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!

THE SECOND STORY | November 1st, 2018

Seller’s market? prices are comin’ down….

If you live in the Bay Area, you should have some inkling that the Seller‘s Market is not as good as it has been the past 3-4 years. However, there can be loads of reasons for selling:

-Making the big bucks’ as long as you don’t buy something that costs ‘big bucks.’

-You can’t wait until the neighbors make the big bucks…you need to stay ahead of them. Be a leader, not a follower, but make wise decisions.

-Outgrown the house? Sure… but it may be worthwhile to think ahead a few years…will you grow back into it? Would putting an addition help to add space? How about an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) that you can rent out?

-Feeling financially stressed? Maybe talk to your accountant or financial advisor BEFORE you sign on the dotted line to list that property. There are numerous things to consider…and speak to a Realtor that knows what’s going on in the ‘hood, and hopefully you can trust.

-Outta there due to deferred maintenance? Maybe take it one step at a time…get a pest and property inspection done…and prioritize those findings.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues tour 15

(I’ve kinda regrouped and minimized the categories)

New 12

Active 70

(active incl 3 active/contingent, 1 bom (back on market), 7 price changes)

Pending 50 (total)

Sold 14

And that’s a wrap…contact me if you have ??? about this market and wha’s goin’ on in A-TOWN!

Best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | October 26th, 2018

Ethics = Adherence to the unenforceable.  my ‘for fun’ blog – check it out!

I attended a class in Maine many years ago. Rushworth Kidder taught the class. His book is ‘How Good People Make Tough Choices’ is an excellent read. I wanted to hear him and I wanted to learn.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, I was part of a group of Realtors at a leadership meeting in Santa Cruz. I shared the above quote when I was called upon (out of the clear blue) by the CEO to share what I thought this group was about.

To my knowledge, nobody had heard of him or the quote. People were writing it down. It’s the best definition of ‘ethics’ that I’ve ever come across. And that’s the standard that I work towards, in my business and my life. That particular week-long class has made me aware of what’s what, and what’s not – especially in these challenging times.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues tour 11

New 17

Pending 14

Sold 14

Total active 65 (incl 2 AC and 5 PCH)

Total pending 51

That’s a wrap for now!

Have a fun Halloween! I’ll be sitting on my front step telling the kids if they want a treat they need to do a trick for me. 


If you stop by this house in the 1500-1600 block of Clinton, check out how the dead person in the grass is shaking…YIKES!

best, m

THE SECOND STORY | October 18th, 2018

“I don’t know what you need to know….”


Scarry Alameda! It’s amazing how this town gets so wrapped up with ghosts and goblins and dead people!

During a listing presentation, I’m often asked. “Why so many questions?” My questions can certainly seem to be intrusive to new potential clients…because this is probably the first time I’ve ever sat down at a table with them. My goal is to find out if we are on the same page, or not. Often it’s a book of pages.

This afternoon I attended one of our Bay East Association of Realtors meetings regarding Alameda (city) transportation issues. It was fascinating, with speakers from the city, the County, a rep from one of the local biz associations, and a rep from WETA (San Francisco Water Emergency Transporation Authority). Per usual, it takes a vote to move anything up the hill (or through the water because by most everybody’s standards we don’t have hills in A-town but we are surrounded by H2O).

But we did get to ask questions!

Then I flashed back to earlier this month..when I was taking a quick vaca in Newport Beach. At this time of year, the natives have claimed their land back…no crowds, minimal tourists, and pretty good (read excellent) weather and some body-whomping surf.

I’ll usually park my car on Balboa Island, unload my bike, and take the ferry over to the peninsula and I start riding, up to Huntington Beach and/or down to the Wedge.

I think that our employees who represent A-town, do a fantastic job, either sitting at a table or standing up presenting something to the public. Thus the title of this blog post….”I don’t know what you need to know.” Most of us in attendance didn’t know too much…but they gave us lots to think about.

As potential Sellers and Buyers, IMHO you need to use a local agent, who focuses on Alameda (94501, 94502), otherwise it’s up to you…to get info, and that leads me back to the question, “I don’t know what you need to know, but if you have the time we can find out together.”

Alameda Real Estate this Week

New 11

AC, 2 BOM, 10 PCH – active contingent, back on market, price changes mostly downward

Pending 7

Sold 14

Total active 73

Total pending 53

Gads…it gets so dark, so early these days!

Let me know if you have questions about this shifting market….

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | October 11th, 2018

What makes a GREAT agent?

I get some very good articles via email. This is one that showed up this week. Although I don’t know the writer, I’m helping him spread the word.

This commentary is by John Wendorff (John Wendorff is chief encouragement officer with The Personal Marketing Company. For more information, please visit

“G” Is for Gratitude
Long-term success requires the ability to be grateful. Gratitude is key to success, not only for the real estate business,  but any business. Ideally, you’re working with people you enjoy, and you believe your work makes a difference in other people’s lives.

Remind yourself that what you do isn’t just about money; you’re helping people solve housing challenges. Be grateful for your skillset and your abilities.

“R” Is for Responsiveness
The responsive agent gets referrals and repeat business. It isn’t enough to just return the call, email or text. It’s about responding in a timely and relevant manner. Is this client anxious? Do they need a lot of hand-holding?

Generally speaking, prospective clients spend about three days deciding which agent to use. Strive to follow up with every email, text and phone call within one hour. It’s a discipline, and while difficult, the more you do it, the more you’ll set yourself apart in the marketplace.

“E” Is for Enthusiastic
You’re excited about your opportunities and your solutions. Being excited about a transaction means that you enjoy working with these individuals, they’re ready to buy and you have solutions to fit them exactly.

If you’re not excited, ask yourself whether you’re the right person for that opportunity. Sometimes, my lack of enthusiasm is a sign that it belongs in somebody else’s hands. Stay focused on helping people solve their problems in the very best way you know how.

“A” Is for Awareness
Put people first and the transaction second. One of the hardest things about real estate is staying aware of all the different pieces—regulatory, financial and marketing. We forget that this business is about people and our ability to read them. Are they defensive? Are they indecisive? The ability to understand people and respond appropriately makes all the difference. Without awareness, you might come to the end of the transaction only to find that you lost the people halfway through.

Every time you meet with people, fully engage them. Be aware of where they are mentally and emotionally so that you can empathize and help make their dream a reality.

“T” Is for Targeted
Focus on a specific area of the marketplace. Many agents believe that any listing is better than no listing—but without a target, you’ll deplete your energy so rapidly that you’ll never be able to manage everything.

Pick an area, a type of home or a type of client. Handoff other prospects to other agents. Be the agent who knows more about a specific neighborhood or a particular kind of client than anybody else. You cannot be a great agent without some type of targeting.

Alameda Real Estate this Week

New 18

Pending 15

Sold 14

Total Active (incl 3 active/contingent) 59

Have a great weekend! My phone tells me it should be warming up!

best, marilyn


THE SECOND STORY | October 4th, 2018

CTA (cover their ‘ass–‘)

Mortgage brokers and traditional banks are in the biz of making $$$. And no wonder the complaints above exist. These days most everybody wants everything quicker and with less paperwork, BUT they also want folks to explain what they are signing. That’s when an excellent escrow officer has a place in this lineup. But good escrow officers have a stack of docs for every client(s).

The above complaints have been around since I’ve been in the biz. In that period we’ve seen ups, downs, huge interest rates (coming through 18% when I first started the biz) and market crashes.

When interest rates were too high….we structured the contract that might have had some of the following: 2nd loans carried by the sellers, wrap-around loans, short-term financing carried by the sellers.

One time I had a contract that wanted the seller to replace the brick foundation…and he did! Took a couple of months but we got the place sold, otherwise he wouldn’t have sold it because lenders weren’t lending on brick foundations.

Now that rates are inching up…we hear complaints from those who are new to the market. It’s life…I usually tell them what real high rates mean (give them those examples). Agents and lenders work within whatever parameters we can to legally make the transaction flow: jump over the bumps in the road, and ‘close the deal.’

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Tues Broker Tour  14

New 12

Pending 3

Sold 10

Price change 5

BOM (back on market) 3

Total Active 58 incl 2 AC

Total Pending 17

That’s a wrap! Have a nice autumn-y weekend! Let me know if you have questions about the market. You can see by the stats above…DOM is getting longer, BOMs are happening, and the sales have really slowed down.

And based on my conversations with SF agents, local agents, and agents up and down CA….this is slow down is the real deal. I’ll say it once again. If the Seller sets the price too high, Buyer’s will laugh and walk away. The Buyers actually set the price. Get it?

best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | September 27th, 2018

Ride the wave or wait for another set…

I took this photo

12-9-2009 while watching the surfers at Jaws, Maui.


Below is a (slightly modified) excerpt that I wrote to a client, who recently sold her house.

“I think the market may be going the way you want it to go. You were able to ride the wave and kick out of it nearly at the top. You may be able to paddle into a wave that won’t be so big, with lower prices rolling in. With some foresight and with the hindsight you have, it should work perfectly for all of you.”  

This is my way of comparing real estate to surfing.


Tonight I had the privilege of joining a local mortgage broker, and one of the best-ever escrow officers, for dinner! It was a thoughtful, positive, hysterical (at times) conversation.

As we were comparing notes about our businesses, we all came to the same conclusion…no thing is ever simple in real estate..always twisting and turning… and some shouting. And when it is simple….be grateful.

We need to be ready to expect the unexpected, and be able to tap into our resources for solutions…or consider anything that may be a solution. I guess that’s why I like it so much….

Alameda Real Estate this Week

Lots of new listings (the rush before the holidays), plus longer  days on the market, and more withdrawals and cancelations of the listings.

New 18

Pending 10

Sold 6

Total Active 64 (including 4 A/C, 1 BOM, 5 PCH)

Total Pending 55

Contact me if you have real estate market questions….or even if you have some comments about where the market is heading!

Best, marilyn

THE SECOND STORY | September 20th, 2018

Shopping A-town

I’m pretty predictable and not too fancy. I love the shopping bags that I’m able to stuff inside my numerous backpacks (which is what I do  splurge on). But I only wear 1 purse/backpack at a time.

Here’s an example of the giveaways from the various business districts within our town. (No, TJ’s is not giving anything away and you can see where I shop – whether on my bike or in my car.)

You know when summer is over and when fall is right around the corner…because the Alameda real estate market has been getting new listings all over this island (relatively speaking).

Buyers want to move into a new (to them) property before the holidays set in. And the Sellers are thinking…get me outta here!

Once again…motivation is the rule for both buyers and sellers. And seller’s (5 of them) have contingent sales on their property.

That means the Buyer(s) won’t close until their own property  closes first, and then they’ve got the cash, loan, and whatever to move forward on their new (to them) purchase. If either party is too stuck on their list/buy price…that property won’t sell. And it’s off to the races for the sellers and back to the grind for the buyers.

Alameda Real Estate this Week!

New 18

Pending 2

Sold 10

Total Active 56 including 5 Active Contingent and 1 BOM

Total pending 53 including 1 court confirmation, and 1 subject to lender approval

OK! That’s a wrap!

Enjoy the weekend….days are getting shorter!

Please contact me if you have questions (or if you have the answers) about the A-town marketplace!

best, marilyn

check out my ‘for fun” blog…