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11 Fun New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for Food, Games & Decorations

by The Barringer Team

~~New Years Eve party at your home with all your friends: Sparkling decorations and candles all about. Your guests take hilarious photos, dance with loud, crazy noisemakers, and enjoy a selection of appetizers. When the clock strikes 12, you toast with champagne and feast on a midnight supper.

This scenario has to cost a fortune, right? Well, not necessarily. With a few money-saving tricks up your sleeve, you can host a great New Year’s party on a budget that people will be talking about for a long time to come. From food, to refreshments, to games, you can cut costs everywhere without sacrificing any of the fun! And if your New Year’s resolution is to save money, this is a great place to start.

Party Food Ideas

1. Make It a BYOA Affair – Bring Your Own Appetizer

Phone your invitees and inform them that it’s a BYOA event. There are a number of cheap and easy appetizers that your guests can bring, but if someone doesn’t know how to cook or what to bring, suggest raw veggies and hummus, a fruit and nut platter, or a cheese and crackers plate. If someone claims that even those are too difficult, ask them to bring a container or two of mixed nuts – you can provide the bowl!

2. Serve Champagne Sangria for Midnight Toasting

This is an easy and delicious way to cut down on champagne costs that will be appreciated by all! To make champagne sangria, simply use these ingredients and follow the instructions below:


•One 32-ounce bottle of apple juice
•One 12-ounce can of frozen cranberry juice concentrate
•One cup of orange juice
•One-and-a-half liters of champagne (or ginger ale for a non-alcoholic version)

1.Keep items chilled (or frozen) until use.
2.Combine the apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate, and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir well.
3.Add sliced oranges, kiwi slices, and any other fruit you like.
4.Slowly add the champagne or ginger ale at the last minute to keep it bubbly.

This recipe serves 12, but you might want to double up for thirsty guests!

3. Have a Midnight Supper

After the midnight toast, close the bar and invite everyone to take part in a midnight supper. A baked potato bar is easy, fun, and inexpensive. Bake the biggest potatoes you can find, and follow with dessert!
•Put potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees at about 10:30pm. They should be done in about an hour.
•Set out as many toppings as you like: sour cream, bacon bits, chopped scallions, salsa, shredded cheese, jalapenos, chives, steamed broccoli, butter, mushrooms, chili, and anything else you’d like. Let everyone fix their own potato, as loaded as they want.
•For dessert, serve chocolate cake from a mix with white icing and colored sprinkles. Serve with ice cream and a little hot fudge sauce.
•Be sure to provide coffee with dessert for the drive home.

This menu will cost about $2 per person, which is very reasonable for a hearty supper. If you want to spend more, make a cheesecake instead for a rich finish to your meal.

4. Remember That Timing Is Everything

Since you want to keep the party hopping until (and perhaps well past) the midnight hour, consider starting around 10pm. But if you prefer to start much earlier, have the potato bar ready at around 10pm so guests don’t go hungry.

If your group wants to spend five to six hours together, plan on having a full-scale potluck early in the evening. You can skip the appetizers in this case, but still prepare your midnight supper.

Fun & Games

5. Ask Guests to Bring an Unusual Noisemaker

Have a ”craziest noisemaker” contest and be sure to shoot video! Replay each person with their noisemaker for the crowd and vote on who wins. Provide a prize to the winner, such as earmuffs. Then, get everyone together for the big midnight countdown and create your own symphony of racket, clatter, and boom.

6. “Hire” a Photographer

Ask one guest to serve as the “official” photographer to take before and after photos, or do it yourself. As guests arrive, invite them to pose with one person seated and the other standing next to a chair (like an old-time photo – no smiling allowed). You could provide old-fashioned hats, and maybe a shawl or scarf for props.

Later, take “after midnight” photos of your guests in their holiday party outfits showing off their noisemakers. Post all the photos online to share.

7. Ask Guests to Write Predictions for the New Year

Have your guests sign their predictions and place them into a bowl or a box. Then, during supper, take turns reading the predictions while everyone guesses who wrote them. It can be surprising how difficult it is to guess your friends’ predictions – and it’s a great way to wrap up the night!

You can also find inexpensive votive holders at the dollar store. You can frost them by simply using glue and epsom salts. Mix regular white school glue with water (three parts glue mixed with one part water) and paint the mixture onto the sides of the votive holder. Then, roll it in a plate full of epsom salts from the grocery store. Once it dries, you’ll have a sparkling frosted votive holder! Place these wherever you want to add a little glamor; they look especially nice place atop a mirror or in front of one.

Final Word

Have a blast at your New Year’s party, but remember, no matter what, never allow anyone to drive home impaired! Not only do you want to keep your friends safe, but as a host, you could be legally liable for their drunk driving. These are known as “social host” laws, and many states have them.

To protect everyone, have a sober person drive intoxicated friends home, call a cab, or take their keys and let them sleep at your place. A simple bacon, eggs, and coffee breakfast will be fine for these overnight guests.

Stats For Tracy & Mt.House California

by The Barringer Team

The Barringer Team Market Trends Newsletter - Decmber 2013

The following information is from the local MLS database, as of December 2, 2013 and is compared to (November 1, 2013).As we enter the last month of 2013,we are still seeing mostly all equity sellers  as prices are beginning to level off.There are only a little less homes on the market,  and most listings are not  receiving as many multiple offers and most are at the asking price or slightly below, if they are priced right. Interest rates have stayed the same with 30 yr fixed at 4.45% and 15 year at 3.51%. 
   If you have been on the Fence about selling your home then NOW is still the time to sell. The holiday's there are typically less homes on the market and only serious buyers out looking. (see the article below) If you are curious to see how much equity you have in your house, give us a call for a market analysis!  Just call or e-mail for an hassle free appointment or to just talk about the market anytime. 1-800-894-7282 or
Tracy, CA
Total # of residential properties for sale in the city of Tracy: 114 (123)
# of REO (foreclosures): 6 (7)
# of Short Sales: 7  (13)
Average # of days on market: 32 (30)
The median price of all homes for sale in Tracy: $365,000 (385,000)
Number of properties currently under agreement: 174 (174)
# of REO: 5 (5)
# of Pending Short Lender Approval: 55 (60)
Median pending price: $317,000 ($301,000)
Residential property sold over previous 30 days: 66 homes (76)
REO's sold in the last month: 3 (0)
Short sales sold in the last month: 9 (12)
Median sale price: $342,500 ($330,000)
Median # of days on the market:  15
Mountain House, CA
Total # of residential properties for sale in the city of Mountain House: 37 (42)
# of REO (foreclosures): 1 (1)
# of Short Sales: 2 (2)
# of New Construction: 7 (10)
Average # of days on market: 32 (28)
The median price of all homes for sale in Mountain House: $436,880 (441,500)
Number of properties currently under agreement: 40 (33)
# of REO: 0 (0)
# of Pending Short Lender Approval: 12 (12)
Median pending price: $404,975 ($377,118)
Residential property sold over previous 30 days: 14 homes (15 homes)
REO's sold in the last month: 0 (0)
Short sales sold in the last month: 1 (1)
Median sale price: $417,940 ($415,000)
Median # of days on the Market: 9
Take a look at this chart to see the SOLDS in Tracy for November.  Notice how many sold at asking price or over?  So call us for a free Market Analysis on your home!  209-833-7777.
   -     Address -          Street Name Address - Street _Bedrooms    Bathroom Square Footage CurrListpri price Curr Selling Selling Price DOM
3141   Holly Dr 3 2 (2 0) 1280 160000 160000 16
358 W Emerson Ave 2 1 (1 0) 795 90000 105000 41
1040   Winter Ct 3 2 (2 0) 1334 279000 275000 46
125   Loma Prieta Cir 4 3 (2 1) 2045 289900 289900 14
139 W 12th St 2 1 (1 0) 831 165000 165000 20
107   Barcelona Dr 4 (5) 3 (2 1) 2689 448888 400000 38
1036   Sallie Ln 3 4 (3 1) 1703 310000 306500 51
499   Gonzalez St 3 2 (2 0) 1214 265000 270000 59
2630   Ponte Mira 4 3 (3 0) 2235 279000 279000 40
1422   Whittingham Dr 5 3 (2 1) 2029 375000 372000 33
536   Park Haven Dr 3 3 (2 1) 1958 360000 350000 67
417   Hollywood Ave 2 2 (2 0) 2034 330000 345000 14
335 W Carlton Way 3 1 (1 0) 1191 250000 230000 45
425   Pacheco Dr 3 3 (2 1) 1794 279000 279000 45
3135   Milton Jenson Ct 4 3 (3 0) 2443 399000 399000 69
909   Roosevelt Ave 2 1 (1 0) 819 198000 210000 10
475   Peerless Way 2 2 (1 1) 1166 164900 162000 40
305   Cecelio Way 4 3 (2 1) 2597 379900 380000 64
1311   Roosevelt Ave 2 1 (1 0) 1064 185000 195000 6
617 E Robert L Smith 4 3 (2 1) 2407 389000 369000 50
788   Palm Cir 4 2 (2 0) 1230 86000 100000 1
1986   Calaveras Ct 3 3 (2 1) 1808 339000 339000 55
1828   Bayberry Ln 3 3 (2 1) 1902 359999 359000 31
2972   Rugby Ct 4 3 (3 0) 2397 379000 369900 37
2925   Holly Dr 3 (5) 3 (2 1) 1104 200000 201000 25
1427   Mansfield St 5 3 (3 0) 2917 399000 395000 25
335 W Beverly Pl 3 2 (2 0) 2048 299000 299000 23
4156   Escatta Ave 4 3 (3 0) 2611 399000 380000 8
2133   Diego Ct   4 3 (2 1) 2689 435000 410000 46
143 W Beverly Pl 2 2 (2 0) 1064 198000 205000 18
4154   Reids Way 3 (4) 2 (2 0) 2083 399000 399000 10
1760   Thicket   4 3 (2 1) 1899 325000 337000 13
1705   Parkside Dr 4 3 (2 1) 2080 325000 350000 14
471   Baldwin Ct 3 3 (2 1) 2135 340000 340000 15
1285   Sunpeak Ln 3 3 (2 1) 1566 305000 307000 16
2238   Golden Leaf Ln 4 3 (2 1) 2355 380000 372000 14
1900   Court Dr 3 1 (1 0) 1016 219995 222000 25
787   Harold Smith Dr 3 3 (2 1) 1705 330000 334500 6
1340   Standridge Ct 3 1 (1 0) 1235 201000 192500 6
3055   Elsinore Dr 4 2 (2 0) 1358 258000 258000 6
1561   Duncan Dr 4 2 (2 0) 1527 285000 285000 19
1480   Velasquez Ln 4 2 (2 0) 1834 350000 367500 14
1172   Cochran Dr 4 (5) 3 (3 0) 2656 385000 397000 7
224 E Beverly Pl 4 2 (2 0) 1589 318800 315000 13
1520   Hurley Ct 3 2 (1 1) 1087 229900 230000 5
215 W Clover Rd 3 3 (3 0) 1516 264000 250000 10
2455   Gerald Ct 4 3 (2 1) 1775 314900 314900 12
422   Glenbriar Cir 3 2 (2 0) 1421 320000 315000 1
1951   Parkside Dr 4 3 (2 1) 1630 300000 300000 5
160 N Club House Way 4 2 (2 0) 1806 270000 286000 2

8 Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas

by The Barringer Team


When decorating your home for the holidays, don't forget the front porch. Spread holiday cheer outdoors with just a few festive touches. Deck out your front porch for the holiday season with our rustic decorating ideas and easy how-to projects.

DIY Reindeer Pillow

Cozy up a front porch chair or bench with this adorable reindeer pillow. With a few basic supplies and our free printable template, you can whip up one of your own in just a few steps.

Add a Special Touch

Embellish storebought finds with a few crafty touches that tie the look together. This rustic twig reindeer is cute enough on its own but better fits our theme with the addition of a satin ribbon and fuzzy yarn-wrapped balls.

Mini Christmas Trees

We found these small faux pine trees at a garage sale and turned them into something special by adding new baskets, satin ribbon, handmade ornaments and yarn garland. Mini pine trees are perfect for displaying by your front door; try adding one to each side of the entry to frame the door.

Easy Ornaments

We continued our yarn theme throughout with these easy do-it-yourself ornaments. With a few basic craft supplies, you can quickly whip up a whole bunch. This project is easy enough for even the littlest crafters so get the kiddos to help.

Embellished Wreath

Take a simple everyday wreath and dress it up for the holidays. This driftwood wreath is perfect year-round, but for the holidays it gets an extra special touch with the addition of satin ribbon and a cluster of yarn-wrapped balls in various sizes and colors. Tip: Use hot glue sparingly, so you can easily pop off the embellishments after the holidays without damaging the wreath.

Gorgeous Garland

Pine garland is perfect for draping along banisters to add a winter touch to your outdoor decor. Another easy option is to string white bunny tail yarn garland around doors and windows to create a mini snowball effect.

Light Up with Luminaries

Hosting a holiday party this year? Line your walkway with these simple DIY luminaries. Fill clear glass or plastic vases with stones or sand and add tea lights or votive candles (we prefer the battery-operated kind). Finish each luminary with a cute yarn bow.

Read more at | 8 Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas


Should You Sell During the Holiday Season?

by The Barringer Team

Should You Sell During the Holiday Season?

Traditional school of thought dictates that selling a home during the holidays is a bad idea. People are busy celebrating with their families and will hardly go shopping for a home, right? Not so! There are numerous advantages to listing a home during this season and below are ten great reasons to put a home on the market now.  

This is all courtesy my good friend Brad Korb, a top selling Realtor in Burbank, California who came up with this list.  In my 25 years of selling homes in Tracy, I can agree that this has always been a good time to sell a house in our market.

  1. More serious buyers – Less time wasted These are people who are interested in buying so there is a far greater chance of actually selling the property.  Nothing is more promising to a seller than a motivated and qualified buyer that knows what they want and is actively seeking to get it.
  2. Fewer Homes On the Market The less competition there is, the higher the chance there is for homes on the market to sell. Where during the peak season sellers might be dealing with some interest from buyers on their home, nonetheless there is more selection for buyers to choose from and they can stray to another property.
  3. In January Inventory Increases – Chances of Selling Decreases With so many homeowners assuming the holidays is a taboo time to sell there is a plethora of new listings in January, resulting in a diminished chance of your home selling.  Also, there is a risk that the price you may receive on the home can be less.
  4. Decked Halls Look Great Homes are very appealing to prospective buyers when they are decorated for the holidays.  With all the festive décor, lights, greenery and added beauty of the season – the home shows very well and attracts buyers faster than if shown during other times of the year.
  5. More Time To Browse Homes Buyers have extra time off from work and are on vacation, which translates to a more aggressive buying pattern and more chances of your home being viewed.
  6. More Emotional Buyers Because of the high stress of the holidays, buyers tend to be more emotional during this time than in the summer months. A more emotional buyer will tend to pay more for a new property, so selling your home during the holidays could make you more money.
  7. Show The Home With Flexibility Sellers that have their home listed prior to the holidays have the added advantage to be able to “pause” the process so they can celebrate the holidays, essentially not showing the home during a period of time during the break.  When the festivities die down, things can pick up again and the seller has not only managed to save potentially lost time but can also jump right back into the market.
  8. Transferred Employees January is typically the month where employees are transferred into new position. In order to capture this demographic of buyers, your home must be on the market since these buyers cannot wait until the spring to buy.
  9. Sell Now For More Money Then Delay Closing. Extended occupancy can be negotiated, leaving both parties the leniency to get through the holiday season and past the New Year so that all sides can rest assured the deal is done but it can follow through at a more convenient time.  For sellers this option is great because they are able to secure a higher selling price on the property before the market is inundated with new listings come January when the selling values drop.
  10. Fewer Foreclosures On the Market  Many banks will suspend foreclosure listing during this time of year, especially on properties where there are still families occupying the home.  As a result of this, some of the competition that arises for sellers from low-priced foreclosures can be avoided during the holidays. Keep in mind that the idea of your home’s value increasing significantly over the next several months is a myth.  The truth is that housing values likely only go up when consumer income rises. Pay rates increase at a rate of three to five percent each year and that is about the maximum yearly increase we can expect to see in a home as well. So if you are wondering whether or not to put your home on the selling market now, or to wait – one important factor is that waiting will not provide much benefit.

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Contact Information

The Barringer Team
Century 21 M&M and Associates
912 W 11th Street
Tracy CA 95376
Fax: 209-229-7426
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