit directly to the mortgage lender, allowing the surviving family members to keep their home and all mortgage payments accounted for. However, the main caveat in all of this is that the money can’t be used for anything else; no other bills, debts, or expenses left behind in the accidental death of a loved one.

Why Not Have Life Insurance Only?

The payout benefits of a life insurance policy can be used for any and all expenses and debt following a death. Logically, that means your family members can use benefits to pay off a mortgage, making mortgage life insurance feel like one more confusing (and possibly unnecessary) responsibility to take on. However, there are still some factors that make mortgage life insurance necessary when buying a new home.

First off, life insurance policies aren’t affordable for everybody. Existing illnesses or even age can be factors that make getting a reasonable life insurance policy impossible for some and in this instance, at the very least, mortgage life insurance can secure the cost of one of the greatest debts and assets your family will acquire: your home.

Mortgage Protection Insurance (MPI), however, can be secured without consideration for health conditions or the need for medical examination approval. It’s also possible that you’ve bought a new home after already having committed to a life insurance policy. Perhaps that coverage won’t suffice for both the home and other debts and expenses, in which case a mortgage life insurance policy can free up the money and be a welcome addition in preparing for your family’s future. 

How can I get more information?

If you have a current insurance provider that you like, know and trust, start with them. If not, reach out to our sales team for suggestions on providers. 


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