THE SECOND STORY | June 13th, 2019

Warriors… a “new” history has been made.

Culture…is what they call it. A culture that’s created, not just by the boss, the coach, sometimes it starts with the workers and but spreads to the team, so all can embrace it.

When Kevin Durant went down in the last game on the hardwood, the crowd from the Raptors cheered. Nobody needs to see or hear that. We need to think a bit more of the others than of our selves…and almost every pro doesn’t want to see a pro injured.

Tonight was the final game of the season.  Final game @ Oracle. Unfortunately, the Raptors won. And a couple of the Warriors got hurt…during the game.

What does this have to do with real estate? A lot. Agents are jumping from company to company. Companies are eating up their prey. I even have to ask agents (with whom I’ve worked for years)….where have you planted your license? Good thing I did…one h had made another less than 2 weeks? YIKES!

A couple of these companies I met within the last week.

I am so tired of the “rah-rahs…we can do this for you, just join our happy crowd.”

I’m over it. I love where I’m at and what the companies provide for me and, hopefully, they receive some benefits from working with me as an independent contractor.

The reason I say ‘companies’….Fusion is one company (and I left Harbor Bay Realty after being with them for 25 years). However, after 5 years….Fusion decided that they wanted to expand their biz to other small businesses: marketing, advising, database updating, etc.

I still receive all of the benefits from Fusion: my wonderful weekly meeting with my advisor Amy, my annual marketing plan (they do it and I know it’s done), pulling together my database, a weekly video chat with our Founder, James Becker, boosting  FB posts and even this week, a new member of the team has been added.

Fusion morphed their agents with ReMax Gold. Not nearby…but the staff is excellent.

ReMax Gold, “Coffee with the Brokers” (this past week), the 3 Brokers went over the Analysis of a Lawsuit. I usually partake in is and it was awesomely terrific.

This is what a broker needs to provide to its agents.

Oh, but have good time partying out there.


Tues tour 12 

Total active 38, including 1 BOM, 4 PCH

Total pending 65

Total sold this week 8

Let me know of questions you may have about this crazy market.

best, marilyn



THE SECOND STORY | May 30th, 2019

Memorial Day…@ Veteran’s Park, Alameda.

      Veteran’s Memorial Park
            Saturday service.

I rode my bike to the service last Saturday, knowing that folks had taken their cars. It was a lovely service: bagpipes, solos, prayers, and the band. This type of service gets me out of myself, and realize that any issues I think I have, are nothing compared to the ultimate sacrifice those that have given their lives so we can have our freedom. Puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?

So this will be short and sweet.

Plus the Warriors lost tonight (boo hoo).

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tuesday 15

New 9

Total Active 45 including 2 PCH

Total Pending 55

Total Sold this week 10 

Actually, my listing at 1726, 1728, 1728 1/2 Central went pending tonight but I can’t make the mls accept the name of the agent who sold it. Will call the support team tomorrow!

Let me know if you have questions about the A-town market. Some personal insights may apply here.

Have a fun weekend!

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | May 23rd, 2019

Keys to my…..

….listings! When the seller(s) move out….and they’re ready to hit the road…this is often what I get….a mashup of keys. This can be a bit overwhelming because in this instance it was a single woman…and it was quite a collection for a townhome. Of course, all buyers NEED to change out the locks ASAP once they own the property!

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 11

New 17

Total Active 37 plus 2 PCH

Total Pending & 9 PSB

12 Sold

Take note! One of the 2 Price Changes PCH was downward by $455,000. The other was upward: $130,000.

Have a lovely Memorial weekend. Take just a few seconds, minutes, even just a walk thinking about why we have this holiday.

best, m

my for-fun blog

THE SECOND STORY | May 16th, 2019

“As Is” does not mean….

…” in ignorance.”

This applies to both Buyers and Sellers.


Buyers are sometimes willing to overlook what they don’t read or what they don’t see because they’re so excited about getting a property.

Sellers are sometimes willing to overlook the obvious because they’re used to whatever it is (dangling electrical outlets, deep scratches on the hardwood floors, carpets/rugs covering up what they don’t want to see, water stains under sinks, on the ceilings, roofs that need patching or a new layer, or items that require permits but they don’t have them (it was a do-it-yourself job, or I didn’t know that, or whatever).

This is why we get inspections upfront these days by proven professionals (sometimes they may have a current General Contractors license). Many inspectors don’t have a GC (like most of them).

-These inspections allow the Sellers to be informed about what is happening currently in their property (before they put it on the market, even though they’re “used to it” and want to sell it ‘as is’).

-These inspections allow the Buyers to be informed about what is happening in places they won’t necessarily go…like the crawl space, like looking up the chimney, climbing on the roof (let the experts do this stuff).

I think I mentioned that I had both pest and property inspections done on this old beast of a house within the last year. And then things happened that I couldn’t easily see, much less anticipate, in the crawlspace (the cast iron sewer pipes – very, very old- were dripping), the sump pump (was pumping in what should have been pumped outside) and more.

And this is where I remind you, that you need to plan on spending 1% per year, of the current market value (not what you paid for it when you first bought it). It’s a job, not a hobby,  to get things fixed, repaired, replaced. Hire known professionals.

To that end…I’ve been keeping a list of my clients who have contacted me regarding vendor recommendations since October of 2018. And at the same time, before I let them know who to call…I’ll pick up the phone and call them myself, (after normal biz hours), and leave a message to see if they’re still in biz. And some of those vendors pick the phone up during the off-hours! Now that’s dedication! And the stories…are quite amazing that they share with me in those off-hours.

I know you’re thinking, ‘Marilyn, get a life.’ Yep, and I think the life I have is quite decent, even sometimes, I think it’s the best!

(BTW, I’ve given out over 40 vendor names to clients and to those who aren’t clients but are referred to me.)

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Broker Tour Tues 16

New 17

Total Active 33 including 1 PCH

Total Pending 50

Sold 7

The rain! Enough! The plants are now growing and flowers are blooming!

Enjoy your weekend!

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | May 9th, 2019


Crime Scene Investigation…like the TV show. NOPE!

It’s Customer Service Improvement.

Many years ago, a couple of local Realtors started talking to our Alameda Building Official (that’s the one who runs the Planning and Building Depts, aka Community Development Dept, these days).

We had so many questions that weren’t getting answered: when were permits required; what happens if an owner did work without permits: what happens when we walk into a house and it has units in it but the public records say it’s a single-family residence – can those be legalized; what happens when somebody turns an attic or a basement into living space?

The Building Official took us very seriously…enough so, that we started having meetings once per month. “We” were made up of contractors, a designer, an engineer, an Alameda historian, an architect, and 2-3 Realtors.

And we had Greg McFann (Building Official) come to some of our monthly Realtor meetings, so folks could ask questions of him.

This was a huge step for our city….it’s called communication. The old folks were retiring, and the newbies were communicating.

The permit office was made much more accessible, with staff that either knew what they were doing OR they could turn to an expert who could guide us through the issue.

These days we meet once per quarter! We catch up on what’s going on in A-town, new laws that could apply to us, we make time to ask questions.

Often these days the subject of ADU’s comes up (Accessory Dwelling Units). Lots of permits have been pulled, but not too many have been completed…due to the expense. And Alameda, as well as the state, is in a “we need more housing” crunch.

And we still meet (only once per quarter). It’s such a privilege to be part of this working group, and we can get out there and spread the word amongst our peers.

Our local Alameda Realtors don’t profess to know it all and especially in this environment where agents are coming into town from all over the county or even from other counties, but those of us who have been here and focus on Alameda, know that we’ve got resources that others do not…especially if you, the customers, don’t want to get involved in a lawsuit. We know the rules and we have folks who can explain them to us, in case we have some questions.

It continues to be a learning process. And I’m glad to be a small part of it.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues Tour 11

New 11

Total Active 30 including 1 AC and 3 PCH

Total Pending 49

Total Sold this week 11

Notice I have a new listing, a triplex, at 1726-1728-1728 1/2 Central Ave. There will be no open houses and if a customer shows up during the designated times s(he) needs to have an agent with him/her and (s)he needs to give me a card with his biz info, before I’ll let them in. Tough chick here, eh?

Best, marliyn

THE SECOND STORY | May 2nd, 2019

On the road to Sacto….for Legislation Day

A lot of Realtors (members of the leadership team, and members of our Local Government Relations committee) showed up yesterday for Legislation Day in Sacto. We had our state annual meeting close to the Capitol, and in the afternoon, we all tromped over to meet with our Legislators…in our case, it was Rob Bonta. We showed up to be sure that our electeds know that we stand for personal property rights.

Governor Gavin Newsom as he walked by….

It was a very long Wednesday, for most of us…I got up @ 5:15am, got to the coach (bus) @ 6:15am and arrived in Sacot @ 8:10? am. But what a lovely way to travel…no driving, some lovely breakfast bites, some laughs, and some good conversation.

The excitement was over as soon as we got on the coach to return to A-town, most of us napped or just zoned out by looking at the landscape.

I still needed to do flowers for our Wed eve church service which is always calming and inspirational.

This evening, about 6 pm I rode my bike up to the base where City Hall West is located. I attended a community ‘open house’ sponsored by the city, regarding our local rent control ordinance. It was quite good, we had the opportunity to talk with city officials and heads of departments, and chatted with others whom I hadn’t seen in a long time! Got back at just before 9pm.

Life is definitely not boring! And riding my bike back home from the base at night, was a first for me. Thank goodness I had my helmet with lights built into it, my bike light flashing, and there wasn’t too much traffic. Listening to the shipping containers being banged around on the Oakland side of the estuary, loading off and on those ships, was rather amazing.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues tour 10

New 12

Active (total) 28 and 1 AC

Pending (total) 46

Sold 17

That’s a wrap! Enjoy this sunshine. If you are wondering about what the market is like…let me know…and we can have an honest discussion about it! Remember, I don’t have a crystal ball!

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | April 25th, 2019

A-Town event……Thursday, May 2 6:30-8:30

I’ll be attending this Community Open House. Details below! 

No photo description available.

The City of Alameda invites you to attend an open house to provide input on the City’s policies and proposed changes to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance

WHO: Anyone interested in Alameda’s Rent Stabilization program

WHAT: An open house for community members to review information about the existing law, potential changes, and provide input

WHERE: City Hall West, 950 West Mall Square, Room 201, Alameda Point

WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2019, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This event is the first of several outreach opportunities for the public to provide input to inform the City’s next steps regarding potential changes to the City’s Rent Stabilization program regulations.

Community members can drop in at any time. All ideas are welcome.

For questions and more information please contact Sarah Henry at 510-747-4714 or


Now on to this week’s business:

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues Broker Tour 8

Total active listings 34 (including 1 AC, 1 BOM, 2 PCH)

Total pending listings 46

Total sold 16

That’s a wrap! Enjoy your weekend…contact me if you have ???? about the A-town real estate market!

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | April 18th, 2019

Perfect weather in A-town today!

Fog off-sets the skyline of The City, today.

While I was hosting a broker tour this past Tuesday, a group of us (agents)    had some time to chat, and chat we did!

We had the opportunity to ask a lovely Redfin agent about the company’s business model.

Like most of us who are involved with real estate, there’s a bunch of flexibility. That’s why we like it: independent contractors, and ‘nobody being the boss of me’, (yet there is a chain of command, otherwise you’ll fail miserably or be sued).

And the stories can be amazing, hilarious, sad, or depressing. In this fast-paced world, it’s kind of unusual to take time to understand the other person’s point of view: no judgment, just listening. And then we keep on keeping on.

What I’ve come to learn over the decades is that people need to know you care…about them, their stories, their background, their money, their dreams, and their goals. And for the most part, if that doesn’t work for them, then I wish them good luck and best wishes in the future.

There’s plenty of room for everybody if you expand your fences OR just focus on what you know best. That’s pretty much how I run my biz.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

I did put a new listing on the market a week ago, and it will be open this Sunday, then offers, if any will be entertained this next Tuesday.  See the link to the right…a virtual tour, and you can see the ‘doll-house’ style, looking done on the floorplan. 1726 Lafayette St., Alameda!

New 14

Active (28 incl 1 active contingent)

Pending 48

Sold 13

WC (withdrawn, canceled) 1

That’s a wrap! Come on by Lafayette on Sunday…no, I won’t have bunnies playing in the front or back yard, and for sure I won’t give out candy to the kids! I’m sure they’ve had plenty!

best, marilyn

check out my ‘for fun blog’

THE SECOND STORY | April 11th, 2019

“Thank you for helping me to realize that online house hunting is..

….is about as useless as online dating:-)”

This just cracked me up, today. And it was sent by a marvelous woman, who is house hunting in Alameda.

Stacks of pink, in my backyard.

The photos do say a few things…like the difference between a professional photographer vs. an agent with a cellphone. Or if the agent doesn’t look to see if his photos are upside down/ or sideways (which recently happened).

The photos do give you an idea of how the property looks with staged furniture..and that will help bring folks in the house/condo/townhome.

Like an iceberg, there’s a lot more under the surface than you may realize.

What’s the neighborhood like? Is there a Neighborhood Watch? Where do folks shop? Where do they get good take-out? Where are the parks? Is there a skate park? How are the schools?

Get an agent who knows the ‘hood.’ You’re wasting your time if you don’t.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues tour 11

New listings this week 10

Pending this week 12 including 1 pending sale: want back up PSB

Sold this week 5

Total active 28 including 1 AC (active contingent)  and 1 PCH (price change)

Total Pending 28 

OK. That’s a wrap!

Enjoy your weekend!

If you have questions about this market…maybe we can figure it out together.

best, marilyn