Christmas Parade and 65th Annual Courthouse Lighting

Join us in downtown Prescott for first the Christmas Parade and then later that night for the 65th annual Courthouse lighting.

These events officially kick off Prescott’s Christmas season, which could arguably be labeled the main event season in Prescott considering our town IS called “Arizona’s Christmas city.”

And… trust us when we say, the Christmas events coming up in the next weeks are ones you will not want to miss!

The Christmas Parade will begin at 1PM on Saturday, December 7th, giving you plenty of time to walk around after the parade and enjoy the downtown area before the lighting ceremony begins at night.

At 5PM there will be musical groups performing Christmas songs followed by a reading of the nativity story from the Bible to bring joy and cheer, and a reminder of the reason for the season. The lighting of the courthouse is at 6PM where the entire downtown area is lit up in a spectacular show of Christmas lights and celebration.

Nearly every tree is wrapped in colorful lights, the gazebo is a beacon on display of Christmas radiance, and the courthouse building itself it aglow with Christmas lights and light up decorations to showcase its historic beauty.

Enjoy the lights, an awing sight to see, and hang around afterward to take it all in. With countless restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, and so much more, you will have no trouble finding a warm beverage and something to do with your friends and family after the lighting.

We hope you come out to see the show, to take in the Christmas season, and connect with your loved ones!

Tips For Winterizing Your Home This Season

Though we posted this article last winter, we felt it was worth posting again because it is such helpful and vital information to have in the winter season.

Living in Prescott where winter temperatures drop below freezing and we get some pretty crazy snowstorms depending on how “wet” the season is that year (snowmagedon February 2019 am I right?), we all should know how to properly winterize our homes.

Even though we don’t get as much snow as other places such as Flagstaff just north of us, or Colorado’s white winters, we still get enough accompanied by some temperatures that could wreak havoc on unprepared homes. Burst pipes, inadequate insulation to keep in heat and save energy, a furnace that cannot keep up with the freeze, and many other things.

Below is some advice from our very own Sheila Mengarelli on how to winterize your home this season. Take a look at her tips and tricks, and make sure your home is properly equipped for the cold months – and hopefully snows – still to come!

Tips to Winterize your Prescott Home

  • Service your Furnace– Have your furnace serviced fall and spring by a local HVAC company to keep you high and dry.

 

  • Change the filters— Don’t forget to change the filter in your furnace. When you put the first furnace filter of the season in, don’t forget to set your digital calendar to remind you to replace it at monthly intervals throughout the cold season.
  • Inspect your Gutters– Clogged gutters can cause water that is blocked to freeze and seep into your home. Take the time to clean them out and make sure that your downspouts are carrying the water away and not toward your house.
  • Repair drafts– Electrical outlets, door frames, windows, and recessed lighting areas typically tend to be drafty. Sealing up these areas can save on your energy bill. Simply use a wet hand, or incense, to move over the areas to spot potential leaks.
  • Check your insulation– Attics require 12 inches of insulation. Moisture problems can occur if your insulation has backing paper, so take the time to do an inspection.
  • Check for any exposed pipes outside– Pipes must be insulated from the cold too. Not only does it keep the pipes from freezing, it will prevent condensation from freezing on them, helping to save on energy bills. Make sure any drip systems are drained and water spickets are off.
  • Vacation — Will you be away for an extended period of time? Never turn your furnace off. Set it at 50 degrees. This will keep your home at a steady temperature no matter what the weather brings. It’s also a good idea to set your water heater to vacation or away mode
  • Check your smokealarm – While you are inspecting so many other aspects of your home, don’t forget to make sure that your smoke alarms are all functioning, and replace the batteries as needed. Also, make sure that you have a functioning fire extinguisher as well.

 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

A holiday full of good food, good people, and good laughs, we are excited to get into full swing of this holiday about giving thanks.

Perhaps you spend the holiday with friends, family, watching football, or on vacation, but no matter how you celebrate the holiday, let’s remember to give thanks for all we’ve been blessed with. Food on our plates, a roof over our heads, and all those we love around us – these are just a few of the things we here at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group are thankful for.

Whether your life is going great, or you’re having some struggles right now, we pray you still have many things to be thankful for as well.

From all of us at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group Real Estate, we want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We pray you have an amazing and blessed time with your loved ones, eat all the good food, and have the best Thanksgiving Holiday yet.

Ready or not, Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we’re here to help!

Below is a list of all the things you may need to purchase at the grocery store so you don’t forget anything! Cooked and basted turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, honeyed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and the list could literally go on and on! Is anyone else’s mouth watering? Courtesy of our friends at Lawyer’s Title, they have thought of everything you could ever possibly need to buy at the store so you won’t have one single staple Thanksgiving dish or food missing from your feast.

So, print off this list, do your grocery shopping, and get ready for Thanksgiving because it’s only three days away! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, we are thankful for you!

Organic Food on a Budget

Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but for whatever reason, we’ve got food on the brain!

In today’s food industry, with a lot of what we consume being highly processed and pumped full of chemicals and preservatives, many have been turning to the “safer” option of buying their food Organic.

Organic food is that which is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or any other artificial agents used to make or grow normal food today.

While organic food usually tastes better and is better for you, it can also be very expensive compared to its non-organic counter parts! When we say, “more expensive,” we mean that organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more than non-organic food! Yikes! That’s a huge difference! Especially if you are a family on a budget. This price increase is due to the extra time and labor that is required to produce organic food. It is also due to the growing popularity of buying organic, which means that consumers’ demands on supply are continually rising.

So, what do you do then if you want to be healthier by going organic? How do you get that tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Well, follow these tips and tricks to get more bang for your buck, and perhaps buying organic won’t seem so expensive after all!

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source. Prescott, Arizona has its very own farmers market featuring locally grown produce, meats, and more. You can check their website at prescottfarmersmarket.org for locations, times, and updates!

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

Shop more frequently and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby. Don’t have a green thumb? Check out Watters Garden Center, located off Iron Springs Road in Prescott. They have plenty of staff to help you and give advice, and they even offer gardening classes to help you get started!

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last week we talked all about how to build good credit from having both no credit and bad credit.

SO, naturally, now we are going to talk about how Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner! This is a day where people both spend and save a ton of money on their holiday shopping.

Black Friday used to just be on one day… Friday – the Friday after Thanksgiving to be specific. However, that soon became not soon enough for many stores and consumers, and now Black “Friday” often begins in stores on Thursday night, the night of Thanksgiving!

Black Friday signifies the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season in the United States and is a day that stores offer up special discounted deals in order to sell more merchandise. This day has caused much pandemonium in the past with deals too good to be true. People go as far as to camp outside of stores and wait in massive lines that extend around store corners just so they can get into the store first and grab all the Black Friday gifts they’ve eyed in the sales catalog.

The event has caused chaos to the point where there are mobs of people all pushing to get into the store first causing shoving and injuries that land people in the ER! When it comes to sales, people do not mess around! Once that half-priced 60” TV is gone, it’s gone, so one can understand the urgency to grab yours before they’ve all been taken.

This Holiday shopping extravaganza has now been extended past Black Friday too! Perhaps becoming just as big as Black Friday, if not bigger, is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving promoted by online retailers who sell their merchandise at exceptional discounts comparable to Black Friday deals. The best part about Cyber Monday is all your shopping is done online, so you don’t even need to leave your home!

When researching what some of the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals were going to be this year, it seemed as though the best deals will be taking place at affordable retail stores like Walmart and Target. Big screen TVs, tablets, phones, smart watches, video game consoles, Bluetooth speakers and headphones, laptops, smart watches, and more. Nearly anything technological you could name seems to be being sold at an incredible discount this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, whether you normally partake in these days as part of your holiday season or not, it might be worth taking a look at the sales ads.

All that being said, it is good to remember, and remind ourselves, that this holiday season isn’t about buying new toys and receiving all the things on our Christmas lists. The true meaning of the holidays is to give and give thanks. To be with loved ones and friends, and tell them how much we care for them. To be thankful for all that we have and are blessed with, not focus on what more we can attain. We pray your holiday season is filled with good food, good conversation filled with laughter and joy, and good time spent with those you cherish most.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Black Friday and Cyber Monday hunting!

How to Build Good Credit

Last week we posted a blog about why first-time home buyers are struggling to purchase. One of the main reasons was having bad credit. So, we wanted to touch on this subject further and find some ways the experts say you can build good credit.

Believe it or not, bad credit doesn’t always mean having made poor financial decisions. For a lot of people, they have bad credit because they have NO credit. They have avoided debt like the plague, having been instructed by parents and elders to not get themselves into debt. Ironically, it turns out that some debt is good. Why? Because it helps you build credit, and without credit, you can’t make any large purchase from a car to a house, or even a little “purchase” such as getting a credit card. One might stop there and ask, “Wait, how can I build credit if I can’t even get a credit card?”

According to thebalance.com, “having good credit means you’ve demonstrated that you can handle credit responsibly – that you’ve managed your credit obligations and have paid on time.” So, like we said, the first step in doing this is to first get credit (assuming you don’t already have credit). Here’s some ways to do this:

  • Apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires you to make a security deposit against the credit limit before you can be approved for the credit card. The security deposit is used as collateral for the amount you charge on the card, which makes credit card issuers more likely to approve your credit card because there is less credit risk.
  • Get a retail store credit card. These are easier to get because the store will most likely have less strict credit requirements. However, beware because retail credit cards typically have low credit limits and high interest rates, and they can only be used at a specific store. So, if you choose this route, get a card at a store you frequent often, like Target, and remember you’re getting the card to build GOOD credit, not go on a shopping spree and get into bad debt.
  • Get a co-signer for a credit card or loan. This is when you get someone with good credit to co-sign on a credit card or loan in order to help you qualify. A co-signer would share liability on the card with you, which means that if you failed to make payments, it wouldn’t just affect your credit, but the co-signers as well. As long as you are reliable, then you’ll soon build enough credit to qualify for a loan or credit card on your own.
  • Make Your Payments on Time. Late payments are a huge factor on your credit score, if not the biggest of all. In order to build a good credit score, you need to make all your debt payments on time. The more on-time payments you have, the more your credit score will improve.
  • Watch How Much You Borrow. Just because you have a higher credit limit, doesn’t mean you need to spend all the way up to it. A good rule of thumb is to never borrow more than you can actually afford to pay each month. Not only does this make you look financially responsible to creditors and lenders, it also helps you not get yourself into any real debt. This same principle could be said for loans. No matter what a lender might say you qualify for, be careful not to take out more than you can afford to repay, otherwise you’ll dig yourself into a hole of debt that is hard to climb back out of.

These are just some of the main ways to help you build good credit, but there are so much more! If you’re still wanting to learn more about how to build your credit, you can do some research online, or visit your bank today to get some tips and tricks from the horses mouth.

Prescott’s 2019 Veteran’s Day Parade!

In Prescott, Arizona, Veteran’s Day is a special holiday.

With about 7,000 Veterans in our town and a population of 42,000, that means that about 16.5% of our population is made up of U.S. Veterans. That’s a lot! This doesn’t come as a shock considering Prescott has a great VA Hospital, is known as a great place to retire, and has been attracting more retirees, including veterans, as the years pass.

That being said, Prescott celebrates our Veterans the only way we know how… with a parade of course!

On Veteran’s Day this Monday November 11th, from 10:30AM to 1PM, there will be a parade in downtown Prescott to celebrate all those who’ve fought for us, our freedom, and our country, and whom we are honored to know.

Here’s some more info about the parade from the City of Prescott’s website:

“Opening ceremony begins at 10:30am on the main stage (Cortez St and Union St) across from the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. Parade will begin promptly at 11:00am.

Parade route is as follows: Corner of Cortez St and Willis, south on Cortez St to Goodwin St, Weston Goodwin St to Montezuma (Whiskey Row)), and then north on Montezuma to Sheldon St.

Participation in the parade is free. Please click 2019 Veterans Day Parade Application for a participation application.”

We hope to see you there as it is a beautiful Prescott tradition that honors our Veterans and is fun for the whole family – not to mention there are plenty of fabulous places to eat and drink with your loved after the parade!

Happy early Veteran’s Day to all our Vets out there! We could never say thank you enough for the sacrifices you’ve made for us and for your country! We are forever grateful!

 

 

The History of Veteran’s Day

In case you didn’t know Veteran’s Day occurs every year on November 11th. It originated as “Armistice Day” in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War 1. In 1926, congress passed a resolution for the remembrance to be an annual observance on November 11th and in 1938 it became a national holiday. It was officially renamed Veteran’s Day by president Dwight D Eisenhower in 1954.

According to history.com, “In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.”

Veteran’s Day differs from Memorial Day because it pays homage to all Veterans, whether living or dead. However, it is meant to especially give thanks to living veterans who’ve served their country with honor during war AND during peace.

While it is mainly an American holiday, some other parts of the world observe it was well. Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada commemorate the veterans of World War I and II on, or near, November 11th. Canada has a holiday called Remembrance Day and Great Britain’s holiday is called Remembrance Sunday, which takes place the second Sunday of November. It is also common in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries to observe two minutes of silence on November 11th at 11AM.

In the united states today, history.com says there are:

  • 1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 2 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • 2 million veterans are women.
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
  • 5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

That is a lot of men and women who put their lives on the line for our own, for our freedoms, and for our country! This coming Veteran’s Day, we would like to encourage you to say “thank you” to the Veterans in your life, or any Veterans you might encounter during your holiday celebration. They are the true heroes and we owe them more than we could possibly understand, or ever pay back.

To all our Prescott, Arizona, and U.S. Veteran’s out there, we say thank you for your service and all you’ve done for us!