THE SECOND STORY | February 14th, 2019

I guess the drought is over….

It’s been raining a lot. This afternoon it was hailing. But when the clouds show up, after the rain, it can be pretty spectacular.

When I was driving home from Pleasanton about 10 days ago (no, I don’t do real estate out there, but I do attend meetings at the Bay East Association of Realtors…and I’m on a committee for the Alameda Chapter of Bay East…the LGR…Local Government Relations for A-town).  I was looking up and it reminded me of when I used to fly gliders and airplanes out of Fremont (at Sky Sailing Airport).

Clouds streets…that’s when the puffy clouds (cumulus) line up, along or on top of the hills, mountains (ridge lines), and glider flying becomes… SOARING!

You can make a few turns under a cloud and then straighten out, put the nose of the plane down (to gain speed) and get to the next cloud street, and do it again. And again. And again. Maybe you’ll have a destination, like Vacaville: you’ll take a photo of the airport there, (no cell phones in that era) and head back. Or you may run out of lift, and you might land in a field (not too many of those around the East Bay these days).

I was flying gliders out of Minden, Nv. and Carl, my husband, was crewing for me. And I landed on top of a small flat cliff in the middle of nowhere (the Carson Valley). We had radios, but nothing like today.

And I actually saw him drive by me about 2 miles away, on the road, below me. I started to figure out how I could camp out in the glider. I would be a long, cold night…but doable. Most pilots have a backup plan when they’re flying anything with wings. And I did have a plan (which included food, water, and warm clothes). But maybe he’d have a towplane get in the air and find me on the plateau before darkness arrived. But somehow he found me…and we de-rigged the glider and headed back to Minden.

What’s this got to do with real estate? Maybe more than you might think. What if…this happens…what if an earthquake hits when you’re selling or buying? What if? What if?

Often folks need to quiet their thoughts…but they can’t ignore them.

A good real estate agent can calm them down…or even say…”it’s okay to walk away” (when a deposit is not at risk). Every transaction, every showing is different. And that’s why great agents could be like pilots…overcoming obstacles…to get just the right property for their clients.

OMG…a woman doing a survey for the FAA just called me. She wanted to know what I thought about the FSS (flight service station) at OAKLAND airport. I told her I hadn’t flown in years…so I wouldn’t be the best person to answer her questions! What a coincidence!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

I have a pending sale on my listing @ 1151 Admiralty Lane, that happened 2 nights ago. We had 3 offers.

Broker Tour Tues  10

New 16

Pending 11 including 3 PBO (want backups), 1 PSLA (needs lender approval – short sale/foreclosure)

BOM (back on market) 1

PCH (price change) 1

Sold 9

Total Active 38

That’s a wrap…carry on! Let me know if you have ???s about the market. I’ll try to answer them..

best, marilyn

Shredding Party is Saturday, March 23 9-noon!

It’s free to all and if you’re so inclined, donations to Alameda Meals on Wheels will be accepted and I’ll match what you give to AMOW!

2 postcards will be going out via snail mail!

THE SECOND STORY | February 7th, 2019

An email to my client…..

In my humble opinion, I think that the pricing (list/sale) issue is generational.

For those who have just come into the market, have kids in school (or no kids at all but may be planning on having a family), Alameda seems very tame and homey. Most newbies aren’t involved in local politics (they’ll find out about that later). Alameda is flat, easy to get around, close to parks and beaches, close to shopping. That why lots of us like it!

This is a photo of the clouds along Shoreline, last year. But I was driving to Pleasanton for a meeting this week, and the hills were full of snow!

However, these folks are bringing a lot of $$$ into this market, whether the prices are shifting or not. As far as detached homes go, what we paid 350K for 20-30 years ago, is now 1M+.  The old 400K is now the new 900K+.

Obviously, this is not a rule, but a shift in how we live.

The newer generations don’t know how to wait in line. They demand instant help via any of the devices we carry around with us including how to buy real estate or carve a turkey.

They share meals at restaurants with long tables full of strangers, with whom they become ‘friends’. They have their groceries delivered to their houses, as well as their meals. They use ride-share vehicles and some don’t even own a car.

The A model townhome (that I have listed and you saw) may not seem the best for baby-boomers BUT it’s a single level, attached on only one side.  But the A model floor plan could be a solution to Gen X&Y and the Millennials.

Several Baby-Boomers have looked at the A model I have listed, but the number of younger generation lookers have out-numbered them. There are parks just outside the door, garages are used for storage (not multiple cars), bus transport is accessible. The last A model I sold, about a year ago, was purchased by the younger generation, and I think we had 7 offers on it.

Any potential buyer, anywhere, is buying a location, that just happens to have a house/home/condo/townhome/ sitting on it.

As you well know, many of the original townhomes on Bay Farm Island were built in the 60’s & early 70’s. Those are mostly row-homes, straight in a line, with garages in the rear, on an alley. The Community of Harbor Bay Isle has several individual smaller townhome communities that have a meandering physical layout, with lots of trees and lagoons, built in the 80’s with garages in the rear, not straight out in front.


Yes, we do have inventory…and it’s increasing. And some of the prices are coming down, either by price reductions (read motivation), or if it’s been on the market 30-60 days with no offers.

Welcome to my world!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

New 11

Pending 5

Sold 7

Total Active 23, including 3 Price Changes, and 1 Active Contingent

Total Pending 31, of which 5 want Backup offers to the pending offer

The Super Bowl survived without me (it’s just too dangerous to spend my time watching it), and Valentine’s Day is almost here, then Presidents Day…and I hear there’s some chatter to make our National Election Day a holiday. Carry on!

PS I did have a former client call me this week, wanting to know if I knew any agent in Huntington Beach.  He was calling on behalf of a friend in Connecticut who has a home to sell in S. CA. I did find a great person (through my Certified Residential Specialist organization) who has interviewed for that job. If you, or a friend, have a need for an agent somewhere in the US, let me know and I might be able to make a connection. It sure beats finding anybody without any credentials! Keep me in mind for those referrals!

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | January 31st, 2019

Modern Family…Phil Dunphy is my hero.



Phil Dunphy (Modern Family) cracks me up. He’s a Realtor (actually an actor in S. CA). And in this week’s episode, he was very frustrated…showing over 200 houses (high-end ones at that), over the years to a rich guy, who wouldn’t spend his money.

Let’s get real….agents like to eat while on tour. Not they go out to eat….but they like to eat free food:  that they can get and grab while at an open house on the tour (Tuesdays), and while talking to others about issues of the day…like the Super Bowl or the local weather.

Some of the hosts (listing agents) offer food. It’s been a long time since I’ve offered food. It’s the property that should be attractive (in price), or has been completely re-made or reinvented.

I was alone this week, for almost an hour…hosting a home on the Broker Tour. Then 18 agents showed up during the last hour. Maybe they’d been fed by other agents. But they were very kind about what they saw at the property. “Hey, Mikey, they like it!”

I have enough to do, so I don’t feed the agents…for like decades. Besides, who wants to clean up after those agents? Not me. It takes weeks and/or months, to get a property ready for the market. Let’s keep it that way.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour 9

New 9 (See the Content Box to the right of this that features my new listing @ 1151 Admiralty Lane. Single level, 2bd, 2bath, patio, townhome, w/ 2 car garage.

Total Active 41, including 2 AC (active contingent), and 5 PCH (price changes)

Total Pending 35

Sold 9

I’ll be at 1151 Admiralty Lane (Bay Farm Island, Islandia townhomes) on Sunday 2-4pm for an open house. Come on by…..rain or shine!

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | January 24th, 2019

Welcome to Home-Ownership…classes are ever-continuing…


There’s a lot to be said for homeownership.

  1. You think you own it..(actually you own when you pay all cash, otherwise the bank owns it).
  2. You think it’s perfect (and it very well may be) but then you want to change something.
  3. Or you think everything is all right…until these items (or something like them) happen:

Now I’m speaking for myself (and these items took place within the last 4 months).

  • My dishwasher won’t drain.
  • My washing machine drains onto the laundry room floor.
  • The handyperson, who was referred to me, said he fixed the dishwasher. Not so much.
  • The guy (an appliance pro that I’ve used before) who installed my new dishwasher, pulled out the old one, and it weighed so much he could hardly move it. Turns out it was holding a bunch of water..and that’s why it didn’t drain. And he picked up the new one, too! We have a winner!
  • The guy who was supposed to fix the handle on my escape ladder, said he’d come back to install the new handle..and he never showed up. I guess the 300 bucks I paid him was enough to make him disappear.
  • The same guy who did a great job and replaced my dishwasher, added a new gasket to the washing machine. No more leakage, seepage.
  • My roofer (who also did my solar installation) always comes by once per year, after the first rain. The carriage house definitely needed a new roof..and I noticed some of the granules flaking off. His crew came over and it was done in 3 days..and he checked all the gutters and the house roof. He no longer takes new business, but I’m so glad he was referred to me by a neighbor, who also used to work with me at Harbor Bay Realty, when it existed.
  • I decided to get an excellent company,  NBI (National Building Inspections), to do a pest and property inspection on this old beast of a house. Results? No too bad, especially since the last time I did these inspections was about 30 years ago when we bought this place. I recommend them to my clients, as well.

I wanted to replace 5 toilets in this building, and one of the furnaces went dead. The NBI inspector recommended these folks:  Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Mr. Sparky (electrical), and One Hour Heat and AC. These companies are great! They showed up within their window of time, they had uniforms on, their trucks explained who they were, and because I joined their Home Protection Club, they waive the service call ($59 but that doesn’t include any labor or materials).

The good news is that I’ll never refer a person who doesn’t do at least a good job, for my clients! I don’t want them to experience what I’ve been through. And it’s worth every penny to pay to fix these items so my clients/friends won’t need the ‘sinking heart and empty wallet’ feeling.

Back in the day, I used to send out a vendor referral list. Too many things have changed too quickly to do that these days. We’re all in this together. IF you have a recommendation for a vendor, who does good work, let me know! And let me know of those disasters you may have faced.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues tour 5

New 5

Pending 7

Sold 3

Total active 42

(includes 4 active contingent and 1 price change)

Total pending 34

I’m done!

Call, text, em me if you have comments or questions!

All good, all of the time!

best, m

THE SECOND STORY | January 17th, 2019

Yeah, this is what it looks like when a sump pump (or 2) fails….


3 pumps: a back up for the main pump and a back up for the backup. 2 failed (what are those odds?), and with a lot of folks’ help and effort, no flooding! I had enough plumbers here I called it a Plumbing Party! Plus, we had 2 sharp 3.4 earthshakes in the last 2 nights!


Alameda Real Estate this Week

New 9

Pending 5

Sold 4

Total active 44, including 5 contingent and 2 price changes

Total pending 30

My listing at 2515 Central #103 has had a lot of private showings and 7 of those agents have asked for the disclosures. It’s as large as a 2 bedroom house (over 1200 sf), all on one level, and has a deeded/dedicated parking space in the common garage. AND if/when it stops raining, the sewer test for the building will be performed! There are only 16 units in the complex!

After last Sunday’s open house, per the mls, my Seller is ready to look at offers! As I’ve said in the marketing material…what a great location, so close to transport (all kinds), Park Street is 1.5 blocks away, close to parks, schools, library, and the Alameda Theatre! You may even think about getting rid of your car!

OK..that’s a wrap. Call, text, em, if you have questions about A-town’s market!

Stay dry!

best, marilyn

check out my ‘for fun’ blog…

THE SECOND STORY | January 10th, 2019

Sellers: you’re moving on….Buyers: you’re moving in….

Biking w/ my grandson in A-town! Photo by                     my son, on his bike.

Amazing how many folks go out in the driving rain to see open houses. That tells me they are a bit serious! I was holding 2515 Central Ave #103 open! Offers will be entertained anytime after this Sunday’s open house. And we’ve had quite a few private showings as well!

I received a couple of questions today from the husband of a couple I’m working with. He wanted to know what work should be done before they put the house on the market. We had the inspections and they turned out quite well.

Here was my response:

Most houses are sold ‘as is’ unless there’s an issue that Buyers want fixed….BUT if that’s the case, then I’d suggest you offer a credit ($) to the Buyers, against their closing costs, and then they can be in charge of correcting the issue. You’re moving on…they are moving in. You (mostly) don’t care, they do. 

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour 8

New 13

Active/contingent 4

Back on market BOM 1

Sold 4

Total active 31

Total pending 27

Do you have questions? I may have some answers for you.  IMHO. 

Come by and see/meet me Sunday 2-4 2515 Central Ave #103!

best, marilyn

Check out my ‘for fun’ blog

THE SECOND STORY | January 3rd, 2019

Old year, new year, new day…and the real estate market is shifting.

This was taken at Crown Beach when the blogs went into hibernation.  

Crisp but cool outside!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

One of the 2 new listings, is my listing @ 2515 Central #103. Come by and see me at the open house this Sunday 2-4 or at the broker tour on Tues the 8th, or at the second open house on Sunday 2-4 on the 13th! See the listing on the sidebar…which includes the photos and virtual tour, and the drone view!

Total NEW listings this week 2

Total active listings 37

Total pending listings 49

If you have ??’s about specific sold listings while the blog was in hibernation, let me know!

And I closed 162 Oak Park for my buyers in Dec. The price had dropped to 769K…and it was lower than the comps, and we had written on several properties.

(Oh, and I lied when I wrote that the blog would be back in 2 weeks….it was pretty late that night I should have said 6+ weeks!) And I must admit I loved the time off!

Happy to answer questions about the market….I like to set a meeting with potential Sellers and Buyers and we talk about what you want, want you need (different than what you want), and whether I can meet your expectations and whether you can meet mine! If we decide we aren’t a match, at least you should get an idea about what is going on out there! It’s all good!

...and a Happy New Year to you and your friends and families!

Best, marilyn

my ‘for fun’ blog…

THE SECOND STORY | December 1st, 2018


My blogs…
….go into hibernation from Thanksgiving until the first Thursday eve/night of 2019!
If all goes as planned, and if I get some brilliant ideas (or not),  I’ll start typing then!
I hope you have wonderful holidays…
whatever you may celebrate!

THE SECOND STORY | November 15th, 2018

Perspective and Happy Thanksgiving

Talking about real estate and having clients who want to sell, and having clients who want to buy…..seems rather tame and trivial compared to all who have lost their lives, lost their homes (rentals or owned), lost everything in the most recent fires all over CA. I hope many of you have or will be donating to the fire victims through such agencies as the Red Cross.

Newport Beach Oct 2018

Thanksgiving is upon us, and not only do I need to express my gratitude for everything I have physically, verbally, and mentally, I hope you have a good Thanksgiving, no matter if you have peanut butter sandwiches, a full turkey dinner, or take out from McDonald’s.

Even just a few moments of silence can give me a more well-rounded outlook and attitude. I wish that for those of you who read this blog.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 13

New 10 

Total Active 72

incl 2 Active Contingent, 1 Back on Market, 6 Price Changes

Total Pending 52

Sold 9

That’s a wrap! I’ll write another post 2 weeks from today!

Happy, happy Thanksgiving! best, m


my ‘for fun’ blog…


THE SECOND STORY | November 9th, 2018

Don’t breathe deeply! Too much smoke!

IMHO I think Alameda pushes all of my buttons considering the above. Access to transportation, to me, means not using a car as solo driver (and yes, I do drive solo). And I’ve ridden my bike to the Alameda ferry (to SF). But I love most of the transformations that our town has made since 1973 when Carl and I showed up here, renting our first house (a studio apartment) at 2105 Central Ave. It seemed like we were in heaven! But not much has changed on the exterior, other than it got a new foundation years ago..and it was sitting on bricks when he rented it!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 15

New 12

Pending 9

Sold 12

Total active 73

(incl 3 active/contingent, and 1 price change)

Total pending 48

Have a fun weekend…but maybe play games inside, or stream some movies, or go to our magnificent theatre and watch a movie. And then head over to Tuckers for some ice cream treats!

But the smoke is awful. As I was driving to our BayEast Association of Realtors’ chapter (near Mariner Square) I saw folks that were walking and wearing masks, and some people driving cars were wearing masks! Not good.

And give please pause to think good thoughts for and about those who lost everything in Paradise, CA.

best, marilyn my for fun blog!